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Winning Hermione by Moni Jane

Format: Novella
Chapters: 17
Word Count: 36,520
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Fred, Blaise (M)
Pairings: Ron/Hermione, Draco/Hermione, Harry/Hermione, Hermione/FredOrGeorge, Other Pairing

First Published: 06/14/2007
Last Chapter: 10/05/2011
Last Updated: 10/05/2011

Summary:




Awesome banner by Vivi from TDA!

Hermione's family has been destroyed due to the war against Voldemort. However, he does get defeated. Now in a world that's still healing, Hermione finds herself living with assigned providers and caretakers from the Ministry of Magic. And goodness knows what they have in store for her.

**Chapter 16 is finally in queue! And don't worry, 17 will come out soon!**


Chapter 1: War and Destruction
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A/N – Please review. That being said, please enjoy the story. J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter of course.

Winning Hermione

Chapter 1: War and Destruction

Hermione slowly turned over in her small twin bed at her parents’ house. Her eyes glanced at her alarm clock. What time was it? Was it day or night? How long had she been asleep? She sat up and stretched releasing a big yawn. It was 4pm in the afternoon. Who knew what day it was though.

Then it hit her. The hurt and pain from the last month.

The final battle had taken place at 12 Grimmauld’s Place. The start of it was an ambush. The Order of the Phoenix was having a meeting when the Death Eater’s attacked. Voldemort was among them. He was searching for Harry.

The battle was bloody. Luckily, no one from the Order was seriously hurt. Ron had continued his studies for Healing after graduating Hogwarts and was able to heal most injuries instantly as long as he was able to block curses from Death Eaters. Harry and Voldemort’s own fight was raging on in the middle of the room. Members of the Order and the Death Eaters would pause fighting every now and then to watch. The intensity was overwhelming. The spells and curses that were cast were more powerful than anyone in the room could cast.

Foolish boy, do you really think you can defeat me?” Voldemort had sneered at Harry.

Harry in return smirked, “You’re not so invincible. We’ve destroyed 6 Horcruxes.”

Voldemort paled. Everyone had stopped fighting around them.

Which means the last one is standing before us. Good riddance.”

Then Harry uttered the killing spell directed towards the Dark Lord. And it hit, but reluctantly. Lord Voldemort’s death was slow and painful.

As he writhed on the floor, his Death Eaters fled from the site while he called out for them. None of them tried to save the now mortal dieing wizard.

Everyone was exhausted. Instead of parties and rejoicing, people just wanted to rest and spend time recuperating. The Ministry was kind enough to leave Hermione alone. She had suffered greatly.

When she had returned home after the final battle, she found her home in flames. Death Eaters had found her parents. She was too late to save them.

Hermione was just about to wipe her tears away and get out of bed to drudge through another day of nothingness when an owl tapped on her window. Everyone had left her alone for the past month, giving her time to mourn. She seemed surprised when the owl gave her a letter from the Ministry. What did they want?

Miss Hermione Granger,

The Ministry of Magic sends our condolences for your losses. Due to recent events, we realize that you may have no desire to return to the wizarding world. But perhaps, in case you do, please report to the Ministry of Magic on May 1st for an important meeting regarding yourself if you wish to remain within the wizarding world. We certainly wish you do.

Warm Regards,

Cecila Patil

Department of Providers and Caretakers

Hermione couldn’t understand why the Ministry would think she wouldn’t want to return to the wizarding world. After all, it was all that she had left.

Early on May 1st she left her parents’ house (which she had sold a few days beforehand) for the last time. She headed towards the Ministry of Magic to attend a meeting that would decide her future.

A/N – Eep, so not really any dialogue or anything, but I kind of wanted this to be a sort of prologue, so sorry about that. The next chapter will have plenty of dialogue, drama, action, and that sort of thing. So keep reading! And review!

Chapter 2: The Ministry's Decision
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A/N – Thank you so much for reading this far. I hope this story is very interesting and entertaining for you! Please don’t be shy and go ahead and review! Thank you. P.S. – J.K. Rowling owns the world of Harry Potter.

Chapter 2: The Ministry’s Decision

Hermione walked into the Ministry of Magic, still confused about what was about to happen. Then suddenly she saw a jet of black hair before her.

 

“Harry! Oh Harry, how good to see you!” Hermione exclaimed as she gave him a warm hug.

“It’s nice to see you too, Hermione,” Harry agreed.

“Why are you here?” she asked.

“We all came. It’s a big day for you, after all,” Harry explained.

“Is it?” Hermione asked amused. Why was it that everyone seemed to know more about what was about to happen than she did? Things must really be going downhill for her if she couldn’t even stay on top of her own life, let alone her studies.

“Don’t you know? They’ll choose your caretakers and providers today,” Harry explained.

Ron joined them and hugged Hermione immediately, “Hermione! It’s so good to see you again!”

“You too Ron,” Hermione smiled.

“So who are my options?” Hermione asked Harry.

“Well right now the Weasleys are going to try. We’ll find out at the meeting,” Harry smiled, “they’ve already convinced the ministry to let me go into their custody. I’m sure everything will work out with you as well.”

Hermione grinned feeling happier than she had in months, “Let’s hope so!”

“Hermione Granger,” a voice called. They all turned to look at a plump witch with kind curls and a warm smile.

“Cecila Patil, Head of the Department of Providers and Caretakers,” she introduced herself as she shook Hermione’s hand.

“Let’s get started, shall we?” she said brightly and led them into the room she had just exited.

There was a table in the middle of the room in the shape of a circle. Hermione sat down between Ron and Harry. Under the table she grabbed Harry’s hand. It wasn’t like she was nervous, but this was kinda sorta very important.

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were also present, as well as a few other adults Hermione didn’t recognize.

Cecila shut the door slightly a bit loudly before settling into the seat across from Hermione.

“So,” she smiled, “Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. I believe you wanted to state your case first?”

“Yes,” Mr. Weasley began, “We would love to have Hermione stay with us. She’s more than welcome of course. We’ve raised enough well mannered children so far, so I’m sure we’re more than capable of doing so.”

“Yes,” Mrs. Weasley continued for him, “They’re all well fed, you know. All happy children I’ve raised, I can assure you.”

“Yes, there’s no doubt about that,” Cecila Patil smiled, “However are your finances in order to take on another child?”

“Oh,” Mrs. Weasley seemed frustrated for a moment.

“Well you see,” Mr. Weasley tried to answer, “We’ve always been able to make things work with our family. Money or not. Money isn’t necessary for a happy family, you know?”

“Yes, of course. Which is why the ministry allowed Mr. Potter to stay with you. However, in Hermione Granger’s case, we’ll need substantial proof of financial stability in order to hand over custody.”

The Weasleys looked oh-so-grim.

Hermione swallowed and asked, “who else did you have in mind, Mrs. Patil?”

“Well, the Zabinis are an option. Of course, there is always the Malfoys. They have tons of money. Let’s see there are the Longbottoms, the Browns, the…”

As the list continued, Hermione winced. She didn’t want to stay with any of them. As if her life wasn’t horrible at the moment to begin with, now she was going to have to live with a family she didn’t really care for.

“Any preferences, dear?” Cecila asked Hermione.

Hermione shook her head. She didn’t want to stay with any of them. She wanted her own family back. Her own mother and father.

“I’ll contact the Zabinis to see if they will comply,” Cecila stated and started to get up.

Hermione’s eyes widened, as did the Weasley family’s.

“Hermione, are you going to be ok?” Harry whispered as he squeezed her hand.

“This is a nightmare,” Ron muttered.

Suddenly, without warning, the door exploded before them right before Cecila had reached it. She gave out a sharp squeak which in most cases, would have been quite hilarious. Through the smoke and debris of what was left of the Ministry’s door stepped in Fred and George Weasley with grins plastered upon their faces.

“Sorry we’re late,” George started.

“Ran into a bit of a miff with some guards at the entrance,” Fred continued.

“Apparently, our names precede us,” George commented.

“Sorry about the door,” Fred apologized as they took their seat, “Just showing a little love to the dear Ministry.”

George snickered as Cecila Patil’s eyes flared.

“Well, I’ll ask that you two leave instantly. Your family has been denied custody of Hermione Granger. So you have no business here,” Cecila said stiffly.

“That’s too bad,” Fred said.

“May we ask who the family is to receive her, then?” George asked while glancing at Hermione with apologetic eyes.

“The Zabinis.”

“No,” Fred and George said together.

“What? Is there a problem? The family is more than financially capable of taking care of another dependent. Also, they volunteered. That’s more than enough reason…”

“Wait, wait,” George said, his eyes bright with an idea.

“George, you really think so?” Fred asked, knowing already his brother’s plan.

“Might as well,” George answered.

“We’ll do it,” Fred announced.

“Do what?” Cecila asked.

“We’ll volunteer.”

Cecila snorted, “That’s all very nice and such but it’s impossible. I mean…you two…take care of someone else…” she started laughing.

George’s face reddened, “I think we’re quite capable. We’re financially stable enough, and we actually know Hermione. We won’t be stiff and cold towards her. She’ll be more than taken cared of with us.”

“Hmmm. Well it is true. You two do have the finances, and a big enough home.”

The twins grinned.

“But there’s just no way I can, in my good judgment, let the poor girl have you two as providers and caretakers. It’s just insane,” Cecila said finally.

The twins’ grins vanished, and they shared the grim look of everyone else in the room.

Cecila was making her way to the door again when a small voice of Hermione Granger spoke up, “Wait.”

All eyes turned her, and for a moment she was too embarrassed to speak.

“Well?” Cecila asked, starting to get impatient.

“What if I requested them? What if I wanted to live with Fred and George?”

Cecila rolled her eyes, “That’s nonsense. You couldn’t possibly want to live with these two immature beasts, I mean beings.”

Cecila received quite a few glares, but Hermione insisted, “But I do. Let me live with them. There’s no other reason they are incapable, correct?”

“Why, yes, but…”

“Then it’s settled?”

“Fine,” Cecila stated and sat down again, “Whatever. This is going on long enough. You want to live a crazy life, so be it. I wash my hands of it.”

Everyone started grinning again.

Cecila pulled out the papers for Hermione, Fred, and George to sign. Everyone was smiling. Everyone, but Hermione.

Although she had won a small battle, she still didn’t have her family back. She never would. And now she had Fred and George as her providers and caretakers. What was her life coming to?

They all rose from the table to leave. Cecila left quickly wanting to get away from the mad bunch.

“Well, things could be worse I suppose,” Mrs. Weasley muttered as her husband placed a hand on her shoulder.

“Now, now, dear. I’m sure Fred and George will do just find,” he encouraged.

Mrs. Weasley fought the urge to roll her eyes as she gave Fred, George, and Hermione hugs goodbye.

“Bye, dear,” she said to Hermione, “If you need anything, just owl.”

Then she turned to Fred and George with her eyes narrowed, “You two behave yourselves. You have more responsibility now, so you should act like it!”

Mr. Weasley smiled as a way of saying goodbye, and they walked through the partial blown-up door.

“Well, have fun I guess,” Ron grinned, “Don’t get corrupted or anything.”

“Oh, Ron. You know I would never…”

“You never know,” he winked and gave her one last hug before leaving.

“Ron’s right you know,” it was Harry’s turn, “2 weeks there and you’ll be creating more popular gadgets than Fred and George and put them out of business.”

Hermione laughed with Harry and hugged him, “Oh Harry. I’m going to miss you.”

“Don’t worry,” he smiled to her, “I’ll come visit. I promise.”

She smiled and watched him leave. Soon it was just her, Fred, and George.

“Well,” George said, or was it Fred? “Let’s go home!”

They started their way out of the Ministry.

“You’re going to love the place above the shop, Hermione,” Fred said enthusiastically.

“Oh yeah,” George agreed, “It’s brilliant, really. You’ll have your own room and everything. We won’t even test new products in there or anything.”

Hermione couldn’t help but smile and laugh a little, “well thanks for that. Thanks for everything.”

“No problem,” one of them smiled, “Couldn’t have the brightest witch that ever came out of Hogwarts stay with one of those stuck up snobby rich families. It would ruin you.”

“Yes,” the other one agreed, “We have to use your brilliance for more important things.”

“Like what?” Hermione asked, half knowing the answer.

“For jokes of course!” Fred and George said together.

Hermione sighed wondering where the rollercoaster she was riding called life would take her next.

A/N – hope everyone like the story so far! Please review and let me know! Thanks!


Chapter 3: Welcome Home
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A/N – I’m floored really from all the wonderful reviews I’ve gotten. Thank you so very much! I hope this chapter is to your liking as well! Please continue to read and review! Thank you so very much!

 

Chapter 3:

Welcome Home

 

Hermione stepped into the small shop that belonged to Fred and George. It seemed rather crowded at one corner where several teenagers were trying to view a new invention. Fred and George led the way up to the counter where their friend Lee Gordon was stationed.

 

“Hey there,” Lee greeted.

 

“How’s business?” Fred asked.

 

“Wonderful as always,” Lee replied, “the new trickster chair leg is quite popular already.”

 

“Splendid,” the twins replied together.

 

“Hello, Hermione,” Lee looked at her curiously.

 

“Lee, Hermione will be staying with us from now on,” one of them explained.

 

“You’re joking,” Lee obviously didn’t believe them.

 

“Why is it no one thinks we’re capable of being responsible?” George asked.

 

Fred laughed, “No matter. We’ll prove them all wrong, won’t we? Hermione will turn out right.”

 

Hermione smiled and was about to say something when there was an explosion that sounded from what seemed like the floor above them.

 

“Brilliant!” Fred announced, “The timed crackershots are working!”

 

“The what?” Hermione asked as she followed Fred and George up some stairs at the back of the shop.

 

The place above Fred and George’s shop was fantastic. The stairs had led into a nice cozy living room. The boys were heading towards another set of stairs.

 

“Just how many floors are there?” Hermione asked as she followed them.

 

“Just a few,” George answered, who was trailing behind Fred, “For guests and such.”

 

The Weasley twins were living in style apparently. Hermione glanced at the room the second stairway had led them to. It looked as if it was a second living room, however not used as often.

 

The twins were going into a room where the explosions seemed to be coming from. Hermione stayed in the living area, not really sure she wanted to know what contraption they had created now.

 

She took a seat on an old, but surprisingly comfortable, loveseat. It reminded her of the one at her parent’s house. Her heart hurt. She wanted to cry again. She kicked off her shoes and curled up on the loveseat. The fireplace infront of her suddenly lit up with a flame. She felt herself doze off as she fought to keep her tears from coming again.

 

A while later, Hermione woke up with a start. A handmade quilt was covering her and the fire was still going. Other than the flames of the fire, everything was dark. Hermione wrapped the blanket around her as she sat up with legs tucked up to her chest.

 

Someone entered the room. Hermione turned her head to see who she expected as Fred. He seemed a bit more absentminded than his brother most of the time. Hermione was starting to pick up these little tidbits about them to tell them apart.

 

“Alright, Hermione?” he asked.

 

“I’ve been better,” Hermione tried to smile.

 

“Oh, well,” Fred didn’t seem to know what to say.

 

“I’ll just go tell George you’re awake then,” he said as he turned around and went back down the stairs.

 

It wasn’t long for George to come up. He was alone though.

 

“Good to see you back in the world of the dreamless,” George grinned as he took a seat next to Hermione.

 

She didn’t answer, but just nodded. They both looked at the fire for a moment in silence.

 

“Can I get you anything?” he asked.

 

Hermione wanted to shout out “my parents! A family! A home!” but resisted the urge. The twins had so far been so kind to her. She should be thankful.

 

“I’m fine, thanks,” she replied which sent them into another moment of silence.

 

“Your room is ready for you, whenever you feel up to it,” George commented.

 

“Thank you,” she whispered, “you’ve been so generous.”

 

“Don’t worry about,” George smiled, “You deserve to be happy. I just hope we’re able to give you that.”

 

“George,” Hermione felt brave enough to ask, “what duties exactly do you have as my provider and caretaker? I’m of age, after all.”

 

“True. But you’re not married. You don’t have your own place. And you don’t have a job. Until you have all of these, I’m afraid the Ministry sees you as a dependent, needing someone to take care of you. So basically, Fred and I get to oversee your life,” George laughed.

 

“Oh great, I feel loads better about my future now,” Hermione laughed along.

 

“You should,” George continued to smile, “or I’ll ground you.”

 

This set them off into a fit of giggles.

 

Catching her breath, Hermione murmured, “You’re great, George. Thank you.”

 

“Anytime,” George answered. And for a brief moment there was silence again, but this time the air seemed tense with unsaid words and emotions as they looked at each other.

 

“Let me show you to your room,” George said at last. He grabbed her hand and helped her off the loveseat. She let her hand stay in his as he lead her up the stairs and past the 3rd living room she had seen now.

 

“I hope it’ll do,” he said as she entered.

 

It was perfect and she was speechless. A whole wall was covered with bookshelves and books. A desk was laden with paper, quills, and ink. And a bay window showed a wonderful view of the bustling street below.

 

Suddenly, there was a crash from downstairs.

 

“That’ll be dinner! Fred decided to cook tonight,” George converted to a whisper, “Try not to be too hard on him, eh?”

 

Hermione could not help but smile as George began to leave, “I’ll be right there. I’m just going to change into something more comfortable.”

 

“Yes! The benefits are now to commence!” George winked and left quickly.

 

Hermione laughed and turned to a dresser full of clothes. She pulled out a pair of grey cloth shorts and a maroon t-shirt. She was a bit afraid to find some weird contraption in one of the drawers. One of the twins must have left it there on accident. It was blue and round with a small purple button. She was examining as she entered the dining room.

 

“Nice of you to finally join us,” Fred said jokingly.

 

“Hermione, what are you looking at?” George asked.

 

“I found this in one of my drawers. I thought you said my room would be clear of your new inventions?”

 

“Oh well,” Fred blushed, “that would be mine.” He grabbed the contraption and didn’t bother explaining as he left the room to fetch dinner.

 

Dinner went by calmly, other than the few explosions, a howler or two from some angry parents, and Lee Jordan bursting in with news that the twins had made page 9 of the Daily Prophet for some new invention or another.

 

Hermione was quiet most of the time. Right after dinner, she excused herself and went straight up to bed. George couldn’t help but notice the tears in her eyes as she fled the room.

 

“You think she’ll be ok?” Fred asked while helping himself to a 3rd helping of spaghetti.

 

“I’m sure she will,” George said thoughtfully, “Tomorrow’s another day after all.”

 

“True. We’ll introduce her to working in the shop. She’ll love that.”

 

George laughed, “I’m sure she will.”

 

There was a moment’s silence.

 

“What’s on your mind then?” Fred asked.

 

“She’s still unhappy.”

 

“It’s only been one day.”

 

“What if she doesn’t get better?”

 

“I have an idea,” Fred grinned.

 

George’s eyebrows perked up, “eh?”

 

“Well tomorrow during Hermione’s lunch break, I say we surprise her.”

 

“With what?”

 

“Potter!”

 

“That just might be a good idea!” George exclaimed.

 

“Of course it is,” Fred gloated.

 

And they were able to continue their dinner in good spirits.

 

Meanwhile, Hermione, up in her room, was crying once again. She had tried writing in her journal, but only got a few words out before grief caught up to her once again. She wanted to let it all out, but felt no one was there to catch her as she fell. She cuddled up in her bed, trying her best to fall into a soundless sleep.

 

Another person was trying to sleep soundlessly without much success. Harry Potter was worried. Whether it was guilt or just friendly concern, nothing could make him forget that Hermione’s happiness was in jeopardy. He wanted to help, he really did. But how?

 

Little did he know that the Weasley Twins, as usual, were one step ahead of the game. They were ready to take the issue of Hermione’s happiness to a new level.

 

A/N – expect things to start getting interesting! Tried laying down so soft romance foundation for later chapters. Hope it works! Please review and thank you ever so much!  

Chapter 4: Hermione's Surprise
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A/N – thank you so much for reading so far! And to those who have reviewed already, thank you double! Please enjoy this chapter and continue to read and review!

Chapter 4:

Hermione’s Surprise

Hermione groggily woke up to the sounds of explosions coming from downstairs. She grumbled a half-hearted “what is my life coming to?” as she started to get ready for the new day. 

“Morning Hermione!” Fred greeted as she entered the noisy kitchen. There were a few items on the table which the twins seemed to be working on.

“New tricks?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” George grinned, “Hope to have them finished by the weekend!”

Hermione smiled and went to the stove to fix something to eat, “I’m sure you’ll manage.”

The twins smiled back and continued working.

“Did you two already eat breakfast then?” Hermione asked them.

“Well not exactly,” admitted Fred.

“We usually skip it,” agreed George.

“Let me fix you something. Scrambled eggs sound ok?”

“Yeah!” their faces lit up. 

While she was working away, Hermione could have sworn she heard Fred whisper to George, “aren’t we the ones who are supposed to be taking care of her?”

After everyone was well fed and the new experiments were put away still unfinished, everyone headed downstairs to the shop. A plate of scrambled eggs and toast with them for Lee Jordan who was behind the desk, busy as ever. 

“Been busy?” Fred asked.

“All morning,” Lee informed him with a smile.

“Good!” Fred exclaimed. 

Meanwhile, George was showing Hermione around the shop. 

“This area over here is for smaller kids. You know…harmless stuff. That way they won’t get into too much trouble but will still enjoy causing mischief when they get older,” George exclaimed.

Hermione couldn’t help but giggle, “sounds brilliant.”

“yes, it does happen every now and then,” George winked. 

“Oi! George!” Fred called them over, “Don’t forget we have that meeting at 11.”

“Oh right,” George replied, obviously he had forgotten. It seemed that Fred cared a little bit more about the business then George did. Again, Hermione was finding little things to be able to tell them apart.

“Do you mind, Hermione, taking care of the shop while we’re gone? It won’t get terribly busy until this afternoon when we’ll be back,” George asked with such sincerity that Hermione couldn’t say no. 

“Thanks!” the twins said together. 

Fred pulled George away and Hermione could hear them whispering.

“Did you make contact?”

“Yes, everything’s a go! No worries.”

“Splendid, she’ll love it!”

 “Of course!”

Before Hermione could get closer to listen to more of what they were saying, Lee Jordan stood before her. He wanted to run over a few things with her before leaving. It wasn’t too terribly difficult to learn, but necessary nonetheless. 

The boys left a quarter to 11 promising they’d be back around 12 so she could have a proper lunch break. 

Hermione smiled and nodded. What did she care? Nothing really mattered to her. She sighed and took her place behind the counter.

Before leaving George called out, “cheer up! We have a surprise for you!”

Hermione looked strangely at the closing door. Whatever surprise they had for her, she was sure it would be interesting. After all, it was Fred and George.

George lied when he said it would not be busy. As soon as they had left, a storm of people entered. Hermione was running around like crazy showing people to certain products and checking people out at the counter. She barely had time to breath. 

While checking out a blonde headed little girl with her mother, a familiar voice broke her out of her working trance.

“A way to use your Hogwarts education, Granger,” said a deep voice.

Hermione looked up to see Blaise Zabini staring at her. 

“much better than some,” Hermione commented back. It was a well known fact that Blaise didn’t work or do anything really after Hogwarts. He was so rich that he didn’t have to. 

“I have my own businesses to take care of,” he sniffed and started to look around, “What are you doing here anyways?”

“I’m working,” Hermione responded sarcastically. 

Blaise rolled his eyes, “obviously. But why here?”

Hermione shrugged, “I live with Fred and George now. It’s the least I could do.”

“No way,” Blaise’s eyes went wide, “You, Hermione Granger, the smartest witch to come out of Hogwarts is living with the owners of the wizarding world’s greatest joke shop?” He started laughing.

Hermione didn’t even look at him and continued to cash people out with their purchases. 

“Well, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for you then,” Blaise said as he begin to leave.

“Why would you do that,” Hermione looked up curiously.

“Let’s just say that I’m interested,” Blaise winked and walked out the door.

It was the second time that morning that Hermione stared strangely at the closing door of the shop. 

The door she had been staring so intently at barged open and Hermione jumped slightly. She let out a squeal and ran from behind the counter. Harry opened his arms and let Hermione jump into them.

“Good to see you too,” he laughed.

“Oh Harry! You did come to see him like you promised!”

“Of course I did,” he smiled, “How you holding up?”

“Alright so far,” Hermione answered truthfully, “It was a bit busier earlier, but everyone seems to have left now.”

“No I meant you, Hermione. How are you holding up?”

“Oh well…” Hermione paused, “Why don’t we go to the back and we can talk?”

“Sure.”

Hermione put a “back in 10 minutes” sign on the front of the door and then led Harry to the back of the shop where the twins stored extra merchandise. 

 “So spill,” Harry said as they sat on a couple of crates full of what looked like explosives.

“Last night wasn’t too terribly bad I guess,” Hermione confessed, “I just miss them, you know”

Harry nodded understandingly, “Things will get better.”

“Oh I know,” Hermione said suddenly. There was a pause and neither of them seemed to know what to say next.

“Blaise came by,” Hermione commented.

“What did he want?” Harry asked a bit gruffly.

“Not sure really. He just seemed interested in what I was doing,” she replied. 

“Oh well…”

There was another pause in the conversation. Both of them were looking at the floor now. 

“Harry,” Hermione hesitated.

“Yeah?”

“Thank you for caring so much.”

“You’re welcome. I mean…I want to…I err…It’s not a problem, you see. I mean I’ve always liked…it’s something that’s sorta natural…” Harry started mumbling.

Hermione grinned and answered, “I like you too, Harry.”

Harry returned her grin, “I just want to make sure you get through this alright.”

“I will. Especially with your help,” Hermione grinned and moved closer to Harry.

“You think so?” Harry said still grinning and raising an eyebrow as they moved even closer.

“Most definitely,” said Hermione faintly. They were so close. Almost touching. Both with dazed smiles on their faces.

There was more silence that followed. But then, actions speak louder than words. 

Fred, George, and Lee were a bit late. The meeting hadn’t gone as well as planned. Something about a new festival and needing a bit more money to get a good booth and advertisement out. They weren’t in the best of moods when they entered the shop to find it empty and no Hermione behind the counter. 

“Must have started her break early,” Fred commented.

They went to the backroom to find Hermione on Harry’s lap and kissing him very deeply. 

Lee dropped all the papers he was holding from the meeting. George let out a little gasp/grunt that came from a feeling in a pit of his stomach that he could not explain. Fred was grinning. 

Hearing the commotion, Hermione turned around with a huge blush.

“Oh. Hello boys!”

 

A/N – hehehe I love that situation. Anyways, please review and thanks so much for reading so far! By the way, I have my author’s page up if anyone wants to ask questions or comment!

Chapter 5: Life Goes On
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A/N – I’ve never had a fanfiction that was so popular, so I want to thank of all you that reviewed from the bottom of my heart! Really, you don’t know how much it means! I just hope to continue to entertain you with this story! Please keep reading and remember to enjoy!



Chapter 5:



Life Goes On



Hermione’s and Harry’s embarrassment was short-lived by Fred’s laughter.



“That’a girl,” he chuckled. Soon everyone was laughing as well. I mean after all, Hermione was still a teenager. And she was coping with a loss. What were they going to do? Tell her off?



“Lunch break is over, Hermione,” George said although still with a slight smile, “think you can save the extracurriculars til this evening?"


Hermione blushed and hopped off of Harry’s lap, “I think I’ll manage.”



Hermione ran passed Fred, George, and Lee. She brushed George’s shoulder and she thought she could feel George wince. Was this his sign that she was in trouble? Would she be grounded? She almost felt like laughing with the image of Fred and George grounding her.



“Er, Harry,” Fred started. His laughter and smile were gone as he approached. George grabbed his arm quickly.


“Wait, let’s talk about this first, Fred,” George suggested.



“Talk about what?” Fred asked, but then realization dawned on him, “Oh, right.”



“Lee, why don’t you take Harry up to the front and show him the new products. He hasn’t been here in a while, and I think he’ll be interested in a few of the more…adult ones for the Auror department,” George informed Lee while giving Harry a smile that said that they would have a discussion later.



“Er, right,” said Lee as he led Harry out of the back room.



Harry paused and looked like he was about to say something to Fred and George. But what could he possibly say? Sorry for snogging Hermione who was currently in your charge even though she’s of age and quite capable of taking care of herself? Well not really, but she would be if she wasn’t coping with the loss of her family. And her raging hormones.



Harry continued walking.



“What do we do?” Fred asked, “ground her? I never liked the notion of grounding, George. Too messy. Too complicated.”



“You’re right, Fred. Grounding does seem a bit…out there for Hermione. Perhaps a strong talking to? And a week of working in the shop! Give Lee a bit of a vacation,” George’s face lit up with the idea. He could keep Hermione under a close watch. After all, they had invited Harry over for a week. And they would need to keep a close eye on him as well.



“Right!” agreed Fred, “Er, what do you mean by a strong talking to?”



“Well, we have to explain to her throwing herself at the first available bloke isn’t a suitable way to cope with a loss,” George explained.



“You want to say that…to Hermione?” Fred asked.



“Well, I thought you could,” George looked sheepish.



“Why me?”



“She already thinks I’m the more serious one! You need to pick up the slack or she’ll think she can get away with anything with you,” George explained.



“Do I seriously have to take this one though? Won’t there be plenty more times?”



“You never know. I mean, after this talking to Hermione might be right as rain and never mess up again.”



“But then wouldn’t that mean that she wouldn’t try to get away with things by me.”



“Don’t change the subject, Fred.”



“Right. Well,” Fred took in a deep sigh, “Tonight after dinner, then.”



“Right-i-o! That’s the spirit,” George grinned.



“Can we get back to the shop now before Potter and Hermione find an available corner to continue their escapades?” Fred said resignedly.



“Yes, of course. Of course,” George agreed, quite glad he had gotten out of the talking with Hermione. He wasn’t sure if he could hold his own emotions in talking to her. Yes, it would be best if Fred talked to her instead.



“Does this mean you’ll deal with Harry?” whispered Fred as they re-entered the store.



“Um, yes I suppose,” George answered. He had completely forgotten the fact that Harry needed talking to as well, “I’ll do it now I suppose.”



And the twins went their separate ways. Fred headed over to Lee and Hermione to check up on sales, stock, and other various store business. George resignedly headed over to a corner of products where Harry was checking over a very unique item.



“Like it Harry?” George asked.



“Oh,” Harry looked up slightly startled, “Yeah, it’s great. You two are brilliant, really. And I’m not just saying that because I was just caught making out with the girl you two are suppose to be taking care of.”



George couldn’t help but chuckle at the silly grin on Harry’s face. Harry had appealed to his better half. His humor.



“Right, Harry. I was meaning to talk to you about that,” George tried to straighten his face.



“I can’t really apologize, George. I mean, Hermione needs someone right now. How could I turn her down?”



“I agree, Harry. But she needs someone to support her. Not to be a crutch. Not someone who she can be like ‘Oh, I feel like crying. Let me make out with Harry so I don’t think about it.’ I mean, she’ll have more kids than my mother if she started making out every time she didn’t want to deal with crying and being upset.”



Harry nodded trying to understand, “So you don’t think I should make out with her?”



George paused. He wanted to scream out no. He wanted to tell Harry to leave the shop, never return, and to leave Hermione alone. But that would appear absurd. Worse, that would appear jealous. And George Weasley was not jealous. He was just concerned. Yes, Harry had to realize that. He had to realize that’s why he was taking these measures to make sure Hermione remained safe.



“Well not exactly,” George attempted a grin, “I mean, heck, you’re a boy. She’s a girl. A very hot girl. It’s only natural she makes out with someone. And if you want to be her makeout plaything…”



“Is that what you think this is? Some random hookup snogging?” Harry interjected looking a bit peeved.



“Call it what you will, Harry, but Hermione doesn’t seem like she has the tolerance to be thinking about a relationship with everything that’s going on with her.”



“Maybe a relationship will help her heal.”


“It’ll be a crutch,” George said firmly.



“If you say so,” Harry seemed resigned to letting George win, but he looked away with a stony look on his face.



For George, this seemed to work and he smiled, “Not saying that after she’s done coping she’s not up for a relationship. And by golly, if she’s gonna choose some random bloke to make out with in the meantime, I’d rather it be you, Harry, than anyone else. I mean, at least you’ll take care of her. You won’t let her use you as a crutch, right?”



“Right,” said Harry, but he still wasn’t looking. 



“I mean, you two might even end up together in the end. Who am I kidding?” George said lightly trying to bring Harry back.



“I think we should just concentrate on helping her cope and get back to normal,” Harry said turning his face back to meet George. He looked sincere and George felt half-bad for the hints of leaving Hermione alone that he had given.



“All too true, Harry. Which is why Fred and I asked you to stay this week. We figured Hermione needs as many friends with her as possible.”



“Of course,” Harry replied finally smiling again, “Thanks for having me. Truly George. I can help out if you want, in the shop and all. I wouldn’t mind.”



“Thanks Harry! That’d be great. We were thinking of letting Lee have a small vacation. You and Hermione can manage the shop while Fred and I are well…you know…inventing and such,” George laughed.



The tension seemed to lift and George was glad. He didn’t want to scare Harry off, but at least he knew that if he was going to make out with Hermione it couldn’t be serious. Not yet. Not until she was ready to be serious. Not until she was ready to let the death of her parents go and move on.



“Let me show the ropes,” George said as he led Harry around the store.



Dinner fast approached as they closed the shop. George took Lee aside and told him of his new found vacation. He was quite thrilled and mentioned something of visiting Egypt to visit his great uncle.



Hermione made dinner while George tried to help. Harry and Fred went to one of the many rooms to look a new product that they were working on. They had wanted to showcase it at the festival this year. If they ever managed to get enough money.



During dinner, everyone was quite lighthearted. Harry seemed to cheer Hermione up more than anything.



“Hermione, I should take you to this new theatre just the other side of town. Live performances you know. You’d love it I’m sure,” Harry told her as they begin clearing the table after dinner.



“Oh Harry! That’d be great! Let me just ask Fred and George.”



She wasn’t sure which one to ask. She got the feeling that George was a bit more serious than Fred, but she didn’t know if either of them would be stricter. If strict could ever describe a Weasley twin.



She approached George, “Do you think Harry and I could go out tonight? Just a trip over to the next town to see a show. We’ll be back before 1am and I could owl once we got there and…”



George stopped her, “Of course, Hermione. You’re not under lock and key, you know.”



They laughed.



Fred approached, “What’s going on?”



“Harry and Hermione are going out tonight,” George looked pointedly at Fred.



“Oh, right. Hermione, before you go, I needed to talk to you.”



“What about?”



“Why don’t we go to the other room,” Fred suggested as they left the rest of the cleaning to George and Harry.



“What did you need to talk to me about?” Hermione asked curiously.



“Well, it’s about Harry,” Fred started.



Hermione wanted to laugh, but the serious look on Fred’s face stopped her, “Oh?”



“It’s just not…not healthy you know to start kissing the first available bloke, Hermione,” Fred tried to sound convincing.



“Harry isn’t the first available bloke though,” Hermione said bewildered. Where was this coming from?



“Right. But Hermione, you can’t say that you and Harry have a relationship to back up your actions or anything.”



“I suppose not. I just thought that didn’t matter. I mean, what if we wanted to form a relationship to back up our actions?”



“Well that’s alright and everything. But just try to take it a bit slower will you? I mean, you’re just trying to settle in and you have a lot on your mind and maybe you don’t…”



“Maybe I don’t need a boyfriend to take my mind off losing my parents?” Hermione finished for him.



“Hermione,” Fred looked truly concerned, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…”



“No, Fred. It’s alright. You have every right to be concerned. But honestly, I’m fine. I mean I wasn’t. And I shouldn’t have made out with Harry like I did. But I’m fine now. Really. I feel loads better already. And Harry…well he’s been more than there for me.”



“I’m glad. We thought if we brought him around, it would cheer you up. Help you cope.”



“And it is. Thank you. That was really clever on your part.”



Fred blushed, “thanks.”



“Anything else?”



“No, I think that was it. Just try to take it a bit slower with Potter.”



“No problem,” Hermione grinned. She could do the whole sneaking around with boy thing. Heck, it would probably be more fun that way anyways.



They both got up to leave. Fred to head back to George and Hermione to go get ready.



Before they left the room, Fred asked, “Do you think you could work at the shop this week? Lee’s taking a bit of a vacation.”



“Sure,” Hermione agreed. How could she say no? They were letting her live with them. It’s the least she could do.



“Have fun tonight,” Fred grinned fully knowing that she would.



Harry had asked to use one of the bathrooms to get ready, so Fred and George had a moment to discuss the “Talking To’s” they had.



“I really don’t think we’ve accomplished anything, mate,” Fred confided to George, “I mean, they’re still going to make out like crazy. If anything we just prevented them from actually getting together with proper titles and all for a while.”



“True enough, I suppose,” George agreed, “as long as Hermione gets better.”



“Still talking about me?” Hermione asked as she entered the room. She looked rather nice with dark jeans and a black blouse that showed her shoulders and deep neckline.



“Always,” Fred laughed.



Harry entered as well and there was a moment that was a bit awkward.



Finally George said, “well have fun. Just don’t stay out too late. Work early tomorrow you know.”



“Of course,” Harry grinned as he led Hermione out the door.



That night was the first of many that Harry and Hermione left the Weasley Twin’s flat to go on one of their many adventures. Neither of them considered them dates. Both felt that Hermione needed time to heal before she could start dating. Every now and then she would break down about her parents and her and Harry would end up making out passionately, but other than that, they controlled their hormones.



It was by the end of the week; Fred and George were eating dinner alone. Harry and Hermione had gone out again.



Fred commented, “Yes bringing Potter over did seem to do the trick.”



George nodded, barely agreeing. Even though Hermione seemed to be getting better, he couldn’t help the “concerned” feeling he had inside him for her. It was growing. It was about to get out of control.



A/N – tried to make that one a bit longer because I think that the next one might be a bit shorter! Thanks so much for reading. Please review!


Chapter 6: The Brilliant Idea
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A/N – so sorry yall have to wait so long! I hope you take this lovely chapter as a peace offering! Even if it’s a tad bit short… Please enjoy!

 

Chapter 6

The Brilliant Idea

 

“George I got it!”

 

“Got what Fred,” said George in a boring tone as he lounged in one of the various living rooms after a long day at work. He was in a sour mood. The deadline to pay for the spot at the New Invention Festival was fast approaching, and they had not acquired the full amount yet.

 

“An idea.”

 

“What is it, Fred, my boy?” George said starting to become interested.

 

“Marriage. Full legal old-fashioned wizarding marriage,” Fred grinned brightly.

 

“Right,” George said looking a bit confused.

 

“Don’t you understand dear brother?”

 

“I’m afraid I don’t.”

 

“Hermione is in the perfect ideal position for the old-fashioned marriage laws,” Fred tried to explain more.

 

“Fred, this is an odd joke.”

 

“I’m not joking! The old fashioned laws. You know how those old people were nutters. They made the groom pay a sort of dowry to show how much he truly loved the woman he was trying to marry. I think it’s brilliant.”

 

George was silent for a very long time. Fred had a very interesting idea. And it could work. The dowry for Hermione Jane Granger would be enough to finance many spots in the new Festival.

 

“Wait, Fred. You can’t possibly mean selling Hermione in marriage?”

 

“Well, not exactly,” Fred blushed slightly, “What we do is let her have her choice sort of. You know, just suggest she get married. Then we’ll provide the blokes. We’ll have the final say of course, since we’re the provider and caretakers.”

 

George could feel it again. Deep down in his gut. That burning feeling. Concern? Jealousy? Rage? Would he tear apart the suitor Hermione chose?

“Besides, you saw happy Hermione was to have Harry over. Maybe getting married is what she needs. She needs a stable relationship. Something she can hold on to. Something that can support her.”

 

George could only nod in agreement. True, having Hermione get married just might make her happier in the long run. But he wasn’t sure if he was willing to part with her just yet.

 

“George, you alright, mate?”

 

“Yeah. Just thinking Fred,” George answered.

 

“I mean, she’ll only have a month to choose properly.”

 

“You think she’ll be able to choose by then?”

 

“Sure, especially if we tell her we’ll choose for her if she doesn’t.”

 

“Cause that’s not old fashioned,” George couldn’t help but grin a little. This could be a little fun.

 

“She’ll love it. It’ll be a challenge for her!” Fred insisted.

 

“And the blokes?”

 

“We’ll preselect. Only those from the best families.”

 

“All the best families?”

 

“We have to let her choose the better from the best,” Fred amended, realizing that some “best” families weren’t really the best. For example, Malfoy.

 

“How do you suppose we suggest it to her?” George asked skeptically.

 

Fred grinned sheepishly, “Well, I thought you could handle that. You’re much better at talking to her than I am.”

 

“Right, right,” George sighed. And then he grinned. Of course! They could get rid of Potter now! It was brilliant.

 

“Fred, you’re brilliant!”

 

“Yes, it took you lone enough to catch on.”

 

“We’ll have to send Potter away, immediately. He’ll have to go through proper procedures to court her.”

 

“Um, yes I suppose,” Fred agreed.

 

“I’ll go talk to him,” George left, his day finally brightened.

 

Fred stared after his brother, a confused look on his face. The door he had been staring at, suddenly swung back open.

 

“Why is George telling Harry to pack up his things?!” Hermione shrieked.

 

Fred looked flabbergasted for a moment. This was about to get ugly.

 

“Well, um…Hermione. You see…George and I have come to the realization…”

 

“We’re going to have a ball!” George suddenly announced coming back through the door with Harry still following him intending to question him thoroughly.

 

“What?” Fred and Hermione both said at once.

 

It was unplanned for. It was random. It was crazy. It was the brilliant idea that just might save Hermione from falling into a life of depression.

 

A/N – I’m *so* very sorry that this is such a short chapter! Seriously! But my school’s internet is currently down and I’m having to upload from the library. And I’ve lost my glasses! xD On the plus side, I have the next few chapters written already, so hopefully the day this one goes up I can go ahead and put the next one in queue. Thank you so much for everyone who has reviewed! It means so very much to me!

Chapter 7: Plannings
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A/N – This is the point in time where you run after me with pitchforks and torches. I’ve started school, so my time is all chopped up. But I promise, I will make the most effort I can to keep updating! I’ve finally figured out how to get internet at one of my jobs, so I’ll be able to update there. Please enjoy this next chapter. I’m debating on whether or not I should do short chapters with quicker updates or longer chapters with more time between updates…we’ll see. 

Chapter 7

Planning

George loved the looks on their faces. Well really, he just loved Hermione’s face. But that was off the subject. He grinned for a moment longer before starting to explain, “Just a small little gathering. A few friends and such.”

“I never figured you two for the sort of people to throw balls,” Hermione continued to look at him strangely. 

“Well, we have to keep you on your toes now,” George replied. 

Catching on to the idea, Fred added, “Actually on your feet. We’ll make sure there are enough blokes there to keep you busy all night.”

“Come on guys, you can’t be serious. I’m not dancing,” Hermione said flatly. 

“Nonsense!” Fred exclaimed as him and George put their arms around her shoulders. 

“You have to dance, Hermione. You have to be an appropriate hostess,” George explained. 

“All Cinderella-style. Except you’re switching spots with Prince Charming.”

“You both are joking.”

“Not really,” George suddenly became serious, “Hermione, this is the proper way to get into a relationship.”

She looked at him like he was crazy, “A ball? You want me to hook up with someone at a ball?”

“Not exactly hook-up,” Fred tried to sooth the situation. 

“What exactly do you mean then?” Hermione asked with slight fury in her eyes.

“Just that you get a feel of what’s out there for you. Kind of like options, you know?” George explained. 

“Options for what?” Hermione’s look was dark. And the twins knew they were treading on dark waters. Dark scary waters. 

“Look, Hermione. It’s just a ball. Something to reward all of our hard work. A social event. And I really hate to do this, but since you’re being so difficult,” Hermione threw him a glare, “I must insist as your provider and caretaker that you attend the event and be a gracious hostess,” Fred finalized. 

George grinned at his brother. He was a genius. 

“Fine,” Hermione huffed and started to leave the room. Before leaving completely though she told them severely, “I’m not wearing a fancy dress though!”

They laughed as she exited, knowing they’d be able to get her into a dress one way or the other. 

“You want to handle that one?” George asked. 

“If I must,” Fred sighed and they started chuckling again. 

“I suppose that could have been worse,” Fred observed. 

“Definitely,” George agreed, “I’m just glad she didn’t bring up what exactly we expected her to do at the ball.”

Fred’s eyes lit up, “what did you have in mind?”

“Well I was thinking,” George started.

“You know I love it when you do that.”

“Well yes,” George chuckled, “And the thing is, we really need to expose her to the entire wizarding world. We need to make sure all the fish are there in her sea of options, you know?”

“I get you,” Fred answered, “so you’re inviting everyone.”

“Not everyone,” George amended, “We’ll need to preselect first, of course.”

“A guest list! We could make her deliver the invitations!” 

“Brilliant!” 

“Then whichever one she chooses,” Fred started.

“Wait, wait!” George stopped him, “What if the one she chooses isn’t the best for her?”

“I thought that’s why we were pre-selecting…” Fred answered a little confused.

“But shouldn’t he be the best of the best?” George asked earnestly. 

Fred saw the look in his brother’s eyes. The doubt…and the feeling he was trying to hide. Fred nodded, “Best of the best. You’re right, George. We won’t let her pick one the night of the ball. They’ll have to prove themselves.”

“Perfect,” George agreed, “We’ll have contests. They’ll have to fight to be chosen by her.”

Fred laughed, “Sounds great. After all, Hermione is too precious. She must be won.”

“Any bloke who can survive us, our contests, and convince Hermione of their feelings truly deserves her,” George continued.

“Any bloke who tries that hard must really love her,” Fred murmured. 

George kept going on with the plans of the ball. 

George and Fred sat down that night for dinner. Instead of gobbling down Hermione’s delicious dinner, they sat with a pen and paper writing down every eligible young man they could think of. 

“You two can’t be serious,” Hermione rolled her eyes. 

“Victor Krum?” Fred suggested. 

“If we must,” George grumbled. 

“Victor is coming?” Hermione’s eyes lit up. 

“Of course, Hermione,” George said trying to be patient, “So is Harry, Ron, Neville, Dean, Seamus, Oliver Wood, Blaise Zabini, Ernie Macmillan, Roger Davis, Draco Malfoy, Justin Finch-Fletchy, Zachar…”

The list was cut off though when Hermione tackled George and grabbed the paper out of his hands.

“Draco Malofy!?!?”

“Now Hermione, calm down,” Fred said gently as he tried to retrieve the paper from her death grip. 

“He’ll most likely only be here for one night,” George soothed.

“Most likely?” Hermione seethed. 

“He’s not all that bad,” Fred tried this time.

“Unbearable ferret…” Hermione muttered.

“He’ll be on his best behavior Hermione,” George assured her, “It is afterall a huge social event. Everyone must act a certain way. And he will. And you must also.” 

“Do I really have to?” Hermione winced. 

Fred smiled, knowing they had won her over, “Of course. Now we’ll need to take you to Hogsmeade right away.”

“What for?” George and Hermione both asked. 

“To get you a dress,” Fred answered.

“I told you I’m not wearing a fancy…” Hermione was cut off by George.

“Now Hermione, you have to. You won’t be a civilized if you go in jeans and a tshirt. You’ll be completely underdressed. And then what will people say? Our business will crash, just because you don’t want to…”

“Alright, alright. I’ll wear the dress,” Hermione grumbled. 

“Well, actually guys…” Fred grinned, “I was talking about just a simple dress to go hand out invitations in.”

George’s grin matched his twin's as Hermione’s jaw dropped and her eyes widened in disbelief. 

“You mean I have to see everyone before the ball even starts?”

It was amusing. It was working. The plan that would keep Hermione sane, and the twins' business in…well business. Everything was working out. 

A/N – Sorry it’s so short once again. However, now that I’ve filled this gap in my outline planning, I’ll be able to update more frequently and such. Thanks to everyone who has reviewed! Truly, I’m floored! Please keep reading and reviewing.

Chapter 8: The Invitations
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A/N – Sorry it took so long for the last chapter. I made some spacing errors, so I had to resubmit to be validated. Although, after I resubmitted it only took 2 days so yay! Thank you so much to everyone who reviewed ‘Plannings’ I know there wasn’t anything too interesting in that chapter, but don’t worry. Things will definitely start to get more interesting! So please enjoy.


Chapter 8: The Invitations


George smiled at Hermione as she examined herself in Madame Milke’s mirror wearing a simple yet eloquent blue sundress. She really was beautiful.


“It’s lovely enough,” Hermione sighed, “But do I really have to wear it just to hand out invitations.”


“Of course,” George’s smile turned into a grin, “We have to do this right.”


“But why?” Hermione almost whined.


“Because it’s your first big social event, everything must be perfect!”


“Since when did I become a debutant?” Hermione grumbled.


“A what?” George looked at her confused.


“Never mind,” Hermione smiled as she went to change back into normal clothes.


Before she reached the changing room, however, Fred came running towards them, much to the dismay of the shopkeeper.


“It’s all arranged, everyone is prepared to receive their invitations….today.”


“What?” Hermione looked furious.


“Excellent,” George’s grin couldn’t get any bigger.


Fred and George paid for Hermione’s dress and then led her out the door into bright and cheery Diagon Alley.


“Where to first?” George asked as they went into the Leaky Cauldron to floo.


“Godric’s Hollow,” Fred answered, almost with an apologetic look on his face towards his brother.


“Harry’s first?” Hermione’s eyes lit up.


“here we go,” George fought the urge to roll his eyes.


“What do I say?” Hermione seemed a bit more eager yet still nervous as they approached Harry’s home.


Fred tried to instruct her, “Well really, you just hand him this and then tell him you’d be delighted if he could join us and then he’s suppose to offer you tea or dinner or something snazzy like that. And if he has any questions, you’ll answer them.”


Hermione accepted the light blue envelope that held an invitation to what seemed to be her doomsday and winced, “Questions?”


“Don’t worry, George or I will always be with you as an escort. So we’ll know most of the answers.”


Hermione sighed with a bit of relief and then tensed up again as Fred rang the doorbell. George had left them back at Diagon Alley claiming he forgot to do some paperwork at the shop.


It only took 3 knocks before someone opened the door. It was Ginny. Hermione’s face fell.


“Hello Ginny, dear sister,” Fred looked amused, “Is Harry here by chance?”


“I’ll go get him,” Ginny said a bit confused, “come on in and have a seat.”


Fred and Hermione went to what looked like a simple parlor room. Fred sat in the only armchair while Hermione sat on a red velvet loveseat.


“Is Ginny and Harry…”


But Hermione couldn’t finish her question before Harry entered the room, without Ginny.


“Sorry, I didn’t expect to see you so soon,” Harry apologized.


“No need to worry,” Fred answered although the grin was still in his eyes.


“You look lovely.”


“We’d be delighted if you could attend.”


Harry and Hermione said their bit together and very rushed. Each trying not to look at each other in the eye. Being the only seat available in the room, Harry had sat on the loveseat next to Hermione. It felt too close for both of them.


Harry accepted the light blue invitation with a nod and replied, “You’ll stay for some morning tea?”


Hermione grimaced, “of course.”


“I’ll let Ginny know you’ll be joining us,” Harry said as he quickly got off the loveseat and headed for the door.


“Are they together?” Hermione asked Fred sharply.


“If they are, they’re not officially. It would have been in the records and he wouldn’t be eligible to be invited,” Fred answered.


“You only invited single eligible males?” Hermione glared at him.


Fred grinned sheepishly, “and only the best looking for your sake of course.”


“Of course,” Hermione rolled her eyes.


Ginny came into the room then. She had changed into a yellow sundress. Not nice as Hermione’s but the point was clear.


“Everything is set up in the dining room,” Ginny gave a friendly smile.


Hermione wanted to ask her. The question was there…burning in her gut. But she thought it might be a bit rude.


Midway through the dull polite conversation of tea, Fred did ask.


“So Harry, what is Ginny doing here?”


Everyone but Fred blushed at the bluntness.


Harry and Ginny tried to answer at once, their words getting mixed and confused with each other.


Harry finally completed the answer, “She’s helping me get my house in order. You know…furnishing…hiring help…and such…”


Harry finally met Hermione’s eyes for the first time that day and gave her an apologetic look. Hermione nodded in understanding as everyone finished their tea. It was awkward. And Ginny’s face never did go back from matching the color of her hair.


“Thank you for tea,” Fred said as they exited Harry’s door, “We hope to see you next weekend.”


“Of course, I can’t wait!” Harry said with a truly earnest grin.


Hermione could have sworn she saw Ginny’s face glaring back behind Harry before he shut the door.


“Well that wasn’t bad was it?” Fred asked.


Hermione glared at him in response, “Do I really have to do that for everyone?”


Fred nodded, “Don’t worry, it’ll get easier.”


Hermione wanted to cry. Fred wanted to laugh. George, who had now rejoined them on their way to the Burrow, wanted to kill Harry. It was a great morning.


Ron was ecstatic to receive his invitation. Mrs. Weasley came up with a huge lunch for them all, and everyone seemed to be in good spirits. Until Ron began to try.


“You look really nice in that dress, Hermione,” Ron choked out after finishing his 4th glass of butterbeer.


“Thanks Ron,” Hermione mumbled.


“You should see what we have planned for her for the ball,” Fred grinned.


Hermione groaned while everyone else at the table grinned.


“I’m sure it’ll be quite lovely,” Molly chirped up.


It was strange for Hermione. She felt like Ron who was a future prospect for a suitor, was a little boy she had come to visit. He seemed so much younger compared to his older brothers and with his mom hovering around him.


Ron smiled at her, and Hermione tried to smile back. Would he ever be able to grow up being the youngest brother?


“Ron, dear, why don’t you show Hermione those new roses I planted in the garden?”


Ron’s face lit up like he had come up with the idea himself. He quickly rose from his seat leaving his dessert half eaten and helped Hermione to the backdoor. George rose to go with them as an escort, but Molly sharply said, “George, do you think you could help me clear the table?”


Then as Fred tried to cover his twin’s place, she commanded again, “Fred, there are some boxes in the attic I need taken to the village. Do you think you could do that for me?”


Of course the twins grumbled their ‘yeses’ and set out to do their jobs. Leaving Hermione and Ron alone in the garden.


“They are quite nice,” Hermione said while inspecting the enchanted roses.


“they change colors you know. They pick up the feelings around them and change accordingly so.”


“Like a muggle mood ring,” Hermione said softly.


“A what?” Ron looked at her curiously.


“Never mind,” Hermione gave a warm smile.


Ron picked one of the flowers and held it out to Hermione. It wouldn’t stop changing colors as if Ron’s mood was flying from one thing to the next. Hermione accepted the flower and it changed to the brightest of yellows.


Ron blushed, “here, allow me,” he took the flower back and placed it behind her ear.


“thank you,” Hermione said softly.


“You’re welcome. The ball should be fun, don’t you think.”


Hermione groaned and Ron chuckled, “It won’t be that bad, I promise.”


“I have to dance all night, did you know that? Fred and George said I’m never to be without a partner.”


“It’ll be alright,” Ron rushed the last part, “if you want I can stay with you most of the night so you don’t have to dance with anyone unpleasant.”


“That would be nice, I guess,” Hermione tried to smile. He was trying, after all.


Ron grinned, “It’ll be fun, just wait. Fred and George can’t have just a normal ball. There’ll be something to it, you can be sure.”


Hermione sighed, “you’re probably right. Goodness knows what they’re up to though.”


“You sound like you’re expecting the worse,” Ron commented.


“No the worse is already over,” Hermione said grimly. That set them into a period of silence for a while. Neither of them knew quite what to say to change the mood.


“Sorry.”


“We should get inside.”


Fred and George led Hermione away soon after that. She had other invitations to hand out, and it was already 1pm. Ron waved merrily at Hermione and she could have sworn she saw him wink.


“this cannot be happening,” she groaned.


“Don’t be ridiculous, Hermione,” Fred replied, although not understanding what she was referring to, “Neville is a fine gentleman. He’d be hurt if he wasn’t invited.”


Hermione’s eyes widened as they reached Neville’s home. His grandmother had decided to go on a permanent vacation, leaving Neville as owner of his own vast estate.


It was Neville who answered the door, “pleased to see you!”


He ushered them inside, “Have you already had lunch?”


“Yes, Neville, just now actually. Sorry lad,” George answered.


“Maybe just a tour my house then? Just finished redoing it last week,” Neville seemed excited to show off.


Fred smiled in a ‘if we must’ way, “of course, but first,” he looked pointedly towards Hermione.


“We’d be delighted if you could attend,” she said politely as she handed him an invitation.


“Splendid!” Neville tucked the invitation into one of his pockets and started to lead them out of the room. He seemed rushed, like he wanted to show off his entire house as quickly as possible. Perhaps it was just nervousness.


Hermione doubted it though as the tour continued. Neville was proud of himself. He was proud of what he had become. And he wanted to show it off.


Finally, as Neville tried to persuade the to check out the garden and grounds, George stopped him, “We really must be going Neville, we have to deliver other invitations as well.”


“Of course,” Neville smiled, “see you at the ball then.”


“Who would have known,” Fred chuckled as they made their way to Dean’s house.


Seamus was visiting Dean when they arrived. Hermione was thankful to have gotten two invitations handed out at once. And the visit seemed rather short as well. Seamus and Dean were leaving to go see a game and couldn’t chat long. Although, both seemed very interested in Hermione and the ball.


“Will you two be meeting with Oliver?” George asked.


“yes, we’re meeting at his house first actually,” Dean replied.


“Could we join you. Just for a moment, of course to deliver his invitation?”


Dean and Seamus’ faces fell, “Oliver Wood is invited as well?”


“Yes, do you mind if we come along?” Fred asked this time.


“Sure. Let’s get going then,” Dean replied although not so happy now.


Oliver seemed surprised to receive an invitation, but happy anyway.


“Hermione, hopefully I’ll have a chance to get to know you better at the ball. You seem like such a lovely girl.”


“Thank you,” Hermione blushed not really knowing the response to something like that.


Dean and Seamus rushed them out claiming they really needed to leave for the game soon.


Fred laughed, “It’s started already.”


George laughed with him, “Indeed it has!”


“what has?” Hermione asked confused.


They laughed and didn’t answer. They weren’t quite sure what her reaction would be to a competition for her hand in marriage.


They handed out a dozen more invitations, before they finally got to someone that Hermione could not wait to see. She was beaming.


“Here we come ‘Vicky’,” George sneered as they knocked on his door.


Hermione glared as the door opened, and then went back to beaming.


“Hermione!” he had finally gotten her name right, “How wonderful it is to see you again!”


“Victor! Have you been working on your English?”


“Yes, have I improved that much?”


Hermione giggled very girlish, “yes, I dare say you have!”


“Well come in! come in!” Victor Krum ushered them inside his beautiful home.


“Will you stay for tea?” he asked hopeful.


“Sorry Krum,” George answered, “we’re already behind on handing out invitations. You understand.”


Krum did look downhearted until Hermione said, “Oh come on George, one little cup won’t hurt!”


One cup however, was not enough to catch Hermione and Victor up on old times. As they chatted away, Fred and George chatted quietly, although much gloomier.


“He better not win our contest George. I’m not sure if I could stand him being around all the time.”


George replied, “It is a bit sickening. What is the contest anyways?”


Fred grimaced, “I was hoping you had come up with something.”


“Clueless,” George answered.


“Maybe we could have several?”


“that could work…until we find a good one.”


“What will we start with?”


“Quidditch?”


“Bloody brilliant!”


Although Fred said the last bit a tad louder than needed. Hermione and Victor both turned to them.


“I think we should be moving along, Hermione,” Fred told her pointedly.


“Oh, yes I suppose,” Hermione looked sad indeed.


“Don’t worry, Hermione. We’ll see each other soon,” Victor kissed her on her cheek while grinning.


Fred and George made gagging noises as they walked away from his house.


“Hermione, you cannot be serious,” George finally told her.


“It was your idea,” Hermione stuck out her tongue.


George grumbled something unintelligible. He was having doubts now, if anyone could be up to standards for Hermione, contest or no contest.


“Who’s house is this?” Hermione asked very bored.


“Blaise Zabini,” Fred said calmly, although there was mischief in his eye.


“I’ve been expecting you,” Blaise said impatiently as he opened the door for them. He was richly handsome and somewhat refined. Hermione was trying not to notice.


“We’d be delighted if you could attend,” Hermione said coldly thrusting the invitation at him. She wanted to get this over as soon as she could.


“Of course,” Blaise grabbed the invitation, but in doing so grabbed her hand as well. He didn’t let it go, “After all, I still have that interest you know.”


George growled as Hermione’s eyes went wide.


“We’ll be leaving then,” Fred announced.


“What a shame. I was hoping to have you all for dinner,” Blaise said with a bored disappointment.


“We have a few more invitations to hand out, and not much time as the day is nearly over,” Fred answered.


“Understandable. I’ll be seeing at the ball, then,” Blaise smirked and kissed Hermione’s cheek.


They left quickly. Fred ushered George and Hermione out before Blaise was killed.


“Does he have to come?” George asked.


Hermione glared at him, giving him all the blame.


“He already has the invitation,” Fred sighed.


“We can’t go here,” Hermione said suddenly.


They had reached the gates of Malfoy Manor.


“Come on Hermione, he’s harmless,” Fred pushed her forward.


Draco smirked in a welcome, “charmed to see you again, Hermione.”


“I’m sure,” she tried to glare, but it didn’t work. He was a bit intimidating.


“have something for me then?”


“Oh,” Hermione stammered, “Oh yes.”


“Don’t get too excited,” Draco chuckled.


“We’d be delighted if you could attend,” Hermione said in a much smaller voice and handed him the invitation.


Draco looked at it, and then hesitantly took it from her hand, “proper dress is to be required then?”


“yes,” George answered, “of course.”


“Will dinner be served?”


“Buffet of the finest foods,” Fred answered.


“Accommodations?”


Hermione looked at him strangely. He was planning on staying the night?


“if the need arises,” George answered stiffly.


“You’ll be attending then?” Fred asked.


Draco gave a very rare grin towards Hermione and answered, “Wouldn’t miss it.”


Hermione tried not to wince as they headed out to leave.


Draco took her hand and kissed it, “pleasure having you over.”


“See you at the ball,” Hermione hesitated, “Draco.”


As soon as they left Malfoy grounds, Hermione let out a huge sigh.


“At least none of us died,” Fred tried to laugh.


“We still have at least a dozen more invitations,” George said pointedly.


“the night will never end!” Hermione almost wanted to cry.


The night did end, however. And no one did die. The ball was fast approaching now. Arrangements were being made. It was going to be big. It was going to be spectacular. And Hermione was going to be the center of it all.


A/N – yay! Hoped you enjoy that longer chapter! Please keep reading and remember to review! Thank you!


Chapter 9: The Suitors Ball
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Chapter 9: The Suitors Ball
A/N – J.K Rowling owns the world of Harry Potter. And I’m totally going to be in denial that I haven’t updated in forever and hope everyone forgives me. Thank you to all who have reviewed, really, if it wasn’t for you I probably would have let this fic disappear, so thanks!

The ball was to be held on a Saturday 2 weeks from when the invitations were handed out. Hermione was not aloud to see Harry during that time for it would be “inappropriate” although Hermione could not figure out why. The twins would just mutter something about “courting the proper way”.

Finally, after a ridiculous ballroom dance lesson, Hermione stormed in on Fred and George in one of their inventing rooms, “Why the hell we are doing this?”

Fred spoke carefully, “for your happiness, Hermione.”

“You think this makes me happy?” Hermione was still livid.

“Well what does make you happy then?” George asked sternly, “Because believe me Hermione, if we had any idea that something else could make you happy we would have tried that. But as of now, nothing makes you happy, so we’re just trying our best. The least you could do is be just a bit grateful.”

“Grateful? I’m doing you two a favor!”

“She’s got a point George,” Fred whispered.

George responded calmly trying to make his point crystal clear, “We’re all helping each other out. This ball will make or break all of us. So can we just all work together to get through it?”

Hermione didn’t respond, but she was calming down.

“Hermione, we want you to be happy. If you just try to be excited about this, we promise you might enjoy it. I mean, you’re a girl. This is your moment to be glamorous! It might not be the ideal time in your life, but its here,” Fred explained.

“Maybe you’re right, Fred,” Hermione answered.

The twins looked flabbergasted.

“He’s right?” George asked.

Fred grinned, “Just got to be real about it, George.”

George muttered, “real my ass.”

“So is there really going to be a quidditch match the day after the ball?” Hermione asked.

“Hopefully,” Fred answered.

“Who’s going to be playing?”

“Well, Hermione we kind of wanted to talk to you about that,” George got the courage to bring up.

“Me? What do I have to do with the quidditch match?”

“Everything actually,” Fred looked sheepish.

“I don’t think I understand,” Hermione looked confused.

“We might as well tell her,” Fred looked pale, “it’ll help her decide.”

“Decide what?” Hermione’s eyes were once again breaching on the verge of dark terrible waters.

“You’ll choose the players of the quidditch match at the ball, Hermione,” George finally got out.

“Why would I choose them?”

“Because it’s a suitors ball. You choose your future suitors,” Fred let out with a scratchy voice, becoming more afraid of Hermione’s wrath.

“My future what?!”

And all hell broke loose.

“Now, Hermione, calm down,” Fred tried to gently put his hands on her shoulders. George was hiding on the other side of the room.

“Calm? You expect me to be calm? I’ve just been transported decades back into time to be treated like a piece of cattle to be auctioned off to the highest bidder!”

Fred tried to lighten the mood, “Yes, but the prime piece of cattle.”

Hermione tried not to laugh and ended up crying.

Fred, not use to girl emotions, looked to his brother with a plea of help.

George gulped and stepped closer, “I’ll take it from here, Fred. Please, go find Lee and make sure the last preparations for the ball have been taken care of.”

“Of course,” Fred said as he left quickly as possible.

“How could you two do this to me,” said a teary-eyed Hermione, “Suitors? What do you want me to do, get married?”

George blushed, “Well eventually.”

“Am I that much trouble that you want to get rid of me so quickly, George?”

He went up to here then and almost wanted to grab her. But he didn’t. He knew he had to hold in most of his emotions. Things had to work out the right way.

“No Hermione, that’s not it at all. You could stay with us forever. In fact, I would love that! But you deserve more in life. You deserve an adult life. Not one of a hormonal teenager trapped with two bachelors in their joke shop.”

“What if that’s the life I want?”

“is it really?”

Hermione couldn’t answer.

“It won’t be that bad. There will be lots of…trials to help you weed out the ones you really don’t want.”

“Like the quidditch match?”

“Obviously. Those who are really serious about you, will win.”

Hermione laughed, “if you think so.”

“So you think you’re going to be ok with all of this?”

“I think I don’t have a choice,” Hermione answered blankly.

Which was true enough. The ball was coming whether any of them were ready or not.

“So let me get this straight,” Hermione asked a bit annoyed an hour before the ball was to start, “There are no other girls at this ball?”

“No! of course not! There is one other,” George grinned.

“One?” Hermione rolled her eyes.

“Angelina Johnson. Top girl in Fred’s little black book.”

“Charming.”

George chuckled, “Really though, if he were ever to settle down, and she would actually have him, they would be married with 12 kids already.”

Hermione giggled, “hard to imagine.”

“Exactly.”

“So what exactly do I have to do tonight again?” Hermione sighed.

“Well it starts easy,” George reassured her, “There’s the entrance dance. Either Fred or I will introduce you and then we’ll dance. Fred will be entering with Angelina, the designated chaperone, so I guess you’ll be stuck with me.”

“Lovely,” Hermione couldn’t help but grin.

“Oh you bet it will be,” George grinned back at her.

“So then I go on a round of display to all my prospects?”

“Something like that…” George muttered, “Towards midnight, you’ll make your decision.”

“Decision?”

“You have to chose 14 to compete,” George told her.

“Compete? You sound like I’m some prize to be won,” Hermione looked offended.

“Sadly, no contest could ever determine someone worthy enough to win you,” George whispered.

“What was that?”

“You better finish getting ready.”

“I am ready.”

“Oh,” George’s face paled and then he saw her. Truly saw her. The radiant women dressed in a maroon gown that showed off her lovely skin and becoming figure.

“Do we go down now?” Hermione asked impatient.

“Yes,” George stuttered, “just let me speak to Fred.”

“Well hurry, the less amount of time I spend in this thing the better,” Hermione said tugging on the more uncomfortable parts of the dress.

George tried not to smile while he went to find his twin.

He found him quite rushed and panicked.

“Everyone’s already here! Is she ready? Can we start? Do you think we ordered enough food? Oh you should see Malfoy, inspecting everything like he’s expecting it to be horrible! I ought to…”

“She’s ready,” George said shortly.

“Oh,” Fred responded, “Well then. I guess we better enter.”

“Where’s Angelina?”

“Late as usual,” Fred seemed distracted, “Will you still be bringing her in?”

George gulped, “Fred, I think you better do it. I don’t think I should spend a lot of time with her tonight. Not tonight. Not if we want this to work.”

“Afraid of something?” Fred grinned.

“No, never. Just concerned.”

“Of course,” Fred smiled to himself, “You go ahead and go out and make the announcement. I’ll be right out with Hermione.”

George entered the top floor of the flat above the shop. It was a huge room decorated for the occasion with huge tables of food on one side and a dance floor on the other with smaller dining tables in the center.

At the center of the dancing floor, all eyes soon turned to him, he coughed and then announced, “Thank you all for joining us for Hermione’s Suitors Ball. We’re all very glad you could come. As you know, accommodations are welcome to the fourteen asked to remain here with us. Please enjoy yourselves. The rose ceremony will commence at midnight. And now may I present Hermione Jane Granger!”

Everyone clapped.

Hermione was very nervous as Fred led her to the room filled with handsome single males. She felt like a piece of meat on display. She half-wished it was George who was with her. He seemed to know how to calm her nerves.

“Rose ceremony?” Hermione tried to whisper to Fred.

He wasn’t answering though as he handed Hermione off to George.

“Brother, I’ll give you the first dance of the evening. I’ve just spotted Angelina and will join you on the dance floor in just a moment.”

George nodded at his brother and took hold of Hermione just as the music began.

“So who’s at the top of your little black book?” Hermione asked with a smirk.

“Pardon?” George asked while trying to keep in step with the music.

“You know. Fred has Angelina, but what about you?”

“I’m afraid I’m too busy for extracurricular activities.”

“That’s a shame,” Hermione grinned as a fast twirl landed them quite close together. George felt a blush rising.

“Not really,” he felt like answering her challenge, “I feel like the one person who’s right for me should be cared for first before I try to seduce her. I want her to feel like everything in the world can be shared between us and she’s completely safe and taken care of with me.”

“Wow, George, that’s….”

“the truth.”

“She’s going to be one lucky girl.”

George looked sad for a moment and then answered, “Tonight is not about me though. It’s about you and finding someone perfect for you.”

“What if I don’t find him?”

“You have to. Everyone who could ever be considered by you is here. If you can’t find him here, you never will.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Hermione frowned as the music stopped and they detached from each other, “what if I choose wrong?”

“That’s what I’m here for,” George smiled encouragingly.

“Mind if I do the honors of the next dance?” Lee interrupted.

“Of course, most trusted business partner,” George looked amused.

As Hermione left with Lee she could have sworn she heard George mutter, “Now that’s a Cinderella case if I ever saw one.”

Lee looked nice. Nicer than he ever had working in the shop. And he was smiling weird, as if he was trying to convey to her something that he couldn’t quite just get out.

“How was Egypt, Lee?”

“Oh, it was splendid! I saw my uncle you know. Crazy fellow. Kept talking about this mummy in his basement that haunts him. Quite amusing.”

And their dance was amusing. They looked odd together. A medium tempo dance kept them moving across the floor. All eyes were on Hermione though, and she caught someone’s eye very quickly.

Before the song was even over, he tapped Lee’s shoulder, “Mind if I cut in?”

“Actually I do mi…” Lee turned around to say. And there stood Blaise Zabini, looking confident as ever.

Lee kissed Hermione’s hand, “Until we meet up later,” he said politely and nodded to Blaise as he walked away.

Fred and George met up with him.

“Sorry mate.”

“Better luck next time ‘ole chap.”

“Yeah, yeah. Laugh all you want.”

Hermione smiled kindly before turning her attention to Blaise, “Now was that really necessary?”

“Obviously, you weren’t enjoying yourself.”

“And you think I’d enjoyed myself better with you?”

Blaise chuckled as he slid his arms around her waist, “Oh Hermione, are you always this amusing?”

“Amusing? It was a real question. How in the world could I enjoy myself with you?”

“”Why I’m Blaise Zabini, let the enjoyment begin,” he said bemusedly as he held out his arms. At that point in time, Hermione was trying to turn around to leave. However, she tripped on part of her dress and ended up falling forward right into Blaise’s arms.

“Easy there. Let the other blokes at least think they have a chance,” Blaise winked at her.

She wanted to retaliate with something just as witty and smart. But she couldn’t. She couldn’t because he smelt so wonderful. Something mixed with old spices and books. She let herself settled in his arms and they swayed slightly with the slow music.

“You wouldn’t have a library, would you?”

“The best, of course.”

“Really now?”

Meanwhile, Fred and George were surveying the scene.

“I don’t know if I like that one,” George muttered.

“Nonsense, she obviously likes him.”

“I noticed,” George muttered darkly.

Blaise and Hermione had made it to one of the many decorated tables. Discussing Blaise’s grand library had gotten Hermione excited and she almost forgot the whole situation they were in.

“So you’ll show it to me sometime, right?”

“Oh as many times as you like.”

“I’d like that.”

“Can you imagine if my parents had been able to be your providers and caretakers. This whole suitor nonsense would have been so much easier.”

“What do you mean?”

“You would be in the same household. We could get together easier.”

Avoiding the pointed matter at hand, Hermione asked, “You can get together with your provider and caretakers, then?”

“Of course. They’re not your parents after all.”

“Really?” Hermione looked amused.

“There’s so much you don’t know about our world, Hermione. It’s a pity really.”

“Sorry I’m not some tamed pureblood damsel,” Hermione responded darkly.

“Well it’s not your fault, obviously,” Blaise continued unaware.

“Excuse me,” Hermione said quickly and practically jumped from her chair.

“How odd,” Blaise mused as he watched her sprint away.

She sprinted right into Harry’s arms, quite flushed with anger.

“How dare he,” she let out.

“What’s the matter, Hermione?” Harry asked concerned. It was good to see her again.

“Blaise. And his pureblood nonsense.”

“Don’t pay any attention to him. You’re perfect. Everyone here knows that,” Harry smiled at her.

Hermione attempted a smile back, “I’ve missed you.”

They went to kiss right then and there. Much to everyone’s dismay.

“I’m going to be sick if it’s like this all night,” Fred muttered.

“It won’t be. Excuse me,” George said as he went straight over to them.

“Harry, a word please?”

“Of course. Just a minute, sweetheart,” Harry told Hermione as he kissed her hand.

“Sweetheart?” George winced.

“Yeah. Sweetheart. It’s a term of endearment for one whom you care deeply about. Or would you not know anything about that, George?”

“Now listen, Harry. I know you and Hermione have a… physical history together. But tonight is about giving her options. And frankly, you need to let her see all the fish in the sea before you put yourself on her hook.”

“As you wish. As Hermione’s provider and caretaker, I’ll give you the respect to act as an equal suitor. But you should know, if Hermione does choose me, you’ll need to give me the respect to accept that.”

“Of course.”

Harry turned to survey the crowd, “I guess you decided she needed a crutch afterall.”

“It’s not like that, Harry. A relationship is a healthy part of anyone’s life.”

“However you want to justify it. You couldn’t keep her happy. So you’re hoping this will.”

“I think we’re all hoping.”

Harry didn’t have a response to the truth. He left to go find Hermione.

Who was with Victor Krum. Dancing. Harry felt his heart drop. If there was one person who might care for Hermione as much as he did, it would be Victor Krum.

“Victor, I’m so glad you could make it,” Hermione giggled as he twirled her.

“Oh I wouldn’t miss this, Hermione. You look so beautiful tonight.”

“Thank you,” Hermione let herself blush. She loved the girly feeling Victor brought out. Like she was finally able to be the girl she had been hiding behind quills, parchments, and textbooks.

“It’s sad that no one but me realized what you are until now,” Krum commented.

“What I am? And what is that?”

“Amazing.”

Hermione scoffed, “Hardly.”

“You’re too hard on yourself. Everyone has problems, Hermione. What makes someone isn’t the problems they live with, but the ability to still live with or without those problems.”

“You’re right. It’s just so hard sometimes.”

“It always will be. You just have to live beyond that.”

“You’re right,” Hermione said as she slowed to a stop from dancing, “Can we sit down for a bit. My feet are already getting tired!”

Krum chuckled and led her over to a nearby table. The touch of his hand on the small of her back sent a chill down Hermione’s back. Good or bad she couldn’t quite tell yet.

“I’ll return with some refreshments,” Krum announced as he walked away.

Hermione let out a sigh and started to slump in her chair. And then Ron approached.

“Oh hello Ronald! Where have you been?”

Ron swallowed nervously, “Oh you know around. Where did Krum go?”

“He went to go get some refreshments. Would you like to join us?”

They both stared at each other in an awkward silence and then started laughing.

“Talk about a flashback to the yule ball,” Hermione laughed.

“No, you look much more beautiful tonight,” Ron said quite sincerely.

“Why thank you Ron.”

“Sorry. I know I told you I would stay with you most of the night, but you seemed to want to dance with everyone.”

“Yeah. Fred and George think it’s my duty as an appropriate hostess.”

“What do they know about propriety anyways?”

Hermione laughed, “I know it’s odd.”

“Well save one dance for me, will you?”

“Of course, Ronald. Anything for my dearest friend.”

Ron blushed and muttered something before leaving.

Neville approached her next. Although he did it in a way that surprised Hermione. He wasn’t nervous like Ron, but not cocky like Blaise either. He was dignified. And genuinely seemed to be polite.

“You look terrific, Neville,” Hermione blurted out before he could say anything.

Finally a blush, “Thank you, Hermione. You look beautiful tonight.”

Hermione smiled and wondered how many times she would have to hear that before she got tired of it, “Thank you Neville. Would you like to dance?”

“Um sure. Although I think I was suppose to ask you that.”

Hermione laughed, “apparently I’m still new to this properness thing.”

“You’ll get the hang of it,” Neville smiled as he led her in a soft dance.

“So I’m told. Neville, you’re a wonderful dancer.”

And so he was. After the dance, the couple even had an applause.

“Wow,” Hermione blushed.

“It was nothing,” Neville muttered.

“No, Neville. That was really something. You’re really something,” Hermione smiled.

Before Neville could reply, they were rudely interrupted, “some people think a little inheritance makes them rich. What a pity.”

“Malfoy,” Neville nodded to him.

“Is it possible someone else may have a turn with the young lady, Longbottom? Or do you plan on using her to show off your dancing abilities all night?”

“Until we see each other again,” Neville said as he kissed Hermione’s hand. He left without a second glance to Draco. He wouldn’t give him the pleasure.

“Honestly, Malfoy. That was quite awful of you,” Hermione said and crossed her arms.

“Don’t get all huffy. You’re much prettier when you’re smiling,” Draco concluded.

With hands on hips Hermione started on him, “And you’re much more becoming when you’re not rude, obnoxious, and slimey. So since you have difficulties not being any of these, will you please remove yourself from my sight?”


Draco’s eyes become slits for a moment in anger and then he smirked, “So you have thought of me as becoming? Honestly, Granger. One dance. That’s all I ask.”

Hermione glared and gave him her hand to lead her into a dance, “I suppose. I mean, theoretically you’re harmless.”

Draco laughed again as he led her through a slow dance, “You’re a lot less nervous.”

“Well, of course. I’m on my own turf.”

“Is that it?”

“You’re not as intimidating as you think you are, Draco.”

“It’s Draco now?”

“Don’t change the subject.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it.”

“Why are you here? I thought you hated me.”

“Hate is such a strong word, Hermione. To be honest, I never hated you. Was envious maybe. But never hated.”

“Draco Malfoy? Slytherin Prince? Envious of a little Gryffindor bookworm?”

“You mean Gryffindor princess. You were the pride and joy of Gryffindor house. Preceded only by Ginny Weasley who knew what she was getting into. You could have any boy you wanted in Hogwarts and you didn’t even know it.”

“And that made you envious?”

“No. Your spirit, compassion, and ability to care did. So many people care for you. Isn’t that obvious. Just look around!”

They had stopped dancing now and Hermione did look. But she couldn’t see anything. Just tears. And the memory of the ones who could not care for her anymore. Her parents. She ran away from Draco, unable to even mutter an excuse.

“What did you do to her, Malfoy?” growled Harry as soon as Hermione was out of eyesight.

“Down boy,” smirked Draco.

“I swear whatever you said to hurt her will be returned to you in physical pain 20 times over,” Harry was seeping with anger.

“I only pointed out how many people cared for her, Potter. If that’s a crime then lock me away. Go ahead,” Draco replied quite annoyed.

Harry left quickly to find Hermione. He found her with Dean and Seamus.

“It’s alright Hermione.”

“We’re here if you need to listen.”

“Thank you boys, I just need to be left alone for a moment.”

“Understandable. Dean, why don’t you find George?”

“Seamus, I think she meant that for both of us.”

“Well obviously someone needs to stay with her. What if Malfoy comes back?”

“Honestly, I’m fine,” Hermione chirped in.

Harry was about to walk up to them and tell Dean and Seamus to bugger off when Oliver Wood put a hand on his shoulder, “Let me handle this one, mate.”

Harry confused and a bit rejected stood back and watched.

“Dean, go inform Fred and George what has happened. Seamus, find Malfoy and tell him if he ever harms her again, he’ll have me to face.”

“Right,” Dean and Seamus replied as they went off to fulfill Oliver’s orders as if he were their old quidditch captain.

“It’ll be alright, Hermione.”

“Malfoy really didn’t do anything, you know,” was her response, “But thank you.”

“Something that makes you upset is an anything, Hermione. Whether he meant to or not, Malfoy shouldn’t be able to get away with it.”

“I really don’t think that’s necessary, Oliver. Please,” Hermione was on the verge of pleading. Why did he care so much anyways?

“If you want it to be just left alone, then that’s fine. I won’t say anything to him,” Oliver gave in, “Just promise you’ll start smiling again.”

Hermione attempted a weak smile, “You got it.”

“Got what? A brain?” Blaise had sat beside them.

“Yes, and manners,” Hermione said stiffly.

Blaise looked confused for a moment, “Was it something I said?”

Oliver and Hermione rolled their eyes.

“Will you please leave?”

“You heard her, Wood.”

“I think she meant you, Zabini.”

But before they could get into it, George stormed over to them, “I’m going to kill Malfoy! Hermione I’m so sorry. I would have never invited him if I had known.”

“George, it’s alright. It’s all a misunderstanding,” Hermione tried to explain.

“A misunderstanding? Between you and Malfoy? Hermione even that doesn’t even sound good.”

“I know, but it’s not what it seems. Malfoy didn’t intend to make me cry. I did that on my own.”

“Surely he must have said something to cause it though. You just don’t start crying out of nowhere.”

“Don’t I, George? Or have you forgotten that I’m not a stable girl at the moment? That my emotions are weak and fragile and I’m damn tired of playing games with them!”

Everyone went rather quite. It seemed as if the game was up. And the victor would be no one.

“I’ll take it from here, boys,” piped in Angelina who appeared from nowhere with Fred right behind her.

While the males were departing, Blaise tried to get in one last word, “I truly am sorry, Hermione. I had no intention of playing with you. You must know that.”

“Apology accepted, Blaise. Now please go,” Angelina answered for her. Hermione felt too weak and a bit embarrassed to answer.

“How do you do it, Angelina?” Hermione asked once they had all left.

“Do what?”

“Be amazing, beautiful, and sane all at the same time?”

“I just don’t think about it. It’s easy once you just let everything go.”

“All that seems to do is make me cry more.”

“Not let your emotions go. No. Those we keep to ourselves, don’t we? Emotions are fickle and short-lived. But if you let your worries and cares go…now that is what helps. Save your emotions for someone who can accept them as things that will change with time. That person who will love you no matter how you feel about things the next day.”

“You really think someone like that exists?”

“Sure. I mean, I think I found someone like that. He might not be ready for it. But one day…”

Hermione perked up, “You mean Fred?”

“Not everything is easy Hermione. This won’t be either. Just try to let things go and have fun with it. Your emotions will get used to things in time, ok?”

“I guess I can try,” replied Hermione, “I mean, I do like dancing afterall.”

The next person to ask Hermione to dance was Roger Davies who was a perfect distraction from all the mess that had just happened. They had never spoken at Hogwarts, and it was nice to meet someone completely new. Hermione enjoyed several more dances with several more boys. Some she had never met. Some she knew only their names or faces from school. The good times, however, could never last forever. Soon Draco approached her again.

“One more chance, Hermione?”

“Draco, I’m sorry for all the fuss. I’m surprised they haven’t killed you yet.”

Draco laughed and smirked, “thankfully I have strength and wit enough for all of them.”

Hermione smiled, “I’m sure you do.”

“But is it enough for you?”

Hermione blushed and didn’t quite know the meaning of his question.

Thankfully, she didn’t have to answer because Justin Finch-Fletchly kindly tapped on Draco’s shoulder causing him to move out of the way.

“Mind if I have the honor of one of the last dances?” he asked Hermione.

“Of course,” Hermione smiled and curtsied at his formality. Justin was always so proper anyways.

“You’re quite lovely, Hermione. And dance remarkably well,” he commented.

“Why thank you Justin,” she answered, although her heart wasn’t quite in it. Or her thoughts. The night was coming to a close. Which meant decisions would have to be made.

Sure enough, after the dance was over, George approached her.

“Hermione, I have to speak with you.”

“What is it George?”

“I know it’s been a difficult evening for you, are you alright?”

“I suppose so.”

George looked away, not sure if he could go on, “I suppose you’ll have to choose your suitors now. 14 of them. You’ll hand them a rose during the rosing ceremony.”

“I can’t do this.”

George looked at her. He wanted to hold her and tell her she didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to do. That everything would be alright. She would go back to normal and her parents would come back and she would be happy once again. But he knew he couldn’t. He couldn’t make her happy and someone else might be able to. They had to give that someone a chance, whoever it may be. Hermione looked scared as if she wasn’t ready for this. She wasn’t ready for anything.

“You have to,” he answered her, almost pleading.

“Please don’t make me,” she whispered and threw herself in his arms hiding her face in his shoulder.

“It’s ok, Hermione. Everything’s going to be ok,” he murmured while stroking her hair.

“Why are you doing this?” she asked and looked up at him with teary eyes.

“Because, I care for you, Hermione. Hell, I might even love you. And if that’s the case, I want you to be the happiest person in the world. You deserve to be with someone who makes you happy. Hopefully they’ll be able to prove it to you through all of this.”

“How dare you,” Hermione whispered and stood up, “Offering my happiness up in a game? This is not something that can be won! If you love me, you would know that happiness isn’t something found in victory, but in battle. If you really loved me, you’d be willing to fight for my happiness, not just hope someone might win it for me. How dare you say you might even love me.”

“Hermione,” Fred approached the upset girl, “This seems like a really bad time and all but I was wondering…”

“What is it?” Hermione snapped.

“Well, I was wondering if you’re ready to make your decision. The Ceremony is about to take place.”

“What exactly do I have to do?”

“It’s easy really.”

“Yes, because all of this has just been so bloody easy,” grumbled Hermione as she followed Fred to the center of the dance floor.

A/N – so that was the longest chapter I think I’ve written for this chapter and maybe any other fanfic or story ever written. XD I offer it as a peace token for not updating in forever! Please forgive me! Please be kind and remember to review and I’ll do the same for you!

Chapter 10: The Suitors Game
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A/N – yay for this next chapter! I’m so glad I’m going to be able to keep my word and get this out to my wonderful readers in a timely manner. I hope to be a trusted author soon so that way I can finish this story faster. Oh and by the way, I posted a Meet The Author thingie so feel free to take a look. Enjoy!

Chapter 10: The Suitors GameAngelina approached Hermione with a bouquet of roses. Everything was explained to her. All the eligible males lined up before Hermione waiting for her to hand out roses to those who she favored. The Suitors Ball would immediately end and everyone would go home and the suitors would retire to their rooms provided by the twins. The quidditch match would take place the next morning at dawn. Between now and then, Hermione had to privately visit each suitor and inform him which team he would play on.

Hermione knew exactly what she was going to do.

“Thank you all for attending tonight. I hope you all had a wonderful time,” Hermione said as she took the roses from Angelina. With Fred and George flanking her sides, Hermione went straight to Harry to give him the first rose. He grinned at her.

“How surprising,” George muttered as he rolled his eyes.

“Not necessary, George,” Hermione muttered back while keeping a perfect smile as she gave the next rose to Lee Jordan who was ecstatic at this point.

“Oh thank you so much Hermione! Wow!”

Hermione had moved on though. Ron blushed a shade to match his hair as she gave him a rose. The twins snickered but held back any comments. Next, Hermione gave Neville a rose. No one knew whether to be surprised or just accepting. Hermione laughed as Dean and Seamus gave each other a high five when she gave both of them roses. She also smirked when their faces fell as she gave the next rose to Oliver Wood.

“What a great opportunity to get to know you better,” Oliver grinned.

“We’ll see, Wood,” Hermione winked at him.

Victor Krum received the next rose and felt the need to go down on one knee and proclaim, “I promise you, Hermione. I will show you how I deserve this honor.”

Everyone gave him a weird look, but Hermione smiled and said, “I’m sure you will Victor, thank you.”

Hermione hesitated before handing out the next rose. Reluctantly she handed it over to Blaise who smirked.

“Do not make me regret this,” Hermione muttered to him.

Blaise grinned and answered, “You’ll only regret not choosing more worthy opponents for me to prove myself to you against.”

The other suitors rolled their eyes at the remark and Hermione moved on.

“Do you think you can be one of those people who care for me too?” Hermione asked as she gave Draco a rose.

It was a rhetorical question she had asked with a smirk, but he answered quite sincerely, “I already am.”

Hermione blushed and gave the next rose to Justin Finch-Fletchly who was beaming with arrogance.

The next rose she gave to Roger Davies, “Thank you for a wonderful dance.”

“Anytime,” he smiled at her.

And then, Hermione surprised them all. She took the next to last rose and handed it to Fred.

“I can’t..I mean…You can’t…This isn’t…” and he took one meaningful glance at Angelina who smiled at Hermione.

Hermione whispered to him, “If you love her, then lose and prove it.”

He gulped and couldn’t reply.

The last rose she stared at for a moment. She stood in front of George and everyone watched as she slowly raised her eyelashes towards him and handed him the rose.

“I don’t understand,” he muttered.

“It’s time you joined the battle,” was all she answered.

“Well done, Hermione,” Angelina congratulated her as everyone made their ways to their rooms.

“You’re not angry?”

“No. Finally Fred will have to decide what his heart truly wants.”

Hermione smiled and was glad Angelina understood what Hermione was trying to do for her.

“have you picked the teams?”

“Yes. Dean, Neville, Krum, Lee, Justin, Roger, and Fred will be on one team. Oliver, Seamus, Harry, Ron, Draco, Blaise, and George will be on the other team. And you will be the official referee, correct?”

“That’s right. The losing team will have to leave immediately. Well obviously not Fred and George, but the others. And you have to accept that whoever the winning team is will be the only suitors you can choose from. You understand?”

“I think so. I guess I should start letting them all know now which team they’ll be on.”

“Normally, you’re supposed to give them support too. You know…a reason worth fighting for.”

Hermione looked bewildered, “I’m not having sex 14 times tonight!”

Angelina laughed, “nothing like that, just words of encouragement, or some affection.”

“I guess I can do that.”

“Of course you can.”

“I can’t believe they’re actually going to compete for me,” Hermione almost whispered.

“Is it really that difficult to imagine? You’re so beautiful Hermione. An amazing woman. I wouldn’t be surprised if they wouldn’t endure more to just have a chance to be with you.”
 
Hermione smiled, “I’m hardly anything compared to you, Angelina. You’re such a powerful person. You’re so collected and mature. I don’t know how you do it. You’re a big reason I’ve made it this far through this whole fiasco.”

Angelina grinned, “I’m not sure how I do it either sometimes. And don’t worry, I’ll continue to help you.”

“Promise? Will you stay with me tonight? I don’t know if I can control my nerves without you.”

“Of course,” Angelina smiled.

“I guess I should get started,” Hermione responded as she made her way to the first room.

“Dean, I wanted to wish you luck,” Hermione stated after she had told him the team he would be on.

“Thank you, Hermione. That means a lot to me.”

“Well goodnight,” she said not really knowing what else to say. She wasn’t exactly good at this encouragement and affection thing.

“Hermione, wait.”

“yes?”

“I just wanted you to know…if I win tomorrow…I mean when I win tomorrow, I’ll be winning for you. And not just for you in the literal sense,” Dean blushed, “But to prove to you that I really want to be with you. I know you might not realize it. We don’t know each other very well, but I promise I can make you happy. And I’m going to try with all I have to prove that.”

Hermione was speechless. Dean had never spoken that way to her and she didn’t know how to respond. What would Angelina do?

Hermione kissed his cheek, “I’m sure you could make me very happy, Dean. I wish you the best of luck.”

She left quickly before anything else could happen that she wouldn’t know how to handle.

“I will win for you,” Neville announced after she told him what team he would be on. Hermione wondered if they were all supposed to tell her that.

“Thank you Neville.”

“Did you ever imagine in all our years at Hogwarts that we would one day be in this situation?” he asked her.

“Hogwarts was a long time ago,” Hermione answered.

“Yes, I know. I was such a weak person back then.”

“No Neville, your heart was the same heart. You were the same great person as you are now. You just show it more now,” she smiled at him.

“So you’ve noticed?”

Hermione giggled, “We’ve all noticed a change, Neville. I’m glad that you’ve found confidence in yourself. It shows you’re ready to love others when you can truly love yourself.”

“Oh I am ready, Hermione. I’m ready to love with all I have.”

Hermione blushed and answered, “you should get some rest. Good luck tomorrow.”

Krum smirked after Hermione told him his team and he asked, “And I suppose I’ll be playing seeker for my team?”

“I suppose so,” Hermione answered, “you don’t mind do you?”

“Of course not. I would do anything to prove myself to you, Hermione. I care for you so much more than these other blokes. Surely you must know that.”

“This isn’t about the others,” Hermione answered, “It’s about me. I want you to show me that you care for me, not show the others, not anyone else. That’s how I will be deciding in the end.”

“Then that’s what I will do,” he answered and then grinned as he grabbed her waist softly, “So do I get a good luck kiss?”

Hermione paled and she tried to back away, “good luck, Victor.”

He kissed her anyways. His mouth was powerful. She had difficulty finally breaking away. Her heart dropped and her stomach turned in knots. She felt drained as if the kiss had sucked out her very soul like a dementor. She cast one last glance at the friend she thought she knew before she turned hurriedly to go to the next room.

“Is everything ok, Hermione?” Lee Jordan asked as she entered his room. He was already in pajamas and ready for bed.

“Everything’s fine, Lee. Just a bit preoccupied.”

“worried about tomorrow?”

“Why should I be worried? I’m not the one competing in a physically demanding game for some girl.”

“Not just any girl, an amazing one,” Lee grinned.

Hermione tried to smile, “I just wanted to tell you what team you would be playing on tomorrow.”

Lee was excited as Hermione wished him luck after telling him his team. Hermione felt just a little bad that Lee had such high hopes. She knew that she would never pick him in the end.

Justin Finch-Fletchly answered his door in his robes, although somehow managed to remain quite dignified throughout the visit as Hermione told him the team he would play on.

“I hope to play well tomorrow to prove myself to you,” he told her as she began to leave.

“You don’t have to prove anything to me,” she answered.

“Of course. This is what this whole thing is about Hermione. It’s to prove to you that your future husband will go through almost anything to be with you.

“Why though? It seems ridiculous.”

“This is Fred and George we’re talking about, what did you expect?”

“I suppose you’re right.”

“You could end all of this and just choose somebody.”
 
Hermione couldn’t answer. She knew she couldn’t choose anybody right then and there. Her heart wouldn’t let her.

She finally answered, “good luck tomorrow, Justin.”

Roger Davies was next. She told him quickly of the team he would play on and then went on to thank him for the wonderful dance she shared with him.

“I know we didn’t talk much during Hogwarts, but I enjoyed myself so much at the ball with you. Probably more than I did with anyone else that I danced with.”

Roger smiled, “Thank you for this opportunity, Hermione.”

She wished him luck and then left for the next person.

Fred was peeved as she told him the team he would play on, “I just don’t get why you did this? I mean…George…yeah I could figure that one out. He had it coming. But why me? You cannot tell me you’re remotely attracted to me. I mean, no offense, I’m attracted to you, but you and I both know I can’t make you happy.”

“Number one I did it because you two kept from me the fact that the providers and caretakers could become suitors. Number two I did it for you. I hoped that if you started thinking that you didn’t want to be with me then you would start thinking of you wanted to be with. Shouldn’t you be able to happy too?”

“I suppose, but that’s not really your concern.”

“Just because I’m not your provider and caretaker doesn’t mean I can’t care whether you’re happy or not.”

“You’re right Hermione, I’m sorry,” Fred looked sincere, “but what if I don’t lose tomorrow?”

“Promise me that you’ll finally become official with Angelina and I’ll see what I can do.”

Fred grinned, “you draw a hard bargain, Hermione, but I think I have no choice but to accept.”

Hermione smiled, “Good. Now get some rest. You have a big game to lose tomorrow.”

Fred chuckled as Hermione left him alone with his thoughts of Angelina.

“You seem to be in a good mood,” Oliver Wood commented after Hermione told him his team, “Excited about tomorrow’s game?”

“Hm?” Hermione answered distracted, “Oh, I’m just happy knowing that some things do work out and love eventually wins.”

“You’re exactly right. Love will always win.”

“I’m not sure about always.”

“Of course it does, Hermione. Even when it appears love has lost everything, it’s in that moment that you realize that it doesn’t need anything but itself to be a winner. Love is a peculiar thing like that.”

“I suppose you’re right.”

“Of course I am,” Oliver grinned, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m teaching Hermione Granger a lesson in love.”

Hermione laughed, “I can. Love is uncharted territory to me. I’m afraid I keep falling into traps and facing enemies I never knew existed.”

“Don’t worry, Hermione. I’ll be here to fight for you.”

“You don’t have to do that, Oliver. I can fight my own battles.”

“I have no doubt that you can, Hermione. But at least let a gentlemen try?” he grinned.

Hermione giggled, “I’ll see what I can do. Good luck at the game.”

Seamus was very excited to see Hermione and almost didn’t catch what she was saying when she told him what team he would play on.

“This is going to be so awesome. I’ve been playing quidditch for years. This will be a match for the history books.”

“Um..yeah.” Hermione looked confused. Why was quidditch so amazing?

“Are you excited, Hermione? Will you be watching?”

“Of course, the whole time,” Hermione tried to smile.

“I’ll play my best, just for you.”

“I’m sure you will,” she wished him good luck and then left quickly rolling her eyes. Boys and their quidditch.

And there was one boy she could not wait to see. Harry Potter was sitting on his bed when she entered his room. She quickly joined him and kissed him fully on the mouth.

“Good luck tomorrow,” she grinned and told him the team he would play on.

“If I didn’t know better, Hermione, I would say you set me up to win,” Harry laughed.

“Oh you better, Harry,” she said and bit his lip before kissing him again.

“Is everything alright, Hermione?” he asked after they had kissed for a bit.

“Yes. Why?”

“I don’t know, I just thought you might be a little stressed or something with everything that’s going on.”

“Oh you mean the whole having to choose a husband thing? Yeah, I’m getting over it.”

Harry looked at her oddly.

“Ok, it’s stressful, ok? I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to choose. And I don’t want some silly game to choose for me either. I don’t want to think about my future or being happy or moving on. I just want to stay where I am right now. Right here with you.”

Harry tried to smile and kissed her forehead, “Hermione, I will always be here for you. But you really can’t mean that you want to stay the way you are forever. I know you. You have ambitions and dreams. And I know deep down you want to reach them. Don’t worry. You’ll get through this and everything will be ok.”

“Harry?” Hermione whispered.

“yeah?”

“Promise me something.”

“Anything.”

“Catch the snitch for me tomorrow.”

“I’ll try.”

“No, you have to. If you really love me. If you want to be with me. Catch it ok?”

Harry gulped and kissed her instead of answering. She was talking nonsense, he figured. It wasn’t long before she started crying again. He rocked her softly, hoping she would fall asleep. But she didn’t. She calmed down enough and muttered something about having to tell the other suitors their teams before she left.

Ron looked at her worriedly as she told him his team. She still had tears in her eyes from talking to Harry.

“Who hurt you?” he finally asked.

“No one, Ron. I’m fine, honest. Just a bit emotional.”

Ron surprised her and enveloped her in a hug.

“It’ll be ok, Hermione. After all this is over, you’ll be happy again. I promise.”

“I hope so, Ron,” Hermione sighed as she hugged him back. His arms were warm and caring. She looked up at him and smiled, “You’ve always been there for me.”

“Not as much as Harry, but I try,” Ron was beginning to blush.

Hermione closed her eyes and slowly moved her face closer to him.

“thank you,” she murmured as she kissed him softly. It was the hope and spark he needed to keep fighting. She wasn’t sure why she did it. Probably because she was still emotionally weak from talking to Harry. Nonetheless, Ron was beaming by the time Hermione left his room.

“I trust you’re well?” Draco asked. Hermione stared at the pajama-clothed Draco and held her breath. Did he have to look that good all the time?

“Speechless again?” Draco smirked.

Hermione really tried to get her senses together. She stumbled through telling him what team he would play on. Draco just nodded.

“Everything should work out fine then.”

“Draco, tell me something,” Hermione whispered.

“Anything,” Draco said hesitantly.

“Were you really a Death Eater?”

Draco’s eyes darkened, “No, I wasn’t.”

Hermione seemed to sigh with relief.

“Voldemort was always weak. I knew he would fall. It made no sense to become his follower. He lost his opportunity for power. That opportunity has moved on.”

“To who?” Hermione asked, a tad bit afraid.

“It doesn’t matter,” Draco tried to smile, “you have other things to worry about.”

“So you really don’t hate muggle-borns?”

“Is this what all this is about?”

“Just something Blaise said…"

“Forget Zabini. He forgets sometimes who’s in power and in charge. I promise he won’t say anything again.”

“That’s not really the problem. It’s just…”

“Hermione, I’m telling you there is nothing to worry about. You’re safe. You never have to worry about your heritage again. That’s all in the past. A new power is rising. A power that cares only how powerful you are, not how powerful your ancestors were.”

“What new power?”

“It doesn’t matter. You should get some rest before tomorrow.”

“But…”

Draco stood right before her and said firmly, “That’s enough. I’m not telling you anymore.”

Hermione almost squeaked and Draco’s eyes softened as he saw a glint of fear in her eyes. He touched her cheek softly, “Don’t be afraid. I’d never let anything bad happen to you.” And he kissed her softly. And she let him.

Hermione was still smiling faintly as she left Draco’s room and went to Blaise’s.

“Why hello there,” Blaise wolf whistled when he saw Hermione.

“I’ve just come to tell you your team, Blaise,” Hermione stated promptly.

“Ah, such a shame then,” Blaise pouted.

She told him his team and started to leave and then turned around, “Blaise, I have a question for you.”

“It’ll cost you.”

“Fine.”

“Go ahead then.”

“What’s the price for the answer?”

“I’ll decide after I answer the question.”

Hermione rolled her eyes and then asked, “What do you know about the new power that’s rising?” 

Blaise’s eyes glazed over and he nodded, “Draco is becoming very powerful, Hermione. You must already know that. He has so much more wealth than just wizarding wealth. He has connections in all parts of the world. He might not be a dark lord, but he’s definitely a man of power.”

Hermione nodded, “He has power over you.”

“I guess you could say that. He keeps my family rich. But I have something Draco doesn’t have.”

“And what is that?”

“Skills,” Blaise grinned.

Hermione laughed and Blaise continued, “And now for you to give me my payment.”

“And what would that be,” Hermione asked still laughing.

“A good luck kiss,” Blaise smirked.

Hermione stopped laughing and glared. She quickly pecked her lips against his.

“There, I’ll be going now.”

“Wait just a minute,” Blaise grabbed her arm and embraced her.

“Let me show you what a real kiss is,” and he brought his lips down upon hers much to both of their enjoyment.

Hermione was quite confused as she made her way to George’s room. She had done a lot more kissing that she would have liked tonight. And she didn’t know what to say to George. It was easier than she thought though once she finally got to his room. She told him quickly what team he would be on and tried to ignore his dark looks.

“Why are you doing this to me, Hermione?”

“Doing this to you? You, George? I could be asking you the same question.”

“Don’t you dare, Hermione. You can’t even begin to imagine how much I care for you. How much you’re tormenting me right now.”

“Tormenting you?” Hermione started laughing hysterically, “I’m the one who’s up for grabs for a quidditch match.”

George didn’t answer and Hermione began to leave.

“Wait.”

“What is it?” Hermione answered annoyed.

“Please don’t think I’m doing this to torment you, Hermione. I just want you to be happy. And if that means I have to show you by competing for you myself, then I’ll do it. Just know that in the end, I want you to be the happiest. It’s going to be the hardest thing in the world if I do this because in the end, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get past my selfishness and let you be with someone who could make you happier than me.”

Hermione didn’t know what to say. Did George just confess his love for her? She couldn’t understand.

“I doubt anyone could make me happy at this point. Good luck at the game, George.”

George let his head slump down as Hermione left. No matter what he did, her happiness seemed to be getting farther and farther away.

“Why does he do this to me?” shrieked Hermione to Angelina once she got back to her room.

“It’ll be ok, Hermione. Just wait and see.”

Hermione sat on her bed next to Angelina and started crying, “No. No it won’t. How am I supposed to find someone who is going to love me if all everyone cares about is if I’m happy or not? What does love have to do with happiness? Can’t I be miserable and in love?”

“Shhh,” Angelina tried to soothe Hermione as she wrapped her arms around her and started rocking her. Hermione soon fell asleep in Angelina’s arms.

Dawn came quickly. Everyone assembled at the Hogwart’s quidditch pitch. Fred and George got special permission to use the field for the game. Hermione sat by herself and waited to see her fate be decided by a game she barely understood. The teams lined up against each other with Angelina in the middle. Dean, Neville, Krum, Lee, Justin, Roger, and Fred on one side and Oliver, Seamus, Harry, Ron, Draco, Blaise, and George on the other.

The game started quickly. Hermione watched as goal after goal was scored. The boys were playing nasty and Angelina called several fouls. Victor and Harry, as the seekers and captains of their teams, were seen several times swooping quickly across the field for the snitch, but neither had caught it yet. Victor’s team had 0 points (Thanks to Blaise’s amazing guarding skills) and Harry’s team had 150 (thanks to Draco’s fantastic scoring abilities).

Finally the snitch was spotted. Harry and Krum raced for it. Everyone seemed to pause the game and watch the two race towards the little golden ball. Krum caught the snitch. Angelina blew her whistle to call the game. At that same time, Draco had put the quaffle in for one more goal.

The game was over. And yet, for Hermione, it had just begun.

A/N – I realize that the actual “game” was really short. XD but the chapter is the longest I have written for any fanfic! Just like to mention that all this belongs to J.K. Rowling of course. Please review and let me know what you think. I love to hear from readers. Also, I have a meet the author page for any questions. Thank you once again for reading this far!

Chapter 11: Tie Breaker
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A/N – Here it is. The aftermath of the game. Sorry for the long wait. Hopefully the next chapter comes more quickly. That is the plan. For those interested, this fanfic is going to be roughly 30 chapters. I think that I’m going to give a sneak peak of the plot outline and my notes to a certain numbered reviewer. Probably 500 so it’ll be towards the end of the story anyways. ;) Oh, and J.K Rowling owns Harry Potter and everything that goes with him. 

Chapter 11: Tie Breaker 

Hermione was breathless. Who won? Both teams seemed to be celebrating. Krum raced over to show her the snitch and at the same time Angelina was still blowing her whistle and making her way over to her. 

“Who won?” she whispered to Angelina. 

“I can’t make the call,” Angelina looked concerned. 

“What do you mean?” Hermione asked in desperation. 

The chaos around them was increasing as everyone huddled up to Angelina and Hermione to hear the verdict. 

“Let’s go inside,” Angelina suggested. 

“Good idea,” Hermione agreed as she tried to shake off Krum who was announcing how his love for Hermione had caught the snitch on its own and it was fate. 

Angelina shut the doors to the great hall on the suitors. 

“I don’t know anything about quidditch, Angelina. I don’t know how to judge the game,” Hermione said in earnest. 

“It’s alright, Hermione. I’ll explain it to you.”

Hermione looked on expectantly. 

“The problem is that theoretically, the two teams tied. Victor caught the snitch which scored his team 150 points which tied him with Harry’s team who had 150. However, Draco scored a goal the same time the game ended. It’s your decision on who won.”

The doors the great hall opened. Hermione and Angelina expected 14 suitors to come storming in demanding the outcome of the game. Instead it was just Fred and Harry. Harry looked awful. He had cuts and scratches all over his face and arms. Hermione jumped up and went to him. 

“What happened?”

“It’s nothing Hermione,” Harry winced as she touched his face softly, “Victor and I just had a small disagreement.”

“Small?” Hermione asked skeptically. 

“Don’t worry, Hermione. Everything’s taken care of,” Fred said carefully while trying to look at Angelina, “Do you mind if I have a word with you?” 

Hermione took one careful look at the way Fred was looking at Angelina with longing and then hope and pleading while he turned to look at Hermione. 

“There’s nothing that needs to be said, Fred,” Hermione tried to smile reassurance. 

“But…”

“I’ve decided who won.”

“Hermione, can we talk about this first?” Harry tried to interrupt. 

“Krum’s team won,” she announced to everyone’s winces. 

“Hermione,” Harry said softly as he took her hands, “please reconsider.”

Fred and Angelina stepped away as Hermione firmly took a step back and whispered with hurt, “You promised you would catch the snitch.”

“I tried Hermione.”

“Don’t you love me?”

Harry didn’t know what to answer. He did love her, didn’t he? But why couldn’t he catch that stupid flying gold ball. 

“Hermione, it was just a game.”

“This isn’t just a game, Harry. This is my future and my heart we’re talking about.”

“I know. And I only want what’s best for you.”

“And what do you think that is, Harry Potter?”

“I thought it could be me.”

“Well obviously you thought wrong.”

“Hermione, you can’t do this,” Fred finally approached. 

“Why not Fred? Isn’t this my decision to make?”

“Yes, but you’re not being fair.”

“Fair to who?”

“To all of us. To me.”

“Oh?” Hermione tried holding back her grin.

“Hermione, this is ridiculous. I know you know this. I’m not going to continue competing for you.”

“You have to Fred, it’s the…”

“The rules can be broken.”

“Why would you break them Fred? Because obviously you won’t let me break them by not participating in this ridiculous attempt to find me a husband, so what’s so important that you can break them?”

Fred looked at Angelina, but he couldn’t respond. His eyes saddened as he couldn’t find a response. He watched Angelina walk away. She thanked Hermione kindly and kissed her cheek before leaving. 

“That’s it? Well, Fred Weasley. I’m afraid your grounds for breaking the rules are invalid. My decision stands as is.”

“I’ll prepare the farwell banquet then.”

“The what?”

“The suitors toast the champions and wish the winners luck in the continuation of their quest for your hand,” he said simply, “I thought we mentioned it to you.”

“No,” Hermione said darkly, “You must have forgot.”

Fred shrugged, “Must have.”

Hermione shrieked as Fred left, “How can they still be doing this to me!”

Harry carefully approached her, “I can get everyone to leave now, if you wish.”

Hermione looked towards Harry and tried to not let her tears fall, “Oh Harry. What am I going to do?”

Despite his cuts and bruises, Harry tried holding Hermione in his arms, “It’ll be ok. You’ll be able to choose eventually and this will all blow over.”

“Why couldn’t you just win?”

“The game or you?”

“I’m not letting you leave.”

Harry smiled in relief, “really?”

“I can’t do this without you.”

Whether it meant that Hermione was going to choose him in the end, Harry didn’t care. She obviously needed him and he wasn’t going anywhere. 

Later during the banquet, everyone was in an uproar at the news at who won. Krum was flaunting. Draco was livid. Fred and George were trying to calm everyone down while trying to contain their own emotions. 

Hermione grinned as she leaned in towards Harry to draw him in into a deep kiss. Harry blushed as more shouts went up. What was she doing? Harry’s team lost. What did it mean? Why was she kissing the loser?

Through all the shouts, protests, and pleading, one eye caught Hermione’s. George was looking at her with the deepest of hurts in his eyes. He had lost his chance with her, he knew. But he also knew that none of this was making her happy. 

Hermione’s eyes grew cold as she nodded curtly to him. If games where going to be played, she at least wanted to be in control of the playing field. And if that meant creating chaos and disaster for everyone, then so be it. Hermione was ready to enter her own game.  

A/N – so sorry that was so short! Hopefully with shorter chapters come quicker updates which we will soon find out today. (hopefully I can write another chapter by the end of the day to be ready to post the moment this one gets validated!) thank you for all my wonderful reviewers. Especially to those who have reviewed from the very beginning. Thanks for sticking with me even though I’m not a faithful updater. I hope to do better because of you! So please, everyone, keep reviewing, and I promise I will keep writing. Thanks again, ~Moni Jane


Chapter 12: Eliminations
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A/N – so chapter 11 isn’t validated yet, but I’m totally going to start working on 12 so that you all, my wonderful reviewers, don’t have to wait as long! :D I love yall, just so you know. So with out further ado…oh and J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter & co., but I’m sure if you didn’t already know that, you wouldn’t be reading this! This chapter is definitely longer than the last one, so enjoy!

Chapter 12: Eliminations

Draco was furious. He did not lose. Ever. And this wasn’t going to be the first time. While everyone was shouting in either protest or triumph, Draco calmly caught the attention of Fred Weasley, who was trying to calm down Oliver Wood. 

“A word please,” Draco drawled. 

“Just a moment, Malfoy,” Fred hardly looked at him. 

Draco pulled gently on Fred’s arm to pull him away from the chaos, “No, I think this deserves immediate attention.”

“Now listen, Malfoy, no matter what you say, Hermione’s decision is final, and nothing you do is going to change…”

“Oh, I think things can be changed quite easily, Weasley,” Draco whispered as he drew Fred over to a secluded hallway. 

“What are you playing at?”

Draco pulled from his lavish robes a medium sized bag clinking with wizard coins.

Fred hesitantly asked, “I’m not selling Hermione to you if that’s what….”

“Oh please, Weasley, I’m not that heartless. And I believe you’re not that stupid to accept such a small amount for our dear Hermione. This payment is just a little insurance premium.”

“What do you want, Malfoy?”

“To stay in the game.”

“You’re already out.”

“You can change that.”

“How could I…”

“The game was a fluke, everyone knows that. If anything it was tied. As provider and caretaker you can determine the game to be invalid.”

“That would put us back at the beginning. I’m not sure if Hermione could take that.”

“Then set some qualifying limitations.”

“What did you have in mind?” Fred said as he accepted the bag and surveyed the huge amount inside. It was plenty enough money for Fred and George’s inventions for many years to come. 

Draco smirked and let out an evil laugh, “So easily corrupted.”

“I wouldn’t call it corruption,” Fred said as he closed the bag and tucked it way under is not as nice robes, “Just smart business policies.”

“Call it what you wish,” Draco smirked as he walked away.

Fred promptly went to go find George. 

“Fred we have some problems.”

“I know George, but I think I have some sort of a solution.”

“Oh good,” George let out a sigh of relief.

“Where’s Hermione?”

George continued to look worried, “she disappeared into her room. No one can get her out. Not even Harry.”

“Well that’s a problem.”

“yeah. I don’t know what’s come over her. She seemed like such a sane girl to begin with.”

“Listen, George, I need to talk to you about something,” Fred whispered quietly as he pulled out the bag of money.

George’s eyes lit up, “Fred where did you get that?”

“Let’s just call him an investor,” Fred whispered back as he nodded towards Malfoy who was in quiet conversation with Blaise. George picked up the hint. 

“What does he want?”

“Not much.”

George rolled his eyes, “That’s likely.”

“He wants us to announce the quidditch game invalid. And then eliminate suitors based upon a qualification.”

“What qualification would that be?”

“I guess that would be up to us to decide.”

“Maybe we could let Hermione decide?”

“You think that’s wise, George? Hermione isn’t quite sane at the moment.”

“We could let her see everyone one last time. Then at the end she can tell us what qualification she wants.”

“Sounds dangerous.”

“We never said this was going to be easy.”

Meanwhile, Hermione was preparing herself to go back out and face everyone. She felt so foolish for her decision on the quidditch match. What was she thinking? She obviously picked the wrong team. Harry met her as soon as she exited her room.

“Is everything ok?”

“I’m fine, Harry. Where are Fred and George?”

“Right here Hermione,” Fred answered as they approached. 

“We need to talk to you,” George added. 

With one pointed look from the twins, Harry slowly left the group.

“What is it?” Hermione asked almost afraid of what horrors awaited her next. 

“We’re afraid that the quidditch match is going to be invalid,” Fred said gravely but firmly.

“OH thank goodness!” Hermione let out a huge sigh of relief. Both twins looked at her oddly.

With a quirked eyebrow George added, “We ask that you see each suitor one more time. Then set a qualification that each must have in order to continue. Do you think you can do that?”

“I guess I don’t have a choice.”

“There are always choices,” George whispered.

“Apparently not for me,” Hermione replied back acidly, “Can we start this already?”

“Of course,” Fred answered for George who was still recovering from Hermione’s tone. 

Harry saw Hermione first. Which was a good thing. He helped lighten her mood. 


“What if I just picked you right now?” Hermione asked while they were wrapped in each others arms on her bed after quite the extensive make out session. 

“Would it be what you really wanted?” Harry asked a bit fearfully. He wasn’t sure if he was ready for this.

“Isn’t it what you want?” Hermione sat up and looked at him.

Harry had trouble answering as he got up too and started to stand, “Hermione, I think you need time to make this decision.” 

“Time only makes things confusing.”

“It’s better to be confused now, than regret a mistake later.”

“You’ll never be a mistake, Harry.”

“Let’s hope so,” Harry smiled kindly and gave Hermione one last kiss before leaving and sending in Ron. 

Ron had flowers for Hermione. Flowers that seemed to be jumping from one color to the next. 

“The flowers from the Burrow’s garden?”

“Yes,” Ron blushed.

“They’re really beautiful,” Hermione smiled. 

Before Ron handed them over they turned a deep shade of red. And stayed there for quite some time. Hermione knew they expressed feelings. She quickly grabbed them and set them by her bed as they changed quickly to a bright shade of yellow. 

“Hermione, I really do care about you,” Ron started.

“I know, Ronald,” Hermione smiled again, this time not so easily. Why was this so awkward? 

“I would do anything for you,” Ron continued, “That’s why if you want me to leave so you can pick someone you truly want, just say the word. I would leave right away and…”

“Ron, don’t be ridiculous. Of course I want you here,” Hermione said impatiently. 

Ron blushed crimson and asked, “Really?”

“Who else am I going to turn to when I really need a friend?” Hermione asked as she grabbed his hands. 

Instead of blushing more, Ron just smiled. Not a goofy kid smile, but a content grin. He held that grin as he bent down to give Hermione a soft kiss. 

“I was hoping you would say that,” he said as he started to leave. 

Neville came in next and let her know that whatever her decision that he only hoped the utmost happiness. Dean, Seamus, and Oliver were quite the same, except they added that they were only sorry that the quidditch match was so ill-played. 

When Krum entered Hermione’s room, she cringed. He was smugly smirking as he held out his hand to reveal the golden snitch that he caught. 

Hermione commented coldly, “The game was announced invalid, Victor. It doesn’t matter than you won anymore.”

“Hermione, you know that it does. It doesn’t matter the outcome of the game, in the end I’m the ultimate winner. I caught the snitch.”

“Catching something doesn’t mean you win,” Hermione said flatly.

“Oh, I really think it does,” Krum said darkly as he came up closer to Hermione. She backed up in fear and knocked over a lamp. It broke with a loud clash, which Hermione was partly grateful. In another second Fred was the room.

“Is everything ok?”

Hermione looked pale, “Fred, I think it’s time for Victor to leave.”

“What did you do to her?” Fred asked Krum angrily. 

“Nothing,” Krum looked confused, “Hermione, what’s wrong with you? You know I’m the right choice. Stop all this nonsense and just pick me.”

“I’m sorry, Victor,” Hermione sounded sincere, “But I don’t think we would work out. Please leave.”

Krum’s face turned quite violet as his hands flinched, “You must be joking,” he said angrily as he came closer to her, “this is a joke right?” he yelled right in front of her.

Hermione resisted the urge to squeak as Fred grabbed hold of Krum and started pushing him out the door, “You need to leave now.”

“I’m sorry Victor,” Hermione called out as he heard him shouting at Fred in the hallway. 

Inwardly she sighed with relief. That’s one less problem and suitor to worry about. 

“That relieved to see me? I know it’s been a while, but I thought you’d be able to survive a little bit without me,” Blaise smirked. 

Hermione rolled her eyes, “Really Blaise, can you only think of yourself?”

“Naturally. But occasionally you pop into my mind as well.”

“How romantic.”

“I thought so too,” Blaise joked, “Really though, Hermione. You’ve made quite the spectacle of this whole thing. It really is quite amusing.”

“Amusing to some, I suppose.”

Blaise raised an eyebrow, “you’re not amusing yourself with all this?”

“How can I? My feelings aren’t being considered in this. No one cares.”

Blaise approached her. She could feel his arms close to her and wanted nothing more to feel them around her. She could hear his breathing and smell the old book smell that she loved about him. 

“I really think someone does. At least I do.”

“really?”

Blaise took her arms in his hands and pulled her closer to him and whispered, “Oh very much so.” And he kissed her. A long pleasant kiss that left Hermione smiling as he left the room to send the next guy in. 

“Please tell me that you are not falling for Zabini,” Draco droned. 

“And is something wrong if I am?” Hermione challenged back.

“More than you can imagine,” Draco stared back at her. His stare was so intense that she didn’t feel like she could challenge him again. She just nodded. 

“I suppose you’re quite proud of yourself for causing so much chaos earlier,” Draco smirked. 

“Well, a little chaos never hurt anybody.”

Draco grinned, “as long as you’re not a part of it, correct?”

“Why yes, it’s more fun to watch it, I suppose.”

Draco just smiled, but Hermione was curious, “You didn’t seem very phased by any of it though? Are you immune to chaos or something?”

“No, I just know to live above of it.”

Hermione rolled her eyes, “Yes of course. The great Draco Malfoy. Always above such petty confusion.”

Draco chuckled, “You’re lucky you’re not some insubordinate. I would have you wishing that your thoughts couldn’t even come up with those words.”

Hermione challenged back, “Doesn’t sound very threatening to me.”

“Oh really?” Draco growled playfully as he moved closer to her. She could feel is presence invading hers. Although it was a bit exciting, she was extremely intimidating. She couldn’t answer. 

“I guess you just need a few lessons in submission then,” Draco murmured as his mouth moved closers to hers. 

“And what makes you think you’re the one to teach me?” Hermione asked. Draco didn’t answer though. He had closed the gap and was kissing her, quite in control of the situation. And Hermione didn’t mind at all. 

She was still grinning from her experience with Draco as she saw Lee, Justin, and Roger. All of which she could hardly remember their words of endearment and wishes for her to find happiness. 

“You seem distracted,” Fred finally asked after speaking with her for a few minutes. 

“Do I?”

“Making your decisions, I suppose?”

“I’m getting there.”

“I’m going to ask you to leave me out of this, Hermione. Please.”

“Why?” Hermione’s eyes held spunk with the challenge.

“You know why,” Fred answered darkly. 

Hermione shrugged and continued nonchalantly, “Well, with no reason, I really can’t consider…”

“I want Angelina and I to work out.”

Hermione’s eyes went bright at the answer, “You’re going to become serious with her?”

“I would like to.”

“That’s all you had to say,” Hermione grinned like a cat as she ushered him out of the room, “Consider it done!”

“You seem to be in a happy mood,” George commented as he entered as his brother left. 

“Well I was,” Hermione became quite somber. 

“is it really all that bad?”

Hermione didn’t answer.

George sighed, “You don’t have to make this difficult, Hermione.”

“Oh yes, because choosing my future partner is suppose to be super easy,” Hermione rolled her eyes. 

“No, but you don’t have to throw such tantrums. You could act a bit more sane!”

“Sane, George? You want me to be sane? You’re the one who came up with this idea!”

“To help you! To help you become happier!”

“I was happy!” Hermione shouted back.

“No, Hermione. You were numb. And now you’re feeling things. And even if that means having you feel anger towards me, then so be it. I’d rather you hate me then have no feelings at all.”

“I don’t hate you, George,” Hermione said softly. 

“That’s good, because you still have to put up with me.”

Hermione crossed her arms, “you’re so impossible.”

“I’m impossible? You’re practically a nightmare.”

Hermione turned a bright shade of red, “How dare you!”

“I’m sorry, Hermione. I really didn’t mean it that way,” George winced. He had gone too far. 

“And how did you mean it?” 

George couldn’t answer. She was so frustrating. He wanted to just grab her and kiss her and tell her how crazy she was making him. But he took a step back instead. 

“I just mean, that everything will be better once this is all over. Have you made your decision.”

Hermione tried to search George’s face for some hint or clue to what he felt. But she knew she had no hope anymore of regaining that semi-spark she had with George. Why was he so shielded against her? 

“Yes. I know the qualifications.”

“What are they?”

Hermione came close to George, still searching him. He looked a bit timid and unsure. And she was right there looking up at him so expectantly. He leaned down a little, just in case she decided to whisper her decision. Her gaze was attracting him. His face moved closer to hers. Hermione’s eyes gently closed as their heads tilted and came closer. He wanted to feel her lips so bad and he was so close. Her jerked suddenly away. 

“Everyone’s waiting for your decision, Hermione.”

“Then they shall have it,” Hermione said with all the sadness she could let her voice carry without letting the tears that were pooling in her eyes fall freely down her face. She tensed up and walked outside her room, “I’ll make the announcement myself.”

A/N – Wow, so this was so longer than I intended it to be! I feel so good actually having this chapter finished and waiting to be put in queue for validation. It makes me feel like a dependable author that we all know I’m not. ^^ Anyways, I hope everyone loved this chapter. Please let me know and review! Oh, and feel free to check out my “Meet the Author” page. It’s kinda cool. Til Next time!

Chapter 13: Finalists
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A/N – I’m once again trying to be a faithful authoress! I’d like to take this time to thank everyone who’s reviewing. Ya’ll rock my world! Seriously. I’m starting this chapter while chapter 12 is still waiting to be validated. That’s how much I love you all! Please keep reading and enjoy!




Chapter 13: Finalists


“The qualification is going to be the sign of passion,” Hermione announced.



Draco smirked while the other guys looked at each other and tried to figure out what kind of sign that was.



“You’re going to have to be a bit more specific, Hermione,” George said gently. Maybe she wasn’t ready for this yet after all.



“Then let me clarify,” Hermione said acidly towards George then smiled to everyone else, “Will everyone who has not shared a kiss with me please leave? You all are very wonderful, however, at this point, if we haven’t connected then…”



Hermione paused. She wasn’t sure how to continue. How could she tell them that if they hadn’t kissed her then she just wasn’t that interested in them. It seemed a bit harsh.



Fred gave a huge sigh of relieve and then winked at Hermione, “Well said. You heard her boys, Pack up.”



Fred and George expected most of the guys to leave. They almost expected that only Harry would be left remaining. What they saw surprised them. And surprised the guys who were left standing.



“Weasley? Really?” Draco sneered.



“Draco Malfoy, Hermione. Are you serious?” Harry asked a little angry.



Ron looked shocked to still be in the room, despite Draco’s sneer. Blaise was smirking, confident that he still belonged in the game.



While Fred was glad with the results, George looked on unsatisfied. He caught Hermione’s eye, and Hermione understood. However, she just smiled. Happy for once she was in control of others feelings instead of having her feelings being controlled.



“If you all will excuse me,” Hermione muttered as she left to go to her room.



The boys looked around at each other, still unbelieving at who their competition was.


“So now what?” Harry asked, still angry.



Fred smoothed over his hair. He wasn’t prepared for more competitions.



George was looking stonily out the window, not responding to the discussion of what was going to happen next. He couldn’t understand Hermione, and it bothered him. He wanted to know and he wanted to care. He left to go see her.



Harry stopped him at the door.



“A word, George?”



They separated from the other guys to give themselves some privacy.



“I’m sorry, George. But you’re out of the game. You need to stay out.”



“You don’t know what you’re talking about Harry.”



“I think I do,” Harry said sincerely, “the others might not notice, but I can see. You love her, George. More than you can admit.”



George gave a sound of frustration, “What does it matter to you?”



“Because, if you don’t let Hermione free, then how is she suppose to find someone she loves?”



“I could say the same to you,” George replied quickly.



“I’m prepared to let her go though, if she chooses. Obviously, you’re not.”



George stared silently at the man that he had considered a hero for so long. Could he possibly be right? Was George really being selfish?



George smiled, “Consider myself let go then.”



Harry tried to reply again, but George had already left. He went in the opposite direction of Hermione’s room. He could walk away. If there was one thing he could control in all of this, it was that he had the choice to just walk away. Even if he didn’t want to.



Harry stared after George, feeling just a bit guilty. George was obviously heart-broken and no matter how much Harry had done it for Hermione’s own good, it still felt wrong.



“Harry,” Hermione murmured. How long had she been there?



Harry looked at her guiltily, “Hermione, I can explain.”



“Don’t worry about it Harry,” Hermione said with a sad smile, “it’s all for the better this way. Really.”



But honestly, Hermione wasn’t sure. She was glad she was able to make her point to George, but she wasn’t sure she ready to give him up completely.



Harry was embracing her now, trying to get rid of her sadness.



“Everything will get better,” he said.



“That’s what people keep telling me,” Hermione couldn’t help but smile, “do you want to join me in my room? I could use some company tonight.”



“I would love that,” Harry grinned.



Hermione took Harry’s hand and headed for her room, but on the way, they ran into Ron.



“What’s going on guys?” Ron asked a bit embarrassed.



“Um…hey Ron,” Hermione said with a slight blush.



“We were just going…” Harry stuttered.



“Everyone’s looking for you two,” Ron told them.



And they were. Draco, Blaise, and Fred soon found them.



“Hermione, I thought you had gone to bed,” Blaise asked bluntly.



“Surprise, surprise,” Hermione said sarcastically.



“You should get some sleep,” Fred said kindly.



“Very well,” Hermione sighed as she left to her room by herself. There would be plenty of time for some serious making-out later, after all.



Hermione never made it to her room though.



George surprised her from behind. She laughed nervously at being scared.



“Things are getting better already, then?”



“I guess so. It’s a lot less stressful without so many guys chasing after me.”



George tried not to sound sad. After all, wasn’t he one of the guys who wouldn’t be chasing her anymore?



“You must be relieved to getting closer to the end.”



“I guess it would depend on what the end brings.”



“Hopefully happiness.”



Hermione sighed, tired of the old argument.



George grabbed her hand, unable to hold anything in any longer, “Hermione, I’m sorry.”



“Sorry?”



“I’m sorry for not standing up for my feelings. I should have given you a reason to keep me.”



Hermione looked like she was about to cry, “George, why are you telling me this now?”



“I know it’s too late. But I couldn’t let you go on not knowing.”



“Not knowing?”



“Not knowing how much I care. How much I may love you.”



Hermione whispered very quietly, “And how much is that?”



“Oh so very much,” he whispered into her ear as he held her close.



Suddenly, Hermione jerked away. With angry tears running down her face she hit George hard against his chest.



“Why? Why are you doing this?”



George tried to hold her wrists to stop her flings.



“I’m sorry, I guess I wasn’t able to let you go.”



“Let me go, George? You never had me.”



Hermione bursted into more tears. However, she did stop hitting George. Instead she fell into his arms crying into his shoulders. He carried her into her room and laid her in bed. She was still crying.



“Please. Don’t leave me, George,” she said as she pulled him next to her in her bed.



“Never, Hermione. I’ll never leave you,” he answered as she laid her head against his shoulder again. Crying herself to sleep.



Meanwhile, Fred, Ron, Harry, Blaise, and Draco were discussing the final terms of the next day.



“So you all understand? The four of you will each have a 3 hour date with Hermione. We’ll discuss all of this with her tomorrow at breakfast at 8am. Ron, you will go first at 9am. From 12pm to 3pm it will be Harry’s turn. 3 to 6pm will be Blaise. Then Draco you can pick up Hermione at 6pm for your date. At 9pm Hermione will have one last chance to speak to all of us and make a decision. She’ll have one last dinner with who she thinks she wants to make sure. Of course, it doesn’t have to be her final choice,” Fred explained.



“So no one could technically win this round,” Blaise asked still unsure.



“Theoretically,” Fred answered. He didn’t want to push Hermione anymore. And this seemed the safest way to go.



“What if she doesn’t choose anyone,” Harry asked the question they were all thinking.



“She has to choose. She can’t keep us all waiting forever,” Draco complained.



“Are you not willing to wait forever for Hermione,” Fred asked smirking.



Draco glared in reply. They all went to bed, prepared to amaze Hermione tomorrow each in their own way.



A surprise was waiting for them in the morning though. Fred had suggested they all work together to make Hermione breakfast-in-bed. The boys opened the door to Hermione’s room to find her fast asleep in George’s arms. Breakfast was long forgotten.



A/N – shorter than the last I know, but still not too short I hope! I’m so glad I was able to finish this chapter because now I know that I’ll have something to put in the queue as soon as 12 finishes being validated. Wish me luck in getting chapter 14 done! Who knows, I could finish this entire fanfiction before summer is over! Please keep reading and remember to review when you get a chance.


Chapter 14: The Dates
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A/N – Alright folks, it’s time to make history! Chapter 12 is being validated and I’ve already finished 13. Yes that’s right, I’m up 2 chapters!! Exciting, I know. And I have all my wonderful reviewers to thank. All of yall are awesome. I’m really trying to catch up on reading and reviewing back, so don’t worry, I’ll get to your stories too! It’s hard keeping a balance between reading and writing, but I promise I’m trying to do better. Without further a do, chapter 14. Please enjoy! And remember, J.K. Rowling invented the wonderful world of Harry Potter. 

Winning Hermione

Chapter 14: The Dates

“What the hell, Hermione?” Draco shouted in protest as she groggily looked around at the angry men in her room.

George was slowly waking up as well, “What’s going on?”

“George,” Fred said pointedly, “I think it’s best if you come with me.”

George untangled himself from Hermione and left with Fred with an apologetic look to Hermione. 

She grinned sheepishly at the boys who still held breakfast items in their hands.

“So you chose George? I thought he was out of the running,” Ron pointed out disappointed. 

“Don’t be dim, Weasley. She can’t choose George. She already eliminated him,” Draco drawled. 

Harry looked serious, “Hermione, what you trying to do playing us like that?”

Hermione couldn’t answer. After all, she didn’t really mean to fall asleep in George’s arms last night. And nothing remotely romantic happened anyways. 

The only guy who seemed to be amused by all of this was Blaise, who was leaning against a wall smirking. After a brief moment of awkward silence he made a slow clap. 

“Bravo, my dear. Any more surprises for us?” he winked. 

Hermione blushed, “No, I’m done for the day.”

“Good,” Blaise replied, “so now let us continue our surprise.”

The boys quickly remembered why they were there and carried the breakfast over to Hermione. 

Hermione made a mental note to thank Blaise to no ends the next time she had the chance. Which would be sooner than she thought. 

With breakfast starting, Fred and George were in George’s room while he changed and got ready. 

“What were you thinking?” Fred asked hesitantly. He knew what his twin was thinking.

George grinned sheepishly, “She needed me.”

Fred rolled her eyes, “Was that all?”

“I don’t know, Fred. Obviously it doesn’t matter, does it?” George replied stonily, “She already has her four finalists.”

“Right. About that,” Fred started.

“What’s the plan?”

“3 hour dates with each of them. Starting at 9am. Afterwards she’ll speak with all of us and then, if she wants, make a decision. If not, we have to figure out something else.”

“Oh joy,” George rolled his eyes.

“Come on George, old boy. There’s no reason we can’t make this a little more fun,” Fred grinned. 

“I’m afraid I’m a bit funned out, my friend,” George said sadly.

Fred didn’t pursue it further. He knew George was taking all of this quite hard. It would be better in the end though. If they could just get Hermione to actually choose someone.  

“Let’s go inform her,” Fred announced and they promptly left to Hermione’s room. 

And what a scene they came to. Breakfast was well underway. Hermione was sitting in the center of her bed with Blaise on one side and Harry on the other. On the floor below her was Ron and Draco, who both looked uncomfortable being so close to each other. 

Apparently, the boys had already told Hermione what was going on. She seemed pleased since direct pressure wasn’t on her to choose someone at the end. 

“You should all get going, so I can get ready,” Hermione announced with fake chipperness, “Ron you can come back to my room at 9, is that alright?”

“Sure!” he answered and quickly left to make arrangements for the morning date. 

The other boys left quickly too, and Hermione sighed with semi-relief when she was finally alone. She didn’t take long to get ready, choosing to be comfortable rather than glamorous. After all they all knew what she was like, anyways. No use trying too hard. It wasn’t long before Ron came back. 

His lopsided grin was addictive with excitement, “Wait til you see what we’re doing!”

Hermione couldn’t help but laugh, “What is it?”

“A surprise,” he said as he took her hand and hurried her out the door. 

Waiting for them outdoors was a magic carpet. Hermione had never ridden one, but had always wanted to. They seemed quite safer than brooms and much more comfortable. 

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see,” Ron grinned. 

They sat down on the flying rug, rather close, and Hermione let out a squeal of glee once it started moving and floated up into the air way into the clouds to conceal them. The air was getting warmer and both their faces were flushed. Hermione was amazed at the sights of the ground below. 

“Oh, Ron, this is wonderful,” Hermione exclaimed.

“I was hoping you’d like it,” Ron tried to conceal a blush. 

“It’s perfect.”

“A little escape, eh?”

“Exactly.”

“Do you really like George?” Ron asked bluntly. Hermione could detect jealousy in his voice. 

“It doesn’t matter, Ron.”

“No, Hermione, it does. He’s my brother. I’ve competed against my brothers all my life. I won’t compete against one and lose for someone I love so dearly. I wouldn’t be able to bare it.”

“Ron, it doesn’t matter. He’s out of the game.”

Ron shrugged, dropping the subject.

When the carpet started lowering, Hermione glanced around to see their destination. They were in Egypt and were lowering right on top of a huge pyramid. She couldn’t help but gasp with delight. 

“Wait til we go inside,” Ron grinned as he took her hand and helped her off the flying carpet. 

Inside was even a great surprise. Thousands of ancient scrolls full of Egyptian history, muggle and magic alike. Hermione was trembling with excitement. 

“Ron, this is all so perfect,” she said with the brightest eyes of happiness, “I can never thank you enough.”

Ron smiled, pleased with himself, “Just enjoy yourself. That’s thanks enough.”

And so she did. Ron tried to keep up with her as she went through several scrolls, showing him random bits of strange writing she seemed to understand. 

On the way back, Hermione was leaning against Ron, enjoying the wind that blew on her as the magic carpet raced back to her home. For once in a long great while, she was content. 

“Ron, I don’t know how you do this.”

“Do what?”

“Make me so peaceful,” Hermione closed her eyes and drew Ron’s arms around her. 

“Anytime,” Ron gulped as they continued their way home. 

Harry was waiting impatiently. 

“About time,” Harry complained to Ron who just smiled sheepishly in reply. 

“Sorry, Harry. It was my fault. I was so caught up in all the fun we were having,” Hermione explained for them. 

Harry acknowledged with a silent “oh” and then led her to the nearest fireplace without a second glance to Ron. Ron and Harry had decided that for the sake of their friendship, they wouldn’t discuss or talk about Hermione until everything was over. It seemed safer that way. 

“Where are we going?” Hermione asked as Harry found some floo powder. 

“To my home,” Harry grinned. 

“Sounds perfect,” Hermione grinned back. Finally, the snog session she was denied the night before. 

It was almost time to head back home when Hermione noticed something about Harry’s home. It had traces of Ginny Weasley everywhere. She could see some of her clothes hanging in his closet. There were several pictures of them together. She picked up one that showed them being quite intimate. 

“Harry?” Hermione asked not taking her eyes of the picture. 

Harry didn’t know how to answer. He took the picture and stared at it longingly. 

“What happened?”

Harry hesitated before answering, “She didn’t understand the friendship between you and me. She didn’t understand why I had to go to you. And why we need each other.”

“So she broke things off with you?”

“Not exactly. We weren’t officially together anyways. She told me she didn’t want anything to do with me if I couldn’t commit fully to her.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“You needed me.”

Hermione felt her face burn, “I’m sorry. If I would have known.”

“Don’t. It was right. Things weren’t working out between Ginny and I anyways. Whatever happens, Hermione, it happens for a reason.”

Hermione nodded. Still not convinced and feeling completely guilty for breaking Ginny and Harry up. She would never be able to forgive herself. She had to fix things. 

But fixing things would have to wait. Harry returned her back to her home and Blaise was waiting. 

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” Hermione said kindly. 

“Oh, I would wait forever,” Blaise replied with a smirk.

“For what?” Hermione asked with a quirked eyebrow. 

“Only for few things, and luckily, you’re one of them,” Blaise winked.

“Yes, how lucky,” Hermione almost rolled her eyes.

They quickly left back through the fireplace. 

“Where are we?” Hermione asked. 

“My home,” Blaise gestured around at his surrounds. 

Hermione was almost speechless. The house was beautiful. The particular room they were in was wide open and showed a beach nearby. There were white pillars and majestic architecture all around. 

“This place is beautiful,” Hermione whispered. 

“My parents built it for me,” Blaise commented, “It was meant to be a wedding present, but they figured I would never settle down so they went ahead and gave it to me.”

“Where are we at, anyways?” Hermione said while staring at the clear blue beaches. 

“On a Caribbean Island,” Blaise smirked, “Gorgeous, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is quite lovely,” Hermione replied back. 

Blaise was directly behind her and softly grabbed and turned her around so she was facing him, “Not nearly as lovely as you.”

He went down for a kiss and Hermione couldn’t possibly think to turn away from that gorgeous mouth, no matter how intimidated she was in this grand house. He was leading her upstairs now, and the fear the kiss had scared off was coming back. 

“Blaise,” she started in protest. 

“It’s ok,” he said as they reached the top of the staircase, “I have a surprise for you.”

Hermione hesitantly followed. He opened a door and she half expected to see a big bedroom with an expectant bed. But she didn’t. The room was bright. The ceiling was painted glass and was letting in tons of natural sunlight. And around the room were tons of bookshelves that reached the high ceiling. There was a fireplace on one end surrounded by comfy looking couches and chairs. On the other side was a balcony that reached over the ocean with a simple writing desk with a perfect view. 

Hermione finally gasped. 

Blaise took full advantage of her stunness and leaped forward for a kiss. Hermione, however, was not to be distracted. She gently pushed him away and headed straight for the bookshelves. 

“This is absolutely amazing,” she said as she took a tour of the room. 

“Yes, quite so,” Blaise said a little dejectedly. Maybe he should have taken her straight to his room. 

After an hour or so of exploring, Hermione finally remembered Blaise. She was at the writing desk on the balcony looking at the beautiful ocean before her. From behind he finally snuck his hands around her and held her close. 

“This could all be yours,” he whispered in her ear and kissed her neck softly. 

Hermione could just nod with tears forming in her eyes. This was so perfect for her. She turned around and faced Blaise, the only non-perfect thing about the whole thing. 

“And in return, I would be yours,” Hermione posed a sort of question/statement.

“Yes, that’s the general idea,” Blaise responded. 

“Let’s go back to my home, Draco will be waiting,” Hermione finally answered back. She needed to leave before the magic of this magnificent library worked more of its charms on her. 

Blaise nodded a little bit confused. Why wasn’t she all over him proclaiming her love for him. He was almost sure the library would have done the trick. 

Draco glared at Blaise when they returned.

“A word please?” he said as soon as Hermione and Blaise exited the fireplace. 

“Of course,” Blaise answered with much more respect than Hermione thought was common. 

They went into the other room, but Hermione, forever curious and bored at the moment, pressed her ear against the door to listen.

“Have fun?” Draco asked without emotion.

“She loved the library,” Blaise answered trying to imitate not showing any emotions, but you could see he was proud. 

“I could give her hundreds of libraries like that,” Draco sneered. 

“I know.”

“You should remember who you’re dealing with, Zabini,” Draco said with a eerie calm, “Remember in the end, who will always win.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

“So we understand each other?”

“Perfectly,” Blaise answered. His voice was tense and when they left the room Hermione could see he was angry, if not furious, and could not even look at her. 

“What’s going on?” Hermione asked concerned. 

“Nothing to worry about, let’s have dinner, shall we?” Draco answered. It was a suggestion, but from Draco it definitely sounded like an order. An order Hermione found herself unable to disobey. 

“What’s for dinner?” Hermione asked as Draco led her back to the fireplace. 

Draco had taken her to an extremely expensive restaurant in Hogsmeade. Everyone was bowing and treating them with an extreme respect that Hermione was bewildered. As she looked over the expensively made menu she saw there were no prices, but she knew that the food had to be extremely expensive as well. 

“You look confused,” Draco drawled. 

Hermione didn’t answer but continued to study the menu.

“Let me order for you,” Draco suggest with his commanding tone that Hermione could not argue with. 

He ordered an expensive sounding red wine for them and their entrees. While waiting for the food and sipping on the strong wine, Hermione felt herself become more and more nervous. 

“Your nervousness is distracting,” Draco commented. 

“Sorry,” Hermione said darkly. She quickly tried to act less nervous, but her irritation had made it easier. 

“What do you think of this restaurant?” Draco said gesturing around. 

“It’s beautiful,” Hermione answered quietly. 

Draco smirked, “I’m glad you like it.”

“I didn’t say I liked it.”

“And what does that mean?” Draco looked amused rather than irritated with the statement. 

“Just because something is beautiful or attractive, doesn’t mean it’s something to like,” Hermione said pointedly. 

Draco caught her meaning, “Ah, which is why once you taste the food and we order your desserts you will be able to say how much you like this place, no?”

Hermione sighed and answered, “I suppose.”

“You’re very wise to not judge solely on beauty,” Draco commented. 

“I wish others were so wise,” Hermione again said pointedly. 
 
“I’m sure they’re more wise than you give them credit for,” Draco answered. 

The food had arrived and they sat quietly through most of the meal. Draco, whenever he did comment or talk, was quite charming. Hermione was slightly surprised. 

After another bottle of wine, and with dessert on its way, Hermione finally asked, “And why does the great Draco Malfoy have such an interest in me, hmmm?”

“Well, perhaps, the great Draco Malfoy cares for you,” Draco suggested highly amused. 

“But why?” Hermione asked not satisfied with the answer. 

Draco just stared at her seriously and a bit darkly. 

“I have the right to know, Draco,” Hermione continued, “Why would you ever want me? I thought I was nothing but a filthy mud…”

“Stop Hermione. Just stop,” Draco sounded frustrated and angry so she did stop but still looked to him for answers which hesitantly he gave, “Things are changing, Hermione. I’m to be the new Minister of Magic. The Ministry has already decided. They’re just waiting for me to step up to the plate. I have thousands of supporters. And an army, although in secret right now, waiting for my command. The Ministry is ready for a change. They’re ready for a new ruler, a lord of the wizarding world.”

“And you’re to be this new lord, are you?” Hermione asked skeptically. She didn’t doubt it. Draco held a power which she could never understand. 

“Yes,” Draco answered. 

“That doesn’t answer why you suddenly changed your mind about my heritage,” Hermione reminded softly. 

“Like I said, things have changed. When I’m in power I plan to do away with all this pureblood nonsense. I’ve seen to many great wizards fall because of it. I don’t plan to fall because of it.”

“Ah, so it’s basically to make you look better?”

“No, it’s more, Hermione. I really do believe it. I really believe that mixed races exist for a purpose. One day we’ll all be mixed. It’s inevitable. If we want the magical race to survive, we have to mix.”

“You’re right about that. Good job, coming to your senses,” Hermione teased.

“It’s why I need you, Hermione. It’s why I care about you,” he said softly. 

Hermione tried not to act angry, “you need me because what I am? Not because of who I am?”

“Everyone loves you, Hermione. You’re so powerful in your own way. And that’s the future. Your future doesn’t rest with your ancestors, but in how powerful you are in yourself. You possess all of that and more. With you by my side, no one would question us. Everyone would be happy with us as rulers.”

“I would be your equal?”

“If you wanted.”

Hermione was speechless. How could she refuse such an offer? The dessert sat sitting on the table. Hermione couldn’t even touch it. She couldn’t speak. Her thoughts overwhelmed her. 

“Let’s get you home. You have a lot to think about, I’m sure.”

Hermione just nodded. As they exited the fireplace, Hermione was so pleased and relieved to see Fred and George waiting for her. She let herself embrace George warmly and found comfort in his arms. 

“We need to talk,” she said to George. 

A/N – hahahah guess where I am? At work. XD That’s right. The second half of this chapter was so written at my bank job. XD Anyways, enough ranting about being a naughty employee! I hope everyone enjoyed this chapter! Stay tuned to see what happens next!

Chapter 15: Something Missing
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A/N – ok so I’m going to humbly ask everyone’s forgiveness *again* for my horrible lackage of an update. I am *so* sorry. Really, I am. I started a new job in a pharmacy, but I’m still working at my old job at the bank so I’m averaging 60+ hours of work a week. I haven’t even been able to make my dance classes, which makes me sad inside! Hopefully I’ll get back to a normal work schedule and be able to go back to updating regularly. Hope this tides everyone over until then! This is the exact middle of the story. Only 15 chapters left! That being said, I’m afraid this is going to be rather short. Please enjoy!



Winning Hermione 



Chapter 15: Something Missing



The talk with George was not going well.


“How am I supposed to choose between them? I don’t like any of them!” Hermione shouted.



“Perhaps you should give them another chance. There has to be something you…”



“No, George. I’m done. I’m done playing this game. None of them are offering what I want.”



“And what is that?” George asked, finally annoyed.



Hermione bit her lip in response. She was stumped once again.



“I guess that’s what is missing.”



“Is it?” George grumbled as he crossed the room to get away from Hermione. This was difficult for him. He wanted to be pleased that she didn’t want any of the remaining suitors. But at the same time, she had to choose one of them eventually.



Fred entered then, assuming that the absence of yelling meant they were finished talking.



“Time to call it a night, don’t you two think?”



“Brilliant idea, Fred. Much better than calling it a morning!” George smiled weakly.



Fred grinned with him and then took Hermione by the arm to lead her to her room.



“Alright, Hermione?” he asked as she started to disappear into her room.



“Tomorrow’s another day,” was the only response he got as she shut the door.



The next morning no one was really surprised when Hermione refused to come out of her room.



“This is ridiculous!” Draco shouted to her locked door.



“Can’t we just alohamora the damn door?” Blaise said bored as ever.



“You really want to invade on her rights that much?” Harry asked annoyed.



“What if she’s in danger though?” Ron asked.



“From what, all her worst fears are standing on this side of the door,” Draco sneered.



“I’m fine!” Hermione chirped through the door.



“No you’re not, Hermione,” Fred answered, “you need to come out and eat something.”



“I’m not hungry.”



“Let her starve,” Blaise said impatiently.



“Lucky she hasn’t chosen you yet, she would have died of starvation by now,” George rolled his eyes.



“She would still be doing better than she is with you two,” Blaise snapped back.



“Can you all please leave!” Hermione said annoyed.



“Now you should know better than that, Hermione,” Fred answered, “We’re staying here until you decide to come out.”



“Maybe we should give her some space,” George said quietly. It was the first thing he had said all morning. Maybe it was because of that, that everyone had decided to listen to him.



That is, until lunchtime. They were all worried about her starving to death.



“I say we all take 30 minute intervals until she decides to come out,” Blaise suggested in a competitive way.



“Winner takes all?” Draco sneered.



“Not necessarily, but obviously the implications would be there,” Blaise smirked back.



“I think she’ll come out on her own,” Ron suggested, convinced he didn’t stand a chance at the mock-competition.



“Can’t we just concentrate on getting her help first?” Harry said impatiently.



“Fine,” the all chimed at different times.



They explained the idea to Fred and George, who agreed since they really didn’t have another plan.



“Guess I’ll go first,” Ron volunteered.



Blaise looked at his watch, “Ready. Go!”



Ron glared at him as he made his way to Hermione’s room.



“Hermione can you hear me?”



All he got in response was a light snore.



“Oh great,” he whispered to himself as he leaned against the door and slid down, “should have known.”



He had banged his head against the door, which had triggered the light snoring to stop. He listened closely, wondering if Hermione had truly woken up.



“Who’s out there?” came the lightly tired, but annoyed, voice.



“It’s Ron,” he answered, “are you ok?”



“Obviously,” Hermione said, awake and annoyed by this time.



“Oh, that’s good.”



Ron could feel Hermione rolling her eyes. He felt bad for annoying her.



“I guess I’ll just leave.”



“Ok then.”



“Are you ever coming out.”



“I guess I’ll have to eventually. Mortal needs and all.”



“Yeah, I guess.”



“Don’t worry so much.”



Ron blushed and left. There was no way in his mind he could fathom that Hermione liked him the way he liked her. But he couldn’t give up now. He was in too deep. He sighed as he returned to where the others were waiting.



“Any luck?” Harry asked with concern on his face.



“Your turn, I guess,” Ron answered.



Harry gulped and started towards Hermione’s door. Dealing with an annoyed angry Hermione wasn’t the easiest. Especially when he couldn’t distract her with kisses and physical appeal. This wasn’t going to be easy.



He knocked softly on the door, “Hey Hermione.”



“Go away, Harry.”



“Jeesh, you sure know how to hurt a guy.”



“Don’t take everything so personally,” Hermione answered annoyed.



“What’s wrong, Hermione? Yesterday you seemed so happy.”



“Yesterday I wasn’t being pressured to choosing a future husband.”



“And you’re not today either.”



“Oh really?” Hermione asked and both could feel the glare that radiated through the door.



“Hermione, no one expects you to choose instantly. But you need to come out and eat and take care of yourself.”



“I’ll think about it.”



“Can I get you anything?”



“Yeah. Lunch.”



Harry laughed, “I’ll be right back.”



“Success!” Fred clapped his hands together at Harry’s news. At least Hermione was going to eat. Now if they could just get her out of her room.



Later that night, Blaise decided to give it a go. After all, if Harry could have that much success, couldn’t he do better?



“What do you want, Blaise?” Hermione answered as he knocked on her door in the middle of the night.



“How did you know it was me?”



“Easy. What other guy disturbs a girl in the middle of night. The one with the least amount of consideration.”



“Was that suppose to be a compliment?”



Blaise grinned as he heard Hermione give a sigh of frustration.



“Just go away.”



“Not til I know you’re ok.”



“I am. There are you happy? Now go!”



“No, I’m afraid that’s not proof enough. I’ll need to see you.”



Hermione sighed again and he could hear her unlocking the door. He couldn’t help but smirk.



She stood in light blue pajama bottoms and a black tanktop. Her hair was a mess from sleeping. Other than tired, she looked perfectly fine.



“Are you good now?”



“I guess,” Blaise smirked again.



“Seriously, Blaise. This is ridiculous.”



“No, it’s not. Besides, I brought you something.”



Hermione’s eyes glittered for a moment, “What did you bring me?”



He handed her a book, quite old and dusty looking.



“I saw you looking at it in my library.”



“Seriously, Blaise? You’ll let me borrow this?”



“Yes, on one condition.”



“What’s that?”



“Don’t lock us out.”



Hermione bit her lip, “Do I have to?”



“Hermione, you have to let people in. Especially the ones who care about you.”



“Why would I want to let people in my life, when I’m dying to get out?”



“Lives change, Hermione. Yours is changing too. If you’ll just let it.”



Hermione’s voice went really soft and she looked downcast, “I think I might be scared of changing.”



Blaise gently wrapped his arms around her, “It’ll be ok.”



“I think I’m beginning to realize that,” she smiled while looking up at him. 



They were interrupted by a very annoyed drawl, “Seriously? Are there no morals left in this household?”



“Draco!” Hermione’s face blushed crimson.



“Looks like I’m not the only one with the least amount of consideration,” Blaise smirked.



“What are you doing here, Zabini?”



“Obviously, I was here to assist Hermione. It seems she’s decided to end the locking of the doors,” he answered curtly.



Draco considered for a moment, then smiled at Hermione, “Glad to hear you’re doing better then.”



Hermione glared, “I’m not ‘doing better’, Draco. I just decided that starving wasn’t the best way to ignore my problems.”



“Let me help you with those then,” Draco answered quickly, “Blaise, you can go now.”



Blaise glowered at Draco as he left, following orders.



“Why do you have to do that?” Hermione asked.



“Do what?”



“Order people around like they have no free will.”



Draco shrugged, “Natural?”



Hermione rolled her eyes, “I’m going to bed.”



“See you in the morning?”



“If I must.”



“Splendid.”



Hermione grunted in disgust and slammed her door.



Over the next few days, Hermione seemed to be getting better. She talked with each suitor frequently, and often was found in Blaise’s library or eating out with Draco. However, it wasn’t surprising to find Harry sneaking out of her bedroom at night, or Ron sitting next to her in deep conversation. George could hardly stand it.



One day, after seeing Harry leave her room with a ridiculous grin on his face, George went to speak with Hermione.



“George!” she smiled.



“Hello, Hermione,” he answered trying to remain calm.



“It’s been so long since I’ve actually gotten to talk to you alone. Usually you’re with Fred, or Fred talks to me. What’s up?”



“Hermione, I..”



“yes?”



“Well I’m concerned for you.”



“When haven’t you been?”



“Seriously this time.”



“Oh, so it hasn’t been serious before?”



“You know what I mean.”



“Do I?” Hermione was beginning to get impatient.



“I’m just worried. I don’t want to see you hurt.”



Hermione rolled her eyes.



“Look, I know we haven’t put you in the best position, but could you try to be a bit more careful?”



“What do you mean, George?” Hermione asked curtly.



“Well, you know. No more late night visits. No being alone with Malfoy. Or Zabini for that matter. We just can’t trust them.”



“Trust them?! You’re the one who brought them here in the first place!”



“No Hermione, you did by choosing them. You could have chosen other boys.”



“I don’t see how that would make a difference. You’d find flaws with all of them.”



“Yes, but not as many.”



Hermione gave out an exasperated sigh and sank into a nearby couch.



George sat cautiously next to her.



“I just want to make sure you’re ok. It’s a lot easier to protect you when you’re not alone with some boy.”



“I will one day be permanently alone with some boy. What will you do then?”



George looked confused for a moment then said, “Well, we’ll get there when we get there.”



“I just don’t know why you feel like you need to protect me. You’re the one who put me in this situation.”



“Yes, but you sort of went the opposite direction we were hoping.”



“And what were you hoping for? That I would choose you and we could all live happily ever after?”



“That’s not what I’m saying…”



“Then what are you saying, George? Because I’m getting slightly confused.”



George flung up his arms in frustration, “I just wish you would be more wise in your decisions. Malfoy? Really?”



“Why does it matter? Are you jealous that Malfoy might win and steal me away from you?”



“Hermione, don’t put words in my mouth.”



“I’m just trying to make sense of it all, why can’t you just be honest with me!”



Hermione had risen from the couch now and was pacing in anger. George rose and went to her quickly and grabbed both of her arms to still her.



“I am being honest. Ok?” George stared at her, willing her to understand what he himself didn’t, “I just feel like something’s missing. Something isn’t right.”



“I know,” Hermione whispered and then she tilted her head softly up to him and placed a gentle kiss on his lips. George was surprised at first and then eager to finally get what he wanted. Eventually common sense caught up with him and he pulled away.



“Is that what you were missing?” Hermione asked with a grin.



George tried to hide his smile, “Perhaps. But what about you? Was it what you were missing?”



“This isn’t about me.”



“Yes it is Hermione. It has to be. I can’t think about myself right now. No matter what I feel, you have to come first. Your happiness will always come before my desires.”



“That’s ridiculous!” Hermione crossed her arms and backed away from him, “How can you say that? Do your feelings really not matter that much? You really won’t fight for what you feel in your heart?”



“Not when there’s a chance that you could be happier another way.”



“I see,” Hermione whispered softly. She turned quickly to run out of the room, but not quick enough for George not to see the tears running down her eyes.



A/N – So much for this being short. ^_- This chapter took me forever to write! I’m so sorry! I’ve just been so caught up in my new job at the pharmacy. I’m no longer at the bank, but I still wait tables. I still haven’t been able to go to any of my dance classes sadly, but one day! I actually had two versions of this chapter going and I didn’t realize it, but this one is much better and longer so yay! Oh, another diversion while writing this chapter: I found out I’m pregnant. Yay. ^_^ I’m about 7 weeks right now. I’m looking forward to my 6 weeks of maternity leave! Ha!  



 


Chapter 16: Distractions
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A/N – My apologies are so meaningless I know, but seriously, being pregnant and moving is not easy! By the way, only 2 more months now! We’ve picked out a name for the baby, Ethan. And actually, after this chapter future chapters will probably come more easily. SO please keep reading and enjoy!

Chapter 16: Distractions

After the fight with George, Hermione continued to get worse by leading each guy along. Only Ron really felt he didn’t have a chance. As for the others, they couldn’t wait for Hermione to finally make a decision. She had mentioned something about Christmas being that time. And it was fast approaching.

“You two are such guys!” Hermione threw up her hands in frustration as she was talking to Fred and George.

“Obviously,” Fred said, “or at least I hope so.”

“I mean,” Hermione continued, “Christmas is almost here and you have nothing planned. You don’t even have a tree up!”

“Overrated,” George rolled his eyes.

Hermione just glared until Fred came in to intercede, “Alright, alright. We’ll get some help. I’ll ask Angelina to come and help plan some festivities. Brighten the place up a bit.”

“That’s all I ask,” Hermione grinned as she left the room. No doubt on her way to Blaise’s library once again.

“Angelina?” George quirked an eyebrow up at Fred.

“yes,” Fred said trying to keep a straight face without emotion.

“I thought you two…”

“Yes, we’re pretty much over. I think,” Fred hesitated, “Which is another reason I’m bringing her. It’s time we finally fixed the Harry problem.”

“A razor might be just as…”

“I meant Potter.”

“Oh”

“All you have to do…”

“Wait just a minute, Fred, I have to do something? I’m not sure if I like this plan.”

“Do you want to finally show Harry for what he is?”

“Well yes of course.”

“Then just listen. You convince Angelina to flirt with Harry. Harry falls for her and Hermione sees that he’ll snog anything with boobs and an arse and problem solved.”

“I don’t know Fred, sounds like it could get dirty.”

“I suppose there’s always a chance. But if Harry really loves Hermione, then this test will tell all. And we can all stop worrying.”

“What if it doesn’t work?”

“Then we kill Malfoy and Zabini”

George chuckled.

“I’ll send my owl,” George smiled.

Angelina was quite happy to oblige the twins’ request and came right away. The girls hit it off right away and soon everything was ready for Christmas.

“Well, our work here is done,” Hermione smiled as her and Angelina finished up the tree.

“Truly,” Angelina smiled.

“So I noticed you have a follower,” Hermione grinned.

“What do you mean?”

“Harry, he’s always trying to be around you.”

“Are you sure it’s me and not you?”

“No, it’s you. Thank goodness for once.”

“I thought you and Harry…”

“I thought so too, but I don’t know really.”

“Well I wouldn’t want to…”

“Don’t worry about it, Angelina. I think it’s brilliant.”

“What is?”

“A little competition. These guys. All they can think of is me since there is no other girls around. Having you will even the odds of finding the right one.”

“I never thought about it like that.”

“So do you mind helping a bit?”

“I would love to,” Angelina grinned.

“Now if we could only get one more.”

The girls sat in thought for a little and then a smile came to both of them at the same time, “Ginny!”

“Oh it’s perfect,” Hermione squealed, “I know Harry still feels something for her. I bet he’d remember those feelings if she was around.”

“How will we get her here?”

“I have an idea!”

Immediately the good works of Christmas decorations turned over to the whisperings and manipulations of females. All in good fun, of course.

“Where’s Hermione?” George asked Fred as they watched their guests mingle the night of Christmas Eve.

“Still getting ready, I suppose,” Fred answered distracted, “What does she see in them?”

“huh?” George asked then looked at what Fred seemed distracted with. Angelina was sitting in between Harry and Blaise. Harry seemed to hang on her every word as Blaise was getting to be a little too close for comfort.

“Something wrong, boys?” Hermione asked as she snuck up behind them making them both jump.

“Other than your indecision, no,” George said gruffly.

Hermione rolled her eyes and started to continue to the room.

“Wait,” Fred grabbed her arm, “Does Angelina…”

“Does Angelina what?”

“Nevermind. It’s just Harry. I thought you two…”

Hermione shrugged, “Don’t change the subject Fred. It’s obvious you’re jealous.”

“I’m not jealous. I’m just worried about you.”

“Oh please, I think I can handle it.”

George rolled his eyes, “Cause you’re handling everything else so wonderfully.”

“Shut it, George.”

“Gladly,” he grumbled as he left to join the others.

“What’s his problem?” Fred asked confused.

“Some people don’t take rejection well.”

“What?”

“Nevermind. Now about Harry. I’m sure he’s just infatuated with Angelina. I mean, she’s “new meat” so to speak.”

“I thought he cared about you.”

“Who knows who he cares about. For all we know, he still cares about Ginny,” Hermione said with frustration and then left to join the others leaving Fred to his own thoughts.

“Ginny,” he said with a smile.

“…and that’s all it took to win the whole game,” Angelina finished her story.

“That’s totally awesome!” Harry said eagerly, “You’re incredible!”

“Obviously,” Blaise rolled his eyes, “she already knows how incredible she is, Potter. But there’s more than quidditch. How about how insanely gorgeous and intelligent she is?”

Angelina blushed, “Thank you Blaise.”

“Just the obvious,” he shrugged.

Meanwhile, Draco whispered to Hermione, “How’s the decision making coming along? Can we expect an answer tomorrow?”

“I don’t know Draco,” Hermione sighed.

Draco took another sip of his wine and looked over to where the guys where surrounding Angelina, “It seems the decision might be easier than you think.”

Hermione gave a grunt of frustration and started to leave.

“Hermione, we’re tired of waiting,” Draco commented loud enough for everyone to hear. They all stared briefly at her as she blushed a bright violet before running out of the room.

“That wasn’t necessary, Malfoy,” Angelina glared.

“It was only a statement,” Draco sneered.

(A/N – I had my baby! Sorry, just had to add that in here!)

“Do you want to handle this one?” Fred asked George.

“Nah, it’s your turn.”

“Fine, but you get the next one.”

“fine”

Fred knocked softly on Hermione’s door, “hey, it’s me”

“what do you want?” Hermione asked grumpily.

“Just making sure you’re ok.”

“Why shouldn’t I be?”

“What Draco said…”

“Was the truth. I know everyone’s tired. I’m tired.”

“Then why don’t you just make a decision.”

“It’s not that easy.”

“Well what’s hard about it? Maybe I can help.”

“It’s hard to tell if the guys really like me for me, or if they like me because I’m the only girl around.”

“Hermione, they’re all crazy about you.”

“I’m not so sure.”

“Well, just try giving them the benefit of the doubt. See what happens.”
 
“I guess I could try.”

“And don’t worry, I’ll try to help you too.”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Oh you’ll see,” Fred grinned.

Hermione couldn’t help but smile. Whatever Fred was planning, it could only help her at this point. She reluctantly went back to the room where everyone was congregated. Fred, however, had disappeared.

“Oh thank goodness, Hermione. Finally someone to protect me from these guys. How do you handle them all the time?” Angelina teased.

“God only knows,” Hermione tried to smile.

“Well with you here, we can finally open presents!”  Angelina responded.

“Sounds good to me.”

Angelina gathered everyone in a circle and started distributing the gifts that were collected under the tree. No doubt, Hermione’s pile was the largest. After receiving a rare book from Blaise, a box of chocolates from Ron, a diamond necklace from Draco (with a snide comment of future matching jewels), and a charm bracelet from Harry, Hermione felt rather spoiled.

“Did you like all your gifts Hermione?” George asked as he apparated into the room.

“Yes, I did thank you,” Hermione said polite but curtly, “Where’ve you been?”

“Oh, just getting another present,” George grinned as he turned to the door of the room.

And as everyone’s eyes followed to the door it opened slowly to reveal Ginny smiling brightly in a dark emerald dress.

“Happy Christmas,” she grinned.

“Oh Ginny! It’s so good to see you!” Harry rushed to her and gave her a hug. The girls couldn’t help but giggle.

Hermione whispered to Angelina, “Things just might go back to normal.”

“We’ll see,” she whispered back as they observed the sweet reunion.

After Ginny had made it around the room with all her greetings Blaise found Angelina, “how about some cocoa?”

“How sweet Blaise! Wouldn’t you rather share with Hermione?”

“She’s a bit preoccupied at the moment.”

And so she was. She was sitting on the couch with Ron and they were in a deep conversation with Ron blushing every now and then, but Hermione looking a bit bored. Draco was nearby and looked like he was about to interrupt. Ginny and Harry were still talking, but look like they were getting quite comfortable with each other on the loveseat with his arm around her. However, he was glancing towards their direction now. Fred and George were whispering in the corner. Up to no good no doubt.

“So I see,” Angelina tried to smile as she accepted the hot mug from Blaise.

In another moment Fred and George silently pointed their wands and casted spells with a huge grin. Beautiful mistletoe grew above each couple. Ron blushed as Hermione kissed him softly but quick. Only to be interrupted by Draco who grabbed Hermione to meet him standing up and kissed her deeply. Ginny and Harry quickly went to making out as if they had never broken up. Blaise grinned at Angelina.

Angelina couldn’t help but giggle at the scenes around them.
 
“Something amusing?” Blaise asked as he moved closer.

“Just in the Christmas spirit I guess,” Angelina smiled as Blaise started to kiss her.

The kiss was short lived however. Harry and Fred were both pulling them apart in seconds.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Blaise yelled at Harry.

“Me? You! Forcing yourself on Angelina like that. It’s so vulgar. How could you?” Harry spat back.

“Excuse me? It wasn’t force, she wanted it!”

“I seriously doubt that,” Fred said darkly.

“What’s it to you anyways, Potter? I thought you were quite busy with a certain weasel.”

“You just watch it now, Blaise,” Harry snarled.

“You can’t have both. All three now that I think of it.”

“What is that supposed to mean.”

“Think about it, Potter. You’ve kissed every girl in this room, except Angelina, and god knows you’ve been wanting to.”

“I don’t see how that’s relevant,” Harry said confused.

“Relevant? It’s bloody disgusting, Harry!” Ginny chimed in, very angry now, “Just who do you think you are? Who do you really care for?”

“Well I care for all of you,” Harry said bluntly.

“Yes, but who do you really care for?” Hermione chirped in. This was it. The moment of truth.

Everyone was staring, but Harry could only focus on one gaze. Ginny looked like she was on the verge of tears. How long could he keep hurting her? Ginny who had loved him since his second year of Hogwarts, who had been there with him through it all.

“I guess, you then.”

Ginny still looked angry, “You guess? It needs to be more than a guess, Harry.”

“I know,” he said boldly, “Ginny I’ve always loved you. I guess I just needed some growing up to realize how much.”

Ginny looked content, “And Angelina? Hermione?”

Harry shrugged but looked confused.

“I can help with that,” Fred muttered, “Harry, you’ve outstayed your welcome. You’re no longer eligible for Hermione’s hand.”

“I thought only she could make that decision,” Harry pointed out.

“It seems you’ve made the decision for her,” Fred said pointedly looking at Harry and Ginny’s joined hands.

“Hit the road, Potter,” Blaise sneered.

“Gladly,” Harry glared at Blaise as he and Ginny started to leave, “finally, I can get away from you!”

“So mature, Potter,” Draco rolled his eyes.

“Goodbye, Hermione,” Harry ignored them as he stood infront of Hermione. She was all smiles.

“I’m glad for you, Harry, I really am,” she said with a hint of sadness in her smile. They hugged tightly before Harry and Ginny apparated away.

“Well, I guess the competition is over then,” Draco grinned.

“Pardon?” Hermione said.

“Face it, Hermione. Ron doesn’t stand a chance…”

“Hey!” Ron chimed in.

“…Blaise is smitten with Angelina. The only one left is me. It’s quite obvious.”

“Not so fast, Malfoy,” Fred butted in.

“Oh,come on Weasley, what now?” Draco sneered.

“There’s just one problem,” Fred pointed out, “Angelina is not smitten with Blaise.”

Angelina crossed her arms, “is that so, Fred? How would you know?”

“Because you still care for me.”

Angelina scoffed, “Excuse me? I gave up on you a long time ago.”

Fred looked crushed, “Please, Angelina, don’t say that.”

“Why? Why shouldn’t I give up on you Fred? Just give me one reason!”

“Because, I still love you!” he shouted then blushed.

“That’s a good reason,” George whispered to Ron.

“Really Fred? You mean it?” Angelina was close to tears.

“Really,” Fred smiled, “I can’t take not being with you. I almost lost it when I lost you.”

Angelina nearly jumped in his arms and the collided into a very satisfactory make-up kiss.

“Disgusting,” Draco sneered.

“Guess the competition is still on,” Blaise chuckled.

They both looked towards Ron who cowered a little.

Hermione started laughing.

“What’s so funny?” George asked her.

“For once, I’m not the center of attention. For once I’m perfectly blissful in all these distractions!”

“Well don’t get used to it,” George grumbled. And it was true. Tomorrow was Christmas and her time was running out.

A/N – oh my goodness. I’m sorry that took sooooo long! Months! I can’t believe it. I do hope people still read and review since it’s been so long! On the plus side, this was the hardest chapter I had planned out. The following chapters are going to be super easy to write so they’ll come out faster, I promise! Thank you all who have reviewed! P.S. – my baby’s name is Ethan and he’s 7 weeks now!


Chapter 18: Fighting
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A/N – So 2 years later this story continues. I know, I know, worst writer ever. Please forgive me. For those interested, Ethan will be 2 next month and he’s absolutely amazing. I love him so much. And yes, he’s a future Harry Potter fan! Speaking of which, J.K. Rowling owns everything to do with Harry Potter. And without further ado, the next chapter. Please be kind, it’s been almost 2 years!

Winning Hermione
Chapter 18
Fighting

If there was one wizard you didn’t want to piss off other than the dark Voldemort himself, it was Draco Malfoy. Powerful, smart, and conniving, Draco did not tolerate things that did not please him. Finding Hermione in Blaise Zabini’s arms this morning was definitely something that did not please him. After everyone quickly left Hermione’s bedroom, Draco was left alone with a stunned Hermione. It took every inch of normal saneness to not rip her to pieces.

“Draco, it’s not as bad as it looks,” was the only thing Hermione could think of to say.

“Well that’s great. So much better than ‘It’s not what it looks like’”, snarled Draco.

“I’m sorry,” Hermione whispered.

“Why? Why would you want someone like Zabini? You must know I can give you a thousand times what he has.”

“Don’t you understand, Draco? It’s not what someone has, it’s who they are!” Hermione yelled.

The red tint in Draco’s face should have warned Hermione she was treading in dangerous waters, “You have no idea who Blaise Zabini is. If you only knew half the…”

“Then what Draco? I might compare him to you?”

“You should be careful,” Draco responded back darkly.

“I’m not afraid of you,” Hermione said bravely raising her chin.

In that brief moment Draco crossed the room and placed himself at a very uncomfortable distance from Hermione. She tried to back away, but couldn’t get very far since she was still on the bed.

“You can’t scare someone into loving you,” she said softly.

“I don’t need them to love me,” Draco said quickly.

“That’s not who I thought you were.”

“Well there are lots of things you still have to learn about me, Hermione. And one of those is that I always have what I want.”

“You sound just like the spoiled brat you were at Hogwarts.”

Draco slammed his fists down on the bed on either side of Hermione, “You want to know the difference between now and Hogwarts? In Hogwarts there were rules and standards. And now, I’m in charge. I have the power. So you be careful, Hermione. You don’t want to cross me again.”

Suddenly there was a knock on the open door. Hermione sighed with relief as Draco quickly resumed standing. Angelina entered looking half stunned and half enraged. Still slightly afraid of Draco, she bravely suggested he let her talk to Hermione for a bit.

“Maybe you can talk some sense into her,” he grumbled as he left.

“Thanks,” Hermione said gratefully once Draco had left.

“Don’t thank me just yet,” Angelina said still peeved.

“What’s wrong?”

“What’s wrong? Really Hermione? You just upset most of the people who really actually care for you. And you want to know what’s wrong?”

“I don’t understand what the big deal is,” Hermione said exasperated.

“The big deal is that they all care for you. They’re tired of being toyed with. You need to make a decision,” Angelina said calmly.

Hermione was close to tears, “I know. I know, it’s so horrible.”

“Shhh,” Angelina said as she sat on the bed next to Hermione and put her arm around her, “it’s going to be ok. We just need to sort out your feelings.”

“Angelina, that’s not it. I know what my feelings are. I just can’t have them. That option is out.”

Angelina nodded, “George.”

Without answering Hermione buried her face into Angelina’s shoulder sobbing softly. Both girls were at a loss of what to do from here.

On the other hand, the boys knew exactly what to do. They were sitting around a table in heated discussion.

“This will end now. We will make Hermione choose and everyone can go on with their lives,” Fred said with a stern voice.

“What if she’s not ready?” George questioned.

“She’s ready,” Blaise said.

“Don’t sound so confident, Blaise,” Draco said, “or need I remind you…”

“No Draco,” Blaise turned to face him, “you needn’t remind me of anything. In fact, let me remind you of something. I’ve been your number one follower since Hogwarts. I’ve supported you every step of the way and will gladly serve you. But don’t you dare take Hermione away from me.”

Draco’s eyes lit up with passion, “I won’t have to. Why would she want you over me? The most powerful wizard here?”

Blaise was standing now, “I think I might have to contest that.”

“By all means,” Draco responded standing and bringing out his wand.

As the first curses flew at each other Hermione and Angelina entered. Hermione shrieked with fear as Draco and Blaise both were struck by each other’s curses. She yelled again as they both rose and lifted their wands to go again.

“Stop! Please stop!” Hermione shouted. Angelina was holding her arm as she was trying to run toward them.

“Hermione, be careful. Don’t get in the way!” Angelina pleaded.

But she wasn’t strong enough for the wild feelings inside Hermione. She pulled away from Angelina and headed straight for the dueling wizards.

A/N – So shortest chapter ever? Yes, but hopefully with the promise of another chapter soon! 
 
 
 


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