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The Mysterious Diary by silvergreen

Format: Novella
Chapters: 21
Word Count: 21,075
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Scenes of a Sexual Nature

Genres: Fluff, Romance
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Cedric, Luna, Draco, Ginny, Blaise (M)
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Harry/Ginny

First Published: 02/17/2010
Last Chapter: 01/05/2011
Last Updated: 01/05/2011

Summary:



Enchanting banner by Lady Malfoy at TDA!
Based on my favourite romantic comedy, You've Got Mail.
(The Cedric/Luna pairing is dedicated to my dear MizzWeasley!)
I’ll be waiting for you in the Astronomy Tower, exactly at midnight. We won’t see each other in the dark… Just… feel each other. I want to feel you. I want to comfort you. No wands. No candles. Just you and me and the darkness. (Chapter 4)
 
 


Chapter 1: Chapter 1
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A/N: My story is based on the 1998 American romantic comedy ‘You’ve Got Mail’, written by the film’s director, Nora Ephron. The film is a remake of the Ernst Lubitsch film ‘The Shop Around the Corner’ in which the storyline of a Hungarian play ‘Parfumerie’ (written by Miklos Laszlo) was used.

 

Chapter One

 

Hermione was standing in front of the Shop of Magical Stationery in Hogsmeade, watching something in the shop-window curiously.

 

It was a diary book she was so interested in, a blank journal with purple and gold silk cover.

 

Hermione entered the shop. The shelves were filled with tricky notebooks, exercise books, parchment rolls and paper boxes. She took a look at the colourful pots of magical ink and the black and white postcards of the village on which the things didn’t only move but could also be heard and smelt… One of the cards showed Madam Puddifoot’s tea shop with Hogwarts students sitting at the round tables, whispering and laughing and the sweet smell of tea and coffee coming from the picture fascinated Hermione. In another postcard Dumbledore was watching the group of excited first year students approaching the castle while the meowing of Filch’s cat could be heard from the background.

 

’Can I help you?’ The owner of the shop, a white-haired magician wearing a black robe and huge glasses asked.

 

’Yes… I’d like that purple diary from the shop-window…’

 

’This is a really special one,’ he said while placing the book on the wooden counter. ’There are only two diaries of this kind. I sold the other one yesterday.’

 

The printed golden lilies were glittering on the purple fabric beautifully. There was a locket fitted to the cover but there was no key.

 

’How can I open it?’ Hermione asked.

 

’The first time you want to open it, whisper the same word three times into the locket. That will be your password.’

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione was sitting in the library of Hogwarts and, after making sure she was alone, she whispered ’Crookshanks’ three times into the locket. The book opened up and she started to write on the first page.

 

 

Dear Diary,

I feel so lonely and my friends are always busy doing something else. So I will pour out my heart to you. I know it’s a bit childish but

 

 

Suddenly she saw Draco Malfoy and Blaise entering the library. For a moment her gaze lingered on Malfoy's tall and confident figure and blond hair falling over his forehead but she quickly came to her senses,  snapped the journal shut, put it into her schoolbag and stormed off.

 

OOOOO

 

Later that evening, when the others had fallen asleep in the bedroom, Hermione pulled the diary out of her bag to go on with writing. She opened it and was shocked to see another entry below hers.

 

You can pour out your heart to me… Especially if you are a girl… Especially if you are a pretty girl…

 

’Is this a diary that answers me back?’  Hermione wondered. She jotted down some lines quickly.

 

I’m a girl, that’s right. But what do you care if I’m pretty or not? You’re just a diary.

 

The answer arrived soon, the black letters appearing one by one.

 

It might be surprising to you, but I’m not a diary. I am very much a guy… A man in flesh and blood… Writing in the fellow diary of yours.

 

Panic overcame Hermione.

 

You mean you can read everything I write into my secret diary?

 

The answer worried her even more.

 

That’s right. And all my entries appear on the pages of your journal, too. Spooky, isn’t it?

 

Hermione didn’t get a wink of sleep that night.

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione and Ginny were sitting on two big orange pumpkins near Hagrid’s hut. Hermione had just finished telling her friend the fantastic story and now she was waiting impatiently for her opinion.

 

’Wow,’ Ginny said finally.

 

’That’s all you can say? Wow?’ Hermione was disappointed.

 

Ginny was thinking for some seconds, playing with a red lock of hers.

 

’Well… It’s… thrilling. It can be a dangerous game, don’t you think so? What if it’s like Tom Riddle’s diary and the person who always writes back will possess you, control your mind and force you to do something terrible?’

 

’Of course I’ve thought of it, Ginny. That’s why I decided not to tell him anything personal about myself. All he knows is that I’m a Hogwarts student, just like he is.’

 

’And didn't he find this precaution ridiculous? Doesn't he want to know your name?’

 

’Yeah, he’s really curious but I am really determined so he’s no other choice but accept my rules. Anyway, he thinks it’s funny… exchanging messages this way… in this mysterious way.’

 

’You said you’ve been writing to each other for a week. What do you write about then?’

 

’Oh, we have lots in common… Books, music… The history of Hogwarts. He knows so much! Yesterday he helped me in my Potions homework. And he writes poetry, too. He has a beautiful poem about autumn colours and feelings… I almost cried.’

 

’Do you have any ideas who this mysterious penfriend can be?’ Ginny asked curiously.

 

’Well… He must be a good student, clever, intelligent…’

 

’Maybe… Harry?’ There was some jealousy in Ginny’s voice.

 

’I don’t think he has time for such things…’ Hermione wondered. ’And anyway, he’s not that good at Potions, either.’

 

Ginny seemed relieved.

 

’It might be… Colin,’ Ginny suggested with a serious face but soon they both laughed out loud. The short boy who once asked Harry for an autograph seemed highly improbable to be Hermione’s secret penpal.

 

’And what if it’s a teacher? Snape?’ Ginny continued teasing Hermione. ’That’s why he could help you in your Potions homework…’

 

This was the moment when they started to cry with laughter but deep down Hermione hoped Ginny was very, very wrong.

 

End of Chapter One
 


Chapter 2: Chapter 2
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Chapter Two

 

Hermione had just left the Shop of Magical Stationery making a disappointed face. The owner of the shop didn’t remember to whom he had sold the other diary book. In fact, the old magician didn’t even remember Hermione, either. She sighed and shrugged her shoulders. ’Maybe it is better not to know who my secret penfriend is,’ she thought wisely and entered Scrivenshaft’s Quill Shop to buy some gold ink.

 

OOOOO

 

’Drakie, does my bottom look big in this?’ Pansy Parkinson was standing in front of a mirror in Gladrags Wizardwear examining a skirt she had just tried on.

 

Shopping was not Malfoy’s idea how to spend a Hogsmeade Saturday but Pansy was stubborn and insisted on buying something new. What’s more, he hated this question and knew no good answer existed. Hesitation made it even worse. He rolled his eyes and wondered why on earth he was going out with this silly girl whose mind was always on clothes and shoes.

 

Pansy pulled the skirt up a bit showing off her long thighs and smiled at Malfoy seductively. It helped him find the answer to his question at once.

 

OOOOO

 

In the evening Hermione saw a new entry in her diary.

 

You made me really happy you fancied my poem. I had never shown that to anyone before. You know, my friends would think I’m crazy… Have you been to Lisbon? I spent an autumn weekend there, some years ago. I was enchanted by the colourful centennial trees that lined Avenida da Liberdade, the narrow winding streets and the tiled facades in the old quarters, the yellow trams and the smell of roasted chestnuts…

 

During dinner Harry and the Weasley boys found Hermione’s behaviour a bit strange.

 

’I just love autumn…’ She said daydreaming while playing with a small chestnut. ’Chestnuts are so cute, aren’t they?’ She smiled to herself and even Luna Lovegood raised her eyebrows.

 

’She’s gone mental,’ Ron whispered to the blond girl. ’Too much homework made her go nuts.’

 

’Not nuts. Chestnuts.’ Fred was grinning.

 

Ginny sighed and turned to Colin, sitting next to her.

 

’Colin, do you keep a diary?’

 

The short boy frowned.

 

’What for?’

 

’Never mind,’ said Ginny and drank her pumpkin juice.

 

OOOOO

 

October 30 arrived with winds and dark clouds. The students had just finished their dinner in the Great Hall when Dumbledore stood up and addressed the school.

 

’As you know, the Wizard Olympiad is a contest between the schools of Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. Each school is to be represented by one champion and the three champions will compete with each other next summer in Paris as Beauxbatons will be hosting the contest. Though this competition is not as dangerous as the Triwizard Tournament, the standards of the exams are extremely high. The victory of the Olympiad guarantees access for the winner to the Wizard Academy of either Oxford or Harvard. To become the champion of Hogwarts, you are to do your best in the following subjects: Potions, Charms, Occlumency, Care of Magical Creatures, Defence Against the Dark Arts…’

 

Harry and Ron looked at Hermione enthusiastically.

 

’You will be the champion, Hermione, no doubt.’ Ron said.

 

’…and, to test the champion’s physical abilities and skills, too,’ the Headmaster added, ’Quidditch.’

 

Harry and Ron’s faces clouded over at once.

 

’I have some doubts,’ Hermione whispered frowning.

 

Dumbledore continued his speech.

 

’Anyone who wishes to enter the contest must write their name on a slip of parchment and drop it into the Goblet of Fire. Tomorrow night, Halloween, the goblet will select the names of the contestants one of whom will be the most worthy to represent Hogwarts at the Olympiad.’

 

OOOOO

 

Draco Malfoy was sitting alone on a  green couch in the dungeon-like Slytherin common room. He was watching the dancing flames in the fireplace and didn’t even notice Blaise entering and sitting down next to him.

 

’Are you in love, man?’ Blaise asked after some silence.

 

Malfoy glanced at Blaise surprised.

 

’What?’

 

’Are you in love?’ Blaise repeated. ’With Pansy?’

 

’With Pansy?! Are you out of your mind?’

 

’Why? You’re head over heels in love with her, aren’t you?’

 

’I’m not. She’s just… Good in bed. That’s all.’

 

’Then why are you so absent-minded?’

 

’I was just thinking of… the Olympiad.’ He lied.

 

’I hope you’ll drop your name in the goblet.’

 

’I will. Though I’m not the best at Potions.’

 

’Snape will definitely help you,’ Blaise reassured Malfoy.

 

The blond haired Slytherin nodded, pulling himself together.

 

’I must win. I will,’ He said finally and stood up full of confidence to head for the entrance room to put his name in the goblet.

Chapter 3: Chapter 3
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Chapter Three

 

In the Gryffindor common room the students were guessing excitedly who the contestants would be. They had curious glances at Hermione who was sitting in an armchair, writing in her diary.

 

Dear Diary, I mean, Dear Friend,

Unfortunately I have never been to Lisbon. Have you ever seen the works of a Czech artist, Alphonse Mucha? He is best known for his images of women. He also loved autumn, in fact, he has several series of Four Seasons paintings. In one of his autumn pictures, a lady in green is holding a bunch of ripe grapes, in another the lady’s dress and veil is swirled by a wind full of tumbling leaves. I love the way he shows women… They look like fairies, romantic yet powerful, passionate and independent…

 

Suddenly the quill stopped in her hand. Black letters appeared below her entry:

 

And sensual.

 

’He’s reading my entry and writing into his diary at this very moment,’ Hermione thought and looked around. Most of the Gryffindor guys were chatting with each other in the common room. It meant her penfriend must have been from another house.

 

So you know those paintings?

 

She asked, her handwriting shaky a bit. The answer came soon.

 

Yeah, I’ve seen some of them in Prague. Those young women have long flowing hair and nice curves… They look perfect. Too perfect. By the way… Are you pretty? Long flowing hair, nice curves…?

 

Hermione blushed and looked up from the journal. Thanks Merlin, her Gryffindor friends were not interested what she was writing.

 

Nothing personal, remember? Anyway, my friends say I look smart but I don’t think too much about myself…

 

The message of the secret penpal arrived quickly again.

 

You lack self-confidence. I could help you, I have loads…

 

Hermione plucked up her courage and asked him a question she wouldn’t have dared to do in other circumstances.

 

You… Are you handsome?

 

The answer made her heart beat faster.

 

All the girls say so.

 

She closed the diary and took a deep breath. ’So it is a good-looking guy, girls fancy him… Clever, intelligent… Travels a lot. He must be warm-hearted and kind. It might be… Cedric Diggory? He’s a Hufflepuff… Really handsome… Good student…’ She sighed. ’Anyway… Whatever his name is, he’s perfect. My Mr Right.’

 

OOOOO

 

The Halloween Feast was always a highly anticipated event in Hogwarts. The delicious smell of baking pumpkin filled the air, the Great Hall was decorated with live bats, the Jack-o-lanterns were made from Hagrid’s huge pumpkins. Ghosts were flying and gliding around while an enormous quantity of food appeared on the golden plates.

 

After the feast, the Goblet of Fire was taken into the Great Hall to select the contestants. Everybody was mesmerised by the dancing blue flames which disgorged four slips of parchment some seconds later.

 

’The contestant from the Gryffindor House is…’ Dumbledore said solemnly, ’Hermione Granger.’

 

There was a loud cheer coming from the Gryffindor table though the students were not really surprised. Hermione was their best student. She blushed and bit her bottom lip while Harry and Ron were grinning at her happily. The end of a big slice of pumpkin pie was sticking out of Ron’s mouth.

 

’The Ravenclaw contestant is… Luna Lovegood,’ Dumbledore continued reading the slips of parchment.

 

The Ravenclaw students were taken aback first but when Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny started to applaud, they joined them. Luna didn’t seem surprised, the same dreamy look was on her face as always. Harry hoped that after the contest she won’t be the butt of jokes anymore. ’Nobody can beat her in Care of Magical Creatures,’ Hermione thought.

 

’Hufflepuff is represented by… Cedric Diggory.’

 

The cheer and applaud was mingled with the scream of girls. Apart from being extremely good-looking, he was a very good student, the prefect for Hufflepuff, and the captain of the quidditch team. Hermione was gazing at him with rapidly beating heart, wondering if he was her secret penfriend. She was so absorbed in the thoughts of the mystery of the diary, that she didn’t hear the headmaster’s last sentence.

 

’And the student who can show us his knowledge, skills and abilities from Slytherin is… Draco Malfoy.’

 

The Slytherin boys shook hands with Malfoy and Pansy snaked her arms around him while the other girls were jealously watching her.

 

Hermione finally took her eyes off of Cedric and looked at her third rival, Malfoy. He noticed her glance and responded with a provocative sneer and raised eyebrows. Potions, Occlumency and Dark Arts were his strong points. Prefect for Slytherin, a capable quidditch seeker, excellent at flying…

 

She gulped. It won’t be an easy win.

 

End of Chapter Three

Chapter 4: Chapter 4
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Chapter Four

 

 

The Halloween feast was followed by the Halloween Slug Club. Professor Slughorn invited the four contestants and the Slug Club members, Ginny, Harry, Blaise, Cormac McLaggen, Flora and Hestia Carrow. The guests had to be dressed as witches and wizards from the fairy tales.

 

When Ron saw Hermione, Harry and Ginny leaving for the party, he just said, ’Pathetic.’

 

’Jealous,’ was Harry’s opionion about Ron.

 

Hermione’s witch costume was really pretty, a black strapless velvet gown with long Gothic sleeves and a matching witch hat, Ginny was wearing a black velour lace-up corset top with see-through sleeves, a tight-fitting skirt with thigh-high slit and black belt. Harry found her breathtakingly beautiful.

 

The ceiling and walls of Slughorn’s office were draped with orange hangings, and the professor himself looked like a pumpkin with his large belly and yellowish waistcoat.

 

Hermione didn’t hesitate too much, she walked up to Cedric who was looking at the photos on the wall.

 

’That is a photo of Slughorn professor and Tiberius McLaggen, one of his favourite students from a prestigious family,’ Hermione said. ’It might have been taken in… Portugal. Have you been to Portugal?’ She asked cunningly.

 

’Portugal? No… No.’ Cedric was sipping his pumpkin juice slowly turning back to face Hermione. ’I have been to Norway, Sweden…’

 

’Sweden?’ Luna Lovegood joined the conversation enthusiastically which was not too typical of her. ’Snorkacks live in Sweden.’

 

Luna’s costume was weird as usual: black shorts with striped stockings, a black off-the-shoulder top with fingerless gloves, a choker with an eyeball medallion, a witch hat with feather trim and a cauldron-shaped handbag.

 

’Yeah, I saw one myself,’ Cedric nodded.

 

’How lucky you are!’ Luna got carried away.

 

Hermione left them. She was not interested in magical creatures that night. Somebody caught her arm suddenly.

 

’Mione! So pleased to see you again, honey!’ It was Cormac McLaggen, Tiberius McLaggen’s nephew. Though he was a tall and good-looking quidditch-player, Hermione found him arrogant and aggressive. ’What about leaving the party and have a walk… to find some romantic dark corridors where nobody can see us, babe.’

 

Hermione frowned and looked around to find Harry for help. Instead of Harry, professor Slughorn was heading towards them, smiling under his walrus-like moustache.

 

’Professor, Cormac would like to know more about his Uncle Tiberius.’

 

Cormac glared at Hermione.

 

’I have some funny stories about him… And lots of photos…Come with me, son.’ Cormac followed Slughorn fuming.

 

At least, Hermione managed to get rid of Cormac. She felt tired and a bit disappoited. Cedric can’t have been the secret penpal since he has never been to Lisbon, Portugal.

 

She headed for Cedric and Luna but when she overheard a snippet of their dialogue, she changed her mind.

 

’Is your hair… dyed?’ Cedric asked.

 

’No… it’s natural blond…’ Luna was embarrassed.

 

’Uhm… Nice. Your hair,’ Cedric stammered.

 

Luna’s pale face was slowly becoming a slight shade of pink.

 

Hermione quickly changed direction and walked to the big table in the corner of the room, groaned with Halloween delicacies, troll-shaped sandwiches, pumpkin pudding, screaming spice cookies, ginger cake, caramel spiders and ghoul cupcakes.

 

She decided to taste some ginger cake when suddenly, from the corner of her eye, she saw a tall figure wearing a greenish silk robe decorated with shiny silver stars and halfmoons.

 

’I thought you have lost your appetite, Granger.’

 

’The cherry on the top. Malfoy,’ Hermione thought. She was not in the mood to fight with him now.

 

’Why?’ She asked dryly and picked a plate and a napkin.

 

’You should realise you have no chance.’ He was smirking.

 

’You mean, no chance to win?’ She forced herself to stay calm.

 

’Yeah, that’s exactly what I mean.’ He took a plate, wondering what to eat.

 

’I have always outperformed you in lessons, Malfoy.’ She said matter-of-factly while looking for a big slicing knife on the table.

 

’Not always, Granger. Last year I was better than you at both Occlumency and Defence Against the Dark Arts.’

 

’I got better marks in Potions.’ She spat.

 

’You were given better mark in Potions only because you handed in a one-hundred-page essay on medieval potions nobody had asked you to write. Anyway, Snape will help me and not you, obviously, in the test.’

 

Hermione couldn’t say anything. Malfoy was right. Painfully right. She clenced her jaws and tried to concentrate on slicing the cake. It was difficult because of the long Gothic sleeves of her witch costume.

 

’Besides,’ Malfoy continued, placing a troll-shaped sandwitch on his plate, ’if I’m not mistaken, you can hardly fly… How are you planning to do the last task, playing quidditch, if you can’t even fly two meters on a broomstick without Potter holding your hand?’

 

Hermione’s whole body was tense with anger and frustration. She knew the blond Slytherin was provocating her, smiling devilishly, and she didn’t know what to answer. She felt sick.

 

Malfoy put the top of a marzipan jack-o-lantern on his plate.

 

’What are you doing? That marzipan pumpkin is decoration.’ Hermione got totally pissed off and approached Malfoy, still holding the big slicing knife in her hand. ’Put it back at once.’

 

Malfoy was still grinning cheekily, only his eyebrows were raised a bit when he saw the knife near his face.

 

’Hermione, come with me,’ she heard Harry who took the knife carefully out of her hand.

 

’Yeah, go with him, Granger. Join Saint Potter and the red weasel... your bodyguards.’ Malfoy narrowed his silver eyes mockingly. ’You know that without them you are nobody. You are nothing but a bookworm in skirt.’

 

His words infuriated the girl even more, she didn’t want to leave without talking back. But Harry held her hand firmly and dragged her away.

 

Malfoy bit into the sandwitch and noticed Blaise Zabini.

 

’Blaise, have some marzipan pumpkin,’ he said grinning.

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione was sitting in her witch costume on the edge of her bed in the girls’ dorm. The others were enjoying themselves at Fred and George’s Halloween Fancy Dress Party in the Gryffindor common room.

 

Everybody was happy but her. Everybody had someone to have fun with… Even Luna danced the night away with Cedric.

 

Hermione was watching the next blank page of her diary for some seconds, then started to write.

 

Are you there?

 

The familiar letters appeared soon and Hermione’s face brightened up.

 

Yes. I have just opened the diary and wished you were here… I kinda missed you…  How are you doing?’

 

She answered quickly.

 

I had a terrible day. I feel really miserable… Has it ever happened to you that you couldn’t talk back to someone who behaved in a very rude way to you?’

 

The other may have been thinking for a while then wrote the reply.

 

No. When it comes to quareling I always know what to say. However, later I may regret it… In fact, that’s what happened to me today. I know I should think twice before throwing insults to others’ face but I tend to be inconsiderate at times… I have an idea. What about making this day better?

 

Hermione was curious.

 

What do you have in mind?

 

The letters appeared slowly this time.

 

Let’s meet.

 

Hermione read the line several times and shook her head.

 

Meet?! No.

 

Ignoring her refusal, the secret penfriend continued.

 

I’ll be waiting for you in the Astronomy Tower (at the iron door), exactly at midnight. We won’t see each other in the dark… Just… feel each other. I want to feel you. I want to comfort you. I’m very good at comforting girls… I hope you’ll be there. No wands. No candles. Just you and me and the darkness.

 

There were no more entries. Hermione was gazing at the page in shock. She realised she hadn’t dared to breathe for a while.

 

Merlin, should she go? A blind date… Blind, in every sense of the word. Meeting the mysterious Mr Right… She felt longing. Longing to meet him, to touch him… And to be touched by him. She wanted to be a desirable and sensual woman rather than a bookworm in skirt.

 

She looked at the old clock on the wall. The big spider covered the number 12, the little one was slowly crawling towards 9. It was a quarter to midnight.

 

End of Chapter Four

Chapter 5: Chapter 5
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Chapter 5

 

It was midnight. But Hermione Granger was not sleeping peacefully in the girls’ dorm. She wasn’t dancing at Fred and George’s Halloween Party, either. She was climbing the pitch-dark spiral staircase leading to the top of the Astronomy Tower. She had to be very careful not to stumble and fall down in the long witch costume, gripping the stair railing tightly.

 

There were no more steps. She tried to pant quietly, her body tense but determined. Although she didn’t hear anything except for her own heartbeat, she felt she was not alone. There was someone there, just a few steps away.

 

’What if it’s a trap?’ She thought. ’What if it’s You-Know-Who? What if it’s Tom Riddle?’ But the excitement of the anticipation suppressed all her worries.

 

Hermione took some slow steps forward, towards the door, groping around in the dark. Suddenly her palms felt the fabric of a silk robe… She had to concentrate not to scream. The closeness of her secret penpal sent shivers down her spine. She felt his chest heaving. In the next moment the warm hands of the stranger softly covered hers, forcing her gently to stay.

 

He leaned closer, still holding her hands above his heart. Only a breadth of air separated them, Hermione could hear and feel him breathing. Warm glow flowed through her body when his lips started grazing the delicate spot between her neck and shoulder.

 

Then he stopped for a moment. Hermione could have run away but the pleasure paralysed her. She tilted her head when he continued caressing her neck with his lips, slowly, very slowly moving upwards, tasting and smelling every inch of her skin.

 

’It’s crazy. He’s driving me crazy,’ Hermione thought. ’But it’s so damned good, I cannot resist… To hell with Goodgirl-Granger.’

 

She helped him find her mouth, she moistened her lips before his touched them, lightly, just very lightly first. The kiss shocked her senses and took away her fears.

 

He encircled her waist and drew her closer to his tall and hard, impatient body. She slipped her arms around his neck and let his smooth lips nibble hers sensually. The sensation was so overwhelming, Hermione held the stranger tighter, hungry to feel the intense heat radiating off his body.

 

His tongue brushed her lower lip tenderly and her mouth was about to open obediently to his sweet kiss, wanting to taste him, be absorbed in his desire, when whispering sounds coming from the staircase broke the silence.

 

’The sky is so clear tonight, we can see all the stars and the moon…’ Hermione heard Harry’s voice.

 

’And the constellations,’ Ginny said.

 

The bodies stiffened, the lips separated, Hermione pulled back and felt the stranger’s hands abandoning her waist. She wanted to touch him for the last time but her hands found no one there in the darkness. Instead, she heard Harry’s voice again.

 

’Is there anybody there?’ His wand illuminated the top of the tower. ’Hermione?! What are you doing here?’

 

He saw Hermione standing in front of the door leading out onto the ramparts, her expression was both disappointed and guilty.

 

’Uhm… I came to watch the stars,’ she mumbled.

 

’Alone?’ Harry was surprised.

 

’Yes. Why?’ Hermione was red in embarrassment.

 

Ginny, avoiding her friends’ eyes, was examining a spiderweb with an interested face.

 

’Someone rushed down the steps, pushing us aside.’ Harry added.

 

’Really? It must have been Cormac… He never leaves me alone.’ Hermione’s answer wasn’t too convincing. But before Harry could have asked something else, she continued. ’I wanted to watch Jupiter’s moons but I’m too sleepy now… Good night, see you at breakfast,’ she said and stormed down the stairs.

 

’Strange,’ Harry remarked. ’Her behaviour… has been really strange lately… Don’t you think so?’

 

Ginny smiled misteriously.

 

OOOOO

 

’You can’t be serious, Hermione! He snogged the daylight out of you and you don’t have a clue who he was!’ Ginny looked at Hermione in disbelief while sipping hot choc in Madam Puddifoot’s tea shop.

 

Hermione frowned.

 

’I know it sounds bizarre but… It was dark.’

 

’You have already said that.’

 

’And… We didn’t talk.’

 

’It’s still nonsense. You bump into a total stranger in the dark and immediately throw yourself at him… or… her?’ Ginny looked at Hermione questioningly.

 

Hermione blushed.

 

’HIM. It was definitely HIM, not HER.’

 

’So you throw yourself at him and let his tongue shove down your throat…’

 

Hermione rolled her eyes.

 

’Come on, Ginny, he wasn’t a stranger but my penfriend… And, it was a date. People often kiss each other on their first date. Anyway, he didn’t shove his tongue down my throat, it was just a light kiss… Nothing serious… Thanks to you and Harry.’ She added with an accusing glance.

 

’Yes, thanks to us,’ Ginny nodded. ’You should be grateful… What could have happened if we hadn’t arrived then? He could have forced you to do something… terrible.’

 

Hermione considered a deep kiss rather romantic than terrible.

 

Ginny sighed.

 

’And… what was he like? I mean, tall or short, thin or overweight…? When Harry’s wand lit the staircase we could see only his shadow.’

 

’He was tall… Tall, thin but… strong. No glasses. He was wearing a silk robe. He smellt good, the fragrance of his aftershave was maddening… His hands were warm, his lips soft…’

 

Ginny gulped.

 

’Are you sure it couldn’t be Cormac?’ She wondered.

 

’Cormac?!’ The assumption shocked Hermione. ’Cormac is arrogant, aggressive, self-important…’

 

’But tall, strong, always clean-shaven, has no glasses and falls for you,’ Ginny finished the sentence.

 

Hermione’s face clouded over.

 

’Okay, let’s talk about you and Harry. Did he kiss you or watched only the Great Bear?’

 

’He was really shy, but… finally he kissed me.’ It was Ginny who blushed this time.

 

Hermione’s face brightened up.

 

’Tell me everything.’

 

And Ginny told her everything.

 

End of Chapter 5

Chapter 6: Chapter 6
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Chapter 6

 

I can’t help thinking of you, your soft lips and the way you fit perfectly into my arms… I would have kissed you till the morning… Can we meet again? See each other? I want to look into your eyes. Please. Say yes.

 

Hermione had goosebumps while reading the diary entry of her secret penpal. Finally she grabbed her quill and wrote the two-letter answer.

 

No.

 

She knew she was a coward. But Ginny might have been right about the dangers of this game. She should be more careful in the future.

 

You didn’t like my kiss? You know, I can do it much better… Let me show you.

 

Hermione blushed and gulped. The memory of his kiss filled her body and soul with desire. She sighed. She hesitated a bit before jotting down her reply.

 

Maybe… Later.

 

She held her breath until the familiar letters of the other appeared.

 

The answer ’maybe’ is more satisfying. And, hopefully, ’later’ means ’soon’.

 

Hermione smiled, closed the diary and headed for the library to prepare for the first exam, Care of Magical Creatures.

 

OOOOO

 

It was Friday evening, the Great Hall was full of students, having dinner. Ron was examining some unidentifiable food on a plate.

 

’Grilled frog’s legs,’ George helped him. ’Speciality of the French cuisine.’

 

’And what happens to the other parts of the frogs?’ Ron asked suspiciously.

 

’Nobody knows.’ George shook his head.

 

’Two frogs are talking,’ Fred said grinning. ’It’s great we’ve scr… we’ve had sex with all the girls in town. The other frog remarks sadly, yes, but we shouldn’t have messed with the wizard’s daughter.’

 

Ron raised his eyebrows.

 

’It was a joke,’ Fred explained patiently.

 

’Really?’ he mumbled.

 

Hermione rolled her eyes.

 

’Weren’t these two frogs accidentally called Fred and George?’

 

’We take this assumption as a compliment. Right, George?’ Fred said and winked Hermione.

 

Harry wasn’t listening. He was watching Ginny jealously. She had been talking to Cormac since the beginning of dinner. Harry felt hurt. After that kiss in the Astronomy Tower… Why was she so interested in that guy? Cormac was certainly tall and handsome… She didn’t even had a look at Harry. He sighed and started to munch on a frog leg.

 

OOOOO

 

Luna was sitting on the lawn, in her thick robe but barefoot on this November morning. She was reading the textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the book was upside down. Suddenly a very good-looking guy sat on the lawn next to her. It was Cedric.

 

’Where are your shoes?’ He asked curiously.

 

Luna’s dreamy gaze fell upon him.

 

’The nargles may have taken them.’ She replied calmly.

 

Cedric didn’t say anything but took off his shoes and socks.

 

’Do you mind if I stay? We could revise for the test together…’ He mumbled.

 

’I missed you,’ Luna said simply.

 

The confession surprised Cedric.

 

’I… missed you, too.’ Their eyes locked. ’You know, I like to be with you… It’s so easy to be with you. I don’t have to pretend to be someone else.’

 

’I feel the same,’ Luna nodded.

 

’So… Shall we read about monsters or…’

 

’Or?’ Luna felt Cedric’s breath on her cheek as he was drawing closer and closer.

 

’We might as well…’ He whispered but didn’t finish the sentence, his mouth closing over hers softly.

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione closed her textbook and drank her tea. She was in Madam Puddifoot’s tea shop, without her friends this time. Ginny spent the Saturday with Harry, Ron was playing wizard’s chess with Seamus.

 

She was about to pay when she realised she had left her purse on the bedside-table. She had just started to apologize to the rotund Madam Puddifoot when she heard a familiar voice from behind her.

 

’No money, Granger?’

 

She turned back and saw a sneering Malfoy.

 

’I HAVE money,’ she glared at him, ’just not with me at the moment.’

 

’It doesn’t change the fact you can’t pay now, I suppose,’ He was grinning.

 

Hermione didn’t answer. She was too proud to admit the truth. Unfortunately the way Madam Puddifoot was watching her, with a fading smile, made it obvious.

 

In the next moment Hermione almost died from shame. Malfoy gave some silver Sickles to the owner of the tea shop.

 

’I will give your money back as soon as I get back to the castle,’ Hermione said quietly with a red face, feeling humiliated like never before.

 

’You will, Granger. If it weren’t you, I would surely want payment in kind… A kiss or two... But I wouldn’t need your kiss if the two of us were stuck on a desert island.’

 

And, with a disdainful smirk, he walked out of the tea shop.

 

 

End of Chapter 6

Chapter 7: Chapter 7
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Chapter 7

 

The Care of Magical Creatures test took place on the lawn on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. The four contestants were required to demonstrate correct handling of a Thestral, feed a Unicorn and pat and fly on a Hippogriff.

 

Luna was proved to be the best, she was given a 10. Cedric and Hermione got 8 points and Malfoy could get only a 6.

 

’It was not fair,’ the blond Slytherin complained to Blaise, Crabbe, Goyle and Pansy. ’Unicorns prefer a woman’s touch so Lovegood and Granger had better chances. Diggory has Unicorn hairs in his wand that’s why he could feed the Unicorn easily. And that damned Hippogriff…’

 

’You should pay more respect to a Hippogriff,’ Hagrid growled. ’You could ride it only because you are so experienced in flying.’

 

’I am,’ a confident smile appeared on Malfoy’s face. ’Unlike others…’ He gave Hermione a sideways glance smirking.

 

She avoided his eyes. The memory of the humiliating scene in Madam Puddifoot’s was still painful. She took a deep breath and walked over to the Ravenclaw cheering crowd, to congratulate Luna on her excellent achievement.

 

OOOOO

 

When Harry saw Ginny talking to Cormac again, sitting on the couch of the Gryffindor common room, he decided not to turn blind eyes to it anymore.

 

’Ginny, could you come with me? We need to discuss something… About Potions.’

 

Ginny looked surprised but stood up and followed Harry to a dark corridor.

 

Fueled by jealousy and passion, he grabbed her arm and firmly but carefully pressed her against the wall.

 

’What are you doing?’ Ginny asked angrily.

 

’I could ask you the same,’ Harry gritted his teeth. ’What’s going on between you and Cormac?’

 

A smile of relief crossed Ginny’s face.

 

’Harry, you misunderstood… I just wanted to help Hermione. It was a kind of investigation.’

 

’Investigation? About what?’

 

’About… Whether Cormac had been to Lisbon, for example.’

 

’Lisbon?!’ Harry thought he would never understand women.

 

’You told me you wanted to talk to me about Potions.’

 

’Uhm… Yeah. Potions. In fact, Chemistry. And I’m fed up with talking about it. I want to do it. With you.’ His voice was husky and he held Ginny tighter and tighter.

 

’Harry… I love you when you’re like this…’ Ginny snaked her arms around Harry’s neck.

 

His lips crashed with hers, his hands slid under her top and all the thoughts about Cormac, Lisbon and the whole world fled their minds.

 

OOOOO

 

Professor Flitwick, the Charms teacher had four slips of parchment in his hands. Each contestants had to draw one to prove how they can use the magical spells they had learnt.

 

Cedric drew the Summoning Charm. His eyes searched the grounds for a while then he noticed the statues of winged boars on the pillars of the entrance gate.

 

’Accio winged boars!’ He shouted and the two statues flew and landed at his feet.

 

Mr Filch shook his head disapprovingly but the Hufflepuff students cheered wildly and the girls (from all the houses) screamed hysterically.

 

Cedric enjoyed the celebration grinning proudly until he heard Luna’s cry.

 

’Silencio!’

 

The noise was gone though the lips were still moving.

 

Cedric looked a bit annoyed.

 

’It was my task,’ Luna said calmly. ’Silencing Charm.’

 

Cedric flashed her a forgiving smile.

 

It was Hermione’s turn now. She read the slip of parchment and looked up slowly just to meet Malfoy’s eyes. Unexpectedly, she pointed her wand at him.

 

’Cambio Colori!’ She exclaimed and Malfoy’s silvery blond hair turned into fiery red. The Gryffindors laughed and clapped their hands.

 

’He looks like a Weasley kid,’ Colin said grinning.

 

’Just not as good-looking as we are,’ Fred added.

 

The success of Hermione’s task, the Colour Changing Charm, made Malfoy’s cheeks go pale first, then red, matching his new hair colour.

 

He had a nervous glance at his parchment and, without any hesitation, he aimed his wand at the overjoyed Hermione.

 

’Aguamenti!’ The charm conjured a fountain of water from Malfoy’s wand making Hermione soaking wet, her robe clung to her body, her hair stuck to her face.

 

Hermione cursed trying to wipe the water off her clothes and it was Malfoy now together with the Slytherins who took their pleasure in the task.

 

Professor Flitwick scratched his head and finally announced the results.

 

’Well, technically all the contestants could use the charm spells properly. I give each of them a 10. The next test is going to be Occlumency with Professor Snape. Good luck.’

 

OOOOO

 

’Cormac hasn’t been to Lisbon,’ Ginny informed Hermione. ’So your secret penfriend cannot be him.’

 

’Thanks Merlin,’ Hermione nodded but she didn’t seem too relieved.

 

’What’s the matter?’ Ginny asked.

 

’The Occlumency test… With Snape.’ She sighed. ’I practised defending my mind against external penetration, Harry helped me… But I was a total failure.’

 

’Snape is a very skilled Occlumens. The other three won’t stand a chance against him, either.’ Ginny tried to reassure her friend.

 

’You’re wrong,’ Hermione frowned. ’Bellatrix has trained Malfoy, he can prevent a Legilimens from accessing his thoughts.’

 

’Malfoy… By the way, have you paid him back his money?’

 

’Of course. As soon as I got back from Hogsmeade.’

 

’And… Why do you think he did it? Why did he pay for your tea?’

 

’Just to humiliate me, I’m sure.’

 

’Insufferable git. Whatever. If I were you I wouldn’t give a damn about him. And the Occlumency test… Just try to clear your mind,’ Ginny advised. ’That’s the most important.’

 

’Cold feet, Hermione?’ Ron sat down next to the two girls. ’So Snape will try to penetrate your mind… Sounds creepy.’

 

Fred joined the conversation.

 

’In Hufflepuff there’s a pretty blond… I would like to penetrate her… her mind.’ He said grinning.

 

OOOOO

 

Outside it was snowing heavily, in Snape’s tiny and dark office the four contestants were sitting around the table, each of them had a piece of parchment and a quill.

 

’You have one minute to draw something. Anything.’ Snape said slowly, standing with his back to the students. He was watching the flames of the fire.

 

’Now cover the drawing,’ he continued after a while. ’The later I can find out what you drew the better mark you will get.’

 

’Luna Lovegood,’ his icy voice made the blond girl paler but she looked into the professor’s eyes bravely.

 

’A Christmas tree,’ Snape said some seconds later.

 

Luna showed her parchment to the others. It was a Christmas tree indeed.

 

’Rather poor performance,’ Snape snorted scornfully. ’Two points.’

 

Cedric was a bit better, he could close his mind for half a minute before the professor knew he had drawn a skull. He was given a five.

 

’Hermione Granger.’ Snape’s low and hypnotic voice sent shivers down her spine. She gulped.

 

’Clear your mind, just clear your mind,’ she repeated to herself.

 

’Cat,’ Snape stated after a bit more than half a minute. Hermione got a six.

 

Draco Malfoy, blond haired again, did a good job. Snape narrowed his eyes, concentrating hard, and examined Malfoy’s tense but calm face.

 

’Hungarian Horntail Dragon,’ The professor said finally, minutes later.

 

Malfoy showed his drawing. It was a Norwegian Ridgeback Dragon. Snape looked a bit annoyed.

 

’It’s a nine. I knew it was a dragon.’

 

Malfoy frowned but didn’t protest. He had to be more than satisfied with his achievement, especially because he could outperform Hermione Granger.

 

OOOOO

 

I’ve just got back from the Owlery. I have a new owl, Bubble. Small and cute but a bit clumsy. I sent a letter to my parents. Do you get on well with yours? I have the most wonderful mum in the world but my dad… He always wants to force me to do things… for the family… old tradition… I don’t want to follow him in his footsteps but I don’t have the courage to tell him. And this situation is getting worse and worse day by day… You are the first (and maybe the last) to whom I’m talking about it… It’s strange to admit but your letters mean a lot to me… It’s so good to share my thoughts with someone who takes me seriously. What are you doing?

 

The diary entries were the only comfort for Hermione after Malfoy’s victory at the Occlumency test. She read her secret penpal’s lines and wrote a reply.

 

I’m sitting on my bed with the diary, waiting for your words to cheer me up… Well, I’m lucky, my parents are nice, they don’t try to control me in any ways. But I can understand your problem. Maybe later your dad will understand you, too… He must love you very much. Last year, in the winter holiday my parents took me to Vienna, Austria. It was snowing just like now. The Christmas market was breathtaking… The brightly lit fairytale huts were selling mulled wine, gingerbread and Christmas gifts. The park was transformed into a magic forest with lanterns illuminating the trees… Have you been there?

 

The answer arrived soon.

 

No, but I’d love to be there with you. I’d love to be with you anywhere… My body is aching to caress you… To feel your soft lips against mine… What about a date with me on New Years Eve? At midnight? Outside Ollivander’s shop in Diagon Alley?’

 

Hermione’s hand started trembling.

 

I want to meet you… very much. But… I’m afraid to reveal my identity… You might find it funny, I know.

 

The other reassured her.

 

Don’t worry, My Mystery Girl, we can sort it out. I have the recipe for Invisibility Potion. It makes you invisible for about an hour. Shall I send the recipe to you?

 

Hermione plucked up her courage.

 

I can get an Invisibility Cloak.

 

The letters of the end of the conversation appeared slowly.

 

Great. See you soon. I mean… Feel you soon.

 

Hermione closed the diary with her heart beating loudly in her chest. She would meet her secret Mr Right again… He would kiss her again and again, tenderly, sweetly, and she would kiss him back passionately, impatiently… She would be in his strong arms, pressed to his tall and mascular body, submerging in the magic of the moment…

 

To hell with Malfoy and with the whole contest.

 

End of Chapter 7

Chapter 8: Chapter 8
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Chapter 8

 

Hermione spent the winter holiday with Harry and the Weasleys in the Burrow. Though she enjoyed every moment with her friends, she was looking forward excitedly to meeting her secret penpal again.

 

’We should talk, Hermione,’ Ginny said after dinner, on the thirtieth of December.

 

Some minutes later Hermione entered Ginny’s small bedroom and was surprised to see George standing in front of the posters of the Weird Sisters and the Holyhead Harpies.

 

’Sorry, Hermione, I told George everything,’ Ginny apologised. ’I was too worried about you.’

 

’Ginny, I thought I could trust you,’ Hermione had an accusing glance at Ginny.

 

’You can trust me and you can trust George, too,’ Ginny tried to convince her friend. ’He can be serious and think in a mature way, can keep secrets, unlike Fred, and he can even get the Invisibility Cloak from Harry. If I asked Harry for the cloak, I would make him suspicious and jealous.’

 

Hermione nodded slowly. Ginny was right. George sat down next to the girls.

 

’So you’re sure you want to meet this guy?’ He asked Hermione. ’Have you thought it twice? You don’t know anything about him.’

 

’I’ve already met him and he didn’t hurt me, he didn’t attack me, he behaved like…’ She blushed because she remembered the kiss. ’He behaved like a gentleman.’

 

A smile crossed Ginny’s face. Her idea of a gentleman was different from Hermione’s.

 

’Anyway,’ Hermione continued, ’we’ve been penpals since September. He doesn’t have any harmful or sinful thoughts.’

 

George raised his eyebrows.

 

’Herms, he might have been telling lies to you. But even if he’s an ordinary guy, it won’t be safe to meet him in Diagon Alley, at midnight, when nobody can help you in case of trouble.’

 

’George, I hope you don’t want to come with me…’ Hermione rolled her eyes. She was fed up to see her friends’ worrying faces.

 

’No, I won’t go with you. I just want to warn you to be careful. You know… Guys always want the same thing. When he asks May I have this dance? It means he wants to have sex with you. When he asks Can I take you out to dinner? He wants to have sex with you. When he says You look tense, let me give you a massage, it means he wants to have sex with you in the next ten minutes.’

 

’George, don’t generalize, please,’ Ginny shook her head.

 

’It’s not generalization, it’s normal… more or less. But now, in your case, Herms, when you don’t know his name, you haven’t seen his face… You are not an irresponsible, inconsiderate girl, right?’

 

’But… I know he’s a descent guy. I feel it. It’s… women’s intuition.’ Hermione claimed.

 

’They say, women’s intuition is the result of millions of years of not thinking.’ George remarked dryly.

 

’But it always works,’ Hermione spat.

 

’I hope you’re right, Herms.’ George stood up and headed for the door. ’I hope you’re right.’

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione had a splitting headache so she apparated back to the Burrow, after saying goodbye to her friends who were celebrating New Year’s Eve in Trafalgar Square in London. It was what Harry, Ron and Fred thought. Ginny and George knew that her destination was not the Burrow and she didn’t have a headache at all.

 

Hermione was standing in front of Ollivander’s shabby little wand shop in Diagon Alley. She was watching the glittering snowflakes in the feeble light from the dim streetlight, wearing the invisibility cloak George could get from Harry.

 

’How will I know he’s here?’ She wondered. ’Both of us are invisible.’

 

But soon she noticed footprints in the snow… A man’s footprints, approaching the shop. She took a step towards them so the stranger must have seen hers, too.

 

She felt the familiar touch on her waist and her hands searched for his shoulders, sliding up his chest. But she didn’t stop there. The tip of her fingers gently explored his neck, his smooth and cold chin and cheeks. Suddenly he planted a kiss into her palm, his hot lips burning her skin.

 

Oh, how badly she wanted it… How badly she wanted him. But she had to be careful with her moves, not to let the cloak slip from her shoulders or head.

 

She slowly buried her hands in the silky locks of the other making him shudder with pleasure. Both of them were impatient now, the boy’s wet, parted lips quickly found Hermione’s. The kiss grew deeper and his questing tongue slipped inside her heated, moist cavern, his numb, trembling fingers found their way to Hermione’s bra under the cloak, the coat and her top. They seemed to lose control, all that left was a wave of desire and passion.

 

Hermione wished the moment would last forever, absorbing and melting in the neverending kiss and embrace when suddenly he whispered ’Come’ and she felt his hand grabbing hers, dragging her to the other end of the alley. He stopped at the Leaky Cauldron for a second, then, never letting Hermione go, he rushed up the wooden stairs.

 

When Hermione looked around, they were in a guestroom, surrounded by a fireplace, a mirror, polished oak furniture and a big bed.

 

End of Chapter 8

Chapter 9: Chapter 9
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Chapter 9

 

 

Temptation. This was the greatest challenge for Hermione, in the guest room of the Leaky Cauldron, getting nearer and nearer the big bed while the invisible Mr Right was kissing her passionately.

 

’George was right,’ she thought dizzily though thinking became more and more difficult as her instincts and hormones were trying desperately to take over control. ’Yes, George was right. Every guy wants the same thing. But… In fact, I want it, too… I want to be kissed and caressed by him on the big bed till the morning…’ Their tongues intertwined again and again in a gentle, sensual dance. The boy’s hands slipped under her cloak and started to unbutton her top. Yes, she wanted this. She wanted him. She wanted to make love to him there and then. But suddenly she heard George’s voice in her head. ’Herms, what about the morning? When you wake up and look into each other’s eyes? You will feel ashamed and he will think you’re a fast woman, who slept with him after the second kiss…’ Hermione tried to get rid of these frustrating thoughts but she couldn’t. ’In the morning… When we see each other… Maybe he won’t like me at all,’ she wondered while the boy’s hands were roaming over her upper body, under the top. ’And maybe I will be disappointed… What’s sure is that it will be a very, very embarrassing situation. And Hermione Granger is clever enough not to let herself be involved in it.’

 

Yes, she was clever but not insensible to the kisses the other was trailing down the delicate skin of her neck. A moan escaped her lips, her legs turned into jelly when they reached the bed. She knew she would be under his strong and hungry body within some seconds. She tilted her head back to give him better access to her neck. Through her eyelashes she saw her own naked shoulder offered to the kisses of the invisible stranger… What?! Her shoulder could be seen? The cloak must have slipped from it.

 

The panic helped her make up her mind. She freed herself from the boy’s embrace, wrapped the cloak tight around herself and stormed off the room, down the stairs, into the cold snowy night, to apparate back to the Burrow.

 

OOOOO

 

’Herms, you did the right thing, you know that,’ George said again and again. He and Ginny had been trying to cheer Hermione up for half an hour, with no success.

 

’I don’t know,’ she shook her head sadly, watching the snowfall from the window of Ginny’s room. ’I don’t know if someone will ever kiss me like that again… It could have been the best night of my life.’

 

’Or the worst.’ Ginny said.

 

’And even if it had been the best night of your life, the morning would have been the most embarrassing one.’ George added wisely. ’And, don’t forget, the unkissed kisses are the sweetest.’

 

Hermione sighed.

 

’You say I shouldn’t think of him all the time. Then what shall I think of? Of the D.A.D.A. or the Potions test? Of the icy voice of Snape or the sneering Malfoy? Or of the last task, Quidditch?’ She buried her head in her hands, feeling miserable.

 

’We will help you, Herms, you can always rely on us. You will come with us to the Quidditch training sessions and you will practise it with us.’ George and Ginny smiled at Hermione enthusiastically.

 

’It’s great. Thanks.’ She tried to smile back at her friends. She hated flying too much. She preferred kissing. Kissing with her secret penpal.

 

OOOOO

 

I’m sorry. A thousand times sorry. I hope you can forgive me… You must know I didn’t want to hurt you… Just… make love to you. I though you wanted it, too… But maybe I misunderstood. I know what you think of me now… I’m like the other guys, always wanting the same thing. But it’s your fault, too, not just mine… You turned me on. No girl ever has kissed me back like that… I simply went crazy. And your shoulder… Yes, I admit, I wanted to see you. I wanted to see your face, your eyes, your lips… I still do. Write soon, I miss you and your words, I can’t think of anyhing else.

 

Hermione read the diary entry and the memory of the taste of his kiss, the soft touch of his tongue made her shiver in pleasure again. She wrote the answer slowly, concentrating not to lose her mind and write simply ’Let’s meet tonight and I will be yours’ or something foolish like that.

 

You’re right, it was my fault, too, that things got out of control… I want you to know that I enjoyed every second with you… Very much. Too much. But I don’t think it’s right to go that far… To date… We should just stay friends. Only friends. You are a very good friend of mine. And I don’t want to lose you. I need you.

Your friend

 

He replied soon.

 

ONLY as a friend? But why? Why? My mum said a complete love relationship is composed of three things: friendship, passion and respect. I think we would make a great couple. I need you, too. But not just as a friend. I want more. I want you.

 

When Hermione read the last line, she gulped and her pulse started racing.

 

Yes, friendship… We are good friends, that’s right. Passion… No doubt it swept us off our feet. But respect? How can you be sure we can respect each other? We don’t even know each other’s name. We haven’t looked in each other’s eyes.

 

The boy knew the solution.

 

That’s why we shouldn’t hide anymore… Let’s meet. In broad daylight.

 

But he couldn’t convince Hermione.

 

No. It’s… Too early. Let’s just stay friends…

 

She closed the diary with an overclouded expression on her face. Too early… She couldn’t explain why. Women’s intuition.

 

End of Chapter 9

Chapter 10: Chapter 10
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Chapter 10

 

Professor Moody opened the door of the wardrobe slowly. There was dead silence in the Great Hall where the students were watching the contestants’ fight against their boggarts. It was the first half of the D.A.D.A. test.

 

Hermione Granger was the first, she was waiting for her shapeshifter boggart to appear with racing heart, her wand ready in her hand.

 

To everyone’s surprise Professor McGonagall was released from the wardrobe who started to talk to Hermione with her usual strict expression on her face.

 

’Hermione Granger failed all the exams.’

 

Hermione got pale but pulled herself together and pointing her wand at the fake teacher, she shouted the boggart banishing spell.

 

’Riddikulus!’

 

In the next moment the boggart-McGonagall’s conservative look disappeared and the students could see an old lady with tattoos, piercings, lots of make-up and green and purple spiky hair.

 

While the students were laughing and clapping their hands, the fake McGonagall walked back into the wardrobe sadly and the real one blushed crimson sitting between Dumbledore and Snape.

 

It was Malfoy’s turn. When his father stepped out of the wardrobe heading threateningly towards Draco, saying ’I’m really disappointed in you, my son,’ the blond Slytherin hesitated for a moment, then clenched his jaws, and with the boggart banishing spell he turned Lucius Malfoy into an Elvis impersonator, wearing a white studded jumpsuit and a black wig with sideburns.

 

Cedric had to face a crowd of screaming girls spilling out of the wardrobe towards him but the spell turned the floor of the Great Hall into ice so the girls slipped and fell one by one.

 

Many of the students wondered what boggart the always calm Luna might have had. To everyone’s surprise the vision of a very pretty and sexy Cho left the wardrobe, whispering ’Cedric, I still love you. Don’t say it’s over.’ But she could hardly finish the sentence, her body got fatter and fatter as Luna inflated her like a balloon and floated her to the ceiling just like Harry had done it once with his ’auntie’ Marge.

 

The members of the audience, except for McGonagall and Cho, enjoyed the show and were sorry when it ended.

 

In the second half of the D.A.D.A. exam the contestants were sent into the Maze where each of them had to find the way out with the help of his or her patronus.

 

The cheering crowd could hear the exclamations ’Expecto Patronum’ of the four competitors one by one. Then, some minutes later the silvery phantom shape of a Unicorn appeared at the exit of the Maze followed by Cedric Diggory. The second contestant who could get out was Hermione Granger, helped by her silver Otter. Draco Malfoy walked out of the Maze as proudly as his White Peacock. The last one was Luna Lovegood, right behind her silver Hare.

 

Cedric was given a ten, Hermione a nine, Malfoy got eight and Luna seven points. There were only two tests left: Potions and Quidditch.

 

OOOOO

 

Last night I had a dream about a Venice Carnival night. The guests filled the ballroom of the magnificent Baroque palace. The Venetian mirrors, the 18th century frescoes and the golden ornaments made me immerge in an ancient and enchanting world…

The richly decorated silk and velvet period costumes with the nicely elaborated mysterious masks were bathing in the glittering lights of a thousand candles…

I was strolling alone wearing my beige coloured lace and velvet costume, listening to the soft melodies of the orchestra when I saw you in a Casanova hat and cape, wearing a black half-mask and a white wig. You were standing in front of a Murano mirror, sipping a cocktail.

You smiled at me and without asking anything you held my hand and took me to the dancefloor. And we danced and danced… It was a waltz, the composer Khachaturian’s Masquerade Waltz. You held me tight and we danced across the floor gracefully, faster and faster as the music got more and more passionate…

Then we left the palace and climbed into a gondola to boat on the canals of Venice. In the dark you drew closer, I could see your lips were about to touch mine and you slowly took off your mask… But suddenly I woke up and I still don’t want to believe it was just a dream…

 

Hermione finished writing, sighed and closed the diary. She had to go to the Quidditch pitch to train with the Gryffindor team.

 

OOOOO

 

Ginny welcomed Hermione on the Quidditch pitch with a big smile.

 

’I look like an idiot,’ Hermione complained. ’Are you sure I need to wear these shin guards? And the goggles? I can’t see anything.’

 

’Okay, take off the goggles,’ Ginny said. ’Where’s Harry?’

 

They looked around.

 

A guy in quidditch kit, walking out of the pitch caught Hermione’s eyes. His white hair was tied back. He looked like the mysterious Casanova in her dream.

 

’Who’s that?’ She asked breathless.

 

’Over there? The guy with the pigtail? Malfoy.’ Ginny was surprised. ’You don’t recognise your arch-enemy? The Slytherins have just finished their training session.’

 

She should have recognised him. Malfoy had grown his hair lately and he tied back the shoulder-length blond locks not to irritate him during Quidditch. He looked really sexy. But Hermione Granger was disappointed and angry. How could she feel attracted to Malfoy? Even if it was just some seconds’ time. What a shame.

 

OOOOO

 

When Hermione opened the diary that night, there was another entry below hers.

 

I’d dance the night away with you. Even without masks. Even if you look like Moaning Myrtle. I don’t care. I have feelings towards you I’d never had. Tell me when you’re ready to meet me. I’ll be there. I’m willing to take off my mask any time. And not just in your dream.

 

Hermione bit her lower lip then a smile crossed her face. She closed the diary and buried her head in her pillow. She hoped to dream of him again.

 

End of Chapter 10

Chapter 11: Chapter 11
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The Luna/Cedric pairing is dedicated to my dear MizzWeasley! :)

 

Chapter 11

 

The dungeon-like Potions classroom was cold and dark, the walls were lined with bottles and glass jars containing slimy pieces of magical plants and animal parts.

 

The contestants were sitting at desks, each of them had a small cauldron, a knife, a mortar and pestle, a potion-making kit and brass-scales.

 

Malfoy’s hair was tied back again (it can be fatal if a hair falls into the potion) though a sexy tendril of hair fell across his forehead. His hope that Snape would help him faded a bit since Dumbledore had asked Professor Slughorn, too, to be present at the exam.

 

The task was to brew Shrinking Solution without using Potions textbook.

 

Hermione started to chop the daisy roots carefully, she knew it was important to chop them evenly. Malfoy opened a jar which contained sliced caterpillars. Luna was stirring the liquid calmly and when she noticed that Cedric was watching her, she smiled at him. Cedric smiled back and grabbed a bottle to pour leech juice into his cauldron. He didn’t notice that he mixed up two bottles and picked Erumpent fluid instead of leech juice.

 

’Luna Lovegood,’ the blond girl heard the icy voice of Snape from behind her. ’You should have concentrated better. Your potion has turned orange…’

 

He couldn’t finish the sentence. There was an explosion and Cedric Diggory fell to the floor, unconscious.

 

OOOOO

 

’What?! Cedric’s potion exploded?! And what happened to him?’ Ginny asked in disbelief.

 

’Nothing serious, Madam Pomfrey said. He’ll get better soon, but he needs stressfree environment and much sleep so he’ll stay in the hospital wing for some days.’ Hermione informed Ginny.

 

’And the marks? Did you get a ten?’

 

’Malfoy did,’ Hermione frowned. ’Slughorn was really kind but he couldn’t convince Snape that the colour of my potion was bright acid green. Snape said it was only lime green. So I got only a nine.’

 

’It’s not that bad.’

 

’It is. Malfoy has one point more than me.’

 

’But there’s one more test left.’

 

’Yes. Quidditch.’ Hermione sighed sadly.

 

’Don’t give up, Hermione. Come and train with us tonight. You are getting better and better.’

 

’I’m not. I’m a disaster. You are just being polite.’

 

Unfortunately, Hermone was right.

 

OOOOO

 

Cedric opened his eyes but he could hardly see anything in the dimly lit room.

 

’Where am I?’ He asked.

 

’In the hospital wing,’ came the answer, but not from Madam Pomfrey. It was Luna, sitting on the edge of Cedric’s bed. ’Your potion exploded. Sadly, because of me. I distracted your thoughts. And now your chance to win the contest is very, very little. I wonder if you’ll ever forgive me.’

 

’Luna,’ Cedric whispered and held the girl’s hand, ’Of course I forgive you.’

 

’That easily?’ There was disappointment in her voice.

 

’Why? You didn’t want me to forgive you?’ Cedric was puzzled.

 

’I did. But I have some good convincing methods…’

 

’And you would like to show me those methods?’ Cedric asked smiling.

 

Luna nodded and slipped under the blanket, on top of the surprised boy.

 

’Luna…’ He gasped but was cut off by her lips. His arms encircled her waist and pulled her closer. Now it was him whose mouth opened greedily to her kiss and tongue. Fire sparked inside him as Luna’s hands slid under his pyjamas.

 

’What if Madam Pomfrey comes?’ He moaned but didn’t stop holding the girl.

 

’She won’t. I cast a sleeping spell on her,’ Luna panted between two kisses.

 

’You are a very, very dangerous witch… And your convincing methods are perfect…’ These were Cedric’s last words before they let themselves get lost in the pleasure.

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione got back to the dorm from her disastrous quidditch practice and opened the diary at once.

 

’How are you today?’ She read.

 

’Feeling miserable.’ She answered.

 

The response came soon.

 

Pour your heart out to me. Maybe I can help you.

 

Hermione shook her head.

 

You are really kind. But… I don’t want to go into details. There’s something I need to improve. But by now I’ve lost all my self-confidence.

 

The other was curious.

 

What is that you need to improve? Try to trust me. Let me help you.

 

Hermione jotted down the letters slowly and shyly.

 

Quidditch.

 

The penpal seemed to be roused.

 

Then you turned to the right person. I’m very good at quidditch. I suppose you’ve heard about the 4C’s: concentration, confidence, control and commitment. The most important is self confidence. You MUST believe you can achieve your goal, you must believe in yourself that you are the best. Remember, you MUST feel it! And, I tell you a good trick to boost your self-confidence: reduce your opponent’s! Distract his thoughts, make him feel insecure, angry or worried. FIGHT! All’s fair in love and war.

 

Hermione closed the diary with a determined expression on her face. ’Fight!’ She whispered. ’I’m gonna fight.’

 

But how could she destroy Malfoy’s self-confidence? She noticed the headline on the first page of The Daily Prophet. ’Next week: Rita Skeeter’s interview with the Hogwarts contestants’. A devilish smile crossed Hermione’s face. She had an idea.

 

End of Chapter 11

Chapter 12: Chapter 12
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Chapter 12

 

’And what are your first plans in Paris if you win the contest?’ There was some cunning mockery in Rita Skeeter’s eyes. Malfoy didn’t like it at all. He felt slightly alarmed. ’Visiting some nightclubs maybe?’ She raised her perfectly plucked eyebrows.

 

’Are there any nightclubs in Paris?’ Malfoy asked innocently and smiled to himself. No, he wouldn’t let the dangerous journalist manage to outwit him.

 

Rita’s enchanted Quick-Quotes Quill was dancing across the pages of her notepad quickly.

 

They were sitting in Madam Puddifoot’s tea-shop and some distance away, from another table, Hermione Granger was watching them curiously. She had already been interviewed and she was really satisfied with herself. There was an evil grin on her face while drinking her hot-choc. It was a fine day.

 

OOOOO

 

It seemed that the breakfast in the Great Hall would be as uneventful as usual. The students were spreading marmelade on their toasts or pouring milk on their cornflakes when the owls appeared with the morning mail. Letters, parcels and copies of The Daily Prophet landed on the long tables.

 

Hermione cast Malfoy a sideways glance. He was reading the main article of the paper together with Blaise. The blond Slytherin cursed and started to explain something to his friend, with anger and hurt pride on his face.

 

All the students were reading the same article, and soon a loud buzz of whispers could be heard from everywhere.

 

Hermione bit into her toast happily and with her mouth full she asked Ginny.

 

’Anything interesting?’

 

Ginny pointed at the big headline of the article.

 

’MALFOY’S FIRST QUESTION ABOUT PARIS: ARE THERE ANY NIGHTCLUBS?’

 

Hermione chuckled. She wasn’t disappointed in Skeeter and her poisonous quill.

 

’It’s Skeeter’s interview with the contestants,’ Ginny continued. ’She writes terrible things of Malfoy as the potential winner of the contest… She says his patronus should be a white ferret instead of a peacock… Etc, etc. She apparently doesn’t like him too much. I wonder why.’

 

’I know why,’ Hermione nodded spreading an extra portion of marmelade on her toast. ’I told Skeeter that Malfoy had said she dressed like his grandma.’

 

Ginny gave her a disapproving look.

 

’That wasn’t fair at all,’ she said, a little taken aback.

 

Hermione shrugged her shoulders.

 

’And how many times has Malfoy been fair to me?!’ She spat. ’Anyway it will do us good if his big fat self-confidence is reduced a bit.’

 

She glanced at Malfoy again. He was pale now and tried to avoid the curious eyes. He didn’t eat anything just drank some tea and left the place with quick steps.

 

Hermione rewarded herself with a choc muffin, too. Yes, her penpal was right. Her self confidence was increasing fast.

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione was looking at herself standing in the Gryffindor quidditch uniform in front of the mirror.

 

’I can do it,’ she kept repeating it to convince herself until Ginny arrived.

 

’Everything will be fine,’ she reassured her friend. ’Remember, Harry caught the snitch in his mouth when he was a beginner quidditch player, in the first year.’

 

’You mean I should keep my mouth open during the game in case the snitch flies into it accidentally?’ Hermione asked frowning. ’That would be my only chance?’

 

Ginny didn’t have time to answer, they heard the Weasley boys shouting ’Come on girls, the Slytherins are already on the field.’

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione opened her eyes slowly. She couldn’t move her head because of the pain. She was lying on a bed in the hospital wing.

 

’Great!’ She thought and sighed.

 

She closed her eyes again and tried to recall what had happened at the quidditch match.

 

There was that big, oval-shaped quidditch field with lots of spectators around… The two teams, the Gryffindor and the Slytherin, standing in their quidditch outfits, with broomsticks in hands, waiting for the referee to release the balls and start the game.

 

The Bludgers tried to attack the Gryffindor beaters, Fred and George immediately, and the chasers, Ginny and Katie Bell were after the Quaffle to score a goal.

 

Ron, the keeper, was flying in front of the goal hoops in gloves, chest armour, helmet and shoulder-pads.

 

The green-and-silver Slytherin uniforms were glittering in the sunlight on the Nimbus 2001 broomsticks. Their beaters, Crabbe and Goyle were whizzing around in goggles…

 

The winged golden Snitch flew past her face and then a blond haired head, Malfoy’s, appeared at a high speed… And then she remembered nothing just the green grass of the field, coming closer and closer, a scream (maybe hers) and darkness.

 

’Hermione! Are you all right?’ She opened her eyes and saw Harry and Ron’s worried faces.

 

’Under these circumstances, it was a stupid question, Ron.’ She said dryly.

 

’We’ve got good news and bad news,’ Harry said ignoring the girl’s bad mood. ’Good news is you have only a slight concussion and some bruises so you can leave the hospital room tomorrow.’

 

’And the bad news?’ Hermione asked suspecting the answer.

 

Harry took a deep breath.

 

’Malfoy could catch the Snitch so he won the contest. He’s the one going to the Olympiad in Paris.’

 

Hermione gulped and tried to suppress her tears. Then her disappointment suddenly turned into anger.

 

’It was he, wasn’t he? Malfoy. He knocked me off the broomstick, I bet.’

 

Ron shook his head sadly.

 

’I’d be so happy, Hermione, if that was the truth. But this time… He had nothing to do with your… accident. You simply… fell off.’

 

’And what if my broomstick was cursed or other Slytherins or Snape cast a charm on it?’

 

Now Harry shook his head.

 

’I watched them, ready to use the countercurse. Believe us, Hermione, nobody cheated.’

 

Hermione was devastated.

 

’Shall I cheer you up with Fred’s joke?’ Ron asked enthusiastically.

 

’Try.’ She rolled her eyes.

 

’Two guys are talking. ’Guess what happened yesterday. A brick fell on my head.’ ’And? Are you all right?’ ’Yes. Guess what happened yesterday. A brick fell on my head.’

 

Hermione frowned.

 

’Very funny.’

 

’I think we’d better let you relax a bit…’ Harry stammered. ’Here’s your schoolbag… If you want to read something.’ And the two boys walked out, slowly, quietly.

 

Hermione felt like a big failure. She wiped away a tear and opened her schoolbag. She pulled out her diary and the quill and wrote two words in the book.

 

Let’s meet.

 

 

End of Chapter 12

Chapter 13: Chapter 13
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Chapter 13

 

’Man, I didn’t know that romantic self of yours,’ Blaise said grinning while walking towards Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop with Malfoy.

 

’She’s perfect. My soulmate… My other half. Kind, warm-hearted, clever, adorable… She kissed me back so passionately… I can’t help thinking of her all the time.’

 

’But you don’t know what she looks like, right?’ Blaise raised his eyebrows surprised. ’She might be ugly. Terribly ugly.’

 

Malfoy sighed.

 

’I know. I try not to care.’

 

’You must be falling for her madly, then,’ Blaise chewed his gum and blew a big bubble. ’Have you got any clue who she may be?’

 

Malfoy shook his head.

 

’I don’t think I have met her. I mean I have definitely seen her in Hogwarts but if I had talked to her I would have definitely realised she was special… I would have had a crush on her at once.’

 

’So probably she’s a plain-looking, mousy girl from Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw,’ Blaise wondered.

 

Malfoy nodded.

 

’What if she’s not pureblood?’ Blaise looked at his friend curiously.

 

’I don’t care,’ Malfoy answered quickly and avoided the other’s eyes.

 

’But you always said…’

 

’I know what I said,’ Malfoy snapped angrily. ’I’ve been thinking of it a lot, and… I don’t care. Period.’ He stopped and looked into Blaise’s eyes seriously. ’Blaise. She’s the one for me.’

 

’Okay.’ Blaise nodded and shrugged his shoulders. ’Anyway, we’ve arrived. So… Good luck, dude.’

 

Malfoy grabbed his arm.

 

’I’d like to ask you a favour.’

 

Blaise frowned.

 

’Would you peek in and check her for me?’

 

’Come on, Draco,’ Blaise laughed nervously but the blond Slytherin didn’t let him go. ’Okay, I’ll do it,’ he gave in finally.

 

’Thanks,’ Malfoy moaned and sat on a bench nearby. ’She’s got a Potions book and a flower.’

 

Blaise tried to see through the lace curtain of the tea shop window.

 

’I can’t see anyone with a Potions book,’ he muttered.

 

’Don’t do this, the suspense is killing me,’ Malfoy suffered, fidgeting on the bench.

 

’Hold on… I can see a girl now… With a book and a flower…’ Suddenly he faltered then narrowed his eyes to see her better.

 

’Is she pretty?’ Malfoy was on the edge.

 

Blaise blinked and took another look, then groaned.

 

’Yes, she’s… pretty.’ He said finally, with a great effort.

 

’Yes!’ Malfoy jumped up happily. ’She’s pretty! She’s pretty! Just the way it should be!’ He kept repeating loudly and patted Blaise’s shoulder. ’Thanks.’

 

Blaise grabbed Malfoy’s arm.

 

’Wait a minute. It’s too early to… celebrate.’

 

Malfoy’s smile faded as he saw the other’s overclouded expression.

 

’Why?’ Malfoy asked suspiciously.

 

’She’s pretty but… I don’t think you’ll like her.’

 

Malfoy was getting nervous.

 

’Why?’

 

’Because that girl is… Granger. Hermione Granger.’

 

The information was so shocking that for a long second Malfoy thought Blaise was speaking in some foreign language. He stared at him in disbelief, then, flabbergasted, he rushed to the window and looked in the tea shop.

 

When he himself made sure, he sat down on the bench next to Blaise, and buried his face in his hands.

 

’I can’t believe it,’ he mumbled.

 

’What are you going to do now?’ Blaise asked chewing his gum slowly, with sympathy in his voice.

 

’Nothing.’ Malfoy pulled himself together and stood up. ’Nothing. Buy some toffees in Honeydukes.’

 

’Don’t be kidding. Are you going to let her wait all afternoon?’

 

’Yes,’ Malfoy said determined and was about to leave.

 

’And what about that speech about your soulmate? Your other half? The girl who is as passionate as you? The diary girl and Granger is one and the same person.’

 

Malfoy stopped in his tracks and turned back.

 

’Hermione Granger hates me and I hate her.’

 

’Some minutes ago you said she was the one for you,’ Blaise stood up from the bench.

 

Malfoy didn’t move. He watched the shop window of Madam Puddifoot’s and hated Blaise very much for being right. He didn’t have a clue what to do.

 

End of Chapter 13

Chapter 14: Chapter 14
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Chapter 14

 

In Madam Puddifoot’s Hermione Granger was sipping a cup of fruit tea, her Potions book and a red rose were in front of her on the small, round table. Near her, Parvati and Patil were discussing the latest diet tips of the BeauWitch Magazin while munching on scones.

 

The bell over the door announced a new customer and Hermione looked up with a thrill of excitement. It was McLaggen with a cloud of perfume. Hermione frowned and pretended to be reading the Potions book. Fortunately McLaggen sat down some tables away next to a Ravenclaw, Lisa Turpin, he had been falling for lately. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief.

 

Somebody let out a laugh. It was Madam Hooch, the Flying teacher, reading an April Fools Joke in The Daily Prophet. In the other corner Cedric and Luna stood up from their table and walked out, holding hands.

 

Hermione was wearing a spaghetti-strap floral dress, her hair flowed in waves over her bare shoulders. She had applied some make-up with Ginny’s help. She wanted to look stunning and not like a bookworm in skirt. But now she was getting nervous. Her Mr Right, the mysterious penpal was late.

 

The door opened again, the bell rang and Hermione could see Draco Malfoy’s blond locks. ’He must be looking for Pansy,’ Hermione thought and pretended to be reading the book again. She didn’t feel like listening to his boasting and bragging about his triumph in that damned contest.

 

’Studying Potions, Granger? The contest is over. I won.’ She heard the words she didn’t want to.

 

’I won’t congratulate you, Malfoy,’ she spat frowning.

 

’I don’t expect you to do that,’ he smirked. ’Though you should admit I was better than you.’

 

’You were better?! You were given more points only in Occlumency and Potions, thanks to Snape and everybody knows you are his favourite… His little pet… A white ferret.’ Her voice brimmed with anger.

 

Malfoy tried to stay calm. He clenched his jaws.

 

’You might have forgotten, because of your brain concussion, that I was given a ten at Quidditch,’ He talked slowly, emphasizing every word. ’And Snape had nothing to do with that.’

 

Hermione gulped.

 

’Anyway, everybody knows that you don’t deserve to be at the Olympiad. The only thing you’re interested in Paris is the nightclubs.’

 

’That headline was just another of Skeeter’s dirty tricks, you know that,’ Malfoy said sitting down at the table, his body tense with frustration.

 

’You are not sitting down, are you?!’ Hermione was in shock.

 

’What is this? A rose? Yes, a red rose… How romantic.’ He sneered.

 

’Don’t touch it,’ Hermione was infuriated.

 

’So you are waiting for someone, right?’ Malfoy put the rose back.

 

’None of your business.’

 

’I suppose it’s not McLaggen or the red Weasel…’

 

Hermione didn’t answer. The door opened and two Hufflepuff girls came in.

 

’Will you be as mean and nasty to him as you are to me?’ Malfoy asked curiously.

 

’To him? Mean and nasty? He is the most gorgeous person in the world. Kind, warm-hearted, intelligent and has a really good sense of humour. He is a good man. Unlike you, Malfoy.’

 

Malfoy blushed slightly and suddenly felt very hot. He loosened his light-blue short-sleeved shirt a bit, taking down the first button. Hermione’s eyes followed his hand then she looked into his eyes and got captured in its blue prison for a moment.

 

’But he’s not here. He’s late,’ the blond Slythering stammered finally.

 

’There must be a reason,’ Hermione declared. ’If he promises something he keeps that. He is a brave and honest person, unlike you. You are just a selfish, egoistic, insufferable prat, a spoiled child living in the shadow of your father. I might be a bookworm but you are nothing but daddy’s little son in an expensive robe.’ She gasped for breath.

 

Malfoy got paler and paler, gazing at her lips with pain in his eyes. Then he stood up slowly.

 

’Well, it’s been nice chatting with you.’

 

Hermione watched him leaving the tea shop and didn’t believe her eyes. She didn’t understand. Why hadn’t he talked back? Why hadn’t he humiliated her? It was strange. Very strange.

 

She drank her tea and dropped the rose in the rubbish bin. Holding her Potions book she walked back to the castle with a disappointed face.

 

When she arrived at her dorm, she immediately opened the diary but there was no new entry from Mr Right. She felt terrible. ’Why wasn’t he there? Why?’ But nobody answered her question.

 

End of Chapter 14


Chapter 15: Chapter 15
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Chapter 15

 

The next day, right before breakfast, Ginny and George were waiting for Hermione impatiently and curiously in the Gryffindor common room.

 

’What happened?’ Ginny asked first, without saying hi, as soon as she saw a sleepy and cross Hermione descending the stairs.

 

’Nothing,’ she shook her head. ’He didn’t show up.’

 

The two redhaired Weasleys were speechless for a moment.

 

’Do you still insist he’s a gentleman?’ George broke the silence.

 

’There should be a reason,’ Hermione was determined.

 

’So you don’t think it was just an April Fool’s joke?’

 

’George!’ Ginny had an accusing glance at her bro. ’Life is not just a sack of tricks and jokes. I agree with Hermione, there must be a reason why he wasn’t there.’

 

George shrugged his shoulders.

 

’He might have been given detention…’ George wondered.

 

’Or, he had an accident and he was taken to the hospital wing,’ Ginny added.

 

’What if he was there… He saw me but he didn’t like me… He found me ugly…’ Hermione said meekly.

 

George observed her closely and shook his head.

 

’Impossible. Yesterday I saw you leaving for Hogsmeade. You looked like a topmodel.’

 

Hermione blushed.

 

’Thanks, George.’ Then her face brightened up. ’Guess whom I saw in Madam Puddifoot’s. Luna with Cedric. Holding hands.’

 

’So they are officially dating!’ Ginny smiled.

 

’And I saw McLaggen, too. He was with that Ravenclaw girl, Liza, Seamus’s ex-girlfriend.’

 

’Was Seamus there?’ George asked.

 

’No. But Malfoy was,’ Hermione added frowning.

 

’Malfoy?!’ Ginny rolled her eyes.

 

’Yes, he must have been looking for Pansy.’

 

’They broke up at Christmas,’ Ginny informed her.

 

’Whatever. We had a very ’nice’ chat,’ Hermione made quotation marks with her fingers.

 

George stood up from the sofa with a knowing look.

 

’Mystery solved, I know what happened.’

 

The girls looked at him full of expectation.

 

’HE was there. He looked in the tea shop… and saw you, Herms. He saw you, the book, the rose and… Draco Malfoy.’ He emphasized the name dramatically. ’I guess he didn’t want a girlfriend who was on friendly terms with a Malfoy.’

 

Hermione scowled.

 

’Okay, Mr Poirot, let’s go get some breakfast,’ Ginny suggested.

 

’No, mes amis. No breakfast, please. For me petite dejeuner,’ George corrected the girl.

 

OOOOO

 

Dear Friend,

Yesterday I expected to meet you… To see you, to talk to you. I was there in the tea shop as we’d fixed but you didn’t come… I wonder why.

I’m sure you can explain it. I know you would never let me down.

I want you to know that your friendship, our seemingly unimportant messages mean a lot to me…

While waiting for you I met someone who hates me and my friends. Someone who has made my life a misery lately. Someone who proved to be better than me in a contest that was very important for me. At Halloween I complained to you I couldn’t talk back to a guy who was rude to me. It was him. But yesterday, surprisingly, when he provocated me, I could find the words and told him what I wanted. I was offensive, mean, nasty and cruel. But instead of feeling happy, I felt terrible. I hate to be cruel. Even if he is, why should I? I wish I hadn’t told him those things…

Hope to hear from you soon.

Your friend.

 

Draco Malfoy finished reading the new entry in his diary and closed the book slowly. He stood up overclouded and dropped the diary in the waste-paper basket. Some distance away, in the Gryffindor tower, Hermione Granger was sitting on her bed waiting for the answer impatiently.

 

End of Chapter 15

Chapter 16: Chapter 16
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter 16

 

Dear Friend,

I am sorry for what happened yesterday. It was my fault. You expected to see a friend and met the enemy instead… But I’m sure he deserved the cruel words. I know exactly how you feel.

I can’t tell you more now. Write to me. I’ll be here.

Your friend.

 

Draco Malfoy finished writing and closed the diary. He wasn’t sure he had done the right thing rummaging through the waste-paper basket for the book. Was he driven by a bizarre and over-romanticized attraction to the secret self of his penpal or was he motivated merely by sense of guilt?

 

OOOOO

 

The young and pretty French teacher, Miss Pompadour was sitting at her desk watching the students writing an essay in French, on their summer plans.

 

Hermione jotted down the words slowly, she couldn’t concentrate, thinking of her penpal’s latest message all the time. She had changed lately, both her mates and the teachers noticed that. The shameful defeat at the contest made her quieter, reserved, she was not that know-it-all bookworm anymore. This change made her more likeable, she became popular with the students, and more and more boys started to fall enchanted by her beauty.

 

She finished the essay and looked up. From the corner of her eyes she saw Malfoy staring at her knees. Her legs were crossed and the hem of her skirt didn’t cover her knees. The blond Slytherin’s gaze lingered on the long thighs then travelled over her body, to meet her eyes finally. He looked at her as if he had seen her for the first time… He examined her like a man observes a woman… A pretty woman.

 

Malfoy’s eyes on her like that made her shiver. But, surprisingly enough, not in a bad way. It was… pleasant. Draco Malfoy was ogling her… She forcefully tore her gaze from the trap of his blue eyes and pretended to be revising her essay.

 

’Miss Pompadour, may I look up a word in the dictionary?’ Fred asked the teacher with a naughty smile.

 

’Nobody is allowed to use a dictionary,’ came the strict answer from the pink-haired teacher. ’Mr Weasley, you should have learnt the words related to this topic. You can improve your French only if you build your vocabulary.’

 

’I’m very good at French,’ Fred grinned at her. ’French kiss.’ He added with a wink, to the other students’ amusement.

 

OOOOO

 

’He didn’t try to find an excuse at all?’ Ginny raised her eyebrows.

 

’No,’ Hermione shook her head.

 

The two girls were walking towards the Quidditch field in the April sunshine.

 

’And he didn’t insist on fixing another date?’ Ginny was really surprised.

 

Hermione sighed.

 

’Maybe we will never date. Maybe we will write letters to each other till the end of our lives. Maybe ours will be just a Platonic relationship. But I don’t mind. I should be happy to have such a wonderful penpal.’

 

’And what will happen when there are no more blank pages in the diary? You will lose him for good?’ Ginny didn’t like it at all.

 

They arrived at the Quidditch field.

 

’Look, the Slytherin team has a training session,’ Hermione remarked.

 

’Let’s sit down and criticize them,’ Ginny suggested with an evil grin.

 

’By the way… Guess what happened in French class today. I caught Malfoy gazing at my legs.’

 

’Sneering and frowning?’

 

’No, not at all. Just… He was simply ogling me. It was really odd.’

 

’He must be very sex-deprived then,’ Ginny laughed while watching Malfoy flying above them, chasing the Snitch. ’Anyway… He’s not that bad…’ She added.

 

’What do you mean?’ Hermione asked suspiciously.

 

’I mean he’s rather good-looking. If he weren’t Malfoy… I think you’d fall for him.’

 

’Come on, Ginny, you’re talking nonsense!’ They laughed out loud. So loud that Malfoy looked down from his broomstick and saw the girls. He had to admit Hermione was more than attractive when she smiled. The Snitch flew past his face but he didn’t notice that.

 

OOOOO

 

After discussing the Quidditch training of the Slytherin team, focusing mainly on Malfoy, his technique, hairdo and muscles, Hermione and Ginny left the Quidditch field. It was getting dark. Ginny went back to the castle but Hermione decided to visit Hagrid.

 

On the way to Hagrid’s Hut, Hermione walked past the Whomping Willow and heard the frightened cries of a bird. It was a small, fluffy owl who had probably took a rest on a branch of the dangerous tree.

 

The branches were moving now aggressively, trapping the panicking bird.

 

’Hold on, birdie,’ Hermione shouted and grabbed a branch to get nearer. Some moments later she could catch the young owl but she lost her balance letting go of the branch and fell to the ground unconscious.

 

End of Chapter 16

Chapter 17: Chapter 17
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Chapter 17

 

Hermione opened her eyes.

 

’Oh, no! Not in the hospital wing again!’ She sighed.

 

Madam Pomfrey was examining her with a strict expression on her face.

 

’Miss Granger, you should be more careful. This was your second accident within the last two weeks.’

 

’Am I seriously wounded?’

 

’No. You were lucky. Just a slight consussion again. You’ll recover soon, but you should stay in bed for a few days. By the way, your owl has a broken wing but Hagrid is taking care of it so there’s no need to worry.’

 

’My owl?’ Hermione didn’t understand.

 

’You don’t remember? The owl you saved from the branches of the Whomping Willow.’ Madam Pomfrey looked at her worried.

 

’I remember… But that was not my owl.’

 

’I see,’ Madam Pomfrey nodded relieved. She pointed at a pile of books. ’Miss Weasley brought them for you.’ And then she headed for her office.

 

Hermione picked the diary (Ginny had known what her friend would need first) and was about to open it when Madam Pomfrey returned.

 

’Somebody wants to see you desperately… A very impatient visitor. Shall I let him in?’

 

 

Hermione nodded. ’It must be Harry or Ron,’ she thought.

 

The one she expected the least to see was an embarrassed Draco Malfoy, approaching her bed slowly, with a daisy in his hand. He was wearing blue jeans and a white shirt, a blond lock fell across his forehead. He looked surprisingly tall… Tall and handsome.

 

The girl could hardly pull herself together to talk.

 

’Malfoy… What are you doing here?’

 

’I just… wanted to say thank you. For saving that owl… Actually, that was, I mean, that is my owl,’ he stammered.

 

’Poor birdie,’ Hermione said in a mocking tone.

 

’Yeah, it has a broken wing,’ Malfoy took a step forward and was glad the conversation had begun somehow.

 

’I mean poor birdie because it belongs to you, Malfoy,’ Hermione frowned.

 

There was a short silence, the boy clenched his jaws but didn’t talk back.

 

’Anyway, I brought you… this,’ he said and put the flower on the bed. ’A daisy.’

 

’Why did you bring me a flower? And why a daisy?’ Hermione was suspicious. ’Why not a carnivorous plant?’

 

’I heard you were… sick.’ The blond Slytherin was now in trouble with words.

 

’Yeah, sick. Sick of seeing you.’ Hermione spat.

 

’Don’t say things you will regret later,’ Malfoy answered unusually calmly.

 

Hermione froze.

 

’What are you up to, Malfoy? Tell me.’

 

’Nothing. Believe me. I’m trying to be civil, that’s all.’

 

’You? Civil?’

 

’People can change.’

 

’People can. But not you.’

 

’What shall I do to make you believe me?’

 

’Get off.’ Hermione couldn’t have sounded more determined but Malfoy didn’t move. What’s more, he sat down on a small chair next to the bed, and looked around.

 

’Do you keep a diary?’ He asked casually when noticing the book on top of the pile.

 

’None of your business, Malfoy,’ Hermione said but started to give up the hope she would get rid of the blond Slytherin. She was fiddling nervously with the flower.

 

’What happened to the guy you were expecting in the tea shop?’ Malfoy asked unusually softly.

 

’Nothing.’ Hermione shrugged her shoulders. ’He didn’t show up.’

 

’Then he missed the chance to see how pretty you can be… If you want to.’ Malfoy gulped, his mesmerising blue eyes boring into the girl’s.

 

’Excuse me?!’ Hermione was seriously shocked. For a second she thought her concussion was not slight at all.

 

’You looked… nice.’ He wanted to use the word ’beautiful’ but he didn’t dare.

 

Hermione shifted her gaze to the daisy and blushed.

 

’But my behaviour… wasn’t nice at all.’ She whispered. ’I said awful things.’

 

’Me too,’ Malfoy nodded.

 

’But I have no excuse.’ She looked back at him.

 

’You mean, since I’m an awful person, I am entitled to say awful things…’ He sneered.

 

Hermione nodded.

 

Malfoy rolled his eyes and frowned but controlled himself.

 

’So the guy you were expecting… The guy who is not such an awful person as me… Are you falling for him?’ He asked finally.

 

Hermione nodded again though the strange subject of the conversation started to make her feel embarrassed.

 

’Is he a Gryffindor heart-throb?’ He asked curiously.

 

Hermione buried her face in the pillow.

 

’I don’t know. We just… write letters to each other. I know it sounds ridiculous.’ She sighed and didn’t have a clue why she confessed it to someone like Malfoy.

 

’It isn’t. You know… I think you should meet him. Set up another date with him. He might show up.’

 

Hermione pulled herself together and sat up.

 

’Tell me one reason why I should take your advice, Malfoy.’ She scowled.

 

’You don’t have to. It was merely the suggestion of a… friend.’ He added the last word after some hesitation.

 

’Friend?!’ Hermione looked at him with wide eyes.

 

Malfoy thought this was the right moment to go.

 

’Well… Take care. Bye.’ He stood up and headed for the door.

 

Hermione gulped and watched him leaving. Draco Malfoy as a friend… She fell back into the pillow and gazed at the daisy in her hand with wildly beating heart. She forgot even about her diary.

 

End of Chapter 17

Chapter 18: Chapter 18
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Chapter 18

 

Hermione spent her last day in the hospital bed, reading Pride and Prejudice when suddenly Ginny stormed in the room.

 

’Mione, I’ve got good news for you! You are going to Paris!’

 

’Instead of Malfoy?!’

 

’No… Actually… With Malfoy.’ Ginny’s smile faded a bit.

 

’WITH Malfoy?!’ Hermione sat up shocked.

 

’Dumbledore got a mail from Beauxbatons during lunch. He was asked to appoint a student to be the British coordinator of the Organizing Committee of the Olympiad. The Headmaster said you would be the most suitable for the post.’

 

’And it means I will have to work together with Malfoy.’ Hermione concluded.

 

Ginny nodded not too enthusiastically. Hermione’s gaze shifted to the daisy on the night-table.

 

’It was his owl I saved. Malfoy’s.’ Hermione said quietly.

 

’Yes, I’ve heard.’

 

’He came to see me… He behaved in a friendly way… Surprisingly friendly.’

 

’He might have been grateful to you for saving his owl.’ Ginny remarked.

 

’Maybe,’ Hermione sighed.

 

’Then it will be easier to cooperate with him, don’t you think so?’ Ginny said wisely. ’Anyway, Dumbledore wants to see you two. In his office, after dinner.’

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione was sitting in Madam Puddifoot’s tea shop again. With Draco Malfoy. Again. They were preparing Malfoy’s presentation about Hogwarts, for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympiad.

 

They had finished the English version but they had to translate it into French, too. Surprisingly, it was very easy to work with the blond Slytherin. Firstly, because his French was very good thanks to the summer holidays spent in Nice, the famous seaside resort of France. Secondly, because he gave up his arrogant style, concentrated on the task seriously and came up with lots of ideas. Hermione wondered what might have made him change so much.

 

Yes, they pretended to be working hard, focusing only on the task (as Dumbledore had asked them the day before), avoiding looking into each others’ eyes. But deep inside both of them were nervous and embarrassed.

 

Hermione couldn’t forget the words Malfoy said in the hospital wing… about her being pretty and nice… And the way he was watching her during French class. And the daisy. She sighed. In spite of these flattering things she decided she would never forgive him. Never. And she would always hate him. Always. Well, maybe not as much as she used to, but she definitely will.

 

Malfoy watched the girl’s slightly trembling hand, jotting the lines down on the parchment. Hermione had wanted him to do it but he managed to convince her that her handwriting was much nicer than his… He was afraid she could recognise his letters from the diary… And he was not ready for this. Not yet.

 

’What about your owl?’ Hermione asked suddenly catching him off guard. ’Getting better?’

 

’Yes… Making a quick recovery,’ he stammered. ’Thanks to Hagrid.’ He added.

 

Hermione’s heart melted for a moment but the boy’s next question made her body tense.

 

’And your penfriend? Are you going to meet?’ He asked casually.

 

’No… Not now… He cannot make it. He’s in the middle of a project, he said. I mean, he wrote.’ Hermione replied though didn’t know why. Why didn’t she simply say ’It’s not your business, Malfoy’? But now it was too late.

 

Malfoy’s eyes were soft blue now, sending Hermione a knowing look.

 

’It means he has a girlfriend.’

 

’A girlfriend?!’ She was taken aback.

 

’Yes. To be in the middle of a project, in men’s language, usually means to be in a serious relationship. He might not know whether to break up or not.’

 

Hermione shook her head.

 

’It’s impossible. He’s not like that.’

 

’Have you asked him? Have you?’ Malfoy raised his eyebrows.

 

’No…’ The girl confessed.

 

’Then do it.’ He suggested.

 

’I won’t,’ Hermione looked stubborn.

 

Malfoy shrugged his shoulders.

 

’Next week we’ll have to go to London… I mean, you and me,’ Hermione said quickly, wanting to change the topic. ’To design the Hogwarts robe you are going to wear in Paris.’

 

’Okay,’ the blond boy nodded. ’Next Saturday morning. Hogsmeade Station, eight o’clock?’

 

Hermione nodded.

 

OOOOO

 

Dear Friend,

You may find my question odd, especially now… Do you have a serious girlfriend?

Please write asap.

 

The answer to Hermione’s question arrived the next morning.

 

Are you kidding?! What sort of question is that?! I thought you trusted me. I got it… Your friends keep telling you I don’t meet you because I have a girlfriend, right?

 

Hermione closed the diary. She was confused. Very, very confused.

 

End of Chapter 18

Chapter 19: Chapter 19
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Chapter 19

 

The next Saturday, the first one in May, was sunny and warm, a perfect day to go to London. The train had just left Hogsmeade Station, and the two students entered an empty compartment. Hermione took a seat next to the window and Malfoy sat down opposite her.

 

She tried hard to fight off the feeling, but she liked what she saw. Malfoy was wearing faded jeans and a plain white T-shirt, he sat with legs wide open, his hands clasped behind his head, exposing his torso.

 

The girl snapped her gaze from his body and her eyes met his.

 

’So… Have you asked your penpal? Does he have a girlfriend?’ Malfoy asked curiously.

 

Hermione blushed and shifted uneasily in the seat.

 

’I asked him. And he got upset. He’s cleverer than you’d think, he knew at once that somebody got me to ask him this stupid question.’ She crossed her legs.

 

’But he didn’t answer the question, right?’ Malfoy sneered smugly, taking a quick glance at her short skirt and long thighs.

 

’Well, not directly…’

 

’So he didn’t.’

 

’He did.’

 

’He didn’t.’ Malfoy shook his head and grinned.

 

Hermione gave up. After all, Malfoy was right.

 

’Your secret penpal might be… Nearly Headless Nick,’ the blond Slytherin wondered.

 

The girl rolled her eyes.

 

’Or Crabbe. Or… Goyle. Which one would you prefer?’ Malfoy raised his eyebrows.

 

Hermione shook her head, her brown curls bouncing happily. She couldn’t help smiling. Malfoy smiled back at her, a blond lock of hair brushed his shoulder.

 

Hermione forced her gaze to shift to the window and the scenery flying by. Some seconds later she bit her lower lip and looked back into the blue-grey eyes bravely.

 

’Malfoy…’

 

’Yes?’

 

’Why are you being so nice to me?’

 

Malfoy gulped. What should he say? That he was the secret penpal more and more in love with the girl he had snogged passionately at Halloween and New Year’s Eve? That he had been craving for that gorgeous girl behind the mask of an insufferable bookworm, since September?

 

He cleared his throat and ran a hand through his hair. Hermione wondered what it might feel like to rake a hand through those silken locks…

 

’I… I’ve told you. I’m trying to be civil. That’s all.’ He said finally.

 

’But why? Why is this sudden change… This transformation into good-boy-Malfoy? There must be something, I know.’ Hermone demanded explanation. ’You always hated me, despised me. Why do you pretend not to hate me anymore? Why do you pretend to be… my friend? Is it a game? Or a trap?’

 

Malfoy took a deep breath and leaned closer to the girl.

 

’I don’t pretend anything. It’s neither a game nor a trap. I don’t say this change is easy for me… Not at all. But I’m trying really hard. Why? Firstly, you saved my owl. And, I know it’s hard to believe, but I have feelings, too, and I grew fond of that bird. So I’ll always be grateful to you for what you did. Secondly, we’re going to Paris together… We have to work together. We’d better do it in a civilised way, without those idiotic, childish fights.’

 

The marble blue orbs were watching her hypnotically.

 

Hermione nodded slowly.

 

’That’s all?’ She asked quietly.

 

’And… I want to seduce you a bit,’ Malfoy thought to himself when the train suddenly came to a halt and his leg accidentally knocked into hers.

 

The train sped up again and Hermione started to read The Daily Prophet. She would have been reading it if her mind had not been on the handsome Slytherin sitting so close to her and on the swirling sensation inside every time his jeans accidentally brushed against her leg…

OOOOO

Hermione and Malfoy had left Madam Malkin’s Robes For All Occasions in Diagon Alley where they had ordered an elegant black-and-gold, temperature-adjusting robe for Malfoy to participate in the Olympiad.

They decided to have lunch at a pavement café where there were brightly coloured umbrellas over the tables.

’And what will you call me in Paris?’ Hermione asked over a bowl of salad.

Malfoy was about to bite into his sandwich.

’What shall I call you? ’Honey’?’ He grinned.

’My first name is Hermione,’ the girl sneered.

’Mine is Draco,’ Malfoy sneered back. ’I’ll call you Hermione as soon as you call me Draco.’

’I won’t.’ Hermione declared confidently.

’Then I’ll introduce you to the people as my… assistant. ’This is my assistant, Miss Granger.’ Amusement flashed in his eyes.

’I’m not your assistant, Malfoy,’ Hermione spat.

’Then… my secretary?’ His eyes were smiling.

’I’m not your secretary and I’m not your girl-friday, either’ Hermione was getting upset.

Though Malfoy was enjoying himself immensely finding Hermione cute when she was angry, he decided to stop teasing her. He ate the sandwich and drank the icy fruit juice.

Hermione took notes, writing a list about the expenses of the Olympiad, when suddenly she felt the boy’s warm touch. Reaching across the table he stole her right hand and pulled it closer to him, rubbing his thumb across her knuckles softly.

’Is it from your ex-boyfriend?’

Hermione was so shocked that it took her some seconds to realize he was examining her ring featuring two hands clasping a heart with a crown on it.

’No… It is a Claddagh Ring. Family heirloom.’

’A Claddagh Ring?’

’Yeah. It’s a traditional Irish ring… symbolising love, friendship and loyalty. When the ring is worn on the left hand with the heart facing outward, it means the wearer is engaged; if it’s turned inward it means the wearer is married.’

’And when it’s on the right hand?’ Malfoy was still holding her hand tenderly. He could feel her quivering slightly.

Hermione blushed crimson.

’When the heart faces outward… It shows the wearer… is looking for love,’ she confessed. ’And… yours?’ She shifted her gaze to Malfoy’s ring.

’It’s the Malfoy family crest ring… A silver snake with emerald eyes coiled around a rose.’

He took off the piece of jewelry and put it in Hermione’s palm. This physical contact made her shudder again, each touch sent a surge of electricity shooting through her body.

’Does it have any magical powers?’ She asked when she felt the ring started to burn her palm.

Malfoy narrowed his eyes when he looked at her.

’Whoever touches it, will call me Draco,’ he said in a mysterious voice.

’You wish, Malfoy!’ Hermione snapped and put the ring back in his palm. ’Your tricks won’t work with me,’ she added. 

’Are you sure?’ The blond Slytherin asked with a knowing smile.

Though the girl nodded, she was not sure at all. 

OOOOO

The two Hogwarts students took the Knight Bus back to Hogsmeade in the evening. The purple triple-decker was full of passengers, goblins with pointed ears, blue Cornish Pixies, elf-like Erklings with high-pitch laugh, a green red-haired leprechaun with a sack of gold in his hand, two white-haired witches from the Ministry and a very old man with an owl.

The driver, an elderly wizard with thick glasses and the conductor, Stan Shunpike in purple uniform were sitting in armchairs in the front of the bus.

It was getting dark outside, the lighting came from the candles of the bus. The vehicle was jumping madly from one place to another so Malfoy and Hermione had to hold on tight not to be thrown around the interior of the bus during the bumpy ride.

Suddenly Hermione had a strange feeling. Unpleasant and creepy, somehow familiar. The bus stopped and she lost her balance. Malfoy grabbed her to steady her, she turned beet red and struggled to stand. Instead, she fell into his chest. The blond Slytherin put a hand on her back, holding her to him.

Hermione raised her head and they locked eyes. She became lost in the waves of the silvery blue sea and Malfoy could see the gold flecks in her honey-brown eyes.

He felt her stiffen as her body pressed against his but he didn’t let go. The smell of her hair intoxicated him. The same smell as it had been in the Astronomy Tower at Halloween and on Diagon Alley on New Years Eve…

Hermione never thought she could be this close to Malfoy without struggle and fight… She felt his hot breath on her cheek and her knees weakened. Her hands rested on his chest and she knew she should have pushed him away. But her thoughts were messed up, feeling a tingle under his touch. Merlin, it was too good to stop.

They didn’t notice the windows freezing up with ice. Only when all the heads turned to the first door of the bus did they realize something was wrong.

Somebody got on the bus. The human shaped tall creature was covered in a dark, hooded cloak that revealed only the grey, pale hands. It floated slowly towards the passengers. A Dementor. 

Hermione knew why the feeling was so familiar, she had experienced it with Harry and Ron on the Hogwarts Express.

It was cold, very cold and dead silence. Some candles went out and dense fog was rolling in slowly. Hermione felt Malfoy’s arms slide around her waist, pulling her protectively closer to his own body. This was new. Malfoy who wanted to protect her, Hermione Granger… But Malfoy or not, it felt right.

The Dementor got closer and the shivers being sent down Hermione’s spine increased, she was shaking with fear, not knowing why: because of the Dementor or because of the realisation she liked the enveloping warmth of her arch-enemy…

The Dementor was very close now. 

’Think of love… Dementors are repelled when they perceive love’, Malfoy whispered to Hermione and tightened his strong grip.

Hermione closed her eyes. Love… The way Malfoy was holding her… But for her Malfoy and love were two totally different things. Her penpal… Yes, she would think of him, not Malfoy. She recalled his touch, his kiss… The smell of his aftershave… It was similar to Malfoy’s… She snuggled up against the blond Slytherin tighter.

When she opened her eyes the Dementor had gone. But Malfoy and Hermione clung to each other till the end of the journey.

End of Chapter 19
 


Chapter 20: Chapter 20
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

My Dear Friends,

I planned this chapter to be the last one but I cannot complete it during the weekend. So I thought I would post the first half of the chapter and you can read it until I finish writing the other half of it. It means this is the penultimate chapter and Chapter 21 will be the last one, hope you don’t mind.

Have a good read!

Hugs xxx

silvergreen

 

Chapter 20

 

On Wednesday Dumbledore asked Malfoy and Hermione to buy some souvenirs in Hogsmeade for the French hosts of the Olympiad, so the duo spent the afternoon shopping.

 

They bought some postcards of the Castle and the Hogwarts Express, magical sweets such as chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Jelly Slugs, quills made of sugar, Toothflossing Stringmints, Droobles Best Blowing Gum, exploding bonbons from Honeydukes and Nose-Biting Teacups and Fanged Frisbees from Zonko’s Joke Shop.

 

Now they were heading for the castle, tired and exhausted, with the paper bags full of gifts in their hands.

 

’Look, what a beautiful sunset,’ Hermione stopped suddenly.

 

’Yeah… Beautiful,’ Malfoy said quietly but watched Hermione instead of the sun.

 

Since the London trip he had been sure. He knew she was the one for him. Granger or not, he needed her, he wanted her, he couldn’t think anything else but her. He was grateful to the Headmaster for asking them to go shopping together. He had missed the girl so much, he missed the feeling to be with her, to be close to her.

 

Hermione was watching the sunset, unaware of the fact Malfoy was gazing at her. Seemingly unaware. But she felt, every cell in her body felt, making her heart beat faster, that the blond Slytherin’s eyes were on her and not on the landscape.

 

She had expected to be with Malfoy, too. To look into the blue of his eyes, to smell his aftershave, to watch that blond lock falling across his forehead… She was angry with herself for it but she couldn’t help. Every time she recalled the London trip, the moments his leg brushed hers on the train, his warm hand touched hers or when he held her so tight on the Knight Bus, she still shuddered with pleasure though she desperately wanted to push these memories in the back of her mind.

 

’I’m too lonely,’ she thought bitterly. ’I’m so lonely that my hormones would get me to jump into bed with anyone who wears pants… Even with Malfoy.’

 

Before the London trip she craved only for her penpal’s touch and kiss but now Draco Malfoy was mainly on her mind. It scared her.

 

They continued their walk slowly, in silence, one of them wondering how to express his feelings, the other trying to suppress them.

 

When they got back to the castle the other students had finished dinner and were spending the evening in the common rooms. The corridors were deserted, Malfoy and Hermione walked to the Portrait of the Fat Lady.

 

’What about… What about going out for a drink on Saturday? In Hogsmeade?’ Malfoy asked a bit embarrassed, his voice hoarse.

 

’With… you?’ Hermione asked equally embarrassed.

 

Malfoy stood too close to her, she should have taken a step back but was too paralysed to do so.

 

’Yes. With me.’ He moved even closer, almost closing the gap between them.

 

’Okay…’ Hermione gasped. Her mind went so blank she would have said okay to everything now.

 

’Outside Honeydukes. 3 p.m.’ Malfoy whispered, his lips almost touching hers. The girl felt his sweet breath on her cheek.

 

Hermione nodded and closed her eyes expecting the kiss.

 

’Good night, Granger,’ she heard instead and saw the tall, blond guy disappear in the corridor when she opened her eyes.

 

She felt awful even hours later, tossing and turning in her bed, her head full of questions she couldn’t find the answers to. ’Firstly: did Malfoy want to kiss me? He leaned so close… But he might have done it because he wanted me to hear his whisper… Oh, I behaved so foolishly… Why the hell did I close my eyes? Now he knows I expected a kiss… Damn. Secondly: supposing he wanted to kiss me… Why? Why did he want to kiss me? He’s been acting really friendly lately, even flirting a bit at times but can it be more than an attempt to be civil because of the cooperation in the contest? Is it possible that he really fancies me… That he’s attracted to me? He said he wanted to be my friend, not my boyfriend. Thirdly:  supposing he wanted to kiss me and I was not imagining it, then why the hell didn’t he do that? Why didn’t he kiss me?’

 

She sighed and sat up in bed watching a silver ray of moonlight coming through the window.

 

’And the most important question of all,’ she continued her train of thought, ’Why did I want him to kiss me? I can’t be falling for him. No way. He’s handsome and nice to me now but he’s still Malfoy. Why do I think of him all the time? Why do I keep forgetting about my penpal?’

 

Her gaze shifted to the diary on the nightstand and realised she hadn’t checked it that day. She quickly opened the book.

 

Do you still want to meet me? There’s a small rose garden near the lake of the castle. I’ll be there with Bubble, my owl. 4 pm, Saturday. Hope you can make it.

 

Hermione jotted down the answer with slightly trembling hand.

 

Okay.

 

It was the second date she said okay to that evening. She wondered which one she was expecting more.

 

OOOOO

 

Draco Malfoy read Hermione’s reply in his diary and smiled.

 

The longing to kiss her was still burning his soul and body. Gosh, how much he had craved to place his lips on hers that evening…. But he didn’t want to ruin his little plan. ’On Saturday… It will turn out who she will choose. Her ex-enemy or the mysterious penpal.’ He stared out of the window into the night. ’She would have let me kiss her some hours ago…. That’s definitely a good sign. But the greatest challenge is to come on Saturday.’

 

He drew a deep breath, smelling the fresh spring air filled with the sweet scent of flowers. He knew winning Hermione Granger’s heart was harder than winning the Olympiad.

 

End of Chapter 20

Chapter 21: Chapter 21
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Chapter 21

 

It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon, on a rainy Saturday. Malfoy was leaning against the wall next to Honeydukes’ shop, watching Hermione hurrying towards him in a pretty light-pink dress, closing her umbrella.

 

’Sorry, I don’t have too much time,’ she gasped nervously. ’I’ll have a date with someone at 4.’

 

’With someone? Oh, it must be the very secret penpal…’ Malfoy smirked.

 

’Yeah,’ she blushed though she didn’t want to.

 

’Will he be there this time?’

 

’He promised,’ she answered quickly and looked into the mesmerizing blue eyes, matching his bue shirt. His blond hair was a bit wet because of the rain.

 

’You… You are beautiful,’ he said unexpectedly, staring at her.

 

’YOU are beautiful,’ Hermione thought to herself feeling ashamed at once and knew she had to break the awkward silence before Malfoy could say something very embarrassing again.

 

’No umbrella?’ Hermione managed to choke out finally.

 

’I like rain,’ he said though his mind was on something else.

 

It stopped raining and they started walking down the High Street lined with thatched-roofed shops.

 

’So… Shall we have a drink?’ Malfoy asked suddenly.

 

’No, thanks,’ she shook her head. ’I’m so nervous, I couldn’t eat or drink anything now.’

 

’Where will you meet?’

 

’It’s none…’ Hermione started but Malfoy didn’t let her finish.

 

’It’s none of your business, Malfoy, I know,’ he recited. The girl glared at him.

 

They were standing in the middle of the street, looking into each other’s eyes, thinking of doing something else, not talking… Perhaps holding hands…. Clinging to each other with the wet clothes on… Locking lips…

 

Malfoy cleared his throat.

 

’So you can wear the Claddagh Ring on your left hand soon…’ He remarked and they continued walking. ’I mean, if he’s as gorgeous as you think.’

 

’Who?’ Hermione asked absent-mindedly, with Malfoy always on her mind.

 

’Your penpal,’ he replied in surprise. ’We’re talking about him, aren’t we?’

 

It started to rain again.

 

’Sorry, I have to go,’ Hermione said, her voice shaky. She was so nervous that she forgot to open her umbrella.

 

Malfoy took a step closer.

 

’You know I wonder…’

 

’Yes?’ Her heart was hammering. She got lost in the mysterious colour of his exotic eyes.

 

’If I weren’t Draco Malfoy…’

 

More and more raindrops fell over them, the water soaked through their clothes but they didn’t care. Malfoy leaned closer and closer.

 

’And you weren’t Hermione Granger…’ He continued.

 

They were only inches apart.

 

He took a deep breath.

 

’If I weren’t Draco Malfoy and you weren’t Hermione Granger, I would have fallen in love with you a long time ago… And I would have fought for you… to make you… mine. To kiss you every day… Night and day…’ His lips almost touched hers, whispering in her mouth.

 

Hermione was speechless. She watched the raindrops traveling down Malfoy’s face and grew hot because of the heat coming from his body. She felt drunk, intoxicated, drawning in desire. Her gaze shifted to his lips. ’God, he wants to kiss me, he wants to kiss me…’ She thought in panic yet in impatient anticipation.

 

’I… must… be… going now,’ She stammered, losing her nerve at the last moment. ’I’d like to stay with you but… I promised him to be there. Sorry.’ She forced herself to pull away, and stormed off, not looking back.

 

Malfoy watched her tiny figure disappear in the rain. He gulped. Draco Malfoy lost. Will the secret penpal win?

 

OOOOO

 

Hermione was standing under an old oak tree, watching the rose garden and the lake unseeingly. She didn’t see the red roses just the blue eyes, she wasn’t enchanted by the fragrance of the flowers and the rain but recalled the scent and softness of Malfoy’s skin… She sighed desperately.

 

’Why am I here? What am I doing here?’ She wondered. ’I want to be with Malfoy. I want to be kissing with him in the pouring rain. Gosh, why have I left him there like that?’

 

She looked around but there was no one in sight. The rain had stopped again but her hair was wet, water was still dropping from the leaves of the tree above.

 

She moistened her lips and felt the sweet taste of the rain. She closed her eyes and saw Malfoy again. His eyes. His hair. His lips.

 

’I want to hate him but I can’t. I’m slowly losing my mind,’ she thought bitterly.

 

’Bubble!’ She heard a familiar voice suddenly and opened her eyes.

 

A small and fluffly owl landed on her shoulder. Her heart skipped a beat. She had seen that bird. It was the one she’d saved.

 

A moment later she saw him. Draco Malfoy’s tall figure was heading towards her among the roses, in a dreamlike vision.

 

’I’m dreaming,’ she thought, ’but I don’t want to wake up.’

 

He came closer and closer, slowly, afraid a bit what the girl’s reaction would be.

 

’Are you disappointed it’s me?’ He asked the shocked girl finally, lacking the usual self-confidence.

 

Realisation hit her so hard she couldn’t breath, she couldn’t think.

 

Her lower lip quivered when Malfoy took one more step closer. Bubble left her shoulder and chose a branch of the tree to watch the intimate scene sleepily.

 

’I wanted it to be you…’ she said in a barely audible voice. ’But I didn’t dare to hope it was possible.’

 

’It is,’ he whispered, his lips dangerously close to hers. Merlin, she was the most beautiful rose in the garden. ’You wanted it to be me?’

 

She nodded, with tears in her eyes.

 

’Since when?’

 

’Since the London trip.’

 

Malfoy brought his hand to her face and brushed away a wet lock of hair. She shivered under his touch.

 

’And you… How long have you known it’s me… I’m your penpal?’ She asked trembling.

 

’Since our date in Madam Puddifoot’s… When you were waiting for me with that rose.’

 

She felt awake as if from a long sleep, her thoughts whirling. ’Yes, Malfoy was there.., He came in and sat at my table… And his scent… That familiar scent… I should have realised… Gosh, how blind and silly I was, I can’t believe it…’

 

’Why didn’t you tell me? WHY???’ She looked at him accusingly.

 

Malfoy gulped and his thumb slowly traced Hermione’s jawline.

 

’If I had told you the truth back then, would you have let me kiss you?’

 

’No. No way,’ Hermione whispered.

 

Malfoy’s thumb lightly grazed her chin.

 

’And… If I had told you the truth in the hospital wing, when I visited you, would you have let me kiss you?’

 

’No,’ she panted.

 

’And… on the train? Or on the Knight Bus?’

 

’Maybe…’ She blushed. The fragrance of his aftershave filled Hermione’s senses again.

 

He skated his thumb across her wet lips.

 

’And now? Would you let me kiss you now?’ His thumb parted her lips.

 

She was past the point of being able to speak, just closed her eyes and tilted her head. She had to, she needed to taste the warmth and softness of his lips.

 

’You see,’ he whispered in her mouth. ’That’s why I waited. Waited for you to swallow your pride.’

 

But he didn’t wait any more. He slowly lowered his head and closed his mouth on hers. He kissed her gently first, letting only their hot and hungry lips get satisfaction, but when the heat and desire coursing through their bodies became unbearably overwhelming, passion took over and the kiss deepened and deepened…

 

Malfoy softly pressed Hermione against the tree. She melted at the warmth of his skin against hers and enjoyed his hands running lustfully through her wet hair and roaming her body.

 

He placed kisses down her cheek, neck and cleavage, she let out a moan and felt the world slip away. Her hand moved up under his wet and wrinkled shirt, sliding up his back to pull him even closer.

 

Intense, blinding pleasure filled their bodies, kissing each other wildly, fiercely and feverishly, with wet and swollen lips, out of breath, never getting enough.

 

Above them, in the blue sky, a magnificent rainbow appeared.

 

OOOOO

 

It was a peaceful evening in Paris. Hundreds of tourists admired the breathtaking view from the Eiffel Tower. Hundreds of tourists were cruising down the River Seine enchanted by the sunset. Hundreds of tourists were walking on the Champs Elysees between the Jardin de Tuileries and the Arc de Triomphe. Hundreds of tourists were leaving the Louvre where they had just seen Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

 

But Hermione and Malfoy were kissing and cuddling on the top of a big bed in a hotel room.

 

’So when will you call me Hermione?’ She asked when they parted reluctantly to breathe.

 

’As soon as you call me Draco,’ He whispered, raising his eyebrows but smiling.

 

’You’ll have to wait long, Malfoy,’ Hermione smirked but her fingers started to unbutton his shirt.

 

’Granger,’ he moaned while he slipped his hands under her top.

 

’Malfoy,’ She gasped and her hand slid down to the buckle of his jeans.

 

’Granger,’ he finished the conversation as his lips crashed onto hers. Their tongues connected and their hot bodies entwined.

 

The stars twinkled brightly above Paris.

 

The End

 

My Dear Friends,

Thank You for reading my story, I hope you enjoyed the end, too!

I am very grateful for your support, for all the advice you gave me and the thoughts you shared with me!

Hugs xxx

silvergreen

http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com