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Facing Fate by Secret Passion

Format: Novel
Chapters: 32
Word Count: 90,266
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: General, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Ginny
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Ron/Lavender, Draco/OC

First Published: 07/19/2010
Last Chapter: 11/19/2012
Last Updated: 11/19/2012

Summary:


Beautiful banner by Smarticl398@ TDA =)

Hermione Granger returns to hogwarts changed by the war with a new respect for life and love. Draco Malfoy returns to hogwarts changed by the war with new plans and chance to be himself.
Every Juliet needs a Romeo......
Maybe it is time they faced up to their fate....
 
Wow Guys 100,000 reads!!! =D Thanks!
 

Under revision - 2/32


Chapter 1: Draco's Release and Bella's Wand
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Hermione jumped up from the bed as Mrs Weasley walked into Ron’s bedroom, a flush of red falling over her face. Glancing at her new-found boyfriend she watched a smug smile stretch across his face, it soon disappeared being replaced with a sheepish look and red ears as Hermione shot a glare at him. Mrs Weasley just gave the pair a weak smile and Hermione instantly felt a pang of guilt in her stomach as she clocked the women’s red swollen eyes and blotched face. It had been a month and a half since Harry Potter had defeated Lord Voldemort and since Mrs Weasley’s son and Ron’s brother Fred had died. She had taken it the hardest of all the family.

Hermione had not seen Bill, Charlie or Percy since the funeral so she had no idea how they were feeling and she had no chance to find out. Ron had been coping well in her opinion. He tended to keep things light with stupid jokes and it was only when he was left with no one to talk to that Hermione noticed the way his eyes glazed over and he stared into space. 

It had only been the week before that he had broken down in front of her and let everything spill out, everything about how he missed Fred and about how he felt that it was his fault he had died. He told her about how he was scared that even though the war was over he still might lose those he loved. Hermione had sat there holding him and telling him that it was ok to feel that way but that it wasn’t his fault and that he would never lose the one’s he loved, not really. Hermione didn’t know if it was her being there or just that he had gotten it out but he seemed cheerier after that. 

Ginny was the one keeping the family together. She chatted and laughed and kept things moving. Hermione knew that she was distraught inside but Ginny told her that Fred would have wanted them to carry on with their lives and not wallow in grief. Hermione had agreed. 

George was a completely different matter. Hermione could see that he was completely broken inside but he didn’t show it to anyone. Instead he spent ridiculous amounts of time in his shop with Lee working as hard as he could. He had recently brought out a range dedicated completely to Fred and they had been snapped up.

Hermione sometimes felt as if she was intruding on the family and on the nights she had spent alone with Harry he voiced the same fears and worries. She had never said anything to any of the Weasley’s in case they thought she was complaining but Mrs Weasley overheard them one night and drew them into a hug. She had told them not to be silly and that they were as much part of the family as her own children.

Hermione shook all other thoughts out of her head and returned to glaring at Ron.

“I just thought I would let you know that we are leaving in fifteen minutes, but we are travelling by floo powder; there are so many reporters outside I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to apparate!” she bustled back from the room and the couple were left alone. Ron rose off the bed and pulled Hermione into a kiss.

“Sometimes don’t you wish Harry hadn’t given that interview?” he asked her when they broke apart.

“Sometimes, but then I remember why he did it,” she beamed back, kissing him softly again.

Barely a week after Voldemort’s defeat Harry had given an exclusive interview (for The Quibbler of course) explaining everything they went through the defeat the Dark Lord. Harry had told them afterwards he had done it so the world knew that he hadn’t done it alone and that Hermione and Ron had been with him the whole way, the golden trio. However with the interview there came the reporters. When they had found out about Ron and Hermione’s relationship they went wild with excitement, even more so than when they had found out about Harry and Ginny. Now not only did they follow Harry everywhere they followed Hermione and Ron everywhere too.

She pulled her sleek brown curls into a ponytail and pulled a jacket over her plain white T-shirt before grabbing the money that her parents had changed for her and taking  Ron’s hand, leading him down the stairs. Harry, Ginny and Mrs Weasley were waiting for them in the kitchen.

“Hey you two, have you seen this?” Harry asked from the table. 

He sat next to Ginny, both were bent over a copy of the Daily Prophet. Hermione glanced at the double page spread and saw a picture of Draco Malfoy, his mother and his father staring out of the paper at them. She couldn’t help but notice that the expression on the mother and son’s faces didn’t match the fathers. His was cold, harsh, glaring; the other two looked frightened, almost sickly, she had never seen her enemy look so vulnerable.

“It says that Malfoy’s dad has been sent to Azkaban but he and his mum have been let off thanks to Harry’s and Hermione’s statement,” Ginny said, not taking her eyes off the paper. 

Hermione shivered at the memory of having to sit in the stand and tell the entire room why Draco Malfoy shouldn’t be sent to prison. She might have hated him but she knew he was sorry for what he had done and his mother had saved Harry’s life; if nothing else screamed ‘second chance’ then that did.

“I still don’t understand that family,” Ginny continued standing up and pulling on her own jacket, grabbing the bag that sat on the table and eating one of the cookies that sat on a plate in the centre of the table.

“Your father sends his apologises but he’s still at work,” Mrs Weasley said to Ron, “Ok who’s first?” 

One by one each person stepped into the fire ready for the quick floo journey to the Leaky Cauldron.  Hermione stepped out of the grate after steadying herself and dusted her clothes down letting her eyes glance around her. In the past two weeks that she had been staying at the Burrow she had already been here three times; twice to help George with the shop and once when she came with her parents to change some money for her. They had been generous. She was now eighteen and they had decided that she needed more. Hermione had the equivalent to three thousand pounds in her Gringotts bank though it did have to last her the entire year and the next summer until she could get a job.

She smiled to herself as she thought of her parents. As soon as the war was over she had found them and undone the spell she had first cast. They had spent a month in Australia, Hermione filling them in on everything that had happened, before coming back to England where they had all met up with the Weasley’s and had dinner together, something that excited Mr Weasley greatly; it had taken her father a few moments to get over the idea that Mr Weasley hadn’t a clue how a TV worked. 

She had already used seven Gallons buying herself a new wand. She shuddered slightly at the thought of the wand that lay in the bottom of her trunk at the Burrow. Bellatrix Lestrange’s wand. Hermione had visited Ollivanders, surprised to see it open. He had beamed with delight at seeing her and had immediately handed her a wand from the back of his shop. Fourteen inches made of a springy holly and with a single unicorn hair running through the middle. The wand worked well for her and it was now sitting in the left back pocket of her dark blue jeans, a habit she learnt off Harry. It had been him that had suggested to her to throw Bella’s wand away but something prevented her from doing so. She felt oddly attached to it. It was a little piece of the year she had suffered through, it reminded her of what she had accomplished and told her that she could get through anything.

Hermione pulled out her wand and produced a flower to slip in her hair as she waited for everyone to assemble inside the Leaky Cauldron, as if to prove to herself that she could do it. When everyone had cleaned themselves up Mrs Weasley said something about going off to have lunch with a friend and left the four friends alone.

“Right then mate,” Ron said clapping Harry on the back, “we best get going if we don’t want George to shoot us.”

“Have fun,” Ginny smiled at Harry before kissing him on the cheek.

“Yeah if you can have fun working for an overbearing workaholic brother for four hours,” Ron muttered, “I can’t believe he’s roped us into this again!”

“You will be fine Ronald, stop moaning, George needs your help and so you’re going to give it him! Ginny and I have already done two shifts with him and you and Harry have only done one! It’s our day off so don’t whinge,” Hermione said simply, “now go before I have to curse your legs to take you themselves.” The red head grumbled but dipped down and kissed the top of her hair before leaving the pub with his best friend.

“Well, that got rid of them,” Ginny said brightly, “Shopping?”

“Of course, but can we visit somewhere first?” Ginny let out a small groan.

“Hermione if you’re going to say Flourish and Blotts…”

“But there is a new book that’s just come out and I really need to get it…”

“Mione!”

“Look it’s just one shop, I promise that we can do what you want for the rest of the day, I’ll even let you take me to that ridiculous dress shop that your obsessed about and I’ll buy you something from there but I have to get this book.” 

Ginny eyed her suspiciously knowing Hermione would never have made that offer if she wasn’t desperate. Hermione crossed her fingers in her mind and hoped that it would work.

“Fine,” the redhead sighed, “but we are not spending hours in there like last time, I swear Hermione I must have almost died of boredom.”  The brown haired girl squeaked in delight and led her best friend out of the pub and into Diagon Alley.

 

 

 






Hope you liked this first chapter =) Read and Review, Secret Passion
 
 


Chapter 2: Flourish and Blotts
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Hermione led her friend over to the large bookstore on the left-hand side of the Alley and they walked through the doors and into her paradise. This was where she felt at home, this was where she knew she was safe. Nestled amongst a thousand books she felt comfortable and at home. One of the first things that she had done when the war was over was to grab a book and start to read.

The shop was relatively quiet, Wednesday mornings not being peak times and June being too far away from school to have students buying their books. Hermione beamed at the thought of Hogwarts. They were all going back that year. Everyone was re-taking the year they had missed out on. It meant that Ginny was re-sitting sixth year and her, Ron and Harry were taking their seventh year.

Hermione wondered how the school would accommodate double the amount of first years (the previous first years and the new first years). She had voiced her concerns to Ron one evening but he had told her not to worry about school, ‘it’s June for Merlin’s sake’ and to wait and see until they got there. Hermione was quite surprised to find out that Harry and Ron where returning, thinking that they would want to start their careers as soon as they could but Harry had agreed with her stating that there might be things that the seventh year needed to teach them. He had managed to coax a reluctant Ron into doing the same.

She ran her finger along the leather bound volumes of one of the shelves inspecting the titles as she went.

“Mione how long is this going to take?” Ginny moaned. Hermione rolled her eyes, they hadn’t even been in the shop for two minutes and the girl was already moaning.

“It will take as long as it takes” she said, not taking her eyes from the books.

“What exactly are you looking for?”

“A book on Voldemort written by Alexander Shaw and a book on Harry by Gemma Rosen.” Ginny stared at her shocked.

“Why on earth do you want them, Hermione you know Harry’s story inside out and you know almost everything you need to know about Voldemort!”

“I don’t want to explain it all now but it’s important.” Gunny let out a loud tut and Hermione swivelled to face her friend but just as she was about to say something to her the tinkling bell of the shop sounded and in floated a familiar blonde.

“Oh, hello Hermione, Ginny,” the girl said, her voice seeming to flitter through the air.

“Luna!” Ginny cried, “how have you been.”

“Very well thank you, I see you both have recovered.” She looked around the shop, “Daddy sent me to collect a book on sightings of the Crumple-Horned Snorkack.” She waltzed past Hermione picked a book off the shelf and paid the witch at the desk. Glancing at Ginny Hermione saw her raise her eyebrows. Luna was back in a matter of seconds.

“All finished,” she said, a dreamy smile appearing on her face, “I’m going to get an ice-cream, do you want to come?”

“See Mione, that is how you book shop!” Ginny pointed out.

“Ginny would love to go with you,” Hermione said smiling at her friend, “I have some things I need to pick up first.”

“Oh that would be lovely, shall we go Ginny?”

“I…” Ginny started but Hermione cut her off.

“You are just going to get bored and moan. Go with Luna and I’ll meet you outside George’s shop in an hour.” 

The red headed girl nodded and left the shop with Luna, who had begun talking about how her father had found a rare fairy ring in their garden.

Finally Hermione was left in peace. The first time she had had time to herself for a while. If she wasn’t with Ginny then she was almost definitely with Ron and if on the rare occasion she wasn’t with either she would be with Harry. It wasn’t that she didn’t like being with them, she did, but it was nice to be alone for once. She scanned along the shelves and pulled out the two books she needed, placing it in one of the wooden baskets that came floating up to her the moment it spotted the two books in her hands.

It floated after her as she walked around to the middle of the shop and picked up two books, both by Marie Hodgeson. One held simple everyday spells that they never learnt at school (and Hermione felt she needed to know) and one about the subject she had devoted her life to, extremely advanced spells to fight the Dark Arts. Hermione knew that none of them had ever come across books like these and she thought that she could study them and maybe convince Harry to start up the DA again. She knew that the threat of Umbridge and Voldemort had been eradicated but there were still other dark wizards out there for them to overcome. 

She placed them both in the basket and then moved over to the fiction section. She could do with a good book to get lost in, one that she didn’t need to learn anything from.

Hermione ran her fingers along the spines until she landed on a set of four books about a witch who brewed a love potion to get the man she loved to fall for her. She placed them in her basket and the turned the corner. As soon as she had, she stepped back around it. She had just moved into a group of bookshelves that formed themselves to make it seem as though you had come into a separate room. It was closed off and secluded and there wasn’t a lot of space and standing with his back to the small entrance and skimming through a thin book was Draco Malfoy.

At first it was confusion that flashed through her mind. Draco, the pureblood, muggle hating wizard was standing by a group of shelves that held nothing but muggle fiction. She peered back around the shelf and tried to catch a glimpse of what he was reading but she couldn’t see it so she pulled herself back and closed her eyes, trying to regulate her breathing. Why was Malfoy in that section? She didn’t quite understand it. Then her common sense hit her, pushing her previous question from her mind and replacing it with a new one. Why on earth was she hiding from Malfoy? It’s not like he held anything over her anymore. She had looked him in the eye in the courtroom and not flinched so why should she hide from him now. She wanted to look through the muggle fiction so she would whether Malfoy was there or not.

Her heart swelling with new-found confidence she straightened up and beckoned the basket to follow her into the small alcove. She tried not to look at him as she stood a few feet from him and looked over the bookshelves but she couldn’t help but steal a small glance. As she did she noted the title of the book he held in his hands. Hamlet. Malfoy was reading Shakespeare? She glanced back at the shelf in front of her and tried hard to concentrate on the books.

Jane Eyre, she had that, it was in her trunk. Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Rebecca, all at the Burrow. She picked up a volume she had been meaning to read for a while, Wuthering Heights. Now she just needed one more book to make it an even ten. She slid it from the shelf and chanced another glance at Malfoy as she placed it into the basket. He had placed Hamlet in his own basket and was now skimming through Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet, she had always want to read that but she didn’t know how she was going to get a copy when Malfoy was standing right in front of them.

She moved a little closer pretending to look at other books. He looked up at her and she was sure he was going to say something. Instead he looked back down at the book and continued to read as if he hadn’t seen her. Hermione had to stop herself from letting her jaw drop on the floor. When had Malfoy ever come face to face with her and not mentioned something about her being a mudblood. Something was seriously wrong here and she couldn’t help but gape at the man who stood before her.

“Granger if you are going to stare can you at least make it less obvious.” His voice startled her and a red blush fell over her cheeks. She mumbled that she just wanted a book and leaned over to grab a copy of Romeo and Juliet. She stopped when she saw that there weren’t any left. Leaning back she glanced at the shelf then back at Malfoy.

“What was it you wanted?” he asked.

“Oh Romeo and Juliet, but it’s ok, you’ve got the last one…” she trailed off as he handed it to her. She pushed his hands away telling him that he had it first.

“Suit yourself,” he shrugged and went back to reading.

Hermione shook her head and took out the list that was in her jean pocket. Two books on Harry and Voldemort, check. Two books by Marie Hodgeson, check. Wizard fiction, check. Muggle fiction, check.

“Now all I need is a notebook and a quill,” she mumbled to herself.

“Pardon?” Malfoy said looking up at her. Hermione wasn’t sure what it was but when his grey eyes met hers her heart skipped a beat and she stopped breathing for a split second. He seemed to have noticed the effect he had on because seconds later an all too familiar smirk crept up onto his face.

“Erm, Notebook, I need a notebook and quill,” she said. Malfoy looked back down to his book and shook his head, still smirking.

Hermione turned around and began to walk away from the shelves. She got to the entrance of the little alcove and spun back around suddenly.

“What’s your game Malfoy?” she snapped.
 

“I have no idea what you are talking about Granger,” he said not looking up from the book.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about. The Politeness, the fact that you have not once called me a mudblood. Where is the Draco Malfoy that has been calling me names for seven years?”

“You shouldn’t believe everything you see on the surface Granger,” he replied. 

Hermione gaped at him and then grumbled under her breath and stormed towards the desk where she instantly paid for all her books.

She didn’t realise what was standing outside of the shop when she stormed out of the doors still angry from her encounter with Malfoy. She didn’t understand his behaviour at all. It wasn’t until cameras started flashing that she realised. The reporters had found her. She tried to get away from them but they barred her way from the shop and pushed microphones in her face asking for a statement about her and Ron’s relationship and if Harry was jealous. The strings on her bags cut into her hands as she tried to keep hold of them and get past the reporters. Before she could push her way through something grabbed hold of the bags and then her waist, spinning her on the spot and apperating her out of the way of the reporters.

***

Hermione landed with a thud on the dark wooden floor of a shop. She looked up and saw a smug Draco Malfoy staring down at her.

“Malfoy what the hell was that!” she yelled at him, causing the people in the shop to stop what they were doing at stare at the pair.

“Shesh Granger, I saved you from all those reporters and the first thing you do is yell at me. I was expecting a thank you.” Hermione scoffed and glanced at the bags in Malfoy’s hand.

“And I’ll have my books back thank you!”

“Gladly. What did you do, buy the entire bookshop?” he said with a smirk, handing them over. The weight caused Hermione to topple slightly but once she had righted herself she glanced around.

“Where exactly have you brought me?” she asked.

“You said you needed a notebook and a quill.” He waved his hand out in front of him and Hermione took in what she was seeing.

They were standing in a rather small rather pretty stationary shop. She walked over to one of the small tables and picked up a blue, roll bound notebook. Next to it lay a pretty blue peacock feather quill. She took them in her hands and looked around the shop. She spotted a large purple notebook that would be perfect for what she needed and a white owl feather quill. She paid for the items quickly, without saying one word to Malfoy.

He broke the silence before she did.

“So your dating the weasel then?” he asked as they stood by the counter waiting for the witch to scan her items with her wand.

“Yes, I am, what’s it to you?” she snapped.

“I’m surprised it’s finally happened that’s all, I thought you would have moved on from him by now.”

“I have done nothing of the sort,” Hermione said, “and for your information we are very happy together.” Malfoy didn’t say anything to the comment and she wasn’t sure why she had said it in the first place.

He led her from the shop and they came out into a narrow ally that, when Hermione glanced to her left, looked as if it came off the main street. Malfoy pointed her in the right direction then went to walk to opposite way.

“Wait,” she called to him.

“Yes?” he replied.

“I-I don’t understand. Why…”

“Don’t think about it Granger and then there will be nothing to understand. I’ve had dealings with the papers before, I know what it’s like.” Without another word he span around and walked off from her leaving Hermione lost for words.

***

Hermione didn’t tell the others what had happened between her and Malfoy, not only did she not understand it herself she didn’t think the others would be too pleased with the idea. As soon as she had got home she had unpacked her books in her new trunk, a trunk that Harry said reminded him of Barty Crouch jnr’s trunk. There were five keyholes and with each key it was as if you opened a separate trunk. She had one for clothes, one for school things, one for books and one for everything else. The fifth was empty. The trunk was slightly larger on the inside than on the outside and so Hermione had more than enough room for everything she owned.

That night she sat curled up in an armchair with Ron by the fire. He stroked her hand with his thumb as he leant his head against hers. He Harry and Ginny were having a conversation about Quidditch as Mrs Weasley sat by the fire knitting and Mr Weasley read the paper. Hermione wasn’t paying attention, she was too lost in thoughts about Draco Malfoy and why he acted the way he had. It was so out of character for him, so not…well so not Malfoy. The only explanation she could come up with was that he was turning over a new leaf now that his father was in jail. It was a good explanation but something nagged in her gut telling her that there was more to this guy than there seemed.

A sharp tapping at the window broke Hermione out of her daydreaming and everyone in the room looked around to see a magnificent white owl trying to get through the window. Mr Weasley rose from his chair and opened the window to let in.

“Who is writing at this time of night?” Mrs Weasley asked glancing at the clock that read eleven. 

The owl hopped into the room and landed on the chair right next to Hermione. Confused she untied the package that was tied to its leg. As soon as she had removed it the owl hopped away and flew out of the window. She looked at the address.

Hermione Granger

The Burrow

It had been written in blue ink, the hand that had written it had made the g of her name swirl around itself. She ripped off the brown paper and let out a small gasp. In her hands lay a copy of Romeo and Juliet. The exact same copy that Draco had offered her in the bookstore.

“Mione are you ok?” Ginny asked. Hermione just nodded slowly.

“You dropped something,” Harry said stretching out a hand and picking up a small piece of paper from the floor. 

“It’s a note.” Hermione grabbed it out of her friend’s hand and read through the same elegant script that had written the address.

Because every Juliet needs a Romeo


Chapter 3: The Daily Prophet
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Hermione stretched her arms out and yawned loudly. Crookshanks had slept on top of her sheets and was now pushing her into such an uncomfortable position she didn’t have any choice but to kick him off. He hissed at her as he landed on the floor. She rolled over to face the window and her head collided with something on her pillow. Romeo and Juliet.

She let a small smile escape her lips but followed it with a frown. She didn’t understand why Malfoy had sent it at all. What had happened to him? It was as if he had had a complete personality transplant. She wasn’t sure whether to be glad that this had happened or worried that he had some ulterior motive. Instead she chose the grab a piece of parchment and write him a quick note.

Thank you for the book but I do not at all understand why you sent it to me. Malfoy I swear if this is some wind up you are going to be sorry. On the other hand if it’s not then thanks.

Hermione Granger

That sounded about right. She wanted to thank him but he needed to know that he wouldn’t get away with whatever it was that he was planning. She dressed quickly a and pulled her hair into a messy bun before folding the parchment up addressing it to Draco Malfoy and walking out of Bill’s old room. As there were only four of them staying at the Burrow Hermione had Bills old room and Harry had been put in Fred and George’s room.

She bounded quickly down the stairs and into the kitchen.

“Harry can I borrow Hettie to send a…” her voice trailed off as she noted three different faces staring at her all with completely different expressions plastered across them. Harry had a mixed look of disbelief and confusion, Ginny looked as if she couldn’t decide whether to feel sorry for her or completely surprised and slightly annoyed. Ron’s expression however was quite clear. His ears had turned a brilliant shade of red and his face matched. His expression was thunderous. Hermione was taken aback. What was going on? She glanced at the people in front of her

“I-is everything ok?” she squeaked.

Ron shot her a glare and pushed something across the table towards her.

“You tell me Hermione!” he spat. 

She glanced down at the table. He had pushed the paper towards her and on the front page, taking up nearly the entire side was a huge picture of her and Draco Malfoy standing outside Flourish and Blotts. Shit. She picked the paper up and studying it closer. She could see how Ron would take this the wrong way. Malfoy had her bags in his left hand and his right hand settled on her waist. Hermione’s hand rested on his and she had turned her head to look up at him. At the time Hermione had been sure it was a look of shock but looking at this paper it looked almost relieved. The Hermione and Malfoy in paper span on the spot and disappeared. 

The headline read ‘Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy. Question, where is Ronald Weasley?’ she read further down.

Hermione Granger. The brains of the golden trio, well known for her wit and her developing beauty and in a devoted relationship with Ronald Weasley? Our sources say otherwise. It has been reported that the Gryffindor princess has been secretly dating the Slytherin prince. So where is Ronald Weasley in all this you ask? We are wondering the same question. Draco Malfoy, the well-known bachelor and ex-death eater (turned good in the midst of the war) was just two days previously excused from all charges in court along with his mother thanks to a statement by none other than Hermione Granger. Was she saving him from a life in Azkaban purely for her own means? Did he get let off because she wanted to save him from the Dementors?  

It went on to talk about how unlikely the couple was and how Ron would be feeling. There was a statement from the witch in Flourish and Blotts and the witch in the shop they had visited afterwards. It made Hermione feel slightly sick.

She placed the paper on the table very slowly and looked at the three people who were staring at her.

“It’s not what you think,” she said, making sure her words were said slowly and quietly.

“Not what I think!” Ron cried slamming his fists on the table, “Not what I think? It doesn’t get more obvious that this! I wake up this morning and come downstairs to find that my girlfriend HAS BEEN CHEATING ON ME WITH A FERRET!” he shouted the last few words and Hermione stepped back a few paces, tears welling in her eyes.

“Ron no, it’s not like that I promise,” her voice was thick with tears but she tried to hold them in as best she could.  

“REALLY THEN WHAT IS IT LIKE HERMIONE!” he cried.

“He just turned up, I didn’t know…”

“AND I’M EXPECTED TO BELIEVE THAT!”

“Ron what’s all this shouting,” Mrs Weasley asked as she bustled into the room and began to sort breakfast, “Your father is still asleep you know.”

“THIS MOTHER, IS THE END OF MINE AND HERMIONE’S RELATIONSHIP!” he slammed his hand down on the table for a second time and stormed out of the door and into the garden.

Hermione’s breath caught in her throat as she stood staring after Ron. He had just broken up with her, oh my god he had just broken up with her. The tears truly spilled over now and she sank into a chair, bursting into large sobs that echoed out from her chest. Ginny ran to her side and placed a comforting arm around her friend as Mrs Weasley looked on in shock. She made an excuse that Hermione didn’t hear to leave the room.

“Hermione I can go and talk to him but you have to tell me what happened. You’re not with…Malfoy are you?” Harry asked.

“No!” she cried out loud. She let her sobs subside and looked her friend in the eyes. “I met Malfoy in the shop, we talked, it was weird. I went outside and the reporters sort of landed around me and I couldn’t get out. Malfoy came out and apparated me away. I didn’t even have a say in it and I definitely didn’t cheat on Ron with him!” 

Anger started to bubble in her stomach, how dare Ron accuse her of cheating! Harry nodded and left the room, following Ron into the garden. Hermione burst into fresh sobs and buried her head in Ginny’s shoulder. After a few minutes of silence Hermione snapped her head up.

She reached across to the kitchen side and pulled a piece of parchment and a quill in front of her and went to write Malfoy a very annoyed and spiteful letter for getting her into trouble with Ron. However before she could put pen to paper the large snowy owl from the night before flew through the window and landed straight in front of Hermione on the table. It stuck its leg out and she untied the letter that was attached to it. The owl flew off instantly and she opened the letter.

I said that every Juliet needs her Romeo and let’s hope the weasel’s yours, especially after what the prophet published this morning. If he hasn’t seen it I suggest you don’t let him because I don’t think he is going to take lightly to the fact that I was seen apprating off with you…

Hermione could almost feel his smug smile radiating from the paper and her annoyance with the Slytherin reached boiling point.

I’m sorry if he has seen it, I meant to help you not get you in more trouble.

Draco Malfoy

She let out a loud groan and let her head fall onto the table.

“Mione, who was that from?” Ginny asked.

“Draco Malfoy, apologising for getting me in trouble with Ron.” She didn’t need to look at her best friend to know that not only had her jaw dropped but that she had worked out that she had seen the owl before.

“Draco Malfoy sent you Romeo and Juliet? Why on earth would he do that?” 

Hermione shrugged.

“I don’t know, but it’s creeping me out.” Hermione pulled the parchment back towards her and wrote a reply.

You best be sorry, Ron has just thrown the most almighty strop and I think he’s gone and broken up with me because he thinks I’m cheating on him with you! I suggest you do something to fix this! There must be hundreds of reporters camped outside the manor, tell them that it is not true and then leave me alone! I would rather not be associated with the likes of you! I don’t understand what you have been doing Malfoy but stop it, you might have just ruined the best thing I have!

She called Harry’s new brown owl Hettie into the kitchen and tied it to her leg, sending it off quickly. Ginny looked at her with her eyebrows raised.

“I was telling him to leave me alone!” Hermione snapped. She twisted on her heel and stormed back up the stairs to her bedroom where she collapsed on the bed and cried herself to sleep, Malfoy’s letter scrunched in her hand.


***

Four sharp and familiar knocks told Hermione that Ron had finally come around. She was curled into a ball underneath her covers, shielding the midday sun from her eyes. He didn’t wait for an answer and walked straight in. Hermione closed her eyes hoping that he would just go away. Instead he closed the door and sat down on the end of her bed, shooing her cat away as he did.

“Hermione I’m sorry,” he said. She stayed silent. “Listen, Harry told me what you said and Ginny knocked sense into me. I know you would never cheat on me, least of all with Malfoy and I shouldn’t have shouted at you like I did.”

Hermione pulled the covers from over her head and sat up looking at Ron. She knew he was sorry, he had that embarrassed look that he used when he knew he was in the wrong. Hermione felt her insides melt in forgiveness.

“It’s ok,” she sighed, “if I had seen that then I probably would have thought the same.” She shuffled over to Ron and snuggled into his chest as he wrapped his arms tightly around her and kissed the top of her head.

“Before I forget,” he said releasing his arms and reaching inside his jacket pocket, “Hettie brought this back for you. I don’t know who it’s from, I don’t recognise the writing but Ginny snatched it from Harry so I guess she knows what it’s about but she wouldn’t tell us…” he trailed off and handed a letter to Hermione.

She couldn’t help but let a small smile creep onto her face. Tactful Ginny hadn’t told Ron about her letters to Malfoy. She would have to thank her later. Hermione put the letter in the draw in her bedside table to open later when Ron wasn’t there.

“So,” Ron said, “you never told me what you brought yesterday. Ginny said you dragged her into Flourish and Blotts.”

“Yeah, sorry we couldn’t wait for you and Harry, we came into the shop but George said you were working out the back.”

“He had us shifting crates, I swear he puts us on all the jobs that he can’t be bothered to do!”

“He needs your help now that Fred isn’t here. Anyway, I bought some fiction books and a couple of spell books and a book on…” She jumped up. “Oh I almost forgot! How could I forget?”

She grabbed Ron’s hand and dragged him up to Harry’s room.

“Harry,” she said as she knocked on the door, “Harry it’s us.”

“Come in.” He was sat on the floor polishing his broomstick as Ginny sat on the bed, Crookshanks (who had slipped from Hermione’s room when Ron had come in) in her arms. Hermione sat on the bed and told Ron to sit too.

“Harry I need to ask you something,” she said.

“Yep?” Harry asked putting down his broom and looking up at her.

“I was wondering if I could have your permission to write a book. Well a few books really, about you. About you and Voldemort and all that stuff.” Harry gaped up at her.

“Why would you want to do that?” he asked.

“Because other writers are going to want to do it and I figured that since I was there for most of it, it would be better coming from me. Can I do it Harry?” she pleaded, “it will have all the stuff about the philosophers stone and the chamber of secrets and the year we spent away and your trip with Dumbledore…everything. Obviously I would need to interview you on a few points so all of you three are going to have to help me…” she trailed off and looked around expectantly at the trio. Harry beamed up at her.

“I think I would be a great idea Mione!” he said. Hermione jumped down and hugged him tightly.

“Oh thank you thank you thank you!” she cried still hugging him.

“Ok Mione that’s enough, give the guy some breathing space,” Ron laughed pulling her of his best friend.

“Oh it’s going to be so good! Obviously I need to get the details of what happened with you and Quirrell first and then I need to know what Dumbledore said to you because I know he said something because I could see it in your eyes when you left the hospital wing and I really want to explore your relationship with Dumbledore so I will also need to know all about your meetings again you know in year six-”

“Hermione breathe please!” Ginny cut in to stop her rambling. She blushed and sat back down on the bed taking her cat and scratching him behind the ears.

“Sorry, it’s just so exciting.”

“So Hermione, how exactly are you going to write this book and continue with seventh year?” Ron asked.

“Easy, we aren’t taking a lot of subjects, we have free periods and weekends and holidays, I have loads of time to study and write, especially if I start this summer,” she shrugged. Ron didn’t look convinced.

“Ronald I managed to survive third year didn’t I? I will more than be able to do this, though S.P.E.W might have to take the back burner.”

“Oh no!” Ginny cried with a sarcastic smile, “what will the poor house elves do!” Hermione hit her on the leg lightly.

“Shh Gin, I think they will be able to survive a couple of years without me, when I’ve finished my books they will become my number one priority.”

“Joy,” Ron mumbled.

“In fact I might start on it now, I already have a few notes down about how we figured out the philosophers stone and all the things we went through,” she turned to Harry, “is it ok if I get my notebook and ask you a few questions? I just need you to help me with what happened when you met Voldemort and what Dumbledore said after.”

“Sure,” Harry shrugged, “as long as you don’t mind me fixing up my broom as you do it.”

“Thanks!” she squeaked before putting Crookshanks down and rushing from the room.

She arrived in her room and opened her bedside table draw, taking out the blue notebook and the white self-inking owl quill. As she put them on the bed her eyes caught an envelope. It was the letter from Malfoy. She sat down and ripped it open.

I wouldn’t know if there were reporters camped outside the Manor because I haven’t been back there since the war. Voldemort nearly destroyed it, I moved into an apartment in London, where there are reporters camped outside. Don’t worry Granger I put them right and they will be printing it tomorrow. You don’t have to get your big bushy mudblood head in a stress Granger, I won’t be contacting you again. I know where I stand.

Draco Malfoy

Hermione couldn’t help but let her heart sink. Malfoy was trying to turn over a new leaf and she had snubbed him after he had helped her escaped all those reporters. He had gone back to calling her a mudblood and she knew it because she had wounded his pride. The idea that he wasn’t living at the manor surprised her, she thought he would have loved being the true master of the house now his father was gone though she knew his apartment was likely to be just as over the top. Folding up the letter she slipped it into Romeo and Juliet with his other two notes and placed it into the bottom of her trunk underneath her clothes where she wouldn’t look for it. She didn’t want to think of stupid Draco Malfoy and his stupid change of character.


Chapter 4: The Golden Trio...and Ginny
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The story did indeed appear in the paper the next day but it didn’t mean that Hermione was left alone. Instead whenever she went out to work for George or even popped out down the village she was mobbed by reporters. The paper had said that Malfoy denied all accusations and that they were definitely not a couple and Ron, after seeing it, had relaxed and now walked around with her, a smug smile plastered over his face. He made sure that they went out together, once even using most of his savings and some of the money had earned working with George (as the brother insisted he paid them) to take her to a posh restaurant. Hermione had almost refused until Harry had told her that he had been going on about how he wanted to show her how much he cared. She went but slipped a few gold gallons into his moneybag while he wasn’t watching to make sure she at least paid for some of it.

Of course the reporters had followed them there and had made a point of asking about Draco. Hermione civilly and politely told them that they were not together and could they please leave so that her and her boyfriend could have dinner together. A young witch came towards her with a camera and for the first time since the papers had reported her and Draco asked her something that wasn’t about them.

"Miss Granger, My readers would like to know where you shop? Where did you find that stunning outfit you are wearing tonight?" Hermione smile and replied simply.

"Top Shop" she turned and walked into the restaurant after Ron giggling about the previous day when she had taken Ginny into the muggle world shopping. The red head had loved it and Hermione had brought them both new outfits.

Eventually after a few weeks the press died down and Hermione woke up one day to find that Malfoy had begun dating 5th year Astoria Greengrass. The sixteen-year-old was very pretty and should have been taking her sixth year but because of the shift she was re-taking her fifth year. At first she wondered why it would be in the papers but then she figured that Malfoy was one of the most well known wizards in England and had taken over his fathers many companies so it would be news. She did not once speak to him and she tried as hard as she could to forget about him but a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach kept bringing him to the for front of her mind. It was as though somehow, something deep inside her was telling her she couldn’t forget him.

So for the next month and a half Hermione spent her time working, writing and sometimes going to meetings with the minister of magic and posing for photos. They were all awarded and Order of Merlin First Class for what they had done for the wizarding world and the muggles. This had been a great achievement for Hermione and she had broken down in tears when she had been given the medal. It now sat proudly on the bedside table.

The trio had become celebrities and because Ginny was with them everywhere they went she became just as famous. People wanted to know where they went, what they ate and what they wore. After telling the reporter where Hermione had got her clothes there was a horde of young witches shopping in the muggle world. Most got their muggle clothes from a special store in Diagon Ally but they were actually shopping in New Look and H&M and Primark.

Even Harry’s birthday was celebrated all over their world. The Weasly’s had thrown him a small party at the burrow that all the Weasly’s (including Fleur) had turned up to celebrate with him. Percy even brought his new girlfriend. Hagrid arrived with Tonk’s mother and Teddy. Harry was delighted to see his godson again and spent most of the day with him. Though the party was relatively small Harry received lots of birthday messages and presents from witch’s and wizards that he didn’t know, one of them even asked him to marry her and sent Ginny an accompanying letter that told her to break up with him. There were Happy Birthday messages in the Prophet and over the radio, everyone was celebrating the day that the chosen one had been born.

Hermione knew that she would be glad to get back to school to escape the madness their lives had plunged into and she was more than pleased when their booklists came. She was grateful to see that she had been put in for all the lessons she had started in sixth year; Charms, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Herbology, Arithmancy, Ancient Runes and Potions.

"Who do you think will be taking Defence?" Ron asked peering over towards Hermione’s list. Ginny shrugged.

"I don’t know, but we’re going to get a new Transfiguration teacher too remember, now McGonagall’s the head."

Hermione went back into the envelope and with her letter she pulled out a shiny new Head Girl badge. She squeaked in delight and almost jumped on Ron.

"I got Head Girl!"

"Congrats Hermione," Harry said, a beaming smile on his face as he held up his badge, "looks like I’ve been reinstated for Quidditch Captain!" Hermione instantly let go of Ron and hugged Harry instead.

"Oh this is so good. I wonder who is the new head boy?"

"Maybe your letter will say," Ginny suggested as she pulled Harry around and kissed him, saying something about how he knew she was a good Quidditch player and that she really did need to get on the team again this year. Hermione opened her letter.


Dear Miss Granger,

It is my duty to inform and congratulate you on becoming Head Girl this year. As you realise already this prestigious spot in our school requires all the hard work and determination that I know you posses but also a great deal of people and leadership skills. You and our Head Boy will be meeting with me once a month and with the prefects every two weeks. These meetings will be used to discuss the many events that will be coming up (a list of which I shall give you when we meet), and anything that the prefects feel need going over.

As you know already from your invite to attend the school this year every year will be re-taking the year that was disrupted last year. This means that we will have a double amount of students taking their first year. After the welcoming feast I would ask all seventh years that are returning to meet with me at the head table where I will explain the arrangements that have been made to accommodate you. I will also meet with you and the Head Boy before the feast begins so that you are aquatinted with each other and know what to expect.

Yours sincerely

Professor McGonagall


Hermione looked up from her letter.

"It doesn’t say who the Head Boy is just that I have to meet her before and after the feast."

"Mine says I have to meet her after the feast," Ron commented, "I wonder how they are doing this?" Hermione shrugged.

"I guess we will find out then won’t we. Come on, you and Ginny have to work with George today, we are going to be late."

"If you give me your lists, Hermione and I can get all your stuff."

"Ok," Ginny said, handing over her list, "just remember that I need potion ingredients too, and if you want to get me a present I wouldn’t say no to a cat, seeing as you still need to get me my birthday present for tomorrow," she winked. Harry gaped at her.

"How did you know…"

"Harry I know you," Ginny smiled, "I know you would leave it to the last minute, you always do."

"I wont let him forget," Hermione said pushing Harry into the fire, "now move guys, we need to go." She shooed everyone else into the fire and they Flooed to Diagon Alley.


***

Hermione and Harry spend the entire morning together and Hermione couldn’t help but think that it was nice to catch up with him. They brought everyone’s books, potion ingredients and new parchment, quills and ink. They all met up when the shop shut for lunch and had an ice cream before they all got new robes and school clothes. Ginny even managed to convince Hermione to by a short skirt and some heels. She agreed in the end that they looked quite cute on her.

When they left Hermione and Harry stayed and purchased a couple of cloaks (two black school ones, one red one and one dark blue one) before leaving and sitting outside a café with something to eat. Hermione had shrunk all of their purchases into four small box’s all labelled with their names and had slipped them into her handbag.

"I swear," she said leaning against the back of her chair and soaking up the sun that beat down on them, "I am going to have no money left at this rate."

"How much does George pay us again?" Harry asked Hermione.

"Erm, well we work for him twice a week for four hours and we get a two gallons an hour so that’s four times two which is eight. We have been working there for two months and so have earned sixty four gallons, which is actually quite a lot, actually, I think that means I might have just about broken even. That means that without all the extra books Ron and Ginny have left over money."

"Actually I’m paying for all their school stuff, I spoke to Mr Weasly about it and he didn’t want to let me at first but I told him it was the least I could do after everything they have done for me."

"Do they know this?" Hermione asked, her eyebrows raised. She knew how Ron would react to that news and it wasn’t likely to be a positive reaction.

"No, they think their parents gave me the money. Do you want to come and help me pick out a cat for Ginny?"

"Yeah sure." They got up but just as they began to walk towards the pet shop a blonde brushed past them and walked into Flourish and Blotts.

Hermione faltered and debated in her head over what she should do. Part of her thought that she should definitely not go after him, he had almost ruined her relationship with Ron and had been acting strangely nice. The other part of her told her that she had to go after him. She had to apologise for what she wrote to him. Why she wanted to apologise to Draco Malfoy she didn’t know but part of her felt obliged to go after him and part of her knew exactly where he would be. Her heart won over her head.

"Erm Harry, I’ll meet you there ok, I need to just make a stop somewhere." She glanced back over to the shop.

"Oh, sure, I’ll see you in a bit then," Harry replied, confused at her sudden agitated state.

"Erm, Ginny likes Tabby cats or black cats, try to get her a kitten, and make it a girl kitten at that." Hermione didn’t wait for the reply but fled towards the bookshop and disappeared inside.

It wasn’t nearly as quiet as it had been the first time. The shop bustled with the sound of new and past Hogwarts students rushing around to buy their schoolbooks. Hermione and Harry had already been in here once today but Hermione had resisted the urge to go visit the muggle section. It was here she was heading now. Part of her hoped that Malfoy wasn’t there so she didn’t have to apologise but he was. He was in the same section and he was reading more Shakespeare.

The little alcove in which they stood was the only part of the shop that was quiet. It was out of the way and no one would here what Hermione was about to say. She thought that if they did they might die of shock. The Griffindor princess apologising to a Slytherin?

"Malfoy?" she said, her voice both quieter and higher than she had wanted it. Her looked around, saw her and then looked back.

"Yes Granger?" he replied, his voice giving off the impression that he was bored.

"I-I wanted to apologise for what I said in the letter, it was insensitive of me and I should never have said it. I’m sorry." Malfoy snapped the book shut and turned towards her.

"Save it Granger, I don’t need an apology off a mudblood." He pushed past her roughly and walked out of the shop leaving Hermione alone.

When she joined Harry in the shop the first thing he asked was if she was ok.

"Yes of course I am, why wouldn’t I be?" she replied quickly.

"Your eyes are red," he said slowly, "they only go red like that when you’ve been crying."

"It’s nothing," she said, smiling at him weakly, "nothing at all."

"Mione-"

"I’m fine Harry," she snapped cutting him off. She re-composed herself and smiled, "so what are you getting Ginny?"

***

Ginny loved her little black kitten and she squealed in delight when Harry had handed her over.

"Happy birthday for tomorrow," he said, kissing her on the cheek. She had named the cat Socks because it’s white paws looked like socks. Crookshanks at first had been weary of the new arrival but after sniffing around her a few times he seemed to decide that she wasn’t that bad and they settled down on the rug together.

That evening they all sat around the fire in the living room and Hermione couldn’t help but think that the second day she had confronted Malfoy was ended just like the first. Except this time she was interviewing Harry about what had happened when he had got into the chamber of secrets. Ginny, who was leading a piece of string around the floor for Socks to chase, looked a little tearful and slightly red in the face.

"Gin, are you ok, do you want me to do this another time?" Hermione asked putting her quill down.

"No Mione it’s fine, it’s just a little…well I just wish I could remember what I did half of that year that’s all."

"You know none of this was your fault don’t you?" Ginny nodded but still looked on the verge of tears.

"I know," she stopped and pulled the tears back, setting her jaw in place. "I know you haven’t asked me and I know your book is about Harry but maybe I could have a little piece in it, I mean like because Riddle was possessing me maybe I could help you understand him?"

"Would you be ok to do that Gin?" Hermione asked, "because I had wanted to talk to you about it but I didn’t know if…"

"No it would be fine, I think it would help to get it all off my chest anyway." Hermione beamed.

"Thanks Gin, I really appreciate this."

"No problem," her friend said, smiling weakly.

Hermione settled back into Ron and continued interviewing Harry, happy that her book would be the best she could possibly make it.




 
 


Chapter 5: Homecoming
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September the first came around quickly after they had got all their things. Hermione found herself wishing for the castle, wishing for the lessons and the homework and sitting in the common room late at night in front of the fire with Crookshanks. She had missed everything about it while they had been away and there had been many nights when she wished more than anything that she was in her big four-poster bed with a good meal inside her.

Now as she packed up her trunk the night before she could feel the butterfly’s floating around in her stomach. She made sure she had everything by unpacking and then re-packing again. It wasn’t until she reached the bottom of the first trunk that she found the book she had hidden for two months. Without looking at it she piled a load of freshly washed cloths on top of it and shut the lid. She unlocked the second lock and re-opened the trunk to find her books. She put her notebooks on top of them and just as she was closing the lid she heard a shriek from downstairs. It was followed by light running up the stairs and Ginny bursting through her door, a broomstick in her hands.

"Mione you will never guess what!" she cried.

"What?" she asked with a smirk. Of course she knew what Ginny was on about. She had been there when Ron had used up the last of his savings and the money he had from George to buy both himself and his sister brand new broomsticks.

"Ron bought me a broom! A real life broom!"

"Yeah?" Hermione said, not able to wipe the smile off her face.

"It’s a nimbus 2003. It’s not as good as Harry’s Firebolt but it’s nearly as good! Hermione I have my own broom!"

"I can see that."

"Mione?" the red head said as she slipped onto the bed, the broom in her lap.

"Yes?" Hermione sighed, knowing exactly what the girl was going to ask.

"Well I don’t have enough room for all my things in my trunk and I was wondering if I could perhaps borrow that last bit of trunk space that you’re not using. You know for some clothes, and my broom and Socks’s things…" she batted her long eyelashes at her best friend.

"Go on then, just remember to come and get them off me."

"Thanks!" the girl jumped up and ran from the room just as Ron was walking in.

He shut the door behind him and walked up to his girlfriend.

"That was a nice thing you did," she said lacing her arms around his waist.

"She’s never had her own broom before," he shrugged, "she deserved it, mum says she was going mental with worry while we were away, her brother, her best friend and the guy she’s in love with all putting themselves in danger. George told me that she used to spend every night staring into the fire and then crying herself to sleep." Ron lifted her face towards his and kissed her gently on the lips.

"Have you packed?" she asked.

"Yeah, mum did it all for me."

"Ronald Weasly," Hermione said with a sly smile on her face, "you asked your mother to pack for you?"

"No," Ron replied, "actually she came in all flustered and started shouting at me that I’d done it all wrong and then she started crying but dad came in a told me to go and find something to do. So I came to find you."

"Is she ok?" Hermione asked worried for, what she hoped would be, her future mother-in-law.

"She’s fine, she’s just thinking about Fred that’s all."

"I wish I could make it better," Hermione whispered, "I hate that we all live like this." Ron just pulled her closer and stroked her hair.

"We know that he died for a good cause, at least that’s what Ginny says."

"The world was to small for two Weasly trouble makers," Hermione laughed, "if they had carried on like they had it would have meant world domination."

"I’m not sure Fred would have said no to that," Ron chuckled.

They stood there in silence thinking about those they had lost on the eve that they went back to the place they had lost them. Hermione knew one of the first things she would do would be to visit Dumbledore and then the memorial. McGonagall had even put up a plaque to Fred in the entrance hall, on the insistence of the students, remembering everything he had done, including terrorising Umbridge.

That night Hermione could barely sleep and instead sneaked up to Ron bedroom, meeting Ginny on the stairs who seemed to have the same idea (but about Harry) the girls tried not to giggle as they snuck past Mr and Mrs Weasly’s room. Ginny went into Harry’s room and Hermione snuck in with Ron. She had to shake him awake but he welcomed her and she fell asleep wrapped in his arms.

She was woken the next morning with a shake of the shoulder. Opening her eyes she saw a smug faced Mrs Weasly staring down at them. Hermione jumped, causing Ron to wake.

"I hope you to had a good sleep, I must say I was a little confused when I found both yours and Ginny’s beds empty this morning…" she turned away with a smile, "breakfast is nearly ready so you best hurry up, you don’t want to miss the train." Hermione couldn’t help but stare in the empty doorway nonplussed. She was sure she was going to get shouted at. Ron sat with his jaw hanging open obviously just ask shocked. Seconds later a loud noise bounded up the stairs and Ginny bounced onto the bed.

"Did she say anything to you?" she asked.

"No," Hermione said, "she just told us breakfast was ready."

"Same! I nearly died of shock, Harry said that-"

"WHAT!" Ron cried sitting up and nearly throwing the two girls off the bed.

"Harry said that he thought that mum would have cursed him into next year…why?"

"What where you doing in Harry’s room?"

"Probably a lot more than you were doing with Hermione!" the girl snapped back. Hermione giggled, she knew all about her friend’s night-time exploits but she knew that Ginny normally woke up in time to sneak back into bed before her mum woke up. Ron stared at his sister and spluttered words from his mouth that neither could understand.

"Oh Ronald grow up," Ginny said.

"Hey guys what’s going on?" Harry said popping his head around the door. The two girls broke into a fit of giggles as Ron’s face turned from pale to a sickly green to bright red, as he grew angrier.

"Actually Harry we should probably go and get ready," Ginny said jumping off the bed and attempting to push Harry out of the door.

"Why?"

"I’ll explain later, ok?" Ginny succeeded in getting her boyfriend out of the room before Ron exploded.

"Mione," he said, he voice strained, "what exactly have they been doing?" Hermione giggled.

"Like I would tell you! She’s your sister Ronald!"

"Yes, that’s exactly why I should know, so I can decided whether to curse Harry’s head off or not."

"I’m not sure that’s the bit you would want to curse off," Hermione laughed as she got up and straightened herself out. She left the room and couldn’t help but burst into another fit of laughter when she saw her best friend and Harry standing outside Ginny’s room a look of horror on the male’s face.

Breakfast was fairly uneventful though Ron was throwing murderous glances towards Harry from across the table. Mrs Weasly got so confused she ended up asking what on earth the matter was. This cued a hysterical fit of giggles from both girls and looks of embarrassment from the boys. After they had all eaten Mrs Weasly shooed them from the doors and into one of the brand new ministry cars that waited outside.

"Arthur got permission to use one, you know, because of Harry." She seemed very pleased about this information as her and Ginny sidled into the front seat, with Socks in her basket on their laps. Harry Hermione and Ron sat in the back seat, Crookshanks on her lap, Pig in his cage on Ron’s lap and Hettie in her cage on Harry’s. Mrs Weasly sat reading the paper out to them.

"You’re on the front page again," she said, a slightly irritated tone to her voice, "about how you three are returning to school. I swear you can’t even sneeze without a reporter there to photograph it!" Hermione looked over her shoulder to glance at the front page. There was a picture of the trio in their first year. Harry had lent the photo to Luna so her dad could use it in the interview that he had done. It was obviously where they had got it. Ron spent the entire car ride and walk through Kings Cross holding tightly onto her hand. Hermione couldn’t help but let a smirk sidle onto her face as she held it back. She knew he was trying to stop himself whipping out his wand out and cursing Harry into oblivion.

It was harder to keep control of him on platform 91/3 because of the sudden, but not unexpected, rush of reporters. They managed to push themselves through into a safe area of the platform that had been cordoned off for their safety. Hermione couldn’t help but notice the many faces that where pressed against the window staring at them or those on the platform itself whispering as they went by. Mrs Weasly said a quick goodbye to them and made her children promise to write to her before they took their trunks and animals onto the train.

Hermione had performed a spell on all their trunks making them feather light and so it was ten times easier than normal to take them onto the train. They scoured the carriages looking for an empty compartment. As they went along they were invited by many students to join them, some Hermione knew and some she had never seen before in her life. It wasn’t until they reached half way down the third carriage that they found where they would be sitting. It wasn’t empty but instead it was occupied by Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom.

"Harry," the girl said, "how lovely to see you again."

"Hello Luna. Neville." Harry sat down next to the boy after shoving his trunk onto a rack. Hermione took a seat in-between Luna and Ron and opposite to Harry. Luna was, as always buried in the Quibbler and Hermione noticed that she had a stack more in her bag, probably to try and sell along the train. Though Hermione had always had an aversion to the Quibbler, since it had become the ‘go to’ magazine for real Harry potter news (i.e. news that’s wasn’t just about how he had gone to eat at a posh restaurant or had brought his girlfriend a new cat), she had softened towards it. She looked across at Luna.

"Luna, can I buy a copy please?" Luna positively beamed as she took a copy from her bag and handed it over. Hermione went to pay her but Luna pushed the money away.

"Oh no, daddy says that you get free copies because of the story that Harry gave to the paper. He’s never sold so many copies in his life, even after that interview he did for us in fifth year!"

"Are you sure?"

"Positively." She handed Hermione the magazine and then took out copies and gave them to everyone else in the compartment. Neville blushed slightly as she gave him his. He turned to Harry.

"Thank you for what you said about me in your interview. My grandma brought me a new pot plant and told me she was proud of me after she had finished reading it." Harry smiled back at him.

"I couldn’t have left you out, you destroyed the last Horcrux for me, I could never have not mentioned it. You were the only reason I was able to destroy him Neville, without you he would still be alive."

Neville seemed very happy with Harry’s response and buried his nose in the Quibbler. Hermione snuggled into Ron and opened her own copy at an article about how to spot a fairy ring. She couldn’t help letting out a little laugh. Luna’s father must have put this out after he had found that one in his back garden. The trolley lady came around midday and Hermione bought a large stack of chocolate cauldrons and liquorice wands. Ron had bought some chocolate frogs and Harry some Bertie Botts every flavour beans. She watched as him and Ginny fed them to each other and tried to guess what flavour it was.

"You two are gross," Ron had said.

Everything was fine until around an hour before they arrived at Hogwarts someone interrupted their laughing about how Ron had once got his head stuck in a toy cauldron. Ginny was telling the story with such conviction that Luna and Neville were double up in hysterical laughter. The door slid open quickly to show a blonde haired wizard and a younger auburn haired witch.

"Can we…" He trailed off when he saw who was in the compartment. Hermione’s brown eyes caught his steal grey ones instantly and she was sure time stopped. She wasn’t sure why but everything seemed to disappear as she looked at him. He looked at her, at first his features began to soften but as soon as Hermione saw a glimmer of emotion in his eyes it disappeared and the wall was thrown up. He nodded his head at Harry and then left the room as soon as he came.

Hermione snapped herself out of her daze and met with the glaring brown eyes of Ginny.

"Well that was odd," Luna said.

"What do you think the ferret wanted?" Ron asked.

"Don’t know," Harry shrugged, "but it looks like he might be a little nicer this year, you know after we saved his life and all. It’s strange for him to come in and not say anything."

"Hermione!" Ginny cried suddenly, great, she had noticed.

"Yes?" Hermione squeaked.

"Will you come to the toilet with me?"

"S-sure," she faltered.

As soon as they were out in the corridor and a reasonable distance from their compartment Ginny rounded on her.

"What was that?" she asked. Hermione went with playing dumb.

"I don’t know what you mean," she shrugged.

"You know exactly what I mean. That little moment you and Malfoy had! He stared right at you, I swear I have never seen him look at anyone like that!"

"Really I didn’t notice."

"Mione!"

"Ginny, I was nothing ok, I don’t understand that boy. He’s screwing with my head that’s all. Look I’m trying to ignore and forget about him. This is his way of messing us up without doing it explicitly. He can’t call us names and he can’t attack us so he’ll just try and mess with our heads." Ginny didn’t look convinced. "Gin please, its Malfoy for Merlin’s sake!"

"Ok, what ever you say Mione, come on we best get back to them."

Ginny laid off for the rest of the journey but she saw her throwing her suspicious looks while she was talking to Ron. They changed into their robes soon after the Malfoy incident and Hermione instantly felt at home and comfortable. She switched places with Neville to look out the window as the castle approached. As she saw the high turrets appearing over the treetops she couldn’t help but feel a huge sense of happiness settle in her stomach.

This was where she was meant to be. This was where she was loved and she loved it. Just thinking about long nights spent in the library writing essays that where three inches more than asked for or sitting in the Quidditch stands watching Griffindor race to victory. It was all too perfect. After the year she had just had, after everything they had lost everything was finally becoming good again. She had the most amazing boyfriend, good friends, two sets of family that loved her and the wizarding world laying themselves at her feet. It was her destiny, it was fate that brought her back to this place. She had one more year left and she was going to treasure every moment of it. There had been a time when she thought that she would never see these walls again. She didn’t notice that she was crying until Ron sat next to her and pulled her face around to his. He kissed her gently and then wiped the tear away with his thumb.

"It’s good to be home isn’t it?" he asked her quietly. She nodded and let her head fall onto his shoulder. It was good to be home.

The train pulled to a slow stopped and the six friends got off and made there way up the platform, leaving their trunks and animals in a pile by the wall. They waved a hello to Hagrid who, as usual, would be escorting the first years across the lake and climbed into one of the carriages that stood waiting for them. Hermione was used to seeing the thestrals now but there were a few around her, who had seen death in both the battle of Hogwarts and during the war that started in surprise at the things pulling the carriages.

They pulled up to the castle and getting out, they ran up the steps and into the entrance hall. It was just as she remembered it. The castle had obviously been restored after the battle and it was in the centre of the hall that stood the memorial. The six walked up to it.

"This year is for you lot," she whispered placing her hand on the white marble and thinking of the lives that had been lost. Of Fred, Lupin, Tonks and poor little Colin Creevy. Hermione could still remember him following Harry around with a camera when he had been in first year. She pulled herself away from it and spied professor McGonagall out of the corner of her eyes.

"Guys," she said, "I have to meet McGonagall before the feast. Save me a seat?" She kissed Ron quickly on the cheek but before she could get away she had turned into a gaggle of what looked like fourth year Ravenclaws. They held out pieces of parchment and quills. She figured they were for Harry so it surprised them when they half screamed her name.

"You’re Hermione Granger!" one of them cried.

"I-yes," she said slightly confused.

"Can we have your autograph?" another shouted.

"Oh mum is never going to believe this when I write and tell her!" a third said as Hermione stood nonplussed in front of them. She glanced at Harry who just beamed back. She took one of the pieces of parchment and signed her name. The girl almost feinted in delight.

"You are our hero," she said, "we wish you were in Ravenclaw, everyone says that you should have been. They all say you’re the cleverest witch in the school!"

It took a while for the girls to move away and she was still shell-shocked when she turned back to the others.

"What was that?" she asked.

"That is your new found fame," Harry smiled, "welcome to my world."

"I’m not sure I’m liking that interview much anymore," she said as a small grin played at the side of her mouth. "Anyway I really have to go." She turned on her heel and walked straight up to McGonagall.

"Ah Miss Granger, I’m glad you could join us. This is the new Head Boy for the year. Draco Malfoy."

 




Hey Guys

Its been a while since i updated, sorry about that. Its because atm i'm switching between two stories (this one and a lily/james fic) so that one has just been updated. I also want to apologise for making Draco head boy, i know its cleche but its importent for his character developement lol, McGonagall will tell you why he was chosen in the next chapter. I promise there will be more Hermione/Draco to come soon, but you might have to wait a few chapters for her and Ron to finish (but i love thier break up scene so its worth the wait!) Here is a preveiw of the next chapter =) Read and Reveiw xxx

 





Everyone started to talk about their summer and about how glad they were to be back but Hermione’s eyes were drawn to the double doors. Malfoy was walking through them towards the Slytherin table, his hand clutching an open letter and his eyes looking rather red. Had Draco Malfoy been crying?

"Hermione!" Ginny cried snapping her back to the table.

"Yeah?" she asked taking a quick glance to where Malfoy sat with Blaise and Astoria before looking back.

"Hermione I’ve been calling for the past five minutes, what where you looking at."

"Oh nothing," she said, "You wanted something?"

Hope you like! xxx


 


Chapter 6: Being Head Girl
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 Hermione had been so flustered that she hadn’t noticed the blonde standing next to her. She turned to look at him but he stared straight ahead, his face unreadable. 

“Professor McGonagall-” she was cut off quickly.

“Miss Granger, as Head Girl you have many privileges that others don’t but what you are about to protest to is not one of them. Professor Dumbledore left specific instructions before he died that should Mr Malfoy return to the school for his seventh year after the war then he was to be made Head Boy. It is not your place to dispute that. This is exactly why I wished for you to meet before the feast. I know you two have had … problems in the past but you must learn to get along for the sake of the school.” She took two envelopes from her robe and handed it to both of them. 


“I suggest you meet up with each other once a week to discuss progress. Your meeting with the prefects will be every other Tuesday night, starting this week and your meeting with me will be on one Thursday each month starting this week. There is a timetable explaining that inside and a list of the events you have to organise. Now Miss Granger would you please make your way into the great hall I wish to have a word with Mr Malfoy.” 


Hermione glanced to her right at Malfoy who still stared straight ahead and felt a pang of guilt settle into her stomach over what she had said to him in the letter. She turned away and, anger bubbling because she hated him for making her feel guilty, stormed into the great hall with the other students. 

She spotted Harry, Ginny, Neville and Ron quickly and was delighted to see that they had been joined by Seamus, Pravati, Lavender and Dean.

“Dean,” she cried pulling him into a quick hug, remembering how they had escaped the Malfoy manor with him, “how are you?”

“I’m good thanks, glad to be back. Harry I showed my mum the interview in the Quibbler, she loved that I was part of something that helped defeat Voldemort. She said to send you her love and her thanks for helping keep me safe. She says she owes a lot to you. And to you Ron, Hermione and to Bill and Fleur and to Luna. I was going to go and see her…”

“She’s gone to sit at the Ravenclaw table,” Harry cut in, “and its ok mate, anyone would have done the same.” 

Everyone started to talk about their summer and about how glad they were to be back but Hermione’s eyes were drawn to the double doors. Malfoy was walking through them towards the Slytherin table, his hand clutching an open letter and his eyes looking rather red. Had Draco Malfoy been crying?

“Hermione!” Ginny cried snapping her back to the table.

“Yeah?” she asked taking a quick glance to where Malfoy sat with Blaise and Astoria before looking back.

“Hermione I’ve been calling for the past five minutes, what where you looking at.”

“Oh nothing,” she said, “You wanted something?”

“What’s the letter?” she asked.

“Oh it’s a list of things we have to organise this year. She opened it and pulled out the piece of parchment. “I’m not sure if I’m supposed to reveal these yet so don’t say a word.” 

Ginny who sat on the left of her sidled closer and the two girls looked at the list underneath the table.

“Ok, Halloween feast,” Ginny whispered, “that’s normal. Erm, bonfire night, oh we don’t get to celebrate that very often its usually a muggle thing.” The pair glanced at the next on the list, it read ‘Christmas fancy dress ball.’ Ginny couldn’t help but let a squeak escape from her mouth, which caused Harry to lean across the table at the pair.

“What’s up Gin?” he asked.

“Nothing,” she replied with a grin. She turned to Hermione and lowered her voice, “a Christmas fancy dress ball! Oh Hermione it’s going to be brilliant.”

“Under it it says that it’s going to be for fifth year and above and I have to organise supervised trips to Diagon Ally! That’s going to take some mammoth organisation.”

“No it won’t, it will be fine…oh I already know what I’m going to go as and I am going to look stunning! Anyway…what else.”

“Erm, Easter feast before end of term, the memorial feast and end of year celebrations. She says that if I have anything I want to do to speak to her.”

“Oh Mione this is going to be excellent, I know I’m not a prefect or anything but I could help you with whatever you need.” Hermione smiled.

“I could definitely use the help, especially since Malfoy’s the Head Boy, I doubt he’s going to be much help.” Ron and Harry couldn’t help but overhear her last sentence.

“WHAT!” Ron cried from beside her. Ginnys jaw had dropped open and Harry was staring from across the table. Hermione blushed, she had forgotten she hadn’t told them.

“Malfoy’s Head Boy,” she shrugged, “special request from Dumbledore before he died.” 

Ron was prevented from saying anything else as the large doors re-opened and in walked around forty petrified first years. The sorting was interesting. The hat sang a song about the war being over and the houses uniting over the defeat. The first years one by one walked up to the stool and were sorted into their houses. By the time that food had appeared on the table Ron had forgotten all about Malfoy and him being Head Boy. He was too distracted by the roast chicken and yorkshire puddings that he didn’t have time to think about anything else. 

When the feast was over and Hermione had eaten as much chocolate cheesecake as she could professor McGonagall stood up and the crowd fell silent.

“Before you all return to you beds I would like to introduce two new teachers to our midst. Professor Harrow will be taking over my position as Transfiguration teacher and Griffindor house leader.” A small witch with curly blonde hair who Hermione recognised slightly stood up to polite applause from the crowd.

“Mione that’s Rebecca Harrow,” Ginny said, “she was in her seventh year when I was in my first.” Realisation dawned on Hermione. She had been in her sixth year when Hermione had started and had been a Griffindor prefect and a Head Girl.

“The post of Defence Against the Dark Arts has been given to Professor Anderson.” A man who looked around his mid thirties stood up and both Hermione and Ginny, as well as every other girl in the great hall had to work hard to stop their eyes popping out of their heads. His dark hair fell around his face and almost to his shoulders and his smouldering blue eyes smiled at the entire year. There was a huge round of applause from every girl in the room. Ron and Harry were looking at their girlfriends, annoyance etched on their faces. Professor Anderson was gorgeous. McGonagall quietened the school down and continued with her speech. A few people had stopped listening. Lavender and Pravati had delved into a full-blown conversation about the newcomer.

“Mr Filch has asked me to remind you that the forbidden forest is out of bounds to all students and there is a list of forbidden items that should you be caught with will result in a detention. The list can be found in his office. If you have any problems this year please feel free to approach me or any of the teachers or if you wish to talk to someone your own age your prefects and new head boy and girl should be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. It is Saturday and so you all have a free day tomorrow, I would like to see you bright and early Monday morning to collect your timetables. Now off to bed all of you.” 

As she finished, Hermione swore she saw a slight smile sneak onto her face.

“We will see you in the common room,” Hermione said to Ginny. The girl nodded and Hermione went with the rest of the Griffindors up to the top table. Hermione was surprised to find that Griffindor was the only house in which all seventh year students had returned. From Slytherin there were four; Malfoy, Blaise Zabini, Daphne Greengrass and Pansy Parkinson. From Ravenclaw there were only three; Terry Boot, Michael Corner and Padma Patel. Hermione was disappointed to see that only Ernie Macmillan and Hannah Abbot had returned from Hufflepuff.

“Now, you may be wondering how the school is going to cope with double the amount of first years,” McGonagall said when everyone had gathered around her, “and we came to the decision that they will be taking your dormitories.”

“But professor where will we sleep?” Padma asked.

“You as seventh years will be sharing your own common room, away from your houses. Of course you will still be granted access into your house but you will sleep in your new dorms. Now if you will please follow me I will show you where it is located.” McGonagall lead the seventeen students out of the great hall and up the twisting staircase. They came out on the fourth floor where she led them to a portrait of a pretty blonde girl in a white dress. She asked politely for the password.

“Dumbledore,” McGonagall said. The portrait swung open to reveal their common room. 

The room was bigger than the Griffindor common room though it accommodated fewer people. It was square in shape and each wall was decorated with a banner from each house. The wall which they were facing and which had a large door in the centre of it was adorned with Griffindor banners. The left with Ravenclaw the back with Slytherin and the right with Hufflepuff. There was a group of large sofa’s and armchairs surrounding a lit fire on the Ravenclaw wall. Another fire had been put on right of the Griffindor wall and the right side of the room held five armchairs, four good sized tables that could sit four each and a large bookcase. In the centre of the room was another set of sofa’s and pouffes. It all looked very comfortable.  To the left of the portrait hole was a large notice board, which McGonagall pointed out first.

“This will be he same as your house notice boards and whenever the password is changed it will appear here. Your house passwords will be found in a sealed envelope on your pillows. If you would like to follow me to your dorms I will show you how they work”. 

McGonagall lead them through the large door and out into a wide corridor. On the right was a door labelled ‘boys’ and another labelled ‘girls.’ Hermione supposed they where bathrooms and was correct. The tub was almost as big as a swimming pool and there where five toilet cubicles. Further along the corridor were two more doors. One read ‘girls’ and one read ‘Griffindor boys.’

“You may be wondering why this says only Griffindor boys. There are only six girls but nine boys. We have decided since there are so few girls they should all share a dorm but the boys will be split. The Griffindor boys will be placed in here and…” they walked further down the corridor and there was another door on the left that read ‘boys.’ “The other boys will stay in here. Miss Granger and Mr Malfoy however are to be placed somewhat differently. As they are our head boy and girl they will be getting their own bedrooms.” She had walked further down the corridor and was indicating to two doors on the end. One read Hermione granger and one read Draco Malfoy. “I will leave you all to look around and meet you back in the common room in half an hour.” 

Hermione smiled and pushed the door to her room open, walking inside. The room was huge! A very large four-poster bed lay against a crimson wall and hung with red and white drapes, two windows lay either side and showed the perfectly clear night. Her trunk was at the foot of her bed with Crookshanks sat on top in a basket. She let him out immediately and then took in the rest of the room. There was a large sofa against the wall that held the door and a wardrobe and dresser on the left wall. Never at Hogwarts had they been given a wardrobe a dresser so this must have been a luxury. A large mirror hung over the dresser and the Hermione that looked out at her beamed.

“The smile suites you,” she said. Hermione grinned even wider and turned to see a door on the right wall. She walked through it and found herself in the most beautiful bathroom she had ever seen. It was, just as her bedroom, adorned in the colours and banners of Griffindor. A large window took up most of the wall in front of her and below this lay a bath that, though was only half the size of the one in the main bathroom, looked huge. There was a large red shower fitted into the corner on the wall that held the door to the right and on the other side of the door there was a long black marble counter that stretched from the door to the wall and held a white marble sink. When she looked at it most of the room was white and black marble. The floor was white marble but the bit around the edge of the pool was black. There was a door to her right, which she figured was the toilet. 

Hermione went back into bedroom and took the envelope that was lying on the bed. She opened it. 

Griffindor password – Fred Weasly 

Hermione tried hard to push the tears that welled in her eyes down. Throwing the paper on the floor she bundled Crookshanks up into her arms and rushed from the room. From outside she could hear the shrieks and squeals coming from the girl’s dorm and smiled knowing that McGonagall had put some sort of silencing charm on her room. She walked straight past their dorm and into the boy’s room. Dropping her cat onto the floor she almost hurtled herself into Ron’s arms. He kissed her hard and Hermione was wrapped up in his arms instantly.

“Have you seen the new Griffindor password?” she asked as they pulled apart.

“Yeah,” he replied, “it was nice of them.”

“I’m going to ask McGonagall if I can go see Ginny after this, did you know she’s upped seventh and sixth year curfew to eleven?”

“No I didn’t but I think it would be a good idea to see her. Harry?”

“I agree mate, she might be waiting up for us anyway.” Hermione hugged Ron tightly as she looked around the room. It looked almost exactly the same as the one they had had in the tower except not round. Small windows sat in between each four poster bed. She waved at Dean, Seamus and Neville.

“Do you think we should get back?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah, let’s go,” Ron replied, picking up Hermione’s cat, who had been purring around his legs and handing it to her. They all left the dorm and found McGonagall waiting for them, standing next to four house elves, by the looks of it two females and two males.

“Ok, these house elves are your own personal house elves. One for the boys, one for the girls and one each for Mr Malfoy and Miss Granger.” Hermione stared at her in shock and her two best friends looked at her worriedly. That was until both they and she saw that one of the female house elves was dressed in a pretty pink dress. “Do not worry Miss Granger, I have taken the liberty of procuring Summer for you, she is technically a free elf and does receive a wage and holidays, which I make sure coincide with yours.” Hermione felt much better after she had been told this and relaxed slightly. “Mr Malfoy,” McGonagall continued, “gets Leon.” One of the elves bowed and Malfoy’s mouth twitched at the side slightly. “The boys get Robbie and the girls get Mini.” Pravati and Lavender squealed in delight when the tiny female house elf with large bright green eyes bowed at them.

“Oh she is so cute!” Lavender cried. Pansy and Daphne tried not to look as if they thought the same but Hermione knew that they did. “If that is all I will see you all at breakfast.” She turned to leave but Hermione, Ron and Harry caught up with her before she could reach the portrait. 

“Professor,” Hermione said, “I thought that since it was only ten we could go and see Ginny, you know because of the password.” McGonagall understood them completely.

“Of course,” she smiled, “and if filch causes you trouble, remind him that you Granger are a head girl and have equal status with him.” She had added the last part as an after thought but it did seem to amuse her. The trio rushed out of the portrait and up to the seventh floor. They reach the fat lady who smiled when she saw them.

“Password?” she asked.

“Fred Weasly.”

“Ah such a tragedy.” She swung open and they had barely go through the portrait when a mane of red hair rushed up to them and nearly knocked Hermione down. 

“Where have you been?” she cried letting go and hugging harry, “I got worried.”

“Listen Gin,” Harry said sitting down by the fire. She sat in his lap and curled into him, socks playing by her feet. “McGonagall’s just told us that we’re not staying here this year.”

“What?” Ginny asked.

“All the seventh years have got their own common room,” Hermione said.

“But that means you’re not going to be here?” Ginny asked.

“We know the password and we can come here whenever we like we just wont be sleeping here,” Harry said. 

“And you can come and visit us all the time,” Ron said.

“The passwords Dumbledore,” Hermione smiled, “use it and I will let you share my amazing bath!”

“Yeah Mione gets her own room and everything,” Ron laughed.

“And we get house elves so whenever we need you we can get them to call you,” said Hermione.

“You have a house elf?” Ginny scoffed, “what happened to spew?”

“It’s S.P.E.W. Ginny how many times do I have to tell you? And actually Summer is a free house elf, she gets paid and everything.”

“We will make it work Gin,” Harry said.

“Come with us tomorrow after breakfast and we will show you. You can get all your stuff from my trunk then.”

“I can get my broom,” she said excitedly, “and we can go test ours out Ron!”

“Sounds like a plan,” Harry said, “now we have to go but I’ll see you in the morning ok?”

“Ok, night.” She kissed Harry and hugged Hermione before going up to her dorm. 

The Trio made their way back to their common room. Harry and Ron went to sit by the fire with Dean and Seamus but Hermione bid them a good night. Instead she got herself ready for bed and sank back into her covers with Wuthering Heights. She called Summer and asked her for a hot chocolate. The house elf bought one right away and when Hermione had finished her drink and put down her book she snuggle under the covers thinking that if this is what is meant to be Head Girl then it wasn’t bad at all.

 

 






 

Hi Guys

Sorry this took so long but i tried to get another Dramione put up but becasue of some mistakes on my part it got rejected. So i have decided I'm going to get that completly writen up before i post it. So this chapter. If i'm honest this isnt one of my most exciting chapters but i put it in so that you could have all the information. the next one is better i promise...we gets some DADA! lol. Only three chapters until my favourite one of all time!!! The Ron Hermione bust up chapater!!! I can't wait to get to it! Tell me what you think about this chapter though.

Read and Reveiw. Love you all. Secret Passion xxx

 

 

 

 






Taster of my next chapter entitled - Professor Anderson

 
It turned out that she was quite early because when she entered the common room Dean told her that Harry and Ron were still asleep. Deciding that it was time for them to wake up she snuck as quietly as she could into their room and whipped out her wand. With a flick of her wand she flipped off their bed covers and rolled them both onto the floor. Ron woke with a shout and jumped up, feeling around his pyjama top for the wand that lay on his bedside table. Harry got up and narrowed his eyes at Hermione. He flicked his wand, sending a jelly legs jinx at her. She blocked it easily with a shield charm.

“Oh come on Harry your going to have to do better than that.”

“Yeah?” Ron asked. Without Hermione even realising what he was doing Ron bounded over his bed and rugby tackled her into Deans empty bed tickling her stomach until she felt like she couldn’t breath.

“Ron!” she laughed. He let her go and smiled.

“Its what you get for waking me up that that,” he smiled. Hermione reached up and kissed him. He responded quickly and pulled her up into his arms.

“Oh Merlin’s beard!” Harry cried, “will you two get a room!”

“I think you will find Harry, that we are in a room, you just happen to be in it too,” Hermione laughed not looking away from Ron who bent down and kissed her again. She pulled away.

“Ok boy’s I want you dressed and ready to go down to breakfast in ten minutes.” She turned and went to walk out of the room. Before she could reach the door she shot a shield charm over her shoulder deflecting Harry’s second jelly legs jinx. She faintly heard a ‘how does she do that’ from Harry as she closed the door.

 



 
 
 
 


Chapter 7: Professor Anderson
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

She woke the next morning to Crookshanks pawing at her face. Immediately calling Summer she asked the house elf to make sure her cat was fed before Hermione got up and opened her trunk. She pulled out a pair of light blue jeans and a white lace top. She pulled her hair into a messy bun before leaving the room, for breakfast, her wand in her back pocket.

It turned out that she was quite early because when she entered the common room Dean told her that Harry and Ron were still asleep. Deciding that it was time for them to wake up she snuck as quietly as she could into their room and whipped out her wand. With a flick of her wand she flipped off their bed covers and rolled them both onto the floor. Ron woke with a shout and jumped up, feeling around his pyjama top for the wand that lay on his bedside table. Harry got up and narrowed his eyes at Hermione. He flicked his wand, sending a jelly legs jinx at her. She blocked it easily with a shield charm.

“Oh come on Harry your going to have to do better than that.”

“Yeah?” Ron asked. Without Hermione even realising what he was doing Ron bounded over his bed and rugby tackled her into Deans empty bed tickling her stomach until she felt like she couldn’t breath.

“Ron!” she laughed. He let her go and smiled.

“Its what you get for waking me up that that,” he smiled. Hermione reached up and kissed him. He responded quickly and pulled her up into his arms.

“Oh Merlin’s beard!” Harry cried, “will you two get a room!”

“I think you will find Harry, that we are in a room, you just happen to be in it too,” Hermione laughed not looking away from Ron who bent down and kissed her again. She pulled away.

“Ok boy’s I want you dressed and ready to go down to breakfast in ten minutes.” She turned and went to walk out of the room. Before she could reach the door she shot a shield charm over her shoulder deflecting Harry’s second jelly legs jinx. She faintly heard a ‘how does she do that’ from Harry as she closed the door and couldnt help but smile to herself.

Hermione’s wake up call and demands that they be ready quickly seemed to have worked because they were out with time to spare. Ron laced his arm around her waist and kissed her head.

“Breakfast?” he asked.

“Lets go.” They walked out from the common room and down towards the great hall, where they were instantly bombard with groups of girls asking for autographs. It wasn’t until Hagrid waded through the sea of people that they all got the hint and went away.

“Thank you Hagrid,” Hermione said, relieved that she had been saved by the mob.

“No problem, Now why d’nt you kids get to breakfast before they crowd roun’ again.” The trio escaped the entrance hall quickly and went to sit with Ginny who was reading the daily prophet whilst eating a slice of toast.

“News of you being head girl got out Mione, you’re on the front page again.”

“Joy,” she mumbled sarcastically pulling a rack of toast in front of her and begging to butter a couple of slices.

“You would think they would just get over the fact that you defeated Voldemort,” Ginny said, “I mean this celebrity status is getting annoying even for me and I don’t get half of the attention you guys do!”

“Ginny,” Ron said, “I don’t think defeating Voldemort is something the wizarding world is going to get over for a long time.” Ginny shrugged.

“It’s just annoying that’s all.”

A few loud shrieks echoed from the entrance hall and a gaggle of girls followed in Mr Anderson. Hermione was shocked to see that he was wearing muggle clothes, she had never seen the teachers wearing muggle clothes before. Hermione and Ginny watched as he reached the top table and whispered something into the ear of Professor Harrow who blushed and went back to eating her cereal. The daily prophet that she had been reading completely forgotten.

“Oh I hope I have Defence tomorrow,” she said dreamily. Both girls gazed at the top table. A loud cough from both their boyfriends brought them back to reality.

“You do realise that we are still here don’t you?” Ron asked.

“Of course Ronald.”

“Lets go show Ginny our common room,” Harry said quickly.

They made their way up to the fourth floor and Ginny loved what they showed her. Harry put up a sign on the notice board saying that Quidditch tryouts where next weekend while Hermione took Ginny to her bedroom. The girl loved it and they quickly made plans to sneak Ginny in at night and get Summer to get them some chocolate the night of the Quidditch trials. Hermione opened the fifth lock on her trunk and got Ginny’s stuff, shrinking it down and giving the parcel to Ginny.

“I don’t know why you didn’t do it n the first place.”

“You can’t let trunk space go to waste,” Ginny shrugged picking up her broom and making her way back to the boys. Ron and Harry both had brooms in hand and Hermione had got her notebook. She had nearly finished writing up about the philosopher’s stone and the chamber of secrets. She just needed to add in Harry’s second talk with Dumbledore. They made their way down to the Quidditch pitch and all four were grateful for the warm clear day. Hermione sat in the stands and watched the others race each other from one end of the pitch to the other. It looked as if they weren’t the only ones who had wanted to get back on their brooms. Demelza, a chaser from when Harry was captain in sixth year, was out with a few of her friends, they were tall taking turns riding their brooms. She could see a few Ravenclaws and Hufflepuff but to her surprise no Slytherins.

“If you are wondering,” came a voice to her right, “why there are no Slytherins, it would be because there are very few left. Not a lot of us have returned, even in the lower years, most of them have gone to Durmstrang.” She twisted to see Malfoy. He walked up to her and sat down on the bench next to her. Hermione looked up and saw Ginny staring at her wide-eyed. The girl instantly turned around and challenged Ron and Harry to a race around the castle, to the forbidden forest and back to the pitch. They accepted and zoomed off. Hermione looked at Malfoy. His face was as unreadable as it had been the previous day but his eyes held some sort of longing she couldn’t place. It was sad to look at him. To realise how broken he had become under Voldemorts reign. She saw him glance down to the blue notebook and peacock feather quill. She snapped it shut and stared straight ahead.

“Was there something you wanted Malfoy?” He shrugged.

“I just thought that I would ask you what you wanted to do for Tuesday.”

“Oh, erm, well,” she was caught by surprise. After everything he was being this civil and …nice? “Well I thought I would just go over the basics. Introductions, what we need to organise, ask them to think up suggestions on how to improve the castle. That sort of stuff. Malfoy nodded but still he had not looked at her.

She wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing. He just sat there and stared into the sky. He looked so vulnerable that Hermione couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. Her mind flashed back to the night before when she had seen him walk into the great hall. She was sure he had been crying. It was strange to see her mortal enemy in this state, it was proof to her eyes that people could change. Because Malfoy had changed. She could see it already. He had turned his back on his old life and he was a new person. The only problem was that he obviously lacked the internal confidence to build himself back up. Yes, to the world he was still Draco Malfoy and to the papers he had confidence to spare. But here, right now as they sat in silence not looking at each other Hermione felt everything. She knew the truth about him and she knew, for some strange reason, that he wanted her to know the truth. Why was he doing this to her?

“Draco?” a voice purred as it made its way through the benches over to him. Hermione instantly opened her book and continued writing, trying not to pay any attention to the man sitting beside her, who had not changed his posture at all. “Draco, what are you doing here? With the mudblood?” Hermione chanced a quick glanced at Malfoy and was sure she saw the muscles him his jaw tighten. He closed his eyes stood up and then adopted a completely different character. The trademark sneer re-appeared on his face as he spoke.

“Head Boy stuff Astoria, nothing you need to worry your pretty little head about.”

Hermione looked up. She had known Astoria was pretty from the pictures in the paper but it was nothing to how she looked up close. Her big almond eyes sparkled a lovely green and her long black eyelashes brushed her slightly pink cheeks when she blinked. Her smile was both sweet and seductive. Her face was perfectly symmetrical and her long auburn hair, five times darker than Ginnys shade, had been curled framing her face. It wasn’t a surprise that she was on Malfoy’s arm. In her hand she held two broomsticks.

“Come on Draco, we need to practice for tryouts, I want to make sure I thrash that stupid weaslette when we play her next month.” Hermione smiled to herself. Yes because that was likely. Ginny was the best chaser she had ever seen play and she had already been approached by Quidditch teams all over the country to go and train with them after school. Hermione knew that this season for her was crucial. Scouts would be coming to every game she was in and next year she would pick where she wanted to sign too when she left.

Astoria sneered at Hermione as she mounted her broom in the stand and kicked off. Malfoy followed without a second glance at Hermione. Seconds later Ginny dropped down next to her, her broom hovering beside her.

“What was that?”

“Head Girl stuff,” Hermione shrugged. Part of her wanted to tell Ginny what Malfoy was being like, the way he was acting but she quickly decided against it. “It wasn’t anything big. I mean were going to have to work together all year. Especially if you want that Christmas Ball.” She looked around, “where are Ron and Harry?”

“Oh,” Ginny beamed, “I left them at the astronomy tower, those boys are so slow!”

 

***

 

At breakfast the next morning Hermione tried to look out for Malfoy. Just to see what character he was playing that day. She didn’t manage to spot him and McGonagall handed her her timetable before she could ask Ginny if she had seen him. Hermione opened it and squeaked loudly, as did lavender and Pravati. Ginny looked at her friend, it was unusual for her to squeak like the other two.

“Ginny, I have defence first!” she said. The two boys groaned as they opened their own timetables.

“Great, now I have to sit through a whole double lesson watching you stare at that idiot,” Ron asked.

“Oh Ronald, don’t think I haven’t caught you two gawking after Professor Harrow, who we have for a single lesson after break, then a free. And after lunch, I have Arithmancy! Oh Mondays are good.” Both boys brightened at the news that they had transfiguration later that day and didn’t bug Hermione and Ginny again. McGonagall came back along the table with Ginny’s timetable.

“Oh I have him third, oh and look Hermione, some of our free periods match. Mondays, the last one on Tuesday, the last one on Thursday and the first one on Friday.”

“Same as mine,” Harry said, her glanced at Hermione’s timetable, “I don’t match your other ones, I have divination when you have free and you have Ancient runes when I have free.

“Must mean the same with mine, I have the same as Harry,” Ron said as he munched on his pancakes.

“Yeah and I have my other frees when you lot have charms, at least we have one set of frees where we are all together,” Ginny smiled brightly.

“On Friday every week after lunch I have a period that set as HG, what is that,” Hermione asked.

“That is Head Girl duties Miss Granger. Every N.E.W.T student has an extra free which is down for silent study in the study hall,” McGonagall said as she walked by. “Mr Malfoy has the same lessons and frees as you so his times table matches yours perfectly, meaning that you will be able to meet up in this period to discuss things.”

“Great,” Hermione mumbled as McGonagall left, “just what I need, compulsory time with Malfoy.”

The bell rang throughout the castle and everyone who was still in the great hall left to go to their lessons.

“What you got Gin?” Harry asked.

“Charms,” she said hugging Hermione, “I’ll see you in your common room at break? Tell me all about defence.” They split up as Ginny went to Charms and the others made there way through the halls to defence. Hermione could barely contain her excitement as she bounced into the classroom. Every single seventh year was there. Hermione knew that because there was so few of them they had all been put together in classes. It meant that there would only be six of them in Arithmancy. Hermione sat at a desk in-between Harry and Ron and took out her wand, her book, parchment and a self-inking quill.

Professor Anderson stood at the front, flipping his wand around in his hands. For some reason Hermione had the thought that this would have been exactly like Sirius would have turned out had he not been sent to Azkaban. He was wearing robes of pure black over what looked like jeans and a T-shirt. When the class has settled down he spoke.

“Now I realise what most of you have been through in the past year and I know that some of you have over come obstacles that many wouldn’t ask a full grown adult to tackle. His eyes landed on the four in the front, Harry, Hermione, Ron and to his embarrassment, Neville. I know you know most of the spells you will need to know when fighting the dark arts and I realise you have learnt non-verbal spells. I also understand how many you have used these in battle and successfully pulled them off. However though you have managed this you lack technique. This year is all about applying what you have learnt to situations that you would face in the real world.”

“But sir, we have already done that,” Lavender said, “Harry defeated Voldemort, I don’t think he needs any more practice.”

“Yeah, sir, Harry taught us all how to do that sort of stuff in fifth year, when he started the DA,” Dean said. Professor Anderson smiled slightly and then shrugged.

“If that’s how you feel then the lesson is obviously over, I’ll see you at your exam.”

He began to walk from the room. Everyone was whispering with each other but the hairs prickled up on Hermione’s neck. She instantly twisted and threw a shield charm above her as every other person in the classroom stiffened and fell to the floor. Professor Anderson walked back around the classroom and smiled.

“Well done Miss Granger,” He said, “I am impressed. But as you can see you were the only one who managed to block the spell and now everyone else has been put under the body-binding curse.” He waved his wand and everyone unfroze. Ron got back to his seat rubbing the spot where he had hit his head against the desk. Hermione’s eyes flicked over where Malfoy was sitting up and laughing with Blaise over the fact that he had fallen on him. “I realise that was a harmless spell but it could have been something a lot more serious and then everyone apart from Miss Granger here would be dead. I would like you to turn to page three of your textbooks and read the chapter on surprise attacks. By the end of the lesson I would like some notes on how best to prepare for surprise attacks in the home and five spells that could aid this. For homework this week I would like you to learn one of those spells and a spell that could be used in a duel, in for Friday.” He went around to his desk and sat down, motioning everyone to get on with their work.

“That was amazing!” Hermione cried as they walked out of the classroom, her smile stretched from ear to ear as she walked along with Harry and Ron.

“No not really,” Ron said rubbing the bump on his head, “he could have warned us.”

“Oh Ronald, that was the whole point wasn’t it, he wanted us to feel what it would be like to be under a surprise attack.”

“Yeah well, not all of us have the super senses that you seem to be possessed with.”

“Its not super senses its being aware of your surroundings, if you and Harry want to be aurours then that’s something you have to learn.”


Ron was still grumbling when they met with Ginny in the common room.

“How was it?” she squealed.

“It was amazing! He put a surprise attack on us and I was the only one who blocked it.”

“Yeah, we get it Mione,” Harry laughed, “Your cleverer than us.”

“Well I can’t help it if you’re all unobservant.” Ginny giggled but bit her lip when Ron threw a glare at her. She looked at Ron but he was looking in the opposite direction, waving at lavender Brown. The girl giggled and blushed as she looked away from him. Jealously bubbled in her stomach but she pushed it down, there was no need to get annoyed about it, they were just waving…Lavender suddenly blew Ron a kiss and his ears went red. Hermione instantly picked up her bag and stormed from the room leaving the others behind not knowing what was wrong.


Chapter 8: Distance
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Hermione avoided speaking to Ron for the rest of the day until Ginny snapped and asked her what was wrong. Hermione told her and Ginny told her not to be silly. She knew Ginny was right and so apologised to Ron after telling him what had been wrong. He had told her not to worry about those things because it was Hermione he cared about. They ended up falling asleep together in front of the fire.

The rest of the week went by quickly. All their lessons started where they had left off at the end of sixth year and Hermione found that, thankfully, she hadn’t forgotten anything. The only problem with her lessons was the fact that a certain blonde was in every single one of them. She tried not to notice his presence but it wasn’t easy, especially when he sat next to her in Runes. He didn’t speak and he didn’t look at her once but Hermione could feel that he was instantly more relaxed than she had ever seen him with Astoria which worried her slightly.

Malfoy was seen everywhere with Astoria and even turned up to the Gryffindor Quidditch tryouts with her to, as Astoria said, weight up the competition.

“Not that it will be hard to beat them, ey Draco. With a keeper who can’t catch and a seeker who can’t see, it should be a piece of cake.” She had said it loud enough for Hermione to hear but she just ignored it and went back to Professor Harrow’s essay on full human transformations, which had made Hermione think very hard about becoming and animagus. Malfoy hadn’t responded to her comment but just stayed silent. That was how it tended to be with him. He hadn’t said much in the interviews with the prefects and McGonagall or even when they were alone together sorting out the Halloween feast on the Friday. He didn’t make a comment when Ron was picked as keeper and Ginny as a chaser. Demelza had returned to the team and Dean had made the spot for the third chaser. Coote and Peaks returned as beaters and Hermione was glad to see that they had improved over the past year.

Harry now had the whole team in Quidditch practice every Saturday until their first match, which happened on Halloween itself. Hermione spent a lot of her time on her own in the library or in the common room at the desks with all her essays strewn over the table and hourly milkshakes curtsy of Summer. Sometimes Draco would share her table and Hermione felt that she was growing somewhat closer to him through the silence. As weird as she thought it was she found it surprisingly pleasant to sit with him and not have to talk about Quidditch or how his two best friends had obviously been sleeping together which was the two things that seemed to occupy Ron’s mind at that moment. He would not stop going on about it and as much as she loved Ron Hermione found it extraordinarily annoying.

Over the first two months that her and Ron spent at the castle she found that he had begun to distance himself from her. He would spend hours outside of the common room apparently just walking around. Hermione took it upon herself to trust him and not question his strange behaviour but even Harry and Ginny had started to notice a change in him and it started to niggle at her brain. What was Ron doing? Sometimes she would catch Harry looking at her worriedly and then Ginny leaning over towards him angrily. It was this that they were doing the morning of the Quidditch match.

“For Merlin’s sake Harry what is wrong?” she asked slamming closed her Potions book. He had been throwing her worried glances and Ginny had hissed something angrily in the ear.

“Nothing, Hermione, it’s nothing.” Hermione raised her eyebrows at him and Ginny spoke up.

“It’s fine Mione don’t worry about it,” she said smiling at her friend weakly. It was then that Ron decided to walk into the great hall.

He sat next to Hermione. She leaned in to kiss him but he barely responded and pulled away quickly, turning to Harry and talking about something he had seen on the way down to breakfast. Hermione slumped on the bench slightly and felt a weight land in her heart. He had been doing that a lot recently, pulling away, not paying her any attention, pushing her away when she went to hug him. Hermione tended to leave it at the back of her mind, scared that her worst fear was coming true. She shook her head and plastered a fake smile on her face turning to Ginny who looked at her and reached her hand across the table.

“You want to walk me down to the pitch?” Hermione nodded her head and tried to blink back the tears. Ginny said bye and told the boys she would meet them in the changing room.

Almost as soon as they had left the great hall Hermione burst into floods of tears.

“I don’t understand what I’ve don’t wrong?” she said as Ginny pulled her into a hug.

“You haven’t done anything wrong, Ron’s just being an arse.”

“But he doesn’t kiss me anymore, he barely acknowledges I exist some of the time.”

“It will be fine Mione, when Harry’s stopped us working so hard he will have time for you. It will be fine.” Hermione nodded and the pair began to walk out of the castle into the bright sunny morning.

She went to sit in the stands to watch the Griffindor/Hufflepuff game and found her spot shared with Luna.

“Hello Luna,” Hermione said with a sniff as she sat down. There was no one else in the stands yet because they were all still down at breakfast and Hermione was glad of it.

“Oh hello Hermione,” she said smiling at her, her smile faltered, “you look like you have been crying.”

“It’s nothing, just Ron that’s all.”

“Oh yes, sometimes he can be very untactful and big-headed I have found,” Luna said simply.

“Only sometimes?” Hermione said sarcastically. She couldn’t help a small laugh break the surface.

“Have you got the Halloween feast all sorted?” Luna asked.

“Yes, Malfoy made sure all the decorations were in place last night.”

“Draco does seem like a nice boy,” Luna said looking out onto the pitch.

“Well-I- I suppose,” Hermione stuttered.

“He wasn’t like his dad, I could see that when I was at the manor, he felt guilty about what they were doing to me, he even apologised once.”

“Malfoy apologised to you?”

“Yes when he bought me some food, he apologised for what his aunt did. I must say I am glad she is gone.”

Hermione couldn’t help but smile. Luna always said the oddest of things but usually they were all correct observations. Malfoy being nice was one thing she couldn’t quite believe just yet, even if she might have seen it for herself at some points. Then she remembered that she had thought that he had been being nice when she had sat on this very bench two months ago. She shuddered at the thought that Malfoy might be getting to her.

As they sat there people began to file into the stadium and Hermione began to forget all about Malfoy and get excited about the match. She called Summer and had her bring her Luna and Neville, who had come to sit with them, some hotdogs. The players came out onto the pitch and a loud cheer went up for harry. But the girl sitting behind Hermione didn’t scream for Harry she screamed for Ron. Hermione twisted to see Lavender sitting with Pravati. When she saw Hermione she blushed and started talking to Pravati. Hermione pushed it out of her mind and concentrated on sheering her team on.

The match lasted for around three hours. It that time Ginny scored sixty points, Demelza forty and Dean ten. Hufflepuff had only sixty points. Hermione wanted to put it down the Ron’s good keeping but the problem with that was that the Griffindors rarely let it get down his end. The time was fast approaching twelve and it was then that Harry spotted the snitch. Not many people realised what had happened until he held it up in the air. The Griffindors had won. Loud cheers erupted from the Griffindors and Ravenclaws and the Griffindors rushed onto the pitch.

Hermione found Ginny first and hugged her tightly.

“You won!” she cried.

“I know!” the red head shouted back. Hermione almost jumped on Harry who came over to the pair.

“Well done Harry,” she said, “where’s Ron?”

“He’s over there…” He pointed to where Ron was standing only to trail off when he saw Lavender hugging him tightly. Hermione pushed down the annoyance. She was his friend, she was his friend and she’s saying well done like Hermione had just done to Harry it was no different. She watched as Ron held tightly onto her and then let her go saying he would talk to her later. Hermione walked up to him.

“Well done Ron,” she said going to hug him.

“Yeah I know,” he said brushing her away and turning to Cootes giving him a high five. She turned to look at Ginny who stood mouth wide open staring at her brother. Hermione couldn’t stop the tears rising in her eyes. She didn’t understand this at all. She rushed past Ginny and up to the common room without waiting to hear Harry and Ginny shouting after her. She Brushed past Malfoy in the corridor and slammed the door to her room, collapsing into the bed and bursting into floods of tears.

It must have been hours before there was a knock at her door.

“Hermione, Malfoy said you were in here, can I come in?”

“Sure,” Hermione mumbled. The tears had stopped but the sinking feeling in her heart was still there. Ginny entered the room and lay down on the bed next to Hermione.

“Ron was asking where you were at lunch.”

“I’m sure,” she replied sarcastically.

“I’m being serious. He got all defensive over you when Malfoy came up and asked why you were crying.” Hermione sat up.

“Malfoy asked why I was crying?”

“Yeah he came up to us and said to Ron, ‘I’m surprised you’re here when your girlfriends crying in her bedroom, what did you do this time Weasley?’ I was shocked that he seemed to show such an interest.”

“What did Ron say?” Hermione asked.

“He got up and pushed Malfoy’s chest away and told him that if he had known you were crying then he would be here and not to stick his Ferret nose into other people’s business and if he cared so much about you why wasn’t he here? Malfoy got all flustered, Mione I have never seen him lost for words before. He just turned on his heel and walked away. Then Ron sat down and asked me what was wrong with you. I explained and he glanced at Harry really quickly and had this look of horror on his face.”

“Well what he said to Malfoy wasn’t true was it, he’s not here now is he?”

“Actually he’s standing outside waiting for me to finish telling you what happened.”

Ginny got up and opened the door to reveal a sheepish looking Ron.

“Mione I’m sorry.”

“I’ll leave you two alone,” Ginny said closing the door behind her.

“Mione,” Ron said, “I had no idea you felt like this, I’m so sorry.” Hermione hunched herself up to the headboard and glared at Ron.

“If you tell me that you don’t like Lavender more than me…”

“Of course I don’t like her more than you. Hermione, you know I love you.” he sat on the bed and took her hand in his.

“That’s what you say,” she said fresh tears rising, “but I don’t know if you mean it.”

“Of course I mean it Mione.” He leaned in slowly and kissed her lips gently. Hermione couldn’t help but melt at his touch. He hadn’t kissed her like this for ages.

“I’m sorry,” Ron whispered breaking away.

“I forgive you,” Hermione replied.

***

“I can’t believe you got some of the Weasley’s fireworks!” one of the prefects squealed as they helped set up bonfire night outside in the grounds.

“Don’t be silly Emma, of course she got the Weasley’s fireworks, she is dating their brother!”

“Oh yeah, right, what’s he like Hermione, George, is he as cute as they say he is.”

“Emma,” Hermione laughed, “you must have seen him around sometime, you should be a sixth year and he left in his sixth year which means you would have been in your third year. Surely you saw what they did to Umbridge.”

“Yeah but I’m in Hufflepuff, we never get to see the people behind it.”

“Oh I wish I had been put in Griffindor,” another girl said, “all the cool people are in Griffindor. Hermione, Harry, Ron and Ginny! In fact I don’t care which house I am in, I wish I was a Weasley!” Hermione laughed as she set the crates that they had been carrying on the floor. She had never heard that one before.

“Ok guys we have an hour, you best go and get your food in you,” Hermione said as she laid out all the crates in a line.

“Are you sure you don’t want us to help?” Emma asked.

“No I have it from here.”

Hermione finished up what she was doing and tightened her cloak around her. The cold November air was getting at her. Using her wand to see in the dark she made her way up to the castle and into the great hall. All she would have to do was to say a spell and the fireworks would start setting themselves off at different intervals. She sat down next to Ginny and listened to the conversation that Neville and Harry were having about the potion lesson they had had earlier when Neville had actually managed to score higher marks than him. Hermione found it quite amusing that without Snape’s book Harry had gone back to his old level of potions, much to Slughorns disappointment.

They ate their dinner and McGonagall stood up and told them that it was time to go outside. Malfoy had been in charge of the bonfire and was glad to see it burning away as they walked out into the grounds. Just before they reached the double doors Ron said something about needing to get something from his trunk and that he would meet them later.

The fireworks display was spectacular and George had even thrown in one that showed Harry killing Voldemort. The student erupted into both applause and laughter when the words ‘Game over for poor Voldy’ flashed into the air. The last but one fire work was a list of the names of the people that died in the battle of Hogwarts sparkling high in the air. She looked around the hold Ron’s hand when Fred name flashed up but he wasn’t there. As the last fire work (a huge dragon) faded out and people started to return to the castle she turned to Ginny.

“Where is Ron?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” she said, “did he ever come back from getting that thing?”

“Maybe he went off to stand with someone else,” Harry shrugged. Hermione nodded but wasn’t convinced. Maybe he was hurt or had got sick. She rushed through the corridors and was the first of the year sevens to file through the portrait.

She walked down the corridor towards the Gryffindor boy’s room and spoke as she was opening it.

“Ron? Are you…” she stopped dead when she saw a horrified look Ron sit up straight from under the covers of his bed and a frightened looking Lavender hurrying to cover herself up from view. Hermione couldn’t breathe. Ron Weasley had cheated on her with Lavender Brown.
 


Chapter 9: The Stunning Spell
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She just stood there staring at the pair, shock coursing through her veins. She couldn’t move she couldn’t speak, she couldn’t breathe. How could he have done this to her? He had…he had slept with Lavender Brown? She didn’t understand it, nothing made sense. Ron jumped out from the bed and pulled on his jeans. He grabbed his T-shirt and his wand and started to rush towards her.

“Hermione,” he said, his voice almost begging.

She broke out of her shock and fled the doorway tears and anger bubbling.

“HERMIONE!” Ron shouted from behind her. He caught up with her as she was walking through the doorway and tried to turn her around but she pushed away.

“RONALD WEASLEY GET OFF ME NOW!” she screamed storming away and into a room full of seventh years and a few others, including Ginny.

“Hermione come on, if you just listen…” Ron implored. The room had fallen silent.

“LISTEN!” Hermione screamed, “LISTEN TO WHAT! HOW YOU’RE SORRY THAT YOU SLEPT WITH LAVENDER WHEN YOU ARE MEANT TO BE WITH ME! HOW YOU’RE SORRY THAT YOU CHEATED ON ME! I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT RON.”

“Hermione please, it didn’t mean…”

“Locomotor Mortis!” she cried whipping out her wand and pointing at him. He blocked it with a shield charm.

“Hermione, what the hell was that!”

“THAT WAS FOR CHEATING ON ME RONALD!”

“But there was no need for…” he ducked as Hermione sent a jelly-legs jinx at him.

“NO NEED!”

“Hermione calm down!”

“CALM DOWN? I FIND YOU IN BED WITH ANOTHER GIRL AND YOUR ASKING ME TO CALM DOWN!” she flicked her wand and sent another curse at him. Angry tears splashed down her face as Ron stood in front of her.

“Please…”

“IT WASN’T OK FOR ME RON WHEN YOU THOUGHT THAT I CHEATED ON YOU WITH MALFOY BUT IT’S PERFECTLY OK FOR YOU TO CHEAT ON ME WITH LAVENDER!”

“Hermione that was different!”

“DIFFERENT!” she shot a fourth curse at him, which he again blocked. “HOW THE HELL IS IT DIFFERENT?”

“That was Malfoy,” he said.

“OH SO YOU’RE SAYING IT’S NOT OK FOR ME TO CHEAT BUT IT’S PERFECTLY OK FOR YOU TO?”

“No- that-that’s not what I meant.” Ron was starting to get flustered. Every single eye in the room was on him.

“WELL THEN RONALD WHAT DID YOU MEAN?”

“I meant that-that Malfoy, he’s well Malfoy an-and that’s worse than Lav-”

“OH WELL THAT’S FINE THEN, SEEING AS LAVENDERS NOT AS BAD AS MALFOY YOU ARE QUITE WELCOME TO SLEEP WITH HER WHEN YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE WITH ME! THERE IS NO REASON THAT I SHOULD BE ANGRY SEEING AS IT WAS JUST LAVENDER!” She was screaming but her voice had become high and slightly squeaky. She pulled herself together and quietened her voice.

“I don’t understand,” she said, “I don’t understand what I did wrong, I don’t understand why you did it.” Ron had flushed a brilliant shade of scarlet and the tears spewed down her face.

“Well you said that Harry and Ginny had…well you know and you wouldn’t…” it was the final straw for Hermione.

“YOU SLEPT WITH LAVENDER BECAUSE I WOULDN’T SLEEP WITH YOU? RON YOU ARE A COMPLETE AND UTTER BASTARD!” he had cheated on her and humiliated her. She had thought he understood. She wanted to wait, she wasn’t ready…she thought he was fine with that.

“Hermione please…”

“WE ARE SO OVER RONALD WEASLEY!”

“Hermione please…”

“NO RON THAT’S IT!”

“Hermione, you know I love you!”

“STUPEFY!” She shot the spell from her wand and it was so powerful that it shattered the shield he had produced to protect himself, hit him square in the chest and knocked him against the wall and onto the floor. She turned on her heel and fled the common room leaving a silent audience behind. She didn’t know where she was running and she couldn’t see where she was going through the tears.

She didn’t even notice that she had brushed past someone until they grabbed her arm and turned her around to face them.

“Hermione?” she was so shocked that the familiar voice had used her first name she stopped crying and stared at him. His steal grey eyes bored into her own, full of worry and concern. She immediately felt safe. Immediately she knew he would protect her. It was the same as the train. Time stopped and in the moment they were the only two people in the world. She didn’t understand it but she knew it was true. Then she collected herself.

“Leave me alone,” she said wrenching her arm out of his grip and rushing down the corridor. She found herself by the room of requirement before she had even thought of going there. She walked past it three times asking for somewhere she could escape.

She walked through the door and found a large comfortable sofa in a warm cosy room with a fire. There was a mini fridge by the side that Hermione found was full of ices cream and chocolate. On top were some of the saddest books she had ever read. Hermione ignored all of that and stretched out on the sofa. Tears splashed down her face as a blanket appeared on top of her and she cried herself to sleep.


***

“Do you think she is ok?” Ginny’s voice asked quietly as a hand stroked her hair.

“I don’t know,” Harry’s voice sounded, “Ron, shouldn’t have done that.” Hermione kept her eyes tight shut.

“Oh that weasel is going to pay for what he did to her!” Malfoy’s voice cried. It sounded as if he was pacing.

“I think you and Hermione already took care of that,” Harry said through his teeth. Hermione knew he was trying to be civil to the man he had hated since he was eleven but it seemed to cause him great pain in doing so. “That was some stunning spell she sent, it broke through his shield easily.”

“Dean took him to the hospital wing, he said they were dulling to practise for class but his spell was too powerful,” Neville said.

“That was nice of him,” Luna’s dreamy voice spoke from the floor.

“He did it to protect Hermione that’s all,” Ginny whispered.

“Yeah he left him there and I doubt he will be going back,” Harry said. Hermione rolled over and blinked up at the people who were with her. Ginny and Harry sat on the sofa with her. Malfoy was indeed pacing. Luna was sitting on the floor and Neville stood next to her.

“How did you find me?” she asked. Ginny held up the marauders map.

“We looked at the map and you weren’t on there, so we figured you would be here.”

“You didn’t have to come,” Hermione said miserably rolling over and hiding her face away from the others.”

“Mione, of course we had to come, you are my best friend and you need me.” Hermione didn’t speak and so Ginny took control. “Right everyone out.”

“Gin,” harry said, “will you be ok on-”

“Harry I am a girl, I am genetically programmed to fix situations like this!” From what Hermione could hear everyone left the room quickly leaving the two girls alone. Hermione sat up and leaned into her best friend. The tears returned and she sobbed into Ginny’s shoulder.

“How could he do this to me?” she asked and Ginny stroked her hair.

“He has been an idiot Hermione, Malfoy wasn’t the only one we had to pull off him.”

“What?” Hermione asked looking up.

“You left and everyone was really really quiet. Then Lavender came out and started shouting at us all because we didn’t stop you attacking Ron. Malfoy came through the portrait and put her in a full body-binding curse to shut her up. Ron started to come around and Neville sort of ran at him and hit him square in the face when he got up. It was amazing I have never seen him like that. He started shouting that he should never have done that to you. Ron sort of staggered up and Malfoy had walked forward and pointed his wand at him. The place was completely silent and Malfoy said very slowly ‘what did you do this time weasel?’ Ron, who wasn’t quite with it because of that stunning spell you sent him. Ron mumbled something and Dean shouted ‘the bastard cheated on her didn’t he.’ Malfoy sort of lost it. In all the time I have known Malfoy I have never seen him act like that before. He threw his wand on the floor and just started attacking him. He was hitting him and punching him, Ron ended up with blood all over his face. No one thought to stop him until Harry decided that it had been enough once Malfoy had knocked him unconscious again. He pulled Malfoy off him and had to lock his legs to stop him going back for more. Harry only released him when he promised not to do it again. I swear Hermione, that guy cares about you more than we ever thought he could. He wouldn’t stop pestering us until Harry got the map out to find you and then he was the first to reach the room.”

Hermione’s tears had stopped now.

“He attacked Ron because of me?” she asked.

“Yeah, I was so strange.”

“Oh that boy aggravates me so much!”

“You and me both.” Hermione looked at Ginny.

“Gin, you won’t just stopping hanging around with me now will you?” Ginny laughed.

“Mione, I don’t know how you can say that.”

“Well he’s your brother and he’s Harry’s best friend.”

“Don’t worry about Harry he’s furious with Ron. Mione can I tell you something?”

“Sure,” she said.

“Harry told me about two weeks ago that around a month ago that he saw Ron and Lavender kissing on the stairs. He told me and I told him to tell you but he said that Ron said he was going to tell you.” Hermione felt her heart sink, Ron had been cheating on her for that long. She supposed she knew it all along in her heart. It was all too much for her and she broke into fresh tears.

“I’m sorry Mione, I just thought you should know. It’s just Harry was so angry with him. I don’t think any of us will be speaking to him for a while.”

“What happened to Lavender?” Hermione asked, glad that she wouldn’t be sharing a dormitory with her.

“Erm I don’t know,” Ginny said, “I think we just left her there.” She laughed but stopped when she saw her friend’s face. “It will be ok you know, you will either get back with Ron or you will find someone else who deserves you. He may be my brother Hermione but he’s an idiot for throwing you away like that. You were the best thing that ever happened to him and he should know that.”

“Thanks Gin,” Hermione said with a weak smile.

“Now,” said Ginny getting up and opening the fridge. She returned with two large tubs of chocolate ice cream and two spoons. “I really think these need to be eaten.






Hey Guys


 

This is actually my fav chapter so far =) i hope you all like it. I want to know what you think of Hermiones reaction to Ron and your reaction to what Malfoy did... please Read and Reveiw =D xxxx


Chapter 10: A Hundred Letters or The Howler
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Hermione woke in her own bed the next morning. Her eyes stung from all the crying. It was a Sunday, she didn’t have school so she didn’t really need to be with people for that long. Just breakfast lunch and dinner. Her heart weighed heavy as she showered and let her hair fall loose. She pulled on a pair of dark jeans and a black top before picking up her bag and walking form her room. Ginny and Harry were waiting for her in the common room. Hermione looked around quickly.
 

“He’s still in the hospital wing Mione, you don’t need to worry,” Ginny said.


 

“He’s the one that needs to be worried not me,” she mumbled. Harry pulled her into a hug.


 

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine Harry, can we get down the breakfast, I need to go to the library.”

“Yeah, we have Quidditch practice anyway,” Harry said.

“Already?”


 

“We have to keep training if we want to beat Slytherin.”

 

“Harry that match isn’t until January!”

 

“It doesn’t matter, we still have to train.” Hermione sighed as they walked into the great hall. Everyone instantly fell quiet and stared at her.

 

“Wow, news travels fast around this place,” she said picking up some toast.


 

“Not just this place,” Dean said pushing a paper in front of her. The toast dropped from her mouth as she stared at the front page, the headline reading ‘Hermione’s Heartbreak.’


 

Reliable sources from inside Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry last night reported a bust up between the golden trio’s golden couple. Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasly. We have been reliably informed that last night after a bonfire spectacular (organised by Miss Granger herself) Hermione walked into Ron’s bedroom to find him in bed with another girl. According to our source (who wishes to remain anonymous) Hermione stormed from the room and a loud argument ensued in the seventh year common room. Our source tells us that Ron told Hermione that him cheating on her with this girl (who we have been told is named Lavender Brown) was not as bad as Hermione’s alleged cheating with Mr Malfoy (which turned out to be untrue). According to the source Ron’s reason for cheating was that Miss Granger had wanted to wait until she was ready to sleep with him but Mr Weasly could not wait and used Miss Brown as a substitute. Apparently the argument ended with a powerful stunning spell from Hermione that broke through Ron’s shield and hit him square in the chest. We in the office were obviously shocked by Hermione’s sudden outburst of anger and we say to her…good on you girl. Don’t let that idiot mess you around anymore. However our source also tells us that non other than the Draco Malfoy added his own injuries to Ron’s state and it is said that it was in defence of Miss Granger that he acted out like this. Though our source does remind us that he is still in a very serious relationship with Astoria Greengrass and it was used as a reason for Malfoy to take out pent up anger he has held for Mr Weasly for some years. To Miss Granger we would like to say that we are all behind you and we hope the lying cheater stays in the hospital wing for as long as it take for him to realise what he has lost.


 

Hermione put the paper down and smiled slightly.


 

“At least they are taking my side, even if someone in our common room did spill the argument to the papers.” she said.

 
 

“And so they should, and I would be my broomstick that it was Pansy,” Harry said as a large distressed looking owl landed in front of Ginny. It was Errol.

 

“Mum’s read the paper then,” she said taking the letter and reading it through.

 

“What does she say?” Hermione asked.

 

“She wants to know if it is true or not. Can I borrow some paper and a quill?” Hermione pulled out a piece of parchment and a quill from her bag and handed them over.


 

“Tell me what you write,” Hermione said.

 

“Dear Mum. Yes it’s true. Hermione walked in on them yesterday and is completely broken up about it. Mum, I think this is the stupidest thing he has ever done…there am done. She tied the note to Errol and sent him off again. As soon as the owl had left the table students started to converge on them.

 

“Hermione I am so sorry,” one cried.


 

“Do you want me to jinx him?” asked another.


“If you need to talk I’m always here.”

“He’s such an idiot for doing that to you.”
 
“I think,” Harry said leaning over and whispering in Hermione’s ear, “that Ron might have just turned the entire school against himself.”
 

***


Hermione left for the library not long after Harry had managed to get the students to leave her alone. Ginny and Harry promised to come and find her after practice so they could walk to lunch together. She found a quite spot in a corner of the large room and settled down at a table, spreading out her essay on polyjuce potion and beginning to write the conclusion. She finished it quickly and pulled out her Ancient Runes homework and started to write it out, trying to keep her mind off Ron as much as she could. It was more than an hour before her peace was broken.

 

“Is this seat taken?” a voice said opposite her.

 

“No, you can have it,” she said without looking up. She heard the chair scraped on the floor and then the person sitting down and getting all their stuff out. The scratching of a quill was heard for a few seconds before there was a deep sigh and it was placed on the table.


 

“Granger, are you ok?” Hermione’s head snapped up to see Draco Malfoy looking at her from across the table. She blinked a few times, she hadn’t even realised it was him.

 

“Yeah I’m fine Malfoy.”


“Granger, you’re crying.”

“I’m not…” she put her hand to her cheek to find small tears that were falling down her face. She hadn’t even realised. “Anyway,” she said, “what happened to Hermione.”

“Granger suites you better,” Malfoy shrugged with a smirk. Hermione shook her head and they lapsed into silence, the way it had been for the past two months. Then she realised something.

 

“Malfoy,” she said.


 

“Yes?”


 

“We need to start organising the Ball.”


“We do?” he asked, not seeming very enthusiastic about the idea.

 

“Yes, we need to put up a notice about it I think, you know so everyone can get…” she trailed off and fresh tears welled. She was going to say dates but it would come out of her mouth. She had never imagined that she would ever have to look for a date again. She had always thought that Ron would be her date.
 

“So everyone can get permission to go to Diagon Alley and decide if they are going to stay over the holidays for it,” Malfoy continued with a small smile. Hermione nodded.


“Yes, that.” She turned back to her work and carried on her scribbling.
 

“I’ll get McGonagall to hand them to the head’s of the houses,” he said as he too resumed his worked.


“Draaaco,” a voice purred. Hermione looked back up and saw Malfoy surprise a small groan as Astoria waltzed through the various books and people in her way.

 

“I thought I had got rid of her,” he mumbled, just loud enough for Hermione to hear.


“Draco!” Astoria said coming up to him, “what are you doing with her again? Draco I told you that your father wouldn’t like to know you have been conversing with mudbloods.” As he did every time Astoria came within a few of him Malfoy changed his posture, his voice and his eyes. He threw up the wall behind them and Hermione couldn’t see any emotion coming from them anymore. He stood up and pulled her close.

 

“You know I have to Astoria, you know it’s my job.”


“Yes, well…” Astoria said, “you know everyone’s talking about her today about how they all feel so sorry for her. If you asked me I would say that it’s a good thing that weasel cheated on her.” Hermione heart stopped as she listened to the conversation. She stopped writing trying to catch her breath. “He may be a blood traitor but he is a pure-blood and we don’t want his blood to be tainted with a mudbloods. You never know, this might bring her down a few notches. She might finally remember her place and realise that she will never be as good as us.”
 

Hermione looked up at Malfoy who’s jaw hid tightened but he didn’t say anything he just stood there. His arms around Astoria in silence. Hermione stuffed her things in her bag and rushed past the pair, knocking Malfoy into his girlfriend. She heard a tinkling ‘I think she heard me’ and then a laugh before she rushed from a library and right into Ginny.
 
“Mione, what’s wrong?” she asked.

“Malfoy, I was stupid to think he would ever change!” she grabbed her two best friends and marched them into the great hall for lunch where they sat in their normal space.

“What’s he done?” Ginny asked.
 
“Being Malfoy,” Hermione said, slamming her fork down on the table, “oh I would like to take this fork and…”
 

“Ok Mione,” harry said slowly, prising the fork from her hand. She let go instantly.

 
 

“I’m sorry, I just, I don’t get him. One minute he’s ok and the next he’s being a complete and utter idiot.”

 
 

“Who are we taking about?” Dean asked as he walked up to them with Neville and Luna. Instead of going to sit with her house she sat down next to Hermione.


 

“Malfoy,” Hermione said angrily.

“Is he not being nice anymore?” Luna asked shocked.


“No he is not.”

“Oh, that’s a surprise,” she replied in her dreamy voice.

 “I expected it from the start,” Dean said as he chomped on a sandwich, “I mean, he’s been weird this year hasn’t he. He doesn’t say anything. He just sits there staring into space, was only a matter of time before he snapped back.”

 “Yeah he’s just trying to show the ministry that they didn’t make a mistake letting him off. I give it till the end of the year, once he leaves he will be back to his old tricks again,” Seamus said as he slid in next to them and caught the thread of their conversation.
 
 

The hall went silent instantly and the group turned to see the commotion. Ron stood in the doorway being supported by Lavender. Hermione instantly looked away and started playing with her food. There was no noise as the pair walked through the hall and over to where the group was sitting. He reached them and everyone looked down at their food.


 

“Harry mate, can I sit?” Harry didn’t say anything put a piece of pasta in his mouth and chewed it slowly. Ron seemed to catch on and he and Lavender walked away to sit at the furthest end of the table.


 

“Harry,” Hermione whispered when the chatter had started increase again, “you should have said something.”

 

“No, Mione, he’s not sitting anywhere near us until he drops that leach and says sorry to you.”

 
 

“But-”


 

“Harry’s right Hermione,” Dean said, “he deserves whatever he gets.” A loud shout sent all eyes looking back towards Ron and Lavender.


 

“PRAVATI!” she shouted, “COME BACK!” Pravati sailed down the isle and sat in-between Dean and Seamus reaching over towards Hermione.


“I am so sorry for what she has done to you. If I had known…”

“It’s fine don’t worry about it. How come you’re not sitting with them?”

“Lavender and I had an argument earlier and she told me that I was just as bad as everyone else and I didn’t deserve to be her friend,” she shrugged. “She says that to me and she expects me to forgive her that quickly.”
 
 

They all ate their lunch slowly, soaking up the hour and a half they had on a Sunday. Around halfway through the food Ginny pointed upwards at a number of owls that had flown into the hall.


 

“But we had post at breakfast.” They all landed one by one and dropped letters that were piling up in front of Hermione. She spread them out in front of her friends and told them to start opening. Before anyone could even pick up a letter Lavender let out a shrill squeak. The owl that had just dropped a letter in front of Hermione (and the one that was in Ginny’s hand) had dropped a second one in front of Ron.


“Ron’s got a howler!” Dean said gleefully rubbing his hands together. The group watched as Ron tentatively opened the letter and jumped back as Mrs Weasly’s voice boomed through the hall.

“RONALD WEASLY HOW DARE YOU DO THAT TO HERMIONE! YOUR FATHER AND I ARE SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU! THERE ARE REPORTERS CAMPED OUTSIDE OUR HOUSE AND THEY WONT GO AWAY ALL BECAUSE YOU COULDN’T CONTROL YOURSELF. I HOPE YOU REALISE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE YOUNG MAN! SHE WAS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU AND YOU THREW THAT AWAY! I HOPE YOU FEEL GUILTY BECAUSE WHEN I NEXT SEE YOU HERMIONE’S STUNNING SPELL IS GOING TO FEEL LIKE A TICKLING CHARM! YOU ARE A WEASLY RONALD BUT THIS IS NOT HOW WEASLY’S BEHAVE. I HOPE YOU ARE HAPPY!”

 

The howler burst into flames in front of Ron and fell to the table in a pile of ash. Ginny instantly pushed the letter she held in her hand towards Hermione.

 

“It’s mums writing.” She tore it open and began to read it aloud.


 

“Hermione, I hope you are ok dear. I am sending you a basket of homemade cookies in the evening post. They are still in the oven. I am so sorry for what my son has done to you and I hope you know that no matter what happens you will always be welcome in our house. You are as much a daughter to me as Ginny is and that will never change even if Ron can’t quite see just how special you are. Arthur sends his love and tells you well done for that spell, it must have been very powerful to break through his shield charm. Love Mrs Weasly.” Tears welled in her eyes again as she put the letter in her bag.


 

“See Mione,” Ginny said, “its Ron that’s done wrong, and everyone still loves you.” She smiled slightly and started ripping open the letters that lay in front of her.


 

They all held letters from well wishers and some, like Mr Weasly, had congratulated her on the power of her stunning spell. There were a couple from Ron fans telling her that it was about time but Luna burnt those using her wand. All in all it was a very good lunch and by dinner Hermione was in better spirits. Ron didn’t try to sit with them but instead kept to the end of the table with Lavender. Hannah Abbot and Padma Patel even joined them so the group at the Griffindor table turned out to have more than just Griffindors sitting at it.


The cookies from Mrs Weasly came shortly after they had finished pudding and there was a lot more than Hermione had expected. Hermione wrote a short thank you note back and made her way back to the common room. In the end she decided that she couldn’t eat them all on their own and so all the girls ended up making the decision to stay in Hermione’s room that night and eat them with her.
 
Hermione entered her room with the girls to find a large bouquet of Cali Lilies sitting on her bed. Pravati, Padma and Hannah gasped as Hermione picked it up.

 

“Are they from Ron?” Hannah asked. They couldn’t be from Ron. Ron was never this romantic. Ginny seemed to have the same idea.


 

“Ron would never think of something like that,” she scoffed, “unless he really has come to his senses.” Hermione read the note that lay next to it. ‘I’m sorry.’ The Y was curled around itself at the end.


 

“It’s not Ron, this isn’t his writing, and anyway if it was he would leave his name so that I knew it was him.” Ginny bounded up to her.

 

“They didn’t leave a name?”


 

“No. But I’ve seen this writing before.” It clicked in her head instantly. She dropped the flowers on the bed and rushed to her trunk where she opened the first lock. She pulled out the layer of clothes that hadn’t fit into the wardrobe and pulled out Romeo and Juliet.


“Surly not,” Ginny whispered. Hermione slipped out the first note and compared them. She sat down slowly on the bed as the stared at the writing. They were the same. Ginny looked at her and Hermione replied very slowly.

“They are the same.”

 

“What is the same Hermione?” Luna asked.


 

“The writing its, the same. Draco Malfoy sent me the flowers.


Chapter 11: The Dusty Pink Mask
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Hermione just about got the three screaming girls to calm down and promise not to tell anyone who the flowers where from. They all agreed instantly but Hermione wasn’t sure if they would stick to it. That was until the notice went up in the common room the next morning.

“Hermione you kept this one quiet!” Padma had shrieked gazing wide eyed at the signup sheet for the Christmas Ball.

“I wasn’t allowed to say.” The twin turned to her sister.

“Oh I know what we should go as, Bollywood movie stars!” her sister instantly shrieked back and they ran to write a letter to their parents to say that they would be staying over Christmas. They ran back as soon as they had reached the door and put their names down for both staying over Christmas and the Diagon Ally trip before rushing off again.

Ginny moved forward and wrote her name down for both, as did Hermione. They moved away and made their way down to breakfast.

“So how are you doing the Diagon Ally thing?” Ginny asked.

“Anyone who is underage in fifth year has a supervised trip with four teachers, me and Malfoy and there are three more. One for the rest for the fifth years one for a large part of the sixth year and one for some more sixth years and the seventh years. These are supervised by two teachers but not as closely, I’m going to try and get Professor Harrow and Professor Anderson to do ours.”

“But will I even be in your group?” Ginny asked worriedly, “I mean I need you to help me.”

“Of course,” smiled Hermione, “I get to put the people in groups, me you and Luna.”

They sat down and Hermione gazed at the double doors longingly as she ate a piece of toast.

“Mione, he’s already sat down,” Ginny said point to the Slytherin table where Malfoy was being fawned over by Astoria. “Go and say thank you, I know you want to.”

“I can’t he is with her, she would kill him if she knew he had sent me flowers.”

“Who sent you flowers? Not Ron surly,” said Harry sitting down.

“No, Mum,” said Ginny quickly making up a story, “she said they would cheer her up.” Hermione looked at her gratefully but the redhead just winked. “So,” she continued to Harry, “what you going as to the Christmas Ball?”

***

The next month went by very quickly. Everyone was talking about the ball and what they were going to wear and who they were going with. Hermione had still not decided on what she was going to wear and as the date for the Diagon Ally trip loomed she was skimming everything she could for inspiration. She had heard that some people were coming as fairies. Some muggle-borns were coming as Disney characters and some as famous witches and wizards. She had even heard rumours that someone was dressing up as a dragon.

Not only was it the costume but it was the date that she had to find. Hermione had been asked out by what she felt was every boy in the entire school but she had turned them all down. She didn’t really want to go with anyone. Everyone who she knew was paired up. Harry and Ginny, obviously, Dean and Pravati, Seamus and Padma, Neville and (to both Hermione and Ginny’s delight) Luna, and Ron and Lavender. She was emerging herself into the organising of it all. She had booked a popular female singer that was all the rage that year and was making sure that the great hall was being decorated like an ice palace.

“Perfect for my costume,” Ginny winked. Harry had tried to get out of her what she was going as but she wouldn’t spill. Hermione had sorted decoration, music and food trying as hard as she could to keep her mind of Ron. Whenever she saw him, or even thought of him she ended up bursting into tears.

Still no one was talking to Ron and he usually sulked past them wearing a fairly sour expression. Harry still wouldn’t talk to him apart from in Quidditch practice and Ginny only spoke to him when she had to. The howler seemed to have made him think and she saw him acting towards Lavender the way he had been acting towards her in those last few weeks. It had made Quidditch difficult but they seemed to get on well. Ginny said that they were actually better than they had ever been now Ron had stopped shouting at everyone. He seemed to be regretting what he had done now he had seen how everyone had reacted. The papers had even turned up at one of the Quidditch practices and tried to interview him but he sulked off without saying a word.

The papers were still fully backing Hermione and more letters she could count landed on her table at breakfast every morning. The group had fun opening them and laughing about what people had put. Hannah, Padma and Luna had become a permanent feature at the table and none of the teachers looked to stop it. In fact most of the houses were starting to mix and Hufflepuffs sat at the Ravenclaw table and Griffindors sat at the Hufflepuff table. The only house that did not have any new members were Slytherin as Harry loved to point out whenever they were in the great hall.

Hermione never did get her chance to say thank you to Malfoy for the flowers he had sent. Even on the frees that they spent planning the ball Astoria was there hanging around and making stupid suggestions. She had already told Malfoy that she was going as an Arabian princess and was making huge suggestions towards him that he should dress to match her. He however told her that he knew exactly what he was going as. Hermione stuck to being head girl and tried to ignore him as much as was possible.

It was even worse when December came around and it was the time for the Diagon Ally trip. They had two weeks before term finished and it was on the first weekend that two of the trips happened. The one on Saturday was the underage fifth year and it was unfortunately that this was the one they had to supervise and the one that Astoria was in. She followed Malfoy around all day having already had her costume sent over from a designer that she used regularly. She spent the time making comments about Hermione as if she weren’t there and to Hermione’s annoyance, just like all the other times, though he looked annoyed at her words, Malfoy didn’t once put her right. In the end Hermione stormed off and helped a few of the girls in one of the dress shop pick out something to wear.

It was Astoria who was moaning the Sunday of the year sevens trip to Diagon Ally. Hermione had managed to keep the numbers down very low and there were only four other sixth years accompanying Ginny and Luna. All in all that made twenty-three of them. Astoria was standing by the front doors hanging onto Malfoy’s jacket.

“Draco, why can’t I go?” she whined stamping her foot like an angry child. Malfoy prised her away from him and looked her straight in the eye. His unreadable face not flinching as she scowled.

“You can’t come because you have already been, go back to your dorm Astoria.” She stormed away moaning loudly to herself and left Malfoy with a small smile playing at the edge of his lips. Hermione and Ginny walked over to join Luna who was standing in front of Professor Anderson.

“Hello,” she said brightly.

“Hey,” Ginny said as Harry joined them. He went to snake his arms around her waist but she pushed him away.

“Oh no you don’t I’m not having you there when I get my costume,” she said defiantly.

“But Gin,” he said.

“No this is a girls only day, if you’re lucky we will meet you lot for lunch, but even that’s stretching it,” she smiled before kissing him on the cheek and pushing him towards Dean, Seamus and Neville.

Professor Harrow motioned for everyone to follow her and they all walked the long stretch down to hogsmead where they would, in-groups of four, take a port key to Diagon Ally. Pravati Patel joined them to take hers but left soon after with her sister, they had already got their costume and where going to visit George. Ginny announced that this was where she needed to go first.

“I have money from George but some of that went on that shopping spree in hogsmead in November. George is giving me some more and letting me have something that would go lovely with my costume.

The three of them made their way through the crowd towards Ginny’s brother’s shop. They opened the door carefully to find all manner of sounds and colourful items before them. Ginny instantly spied her brother whipping into the back and they followed.

“George!” Ginny cried rushing up and hugging her brother.

“Gin! Are you ok?” he asked.

“I’m fine, I want my money and my present please.”

“Always the one that wants something you are,” he joked, “hang on they are upstairs.”

Just as he was about to disappear up the back staircase he spotted Hermione.

“Mione!” he cried, “you stayed a little quite there.” He hugged her quickly. “I hope you’re ok and my brother hasn’t damaged you forever.”

“I’m fine,” she replied.

“Well if you ever need to get revenge, my shop shelves are open to you, free of charge of course, though I have heard you don’t need my help what with that stunner you sent at him, Malfoy being a gentleman and defending you and then mums howler.” She looked at him surprised at how he would know all of that. He saw the look on her face and explained. “Gin wrote everything to mum. I have to say I was surprised at him I never knew he could be like that you know he’s usually all ‘I hate muggles’ not ‘let’s defend the muggleborn’ its odd.”

“He’s not being so nice anymore,” Hermione mumbled, “he’s barely spoken to me for a month. Thanks for the fireworks by the way, they went down a treat, everyone loved them.”

“My pleasure,” he said with an extravagant bow, “now let me go fetch those things for Gin.”

He returned moments later with a bag of money and a box that looked familiar to Hermione.

“Ah dear old Muriel, may her soul rest in peace, I’m glad she gave this to you and not dear old phlegm,” George mocked as he stood with his hand over his heart. Hermione realised what was in the box. It was her goblin made tiara. Ginny must have inherited it when her aunt had died in that previous summer. She was right, it would go perfect with her outfit. Ginny glanced into the moneybag.

“George this is loads more than I’m going to need!” she cried.

“Aww where’s the harm Gin. What’s the point in being ridiculously rich if I can’t spoil my little sis when she needs it?” Ginny beamed and kissed her brother on the cheek.

“Thanks. I’ll speak to you soon”

The trio left the shop very happily. The tiara and the money in Ginny’s bag. Hermione groaned as they entered a large dress shop.

“Gin I don’t even know what I want to go as!” she cried.

“Well let me get sorted first and then I’ll help you and Luna.”

“Oh I don’t need help Ginny I will find my costume easily, I have most of it at the castle, I just need some shoes…” she trailed off and wandered off from the pair.

“Fair enough,” Ginny said shrugging and pulling Hermione towards a rack of white dresses. She pulled out a couple and dragged her friend to the dressing room.”

Once in there Ginny tried on a few off the dresses before landing on the one she wanted.

“This is perfect!” she cried twirling out and twirling for Hermione. She was dressed in a white ball gown that poofed out slightly from her body and kissed the floor with the netting. The bodice was decorated with white beading and it had a lovely sweetheart neckline. She quickly picked out a pair of white kitten heels and a fluffy white shrug. She quickly declared herself done and paid for the items, which Hermione shrunk for her to put in her bag.

Now it was time for Hermione’s dress. She had no idea what to go as and she had no idea what to wear. They were searching the shop for a while before Ginny stumbled across a glass case hidden in the corner. Inside it lay a pretty lace mask in pale dusty pink. It looked beautiful and both girls stared at it for long enough so that an assistant walked up to them.

“Can I help you girls.” Ginny took one look from the mask to Hermione before turning to the assistant.

“Do you have a dress to match this mask?” the assistant smiled.

“We do indeed, if you want to step through to the changing room I can bring it through.”

Ginny pushed her friend through and made her sit and wait for the dress to be brought in. The shop assistant handed it to Hermione who went and changed into it. The outfit was in two parts the dress which looked fairly long to Hermione and an off white corset. The assistant called through the curtain to tell her when she needed help and Hermione told her she would.

She slipped the dress over her head and did up the zip at the side. It didn’t look like much at first but it was really light and very soft on the skin. She smiled, it was in exactly the same shade as the mask. It was slightly long but with the pale pink heels she had been given it would kiss the floor perfectly. She called for the assistant who came in and laced the corset tight. When she had left Hermione looked at herself in the mirror. The dress fell in lovely pleats and flowed freely when she moved. Her stomach and chest was covered with the well-fitting corset that showed off her curves perfectly. The top of the dress looked better now the corset was on. The pale pink fabric bloomed at the top of the corset and thick, but light, loose straps, fell off the shoulder leaving her shoulders and arms bare. Hermione knew that with the mask and her hair up it would look perfect. She walked out of the room to show Ginny.

“Wow, Mione, it looks fantastic!” she cried.

“Yeah I know, but I don’t know if it fits with the brief, what could I say I was going as?” Ginny thought for a moment and then her brown eyes brightened.

“Juliet, say you’re going as Juliet!” she said. Hermione thought about it for a few seconds. The corset and long dress could have fit with Juliet. No one really knew what she had worn anyway.

“Gin that is a perfect idea,” she said disappearing back into the changing room and taking her outfit off.

“Is that all?” the assistant asked when Hermione had handed everything over.

“And the mask, I want the mask too,” she said. They paid for the items, which came to round thirty gallons, which according to Ginny was around one hundred and fifty muggle pounds. Hermione left the shop, after retrieving Luna who had been wondering around with a basket full of odd looking clothes, thankful that they had managed it. And in three hours at that. It was one by the time they sat in a small café with Harry, Dean, Seamus and Neville eating large chocolate muffins that Ginny had bought them curtsy of George’s money. At one point Ron skulked by with Lavender looking thoroughly miserable that he wasn’t with his friends.

Lunch was over quickly and the girls sent the boys off. They still hadn’t bought their costumes having spent most of the morning in the Quidditch shop. The girls now had one and a half lovely hours before the port key would leave for hogsmead and they would have to return home. They chose to spend it walking around Diagon Ally and visiting all the shops that they hadn’t for a while. Just for Ginny’s pleasure Hermione steered clear of Flourish and Blotts though part of her wanted to visit the shop just to see if Malfoy was immersed in the muggle books.

Unfortunately Hermione didn’t get the change to think about that for much longer. The reporters had found them. Giggling the three girls turned to make a break for it, running the entire way down the street. However almost as soon as they reached safety Hermione felt her ankle go and she lost her balance. She fell but was caught before she could hit the ground. She looked up to thank Ginny but her eyes stared into the steal grey ones of Draco Malfoy.
 


Chapter 12: The Real Draco Malfoy
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She almost cried out in frustration when she saw him but the pain in her ankle had become excruciating and it took all her strength not to scream out in pain. Even when he pulled her into his arms and carried her down a small street that lead off the main ally. She didn’t have the strength to protest. Ginny and Luna came behind them, the former carrying her bag with her shrunken down items. Hermione didn’t know where he was taking her as he stopped and opened a door with a flick of his wand. He carried her up a flight of stairs and opened another door. He carried her into the room and laid her down on the sofa. Ginny and Luna came up the stairs and gasped. Hermione wasn’t sure what they were so shocked about as she scrunched her eyes up in pain.

“Wait here, I’ll go get some ice to put on that,” Malfoy said. He returned soon after and placed the ice on her ankle. The cool feeling calmed the pain and Hermione was able to relax slightly. She opened her eyes and saw a half smiling Malfoy looking up at her from where he was half kneeling by her foot. He had removed her shoe without her noticing.

She glanced around. She was laying on a cream coloured sofa in a large living room. There was a huge plasma screen TV mounted on the wall. She looked behind her. In the open plan kitchen stood Ginny and Luna who both looked astounded.

“When you said you had a flat in London, Diagon Ally was not what I expected,” Hermione breathed, wincing at the sharp pain in her ankle. Malfoy shrugged.

“It’s close enough to everything else,” he looked down at her foot, “I could try and fix that but I don’t want to get it wrong. You should let Madame Pomfrey do it back at the school.”

“Yeah, I will, how I’m going to get back I don’t know,” she said.

“I’ll carry you to the port key,” Malfoy shrugged, pouring himself a drink of water, “easy as pie.” He flicked the kettle on and turned back to her.

“No you will not!” Hermione cried, “there are tons of reporters out there, if they see you carrying me what are they going to think?”

“They will think I am helping you because you have hurt yourself,” he said confused.

“No Mione’s right,” Ginny said, “Luna and I will go and get Harry, he can carry you. Will you be ok here on your own? You know, with the ferret?” she whispered the last bit causing Hermione to giggle.

“I’ll be fine Gin, go and find Harry.” The two girls left and Hermione laid her head back on the arm rest.

“Tea?” Malfoy asked as the kettle boiled.

“Milk and two sugars please,” she replied. Malfoy brought over two mugs and sat on the armrest near her foot.

“Who knew,” Hermione laughed, “that the great Draco Malfoy drank tea.”

“I’ll have you know Granger that tea is very calming to the system.” She sipped it gratefully and felt its warmth spread through her. Her ankle still throbbed but the pain was slightly muted. Here with Malfoy she felt oddly comfortable.

She pulled herself up into a sitting position and Malfoy slid down to sit where her foot had been. He readjusted the ice-pack and continued to drink his tea. This was one of those things, Hermione had decided, that confused her.

“Malfoy, I have to ask you something,” he looked up at her, “what the hell is going on?” He smiled and put his tea down.

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“I mean the whole mudblood thing one second then tea the next, I don’t understand it!” she said.

“Hermione I haven’t called you a mudblood since Flourish and Blotts.”

“Yes but you don’t stop others from calling it me,” she said, “ and anyway, that’s another thing! Now you’re calling me Hermione again? Malfoy your confusing the hell out of me. I don’t understand. Sometimes when we are alone together I see it in your eyes and I see what you have been through and I see how much you hurt. But when you are with everyone else I don’t see anything but the annoying brat I met in fist year! Which one is the real you?” He didn’t look at her.

“No one has ever seen the real me, I don’t even know myself.”

“You do Malfoy I can see it, you know the real you, you just won’t let it out. You try so hard to let everyone see the bad side.” He twisted towards her.

“Hermione I only have a bad side!” She sighed and sank back into the sofa.

“No you don’t, I’ve told you, I see it. You have good in you I know it.”

Malfoy looked as if he was struggling with himself before he finally spoke.

“You don’t get it, you don’t know what it felt like, feels like. You don’t understand,” he said miserably.

“Help me to understand! I want to understand Draco I really do.” He looked around at her and they both stopped. She had just called him Draco.

“Why should I help you understand?” he snapped quickly breaking the silence.

“Because you want me to. I know you do. You are only ever like this around me. You don’t even let Astoria see this side of you.”

“How do you know I don’t?”

“I just know.”

He looked at her and their eyes locked for a split second. It was as though he was pleading with her to help him, pleading with her to save him from himself.

“Hermione,” he whispered, “I want you to understand but you can’t.”

“I can, I can try.” He slid himself off the sofa and moved over to her side, kneeling on the floor. A tear ran down his pale cheek and Hermione’s heart fell. She wanted to help him. For some strange reason she felt bound to him. Bound to save him. She didn’t know what it was but when he looked at her she knew she was safe, she knew she had somewhere to go and that she would never be hurt. She had only ever felt that once…

No, she couldn’t. She shook the thoughts from her mind.

“Draco listen to me. You are a good person. You have done enough this year to prove that.”

“I still have scars to show otherwise.” He glanced at his left forearm and Hermione knew what he was talking about. His dark mark.

“But that’s just a scar, scars fade. Scars are just symbols of the past. A past that has gone and won’t come back again.”

“I don’t want to hurt you,” he said mournfully.

“You won’t I’m a big girl, I can take care of myself.”

“Yeah that’s why you’re sitting in my living room with a bag of frozen chicken nuggets on your ankle,” Draco laughed and the room instantly lightened as he went to sit back down on the sofa. Hermione looked down.

“Chicken nuggets?” she asked.

“Come on you know they are delicious, the best thing the muggles ever invented. My mother used to sneak them up to me when I was in bed as a child and we would eat them whilst she read me a bedtime story.”

“I can’t believe you eat chicken nuggets,” Hermione laughed, loving the fact that she felt completely at ease with him. She wasn’t a mudblood and he wasn’t pureblood. It was just Hermione and Draco and nothing else.

“I practically lived off them all summer,” he said.

“I bet you have never had a McDonalds,” Hermione said.

“McDonalds?” Draco asked.

“Yeah, another muggle invention, they do the most delicious chicken nuggets.”

“You will have to take me sometime,” he said. Neither of them flinched at the fact that Draco had just asked Hermione to take him out. It seemed normal. Like they had been doing it forever. Draco summoned some chocolate biscuits from his cupboard and they each took a few to dunk in their tea. She changed the conversation.

“Do you have your costume for the ball?” she asked.

“Yes, it’s all sorted, you won’t recognise me,” he laughed, “I don’t suppose you are going to tell me what you’re going as will you.”

“Nope, it’s a secret,” she said.

“You girls are all the same,” he sighed as Hermione winced. He readjusted the chicken nuggets on her ankle.

“No we are not, I seem to recall Astoria telling you that she was going as an Arabian princess…don’t tell me you did co-ordinate with her?” she said her eyebrows raised.

“Astoria is annoying,” Draco said, “I am only with her because she is pureblood and father insisted on it. And no I have definitely not co-ordinated with her!” Hermione felt her heart sore slightly at this news but she couldn’t place why.

“But your father is in Azkaban, how can he still dictate you out here?”

“He has his ways.”

“What about your mother? Surely she doesn’t like that you are with her when you don’t want to be?”

“She is in a villa in the south of Italy with a new boyfriend. She cares but she thinks I can get out of it on my own.”

“That’s awful,” Hermione said.

“The burden of being a Malfoy,” he replied, “anyway, what about you and the weasel? Has he apologised yet?”

“No,” she said miserably, “but I wish he would. I know it would fix everything.”

“How on earth would it fix everything?” he asked shocked at the comment.

“Because if he apologised then I would take him back and everything would be ok.”

“But even after what he did to you?”

“I love him,” she shrugged.

She knew it was true. She was still in love with the red headed idiot and she wanted him back but he was still with Lavender. She had been thinking about it a lot lately. She knew she would take him back if she could. She had suffered this long without him, she had punished him enough. She wanted to feel his warm arms around her and his kiss in the morning.

“You are mad,” Draco laughed.

“Maybe,” she whispered. The she remembered. “Gin told me what you did.”

“If you mean I knocked the living day lights out of him then yeah,” he paused then smiled, “it was fun to finally have a real excuse to do that. Have been wanting to for years!”

“Why did you do it?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” Draco shrugged as he picked up another biscuit, “I just lost it. Blaise told me after that there were not a lot of people in the world he would go that far for. He said it was weird I had done it for a mud…” he trailed off and looked at her, “that I had done it for you.”

“Thank you, I guess it made my stunning spell equally as painful. Thank you for my flowers.” His head snapped towards her quickly, his steel eyes full of shock.

“How did you know they were from me?”

“You forget I have handwriting samples,” she laughed, “so remind me why you were sorry, for the Ron things or for the Astoria thing.”

“The Astoria thing,” he said, “she shouldn’t have said that to you.” Hermione shrugged.

“I have learned to live with it, I guess she was just rubbing salt into fresh wounds. I can see why she said I now. It’s something she would say to any muggleborn.”

“I’m still sorry, I should have stopped her-”

“HERMIONE?” Harry voice shouted up the stairs. Draco stood up instantly and walked over to the other side of the room. Where he stood, his arms folded and the wall thrown up over his eyes. Hermione had to suppress a groan of frustration. Why did he always do that?

“Harry I’m here,” she said waving from the sofa as he and Ginny entered the room, “where is Luna?”

“Waiting down stairs with the others. I’m sorry we took so long but this idiot was skulking down knockturn ally trying to find something for Seamus. It took us ages to get to them.” Ginny glared at her boyfriend who was by Hermione’s side. He spotted Draco and walked up to him.

“What did you do Malfoy?”

“Nothing Potter,” he snapped back, “she slipped and I helped her, that a crime is it?” Harry glared at him and gathered Hermione gently up in his arms. Ginny picked up the nuggets and handed them back to Malfoy.

“Keep them on her foot, it helps the pain,” he said. Ginny took them with her as Harry descended the stairs and came out into the afternoon sunshine.

Hermione clung tightly to Harry as he waited for Ginny and began walking down Diagon Ally with the others behind him. Instantly the reporters came down on them like vultures.

“Harry what happened to her?” one of them cried. It was Ginny that answered.

“She hurt her ankle because she was running away from you lot didn’t she, now get out of the way so we can get her back to school before I curse you all.” Ginny whipped her wand out and pointed it at the camera. The reporters didn’t have to be told twice and moved to let them into the leaky cauldron.

***

As soon as they got back to the castle Madame Pomfrey was summoned to look at her ankle.

“Hmmm, yes, she has broken it, easily fixed.” She pointed her wand at it mumbled some words. Instantly Hermione’s ankle felt better but the nurse wouldn’t let her walk.

“You need to rest it,” she said sternly. Harry and Hermione passed Ron on their way up to the common room and he tried to ask what happened but they both ignored him.

Harry placed her in her bed when they reached her room and Hermione flexed her newly healed foot. Ginny still held the packet of chicken nuggets in her hand and Hermione instantly called Summer.

“Yes miss?” she asked.

“Can you cook these for us?” she asked as Ginny held them out for the house elf, “and bring some tomato sauce?” the elf bowed and was gone in an instant.

“I have never had chicken nuggets,” Ginny said as she sat next to Hermione on the bed.

“Really?” Harry asked.

“They never do them here do they? And mum always cooks her food from scratch,” she said simply.

“You will love them,” Hermione smiled. “Gin can you pass me my…oh no Gin I forgot my bag.”

“Where did you leave it?” she asked.

“At Draco’s,” Hermione said without thinking. Her two best friends looked at her with raised eyebrows.

“Draco’s?” Ginny asked.

“Malfoy’s, I left it at Malfoy’s,” she tried to correct. Summer returned the next second with a steaming hot plate of nuggets and a small pot of tomato sauce.

They spent the rest of the night eating and joking about the ball. Harry was still trying to guess at what Ginny was going to dress as but she wouldn’t tell him. Around halfway through their evening there was a sharp knock on the door and Draco entered carrying Hermione’s bag.

“Granger you left this at mine.” Hermione started to feel hurt that he had called her Granger but then realised that Ginny and Harry where there and felt immediately better.

“Thanks,” she said as Ginny got it for her. Hermione thought fast and threw him a chicken nugget.

“These taste delicious.” He left the room but she swore she saw him smile as he did.

It was this smile she thought of as she was going to sleep that night. The day had been strange. The question that played in her mind as she tossed and turned was a simple one to look at but very difficult to answer. Had she seen the real Draco Malfoy?
 


Chapter 13: Amortentia
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It was with great relief that Hermione entered her last class of the week and subsequently, the term. She had just spent the last lesson with Malfoy and Astoria. She had been annoyingly shrill today and kept putting down the menu that they were finalising. Eventually Draco had sent her off on an errand but it was too late, the bell rang and it was time for potions.

Slughorn was already setting out books and extra ingredients that they would need for the day. As she walked by to sit at her desk she didn’t fail to notice the cauldron that sat on his desk. The steam rose in spirals and she could smell it from her seat beside Harry; freshly mown grass, new parchment and a new musk smell that’s she couldn’t place. It smelt familiar and safe but she had no idea where it had come from. She sniffed just to make sure. She couldn’t smell Ron in the potion anymore. Did that mean what she said at the weekend hadn’t been true, was she not in love with him anymore?

She set up her cauldron quickly and pulled out her ingredients from inside it. She knew that they would be making the love potion today. Slughorn had showed it them in sixth year but they had never got around to making it. Now was their chance. Slughorn stood at the front and the class fell silent.

“You all know what is sitting on the table behind me and those of you who don’t might want to think back to our first lesson in sixth year. Today we will be making Amortentia, the most powerful love potion in the world. Copy out the procedure that is in your textbooks and then get to work. You have an hour.” He went to sit behind his desk and Hermione instantly scribbled down the work.

She was the first to start the work and the last to finish. She had to make sure everything was perfect, she was now back on top of the class now Harry had got rid of his stupid book. He kept asking her for help as she stirred her potion from a blue, to purple to red. She told him that if he ever wanted to pass then he needed to learn how to do it himself. She gave in as she left her potion to simmer for three minutes and ended up chopping up the right amount of ingredients for him so that he didn’t get the measurements wrong. She glanced at Ron. He didn’t seem to be doing very well without her help.

Five minutes before the end of the class the potion room was awash with her favourite scents. The musky scent that was unfamiliar to her played on her mind. She must have smelt it somewhere, if only she knew what it was. Slughorn rang the small bell at the front of the class and everyone stopped working. Hermione stopped just as she stirred it for the final time.

She glanced over at Harry. His potion was a light pink colour but, even with her help, the spirals that were meant to be rising from the surface had turned into large sparks that shot into the air. She glanced back at Ron who hadn’t even managed to get his potion to turn red. Then she quickly glanced at Malfoy. His potion was perfect, almost as perfect as hers was. The mother of pearl sheen was a little duller than hers but is spirals matched hers for their shape.

“Miss Granger,” Slughorn said as he came to inspect the potion, “Excellent, it looks, and smells, just how I would expect, ten points to Griffindor. Do you still smell the same thing as you did last time?” Hermione nodded not wanting to say that any part of it had changed in case she had just smelled it wrong. She was still trying to figure out what the smell was. He moved along the rows and Hermione was glad to see Neville’s attempt had been better than Ron’s had.

Slughorn reached Draco and smiled.

“Well well well, Mr Malfoy. I would say this potion rivals even Miss Grangers.” He turned back to Hermione and smiled. “May I ask, what is it you smell?” a flicker of amusement crossed his eyes but only Hermione noticed.

“Deep red French wine, old dusty books mixed in with a flowery scent and…” he glanced at Hermione with a slight smirk on his face, “Chicken nuggets.” Hermione couldn’t help but let a small giggle escape from her mouth.

“Chicken nuggets?” Slughorn said.

“Yes sir,” Draco replied.

“Well Mr Malfoy, I have never heard that one before. Ten points to Slytherin.”

Hermione hung back after the class telling Harry that she would meet him at dinner. When he had asked her why she had said she just wanted to ask Slughorn something. He left without probing her further. Only her and Draco remained, he was taking his time clearing up his potion. Slughorn had taken Hermione’s to put in the stores. She had giggled when he had asked her. There had been rumours that he sent good batches of the potion to George for him to sell for a cut of the prophet. The professor charged Draco with cleaning up the books when he had finished before leaving the room. She hopped onto the edge of Draco’s desk and swung her legs under it.

“Chicken Nuggets?” she asked, her eyebrows raised. Draco shrugged and flashed her a crooked smile.

“Of course, what else?”

“Your other ones seem very odd, I imagined them to revolve around Astoria,” she teased, “I mean I can understand the floral smell but the books?”

“Granger, I have already told you that I am only with that girl because I have to be.”

“So what exactly is this floral smell?” she asked helping him to put the rest of the books in the cupboard. He turned to her and let the trademark smirk settle on his face. Except this time the smirk was accompanied by an almost seductive look in his steel grey eyes.

“Lilies,” he said, “Cali lilies to be exact.” He turned on his heel and left the room quickly, leaving Hermione to process the information he had just told her.

She was still thinking about it when she sat herself down in-between Ginny and Luna at dinner.

“Hermione,” Luna said, “what is the matter?” Ginny twisted to her best friend, who’s faced was dazed and seemed to hold a cross of shock and a smile. She wasn’t sure why but she felt her heart lift slightly.

“Mione,” she said with an interested smile, “what’s happened?”

“Nothing,” she said quickly, collecting herself and starting to eat the lamb hotpot that was in front of her.

“Mione!” Ginny cried.

“Gin!” Hermione replied mocking her friend, “honestly its nothing.” She glanced behind her at the Slytherin table. Draco was staring at her with a smirk on his face, ignoring everything that Astoria did to try and get his attention. She turned back blushing.

She was slightly confused. Cali lilies where her favourite flower and they were the ones that Draco had sent her. Did that mean…? No it could mean it, it wasn’t possible. She shook herself into her senses and joined into the conversation about how Dean had walked in on Ron shouting at Lavender telling her that she wasn’t Hermione. She knew that this news should have made her happy but she couldn’t quite get herself to that state. She had someone else on her mind.

***

The train to take everyone home for Christmas left the following morning. Most of the first four years left apart from two fourth years and three second years. Hermione felt slightly guilty about leaving them out of the Christmas ball and so she arranged that they go down to the kitchens on Christmas day and have a Christmas dinner together. They seemed happy with the idea and so Hermione was happy. Everything seemed to be going off without a hitch. Everything was sorted and now all the prefects and heads had to do was wait for the date to arrive.

Everyone still could stop talking about their dates and what they were going to wear. Hermione had fixed it with Ginny that her and Harry weren’t officially going as a couple but where going to go as friends. She felt slightly better by this news but still wished Ron would hurry up an apologise so she could go with him.

The castle was a lot busier than it had been in previous Christmases, bar the fourth year. Nearly all fifth and sixth years had stayed and all of seventh had made the common room their home for Christmas. The day after the train had left Hagrid had got to work pulling in all the Christmas trees and now the entire castle was fit to bursting with Christmas celebrations. The seventh year common room had also been decorated. All the girls had begged Hagrid to bring in one of the large trees and they had spent the Sunday and Monday decorating the room, much to the boy’s annoyance. They had set up a major chess tournament and they had said that the girls were getting in their way.

Of course Ron looked on at the boys with envy. He was the best chess player in the school and he knew that if he played he would win. Hermione could see that it took all of his strength not to shout out moves to Harry when he was playing Michael Corner. Part of her felt sorry for him but then the other part would spot lavender and be glad that no one was talking to him.

Every boy in the seventh year had joined in, with the tournament beside Ron, even Blaise and Draco had given it a go. It had turned into some sort of major thing in the castle with Ginny announcing the scores at breakfast, lunch and dinner. People had turned up with friends to try and watch them play but thankfully, Hermione was able to limit the amount of people who were in the room.

Seamus managed to beat Blaise in the semi-final on the Tuesday evening and Draco beat Ernie in their semi-final, Harry having gone out to Seamus in the quarter final after he had brought it back to a win with Michael Corner. Hermione knew that he had persuaded Ginny to whisper him moves but the red head had refused to do it for more than one game.

The final took place on the Wednesday evening. They had used the day as a break and to practice in warm up games against others. Blaise and Ernie had played for third place in the afternoon before dinner and Ginny had announced that Blaise had been the winner, much the Slytherin delight. By the time that the evening had come around there were at least forty people gathered around centre of the common room. The sofas and pouffes had been moved further towards the wall to make room for the table and two chairs that had been set up. Some of the professor’s even turned up. Mr Anderson, much to every girl’s delight had come with Professor Harrow (who was supporting Seamus), professor Slughorn had come to support Draco and even professor Flitwitck and McGonagall turned up. McGonagall tried to stay neutral but it was obvious by the end of the match that she was supporting Seamus.

Hermione organised a small party with food for the winner, which turned out to be Seamus. Much to everyone, but Hermione’s, surprise Draco stood up after the match and shook Seamus’s hand and congratulated him on a good game. Hermione was curled up on one of the armchairs by the bookshelf on the other side of the room away from the action. She had known who was going to win. Draco was all about flair but he got cocky and Seamus could take advantage of that. She had in her hand her long peacock feather quill and her purple notebook. She was very near the end of describing what had happened in the department of mystery’s and was about to start a new chapter describing what Dumbledore said about the prophecy. She didn’t notice Malfoy walk up to her and stand behind her as she scribbled quickly.

“Homework?” he asked leaning over the back of her chair. She snapped the book shut quickly and looked around to him.

“No, it’s private.” Draco moved around to sit in the other armchair next to hers.

“You’re always carrying that around with you. If your nose isn’t stuck in a book or doing homework you’re doing this.”

“That’s because it’s important,” she replied sipping the book and the quill in her bag.

“But I don’t get to know what it is?” he asked.

“Nope,” she said with a smile. “So, where is your girlfriend, I’m surprised she hasn’t come to watch her little Draco play chess.” Malfoy shrugged.

“Merlin knows where she is,” he said, “probably staring at herself in the mirror.” Hermione laughed.

“I know you said you are only with her because you have to be but I’m surprised. She’s everything I expected you would want.”

“I told you once Granger that you shouldn’t believe everything you see on the surface.”

“Oh we are back to Granger now are we?” she asked.

“Old habits die hard,” he replied picking up the textbook that was on the arm of Hermione’s chair, turning it over in his hands before putting it down.

“So, she’s not what you want? I still find that hard to believe. She’s rich and she’s beautiful-”

“Just because she is beautiful to everyone else doesn’t mean she is to me. And anyway, she might be good to look at but she’s nothing behind the eyes. What you see is what you get with Astoria and that can get irritating.”

“Oh, so I’m not the only one who thinks that then?” she asked laughing, “that’s good to know.” She glanced up at him through her lashes and her eyes locked on his.

Then it happened again. That connection. As she gazed into those eyes the safe and comfortable feeling flooded back to her. Hermione wondered how many more times this could happen. Her heart faltering, her breathing stopping, time standing still. She didn’t get why this kept happening but she could tell by the look on his face that he felt the exact same. He was gazing at her in the same way she was at him. Her lips where slightly parted, her brain was rushing around in circles and her palms had got sweaty. Something about this moment felt right. Even though she knew it was unbelievably wrong on all levels, it felt right.

She pulled her gaze away first, a light blush falling over her face. She didn’t understand how she had let it get this far. How they had become like this. Less than a year ago he had been her enemy and now her was…we she wasn’t even sure what he was, it was like they were friends but not. They were more than friends but at the same time less than friends. She couldn’t work it out in her head it was all so confusing.

She looked back at him and he had leaned forward slightly. Gently and slowly, as if he wasn’t sure he was supposed to be doing it, he placed a single pale hand on hers. The touch sent tingles shooting up her arm and down her spine. It wasn’t cold like she had expected. It was warm and inviting and safe. He dropped his voice and leaned in towards her ear.

“Hermione…” he faltered and his voice cracked slightly. Hermione couldn’t breath. Everything had stopped, her head was spinning, nothing made sense. He started again.

“Hermione, I need you to know…”

“Mione!” Ginny cried running up to her. Draco snapped back and stood up making his excuses to leave. Ginny sat in his seat. She hadn’t noticed the way he had been leaning towards her friend and she hadn’t noticed the way Hermione had responded by angling her body towards him.

“Mione, your blushing,” Ginny said handing her a couple of biscuits.

“Am I?” she asked. “I didn’t notice.”

“What did the ferret what anyway?”

“Head girl stuff, nothing interesting,” Hermione shrugged using the usual excuse that came out of her mouth whenever she was caught talking to Draco.

She glanced over to where he stood with Blaise. They were talking and laughing with Dean. Hermione smiled. It was strange to see a Slytherin and a Griffindor talking without ripping each other’s heads off. Maybe this was proof that they didn’t always have to be enemies. Proof that friendships where forming out of the most unlikely places.

 


Chapter 14: Christmas Morning
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Hermione woke early Christmas morning to Crookshanks pawing at her face. She batted him away and then snapped her eyes open. It was Christmas day. She sat up instantly and glanced at the bottom of her bed, beaming when she spied a large pile of wrapped presents on the floor. She pulled herself from the bed and called summer to bring her a cup of tea and Crookshanks some food.

It was when the house elf had gone that a loud urgent knock at the door sounded. She didn’t have to wait for an answer and Ginny Weasley bounded through the door followed by a sleepy looking Harry. Ginny whipped out her wand and placed two small parcels on the floor. She muttered some words under her breath and the parcel expanded to produce two equally large piles of presents. Ginny ran up to her friend and hugged her tightly.

“I thought it would be nice if we opened them all together,” she said pulling Hermione from the bed and sitting her by her presents. She picked one up and started to unwrap like an eager child.

Hermione ended up with a box of sugar free snacks and a pair of pretty silver shoes from her parents. Harry and Ginny had piled together and bought her a very large basket of hunydukes chocolate and sweets. She had got Ginny a pretty pair of jeans she had seen whilst shopping in the muggle world and Harry a new pair of shoes, also from the muggle world. Mrs Weasley had sent her the usual Christmas jumper which was cream coloured with a red stripe around the bottom as well as a basket of Christmas tree shaped cookies. Harry had got a green jumper and snowman cookies and Ginny had a light blue jumper with star shaped cookies.

Luna had sent the trio that month’s Quibbler and a pair of sunglasses for each of the girls, which she said were to find fairies, but they worked well as just normal sunglasses so they were happy. Harry however had received a large rabbit’s foot. She had said in her Christmas card that it was for good luck because after all the times he gets injured he needs it. Much to the girls delight there was a chocolate box for each of them from Professor Anderson thanking them for being excellent in his class and invitations from Slughorn for all three to attend his new year’s eve party.

George had sent each of them each a large box of Weasley Wizard Wheezes merchandise. In Hermione’s there was the usual decoy denetors, skiving snackboxs, instant darkness powder, a box of self-inking and spell checking quills, a few fireworks and joke food, some of Fred’s range and then she pulled out a big pink box that hadn’t been included in Harry’s box. Where his was full of fake wands and realistic toys her and Ginny both had nearly the entire range of wonder witch products. She pulled out ten varieties of daydreams, a few tubs of ten-second pimple vanisher. Some hair products and three bottles of love potion. She smiled as she read the note that came with them.

Since you made it we thought you should have some. Thanks Slughorn says it’s one of the best batches he’s seen for a while. George.

Once the trio had finished playing with their products there were the presents to open that she hadn’t expected at all. Dean had sent her a large pheasant quill, Pravati and Padma had sent her some bangles, Hagrid had sent them all some rock cakes, Bill and Fleur had sent both girls a lovely hair slid. Hermione’s was incrusted with purple and white stones and Ginny’s with light blue and white. Neville had sent all three of them small pot plants that he assured in the note where not dangerous. Hermione thought they looked rather cute. Hers was a pretty pink flower that opened and closed depending on the light. She looked around at her depleted pile. Harry and Ginny had finished theirs but Hermione had one left. She had thought it might be from Ron but if the others hadn’t had one from him then she wasn’t likely to. Ginny was slightly annoyed at this.

“I gave him some chocolates as well,” she huffed. “I know we’re not speaking and all but he’s still my brother!”

Hermione picked up the last present and opened it. Inside she found a very pretty cream suede notebook and a DVD of Romeo and Juliet. She read the note through quickly.

You looked like you needed a new notebook, your other one looked pretty full last time I saw it and I figured since you had read the play maybe you would like to watch the film, I’ve heard girls go wild over Leonard Dicaprio. Maybe after you have taken me to McDonalds we can watch it. Have a good Christmas.
Draco Malfoy.

He had been right, she did need a new notebook. She turned the film over in her hands. She had heard about it but never watched it. It looked good. She would have to find a way of saying thank you to him.

“Who’s it from Mione?” Harry asked as he bit into a liquorice wand that dean had sent him.

“Oh no one important. She put the presents on the top of her pile but the letter she slid into her trunk whilst she got her clothes out. She didn’t need to tell Ginny who had sent it, the girl knew already. She was turning the DVD over in her hands intrigued,

“What is this?” she asked. Harry and Hermione looked at her strangely.

“You don’t know what a DVD is?” Harry asked. Ginny shrugged.

“I wasn’t brought up a muggle remember.”

“It’s like a play on the Tv. You know the things the muggles watch that has people on it.”

“Oh ok, I think I know what you mean.” Hermione took it from her and shooed them both out the room so she could get dressed.

She pulled on a pair of jeans, a T-shirt and Mrs Weasley’s jumper before making her way down to breakfast with the others. Everyone was already sat in their spaces. She walked past Ron who was wearing his own Weasley jumper and was being fawned over by Lavender. Hermione sat down next to Ginny and pulled a full English breakfast towards her. It was when she was eating her bacon that the unthinkable happened. Blaise, Daphne, Pansy and Draco walked into the great hall but instead of making their way over to the Slytherin table they made a beeline for the Griffindor table. Everyone in the hall stared at them as Blaise walked over to harry.

“Can we sit here?” he asked.

“S-sure,” Harry said confused.

“Thanks.” Him, Pansy and Daphne sat in that order next to Harry opposite Hermione. Draco however made his way over to Hermione’s side and sat next to her.

“Merry Christmas,” he said piling his own breakfast onto a plate.

“Merry Christmas,” she said back, “well this is a change.”

“Blaise’s idea,” he replied nodding towards his best friend who was now talking to Harry and Dean.

“He said since all the other houses had mixed it would look good if we did too.”

“Yeah, it is a good idea,” Hermione said, “Thank you for my present by the way.”

“My pleasure,” Draco smiled.

“You can be very surprising sometimes,” she replied thoughtfully. He smiled at her and then nodded over to the doors into the hall. Astoria had walked in and was making her way over to the Slytherin table, which the pair were facing.

“Wait until she figures out where I am sitting,” he said gleefully.

“Draco, it’s really not nice to be like that to her.”

“Why not, I’m thinking of leaving her anyway,” he shrugged.

“You are?” Hermione asked, “what about your dad.”

“Screw him, I’m not staying with her if I don’t love her.”

Hermione couldn’t help but feel slightly shocked at Draco’s sudden relaxed manner. It was like Malfoy had been thrown out of the window and Draco had taken his place. It was strange how comfortable he acted around her and how comfortable she felt around him. Draco nodded his head towards where Astoria had sat. She had glanced up and down the table a few times before leaning into her friend.

They watched as her friend whispered to her and Astoria’s face turned from confused to angry to furious. She scanned the Griffindor table quickly before getting up, readjusting a ridiculously short skirt and storming around the table and down the aisle towards Hermione and Draco.

She ended up on the other side of the table to Hermione and Draco. Pushing Blaise and Daphne aside she slammed both her hands down on the table and glared at them both. Her green eyes turned dark and Hermione almost felt the hatred and anger pulsating from her.

“Draco?” she hissed through her teeth at the blonde who sat smirking at her. Astoria threw Hermione a glare and the girl shrank back, unconsciously leaning towards Malfoy.

“Astoria?” he replied shortly.

“What are you doing sitting over here? With the mudblood?” Harry turned instantly at the word.

“You might want to watch what you’re saying,” he spat.

“I will say whatever I want to say St Potter!” She turned back to her boyfriend and Hermione was sure she was about to breathe fire all over them she looked that deadly. “Draco Malfoy,” Astoria continued very slowly, “why are you sitting at this table?”

“I don’t think that’s really any of your business,” Draco replied.

“Of course it’s my business, you are my boyfriend,” she replied through gritted teeth. Hermione shrank back further into Draco. Everyone at the table was looking at them now.

“Astoria, I may sit where ever I want, if you would like to join us here you would be most welcome.” Hermione almost jumped up. Well he had changed tact pretty quickly. Astoria turned up her nose at her boyfriend and stood up straight.

“I would never be seen to be associating with such filthy half-bloods and blood-traitors and if you know what’s good for you Draco you wouldn’t either, you know your being watched so I would be careful not to go and do anything stupid.” She through one last glare and then smirked. “Oh Granger, you might want to send that mouldy old jumper back to your grandma, she will be needing it to put in her cat basket in case it gets cold.”

Hermione looked down at her jumper and pulled at a loose red thread at the bottom. Did she really think it was bad. Hermione had thought that for some of the things Mrs Weasley had knitted this was quite nice. It was lovely and soft and comfortable and warm. She moved away from Draco who had resumed eating as if nothing had happened and glanced at Harry who gave her an apologetic look.

“Don’t listen to her Hermione, it’s because she’s never been out of anything designer,” Padma said, “You look really nice this morning.” Hermione smiled weakly.

“Thanks,” she replied.

“What did she mean Malfoy?” Dean shot. Malfoy looked up and placed his knife and fork on the table.

“Mean about what?”

“About you being watched.”

Draco’s face stiffened instantly. He threw up the wall in front of his eyes and his expression was stony, Hermione saw that he had turned a paler shade white than she had ever seen him. It confused her. Malfoy had already told her that he was watched. He had told her that his father had ways of knowing things that he couldn’t possibly know. Was Draco hiding something? Something bigger?

Harry was now eyeing the ex deatheater suspiciously. That was what he was now, at this moment, an ex deatheater. Every Griffindor, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff in their group looked at him as if he were about to whip out his wand and kill them all. Hermione looked at Blaise who didn’t look surprised or shocked but was whispering to both Pansy and Daphne. He must know what was going on then. He must know how Draco’s father was keeping tabs on him.

“So?” Harry asked, “What does she mean when she says you’re being watched?”

“What does it sound like Potter?” he replied.

“Draco,” Blaise hissed, his eyebrows raised.

“It sounds like maybe the ministry doesn’t trust you to reform, Malfoy!” Harry snapped.

“Harry!” Hermione cried. Draco let his trademark sneer creep onto his face though it was still pale.

“Once again potter you are jumping to conclusions. The ministry is not watching me.”

“Then who is?” Ernie said, his pompous voice making it sound as if he was heading an interrogation. Malfoy stood up slowly and looked at the people around him.

“I do not think that that is any of your business,” he said quietly before turning around and walking from the great hall. Blaise got up almost immediately after and ran after him.

Hermione spun around and glared at everyone.

“What was that for?” she asked.

“What do you mean?” Harry said.

“I mean the snapping at him when Astoria said he was being watched! What was with saying the ministry was watching?”

“Hermione, he is a deatheater!” Harry cried.

“An ex deatheater,” she said standing up.

“No one stops being a death eater,” Dean replied. Hermione raised her eyebrows and her mouth gaped open.

“I think I would like to remind you all of Severus Snape who risked his life to protect Harry! And Narcissia Malfoy, the woman who saved Harry’s life and who is Malfoy’s mother!”

“But Hermione…” Harry’s words were lost on her as she twisted on her foot and stormed out of the great hall and up the stairs. How could they be like that? They may not have seen him in the same way she had but they should be able to see the way he has changed.

She ran all the way up to the common room, angry with Harry and annoyed that she was falling into Malfoy’s trap. She was starting to care for him way more than she wanted to. She half shouted the password at the little girl and made her cry and she wrenched the door into the corridor and stormed towards her bedroom. Before she could even reach out to touch her door she heard the voices. They were muffled slightly but she was sure that they were angry. Draco and Blaise were arguing.

Quickly she ran into the room and pulled out an extendable ear from the box of Weasley Wizard Wheezes and closed her own door. Lay on the floor near the crack she let it sneak under her door and then under Draco’s door where the voices became clear as day.

“You know why Draco!” Blaise said, “you know why you have to keep your temper. You can’t let this slip, do you realise what will happen if you do?”

“I get it Blaise,” Draco’s angry tones retorted, “it’s just so hard with Potter asking me stupid questions all the time! Normally I can do it.”

“But normally isn’t good enough Draco, you have to do it all the time, you have to keep this to yourself. You’re going to end up put you and your mother in danger from both sides!”

“I realise that,” Malfoy replied through gritted teeth.

“He’s dangerous-”

“You forget that I am too,” Draco replied.

“But not like he is, don’t try and kid yourself, you know how powerful he is both with magic and without. He thinks this is your fault and he would use any excuse to get rid of you. He’s got so many spies in these walls, students, teachers, house elves, your behaviour won’t go unnoticed and the things you say to people will get back to him in a heartbeat.”

“I know, I’m being careful, I haven’t said anything to anyone.”

Hermione heard Blaise sigh and loud footsteps pacing in front of the door. When he next spoke it was as though he was choosing his words carefully, like he was afraid to say what he wanted to.

“And there is something else too, Astoria is right.”

“About what?” Draco said, he sounded worried, there was a slight shake in his voice.

“About Granger.” There was a long pause on the other end of the extendable ears and Hermione’s heart thumped wildly in her chest.

“What about her?” Draco asked. She knew that though he was trying to sound like he didn’t care there was something holding him back.

“You can’t act that way around her anymore mate.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“You know exactly what I mean. People are starting to talk, some of them are starting to say you two have a thing going on. It won’t be long until this hits the prophet Draco.”

“There is nothing to hit the prophet because nothing is going on with us, we only talk about Head stuff.”

“Don’t lie to me Draco, I know how you feel about her.”

“I don’t feel anything for her!” Draco snapped back.

“Really? I can see it, the way you look at her from across the room and the way you hang onto every word she says. When was the last time you called her a mudblood, when was the last time you said anything horrible to her?”

“So, that doesn’t mean anything! It just means that I’m being civil. You know what I said to Harry wasn’t true. The ministry is watching me, they have spies to. Why do you think mother has left the country? I’m trying not to get myself landed in Azkaban. You heard what they said at the trial, I have once chance to change, one chance or I go away!” His voice was getting angry now

“Yes but he is watching you too and that’s worse, you would be better off in Azkaban than dead.”

“That’s not what they say.”

“Draco! You know that he is worse than any Dementor. You know he won’t just kill you.”

“Blaise, I am not giving her up!”

“You have to.”

“Don’t you get it, she’s good for me! The ministry will stop watching me if I behave for two years. I have to get through those years and she is helping me.”

Hermione rolled on her back and let out a large sigh. Draco needed her, she helped him. Maybe she was succeeding, she was saving him. But someone was watching him, someone who wanted to kill him.

“She means more to you than just that, even Pansy and Daphne are starting to see. Draco if you do this both of you are going to get into a lot of mess. You can’t drag her into that mate. She may be a muggle born but I have to admit she’s not half bad and I can see why you like her-”

“I don’t like her.”

“Come off it of course you do and as I was saying I can see why, she’s smart and beautiful and she’s comfortable. After getting to know them, they are all pretty ok, I like that Dean guy, and it’s nice to hang around with a guy for once who’s not attached to that little pixie thing of yours.

“You know that I don’t want her.”

“I know. Look mate the thing is, you have two sides watching you. You have the ministry who are expecting a new you and the other side who want you back. You have to pick which side you want to be loyal to.”

“I know which side, I decided that before all of this stupid crap! I’m turning over a new leaf, I’m not letting them put me in Azkaban.”

“Well then you are going to have to be careful. If they find that this isn’t just as mask then they are not going to be happy but I stick with what I said, you have to do something about Hermione. Pansy has been watching her and mate I think she might feel the same. Pansy says that you look like two idiots in love and that’s not good no matter what side you look at it from. The ministry isn’t going to be happy that their Griffindor princess is with an ex death eater. And she’s muggle born, you know what they would do to her...”

Hermione didn’t want to hear anymore. She tugged on the ear and it slithered back into her hand. Sitting up from the floor she let her breathing return to normal. Draco was being watched by the ministry and some other group that from what she had heard she deducted wasn’t good.

And then there was what Blaise had said about her, about how Draco liked her. Could it be true? Could he really like her? And pansy had said that they look like two idiots in love? That wasn’t possible was it? She wasn’t falling for Draco Malfoy was she? No, no of course she wasn’t. She shook her head and stood up brushing herself down and putting the ear back. She should feel scared. Scared that if this was true she could be hurt, Draco could unintentionally hurt her but she never felt scared when she was with him. He was safe.

A knock at the door made her jump. She walked over and opened it to find a sheepish looking Harry and an angry Ginny pushing him through the doorway.

“I am not having you two fighting as well. It hard enough that you two have fell out with my brother but I am not having my best friend and my boyfriend not talking, do you realise how crazy that would make me!” Hermione smiled as her friend sat down on her bed. “Harry has something to say to you Hermione. She looked at Harry who nodded.

“Listen Mione, I’m sorry. I know Malfoy isn’t a death eater and I know you can change. I shouldn’t have spoken like that about them, especially since Snape…well you know what I mean, I’m sorry. You forgive me.” Hermione beamed.

“Of course I do,” she said but as Harry pulled her into a hug her smile faltered. Draco have wanted to try again and be a good person but someone somewhere was trying to drag him back and she wasn’t sure if he was strong enough to resist it.
 


Chapter 15: Prince Charming
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“Hermione?” Ginny snapped as the brunette gazed into space.

“Yeah?” she asked looking around.

“Come on, I have to lace your corset.” Ginny handed Hermione her off white corset and wrapped it around her waist where she fastened it with hook and eyes at the front. Ginny then pulled the laces at the back tight as Hermione breathed in. She finished and tied the lace into a bow. Hermione twirled in front of the long mirror she had had summer get for her.

Pravati had done her hair so that it was twisted and platted on her head and random curls fell from it loosely. Slid into it was a dusty pink flower. Her dress looked as good now as it did in the shop. She felt odd not being able to take her wand but she wouldn’t need it and so left it on her bedside table. Her heels gave her a couple of inches of extra height and let her dress lightly skim the floor.

She spun around to look at the other girls in the room. Padma and Pravati were dressed as Bollywood movie stars, Padma in light blue and Privati in pink. Hannah was dressed as Helga Hufflepuff, which complemented Luna because she was dressed as Rowena Ravenclaw, complete with blue robe and Diadem. Pansy and Daphne where dressed as Santa girls with short red skirts with white fluffy trims.

Then Hermione turned to Ginny and smiled at her best friend. She was dressed in a big white ball gown. The beading on the bodice swirled from the waist up to the bust and had been charmed to a light blue colour. On her shoulders and tied at the base of her neck with a white ribbon was the white fur shrug. In her hand was a light blue staff that ended in a large snowflake. The most shocking thing you saw when you looked at her was her hair. Instead of the normal tomato red her long straight hair had been transformed into a brilliant white with a few light blue highlights. On top of her head sat the tiara she had collected from George. She looked beautiful.

Ginny passed Hermione her mask. The girl looked at it for a few seconds and took in a deep breath.

“No one is going to know who I am,” she whispered, a slight smile on her face.

“Of course they will, well, the people who know you properly will, the people who don’t wont, which is good Mione, maybe people will leave you alone and let you enjoy the night.”

“Maybe.” Hermione placed the mask on her eyes and it stayed in place, thanks to a charm that had been placed on it. She didn’t even notice she was wearing it, she couldn’t feel it. Glancing in the mirror she twirled again and smiled. They all looked amazing.

Ginny shooed all the girls from the room and locked it with her wand that was hidden in her staff. They were meeting the boys in the entrance hall. Ginny had laughed the day before telling Harry that he didn’t really need to dress up. He could just go as himself, he was famous enough. Instead he had decided to go as Merlin and had told them not to be so stupid. Then Luna had chipped in and reminded him that he was on a chocolate frog card, which was where he had got his idea from in the first place.

They entered the entrance hall and walked through the crowds of people who were waiting to go into the great hall. Hermione and the prefects had spent a lot of the morning decorating it with the help of some of the teachers and house elves. Draco hadn’t turned up and no one had seen him since breakfast. He hadn’t even come to lunch.

She glanced around the room as she stood by the doors with Ginny. There were Dementors, centaurs, some muggle outfits including a few of her prefects dressed as Disney princesses, a couple of lions and one fairytale prince with dark brown hair that she didn’t recognise. She saw he had also chosen to go the mask root and was wearing one in royal blue and gold that matched his outfit perfectly. There were a group of healers, a group dressed as a quidditch team. She noticed Professor Anderson dressed as one of the weird sisters and Professor Harrow as an angel with authentic moving wings.

She even spotted Astoria who looked annoyingly stunning in her Arabian princess outfit but (to her disappointment or relief she couldn’t decide) without Draco. The girl looked increasingly more annoyed than she had been that morning, maybe he wasn’t coming. Part of Hermione felt that was a good idea considering the conversation she had listened to that morning.

Ginny spotted the boys quickly. Harry was indeed dressed as Merlin, complete with the white beard. Blaise had come as Santa to match the girls, Neville was Godric Griffindor, Ernie, Terry and Michael where the three musketeers, something Ernie, who wasn’t muggle born was very confused at.

“Wow, Gin you look beautiful,” Harry said taking his girlfriend and kissing her lightly.

“Thank you,” she replied with a smile.

“You to Mione, I love the dress,” Harry said indication with his hand the pink dress.

“Thank you, was Ginny’s idea.”

“So what are you?” Ernie asked pompously.

“Juliet, a muggle character. You wouldn’t know her.”

“Of course I know her,” Ernie said turning his nose up at her, “whether muggle or wizard Shakespeare is a classic.” Hermione and Ginny had to suppress giggle when he ended the sentence with a flourish of the hand. They were cut off from replying by the arrival of Dean and Seamus who Hermione was surprised to see had bright red hair. Dean smiled at her.

“Wow, Hermione you looked beautiful.”

“Thanks,” she blushed, “You two came as Fred and George?” the two beamed and nodded.

“They came and asked for permission from me and they say Ron’s cool with it,” Ginny shrugged and smiled, “I like it, it reminds me how people think they are legends. I’m going to send a picture to George tomorrow.”

The two boys smiled identically and took both the Patel twins on their arms. Hermione’s heart plummeted slightly, she didn’t have a date. She was going this alone. Straightening herself up and telling herself it wasn’t the end of the world as McGonagall walked up to Hermione, surprisingly dressed in a bright red robe. She had decorated her hat with holly and tinsel. It looked strange for a woman who was never out of dark colours, especially as her hair had been let down and was flowing down her back. Hermione thought she looked quite pretty. However as she moved forward the thin lips and stern face was set into the features.

“Miss Granger,” she said sounding slightly flustered, “have you seen Mr Malfoy?”

“No professor, I haven’t seen him since breakfast.” She walked away quickly without saying another word and then moments later the doors to the great hall opened.

Hermione, Ginny and Harry were the first ones in and Hermione smiled in proud at her work. The ceiling snowed light flakes that disappeared before they reached the people below them. Hermione knew it wasn’t snowing outside but she had got permission from McGonagall and Flitwick had helped her get it just right. Four large Christmas tree’s sat in each corner of the room all decorated with the different house colours.

Half of the hall was taken up by round white tables where they would eat and the other half had the large dance floor, including a wide podium on which various musical instruments where set up. Behind that and raised on the platform was the teachers table which was decorated in light blue and white.

Large ice sculptures dotted around the room and smaller ones sat on each table in different designs. The normally brown walls had been hung with silver and white chiffon creating a winter look all around. The dance floor itself looked as though it was an ice rink, though, as Hermione assured Neville, it was not. Luna instantly commented that the mistletoe that hung above them in random spots all over the hall was probably full of nargles and dragged them all off to a table.

Hermione had reserved them all a table right next to the dance floor on the left of the hall. There were ten seats per table. They were taken up by her, Ginny, Harry, Neville, Luna, Dean, Pravati, Seamus, Padma and to her surprise Pansy. She sat next to Hermione on her left. Ginny leaning in towards her on her right.

“What is she doing here?” Hermione shrugged and turned to Pansy.

“Hello,” she said. To her surprise Pansy broke into a smile.

“Hello, I’m sorry if I’m intruding but I don’t actually have a date and Blaise is with Daphne and I know that you were on your own so…is it ok?”

“Yes of course it’s fine,” Hermione smiled. Oddly she wasn’t annoyed by Pansy’s voice in the way that she had in previous years. From what she had seen in this past term Pansy had actually turned nice. It was strange but good.

They had to wait until everyone had taken their seats before they could get any food. Hermione and Ginny spent the time looking around the hall for different costumes. They found some snowmen, a few people who had enlarged themselves to be ‘giants.’ There were a couple of werewolves, some vampires, merpeople and one person even came as the giant squid. Hermione spotted Ron and Lavender quickly just as Ginny was pointing to a Dumbledore and the prince charming she had seen earlier. They were both dressed as medieval witches and wizards. From Hermione’s point of view it wasn’t very inventive, but then again neither was hers.

As she looked at Ron she felt the sense of longing in her stomach she had been trying to suppress, she hated that he had done this to her and left her alone at a dance. As she glanced over the table the prince charming looked up from talking to the Dumbledore and looked straight into her masked eyes. She still couldn’t work out who he was but he felt familiar. He started straight at her and his mouth dropped open. Hermione looked away quickly by Ginny had noticed.

“That guy is staring at you,” she whispered.

“I know,” Hermione moaned, “I don’t even know who he is.” Pansy gave a small laugh beside her and the two girls looked across at her.

“Do you know who he is?” Ginny asked.

“No, I have never met him before,” Pansy shrugged but her eyes sparkled as she said it and Hermione was sure she was lying.

The food appeared on the table before them quickly after McGonagall had sat down. A menu had appeared on the table and each student had to check which foods they wanted in their Christmas dinner. From meat Hermione chose turkey wrapped in bacon, from vegetables she had sweetcorn, carrots and broccoli. For potatoes she had roasts, for gravy she chose a thick gravy and for extras she had pigs in blankets, stuffing balls and Yorkshire puddings. The table ate and chatted and all four girls tried very hard not to spill their food down their dresses. Neville didn’t have much luck but Harry cleaned it up quickly with his wand.

When the main meal was over they had dessert. They chose from a list of five; chocolate pofiterolls, ice cream (in four flavours), cheesecake, treacle tart and apple pie and custard. Hermione chose the chocolate pofiterolls with extra chocolate sauce.

They waited for a bit as all the plates were cleared from the tables and everyone started to mill around the hall talking to each other and commenting on costumes. Rumours flew around quickly that someone had tried to dress up at a deatheater but McGonagall had sent them back to get changed. No one quite could pin point who it was though.

It turned nine quickly and the singer Hermione had hired walked on stage. Her blonde hair had been tied in a low bun at the side and she wore a long fitted silver dress that shimmered as she walked. The students seemed to love her because as soon as the music started they all began to dance and cheer. Hermione and Ginny were on the dance floor quickly with all the others but as soon as the song changed to a slow number Hermione made her excuses and left Ginny to dance with Harry.

She instead went to sit back down at the table and grabbed a glass of butterbeer from the first elf carrying them.

“Hermione?” a voice sounded from behind. She looked up quickly but her heart fell when she realised who it was…or who is wasn’t.

“Ron?” she asked surprised. She stood up and faced him, smoothing down her dress. “How did you know-”

“Hermione, I could never not tell it was you.” Hermione smiled but had to work hard not to turn it into a frown. He was using the voice. The voice he used when they had had an argument and he was sorry. The voice he used to use when he told her he loved her.

“What do you want Ron?” she asked glancing over his shoulder to where Lavender was searching through the crowd for him. “Shouldn’t you be getting back to Lav-lav?” his ears went red instantly and he shuffled his feet nervously.

“I came to tell you that you look beautiful tonight and…and I’m sorry for everything that happened.”

“I’m sure you are,” she said crossing her arms.

“Hermione, I’m sorry I don’t know what else you want me to say-”

A loud cough caused both parties to turn their heads. The prince charming was standing there, a smirk plastered across his face. But it wasn’t the smirk she was looking at, it was the eyes. The steel grey eyes. Malfoy?

“I was wondering,” he said to Hermione, “if you would do me the pleasure of accompanying me in the dance.” Hermione blushed as he held out his hand and bowed slightly.

“Actually we were talking,” Ron said angrily. Hermione glared at him and took Draco’s hand.

“I would love to dance with you,” she replied and walked with him to the dance floor. Draco took her hand in his and put one on her waist.

A tingle ran up her spine as he pulled her close and they began to dance to the ballad.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

“What for?” he replied, flashing her a brilliant smile.

“For saving me from Ron.”

“My pleasure,” he said.

“So,” Hermione questioned, “what’s with the disguise. You know everyone is looking for you?”

“And no one is going to find me, that’s the beauty of the plan,” he whispered, “that’s the reason I have the disguise.”

“What about Astoria, surly she will recognise you?”

“No, she isn’t that smart, I have told her that I’m not here, that I’ve gone away on unavoidable business.”

Hermione could help but let her heart thump. After everything she had heard that morning she was beginning to think that Blaise and Pansy were right. Why would he disguise himself and then tell her who he was if it wasn’t true? It didn’t make any sense. Her head was spinning but his hand on her waist kept her upright.

“What your excuse, for the mask I mean,” Draco said after a few moments of silent dancing. Hermione shrugged.

“Ginny saw it and the dress matched and so I bought it.”

“Ah, I should have known this would be her doing, I’m guessing it was also her that came up with the Juliet idea?”

“How did you know-”

“Pansy, she heard you and the girls talking about it and so she told me,” he said smoothly.

“And so what are you then, me and Gin have you pinned as prince charming.” He laughed.

“That would be a very good guise, no actually…” he paused slightly as if in thought. Draco looked away and then back at her, gazing into her eyes with such sincerity and passion she was sure she was about to feint on the spot, “Hermione, I told you every Juliet needs a Romeo and here I am. I am your Romeo for the night.”

Hermione wasn’t exactly sure what to answer to the statement but the song ended and she pulled out of his grasp and walked away telling him she had to find Ginny. Ginny she did find and dragged her best friend away from Harry and towards a table of butterbeer.

“What’s the matter?” Ginny asked, worried by her friend’s anxious state.

“Prince charming, Romeo, whatever he says he is…its Draco, Draco Malfoy.” Ginny’s eyebrows shot up and she craned around to look at where he was standing talking to Blaise.

“Wow. But hang on why is he in a disguise?”

“So no one recognises him. He said that he wants to be my Romeo for the night, because I don’t have one.” Ginny smiled.

“Hermione, I think this has just got very interesting.”

“Gin!” she cried.

“Hermione the guy is an ex death eater and he’s practically falling at your feet! You tell me that’s not interesting.”

Hermione took a sip of her drink and sank down into a chair. Ginny followed.

“Oh Gin, what am I meant to do?”

“Do you like him Mione?” Hermione span her head around and looked at her friend incredulously.

“No-I-of course not! You know I love Ron! You know it’s Ron I want to be with!”

And as if her words had called him there he appeared. The two girls stood up quickly.

“Gin you look beautiful,” he said looking at his sister. She didn’t speak to him but just crossed her arms and looked away. Ron looked at Hermione and took a step closer, lowering his voice slightly. “Hermione, I didn’t get a chance to finish what I was saying when that guy took you off.”

“He didn’t take me off, he asked me to dance!”

“Asked you to dance, same difference,” he mumbled. He cleared his throat and continued. “Look what I was trying to say was that I’m sorry-”

“Yeah I got that part!” Hermione snapped back.

“I know, I just have to say it and…and well Hermione, what I did was a mistake, a big mistake and I regret it more than anything…” Ginny was now looking at her brother a mixture of shock and annoyance crossing her features. “…and well Hermione I can’t do it without you anymore, I want you to take me back, I need you to take me back. I can’t live without you. These past two months have been torture and I love you, you know I love you. I know you can’t forgive me straight the way but I need you Mione…” he took her hands in his and his blue eyes met hers. They were pleading and sad.

Hermione didn’t know what to say. This was the only things she had wanted to hear for the past two months but now she had heard it it felt slightly muted, not as good as she had thought. But he loved her, he loved her and he wanted to be with her. And she wanted to be with him and she had to be with him because that was what was right, what was expected, what was normal.

“What about Lavender?” she asked scanning the room for her.

“It’s over between us, I just told her. I don’t want her, she’s not you Mione and its you I want. I’ll wait this time, I promise I will. I’m so sorry, Mione please say you will take me back, please I need you.” She had been stunned into a complete silence. She couldn’t breathe, her heart was pounding and she couldn’t make sense of things. Harry seemed to have clocked onto the fact something was happening and had come to join the group.

“Hermione,” he said slowly, “what’s going on?”

She didn’t reply. She couldn’t reply. All her words had been lost and her voice was stuck in her throat. She wanted to tell him that yes she would take him back but something was stopping her. She couldn’t get herself to do it, she could speak. She just stood there and stared at him. She couldn’t hear the music anymore, everything was buzzing around her, everything was strange and wrong, it felt wrong but she didn’t know why. She wanted to be with Ron, of course she wanted to be with Ron.

Ginny was whispering furiously to Harry and the others in the hall were starting to notice. People were stopping what they were doing and starting at her and Ron. Him with a goofy expression on his face and her…well she wasn’t sure what she looked like, she didn’t even know what she felt like. Whispered erupted around them as she felt a hand on her shoulder bringing her out of her shock.

“Hermione, I need to talk to you,” Draco hissed in her ear. She turned and let go of Ron’s hands.

“I-I have to talk to Ron,” she said.

“No you have to talk to me now.”

“But-I-”

“She’s talking to me,” Ron said stepping in.

“Well she is going to be talking to me now.” He took her arm and she didn’t stop him as he marched her out of the hall and into the Hogwarts grounds.

 

 


Chapter 16: I Can Be Your Romeo
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Malfoy dragged her around the castle and into a small courtyard at the back. It was quite and the dark night sky glistened with stars and a bright full moon. The cold didn’t seem to affect her much and she wondered why until she saw bright blue flames dancing in large jars hanging all around her.

The courtyard was sheltered on two sides by two parts of the Hogwarts castle and the walls had dark green ivy running up them for as far as she could see. Large bushes and statues protected the other two parts. Draco had led her into it through a large stone archway covered in flowers. In the centre of the courtyard was a large hexagonal wooden gazebo hug with fairy lights and mistletoe. It was in here that he dragged her and performed the muffliato spell.

Hermione wrenched herself from his grasp as soon as she could and stood there fuming.

“Draco Malfoy I hope you have a good explanation for doing this to me!” Draco looked at her stony faced, there was no smile, no smirk but yet no wall. His eyes were full of that longing she had seen before and they looked sad and pleading but different to how Ron’s had been. There was so much more truth in the grey than there had been in the blue.

“You can’t take him back.” His words were soft and quiet and Hermione had to think for a few seconds about what he had actually said.

“Excuse me?”

“You can’t take him back.”

“Malfoy I don’t really think that’s got anything to do with you!”

“Hermione, of course it has. You can’t take him back.”

“Give me one good reason,” she snapped starting to get angry.

“Don’t you remember what he did to you? How much he hurt you. Hermione you couldn’t see it, what you were like. Even the mention of is name started you crying and now just as you are building yourself back up he comes and tries to ruin it again.”

“He loves me,” she said her arms crossed, “I can’t ask for anything else.”

“Yes you can Hermione, you can ask for loyalty and friendship and trust and honesty and respect. Do you think any of them are likely to come into a relationship with him?”

“Of course they can!” she said quickly though her heart had faltered slightly. It was unlikely there would be any trust, and there obviously hadn’t been honesty, loyalty and respect last time. “This time it will be different Malfoy. He loves me!”

She turned and went to walk away from him and back to the party but he took her arm and pulled her back.

“Hermione, he doesn’t love you, not like I do!” Her heart stopped. What? He…no this wasn’t possible, this couldn’t be happening.

“I-I don’t understand,” she stuttered.

“Hermione Jean Granger, I love you and I can be your Romeo. With me you can have loyalty and friendship and trust and honesty and respect. You can have anything you want.”

“Malfoy I…”

“So we are back to Malfoy now?” he asked with a smile. She ignored his comment.

“I can’t, I-I don’t love you, I love Ron!”

“No,” Draco implored, “no you don’t, you know you don’t! Hermione, I can see it, everyone can see it, you love me and you know you do. Stop fighting it.”

Then everything became clear. She did, she loved him. He was the one that made her feel safe and wanted and good. Things were easy when she was with him. Things just worked things were simple. But it wouldn’t be. If they were anything more than friends then things wouldn’t be simple. With Ron it would be ok, people would be ok with it and it would be normal.

“I love Ron,” she said again but quieter. Malfoy let out a deep sigh and ran his fingers through his hair and then stepped closer to her, drawing her up in his arms.

“You know that not true. Hermione, I have tried, I have tried everything to stay away from you, to not let myself feel this way if I can’t. I’m not asking you to announce this to the world, I know that will cause chaos but I am asking you to admit you love me. I know you do Hermione, please.”

“I-Draco I don’t think-”

His face was much too close to hers, she could see flecks of dark grey and blue in his eyes. She could see the way his lips opened and closed as he said the words. His hand on her waist sent tingles shooting up and down her spine and the other hand that was cupped gently around her face cause heat to rise to her cheeks. This couldn’t be happening to her, this was Draco Malfoy, ex death eater and she was Hermione Granger, the brains of the Golden Trio. This wasn’t right, this couldn’t be right so why did it feel so good, so comfortable. Her breathing was ragged and her heart thumped widely in her chest as they stood there in silence, looking at each other. It was just the two of them. Just the two of them in the entire universe.

He bent down slowly and tentatively, as if he was unsure on how she would react, pressed his warm lips to hers. They lingered for a second and then he pulled away. Hermione drew a shaky breath as he smiled and his scent wafted towards her. Her heart stopped dead. She knew this smell. It was the smell she hadn’t recognised from the love potion. The musky smell she couldn’t quite place. It was Draco, it was his smell. And the old books and calla lilies, they must have been her. She let a small smile play at the corner of her mouth and leaned in to meet his lips when he bent down the second him.

It was as though everything had changed. Fire erupted where their lips met and Hermione melted at his touch. The hand on her waist pulled her closer to him as the other that had been on her cheek moved to find her hand. He laced their fingers together without breaking the kiss as Hermione threaded her other through his dark hair. His breath tickled her lips as he prised them open and they melted together. He broke away slowly and ran a finger down her cheek before resting his forehead on hers.

“Hermione…” he whispered softly. Her name fluttered through the air. It sounded so romantic, so beautiful as it fell from his lips. It made her heart skip a beat. Everything was silent around them as they stood there holding onto each other.

Hermione couldn’t bring herself to break the silence. How could she go back to Ron now, he had never kissed her like that. It had never felt like that before. She couldn’t kid herself anymore. She wasn’t in love with Ron she was in love with Draco Malfoy, the Slytherin prince, an ex deatheater and her Romeo.

And then she remembered what she had heard that morning, how he was being watched, not only by the ministry but by some dark wizard who wanted to bring him back into his old life and how they would kill Hermione if they found out. A pang of guilt struck her stomach. It wasn’t so much that she cared what they would do to her but what they would do to Draco. If they found out he was with a muggleborn what would they do to him? Blaise had said he would have been better off in Azkaban that in the hands of this wizard and that was what scared her.

She pulled herself out of Draco’s grasp and walked away her whole body shaking.

“Draco, we can’t do this,” she whispered.

“Why not?” he asked, walking towards her and lacing his arms around her from behind, “you love me I know you do.” She twisted back into his arms.

“I do, I do love you Draco but we can’t do this. Just think about what people would say, think about the danger we are putting ourselves in.”

“I can protect you no matter what.”

“But who will be protecting you, what if something happens to you? There are so many people on both sides that aren’t going to like this and there are some many people that would be willing to do something about it!”

“Hermione-”

“No Draco I can’t do it, I’m sorry.” Tears welled in her eyes as she reached up and went to kiss him on the cheek. He turned and caught her lips quickly. She lingered for a moment taking in everything about him before pulling away and running from the courtyard leaving him standing alone.

She pulled off her mask when she reached the entrance hall and wiped her eyes quickly before putting it back on and walking with her head held high back into the great hall. Glancing at the big clock above the top table she saw that it was only eleven. They still had an hour to go.

Hermione found Ginny and Harry quickly. They were sitting down with drink in their hands talking rapidly. They both smiled when she approached.

“Mione!” Ginny cried, “are you ok? What was that about?”

“I’ll tell you later,” she whispered as she took a seat.” Ginny nodded, understand her friend perfectly.

“So what you going to do about Ron?” Harry asked. Hermione took in a deep breath and uttered the words she never thought she would.

“I’m not going to do anything about him,” she said.

“So you’re not going to take him back?” Harry asked.

“No, he hurt me and I have moved on.” She sent a flickering glance at Ginny who tried to hide a smile.

“Well he’s not going to be happy about that, he kicked off when that guy took you away and McGonagall had to step in and sent him back up to the common room,” Harry said.

“Well it’s his fault for doing it in the first place then wasn’t it,” Hermione said sharply.

“So who was that guy? He looked familiar but I can’t-”

“He’s just a guy,” Hermione said taking a sip of her drink. Before Harry could open his mouth Ginny suggested that Harry go talk to Dean and Seamus. At first he protested but then after one very Mrs Weasleyish stare he relented and left the girls alone. Ginny instantly turned to Hermione.

“So…” she said, “what happened.” Hermione shrugged.

“He told me not to get back with Ron because of what he had done to me and because he loved me.” Ginny let out a high pitched squeak and beamed from ear to ear.

“Oh I knew it! I just knew it. What did you say? You love him to though right?”

“I think so,” Hermione whispered then she looked at the eager girl and rolled her eyes, “yes Gin, he kissed me.” Hermione had thought the first squeak was over the top but it was nothing to how the girl reacted now. She hugged her friend quickly and smiled so much Hermione was sure her face would get stuck that way.

“Oh this is so fantastic,” then her smile faltered, “this isn’t going to look good though Mione, I hope you realise what people are going to say. Those letters you have in your trunk about Ron they aren’t going to be like that.”

“I know, that’s why I told him that I couldn’t be with him. Can you imagine how Harry would react? And the press would go crazy, I don’t want that…” she trailed off and looked over at the dancing.

“But you want him?” Ginny said softly.

“Yes, but you can’t always have what you want,” Hermione replied bitterly fresh tears springing to her eyes.

“Yes but you should always follow your heart, maybe you should think about it?”

“I’ve done all the thinking I need,” she replied standing up as Dean approached and going to dance with him and Seamus.

 


Chapter 17: Staying on the Right Path
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A loud noise woke her from her dreamless sleep and she bolted up in bed as a flash of red hair streaked through the door and bounced down on her bed out of breath and threw something at the tired brunette.

“Look at this!” Ginny cried shaking the newspaper she had thrown in Hermione’s face. Hermione glanced at it and then took it up quickly in her hands and stared at it.

“Oh no,” she whispered under her breath, “how did they find out about this?” she shook the paper in front of Ginny wildly.

Right on the front page, filling up all but a small box in the corner and the headline, was a picture of Hermione Granger dressed in her ball dress and kissing a dark haired stranger. Hermione couldn’t understand how they would have managed to get this picture. The annoying thing was that it wasn’t their first kiss, the small kiss, it was the big kiss. The kiss that had sent her stomach to jelly and her legs weak.

She watched Draco as he pulled her close and their hands linked together. She hadn’t realised he had been rubbing his thumb in circles on the back of it. And the question was, how did they know it was Hermione, someone must have tipped them off because even she wouldn’t have been able to recognise her from that position. Unless they had been following her all night.

The headline read ‘Hermione’s secret smooch’ in bold letters across the top of the paper. She groaned and began to read the words that had been printed along with it.

Griffindor princess and golden trio member Hermione Granger (18) was last night caught kissing in a castle courtyard. The question is…who is the dark haired man she is kissing? Reports from inside Hogwarts tell us that no one at the Christmas ball knew who he was and he has not been seen since he was spotted walking from the hall with our beloved Miss Granger. Rumours have been flying that…continues pg 8.

Hermione turned quickly to page eight, Ginny reading over her shoulder and making noises whenever she saw something that interested her.

…the man in question is in fact quidditch legend Victor Krum who Miss Granger had a brief affair with four years previous at a ball similar to this. All we know is that this ’prince charming’ is a very lucky guy but will have competition. Our sources tell us that ex-boyfriend Ronald Weasley left girlfriend Lavender Brown (who you will know as the girl he left Hermione for) and declared his love for Hermione in front of the school. We have been told that he apologised to Miss Granger and told her that he wanted her to take him back. It was at this point our mystery man walked onto the scene and took our lovely Miss Granger outside. Unfortunately he charmed the gazebo they were in so that we could not hear what they were saying but the picture speaks for itself does it not readers? So Miss Granger if you are reading this (which we think you will be) who is this prince charming and where does he come from? We would love to know as I’m sure would the rest of the wizarding world.

Hermione screamed out in frustration and closed the paper roughly.

“I don’t get how they keep finding these things out! ‘Our sources tell us?’ I would like to find this source and curse their head off!”

“Listen Mione, this is good,” Ginny said crossing her legs underneath her.

“Good?” Hermione said, “I fail to see how this is good!”

“Well they don’t know who he is do they? They don’t know it is Malfoy and it’s just going to have to say that way.”

“Of course it’s going to stay that way! You know what I said to you last night, it has to stay that way. He will be the mystery man I once kissed at a ball and no one is going to know any different. Especially not Harry.”

“Hermione come on, I may be Ron’s sister but I have the tact that he doesn’t. Speaking of Ron he is going to go mental when he sees this.” Hermione shrugged.

“That’s not my problem.”

“No you don’t get it,” Ginny said, “I told you last night that McGonagall had to send him out after he flipped out about the guy taking you off. Well he went crazy Mione. He pulled out his wand and sent a curse at you both but you were gone before it could hit you and it shattered one of the ice sculptures. Harry had to disarm him and he just went to run after you both but Harry put him in a leg locker curse. He was shouting at everyone, I have never seen him so angry.”

“So?” Hermione said, “what does it make any difference if he sees this?”

“Because he’s going to want to know who the guy is and he’s going to do anything to find out. Hermione he’s going to ask you and he’s going to shout at you. If I know Ron this will be another one of those things he overreacts to.”

Hermione looked back at the paper and banged her fist down on the bed. How could they keep doing this to her! Why couldn’t they just leave her alone? This was all Malfoy’s fault! This was his entire fault! He had led her to the stupid courtyard and he had stupidly kissed her! Why did he have to kiss her! If he hadn’t this would have all been fine! There would have been no paper report and not stupid guilt and not stupid feelings!

Her anger for him grew steadily as she looked at the picture. Without thinking of Ginny, who had crookshanks in her arms, Hermione pulled off her covers quickly, ripped her door open, paper still in hand and banged loudly on Draco’s door with her fist. She stood fuming and banging for a few seconds before a half-naked Malfoy opened it sleepily. Hermione pushed her way through and left him to close it behind her.

“Granger what are you doing in here?” he asked as she stood looking at him, her hands on her hips and her eyes glaring. She walked up to him and pushed the paper into his hands.

“This is what I’m doing in here. Look what you and your stupid kiss did!” she walked away and started pacing as he quickly read.

“Well at least they don’t know it’s me,” he said closing the paper and placing it on a table near the door.

“Yes but look at it! Now I have the entire wizarding world, which will include one of my best friends wanting to know who you are! Do you realise how much trouble you have caused me!”

“Hermione will you calm-” she stormed up to him and poked him hard in the chest though it didn’t seem to affect him.

“No I will not calm down Draco Malfoy! Don’t you see what you and your stupid kiss and your stupid…” she trailed off as she looked into his eyes. She hadn’t realised his face had been that close until she looked up.

She was caught off guard for a couple of seconds but soon righted herself, stomped her foot and went to walk away. Draco caught her arm quickly and pulled her back.

“Hermione,” he whispered, his voice sending flutters through her heart. But no she could not do this, she couldn’t let him get hurt. She tried to pull away but he was holding on to her to tightly. “Yes it is bad they have printed it, yes I realise everyone is going to want to know.” He pulled her face around to look at him but Hermione glanced away and reeled from his arms when she saw it.

She stepped back a few steps and didn’t take her eyes off his mark. It sat there on his left forearm. The dark grey contrasting with the pale skin. She hadn’t thought about it when she had noticed that he wasn’t wearing a shirt but now she saw it and reality dawned on her.

Malfoy followed her gaze and when he realised what she was looking at he walked forward and took her in his arms, kissing her head softly. She didn’t stop him though she felt like she should have.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered.

“It’s not your fault,” she replied, just as quietly. She pulled away slightly and traced the mark with her finger.

“It’s just a scar,” Draco said echoing her words, “scars fade. Scars are just symbols of the past. A past that has gone and won’t come back again. I promise.” A lump rose in Hermione’s throat. He promised it wouldn’t come back but something was trying to drag him back. She didn’t understand it, it confused her too much. The two sides that were watching, she didn’t understand which side thought he was theirs. Was he already pretending to be dark or had they not even managed to get that far yet, were they just watching. She didn’t know and she wanted to find out. But if she asked he would have known she had been listening and she didn’t think that he would be too happy about that.

Hermione nodded at Draco’s word and let her head fall into his chest and closed her eyes. She had told him the night before that she couldn’t do it. That she couldn’t be with him. But here she was in his arms and it felt good.

“Draco,” she said glancing up at him, “look, I said that we can’t-” He stopped her words with a kiss. She had been caught off guard but she liked it. She felt all her feeling flood into him as he held her tightly and kissed her. He pulled away and looked at her.

“Don’t tell me that, we can do this, we have to do this.” He led her over to the bed and they sat down. Hermione crossed her legs underneath her and ran her hands through her hair quickly.

“But it’s…dangerous, for the both of us.”

“I told you I can protect you Hermione and you have to believe that.”

“I do its just-”

“Hermione you have no idea. You don’t know what it’s like for me, having you around, talking to you or just sitting with you in silence, it helps me and I can’t lose that.” He took in a deep breath and stood up. He walked a few steps and then walked back again. He looked down at her and sighed. “Look, what I told Potter yesterday morning wasn’t true, the ministry is watching me, I have two years to prove myself and if I can’t then I land myself a lifetime cell in Azkaban.”

Hermione bit her tongue. He was going to tell her what he and Blaise had been talking about. She wanted to tell him not to bother, that she had already heard it but she felt good that he would tell her this. He wanted her to know him and what he was involved with. Maybe she would find out more about this guy that was threatening Draco. He hurried back to her side and sat down next to her taking her hands in his.

“What I am about to tell you, you cannot tell another soul, not even the Weasley girl.”

“She has a name,” Hermione pointed out.

“Hermione, I need you to promise, if it gets out that you know you will be in so much danger and I can’t do that. I need to tell you because I need you to know this but you can’t tell anyone.”

“I promise,” she said simply. Draco took in a deep breath and then started.

“The ministry want me on my best behaviour and I am trying to do that. I want to be good and I am trying to be loyal to them. It doesn’t help that I have a short temper and I have aurors trailing me everywhere I go, you know that’s why Professor Anderson’s here? He is an Auror sent to watch me and make sure I don’t slip up. But I am trying and you have to believe that this is what I want. There is only one problem in my plan. There is an organisation; it’s sprung up, being formed by ex deatheaters. The ones that managed to keep themselves out of Azkaban. There is a man at the head of it and he is one of the most dangerous men I know. He’s not like Voldemort, he is different and he has a long-term plan. No one knows what it is but we figure that he wants to become minister for magic or something like that. He wants me to join. I have refused and he hasn’t pushed me yet because he’s not like that. We have a choice to join. It’s not join or die like it was with Voldemort. It is different. He wants me because I am talented and I can help him achieve his goals…” He trailed off and got back up and walked away.

Hermione felt her heart swell slightly. She could see how this was hurting him. How part of him felt like he didn’t have a choice, just like he didn’t have a choice with the mark. Draco turned back to her and continued.

“This organisation isn’t very big, there are ten of them at the most but they are all specially trained in something or other. He wants me because of my status in the community. He wants me as his spy in the ministry and because I am powerful. No one really gets it but Hermione I am powerful, I could be top of the class if I wanted. He himself is a powerful man and high in position. He has people working for his cause without knowing that they are. I can’t say who he is, you would know him but you need to know that he has his ways of everything. The problem with the fact that he is watching me is that I have to look as though I am still regular old Draco Malfoy. The Draco Malfoy you knew for seven years. That way he will be satisfied and leave me alone until he thinks it’s time that he really needs me, which won’t be for a long time now and hopefully I will be able to do something to stop him by then. You can see the dilemma of having the two groups watching. This is why I was hesitant about you. You Hermione are the thing that would make him snap. If he found out about you, if he knew I was in love with you… well I would have a hard time getting out of it. This is all so hard to explain but I have decided that I don’t care anymore. Hermione I want to be with you and I want to be good. I will fight him and I will make sure I win. He’s not getting me Hermione.”

“But how do you know all this? All this inside information if the ministry is trailing you?” Hermione asked.

“I go and visit my mother. Remember how I said my father had ways of knowing about what I do even though he is in Azkaban. Well he isn’t in Azkaban. Hermione, even Blaise doesn’t know this. He just thinks I have been approached, he has too and he refused also but that’s not the point. My father is part of this group and while on trial he was switched. There is another man in their drinking polyjuice potion and pretending to be my father. My real father is in Italy with my mother posing as her younger and new boyfriend. He knows exactly what is going on at all times. He has said that he doesn’t want me to join. Oddly for my father he actually wants me to get through these two years. I think that is why I’m not being forced. This guy knows that if I get through these two years I don’t have Azkaban hanging over my head and I can ‘go back to normal.’ So when the two years is up and I am free from the ministry’s eye and can do what I want, he will want me. Of course like I said he can’t have me…” He sat back down at turned to Hermione.

“Why have you told me all of this?” she asked, tears starting to drip down her face.

“Because I want you to show what I would do to have you. I would risk all of that to have you. And to show you how you are keeping me on the right track. How you are helping me just by breathing. Hermione please, just say we can try.” He wiped the tears with his thumb and kissed her forehead gently.

“Can I think about it?” she asked softly. Draco smiled.

“You can have as long as you want, I’ll always be waiting for you,” he whispered stroking her cheek with the back of his hand.

“Can we carry on as normal while I think?”

“I wouldn’t want it any other way.” Hermione mirrored his smiled and stood up leaving the room. She returned to her own, sank down onto the floor, her back to the door, and sobbed. Ginny who was still in the room when she got back tried to console her friend and tried to ask what was wrong but Hermione refused to say. She just told her that she had a lot of thinking to do and shooed the girl from her room so she could get ready for breakfast.


Chapter 18: Forgetting Astoria
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The holidays finished quickly much to Hermione’s relief. She hadn’t stopped being pestered since the moment she had left her room with Ginny and it was starting to get extremely annoying. Harry of course had reacted how she had thought he would. He wanted to know who this guy was and if he liked her and if she liked him and where he lived. He was acting like the older brother she never had and part of her liked that idea that he was this protective of her. The other half was the half that told him to shut up a few days later at dinner so that she could get on with eating.

 

Of course Ron had been worse. Lunch on Boxing Day had been terrible. He had stormed up to her, slammed a copy of the paper down in front of her and asking her what in Merlin’s name she was playing at and starting shouting at her that he thought that she loved him. Hermione had instantly stood up and pulled out her wand pointing it at his chest.

“Ronald Weasly, you do not own me, we are not together. I was kissing someone and I happen to like that someone and if you can’t handle that then you need to leave. I never said that I still loved you, you threw that away and that is over now. I miss you Ronald but I need you as a friend and I swear if you kick off like you did last night I will curse you and you will not like it.” Ron had backed down quickly looking thoroughly miserable. Hermione lowered her wand and smiled. “Would you like to sit with us?” she asked. He smiled his goofy smile and sat between her and Harry who’s spirits seemed up now he had his best friend back.

“So you ditched the leach?” he asked.

“I had forgotten how annoying she could be,” Ron had laughed. From that moment on Ron joined in with all Harry’s questions and though there was a slight tinge of jealousy in his voice he tried his best to hide it, for which Hermione was grateful.

 

Of course there was the whole issue with Draco Malfoy. She had to think about what was best for them and he was giving her as much time that she needed. They continued as they had before the kiss. They sat in silence and studied and they spoke briefly in the evenings whilst curled in the two chairs by the bookshelves that no one else ever seemed to want to sit in.

 

He wasn’t making it easy for her to reiterate the idea that they definitely should not be together. Every evening at dinner a large owl would fly into the great hall and drop a single calla lily by her plate. Of course this had set of waves and waves of questions from her friends especially Harry. Of course there were those who had seen these particular lilies before and it wasn’t long before the girls bombarded her.

“It’s him isn’t it Hermione!” Padma had shrieked as the three seventh years burst into Hermione’s room after her and Ginny, Luna trailing closely behind.

“It’s Draco Malfoy,” Pravati squealed, “he’s your mystery man!”

“He changed his hair colour didn’t he, he did it so he could be with you!” Hermione had glanced at Ginny as she placed the sixth flower into the vase. Ginny had rolled her eyes and sighed. Hermione knew she could hide it from them anymore.

“Ok, yes it’s him but you can’t say anything, not to anyone. I swear if I hear this has got out I will know who to come to, and if you leak to the papers…” she trailed off, she didn’t think any of them was the leak but they could be friends with them.

 

She would like to know who the leak was and if there was any way they could find out who the mystery man was. It had to be someone who had been in the common when she had broken up with Ron or at least was good friends with someone who was because the news hadn’t got out around the castle until the paper had. She tried not to think about it. She had more important things to worry and think over.

 

Of course on the Christmas night and boxing day morning Hermione had let one very important, one very big thing slip her mind. Astoria. The girl had stormed up to him at dinner shouting about how he had left her alone at the ball and she wasn’t happy with him and he never thought of anyone but himself. Then she stormed back off and went to sit with her friends.

 

Hermione had asked him why he didn’t just leave her and was annoyed to find that when she said it she sounded quite jealous. The truth was that she was jealous and she wished more than anything that she was Astoria and she already had Draco without all the complications that came along with it. He had told her that since he as only with her for appearance sake he should continue that until Hermione was sure about what she wanted to do. If he left Astoria is would arouse suspicion as her older brother was one of the ten.

 

Astoria however was starting to make Hermione’s life difficult. She was hanging around everywhere she went and hung onto Draco, never leaving his side until she had to. She made nasty comments about Hermione whenever she could and Malfoy just had to bite his tongue and not say anything. Hermione knew that though he could not say anything himself because of the ministry watching he could not say anything about Astoria’s words because of this second group that where watching him. Hermione knew that he must have been struggling but he didn’t show it.

 

Soon enough term restarted and the chatter about Hermione died down. The Tuesday after they returned Hermione had charms first. Ginny was spending the morning in the Griffindor common room working on an essay that was in for Wednesday that she had ‘forgotten’ to do over the holidays and that Hermione had kindly outlined for her.

 

Charms was interesting. They were working on an unbreakable binding charm which wasn’t that unbreakable as Hermione had to explain to Harry who was thoroughly confused with the idea that it actually could broken.

“Only the person who created the unbreakable binding charm can break it. Harry you are going to have to learn this, your going to need it when you become an Auror,” she said as she flicked her wand and bound Ron tightly in thin ropes. The charm could work on anything and everything. People often used it on doors and keyholes. Of course the spell reacted differently then and there were no ropes but they were working with people today and would move onto locks the next week, which was harder to do.

“Hermione,” Ron said as he hopped over to them, “I really hope you know how to do the counter charm.”

“Professor Flitwick has to perform the normal counter curse to the binding charm first to make sure I did it right, you know that sometimes people just do the normal charm and not the unbreakable one.” She waffled away as she pulled Ron over to Professor Flitwick who had just performed the counter curse to Dean’s charm on Seamus successfully and was telling them to go and try again.

“Professor,” Hermione said, “can you do Ron?” the tiny wizard obliged and performed the counter curse. Much to Hermione’s surprise, because she was sure she hadn’t done it properly, the bindings stayed put.

“Well Miss Granger I would say that is a very good example of the binding charm. The second in the class to complete it, well done, ten points to Griffindor.” Hermione stared at the professor.

“Sorry, erm second?”

“Yes Miss Granger second,” he chuckled, “I’m afraid Mr Malfoy beat you to it today by performing an exceptionally powerful charm on Mr Zabini.” Hermione looked over at Malfoy who smiled and waved. She just glared at him and dragged Ron back to their places to try and perform the counter charm. She skimmed through the book until she found the right page and flicked her wand saying the incantation. She must have done it a little roughly because the binding on Ron contracted and then fell off disappearing into the air.

“Ow! Mione what was that!” he cried rubbing his stomach where the ropes had cut into him.

“Sorry Ron, I was distracted,” she glanced back at Draco who was smirking at her, “can you, can you excuse me for a minute?”

 

She left the two boys to try and continue with their charms and made her way across the classroom to where Draco stood with Blaise. Blaise was only half heartily trying to do the charm and so far could only get puffs of rope to fall from his wand and disappear. Hermione stood next to Malfoy who was twiddling his wand in his fingers and smirking at her.

“Granger,” he said, “finally found out who’s really on top?”

“No,” she snapped crossing her arms, “this is a one off Malfoy, I would get too comfortable if I were you.”

“You forget Granger,” he said leaning in towards her and whispering in her ear using a slow seductive voice that rolled off his tongue, “I’ve already told you, I’m more powerful than you know.” His voice sent a shiver up her spine but she tried to mask the effect he had on her with a glare.

“In your dreams,” she hissed back with a slight smile.

“Is that a challenge Miss Granger?” he asked, his eyes flashing with excitement. Hermione smiled smugly.

“Oh you are on Mr Malfoy. Who ever accomplishes a spell or potion first gets a point…”

“And the person with the most point by next Tuesday wins.” He stuck out his hand and Hermione shook it. The touch sent a shock of warmth up her arm and Draco didn’t fail to notice the effect he had on her. They let go after holding on for slightly too long and Blaise saw the exchanged clearly.

 

Hermione turned around, her face slightly red and walked back up to professor Flitwick. It was only the first half of the lesson and she had already mastered what it would take most others all lesson to do.

“Professor, can I go to the toilet please?” she asked. He let he go telling her to be quick so she could come back and start on the homework and she turned and walked from the classroom quickly. She was almost at the toilets when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She span to see Blaise smiling down at her.

“Blaise,” she said, “what are you doing here.”

“I came to talk to you, it’s the only time I’m going to be able to got you alone.” He led her into an empty classroom and he sat on one of the desks. Hermione perched herself opposite his and swung her legs nervously.

“What did you want to talk about?” she asked.

“You know what I want to talk about,” he replied, “you and Draco. Look I know it was him on the front page so you don’t need to deny it, he told me everything and he told me you know about his…situation…look Hermione you are a great girl but you need to understand what you are getting yourself into. I don’t want you to get hurt if you don’t have to.”

“Blaise, he has explained, I get that if this group find out about me then I’m likely to be in danger, but I can protect myself, you forget who I have faced in the past. Bellatrix Lestrange ring any bell’s? I fought Voldemort’s snake, I came face to face with him myself. Don’t for one second think that I don’t understand.”

“He really likes you Hermione,” Blaise said, “he would do anything to have you. He’s willing to put everything at risk to do that, to have you and to prove the ministry wrong.”

“I don’t even know what I’m doing yet,” she mumbled in reply.

“Would you like to know what I think?” Blaise asked.

“Sure,” Hermione replied.

“I think you like him just as much as he likes you and I think that perhaps you would be good for each other.”

“But what will everyone say,” she moaned, “its going to cause so much stress.”

“So don’t tell anyone,” Blaise said, “keep it quite until Draco is more respected and then you tell people. Hermione its weird for me to be saying this, you are a muggleborn and I am a pureblood but I have got to know you guys and I do care about you. I think this is the best thing for both of you.” Hermione looked up at him her brown eyes wide.

“You do?”

“No one is saying that people are going to like it but who cares about them, this is about you and him and he needs you. Hermione I have never seen him like this, he needs you and your all he ever talks about. He can’t keep his eyes off you. Pansy has told him that if he doesn’t get on with it she is going to do it for him!”

“Who exactly knows about…us?”

“Me and Pansy. From your side?”

“Gin, and the rest of the girls. They guessed though.”

“As long as none of them is the leak,” Blaise said seriously.

“Actually we kind of thought it would be Pansy, but none of them is, if they were it would already be out.”

“No its not Pansy, she wouldn’t want to hurt Draco like that and she knew who he was at the ball, he is like her brother. She likes you you know, she thinks that you will work for him.”

“So I should be with him?”

“Yes.”

 

Hermione nodded to herself and let in a deep breath. Well Blaise was right. They didn’t have to tell anyone and she was sure they would be able to keep it a secret with the help of Ginny and Blaise. Maybe her being with Draco could help the relationship between Slytherins and Griffindors. Maybe she would be able to become friends with Pansy. She had never thought about it like that before. She had thought that if they were together then they would have to tell the world but they didn’t have to. It was their private life and it belonged that way, private.

 

Hermione jumped down from the desk and brushed down her robes.

“I really do need to go to the toilet,” she said, “and professor Flitwick will be wondering where we are.”

“I’ll wait for you and walk you back,” Blaise replied with a seductive smile. Hermione rolled her eyes and walked out of the door and into the girl’s bathroom. When she came out Blaise was still waiting for her and they walked back to the classroom together but before they could go in Blaise stopped her and pulled her into a hug. She was slightly shocked and wasn’t sure what to do. He let go and smiled.

“You won’t regret being with him Hermione, I can promise you that.”

 

Hermione was blushing slightly when she walked into the classroom and over to Harry and Ron who were still practising their charms. Ron eyed her suspiciously as she sat down and watched them. She saw his eyes flicker from her to Blaise and back again a few times before Harry managed to accidentally set his robe on fire and he was distracted.

 

Hermione knew what was coming but surprisingly she had to wait until dinner to hear it. For the rest of the day Ron was shooting evil glares at Blaise and whispering to Harry under his breath. One or two times Ron opened his mouth to speak and Harry kicked him in the shin to shut him up. Hermione wondered how stupid they thought she was if they thought she didn’t notice the way Ron muttered ‘ow’ under his breath and started to limp by the start of potions.

 

Potions was good for Hermione. They were starting to work on their polyjuice potion and seeing as she had made it before, all be it illegally in a girl’s bathroom in second year, she knew exactly what she was doing. By the time the lesson ended she had been finished for fifteen minutes and it was perfect for the stage they were meant to be finishing on, Slughorn awarded her twenty points and told her that he had rarely seen one so good on its first time around. She smirked at Draco and sent him a note across the classroom.

 

I think you will find that’s 1:1 Malfoy.

 

He sent her one back quickly.

 

For now.

 

She smiled as she folded it up and slipped it in her pocket. Ron resisted the attempt at a asking what was written on it but she explained their challenge anyway. Surprisingly Ron beamed at this news.

“That’s great,” he said as he stirred his potion, “now you can finally show that stuck up Slytherin who really is the better wizard.” He lifted some of the potion out from his cauldron and sighed heavily. “You know considering we have made this before it’s not easy to figure out.”

“I think you will find Ronald, that I was the one that made it last time, you two just took it.”

 

He mumbled a reply underneath his breath and glanced across the classroom to where Lavender was sitting alone, her eyes red and puffy.

“She still hasn’t made up with Pravati,” he said, “she owls me every night begging me to take her back.” Hermione didn’t say anything. She felt bad that Lavender was alone but part of her felt like she deserved it and Hermione definitely wasn’t going to make any effort to make friends with her.

 

Dinner came around quickly. She managed to finish both Flitwick and Slughorn’s essays in her frees after lunch and folded them up neatly thinking that if that didn’t get her good marks and beat Malfoy then nothing would. She wasn’t sure where this competitive streak had come from but then again she had never not been top of the class apart from in defence and that was just because of Harry.

 

Ron couldn’t seem to hold it any longer over dinner. He had seen the way Hermione pushed her food around her plate and had decided to blame it on Blaise. Truth be told it was because of Blaise but it was because of what he said about Draco and not for the reason Ron thought. Ron was sitting opposite with Harry and Hermione sat next to Ginny who was babbling away to her boyfriend about the quidditch match that was going to take place in two and a half weeks’ time on the 22nd of January against Slytherin and the tactics she thought they should use.

 

Scouts from the Holyhead Harpies, the Chudley Cannons and the Tornadoes were all attending the game. Ginny was excited about the Harpies but Ron seemed keener for her to get into the Cannons. He knew how good his sister was and he felt like maybe she could help them win a little more than they were accustomed to.

 

As Gin babbled on Harry wasn’t paying attention to his best friend so couldn’t stop when the words burst from his mouth.

“It’s Blaise isn’t it, that stinking ‘prince charming’ is Blaise Zabini,” he said slamming his knife and fork down on the table. Hermione rolled her eyes.

“No Ronald it is not Blaise, you might want to use your eyes for once and remember the colour of his skin next time you jump to conclusions.” Ginny laughed from beside her.

“Ron you can be so thick sometimes, Blaise is black is he not? Have you ever seen anyone paler than Hermione’s prince charming?” Hermione’s stomach lurched and Ginny’s eyes widened slightly. She had said too much. Ron just gaped at the pair but Harry wasn’t as stupid. Hermione could see the cogs working in his brain.

“But you and Blaise took ages to go to the toilet in charms and you came back in blushing,” Ron cried.

“It is not Blaise Ron,” Ginny said sharply, “and even if it was she wouldn’t tell you!” Ron’s eyes widened.

“You know who it is don’t you?” he cried glaring at his sister. Ginny rolled her eyes again.

“I’m not saying another word.” Hermione wasn’t paying attention anymore. She just watched Harry as he glanced up and down the table and spotted Blaise and then saw the very pale boy sitting next to him. His jaw almost dropped open and his green eyes widened. Hermione took this as her cue to leave. She grabbed her bag and said a quick goodbye to the trio. She reached Draco and bent down to whisper in his ear.

“Meet me in my room in ten minuets.” He nodded and she rushed off up into their common room. It was empty. Everyone was at dinner still and the quiet was nice. She walked to her room and dumped her bag on her bed and sat down with a sigh hoping that Harry hadn’t figured it out. Running her fingers through her hair she got up and put her bag in her trunk, locking it away. She pulled off her robe and pulled a thick jumper over her regular clothes.

 

The knock on the door came quicker than she had expected and she opened it to a worried looking Malfoy.

“Is everything ok? You sounded flustered.” Hermione couldn’t help it. Once he had closed the door she flew into his arms and let them encase themselves around her. It felt comfortable and she instantly relaxed. He felt the change in her and kissed the top of her head letting her go.

“Hermione?” he asked.

“I’m sorry,” she said breaking away fully and walking away, “Ron’s jumping to conclusions and I think Harry has figured everything out and…” she trailed off and looked up at him. She couldn’t get over the way he looked at her. His eyes were always so intense when she was alone with him and they took her breath away.

“We can get around Potter,” Draco said softly, “and for as long as I’ve known the weasel he has been jumping to conclusions so that’s nothing new.” Hermione laughed and walked back up to him taking in a deep breath, scared shitless about what she was going to do.

 

“Draco, I spoke to Blaise today,” she said.

“He told me.”

“And I have come to a decision….” She looked at him and laced her fingers in with his.

“Which is?” Draco asked.

“I think that we can try to make this work,” she whispered. A smile broke over Draco’s face and he pulled her face up to kiss him. It only lasted seconds but in those seconds Hermione felt every emotion he was feeling pour into her heart. She pulled away her own face smiling.

“But we have to keep it as quite as we can, tell Blaise and Ginny and Pansy and I guess Harry if Harry really has figured it out.”

“I agree with you,” Draco said, “it will be so much easier for you and it will put you in less danger.”

“We just have to make sure the leak doesn’t find out. Oh I have to know who that is!”

 

Draco’s eyes flashed with excitement and Hermione knew he was thinking something up in his head.

“I think I know a way of finding out who it is.”

“How?” Hermione asked.

“Well we know it was someone who was in the room when you and Ron had that argument so that’s all the seventh years, the Weasly girl-”

“Ginny,” Hermione corrected.

“Ginny and the lovegood girl.”

“And I know that none of the girls apart from Lavender could have said… and it wouldn’t be Ron or Harry.”

“And I know it’s not Blaise or Pansy.”

“So that’s Ernie, Michael, Terry, Seamus, Dean, Neville, Lavender or Daphne.”

“I doubt its Daphne but its possible. So anyway we come up with three different things that could be leaked and tell two of them one thing, three of them another and three of them another.”

“That is actually a good idea. I’ll think about what I can say and start tomorrow.”

“So,” Draco smiled pulling her towards him, “we can make a go of this?”

“Yes,” Hermione breathed. She leaned up and kissed him gently, “there is only one thing we are forgetting.” Malfoy looked at her confused.

“What?” he asked.

“Astoria.”

 
 


Chapter 19: Harry Potters Enlightenment
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Hermione managed to steer clear of Harry. She was so desperate to get out of his way that she snuck past him out of the common room and met Ginny in the Griffindor common room. It was nice to be back in the place she had spent six years in. it felt like home. The Fat lady was very welcoming and when she said the password (Dobby) smiled at her and told her to visit more often. Ginny was shocked to see her best friend but they managed to get a good seat in front of the fire for the night.


 

“He knows,” Hermione moaned, her head on her knees.


 

“I think your right, oh Mione I’m so sorry it’s my fault I shouldn’t have said that. Harry’s not like Ron I should have remembered that he was listening.”


“No Gin its ok, he would have figured it out anyway, having him know could be useful actually. Let’s just hope he doesn’t tell Ron he would go ballistic.”

“Harry could be useful? So are you two definitely…?”

“Yes,” Hermione nodded a smile creeping onto her face. Ginny beamed.

“That is so amazing! I always want you to be with Ron so you could be my sister in law but you seem more happy now than you ever did with Ron.”

“I am, there is something about him that I didn’t have with Ron and its strange to think that its Malfoy but its good. He makes me feel safe.”

“I’d rather you be with him and be happy than be with Ron and not. I’m not sure if he will see it that way though,” the red head laughed, “let just hope this doesn’t reach the leak.”

“Well we might have a way of flushing them out…”

Hermione explained everything to Ginny about how they were going to do it and came up with three brilliant ideas. They were going to get Harry and Ron to tell Dean, Seamus and Neville that the guy was a rich muggle who she had snuck into the castle and she was engaged to him secretly. They were going to let the other three boys overhear that it was indeed Victor Krum and she was going to visit him in the summer.

Then they had a problem with the girls. No one was talking to Lavender and so it was hard to tell her anything. They decided to enlist the help of Pansy to get Daphne. They decided in the end that they were going get Pansy to tell Daphne that the prince charming was going to visit Hermione soon and give her a date. Then they were going to let it slip when near Lavender and if either of the two girls was the leak there would be reporters in the ‘meeting place.’ Both girls decided that they were excellent ideas and congratulated themselves on their story making skills. Now all they had to do was put them into action.


 

***


 

They started with the first story the next day. They had decided to leave a few days between each to give them time. The first thing they did was, when they had managed to get them in a room alone, loudly giggle about how no one knew that it was really Victor Krum. Once they ‘realised’ that the boys had overheard they begged them not to tell anyone and they seemed to keep to their words. There wasn’t one whisper of it around the castle over the next few days and nothing appeared in the paper.



“Well that’s them off the list then,” Ginny said as they sat with Harry and Ron, who they had explained the whole plan too, in the Griffindor common room on the Friday morning. Ron had wanted to know why Malfoy and Blaise weren’t being scrutinised by Hermione just told him that she had very good reasons to believe that it wasn’t them.

Harry hadn’t said anything but had instead shot Hermione a worried look. She knew he knew but she didn’t know why he hadn’t said anything. Instead he just kept looking at her worriedly and falling silent whenever the topic was brought up.

It was now Harry and Ron’s turn to dish the dirt on her muggle fiancée and they had done it that morning before breakfast. They had been told to keep silent or Hermione would kill them and apparently they had all agree readily not to say a word. Hermione highly doubted that any of them was the leak but it had to be done. Just in case.

The morning went quickly and Hermione managed to get through Charms and Defence easily and quickly. Her and Draco, though now together, were still in the midst of their competition. The score was 7:6 in favour of Draco and Hermione wasn’t happy. It was only because he had got full marks on his runes essay and had managed to master the spell in transfiguration before she could. He also managed to gain another point when he performed a perfect unbreakable binding curse on a door lock before Hermione in Charms making it 8:6.

However Defence was different. They had asked to be paired for their duel so they could see who was better and Professor Anderson had obliged. Now she knew why Professor Anderson was actually teaching he had lost some of his charm towards Hermione and though he was acting as suave as ever she actually started to find him irritating. She won one back by beating Draco in the duel and even considered keeping him with boils on his face. He managed to get her to take them away but Professor Anderson had declared her the winner.

“8:7,” she whispered as she walked past him and out the door, “I’m getting closer.” She was counting on her polyjuice potion to win the other point back and make it even.

 

That was fairly easily done and Slughorn declared that she was one of the best students he had ever seen. She beamed as she winked at Draco across the classroom. Now she had all weekend to practice the spell they had been told to learn for Transfiguration and Charms and she would have it in the bag.

There was one thing harder than learning the spells that was to be done that weekend. Draco was going to break up with Astoria. They had spoken about it and they had both decided to do it after dinner that evening. He was dreading it but he knew he had to do it. Hermione was glad that he would finally be free and they could be together properly. She sat at the table through dinner and played with her food as her stomach did summersaults. She couldn’t eat, she had no idea how Astoria was going to react.
 

They found out as Harry, Gin, Ron and Hermione left the great hall to go back up to the common room. Astoria stood in the centre of the entrance hall, her wand out and pointing at Draco. Angry tears ran down her face and Hermione thought it looked as though she was about slap someone. She had never seen the girl so angry.

“Oh don’t worry Draco he will hear about this!” she cried. They had obviously walked in halfway through. People were started to crowd around them at the back of Hermione and the others wanted to find out why they had stopped.

“Astoria come on you don’t have to be like this,” Draco said.

“I am perfect for you Draco Malfoy, your parents say so, my parents say so. They have wanted this since we were born! What is it Draco? Am I not beautiful enough? Am I not rich enough for you? Have you found someone else?” Hermione’s breath caught in her throat and Ginny’s hand found her quickly and squeezed it tight. Harry looked across at her and saw the worried look on her face. If he hadn’t known before then he definitely did now.

“No Astoria, its none of those things, I just don’t love you.”

“Who said anything about love? Where on earth does love come into anything? This is about keeping purebloods pure!"

“Astoria…”

“Draco Malfoy you will regret this!” She turned on her heel angrily and stormed away down towards the Slytherin common room.

The crowd started to filter away and Hermione glanced at Draco. He looked relived that she hadn’t cursed him. He walked past her back into the hall to find Blaise.

“I’ll talk to you later,” he whispered as he passed. Hermione let out the breath she had been holding in. at least Astoria hadn’t worked out the real reason Draco was breaking up with her. She turned to Ginny and gave her friend a weak smile. Then she looked at Harry, his expression thunderous. He waited until Ron had gone off with Dean to have a broom race before bed before he turned to Hermione.

“We need to talk he hissed,” dragging both girls off towards and empty classroom.

Once in the room the two girls pulled themselves up onto a table but Harry stayed standing.

“Please tell me that what I’m thinking isn’t true,” he said, obviously trying to control his temper.

“That depends on what you are thinking,” Hermione squeaked trying not to let him realise that he was right, though she knew it was pointless. He looked at his girlfriend and narrowed his eyes.

“I know that you know about this Gin,” he said. Ginny just smiled and shrugged.

“It might help if you actually told us what you were going on about.”

“You know what I’m going on about!” Harry cried, “your so called ‘prince charming’ is Draco Malfoy!” Hermione cringed back. Great. “Hermione tell me its not true, tell me that the guy you kissed isn’t Malfoy.” He was almost pleading with her and pang of guilt hit her stomach.

“Harry,” she said quietly, “there is no need to get worked up over this…”

“So it is Malfoy? The reason you won’t get back with Ron is because you want Malfoy!”

“No!” Hermione cried standing up, “the reason I won’t get back with Ron is because he cheated on me! It has nothing to do with him!” Hermione knew it was a lie but Harry had no right to be acting this way.

“So Malfoy, he’s just broke up with Astoria…for you?”

“Kind of,” Hermione replied slowly, “it’s a little more complicated than that.”

“So you two are together now?” Harry asked.

“Sort of, well we are but we aren’t telling anyone. It’s why we are trying to find the leak. So we don’t accidentally tell them and have them print it.”

 

“Do you realise what this is going to do to you if this gets out? Hermione he was a death eater, he has the mark.”


“I know, I’ve seen it,” she replied simply.

“What?” Ginny asked twisting towards her friend, “you failed to tell me that!”
 

“I didn’t think it was important, just like the fact that he used to be a death eater isn’t important, not to me.”

“Hermione you can’t do this!” Harry said earnestly.

“Why not?”

“Because he’s a liar and nothing good can come out of being with him.”

“How exactly is he a liar?” Hermione asked.

 “Remember he said that the ministry aren’t watching him? Well they are. And he has two years Hermione, he only has two years to prove himself. Why do you think Professor Anderson is here? He’s been put here by Kingsley so Malfoy can be watched!”

“How do you know this?” Hermione asked. Malfoy hadn’t known that Harry had known or he would have said.

“Ron, Neville and I are going straight into the ministry when we leave. We don’t need to go through training. Kingsley keeps us all updated on everything that’s going on and he asked us all to help watch Malfoy. Hermione he’s bad news. Did you realise he has been disappearing off to Italy recently and no one knows why?”

 

“Harry Potter do you really think for one second that I do not know exactly what you have just told me. Yes I know that he is being watched and i know why Professor Andersons here and yes I realise he has been going to Italy and yes I know why. He’s been visiting his mother Harry! His mother has moved to Italy! The fact that the minister has you Ron and Neville on him no I didn’t know because you don’t talk to me about those things anymore! Draco is a good guy and he’s trying to turn over a new leaf and I am helping him do that!”

 

Harry looked at her nonplussed. He hadn’t expected her to know about Professor Anderson at all. No one was supposed to know. 

“He told you all of this?” Harry asked.

 
“Yes of course he told me, you think we are just going to start a relationship without knowing everything first. He has told me that he only has two years and you know what Harry he is scared! I have never seen him so scared. He is scared that the ministry will use any excuse to send him away and that’s why we have to keep it a secret. He is protecting me!”

Harry just looked at her and then ran his hand through his already messed up hair and sighed.

“I just want you to be careful Mione, I really don’t think this is a good idea and I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“I’m not going to get hurt, he loves me more than Ron ever could Harry.”

“He loves you.”

“That’s what he said.” Harry raised his eyebrows and nodded his head slowly.

“Ok then,” he said pulling her into a hug, “but if he does anything to hurt you then he will have me to answer to.” He let go with a smile and turned to Ginny. “I suppose your ok with this?”

“Of course,” Ginny said, “I saw the way he was with her when she broke her ankle and when they were dancing. I trust him more than you do.”

By the looks of it Harry wasn’t completely convinced but Hermione was just glad he hadn’t kicked off. She said a swift goodbye to the others and went straight back to the common room.

 

***
 

She didn’t manage to speak to Draco that night because she couldn’t find him and she knew that Saturday morning he had Quidditch practice for the game the next weekend. She went out to the pitch near the end of their training session with Harry, Ron, Ginny and Dean and sat in the stands while they went to get changed. Harry had decided that they would skip lunch and practice through it but Hermione had Summer on standby for food when they took a break.


 

Hermione settled herself down in the stands with a plate of sandwiches and a bottle of water and took out her cream notebook. She was so nearly finished. She was just about to end the part about Dumbledore’s death and then she could move on to the previous year. She knew that would be the one that took the most time and space. She was there for nearly all of it and so she could remember in detail.


 

She couldn’t concentrate on her writing though and had to keep looking back on the notes she had made with Harry a couple of days before. He eyes kept being drawn to the Slytherin team. Draco was seeker, Blaise was keeper and Astoria and Daphne were chasers. She didn’t know any of the others. Astoria seemed to be playing very aggressively and Hermione hoped that next Saturday Ginny would be ok playing against her.


Draco seemed to be trying to avoid Astoria at all costs and Blaise, who was captain, was trying to call order to the game. Eventually he gave up and they all landed and went off to the changing rooms. Seconds later the Griffindors team emerged and kicked off. The chasers took turns in shooting hoops against Ron. He saved nearly all of Deans, most of Demelza’s and a few of Ginny’s Ron never took missing Ginny’s to heart though. She was too good for him. It was a mark of improvement that he even saved a few.

“The weasel has improved then,” a slow seductive voice sounded from beside her. She looked up and smiled at Draco. He leaned down and kissed her gently before sitting next to her.
 

“I couldn’t find you last night,” she said putting her book back in her bag.

“I had some things I had to take care of. Writing to mother about Astoria mainly.”

“She didn’t seem to take it well at all,” Hermione commented as she watched Ginny dodge a bludger and pass the ball to Dean.

“No she didn’t, and now she will tell her brother.”

“You mean the brother that is in this organisation.”

 “That would be the one. At least they don’t know about you,” he said looking at her and smiling. He laced his fingers in with hers and stroked the back of her hand.

“Yes unlike some people,” she muttered. He looked at her bemused so she explained, “Harry did find out, he confronted me last night. Did you know that the Minister has him Neville and Ron watching you?”

 “No I didn’t,” Draco said darkly, “though I’m not surprised. I’m going to have to go through all that training and they get straight into the department.”

 

“Training?” Hermione asked confused.


“To become an Auror yes. Did I not tell you?” he asked.

“No. You want to become an Auror?” he smirked slightly.

“That is the future plan. I’m hoping that if I do the ministry will leave me alone and I can sort out this group that is on my tail.”

“Draco,” Hermione said starting to voice the question that had been playing on her mind, “why don’t you just tell someone about them? Why can’t we tell Harry or Kingsley or the head of the Auror office or someone like that.”

“Hermione if I tell then they will know it was me and then they will hurt my mother and my father and you.”
 

“You mean the father that should be in Azkaban?”

 “I’m not pretending that I think its good he is out. I wish he was back inside. It would do me a lot of good and my mother too. But he’s not he’s out and in Italy and I am going to find a way of sorting this out myself.”

“But when they find out that you want to become an Auror…”

“I know what I will say if they ask me. I’ll say that I’m working my way up on the inside. Hermione I have got to all covered. They won’t know that I actually just really want to be an Auror.”

“I still think you should tell someone.”

“I can’t do that. It was a risk telling you. The brains of the golden trio. I’m surprised you haven’t told Potter already.”

“Of course I haven’t told him. I’m not stupid Draco.” He smiled at her and squeezed her hand tightly.

“I know your not.”

Hermione smiled but turned away when he leaned in for a kiss.

“Draco, we are in broad daylight in front of my ex boyfriend who doesn’t know about us, I would like it to stay that way.” She fished her book and quill back out and started to write. She looked up seconds later to see Malfoy’s grey eyes staring at her intently. “Yes?” she sighed.

“I was wondering what you were writing about, you never seem to put those books down.” Hermione smiled to herself.

“I am writing a book,” she said simply, “and you happen to be distracting me.”

“A book?” he asked interested.

“Yes a book.”

“What is this book about?”

“About how Harry defeated Voldemort.”

“Oh, am I in this book?”

“Yes you are,” she looked up at him and pulled an apologetic face. “I couldn’t really

write about it without you in the tower because you were the reason Harry was able to take control of the Elder wand.”


“Yes, its strange how I could have had it all that time and I never knew.”

“It’s a good thing you didn’t or you would be dead,” Hermione said.

“True.”

They sat in silence for about half an hour while Hermione wrote. Draco watched the players intently, sometimes commenting on Ginny’s good performance or weaknesses in the team. It was only when the team broke for something to eat that Hermione remembered something she was meant to ask him.

“Draco,” she said.

“Yes?”

“I need you to do something for me.”

“Anything,” he replied.

“Next Tuesday I need you to turn your hair back brown and put on your mask and join me for a picnic in the little courtyard we were in last time.”

“Ok,” Draco said bemused, “on like a date?”

“I guess you could call it that,” she laughed, “but no we are leaking the time and place to Daphne and Lavender and if reporters show up then we will know if one of them is the leak.”

“Sounds good,” Draco said with a wink, “we can use it to celebrate the fact that I am a better student than you.”

“On the contrary Malfoy, I think you will find that by Tuesday I will have more points than you and it will be me that we are celebrating.”

“Whatever you think Granger.”


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

Hermione beamed at the piece of parchment in front of her. ‘O.’ She had got an ‘O’ on her potions homework. She had won! She had beat him. She flashed a smile at Draco who was looking at her laughing to himself and shaking his head. She knew she had won. The day before she had gained a point in defence and he had got two points in transfiguration and arthimancy making it 9:10 in his favour.


 

But today was different. She had got full marks on Flitwick’s homework though Draco had mastered the spell first and Slughorn had just awarded her another twenty points for her potion. She was 12:10 in the lead. She had proved him wrong. Harry kicked her slightly and passed her a note. She undid it and read Malfoy’s writing.

 

From the look on your face I’m guessing you got an O? I only managed an E. Guess that means that we will be celebrating your class domination. 

Hermione quickly scribbled one back.

I told you that you shouldn’t get too comfortable at the top. Yes I did get an O. I think Malfoy that makes it 12:10 which means yes I win and yes I am the best student in the class but then again I knew that all along.

She had Harry pass it back and watched Draco’s smirk. He didn’t return the message but started talking to Blaise from what Hermione could make out it was about later that night. She was kind of excited if she was honest. She knew they were only doing it to see if the leak was one of the two girls. They knew that it couldn’t have been any of the Griffindor boys because nothing had turned up in the paper and she knew it would have done by now.

Yesterday Pansy had told Daphne for them and Ginny and Hermione had ‘let it slip’ when they were in a room alone with Lavender. If it wasn’t one of these two then they would have to start from the beginning and try and figure out someone new.

Hermione felt a slight burn in her pocket as she left the classroom and pulled out her D.A gallon. There was a small message from Ginny engraved in the metal. She placed it back in her pocket and went to meet her in the empty classroom where Harry had confronted Hermione about Draco.

Harry had turned out to come in handy when it came to her and Draco. He had said that she could use his cloak when she wanted and he was the one that had suggested the gallons. Ginny had asked to borrow Ron’s and they had got Seamus’s and Dean’s and had given them to Draco, Bliase and Pansy. They were using it to communicate with each other and it had come in handy. Only the six of them new about the relationship and they were all in on trying to find the leak quickly.

Hermione had charmed the coins for a second time so that when you specified a name you coin would only send it to that particular coin. It became a useful way for Ginny and Hermione to hold private conversations without Harry or any of the others knowing. It meant that the plans for tonight were going to go off without a hitch.

Harry and Ginny are going to hide underneath the invisibility cloak and wait in the bushes to see if anyone came. Draco and Hermione are going to make sure that they placed a spell on the gazebo so that no one could hear them and then they were going to have a brilliant date and if it ended up in the papers then it ended up in the papers. There was no harm done seeing as Draco would once again be disguised.

Hermione walked into the classroom to see an overexcited Ginny sitting on one of the tables.

“Everything is ready and set up for dinner,” she said.

“Ok, thanks,” Hermione said, “but I don’t know why you had to drag me off here to tell me that.”

“Well I wanted to know of you have decided what to wear yet?”

“Erm, well I was just going to wear this?” she indicated to the tatty blue jeans and the plain white T-shirt she wore under her robes.

“Yeah I thought so,” Ginny laughed, “which is why I’m lending you my clothes.” Hermione looked Ginny up and down a couple of times.

“Gin, I don’t think I’m going to fit in any of your clothes, you’re an eight I’m a ten and you’re at least two inches shorter than me!”

“Hermione are you forgetting that we are witches. I’ve charmed the clothes so that they fit anyone no matter what size. You remember those cute dark blue jeans you bought me for Christmas, well your borrowing those, but don’t ruin them I would like to wear them again. And you can wear your heels from the dance because they go with this top and jumper. She pulled out a pink lace strap top and a thick beige knitted cardigan that fell to just above her knees and was tied around the middle.

“Gin, I’m not sure if-”

“Mione trust me, you have to wear something nice and you are going to wear these.”

“Were did you get this top from?” Hermione asked as she examined it.

“Oh I made it,” she shrugged.

“You made it?”

“Yes, magic is a wonderful thing,” she sighed with a smile, “I’m thinking of going into fashion.”

“Gin your meant to be going into quidditch.”

 “So, it doesn’t mean I can’t do both. Just because I am going to become an international superstar and play for England and get us to a world cup final doesn’t mean that I can’t be fashionable too. Plus if I have you to wear all my clothes…” she trailed off with a wink.

“So basically you are going to use my celebrity status to get big?”

“Exactly,” she said taking the clothes back and putting them in a bag. “Now, you are going to meet me in your room at seven and we are going to do your hair and stuff and then you are going to go down to the courtyard and you are going to enjoy your date whether there be reporters there or not.” Hermione rolled her eyes at her friend but nodded and they left to go to lunch. She was sure that Ginny was using this as an excuse to have some fun herself but she wasn’t going to stop her. Ginny did have a good eye for fashion and she wasn’t going to say no to her dressing her. It would actually probably help her. Especially since she was the girlfriend of Draco Malfoy. She had certain standard to maintain. The girlfriend of Draco Malfoy. Just the sentence sent shivers down her spine. She was with Draco Malfoy.
 

 

***


“You do realise you can change your mind,” Harry said for the millionth time as Hermione twisted her hair around and secured it tightly with a hair clip.

“Yes Harry,” she replied, “I can but I don’t want to.”

“Even though you are about to go on a date with…Draco Malfoy.” He shuddered at the name.

“Harry Potter I didn’t moan at you when you dated Cho Chang though I thought she was a ditzy emotional wreck who was taking advantage of you because she was still in love with Cedric. So don’t you moan because I am now with Draco.”

“But its Malfoy… have you forgotten what he used to say to you?”

“No I haven’t but believe it or not he has changed and you are just going to have to get used to that. Now have you both got your coins?”

“Yep,” Ginny said, “and so have Bliase and Pansy. Pansy is watching Daphne and Blaise is tailing Lavender. We will message you if we see or hear anything. You don’t have to worry about a thing, just enjoy yourself.” Hermione smiled and hugged Ginny quickly.

“Thanks Gin. I’ll talk to you later.” She hugged Harry quickly and left the room, making her way down to the courtyard.

She couldn’t help but smile when she stepped into it. The gazebo was hung with red and white fairy lights and white calla lilies were entwined around it. There was a large blanket stretched out over the floor and a wicker basket sitting on top of it. Jars full of blue fire sat around the edges of the gazebo and hung from the ceiling, obviously there to keep the place warm.

Draco stood in the centre, complete with dark hair and this time a plain black mask, holding a pink calla lily in his hands. She walked into the gazebo and he took her into his arms kissing her passionately. She broke away and closed her eyes taking in everything about this moment.

“This is beautiful,” she whispered.

“Thank you,” Draco replied, “and there is no need to whisper no one can here us, I already set up all the spells we need.”

“Well Mr Malfoy you have definitely outdone yourself this time,” she smiled.

“Do you really think this is going to work?” he asked as he pulled her closer to him.

“I hope so, I can’t think who else it could be, none of the others have said anything.”

Draco pushed a curl behind her ear and pulled her in for a kiss. He broke away after only a few seconds but lent his forehead against hers.

“I love you Hermione Granger, part of me wishes I didn’t, wishes that I didn’t have to put you in this situation, that I didn’t have to put you in danger but I can’t escape it.” His eyes were closed so he didn’t see Hermione smile and move in to kiss him gently.

 

“Draco Malfoy, you are the last person on this earth I thought I could fall in love with but I think I have, and it’s only now I realise it.”


 

Draco led her over to the picnic and sat her down on the blanket. He pulled out a flask of what smelt like butter beer and two glasses. He poured both of them a drink and handed one of them to Hermione. She drank it gratefully and glanced up at Draco through her lashes. She couldn’t quite get over the fact that he was her boyfriend. It was strange to think that just a year ago they had been mortal enemies.

 

Hermione reached over and took his hand. Draco smiled down at it and then looked up at her.


“Do you want to know something?” he asked as he rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb.

“Yes,” Hermione replied curious as to what he had to say.

 

“Do you remember the first time we met after the war?”


“In flourish and blotts? In the muggle section?”

“Yes, I remember smelling this really strange smell. And it was of old books and flowers and I kind of glanced over and you were there, Hermione I can honestly say I fell in love with you right at that moment…” Hermione went to open her mouth and speak but Draco stopped her with a quick shake of his head, “let me finish. I don’t know what it was but when you sent me that letter back about Ron and about…well me being a death eater, I felt lost and I felt, well I felt as if I had to change. I knew I had to be a new Draco if I had any chance of ever being with you. I hated the fact that I might have ruined your happiness. When I called you…that word…I was angry and I felt awful after. Hermione I hated seeing you with Weasly and I know it sounds bad but it was such a relief to punch him like that, after everything he did to you, it was like, it’s my turn now.”

 

He stopped talking and Hermione took it as her turn to speak.


 

“I’m glad he did that to me when I look back on it, if he hadn’t then I wouldn’t be with you.” She leaned in and kissed him gently, knowing that even if this appeared in the paper the next day then she still had the most amazing night she could have wished for.
 

***


 

Hermione sat at the breakfast table the next morning smiling into her food. Draco sat just across from her and she could feel his foot rubbing up and down her leg. Ginny was just as smiley as her friend but her eyes were on Hermione and not her porridge. Harry looked a little annoyed and was shooting glares across the table at Malfoy at every opportune moment. Blaise was eating and not really paying much attention to any of the others. Ron wasn’t as unobservant.


 

“What on earth has got into you all today?” he asked speaking to the other five people at the table. Ginny didn’t looked away from Hermione and Hermione didn’t look up from her breakfast. Harry’s eyes however snapped away from Draco who had looked up at Ron. Blaise still wasn’t paying attention. No one said anything, which didn’t help.


 

“Look guys I get that you are all occupied with yourself but you are keeping things from me.”


 

“Ron mate, no one is keeping things from you,” Harry said, “we just happen to be in good moods this morning.”  


“Good moods? On a Wednesday morning?”
 

“Yes Ronald,” Ginny said with an exasperated tone, “we are happy on a Wednesday morning.” Ron looked at her incredulously and then got up and walked further down the table to sit with the rest of the seventh years.
 

Hermione looked up and her eyes followed Ron.

 

“I feel awful,” she said.
 

“You’re not the only one,” Harry mumbled.


“Why?” Ginny asked.

“Gin, I don’t really like lying to my best friend,” Harry said shooting another glare at Draco.

“And I feel guilty for keeping it from him.”

“One,” Ginny said, “you have no need to feel guilty especially after what he did to you Hermione. And Two, Harry James Potter, he might be your best friend but you know exactly how he is going to react if he found out, and if he does we will all tell him that you never knew anything. Won’t we guys?”

 

“Yep, course we will Harry mate,” Blaise said, finally pulling himself away from his food. Harry didn’t seem too enthused about the idea but they were all interrupted by the post.


Errol swooped down with a letter for Ginny from Mrs Weasly and Hettie dropped off a letter for Harry from Mrs Tonks updating him on Teddy. Then the daily prophet owl swooped down and dropped a rolled up edition right in front of Hermione. Both she and Draco looked up at each other before the girl grabbed it, unrolled it and lifted it in front of her eyes.

 

Draco looked at her expectantly and after a few minutes she laid it across the table for everyone to see. A large picture of her and Draco in mid kiss sat on the paper with the headline ‘Prince charming returns.’


She didn’t even need to read the article, she knew that the ‘reliable source’ would be mentioned. Now the question was Daphne or Lavender?
 

“Harry and I didn’t even see anyone there,” Ginny said astounded as she turned to the suggested page and started to read.

“Everyone’s looking at us,” Harry groaned, “look I’m sorry guys but this…situation is just, it’s just weird. I just, I can’t get used to it.” He leaned over and kissed Hermione lightly on the head, before whispering to her, “look I love you and everything but I can’t get used to him, I’m not going to leave you or anything but please don’t expect me to be happy about this.”


“I understand,” Hermione said getting up and hugging him tightly, “I know it’s strange. Go and sit with Ron, I know you want to.” Harry smiled, kissed Ginny quickly and then went to sit with the others. Ginny glared after him.

“He’s going to be having a stern telling off from me.”

“It’s ok,” Draco said, “I get why it’s weird, I mean this time last year he was ready to kill me and I him, it’s hard to come back from that.”

“I did,” Hermione said, “but I get why he’s weird with it. Anyway what do we do now?” She motioned to the paper.

“Confront them I guess,” Ginny said looking at Blaise, “I know she’s your girlfriend and all-”

“Actually she’s not,” Blaise shrugged.

 “What?” Hermione, Draco and Ginny all said at the same time, snapping their heads towards him.
 

“She’s not my girlfriend anymore.”

“When did this happen?” Draco asked his best friend.

“Last week, I’m surprised you didn’t notice, she has been crying all over the place. Pansy’s been with her, hence why she’s gone back to the Slytherin table,” he said, pointing over to them. Hermione waved at Pansy who waved back and got up to walk over.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” Ginny asked. Blaise just shrugged.

“You had bigger things to worry about.” Ginny rolled her eyes just as Pansy sat in between her and Hermione.

“Sorry to burst your bubble guys but it’s not Daphne.” Hermione let out a small sigh.

“How do you know?”

“I was with her all night and she was too upset to do anything. She wasn’t bothered when I told her about the meeting and when I showed her the paper she asked if I knew who it was and said that she felt sorry for you because someone’s obviously leaking. I know my best friend and she’s not lying.” Hermione nodded and looked at Gin.

“I guess its Lavender then,” she said.

“But Lavender was in a full body binding curse when Malfoy attacked Ron,” Ginny said, “how she would be able to tell the papers about that I don’t know.”

“You can still hear when you’re in a body binding curse,” Hermione reminded, “and I bet Privati told her.”

“But she was in love with Ron,” Pansy said, “why would she tell them something that damaged his reputation and improved yours.”

“I bet she gets paid for it,” Draco said, “if she’s the prophet’s official leak then they would pay her for it. Plus it would create a bigger wedge between you and Ron so she could get closer to him.” Hermione nodded and looked over to where Ron sat reading the paper. He looked rather angry.

“We’ll corner her after dinner tonight,” Hermione said grabbing her bag and motioning to Draco, “let’s go to Arithmancy.” He nodded and got up to follow her out the room but as they were walking up the staircase Draco pulled her into a small alcove behind a tapestry. 

 

“Draco!” she hissed.

 

“We still have five minutes,” he whispered before kissing her hard. Hermione pulled away first.


“And that was for?”

“For being with me,” he replied with a smile. He kissed her again and held her tightly in his arms, “When we have all this sorted out we can relax a little ok?” Hermione said.

“For the time being, but we still need to be careful, what with him on my back.”

“I thought he had laid off?”

 “He had but I got a letter last night asking me if I would join when I left school, I wrote back and told him my plans about laying low for two years and becoming an auror. I’m waiting for a reply.”

 

“Draco, you have to tell someone,” Hermione said earnestly.


 

“I can’t you know why I can’t.”


“If the ministry get wind of this then you will get sent to Azkaban!”

 

“I know, don’t worry I’m fixing it.” Hermione shook her head but Draco brought it up to face him, “I am I promise, ok?”

“Yeah ok.”
 

***


 

“Lavender?” Ginny said, putting on her sickly sweet voice and breaking into a large smile. Lavender turned around, looking more than slightly confused.


 

“Ginny?” she asked.


 

“Yeah,” she said, walking towards her, Hermione just behind. “We wondered if we could talk to you?”



“Erm yeah sure,” Lavender said. They all walked over to the common room chairs and sat down. Hermione’s stomach was fluttering as Ginny pulled the paper out of her bag and dropped it onto Lavenders lap. Hermione wasn’t looking at the paper, she was looking at Lavenders face and as soon as her eyes clocked onto the picture her face paled and she tried to hide a gulp. Ginny’s face had lost the beaming smile and was now as hard as rock.

 

“Let’s cut to the chase,” she said, “we know you are the leak and if you don’t stop we will go to McGonagall and she will kick you out of school.”


Lavender opened and closed her mouth a few times in silence, as if she had no idea what to say. Ginny took this as a chance to continue.

“We know that you alerted the paper to Hermione’s meeting with her guy and we know that it has been you that has been tipping everyone off…are you going to say anything? You ruined everything for Hermione when she was with Ron and now you’re trying to do it again!”

“I haven’t…” she trailed off her weak attempt at denying it and the righted herself and fixed Hermione with a sharp glare, “she had everything ok, she is the one who gets all the press and had Ron and all she did was disappear from school for a year chasing stupid cups and stuff. I got with Ron because he didn’t feel wanted in his relationship with her and I wanted him. I tell the press what happens because I need the money and they pay well. Plus I guessed she wanted to keep this new man a secret and it would hurt her more if he was outed.”

 The two girls stared at Lavender.

She helped kill Voldemort!”

 “I was attacked by a werewolf!”

“Yes, not while he was transformed and Hermione saved you from him in case you forgot!” Ginny’s face had turned red and she was clutching her wand in her hand a little too tightly.

 

“Why should she get all the recognition? I helped people too; I fought in that battle too!” 
 

“That is not the point Lavender! If you leak to the prophet again we will tell McGonagall!” Ginny stood up sharply and Hermione followed. The two girls left the common room and made their way to Hermione’s bedroom, where they found, Draco, Harry and Blaise waiting.

“We did it, hopefully she won’t leak again, if she does we will tell McGonagall and she will be expelled.”


“Yeah, Gin kind of had a go at her,” Hermione said as she walked up to Draco and laced her arms around his waist.

“I’m not surprised,” Harry said, obviously trying to avoid looking at the pair.

 

“Hopefully that’s that all sorted and now things can kind of go back to normal,” Gin sighed.


 

“Hopefully,” Draco replied.


Chapter 21: THE Quiddich Match
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Lavender being outed as the leak was forgotten quickly as the Gryffindor/Slytherin match drew closer. It was only ten days from the moment that they had confronted Lavender to the actual match and both teams where vying for permission to use the pitch.

The pitch was where Hermione spent most of her time. It was every other day that Gryffindor practiced and every day in-between that it was Slytherin. On the upside she did manage to get her book more or less finished in those moments. Now all she had to do was re draft it. Something which she started immediately.

If she was honest there was no chance that Slytherin where going to bet her team. Harry was too quick at finding the snitch, Ron had gotten very good at saving, even against his own professional level sister who the entire team seemed to think was the reason that they were going to win. Dean, Demelza, Cootes and Peaks where working off their team mates perfectly and Hermione didn’t think she had seen a better Gryffindor team in her whole time at Hogwarts.

The Slytherin team was completely different. Blaise being keeper was good and Draco managed to catch the snitch quite quickly but Astoria was causing tension in the team. She was playing so aggressively and she was shouting at the whole team that Daphne ended up in tears. Daphne wouldn’t listen to Blaise and kept crying whenever she looked at him and the other chaser took Astoria’s side when the beaters kept hitting the bludgers in Astoria’s direction. No one really wanted to play with each other and by the looks of it everyone hated it.

By the end of the session they were all down trodden and soaked from the rain. Hermione had created a small bubble in which she sat which kept her perfectly dry but the players couldn’t move for rain. Hermione sincerely hoped it wouldn’t be like that on the day of the match. The Gryffindor Slytherin match was the one everyone looked forward to. The schools two greatest enemies competing against each other in the wizarding world’s greatest game. It wouldn’t be a very good day if everyone got soaked.

By the time that the Slytherins left the pitch the sun however was starting to peak through the clouds and the rain had stopped when Harry led his team onto the pitch for their afternoon practice.

“We are doomed,” Draco groaned as he sat down next to her. Hermione popped her bubbled and closed her book.

“You are not doomed,” she replied, “you have very little chance of winning, but you aren’t doomed. Draco smiled slightly as his eyes darted across the pitch following the players.

“No one wants to play with each other, there is so much tension on that team. We will be lucky if we score a goal.”

“Draco,” Hermione said turning to him, “I can’t really help you on this, you know I’m bias.”

“Yeah I know,” he smiled taking her hand gently, “let’s just hope Astoria doesn’t kill me by the end of this.”

***

Hermione walked into the great hall on the morning of the match and saw a very loud very hyperactive student body waiting for her. Glancing up at the ceiling she saw that the sky was clear. Perfect conditions. She also noticed that everyone seemed to have gone back to their own tables. People not wanting to mix on the day of the epic match. Draco looked relaxed enough when she spotted him laughing with Blaise. He caught her eye and smiled before leaving the hall with the rest of the team.

Ginny rushed over to her and engulfed her in a hug before pointing up to the top table. Two wizards and one witch were standing with McGonagall and Professor Harrow.

“They are the scouts Hermione! They are here to see me!”

“Well you best win then hadn’t you,” Hermione laughed as she sat down at the table.

“Just think, I could be one step closer to going professional by the end of today.”

“We all know you will get there Gin, you’re too good not too,” Harry smiled. He turned to Hermione, “the team have all had breakfast we are going to head down.”

“Ok, good luck guys,” she smiled in response and watched them all as they left the hall. She scooted down the table and sat next to Neville, Seamus and Privati.

“Oh, hello Hermione,” Neville said, “you looking forward to the match?”

“Of course,” she replied. She turned to Privati, “have you still not made up with Lavender? Where is she this morning?”

“I haven’t spoken to her in a while, and she’s over there.” Hermione glanced down the table and her eyes caught sight of the girl who had ruined her relationship. If she was honest Lavender didn’t look too good. In fact she looked like she was ready to throw up at any minute.

“Is she ok?” Hermione asked.

“I don’t know,” Privati shrugged before turning back and continuing her conversation with the two boys.

Neville was explaining his plans for the future to the pair and Seamus seemed to think it was rather unfair that he was going to be let into the auror office without proper training but was in awe of it at the same time. Privati however seemed not to be able to take her eyes off Seamus and Hermione couldn’t help but wonder what was going on between the two.

When they got up to walk down to the pitch Privati pulled Hermione off slightly, linking their arms together as the made their way across the grounds.

“Ron told Seamus that you said that you couldn’t be with him because you are dating this prince charming,” she said.

“Yep,” Hermione replied.

“So it’s true then, you are officially dating Draco Malfoy?” Hermione blushed slightly.

“I keep forgetting all you girls know he’s the prince charming. I’m glad you haven’t told anyone and yes it’s official.” Privati let out a small squeak.

“I think it is adorable,” she said, “it’s like you have reformed the bad boy.”

“I think he did most of the reforming on his own,” Hermione laughed.

“Oh but you know what I mean. Are you still keeping it under wraps? Padma, Hannah and I were all talking the other day and we decided that we could tell now. Like the way he looks at you. So they told me to tell you to be careful. We don’t want to see you getting hurt.”

Hermione smiled gratefully.

“Thank you for the tip off, I’ll make sure we are more careful, could you imagine the fall out if it got out!”

“It would be horrific and the boys would go ballistic! Especially Dean.”

“Dean?” Hermione asked curiously.

“He is very protective of you; he was pestering me asking if I knew who this prince charming was. I think he might like you a little more than he cares to admit.”

Hermione was taken aback by this information. She never would have thought in a million years that Dean would like her. She decided to change the subject as they entered the ground.

“So, what’s going on with you and Seamus?” she probed. Privati just blushed.

“Nothing much really, I mean he said he liked me but he’s going back to Ireland when he’s finished school and I was going to go an work at Madame Malkins.

“You could just apperate back to Ireland, it only takes a second.” Privati nodded.

“I guess, I suppose I’m just going to have to talk to him.”

They took their seats with the boys and watched as the game began to unfold before their eyes. Unsurprisingly Luna was commentating and it made for a very funny game. When Gryffindor was in possession she would talk about how much she liked them and when Slytherin was in possession she would talk about how Astoria’s hair extensions could be seen and about how Blaise was looking manly and well-toned. Once or twice she referred to Malfoy as ‘that nice boy that punched Ronald Weasly’ which for some reason had Seamus in stiches beside her.

The game seemed like a good one. Ginny played excellently scoring one hundred points for them against Blaise and two penalty’s (one was because Astoria had knocked Ginny into the stands rather violently and one because Astoria had tried to knock Ron off when the ball was the other end of the pitch). By the time Harry had even caught a glimpse of the snitch it was one hundred and forty to sixty.

An hour and a half had passed before the crowd caught sight of Harry diving, his arm stretched in front of him. Hermione watched as Draco zoomed after him but Harry was too far in front and caught it before Draco was even level with him. Needless to say, three quarters of the stadium erupted in loud cheers as the rest of the team converged on Harry, none of them seeing what happened next. Hermione being the exception.

As the Gryffindor’s ran onto the pitch Astoria took one of the beaters bats and smacked a bludger right into the back of Malfoy. Even over the crowd Hermione swore she heard a sickening crunch as he crumpled and fell about twenty feet from his broom onto the grass below.

Hermione let out an ear splitting scream that no one failed to notice and the crowd went silent as they began to realise what had just happened. From that point on it didn’t matter to Hermione who knew, it didn’t matter if she blew their cover she needed to get to Draco. It took her a while to get to the other side of the pitch but as she pushed through the crowd she caught sight of the red grass. He was bleeding, he was bleeding so badly. But he wasn’t there when she arrived she only saw Harry and Ginny.

“Where is he?” she asked her best friends frantically, her eyes not tearing from the fallen broom and the blood stained pitch. She had grabbed hold of Harry’s robes tightly, she was scared to let go, her legs were weak. Harry and Ginny just looked at her, fear in their eyes.

“Tell me where he is!” she screamed, “What happened to him!”

“M-Madame hooch took him up to the hospital wing,” Ginny said, slow tears begging to drip down her face. “Mione he didn’t look good, I think he might have broken his back and his head was bleeding…oh Mione!”

Ginny tried to clutch onto Hermione’s hand but she yanked it away and began sprinting as fast as she could out of the field and up the slope towards the school. Her heart felt like it had stopped, her entire body was shaking but she still didn’t stop running. Though her legs felt like they were going to collapse and her eyes streamed acid tears she still didn’t stop running.

Taking the stairs two at a time she bounded towards the third floor. She ran to the hospital wing and burst through the double doors.

Those who were in the room instantly fell silent and turned to look at her. There was Madame Pomfrey, Professor McGonagall, Professor Slughorn and Astoria. Hermione’s eyes narrowed. The girl was standing a little away from the group as Madame Pomfrey bent over Draco her wand in one hand and a bottle of some potion in the other.

“What is she doing here?” Hermione snapped. McGonagall looked shocked by the amount of acid that shot from the head girls mouth.

“Miss Granger, Miss Greengrass is here as Mr Malfoy’s Girlfriend.” Hermione’s eyes shot to Astoria as her eyebrows raised.

“Girlfriend? I think you might have been forgetting the moment when he broke up with you Astoria.” Astoria just looked at her with a smirk as if goading her to tell the room she was really the girlfriend.

All Hermione wanted to do was scream at her to go away and give into her goading. Astoria wasn’t the one in tears or who had rushed as fast as she could to find him. Astoria was the one who had caused all of this!

“Lady’s,” Madame Pomfrey snapped, “Mr Malfoy needs rest.”

“He would need it if Astoria hadn’t hit a bludger at him!” Hermione cried. This was where the professors in the room all twisted to stare at her.

“Miss Granger,” McGonagall said aghast, “that is a very serious accusation.”

“Well it’s a true one, I saw it happen.”

Hermione watched as McGonagall’s lips tightened as she surveyed the pair. The head knew that Hermione wouldn’t lie and she wasn’t stupid enough to not be able to notice the way she had grown closer to the man on the bed over the year. In fact in her mind what Hermione had said made perfect sense.

Hermione couldn’t suppress the relief that she felt when McGonagall led the auburn haired girl from the hospital wing and up to her office and Slughorn noticed it immediately. He pulled up a chair by Draco’s bed and Hermione sat in it, holding his hand and stroking his skin with her thumb, soft tears rolling down her face. She couldn’t help but think that this was all her fault. If she wasn’t with Draco he would never have broken up with Astoria and she would never have hurt him.

It had gone dark by the time the double doors of the hospital wing opened and Ginny, Blaise and Pansy came rushing in.

“Hermione, is he ok?” Ginny cried, her long red hair swinging behind her. Hermione didn’t look away from Draco’s pale face as she shook her head.

“No, he lost a lot of blood and Madame Pomfrey said that Astoria had cracked his skull but we won’t know the damage to his brain until he comes around.”

“We would have been here sooner but McGonagall wanted to speak to us,” Blaise said, “and Pomfrey wouldn’t let us in until now.” Hermione just nodded.

“She’s been kicked off the team,” Ginny beamed, “some ravenclaw fourth years came forward and told her that they had seen it. McGonagall kicked her off and has given her detention twice a week for the rest of the year.”

“It’s lucky she wasn’t expelled,” Pansy breathed, “serves her right if she was though.” The three newcomers looked at Hermione and then at each other. Ginny hugged her friend quickly and told her that they would be in the seventh year common room now that the Gryffindor party was over. Hermione didn’t say anything but nodded and laid her head on Draco’s legs. Pansy covered her up with a blanket and all three left the room whispering softly to one another.

Hermione didn’t wake up until she heard a light coughing and felt a rustling beneath her head. Stretching as she sat up her brown eyes locked onto the silver grey of the guy she was slowly falling in love with. A huge rush of relief flooded through her body and she let out a breath she didn’t realise she was holding.

“Draco,” she whispered. He flashed her a weak smile.

“I’m sorry if I woke you up,” he replied softly reaching his hand out to push a strand of hair out of the way of her face.

“No, it’s ok, what time is it? How long have you been awake?”

“Erm past four I think, I’ve been awake about half an hour.” She looked at him aghast.

“Why didn’t you wake me up then?”

“I was watching you sleep,” he admitted as he scooted over and patted the bed beside him. Hermione snuggled under the covers and into Draco’s arms. It was the best feeling Hermione had ever felt in her life. The relief that he was ok, the safety she felt with his arms around her. All the worry had been washed away and she felt calm and peaceful for the first time that day.

Draco didn’t take long to begin to ask questions. He asked about what had happened after the match and Hermione told him all about Astoria. About what she had said and what McGonagall had done. Draco was pleased by the idea that he wouldn’t have to play her in the next match. Then they laid in silence for hours. Hermione had a feeling Draco was trying to work up the courage to say something but it took a while for him to actually come out with it.

“Hermione, would you like to stay with me over the Easter holidays, at my apartment?” She looked up at him in astonishment.

“Are-are you sure?” she stuttered. Draco lifted her face to his and kissed it lightly.

“I’m sure,” he smiled. A bright beam broke out across Hermione’s face.

“I would love to.”

***

It was another few hours, when the pair had concocted a plan of how to get past Ron that Hermione made her way back up to the dorm. Light was beginning to stream through the windows and when she walked in the common room was deserted…all apart from the small redhead who was stretched out on one of the sofa’s covered in a blanket.

Hermione shook her awake carefully.

“Gin,” she whispered, “Gin he’s ok.” The youngest Weasly hugged her best friend tightly.

“Good, can you imagine what you would have been like to live with if he hadn’t been ok,” she laughed.

“You never told me about the scouts,” Hermione said as she settled under the blanket with her best friend.

“Oh that,” Gin shrugged, “well both teams gave me an offer to train with them this summer and join the team when I have finished my N.E.W.T.S.”

“Gin that’s amazing,” Hermione beamed.

“Yep, now I just have to choose which one to go for.”

“I think I know the answer already,” Hermione laughed, “I mean, who would want to play for the Chudley Cannons.”


Chapter 22: Intelligence
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Draco was made to stay in the hospital for over a week and by that time the story of what Astoria had done and why she had done it spread and twisted around the school. It started off with the truth but soon all sorts of wild stories were floating around the school.

“Malfoy was having a secret affair with a muggle and Astoria was angry he cheated on her.”

“Astoria was aiming for Potter but she missed.”

“Draco really was attacked by wolf in the forest and they are covering it up from the ministry.”

“It’s a cover up so Malfoy can leave the school on special ministry business.”

“It’s a cover up because Malfoy’s been locked up in Azkaban.”

They went on and on and on and Hermione was grateful that Lavender was sorted, even when Ginny and Harry had a huge argument in the middle of the common room, it didn’t appear in the paper the next day. Without the leak Hermione and Draco didn’t need to worry as much as they had been. But Hermione couldn’t shake a horrid feeling that Astoria knew about her and Draco. The look she had given her in the hospital wing sent shivers up her spine every time she thought about it.

So Hermione was grateful when Draco was finally let out, could resume lessons and everyone realised that he had really just been in the hospital wing all along...though it didn’t stop some of the rumours… But Hermione had someone to sit next to again and the year started to fly by quickly. For some reason that no one quite understood Lavender disappeared half way through February and no one knew where she had disappeared to. Not even Privati. This disappearance led to an end to the rumours about Draco and sparked up new ones.

“She’s gone home to look after her mum because she’s ill”

“She’s gone home to look after her mum because she’s dying.”

“She was so distraught about Ron that she killed herself and the school is covering it up.”

“She was so upset over Ron that she transferred to durmstrang.”

“She’s moved to London to be an unspeakable.”

“She’s part of a secret experiment in the ministry and its gone wrong so they have had to quarantine her.”

So with the limelight off Hermione and Draco, they were able to relax completely. She spent the spring term with Ginny, Harry and Ron, meeting up with Draco in secret corners of the castle whenever they could snatch a few moments. She hated that they couldn’t be together completely but she understand why they were doing it this way. They had no choice.

There were days spent in secluded spots of the school grounds and the rare night spent in each other’s rooms. It was so easy. Only Ginny and Harry knew and no one else even guessed…not even Ron. Whenever he got suspicious of where she was she would just tell him she was in the library studying…which some of the time she was, but Draco was there too.

But though it started smooth as February ended and March came along Harry began to be less than helpful. He would only reluctantly cover for her and begrudgingly lent her his cloak once or twice, always with a warning. She was starting to get sick of it all. He was being so stubborn and stupid.

“Harry this has to stop!” she hissed as she dragged him into an empty classroom not long after the final bell had sounded. She slammed the door behind them, put all manner of spells on the door before turning to him with a glare. Harry wasn’t stupid, he knew he was in trouble but he stood his ground.

“What does?” he asked.

“This!” she replied, “You are meant to be helping me!” Harry’s anger boiled over as Hermione stood looking lost in front of him.

“You know what he’s like Hermione! You know who he is!”

“He has changed even you can see that.”

“It’s not that simple. I’m sick of lying to Ron and I’m sick of running around after a death eater!”

“Ex death eater,” Hermione snapped, annoyed that the label was still running around in the forefront of Harry’s mind.

“Supposedly!” he shot back. Hermione’s mouth gaped open.

“And what, Harry Potter, is that supposed to mean!”

Harry Sighed and ran his fingers in his hair before looking up at her with, what Hermione could only describe as, sad eyes.

“You know Kingsley asked us to keep an eye on Malfoy.”

“Of course I know.”

“Well the ministry is occupied at the moment with rounded up any rouge death eaters and keeping an eye on anything that might look like death eaters.”

“Yes, well I gathered that,” Hermione huffed as she folded her arms.

“Well they have had some intelligence about a group that has been forming in the background and it was mentioned that together they might be just as dangerous as Voldemort.” Harry shuddered slightly and Hermione had to repress a large gulp. The ministry where onto them. “it’s the perfect time to form a group like that, people think they are safe now that Voldemort gone but this group is threatening that.”

“And does this have anything to do with Draco?” she asked fearing the worst. Harry looked a little sheepish as he spoke.

“No, we have no direct link between Draco and the group.” Hermione couldn’t help but laugh and raise her eyebrows. He had no reason to be accusing Draco of anything. She told him this but Harry just got angry.

“Well this has links to Italy and Malfoy was seen visiting Italy for a few days at Christmas and no one knew why.”

“Harry Potter you are an idiot!” Hermione cried, “if your precious ministry actually bothered to see where Draco was going they would see that he was there visiting his mother who moved there to get away from this kind of crap!”

Harry looked rather taken aback by this and Hermione knew he didn’t have a leg to stand on.

“Look just take the list,” he said shoving a piece of parchment into Hermione’s hand, “Astoria’s brothers on there, you might find it more interesting than you realise.” Harry twisted on his heel and stormed from the room leaving Hermione with a short list of names who could be in deep trouble.

***

“You are an idiot Draco Malfoy,” Hermione cried as she stormed into his room and slammed the door. Draco, who had been lying back on his bed reading, shot up and gaped at her.

“Why?”

“Because you idiotically went to Italy to visit your mother while the ministry is tracking possible death eater groups. They made a link to Italy!”

“All I did was go and visit my mother,” he protested.

“Look Harry gave me a list of names, there’s only five on there but Astoria’s brother is.”

“I don’t care,” Draco said flinging it to the floor. I’m not part of the group and I don’t want to be. The ministry cannot send me to Azkaban because I turned down their offer. Let the ministry catch them.”

Hermione nodded, Draco was rights. They couldn’t send him away because of that. As long as he wasn’t part of the group he would be safe. A sharp knock on the door followed by a small ‘I hope you’re not decent I’m coming in,’ caused both fear and bile to rise in Hermione’s throat.

Astoria walked in without waiting for an answer but stopped dead at the sight of Hermione.

“Oh Granger, what are you doing here,” she sneered with the biggest look of triumph you could have seen.

“Head Girl stuff,” Hermione answered not taking her eyes of the girl who had walked in.

“Hmmm, yes, well…” Astoria turned to Draco, “just thought I would come and tell you that my brother will be visiting fairly soon. You should be prepared.” She gave Draco a little wave before she sauntered back out of the room. Draco just sighed and crossed the
room to pulled Hermione into a quick kiss.

“Does she know about us?” Hermione asked.

“Not that I know of,” Draco replied, “but we do need to be careful, she wrote to my mother and my mother cannot quite understand why I would want to break up with someone as lovely as Astoria Greengrass.”

***

Ok guys this is is the last chapter i have written so i need to write some more, please keep this in mind and check every now and again for more...the next few chapters i have planned out and are going to be exciting and shocking...i'll give you a taste...Lav is back with a very big shock, we meet Astoria's brother and Draco needs Mrs Weasly's help...please read and review...hope you are enjoying the story, pleanty more to come, oh btw...when i have finished this story would people read a sequel? it would be set outside of hogwarts if i wrote it, tell me what you think...bye xxxx
 
 


Chapter 23: A Muggles Idea of Food
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

The train pulled into the station and Hermione felt a small jolt in her stomach as the butterflies jostled around in anticipation. Harry was glaring over his newspaper at her as he chewed on a liquorish wand a little more ferociously than he should have been doing. Ginny was trying to distract Ron from Harry by getting him and Neville to talk about their plans for the auror office and Hermione was glad to see that it was working. Luna was giving her wild opinion at every moment she could fit in and the banter gave Hermione the time to calm herself down. 

She had told Ginny and Harry the previous day that she was going to visit Draco over Easter. They didn’t normally go home for Easter but Mrs Weasly was desperate for her two youngest to be at home. Harry and Hermione had been invited, Harry obviously had accepted, having nowhere else to go but Hermione had declines stating that she needed to spend time with her parents. But the train ride was killing her. Knowing that Draco was only a few carriages away with Blaise was driving her insane. 

The train stopped slowly as the small number of students that were leaving for the holidays started to file off. Her carriage grabbed their cats and owls and everything they needed and piled off after the others. 


Hermione grabbed her trunk and walked over to wear Mr and Mrs Weasly were standing welcoming their children…all three of them. Though Hermione knew she was welcome in the family but since splitting with Ron she knew she would always be on the outskirts. She loved the Weasly and she wished she could be seen as a daughter to them. She saw them as parents after all. Wheeling her trunk over to them she said hello as Mrs Weasly drew her into a big hug.

“How are you Hermione?” she asked as she pulled away and surveyed the girl, “you have been eating haven’t you?”

“Yes Mrs Weasly,” Hermione smiled, “and I am ok, looking forward to my holiday.”

“It’s a pity you can’t come to ours, but I expect that your parents are missing you, well feel free to drop by at any point I’m sure Ginny will love the female company.”

“Of course Mrs Weasly, I’ll drop you an owl and let you know.”

“Ok, well I’ll see you soon.” 

Mrs Weasly turned to talk to her husband as the four friends turned to say good bye. Ginny hugged her quickly with a small squeak and a ‘have fun, write to me.’ Harry’s hug was a little more ridged but he whispered to take care and that he loved her. Then it was Ron’s turn. The red haired guy walked up to her and engulfed her in a big bear hug.

“Miss you Mione, when we get back I want to talk ok?” Hermione hesitated and then nodded. She wanted her friend back.

“Yeah okay.” Ron hugged her again.

“Wish you were coming to mine, have a good holiday.” He broke away, kissing her lightly on the cheek.

“Well I’ll see you soon.” 

The Weasly clan and Harry all left platform 9 ¾ and Hermione was left alone on the platform with just one other figure as the train pulled away. Crookshanks was meowing loudly in his basket as she walked over to the blonde and took his hand.

“Ready?” Draco asked.

“Ready.”


 

***


Two figures apperated into an empty but warm flat. Hermione couldn’t help but let out a small sigh as she flopped onto the sofa taking in her surroundings. The last times she had been here she had been in pain and had seen the real Draco Malfoy for the first time. 


Turning to her boyfriend she beamed as he set down their trunks and drew her into his arms.

“It's so nice to be alone,” Draco said kissing her neck gently. Hermione couldn’t help but giggle. It was nice being with him and it felt kind of exciting that she was here in the arms of Draco Malfoy, staying in his flat.

“I feel bad for lying to Ron though,” she said pulling away from him and sitting down on the sofa.

“Don't worry about it,” he replied sitting next to her, “you know what he would be like if he knew.”

“I know, I just hate lying to him, I feel like I’m betraying his trust.” Draco stared at his girlfriend.

“Really?”

“Yes really, why shouldn't I feel like that?” she asked, shocked at his disgusted faciel expression.

“After what he did to you, you feel sorry for him!”

“Not sorry,” Hermione defended, “I just believe that I’m a better person than that. I hate all this sneaking around.”

“I know,” Draco said calming down and pulling her closer, “but its for your own safety.”

“Don't forget yours too.”

“I could handle anything the ministry threw at me, you on the other hand could be kidnapped and tortured.”

“Oh yeah because that hasn't happened to me before,” she replied defiantly, I’m a big girl Draco I can handle myself, you might have forgotten what happened last year but I haven't”

“I know you can look after yourself, I would just rather you weren’t put in that situation.”

He kissed her gently on the head and then got up to let crookshanks out of his basket.


“So what do you want to do tonight?” he asked. Hermione just beamed and pulled something from her bag.

“Romeo and Juliet?”

“And chicken nuggets?”

“And chicken nuggets.”


 

***



“Okay but I don't understand, why they come in boxes though,” Draco said as he picked up the McDonald’s chips and examined the bright red container, “what's wrong with plates.” 

Hermione rolled her eyes and nibbled the edge of a chicken nugget. They had been in the flat for five days and Draco was going stir crazy being stuck there. They had used their time studying for exams and watching movies. Ginny had even written to her saying she was going to visit sometime soon and go shopping with her to give her some time away from Draco (and get all the juicy details) Draco had said that it was all right because he had a meeting with his accountant to sort out his fathers finances. 

So to stop him from moaning about the flat starting to make him crazy she apperated out of the flat and taking him to the McDonald’s near her home to give him some time away from the wizarding world. Draco however was having a hard time coming to terms with what he was eating. 

“I mean it tastes all right but it must be so unhygienic, they need some house elves in the back cleaning then they could serve it on plates and stuff...” he was cut off as Hermione kicked him in the shin.

“Draco! They do not need house elves!”

“Okay, okay they do not need house elves,” he replied, holding up his hands in defence, “but I would rather eat in a proper restaurant with plates and cutlery.”

“You are such a rich boy,” Hermione laughed.

“No I just like proper food.”

“Well I’m never taking you out again,” she replied.

A loud laughing and bustle of noise attracted Draco's attention before he could reply. A group of children were laughing and pointing at an owl that was tapping gently on the window. Hermione recognised it instantly. It was Hettie. She stood up quickly, grabbing the box of half eaten nuggets, shoving them into her bag. 

“We have to get Hettie out of here,” she hissed to Draco.

“ Hettie?”

“Harry's owl! He must have sent me a letter.” 

She dragged the confused guy from his chair and out the door. Walking behind a car so they wouldn't be seen and Hermione called Hattie to them. She untied the scroll of parchment and Hattie flew off. It wasn't Harry's writing on the letter. 


Hermione

Hope your okay and your having fun! Everything has been manic here today, I think Harry might just explode soon. I'm going to pop round in a couple of hours if that's okay...well even if it's not I’m coming. You really need to hear this before the papers do. I'm sorry for what this is going to do but you need to know the situation and if my cowered of a brother isn't going to tell you then I am, make sure your home at five and I'll be there. Love you lots.

Ginny.


 

Hermione glanced at her watch. 4:30. 

“What do you think she wants to tell you?” Draco asked. He had been reading the letter over Hermione’s shoulder. The girl just shrugged.

“I haven't a clue but it can't be good.” An odd feeling surged through her stomach, almost like the one she had when she had found Ron and Lavender together. This really really couldn't be good. Draco saw her nerves and kissed her on the head lightly.

“It will be okay, whatever it is we will face it together,” he told her reassuringly. Hermione smiled in response and leaned in, kissing his lips softly.

“I love you,” she whispered.

“I love you too,” Draco replied, taking her hand an apperating back to the flat.

 

 




Hey guys

So here is mt latest chapter, i'm not keen on it tbh but it had to be written. The next one is more exciting i promise! Read and Review =) xxx
 


Chapter 24: Miss Brown's Secret
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Ginny leant gracefully against the kitchen counter and clutched the steaming mug of tea in her hands. Hermione, standing opposite to her, leaning against the kitchen island, couldn't help but notice how effortless she made everything look. She was dressed in a pair of tight jeans, a plain blouse and her hair was pushed up into a sleek ponytail. You could almost tell she belonged on the quidditch pitch. But today the red-head looked more agitated than she had since the war. It was as though she was battling with herself to say something. 

Hermione took a sip of her own tea and tried to ignore the way Draco tapped his fingers against the counter where he sat swinging his legs gently.

“I don't really know if I should be the one to tell you this,” Ginny finally said, “but Ron refused, even when Harry shouted at him....” the girl trailed off and looked at Hermione, her eyes full of tears. This must be serious, Ginny hardly ever cried.

“Ginny, tell me what's wrong,” Hermione urged. The girl took a few moments and then launched into an explanation.

“This morning at breakfast Lavender turned up at the door saying she needed to speak to Ron...she's pregnant Mione.” 

Hermione's cup shattered on the floor and tea split over her shoes. She couldn't move.

“WHAT!” Draco cried jumping down from the counter and glaring at Ginny.

“It's why she left school, she couldn't hide it any longer from the girls. Mum's beside herself, she was screaming at Ron so much I thought she was going to explode. She was saying stuff like it was bad enough he had cheated on you but to get Lavender pregnant was the last straw. I swear she was going to kick him out if Dad hadn't stepped in telling her that that had already lost one son they didn’t need to loose another, then she burst into tears and told him that he had better sort it out.” 

Hermione couldn't breath. Lavender was pregnant, pregnant with Ron's child. She had convinced herself so long ago that she would be the one who would give Ron a child, that they would be family. She loved Draco and she didn't want to be with Ron but the idea that something that had been engraved on her mind for so long had been taken away from her shattered her insides. 

“What did Ron say?” Hermione asked tentatively.

“He was just quiet and when mum was talking about how much he had already hurt you I though he was going to cry. After lavender left he did start crying, saying that he would never be able to get you back now. He still loves you,” Ginny replied. 

Hermione glanced over at Draco who took the hint immediately and mumbled something about needing to nip to the shop. He left quickly and the two girls were alone. Hermione couldn't help but let the tears fall.

“She's having his baby,” Hermione sobbed, “I can't believe he got her pregnant.”

“He's distraught Hermione, he really loves you, the first thing he said when Lav told him was 'what about Hermione?'”

“What about me?” Hermione cried, “he should have thought about that before he started screwing her behind my back shouldn't he! How dare he! I swear when I get my hands on him...” she was angry and hurt and upset and she felt like grabbing the boy by the throat and strangling him! “if he hadn't cheated on me then he wouldn't have to think 'what about Hermione' would he, he would ….” 

Hermione stopped, he would what? Still be with her? Well yes he would but her and Draco would have still had that weird connection. Would she have left Ron for Draco anyway? Would she have even cheated on Ron with Draco if he had made a move on her? Draco was her Romeo...Draco was like her Lancelot, the one she was fated to be with whereas Ron was like Arthur, the one she would always love but never lit her world on fire. 

Draco was her Romeo, her Lancelot and her Fate. Ron had been her best friend and now Lavender was pregnant with his child. It was as though her world had turned on itself and she was left not knowing where she stood in the world. 

As thoughts ran through Hermione's head the red-headed girl shifted uncomfortably and bit her lip. It was though she had something she wanted to say, something she had wanted to say for a long time and eventually she plucked up the courage. 

“Look Mione, the thing is...well I know you're with Draco and you don't love Ron any more but I hate seeing him like this...I know what he did was wrong and I wont forgive him for that but I think you should tell him so he can move on.”
 

“I know I should,” Hermione said with a sigh, “but it can wait, until this lavender thing has died down.”

If she was honest with herself she was putting it off. She didn't want to tell him about Draco but she knew it was inevitable, he would find out eventually and it was better for her to tell him herself rather than have him find out his best friend and sister had been lying to him. 

Ginny nodded in agreement as Hermione wiped her tears. She stood up straight and her bossy air broke through. It was her defence mechanism.

“I hope he realises that the press are going to have a field day with this!” she snapped, “and what is that going to look like and of course I’m going to be involved and mobbed by them even more than I am now! Oh that boy does not think sometimes!”

“You sound just like mum,” Ginny giggled.

“Well he doesn't” Hermione replied sharply, “he doesn't think about anyone but himself!” 

Hermione slammed her fist down on the counter and sent a mug flying across the room. It shattered on the tiled floor of the kitchen and the cold tea leaked towards the two girls. Hermione's tears were angry now. Angry that he had done it in the first place, angry that he still loved her after all she had done to get over him and angry that he hadn't come and told her himself. He was an idiot and Hermione wanted to tell him that herself! 

“What is he going to do?” she asked Ginny through her tears. Ginny shrugged.

“I don't know, Lav says she's keeping the baby even though her parents don't want her too. They kicked her out and she's been living in an apartment in muggle London working as a waitress. Mum is bringing her to live with us, she says that no brainchild of hers is living in the muggle world. So I guess he's going to have to step up and be a dad. Fleur is not happy though. She's at home and her baby is due in just a few weeks, I think she thinks lavender and Ron are trying to steal her spotlight.” 

Ginny scoffed as she finished her sentence. It was no secret that Ginny didn't like Fleur but the baby had brought them closer, Ginny being more maternal than she would ever let on, but there was always that small side to the French girl that bugged the hell out of the red-head. 

“So he's going to be a dad,” Hermione whispered to herself. Ginny nodded and put a comforting hand on Hermione's arm.

“It will be alright...he's been asking after you, he wants you're advice. He asked me to bring you back after I had told you, of course I'm going to do no such thing, if he wants you he can come and get you himself! But he thinks your the only one that’s going to be able to help him.”

“Well you're right I’m not going anywhere near him until he comes to me himself the coward!” 

***

Ginny left Draco's apartment with a message for Ron to tell her himself, if he wanted to meet her he should send an owl and arrange a meeting place, if not then she wasn't coming after him and he could deal with it on his own. 

By the time Draco returned, Hermione was curled up on the sofa scribbling into a notebook, re-working her books so she could send them off to be publish. She was so immersed in the pages and her brain was racing with thoughts about the fact that she was going to have a book on the shelves she didn't even hear him walk through the door.

“Hermione?” he said as he came up behind her. The girl jumped and then smiled when she spotted Draco standing there with a bunch of lilies in one hand and a stack of books tied up with string in another.

“You have been shopping,” she laughed. Draco shrugged and placed the gifts on the table in front of Hermione.

“I can spoil my girlfriend can't I?” 

Hermione flushed red as the words left his mouth. Ron had never bought her gifts out of the blue. Draco saw the surprise and embarrassment on her face.

“I can take them back if you want?”

“No no, they are lovely, thank you, just the thing I needed to cheer me up actually.” She beamed at him and Draco left the room to put the flowers in the water as Hermione flicked through the books. All old and all a little dusty. There were a few old spell books in there and one or two diary's (that looked handwritten) by a girl named Olivia Reed. 

“Where did you get these from?” Hermione asked astounded as Draco returned to the sofa and sat down.

“Just a little place I know,” he smiled back at her, “maybe one day I will take you to see it.”
 

He looked at her intently with his silver eyes that eventually Hermione had to raise an eyebrow and ask what he was staring at.

“I'm just worried about you,” he said. Hermione couldn't help but laugh.

“I hope you realise how ridiculous that sounds. You telling me that he is worried about me. I swear if you had said this time last year that you were going to be worried about you I would have called you crazy.”

“This time last year I was worried about you...” he trailed in reply. Hermione just looked at him.

“What do you mean?” she asked astounded.

“It was about this time last year my aunt was...well you know. I know I didn’t say anything but...I didn’t want her to kill you, I didn’t want her to kill any of you...” 

Silence hung in the air as the memory was dragged back and the realisation that Draco hadn't wanted her hurt even then hit Hermione like a bullet and she couldn’t help but lean in and kiss him softly.

“You don't need to worry about me.”

“But all this stuff with Ron...”

“I'm a big girl, I’ll get over it. It hurts and I feel like I could kill him but I’m okay. And anyway, I have you now, I don't need anyone else.”

“Well all I can say to that is that if you had told me this time last year that I would be kissing you now I would have said that you were crazy,” he said before he leaned in and kissed her again. When he pulled away he was smiling. 

“But...there is a more pressing matter at hand,” he said as took Hermione's hand.

“And that is?”

“I want to take you to dinner and your little red-haired friend...”

“She has a name.”

“Okay, Ginny gave me an idea. I bumped into her in the ally as I was coming back and she mentioned that seeing as I can't go out with you and you can't be seen with me...maybe your Romeo might be able to make another appearance.”

 

 

 





Hey Guys =)

So this is my next chapter, hope you all liked the big secret but i figure that you prob guessed it anyway =) I feel like my chapters have been a bit more dark, depressing an uneventful recently but the next one is going to be a bit lighter and fun...more running away from the press and George get's to meet 'prince charming.' Please Read and Review =) Ta, Secret Passion xxx
 

 




Here's a little taster of Chapter 25 =)

 

The questions and camera flashes started as soon as they spotted her. Who was this mystery man and were they officially an item? Why did he wear a mask? How did Ron feel about this? Over the shouting male voices there came a small feminine voice pushing itself to the front. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief as the reporter who first asked her what she was wearing came up near her, she was asking the same question again. Hermione stopped and held up her hand. Everyone fell silent. She looked at the woman and her smile grew, Ginny was going to LOVE this.

“Ginny Weasly,” she said simply, “she designed and created this outfit for me.”

“Ginny Weasly?” the reported asked excitedly, “Harry Potters girlfriend, your best friend and sister of your former boyfriend.”

“Yes,” Hermione beamed, “she has quite a collection for me as I understand.” And with that Hermione and Draco turned into the restaurant and left the crowd of reporters behind.
 


Chapter 25: Zabini's
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Hermione knew stepping out into diagon ally with her 'prince charming' wasn't going to be easy but she could never have dreamed up the reception they actually received. 

Draco wanted to take her to a small restaurant in the ally that Hermione had walked by many times but never really had the money to eat in. She supposed now that Draco Malfoy was her boyfriend she wasn't going to have to worry about things like that. When his father had been put away Draco had 'inherited' over half of his fortune (with the rest going to his mother) and a couple of businesses which where still making money. 
 

To every normal couple going out to dinner would be as easy as falling asleep but Hermione and Draco where obviously not a normal couple. For one everyone knew her name and the papers followed her everywhere so she knew that when she booked a table for two under her name some sort of media was to be expected. 

But it wasn't just that it was Hermione Granger, it was going to be Hermione Granger and her masked prince charming. They had spent a whole night devising a plan. Hermione and Draco were going to apperate to just outside the leaky cauldron where they would enter together. Too many people knew where Draco lived so they couldn't just walk out of his flat. 

Hermione realised quickly that this was officially her and Draco's second date and panicked when she realised she didn't have anything to wear. Ginny however came up trumps once again. Hermione really was grateful that she knew about fashion because if she was honest Hermione didn't have a clue. She would much rather spend her money on books than clothes, a fact that her friend found astounding. Hermione guessed it was lucky that the quidditch player/fashion designer already had a million and one idea's and by the time the day of the date came around (just two days after Ron's big secret) Ginny already had something ready. 

Hermione had politely asked Draco to make himself busy in the morning when Ginny came over as the red-head was adamant that he wasn't allowed to see it until she was completely ready. Ginny waited in the living room flicking through a portfolio of sketches she had brought to show Hermione all the other dresses and outfits she wanted to create for her. Hermione meanwhile was in the spare room of Draco's apartment (where she had been sleeping for the past week) attempting to manoeuvre herself into a dress Ginny had created.. It was nice but it was defiantly for Hermione's figure and not Ginny's. 

Ginny had brought to Hermione a black dress. It was short in Hermione's opinion but she guessed that was the fashion these days. The dress was tight fitting and hugged her curves. It finished halfway down her thighs and it had a straight neckline with two thick straps. It showed a little of her back but wasn't too low for Hermione's liking. Ginny had actually done a pretty good job. It was simple and she was sure she could wear it again. What Hermione especially loved was the belt that seemed to suck in her waist. It was black like the dress but a white vine pattern decorated it and cut the dress up making it look less boring. Ginny had also had given Hermione a sheer black shawl and a black clutch bag with the same white vine pattern as well as some simple black heels. 

Hermione was defiantly starting to consider letting Ginny create her whole wardrobe like she wanted but she couldn't help but wonder what the papers where going to say if they saw her like this. They had never seen the brains of the golden trio in something so revealing before. 

She walked nervously out into the living room and was faced with a delight Ginny.

“Oooh sexy,” she said with a beaming smile, “he wont be able to keep his hands off you.”

Hermione shot her a weak smile and mumbled that she was going to changed back. She did so quickly but when she returned to the living room Ginny's facial expression had changed somewhat.

“Hermione Granger, are you sleeping in the spare room?” she asked as the bushy-haired girl sat down.

“Yes why?” Hermione answered. Ginny just laughed and shook her head.

“I told Harry you would be,” she said, “he was adamant that you would be sharing with Draco but I knew you wouldn't”

“It was his idea,” Hermione shrugged, “he didn't want me to feel uncomfortable.”

“But would it make you feel uncomfortable.” 

Hermione blushed and thought about it. Would sleeping in the same bed as Draco make her feel unconformable. Simple answer...no. She had gone to bed for a week knowing he was just in the next room and there was no one stopping her going in. The truth was that she really did want to but she knew what would happen if she did and that made her more nerves than she had ever felt in her life. Even more nervous than she had felt on O.W..L results day. She had put it off with Ron because she wasn't sure but with Draco...he seemed stronger and like he would look after her and know what he was doing and not be upset or annoyed if she didn't. She knew he would make her feel safe. 

“It wouldn't,” Hermione said to her friend.

“So you haven’t slept with him I’m guessing?” Ginny asked.

“No I haven’t.”

“Have you thought about it?”

“Yes,” Hermione admitted. Ginny smiled.

“Well I'm telling you this now, when he sees you in that dress it is all he is going to be thinking about.”

“Ginny!”

“What? Hermione he's a guy, it's how their brains work!”

“I guess,” Hermione said but as she said it butterflies rose in her stomach and she felt oddly excited. Maybe tonight was going to be the night?

***

Hermione knew that Draco had already left the flat and would be waiting for her in the leaky cauldron but she just couldn't work up the courage to apperate out to meet him. Instead she stood in front of the floor length mirror in his bedroom and examined herself from head to toe. Ginny had been right to put her in a dress like this. She looked classic. The little black dress that Ginny used to say Hermione was in great need of now adorned her body. 

Her hair was down but she had the hair slide Bill and Fleur had given her for Christmas keeping it out f her face. She hadn't been dressed up since the ball and it felt nice to be out of her normal jeans and jumper. 

But the butterflies were becoming more and more agitated. Hermione was sure she wasn't going to be able to eat anything. The thought that tonight might be the night that she finally slept in this bedroom made her feel excited nervous and physically sick all the same time. 

Glancing around the room Hermione felt that it was a little understated for a Malfoy. There was a large double bed with black covers but other than that a wardrobe a tv and some furniture and storage there wasn't much else. The only personal touch he had was a photograph of him and his mother when he had been small and a photograph of him and Hermione which had obviously been taken from the daily prophet seeing as it was them at the Christmas ball. 

Hermione shook out her nerves and before she had a chance to change her mind she turned on the spot and apperated out of the flat and into the muggle street just outside the leaky cauldron. Hoping no one had seen her (it might have been 8 o'clock but the street was fairly busy and it was only just starting to get dark) she slipped inside the leaky cauldron and looked around for her prince charming.

She couldn't help but let out a huge smile when she spied him in a corner of the room, one hand clamped around a butterbeer and one hand tapping on the table as if inpatient. A single cali lily lay on the table beside him. 

Hermione almost called his name but checked herself quickly. Here was a man with dark brown hair, that he seemed to have made slightly curly, darker skin than normal, a black suit on and a plain black mask covering his identity. She couldn't exactly shout his name across the room or their cover would be blown! 

But she couldn't just stand there looking like a lemon, she was starting to attract stares. A young woman dressed as she was was not often seen in the leaky couldren. Quickly crossing the room Hermione approached Draco who noticed her quickly and stood up beaming.

“You look....” he couldn't take his eyes off her and had to start again, “you look beautiful.”

He leaned in and kissed her gently and Hermione couldn't help but blush. She had been seeing Draco for four months and yet she had never felt so nervous to be with him. Her heart was doing 110mph and she felt her hands shaking as she took the flower he gave to her. 

Slowly she linked her arm with Draco's and they made their way out of the pub and into diagon ally. They walked down the cobbles and Hermione could feel the stares on the back of her neck and all most hear the whispers as she went by. 

They stopped about halfway down the ally, not far from Georges shop and turned into a little side street. The restaurant was lit brightly and looked so welcoming and warm...only the hoard of reporters stood outside seemed to put her off. There wasn't as many as she expected but there were enough for her to let out a little groan.

“It's okay, they wont know me,” Draco whispered to her, “and anyway, the restaurant has security keeping them back.”

Hermione nodded. That was true, they wouldn't crush her like they did last time so as she walked forward she straightened her shoulders and put on her best smile. 

The questions and camera flashes started as soon as they spotted her. Who was this mystery man and were they officially an item? Why did he wear a mask? How did Ron feel about this? Over the shouting male voices there came a small feminine voice pushing itself to the front. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief as the reporter who first asked her what she was wearing came up near her, she was asking the same question again. Hermione stopped and held up her hand. Everyone fell silent. She looked at the woman and her smile grew, Ginny was going to LOVE this.

“Ginny Weasly,” she said simply, “she designed and created this outfit for me.”

“Ginny Weasly?” the reported asked excitedly, “Harry Potters girlfriend, your best friend and sister of your former boyfriend.”

“Yes,” Hermione beamed, “she has quite a collection for me as I understand.” And with that Hermione and Draco turned into the restaurant and left the crowd of reporters behind. 

 She turned to Draco a huge smile stretched across her face.

“That felt good,” she said.

“You just need to know how to control them,” he replied, “you are in control, you are the one they are there for, it's all about control.”

“Maybe you should have taught me that when we first had to deal with them,” she giggled as the maitre'd walked up to them. It was at that point Hermione really took in her surroundings. 

The restaurant was even more beautiful on the inside than it looked outside. There were tables decorated with purple and gold that all had flowers floating just below the ceiling. To the left of the restaurant was a sheer purple curtain. It was through to that area that Hermione and Draco where led. They passed through the curtain and came into a small private area where there was a table, a violin on a stand and a personal waiter. 

“I didn't ask for this!” Hermione said as she spied the purple cali lilies that were obviously there for her, “I just booked a normal table for two!”

The maitre'd left and Draco immediately took off his mask, causing his skin to pale and his hair to turn back blonde.

“Draco!” Hermione cried...then she clamped a hand over her mouth, they were going to blow the whole thing.

“It's okay,” Draco laughed, “There is a reason I wanted to bring you here...we have all the privacy we need. No one will be able to see or hear us and the only person who can come in and out of this room, is the waiter...who just happens to be...” Draco pointed to the waiter and Hermione got a good look at him.

“Blaise?” she cried.

“The one and only,” he laughed back.

“What on earth are you doing here?” she asked.

“My uncle's restaurant, you know that's why it's called 'Zabini's.' After you booked Draco called in a favour, don't worry no one will ever know he was here, I’ll cover up all the receipts and everything...which is something that I seem to do more commonly than it would be thought.” He laughed again and led Hermione to the table and pulled her chair out for her. “Might I say you do look extraordinarily beautiful tonight.”

“Ever the gentleman Blaise,” Draco laughed, “why don't you go get us some drinks, the normal for me and I think Hermione should try the Salamander Stir.” Blaise nodded, flicked his wand at the violin which started playing on it's own and left.

“Salamander stir?” she asked with raised eyebrows.

“It's not as bad as it sounds I promise,” Draco said, “but seeing as they don't do butterbeer here I figured you wouldn't have a clue.”

“True,” Hermione agreed, “I can't believe you did this though.”

“I wanted to make it special, me and mum used to come here all the time, especially when my dad was acting like an arse. It is somewhere I can get away too....and the chef always gives me free pudding.” He winked at her and took her hand across the table, “I want it to be a special place for us to. Somewhere we can come were we can be in public without having to worry about who is going to find us or report us. Blaise is coming to work here full time when he leaves, running it and all that, his uncle is getting a bit old and is letting him take over, we will always have this place to be us.” 

Hermione felt like she was melting on the spot and the touch of his hand on hers was sending and odd tingling feeling up and down her body. Draco brought her hand up to his lips and kissed it gently before he dropped it gently and motioned to the menus in the middle of the table. Hermione picked it up and quickly scanned her eyes over the page.

“Draco, this is so much more expensive than I thought, I can't eat here!”

“Of course you can,” he laughed, “I'm paying and I have plenty of money to spare.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive, pick the most expensive thing on there if you want.” 

Hermione went back to reading and defiantly decided not to have the most expensive thing on there. Instead she chose a starter that sounded way too fancy but when Blaise came back in with the drinks he told her that it was fancy version of a prawn cocktail. Hermione didn't have a clue what Draco had ordered and when Blaise disappeared he motioned to the drink.

“Try it,” he said as he sipped at a large glass of red wine (Hermione guessed it was French seeing as she knew it was his favourite). 

The drink Blaise had brought her was an orange colour and small flames lept out of the top. Hermione was a little uneasy.

“Won't it burn my mouth?”

“It's perfectly cool,” Draco said. Hermione wasn't too sure but lifted it to her lips anyway. 

He was right it was cool but the sensation as it went down her throat was the strangest she had ever felt. And the taste...well she couldn't describe it, it wasn't a hot taste but it was, it wasn't sweet but it wasn't dry. She couldn't put her finger on it...but it tasted delicious. So delicious that she couldn't wait to try the rest of her meal. 

***

The remainder of the date went by smoothly. After Hermione had her starter she had a pasta dish that tasted delicious and then they both shared a massive bowl of ice cream that she swore she could eat over. They spent the time laughing and talking, only letting go of each others hands when they had to eat but always with legs touching. Hermione felt so much more relaxed and happy than she had in a while. She had needed this. The lightness of it all. 

She loved listening to Draco and his stories of holidays in France and Italy, of sneaking into the cellar to taste the wine while is father wasn't looking. She loved knowing about when he was younger Dobby used to come into his room and read him stories and that when he heard the elf had died he had actually cried. 

He told her about how he had learned to horse ride and could shoot and how he used to watch the parties his family held from the stairs. Hermione joked the whole way through about how he was a typical rich boy. 

He ended up asking her about her family. She told him about how her mother would take her to the library every week and they would pick out a book for each other that they would have to finish by the end of the week. She told him about how her father taught her the piano and she used to play for him on Sunday nights. She told him about her best friend at school and how they used to go out bike riding and have picnics. 

They learnt so much about each other in that one night that Hermione felt closer to him than she ever had. She knew his fathers presence had been why he had acted the way he was but she loved the way he was now, maybe he had needed to go through that otherwise he wouldn't be who he was today. 

Hermione really wanted to know about him during the previous year but she knew it would be too soon for him so she didn't even mention it. Instead they joked and laughed their whole way through the evening. 

By the time it came for them to leave they had been in the restaurant for two hours and it was dark outside. Hermione knew that there were going to be reporters and the thought made her blood run cold. She didn't want to have them ruin and wonderful evening, Blaise wanted to help but there wasn't a back way out. She would just have to face them. 

Draco placed the mask back on his face and his appearance changed instantly. He bent down and kissed Hermione gently.

“It will be fine, if not we can make a run for it,” he winked. Hermione giggled in reply and instantly felt better.

“Okay, let's go then.” 

They stepped out of the curtained room and pushed the double doors open to leave. What they met with Hermione did not expect. It was as though every single reporter from every single magazine had turned up. The security guards couldn't keep them back as cameras started flashing and questions started being thrown. They were engulfed in a sea of people and the only thing Hermione could do was try not to cry. 

They couldn't apperate because of the amount of people clinging onto them but Draco grabbed her hand an pulled her out of the crowd and started running. Hermione didn't know what else to do but follow. They ran out of the crowd and around the corner but they were being followed and they couldn't very well disappear down to Draco's flat or they would know. They were both too panicked to apperate. One of the reporters had tried to grab Draco's mask and he was halfway between wanting to go back and stun the guy and wanting to get Hermione safe. 

But Hermione had one last idea and pulled Draco into a small Alley where she unlocked a door and slipped inside. They heard the reporters run by shouting and then they heard them leaving thinking they must have apperated. 

Hermione breathed a sigh of relief and leant back against the wall. Her ankle throbbed a little, running in heels was something she was never doing again! Draco Ripped off his mask in anger.

“They tried to take it off!” he said holding it up to her, his silver grey eyes flashing with anger. “I have every mind to sue their arses!”

“And yet somehow I think that would defeat the point of secrecy,” Hermione giggled glad to be out of the whole situation. She crossed the room and laced her arms around Draco's waist. He kissed her on the head and then looked around.

“Where are we exactly....”

Hermione opened her mouth to answer but a light from a door on the other side of the room stopped her.

“Who are you and what are you doing in my shop?” George growled pointing his wand at them.
 

 




I hope you like the chapter, Read and Review ta xxxx

 




And here's a sneak peak of the next chapter


She got into the bed and snuggled in Draco's arms. This was where she was safe, this was where she belonged. With him. He kissed her gently, then he kissed her again and again with such passion that Hermione hadn't felt since Christmas night. She knew he liked to be careful with her, he didn't want to overstep the line but she kissed him back just as ferociously and let her hands run along the skin of his bare chest. Their legs entwined under the covers and Hermione couldn't help but be glad she had shaved her legs earlier in the day.


 


Chapter 26: George is Right
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Hermione's sharp gasp and instant look of horror made George look twice at the people standing in the store room of his shop.

“Hermione?” he asked, “Malfoy!” George flicked on the light of the room and stepped closer. There was a look of shock and disgust plastered all over his face.

“George...” Hermione said weakly, “Hi!” Her voice was too high-pitched. She had been caught out. If only Draco had kept his mask on.

“Would you mind telling me what you are doing in my store room at eleven at night with Malfoy?” His words were directed at Hermione but his wand and eyes were focused on a slowly retreating Malfoy.

Hermione didn't know how to get out of this one. The next day the papers would print pictures of her and her Romeo dressed just how Draco is now and George would know. She couldn't lie to him.

“Put your wand down and I'll tell you everything,” Hermione said walking up to George and placing a hand on his arm. George looked around at her and lowered his wand.

“Please don't tell me what I'm thinking is true,” he whispered.

Hermione looked at him with sad eyes. The Weasley boy looked tired and there was none of the life behind his eyes. He looked so lost and broken. Hermione couldn't even begin to imagine what he was going through. He was a shadow of his former self. He was missing one half of his soul.

And now Hermione was about to tell him that she was in love with an ex-death eater. One who was on the side of the person who killed his brother. How could she do that to him. He looked so sad. But she had to, there was no way she could get out of this situation and she knew it.

She launched into an explanation. About everything. She told him he was the prince charming and how they had been seeing each other since Christmas. She told him about dinner and about how they had to run away from the reporters and came in here to escape from them. As she spoke she saw George's face fall.

“You haven’t told Ron have you,” he said. Hermione shook her head, tears forming.

“No, not yet, I’m going to tell him when we get back after the holidays.” George just nodded sadly and lifted his eyes to her.

“I expected better,” he said turning around and starting to walk back towards the door, “Lock up on your way out.”

“Wait George, you won’t tell anyone will you?”

“No, I’ll leave that to you. I'll let you tell my brother about how you are now with a death-eater. And Hermione, no good will come of this. You will end up getting hurt or he will end up getting hurt. People aren’t going to like this and one day you will have people coming after you.” He turned out the light and left the room. Hermione burst into tears.

***

Draco managed to get her back to his flat and made her tea while she cried about how everyone was going to hate her Ron would never forgive her and even Harry was starting to hate it. Draco had never seen her this upset. George must have really gotten to her.

After a while Hermione said she needed a shower and to go to bed so she kissed Draco and left the room. The shower gave her time to think. To think about how she was stupid to think that everyone was just going to accept it. She knew everyone was going to hate her and she knew that it would take them a long time to let them be together in peace.

After her shower she went into the spare room and changed into simple white cotton pyjamas. So much for tonight being the night then. She curled up in her bed and closed her eyes trying to block out the image on George's face. He looked so hurt.

Hermione listened as Draco walked to his bedroom and got ready for bed. After the flat had been quiet for a while Hermione started to think. She loved Draco so why should anyone stop her? She loved him so why should what other people think spoil their relationship? Why should it spoil her night?

She carefully got out of bed and tip toed out of her room towards his. Her stomach bubbled with butterflies and she almost turned back but wanted this, she wanted him. Slowly she opened the door and closed it behind her.

“Hermione?” Draco whispered into the dark.

“Yes,” she replied, her voice shaking slightly.

“Is everything okay?”

“It's fine...I just thought....” she didn't have to finish her sentence, Draco had lifted up the covers and patted the space beside him. Hermione didn't have to see to know he had a beaming smile on his face.

She got into the bed and snuggled in Draco's arms. This was where she was safe, this was where she belonged. With him. He kissed her gently, then he kissed her again and again with such passion that Hermione hadn't felt since Christmas night. She knew he liked to be careful with her, he didn't want to overstep the line but she kissed him back just as ferociously and let her hands run along the skin of his bare chest. Their legs entwined under the covers and Hermione couldn't help but be glad she had shaved her legs earlier in the day.

Draco broke away from her and looked her in the eye.

“Is this okay?” he asked as he let one of his hands gently run underneath her top.

“This is perfect,” she replied before kissing him again. Then she broke away and looked the blonde straight in the eye.

“Draco did you sleep with Astoria?” Draco looked at her.

“Yes,” he replied truthfully. Hermione nodded. She felt more relieved than she thought she would. At least he would know what he was doing.

“If I don't know what I’m doing I’m sorry,” she blushed. Draco just drew her tighter into his arms.

“We don't have to do anything you don't want to do.”

“But...I do want to I just....” Draco kissed her and stroked her hair back from her face.

“Don't worry I will look after you, I promise.” With that he kissed her like he had never kissed her before, full of fire and passion with such a gentle edge that they both melted into the bed.

***

A sharp bang woke Hermione and Draco instantly. There were voices on the other side of the bedroom door.

“Shit, they are here,” Draco whispered to her as he leapt from the bed and pulled on his boxers and trousers. He threw Hermione his shirt and her underwear. She didn’t even ask what was going on but got dressed as quickly and as silently as she could. Draco rushed over to her and drew her into a hug.

“I’m sorry that I’ve put you in this danger,” he said. He kissed her gently “go into the bathroom and lock the door, don’t come out no matter what you hear okay?”

“But…” she began as she grabbed her wand from the side. Draco just pushed it to her chest and shook his head.

“If they see you they will kill you, now please, just hide.”

Hermione listened to him as the voices grew louder and she only just managed to lock the door on the en-suit bathroom when they burst into Draco’s room. 

“Gentlemen,” The blonde boy said in his old slick voice. Hermione shivered on the other side of the door. She was half rooted to the spot from fear and half itching to go and stun every last one of them. She had helped defeat Voldemort for god sake she could take out a few possible ex-death eaters.

“You’re coming with us Malfoy,” one of the men said. Hermione could hear a shake in Draco’s voice as he replied.

“Why would I want to do that?” The man who spoke before laughed.

“My sister has told me a lot about you. About how you broke her heart. I wouldn’t be smart about this if I were you Malfoy, your name doesn’t hold the same level of respect as it used to. ‘He’ wants to see you. Apparently you have been seen in the presence of mudbloods and Astoria thinks that you are going too far.”

“Since when has Astoria had anything to do with you guys?”

“Since she became our eyes and ears of Hogwarts,” the man laughed, “that’s not the point. The point is that you have been summoned and I don’t think he will like it if you decline.”

Hermione stood paralyzed to the spot as she listened to what was going on. They were going to take Draco away. They were the group he was so scared of and they were going to take him away.

“How long will this take?” Draco asked.

“Depends on how well you co-operate, he want’s answers to some questions he has. Answers Astoria cannot give because she isn’t mixing with the right people…this is where you come in.”

“He said I didn’t have to decided yet, that I could wait out my two years for the ministry and then join. I can’t be seen to be linked with you or they will cart me off to Azkaban and then where will you lot be.”

“He has his methods…” 

There was a loud thunk and a groan of pain from Draco. Hermione almost leapt from the bathroom in an instant but no matter how good she was at spells if Astoria’s brother had thugs with him she could never put up a fight…she didn’t even know how to fight without the use of a wand! She would probably just make everything worse.

“He said he would give me time!” Draco cried.

“He will give you time to choose whether to join, but he needs some answers! Now!” 

Another loud thud and cry of pain escaped from Draco before a loud crack echoed around the room and Hermione was left in silence and alone. She scrambled up from the bathroom floor, her heart pounding her hands shaking. She was panicking and she didn’t know what they hell she should do. If this had been a normal situation then she would go to Harry or Ron or Ginny but none of them knew about this and she didn’t want them calling the authorities then Draco would be in trouble. What could she do? She could ask Astoria but if that was Astoria’s brother she didn’t want to have to deal with that and anyway that would probably make the situation worse. 

Should she wait here? Should she call someone she knew? Her dad would know what to do if this wasn’t anything to do with magic. He would have phoned the police, demanded they help and complained if they didn’t. But she couldn’t even rely on him now! 

She opened the door quietly, her hands still shaking, no one was in the bedroom but there was a small bloodstain on the carpet. She had pulled her wand out to clean it up but stopped herself. Maybe she should leave it there for evidence. Should she just wait for him to come back? Hermione glanced at the clock. It was three in the morning. She would get into bed and wait and if he hadn’t come back in an hour she would go to Harry. Hermione climbed into the bed and laid her head down on the pillow, tears dripping onto the fabric. She didn’t mean to fall asleep but she couldn’t help but let her eyes close.

***

“Hermione!” the harsh whisper breathed against her ear and she shuddered awake. Her vision was hazy but she could feel the sheets where damp. She pulled them up to her eyes and shot up instantly. Draco was laying by the side of her, his eyes rolling in his head and blood dripping from cuts along his torso, arms and head. The sheets where soaked with blood.

“Draco,” she cried, “Draco are you okay?” 

She knew it was a stupid question but she didn’t know what to say. He was groaning in pain and seemed to be drifting in and out of consciousness. Tears dripped down Hermione face as she pulled him towards her and stroked back his hair from his sweat soaked face. He was bleeding and in pain and she didn’t know what to do. 

Leaping up from the bed she grabbed her wand but didn’t know what spell to do. When Ron had been hurt in the forest she had just used dittany and now she didn’t have any. He needed help; he needed to go to the hospital.

“You need to go to St Mungos” she said quickly and tried to pull him up off the bed to apparate but he held up his hand to stop her.

“No,” he whispered, his voice cracking, “they will ask questions.”

“But we need to get you help. You have to go get help.” Her voice was desperate.

“Not St Mungos!” he hissed at her. Hermione’s mind was racing. She could take him to a muggle doctor but she didn’t think that he would appreciate them and it wasn’t as good as magic, he might not survive. Dragging Draco closer to her she held onto her wand tightly.

“Not St Mungos,” Draco pleaded again.

“No, not St Mungos,” Hermione replied, “The Weasley’s.”

But as Hermione turned on the spot she couldn’t help but feel like maybe George was right, Draco had got hurt and she might just too.

 

 

 

 

 

 









I am so sorry that I havn't updated in AGES but I havn't been able to get onto the internet. So here is the long awaited chapter. Alot happens in it but the next chapter is where it all blows up in her face and Ron is let in on the secret. Again i'm sorry it took so long, hopefully it will be less time now. I hope you like it. hopefully the next chapter will be up after christmas when the que is back up.  Please read and review. Secret Passion xxxx

 
 
 
 
 
 


Chapter 27: Ron Finds Out
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She landed in the garden, only a few metres from the main house. The sun streamed down through the bends in the structure and Hermione could see flashes of red hair move by the windows. Hermione struggled a few steps forward with Draco but fell to the ground quickly. She couldn’t hold his weight. Laying him on the floor gently she glanced over his wounds, they looked awful. His face was battered and bruised, his lip cut and his eye swelling. His chest held a myriad of cuts and she thought some of his ribs might be broken. 

Hermione looked around the garden, Mrs Weasley was walking out the front door, bucket in her hand and chicken around her feet. She looked happy enough…she wouldn’t be when she found out who was bleeding to death on her property.

“Mrs Weasley!” she cried in desperation. The woman looked up, her eyes widening.

“Hermione!” she called back, dropping the bucket and starting to run over, “what on earth…” she stopped when she spotted Draco but she didn’t scream or banish Hermione from her land. Instead she ran back into the house and called for Harry and Ginny. The pair rushed out.

“Hermione!” Harry cried, “what happened?” But the sobs had overtaken Hermione’s body and she couldn’t even answer, just watch as Mrs Weasley conjured a stretcher and took Draco inside. 

Hermione couldn’t move. Her hands shook and her body shivered but she couldn’t speak and she couldn’t move from where she was sitting on the ground staring at the blood on her hands. She didn’t really notice when Ginny wrapped her up in a blanket. She didn’t really notice when Harry picked her up in his arms, carried her into the house and laid her on her bed. She certainly didn’t pay any attention when Mrs Weasley came into the room and told them both to make sure she had a drink. She didn’t care that sleep took her just moments after she finished it.

***

Hermione blinked her eyes open and rolled over onto her side. The sun was high in the sky and was flickering through the pointless curtains. It took her a second to realise where she was and a second to wonder why there was a flicker of red blocking the light.

“Ginny?” Hermione croaked, her voice stuck with tears and sleep.

“How are you feeling?” the girl asked, her face lined with worry that Hermione hadn’t seen since the battle.

“I’m ok?”

“Were you hurt? What happened?”

Hermione shook her head and closed her eyes again. Draco would have to tell harry now, there was no escaping it. At least if he told Harry she would be listened too and maybe it would all be easier. Maybe.

“How’s Draco?” she asked sitting up quickly as if everything had just flooded back to her. He was so hurt, he was so ill. Ginny pushed the girl to lie back down.

“Malfoy is fine…well he’s unconscious but he is alive. Mums trying her best but she really thinks he should go to st mungos…”

“NO!” Hermione snapped.

“Which is why,” Ginny continued, “she called in a favour with one of her cousins who is a healer, she’s here now and I think he’s going to be ok.” 

Hermione relaxed back into the bed. Good, he was going to be ok. At least he would be ok. Now she just had to find out where he went and why. She knew that Astoria’s brother was involved but was he made to join, did they find out about her. Hermione shot up quickly and wrenched the covers off, she had to see him, make sure they were safe and if not she had to get him out of here. Maybe they could go to her parents old home in Australia. She really did hope that he hadn’t told them anything.

“Ginny, I need to see him,” Hermione snapped, “I need to see him now.” She climbed out of the bed quickly. Much to the furious protest of her friend.

“Hermione, you need rest!” Ginny snapped, a look of fire in her eyes.

“No, I’m fine, nothing happened to me,” she replied as she pulled on a dressing gown that was next to the bed. She snatched her wand off the table before Ginny could stop her. “Now so help me Ginny Weasley I will curse you so bad that you can’t walk for a month if you don’t tell me where he is right now.” 

Ginny knew better than to deny her friend when she was in this mood so she ended up leading her down the corridor and up a flight of steps towards Percy’s old room. The door was slightly ajar and Hermione could hear two whispered voices. She waited and held her wand to Ginny to make her wait too.  

“Well,” one of the voices said, “I’ve fixed the broken ribs and the internal bleeding but he’s going to be sore, so make sure he takes the potion three times a day and he should recover in no time. The cuts where deep so I have managed to heal them but they will leave a bit of scaring I’m afraid. Other than that he should be back to his full health in a few weeks.”

“Thank you Cath,” Mrs Weasley’s voice came from inside, “I am thankful for your discretion.”

“No problem Molly, I’ll call back in a few days to see how he’s doing, he may yet still have some injuries we are unaware of, just keep a close eye on him and wake him up every three hours.”

“Of course.”

The door swung open and Hermione jumped quickly back, looking sheepish as Mrs Weasley walked out with the healer. The red haired woman gave Hermione a look somewhere between pity and confusion before leading the healer down the stairs. Hermione didn’t wait another second and shot into the bedroom. Ginny followed at sat on a chair by the door. 

Hermione stroked her hand over Draco’s and tried to push the tears back as she gazed on his almost lifeless form. She really thought he had died. She thought they had killed him and taken him away from her. But no, it wasn’t that easy. Instead they were making him suffer in pain, who knew how many times they had used the cruciatious curse on him. Maybe he had lost his mind like Neville’s parents had. If she ever found out who did this then….

“Mrs Weasley said he was going to be ok,” Harry said walking into the room and putting a hand on Ginny’s shoulder. His face was pale and he didn’t look happy but he softened when he saw a tear roll slowly down Hermione’s cheek. The girl simply nodded, not taking her eyes of Draco’s face.

“I know you don’t want to hear this Hermione but you need to know. He’s going to have to be questioned…and so are you…” Hermione’s head snapped up.

“But I have nothing to do with it. I know as much about what happened tonight as you do.” She was lying through her teeth but she had done it before, Harry would buy any story she threw at him. There was a slight squeeze on her hand. Draco was conscious but though all she wanted to do was talk to him and fling her arms around him if she drew attention to it Harry would have him carted off to the ministry within seconds.

“You were there so you must be questioned,” he shrugged as if he had done nothing but tell her that a lesson had moved time.

“Harry, you don’t really think that Hermione has anything to do with this!” Ginny snapped.

“No of course not,” he sighed, he glanced over at Hermione’s grief stricken face and back to his stern girlfriend.

“Ok, fine,” he said holding his hands up, “you can stay out of it for but if this gets serious I will have to talk to you.” 

Hermione nodded. She had escaped for now but Harry still wanted to talk to Draco and it was likely that he could be carted off to Azkaban from one side or killed for snitching from the other. How was he going to win? 

“Harry? Ginny?” The voice echoed through the house and a stab of fear shot through Hermione’s heart. Ron. Oh god it was Ron. She looked over to her best friend whose brown eyes where wide but it was too late, Ron was at the door. Hermione instinctively stepped in front of Draco, trying to shield him.

“Hermione?” he said, his voice full of relief and fear, “you came.” He walked towards her and drew her into an awkward hug. Then he saw Draco. 

“Ron,” Hermione began, he voice quaking.

“What is this?” he asked slowly, backing away slightly.

“Draco was injured,” Ginny said simply, standing up and pulling her brother back by his shirt. Ron turned to look at her, his eyes turning from confusion to annoyance.

“But why is he here?” he snarled through his teeth, “why is it I have a death eater in my house?”

“Because I didn’t know where else to take him,” Hermione snapped, irritated by his self-riotousness. Ron gaped at her.

“Well what on earth were you doing with him?” he asked after a few moments of awkward silence. Ron’s face was slowly rising in colour and Hermione had to hold back a smirk. She never thought that this was the way that it would come out to Ron. Then she remembered Draco who was stirring uncomfortably in bed.

“Can we talk about this another time, Draco needs rest,” Hermione said through gritted teeth. 

Ron looked as though he was going to tell her no but a quick tug on the back of his shirt from Ginny and a meek ‘come on mate,’ from Harry was enough to let the ginger haired boy leave the room, even if he did slam all the doors he went through. Ginny crossed the room and looked out of the window. 

“He’s kicking Gnomes,” she said to Hermione, “he only kicks gnomes when he’s angry and confused.”

“Great,” Hermione mumbled, “so even though he cheated on me and got the person he cheated on me with pregnant I’m going to be the one with all the shit because I’m with someone who I care about.” Hermione glanced over at where Draco lay, his black bruises showing up starkly against his pale hair and white sheets.

“You aren’t going to get half as much crap as I am,” Harry snapped from behind her, “he’s been asking me for weeks to tell him and when he knows what exactly it is I’ve been keeping from him he is going to kill me.” Hermione twisted to look at him.

“You make it seem like I burdened you with it, I never told you, you wormed it out of me because you are too nosy!” Harry sighed and nodded.

“I guess I should go and see if he’s ok,” he said, leaving the room and closing the door gently behind him. 

Hermione glanced out of the window and watched as Harry walked up to Ron. Ron turned to his best friend and snapped something. Gently Hermione opened the window and let the words drift up to the room. Ginny shot a worried look at her but didn’t say anything. Instead the red-head sat at Draco’s side and tried to clean up the remaining blood that was caught in the roots of his hair.

“I know just as much as you Ron,” Harry snapped at his friend, “she just turned up with him out of the blue last night. He was all beaten and we thought he was going to die. What else was your mum going to do but let him stay.”

“Yes but why was Hermione even with him in the first place! I mean there’s a massive blown up picture with her and that prince charming on the front of the paper this morning, she said she was staying with her parents…” Ron stopped short and his eyes widened. Almost at the exactly same time Ginny’s did too.

“He’s worked it out,” she whispered fearfully jumping to her feet. Hermione shut the window and rushed from the room. She was on the bottom step as Ron stormed into the kitchen, the door swung on its rusting hinges. 

“HE’S YOUR PRINCE CHARMING!” Ron screamed throwing the paper that was on the table at her. Hermione looked at her. Her and Draco had their heads together and were giggling to each other. Hermione had to admit, the dress looked stunning. She gave the paper who gave a quick squeak of excitement but she folded the paper up quickly when Ron glared at her.

“WELL!” Ron cried again, “TELL ME! IS DRACO THE PRINCE CHARMING EVERYONE KEEPS BANGING ON ABOUT? WELL!” 

Hermione took a few steps back up the stairs and tried to blink back the tears that were starting to form. She nodded and tried not to crumble at the look of complete distress in his eyes. The red-head rounded on his sister.

“Did you know about this?” he shot at her. Ginny’s defences flew up.

“I really don’t think Ronald Weasley that it has anything to do with you in the slightest. She is at liberty to date whomever she wants and to tell whoever she wants about it…I would grant yourself lucky that she even talks to you after what you did to her!” 

Hermione couldn’t help but feel more empowered when Ginny finished her sentence. Her best friend always had a way of bringing the boys back to earth with a bang. Ron was flustered just as Ginny had wanted him to be but the girl wasn’t finished completely.

“And after you make me go over to see her because you were too much of a cowered to tell her too her face that you got the girl you cheated on her with pregnant it’s a wonder you have the balls to say something like that to her. Her life is her life and it has nothing to do with you anymore, you gave that up when you broke her heart, it’s not Draco’s fault that he’s a better boyfriend than you!” With that Ginny took Hermione’s hand and pushed past Ron, walking furiously into the garden.

“Wow Ginny,” was all Hermione could say but the girl was obviously still fuming.

“Oh that boy irritates the hell out of me! It’s ok for him to do something and it it’s not ok for others. Did I tell you what he said to me? He told me that I shouldn’t be having sex with Harry because I’m too young and I might get pregnant and then where would I be…not a class A hypocrite like him that’s for sure!”

But still she wasn’t finished. She soon spotted Harry sulking in the corner of the garden.

“And you!” she cried, “not even standing up for Hermione, pretending you haven’t got a clue what’s going on! You might be best friends with Ron but how dare you put his needs in this situation above Hermione’s! Or should I say your needs, you are just as bad as him!” Ginny took Hermione hand, “come on, we need to go get you and Draco some things.” With that the two girls apparated out of the Weasley garden and into Draco’s kitchen.

It hadn’t changed from the night before, there were still a few plates in the sink and a plate of uneaten ham sandwiches on the side from lunch the previous day. Hermione prodded them, they were a little stale but she was hungry so she ate two squares. Then she walked into the spare room and pulled out her wand, magically moving everything into the truck that stood at the foot of her bed.

“Hermione?” Ginny called from Draco’s room.

“Yeah?” she replied walking into it to see Ginny holding up her t-shirt and jeans.

“I did wonder why you turned up in his shirt and a pair of pants but I didn’t quite come to this conclusion.” She winked at her friend and glanced at the bed…then she saw the blood. It was everywhere, on the sheets on the floor, even on the wall. She didn’t have to look at it for long, Ginny quickly siphoned it up with her wand. Like that it was gone and she could walk around the room collecting things for Draco, his wand being the main thing. It was in a draw by the bed and Hermione hated that he hadn’t been able to defend himself against the men who had taken him. She piled the things into the trunk and stuffed a miserable and unfed crook shanks into his basket before going back to the burrow ready to face an angry Ron.

 

 

 

 








I am so sorry i havn't updated but i havn't had internet and i've been working on a few novels unrelated to hp. I will try and get the next chapter up as soon as possible =) Secret Passion xxx
 
 
 


Chapter 28: The Ministry Intervenes
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Hermione pulled the string tight over the brown paper and set the parcel lovingly on the desk. Dipping her quill into a pot of dark blue ink and gently write out the address of the publishing agency on the letter she had been pouring over for the past two days. Glancing over to the bed her eyes landed on a sleeping Draco. They had been there for nearly a week already and he was still sleeping most of the day. Mrs Weasley had told her it was normal after such a traumatic experience but Hermione was worried. 

Ron had been ignoring her since she had returned from Draco’s. He refused to eat dinner at the table and spent more than a normal amount of time working at the shop. 

“He’s trying to earn more money,” Ginny said to Hermione when the bushy haired girl explained her worries about her ex, “so that when Lav has the baby he can provide for it and all that, I think he’s scared of his child growing up in the same life we have.”

The red-head turned scarlet, “of course we had a good childhood and all, I just meant, you know, with money and that.” 

Hermione knew. Ron had moaned enough over the past eight years about the money situation for Hermione to know all about it. Of course he would want to provide for his child. It was good that he was taking it upon himself to do that but…she was still pregnant, it still hurt. 

Hermione finished writing the address and called Hettie from the window sill. She spent a few moments stroking her rich brown feathers before tying the parcel and letter to her leg. The owl took flight and Hermione watched the owl fly through the trees and out of sight. Well, that was it. The book was finished and it was gone, she couldn’t get it back. All she could do was to wait for a reply. 

“Mione?” Draco’s voice sounded from the bed. Hermione turned and smiled at the pale creature.

“Yes?” she asked walking over to the bed and feeling Draco’s forehead with the back of her hand.  He didn’t answer just pushed himself up and kissed her gently. His lips felt dry so Hermione pulled away and made him drink the glass of water by the bed. 

“Better,” she smiled.

“Better,” he repeated, “I really should be getting back to my flat,” he continued looking worriedly around the room as if he half expected Ron to jump out and jinx him at any moment. He pushed himself up further and went to get out of bed but Hermione pushed him back down.

“Don’t you dare,” she said rearranging the pillows and pulling the patchwork quilt that Mrs Weasley had obviously made back over him. Draco didn’t have the energy to fight her. 

“I am imposing, I am the reason her son…”

“No,” Hermione snapped, “no you are not the reason Fred is dead and don’t you dare think it. You did not kill him and Voldemort was the reason he was killed.”

Draco flinched at his old Masters name and closed his eyes to the sunlight that streamed through the window. Hermione watched his chest move up and down and didn’t disturb him as he drifted off back into sleep. It was better for him to sleep; if he slept he wasn’t in pain. 

The healer had done a good job but the cuts had been so deep, so damaging, that there was still feint scars over his torso. To look at his face you would think he had never been touched but the feint purple circles around his eyes and the lack of pink in his cheeks you would know otherwise. 

She couldn’t sit here for the rest of the day watching him like some deranged stalker. She knew he was safe and she had other things to do. Studying for her N.E.W.T.S for one thing and Ginny wanted to go shopping…again… 
 

Hermione had promised to take her to a great muggle shopping centre she had once been to with her mother but whether Ginny would be able to wrap her head around actually being able to buy clothes with her own money. George paid the girl way too much for how much time she actually worked in the shop but he was her only sister so Hermione guessed he just wanted to spoil her, much to Mrs Weasley’s dismay and gratitude. 

Hermione left the room and closed the door silently behind her. Making her way down the stairs Hermione was stopped short as an argument irrupted in the kitchen. She stopped at the bottom of the stairs and hid from the view of those in the next room. 

“Ron will you just drop it,” Harrys voice snapped. 

“No, I’m not just going to drop it!” Ron replied, “how can she even think that this is ok, how can she even think that I would be ok with it!” 

“Ronald,” Ginny’s voice burst out, “may I remind you once again that she is no longer your girlfriend!” 

“But she could have been,” Ron hissed, “she could have been if the ferret hadn’t got his death-eater claws into her.”

“No!” Ginny cried, “no she wouldn’t have been, you gave up any right over her when you slept with Lavender!”

“I could have got her back,” Ron sulked.

“No you couldn’t have,” Ginny snapped, “stop acting like the victim in this when you’re not, Hermione is, anyway if it wasn’t Draco it would have been Dean!” 

“Dean?” Hermione whispered to herself. Hadn’t Privati said something about Dean.  

“Dean? As in Gryffindor Dean?” Harry said.

“As in your ex-boyfriend Dean?” Ron said.

“Yes Dean,” Ginny replied, “he’s liked Hermione for ages, gosh, for two people that are meant to be going into the auror department when you leave you really don’t know anything.”

“That bastard,” Ron shot, “and he calls himself my friend!” 

“Again Ron, not your girlfriend, now if you two don’t mind I’m going to see my best friend and her sick boyfriend, and Ron when your hiding out at Georges please remember to pick me up the things I asked for.” 

Hermione heard the kitchen door wrench open and then slam shut again. Ginny rounded the corner and almost bumped into her friend 

“Hey Gin,” she beamed as she walked into the kitchen, pretending that she had only just walked down the stairs. Ginny followed her.

“Hey, how is he doing?”

“No change really, where are the boys?”

“Oh Harry has gone to sort out some sort of Quidditch plan for Ravenclaw, he’s convinced they are going to beat us, Ron’s gone to the shop. I came to tell you that mum has sorted everything out with McGonagall and we are going to use a portkey to get back to school, a carriage will pick us up at the three broomsticks and Draco can go straight to Madame Pomfrey.” 

“Good,” Hermione replied, her gaze wandering over Draco’s pale face, “so, Dean?” Ginny blushed scarlet. 

“You overheard that then… I wasn’t supposed to say anything. I overheard him telling Demelza after Quidditch practice once. He told me not to tell you but he’s smitten Mione and he hates the idea of this prince charming.” Ginny giggled and sat down on the edge of Malfoy’s bed.

“Parvati mentioned it once…” Hermione said to her friend. 

“Everyone knows about it, I mean I didn’t because everyone knows I would tell you but you know… he really likes you. You could do worse, I mean I know we ended badly but I was in love with Harry, that’s what we used to fight about, he really is a nice guy. If you weren’t with Draco…well he would be good to you.”

Hermione smiled at her friend, “Draco is good to me,” she said.

“Oh I know that, I just meant he would be uncomplicated,” Ginny shrugged, “the only thing you would have to do is learn about that weird game that muggles play.”

“Football?” Hermione ventured with a small smile. 

“Yeah, that’s the one,” Ginny said as she started to clear away some plates that had been left on the table, “one ball and no broomsticks…mad these muggles sometimes…no offense.”

“None taken,” Hermione laughed, “and I already know about football. My father might be a posh dentist but take him to a Chelsea match…”

“Chelsea? What is that some sort of disease?” Ginny asked, her brown eyes wide with shock.

Hermione shook her head and waved the conversation away. Sometimes she was glad she was a muggle born; the wizarding world didn’t even get the most played and the favourite sport in the world…Crazy people but then again they thought that about muggles. Yes Hermione definitely had the best of both worlds.

Ginny motioned the girl to help and they washed dishes by hand in silence. Mrs Weasley normally had them done by magic but Hermione had noticed that since the war everyone had been hand washing them, as if it gave them time to think, Ginny especially but Hermione knew better than to interrupt the girl when she was thinking. The last time she had done so she had almost ended up on the wrong side of a bat bogey hex. 

Just as they finished Hermione turned to glance out the window. Mrs Weasley was working in the garden talking to Harry who had spread his Quidditch diagrams over the garden table. He said something and she laughed but then her face paled.  

Hermione followed the witches gaze and saw Kingsley walking up the driveway, three aurors following him, all with their wands out. A flash of panic shot through her heart. She knew why they were here. Why the minister for magic was here. Mrs Weasley knew it too yet she stormed up to Kinsley and demanded that they lower their wands and next time send an owl to let her know they were coming. Ginny and Hermione opened the door and crept outside, standing just under the shadow of the porch. 

“Molly,” Kingsley said calmly, “we have had information…”

“I’m sure you have,” she snapped, fingering the wand that she had placed in her apron, the other hand fighting around the pitchfork she had been using on the flowerbeds.

The Minister glanced back at those with him and they put their wands away. Hermione recognised one of them. She had fought in the final battle alongside those who had given their lives, she knew Draco had been a death eater…everyone knew his past and now they were going to condemn him for it. 

“Is Mr Draco Malfoy currently residing here,” one of the men shouted at Mrs Weasley. 

“I don’t see how that is any business of yours,” she snapped back. 

Hermione grabbed Ginny’s hand and gave it a tight squeeze. The red-head took the hint and disappeared upstairs to check on Draco while Hermione stayed to watch. Her eyes flickered over to Harry who was rising from his chair. It must have been him who told of Draco, he had said that they would have to be questioned. Hermione had never felt more betrayed, even Ron’s betrayal felt less sharp than the loss of trust that had snapped between her and Harry in that moment. 

“Who told you of his whereabouts?” Harry asked walking over to the group. 

So it wasn’t Harry? Hermione felt instantly better but then it was replaced by the horrid feeling of unease when she tried to think about who it could be. 

“That is confidential Harry. We have had an anonymous tip off that Draco Malfoy is residing here after being held by an unknown group to the ministry.”

“He is residing here because he is unwell,” Molly snapped. 

“Why not St Mungo’s then?” one of the men said. 

“Do you have any idea what they would do to him at St Mungo’s?”

“Only what a death-eater would deserve,” the man spat back. 

“Ex-death eater,” Hermione shouted coming forward, “or do you not remember the trial?” 

Kingsley looked at Hermione and smiled in welcome but all Hermione could muster back was a scowl. How dare he come in here demanding answers! Draco had done nothing wrong; he was the one that had been wronged! Did nobody seem to get that? 

“We need to see him,” Kingsley said, “I’m sorry but that is just the way it has to be. Mr Malfoy is on probation, anything that may be seen to deviate from this has to be brought into question.”

Hermione glared at the minister and Molly did not say anything. Their silence was broken by a voice behind Hermione.

“It is okay, I will answer any questions that they have for me,” Draco said walking up to Hermione but almost collapsing on her as he did. He was too weak for this and Hermione knew it. 

“Draco,” she whispered, noticing he had gotten dressed. 

“I’m sorry,” Ginny said coming up behind them, “he wouldn’t stay in bed.”

Ginny helped Hermione prop him up and led him over to the table where they sat him down. Mrs Weasley counjured a glass of water and made him drink it. 

“If you would like to be escorted to the ministry,” Kingsley said. 

“Can’t you do it here?” Hermione said tears threating to spill, “can’t you see he is sick?”

“I’m afraid we can’t,” Kingsley said, looking genuinely apologetic, “but I promise I can give him the best care while he is under our protection.”

“You mean under arrest,” Hermione mumbled.

“He is not under arrest Miss Granger, he is just being questioned.”

Hermione looked over at Draco who nodded his head at her. He held out his hand and she took it, kneeling at his level. 

“I will be fine,” he whispered kissing her on the forehead. Steadily he rose and walked across to Kingsley who took his arm. 

“We will have him back at school as soon as we can,” was the final thing he said before apperating out of the Weasley’s garden leaving the occupants stunned and Hermione devastated that yet again Draco had been taken from her and she did not know when she would see him again. 
 
 

 




Yay a new chapter, sorry it took so long! I have the next one ready and will get that up as soon as I can. I am nearing the end of this novel but hopefully will have a sequel!!! Please feel free to read my other stuff! I have a second Dramione and some oneshots =)

Hope you like the chapter! Read and Review. Thanks. Secret Passion xxx
 


Chapter 29: The Death of Ronald Weasley
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Hermione was going to fail her N.E.W.T.S she knew it. She was going to fail and then she wouldn’t be able to get a job and then she was going to be destitute and no better than a dog on the street. 

“Somehow Hermione I do not think that it is going to be quite that bad,” Harry laughed, “and you have a place in the auror department if you want it, no grades needed. 

“Then why are you here?” she snapped looking up from her charms notes trying to make the information go into her sleep deprived brain. She hadn’t slept properly since Draco was taken. It had been two weeks and they were now a week and a half back into school and the exams were in three weeks and she didn’t know anything. Not one thing was going into her brain. 

She couldn’t eat or sleep or study. Even the library did not hold sanctuary for her anymore. She just floated along, going to lessons sitting in the great hall with Harry and Ginny…and Ron when he dared. They tried to talk to her about it but had just given up knowing it was better to prattle on about Quidditch or Ginny’s new fashion choice than Draco. 

Draco.

She hadn’t heard from him since he left. She did not know how he was or if he was okay. She didn’t know if he was in trouble or which side he was betraying whilst they questioned him. Was he being tortured? Was he getting medical help? Did he miss her? Did he know how much she missed him?

The questions went round and round her head until she felt like her mind was against her. She would spend nights in bed not getting rest, wondering why Kingsley would not answer her owls. She didn’t listen to the rumours floating around the castle as to the reason he did not return and she ignored the glares of Astoria when on Harry’s orders Blaise had told her that he had gone to visit his mother in Italy as she was ill. 

Hermione knew that Astoria would know this to be a lie. She knew that she would report him missing to her brother, she knew that they would come after him again. 

All she wanted to do was study and get her grades but all she could think about was him, ways of keeping him safe. He needed to be safe and safe was not here, not where they could find him but for all she knew they could find him anywhere. 

“I am here,” Harry continued, “because they want me to finish my schooling in case it helps and to keep my eye on the students, and make sure everything is okay after last year…you already know that.”

Hermione looked down at her notes and did not say anything. Harry was right; she did already know that, she was simply on edge. She needed to rest, to sleep and tomorrow would be another day. Wednesday; she had defence, potions and runes. Enough to keep her mind busy at least. Enough so that by the end of the day she would have plucked up the confidence to go to Professor McGonagall and ask her for help. Hermione knew she would help if she could. 

The common room was fairly full and Hermione knew her mind would never rest in all the noise. Hastily she packed up all of her things, said goodnight to Harry and left to go into her own room. On the way she bumped into Dean and a heavy blush settled over her cheeks when he grabbed her shoulders to steady himself and held her gaze for longer than she thought necessary. 

“Sorry,” he mumbled, “didn’t see you.”

“It’s okay,” Hermione smiled, “my fault really, don’t know what’s gotten into me at the moment.” 

Dean smiled and carried on down the corridor into the common room, he stopped and waved before he left and Hermione couldn’t help but giggle. She knew he liked her, it was strange, she had never thought about him like that. It had simply never occurred to her.  

Hermione made it to her room and ran a bath hoping it would clear everything out of her head. She was almost ready to step into it when she had the most overwhelming need to sleep. Leaving the water to go cold she crawled under the covers fully clothed and closed her eyes in an attempt to sleep away her racing thoughts. 

It worked to an extent. She slept and she dreamed and they weren’t nightmares. Just pleasant dreams about her friends. Nothing that she would hate in the morning. But there were plenty of them and they made it all the worse when a sharp knock sounded at her door and she was woken abruptly. 

Hermione checked the time on the clock by her bed. 4am. Great who was knocking on her door at this time of night. Maybe Ginny having another crisis about something or other. Hermione shoved off her covers and went over to the door opening it with the intention of tell the person to get the hell to bed and out of her space when he eyes locked on the silver grey of the man she had missed so much for the past two weeks.

“Draco,” she whispered, unable to believe what her eyes were telling her. 

“Hermione,” he smiled producing a single red rose for her. 

Without saying another word Hermione ushered him in and closed the door so they could both be in private. She put the rose gently on the dresser and kissed him as hard as she figured she could seeing as he still looked in pain. 

Apparently he wasn’t in that much pain seeing as within seconds he had all her clothes off and was working on his own. Kissing her and telling her he loved her and how much he missed her and it was all Hermione could do to enjoy the feel of his hands running themselves over her skin. 

Oh god she missed him and oh god he was throwing her on the bed, kissing down her neck, along her ribs. Hermione didn’t know whether to be happy or shocked but she stopped him before things went too far. 

“Draco…” she said wriggling out of his grasp and pulling the covers up to hide her naked body.

“Yes?” he asked a little breathless. Hermione couldn’t help but feel bad that she had stopped him, a tingling sensation had settled in her stomach and she did want to carry on but…well she needed to know. 

“What happened?” she asked softly. 

Draco looked at her and then pulled her back to him, kissing her lightly on the lips. 

“Let me have you and I will tell you all…Please, I just, I just need you right now.” 

Hermione gave into what he wanted and what she wanted. She knew that this reunion would be the best feeling she had had in a while. 

***

“Tell me what happened,” Hermione said curling up into Draco’s arms and kissing his chest lightly. Draco shifted uneasily underneath her. 

“I’m not allowed,” he said quietly. Hermione’s head shot up and she looked down on her boyfriend.

“You are not allowed?” she asked. 

“They told me I was not allowed to divulge the details of our interviews,” he said simply. 

Hermione rolled her eyes and hit him playfully with the pillow. 

“Do you really think Draco Malfoy that I care about what they asked you? I have already guessed what they wanted to know and you have already told me. I want to know how they have treated you, why you were so long, if they did anything to hurt you.”

Draco looked up at Hermione and place a hand on her face, “they treated me fine, I was put up in a private room in the ministry where a healer saw me every day. They gave me plenty of food and water and I was escorted to an interrogation room every day to answer the questions they asked. No they did not torture me; the new minister is too good for those kinds of things.” 

Hermione let out a sigh of relief, he was treated well and now he was returned to her. Knowing he was safe was the best thing she had ever felt. Glancing at the clock Hermione groaned. 6am. She had to get up and get ready, breakfast was in an hour and a half! 

Leaping up out of bed Hermione rushed to the bathroom and drained the water from the bath, turning on the taps to fill it up again. Draco wrapped his arms around her from behind. 

“Can I join?” he asked quietly.

“Of course,” Hermione giggled. 

***

An hour later Hermione appeared in the common room alone and greeted Harry with a sharp hug and a quick apology for being miserable. He smiled at her and told her it was fine but then looked her in the eye seriously. 

“I found out who told on Draco,” he said quietly. Hermione grabbed the boy’s arm quickly and led him to a quiet corner of the common room. 

“Tell me quickly,” she hissed pulling her cloak tighter around her. Harry looked scared of the girl and glanced around the room quickly. Hermione followed his gaze as it settled on Dean and Seamus talking to Blaise and then Ron in an armchair by the fire, actually doing work. Hermione was taken aback. Ron doing work at this time in the morning. 

The redhead glanced up at the pair and then looked quickly back down at his work. The penny dropped and Hermione took a step back from Harry. 

“He wouldn’t,” she whispered. Harry looked at his friend and nodded his head slowly. 

“Professor Anderson told me,” Harry said just as heartbroken, “I confronted Ron last night after you went to bed. He didn’t want me to tell you but…”

Harry hadn’t finished his sentence before Hermione stormed over to where Ron was sitting. He rose from his chair as Hermione approached and grabbed at his wand to shield himself from any unfriendly spells but Hermione simply stopped inches from his face and glared at him. 

The common room fell silent, most expecting another showdown like they had seen before though no one knew the reason. Most were still oblivious to the fact that Draco was the prince charming. 

“You are dead to me Ronald Weasley,” she said slowly and calmly with as much restraint as she could muster, “if you ever come near me again you will live to regret it. I will never forgive you for this.” 

Ron flinched at her words but Hermione simply turned on her heel and marched from the common room. She met Ginny in the corridor and when asked what was wrong she told her to ask her brother. Ginny didn’t say anything but carried on past Hermione knowing not to rile her when she was in a bad mood. 

Stupid Ron and his stupid jealous big mouth. Everything was good again and he had to come along and ruin it. He always had to ruin it! 

She didn’t go to the great hall like she told Draco she would instead she made her way her way to the library found a runes book and attempted to read it. The difficult task used up her brain and she didn’t notice when Ginny crept in beside her. 

“So Draco is back then,” she said. 

“Yeah,” Hermione agreed not really in the mood to talk. 

“Harry told me what happened, Hermione if I had…”

“It’s not your fault Gin,” she said turning to her friend, “I know he is your brother and I would never ask you to choose sides… I’m not asking you to choose sides. I just want you to know that I might not see you but I’m still your friend. And tell Harry that too.”

“Hermione you and I and especially you and Harry have been through too much to not see each other just because my brother is a class A twit. I just… I don’t really know how it is going to work in school. Obviously outside, when we have finished it will be different but…Mione…”

“He is your brother I understand,” Hermione said trying to let the tears welling in her eyes fall down her cheeks. Ginny did not reply just placed a hand on Hermione’s arm and left her in peace. 

Ron was dead to her and now her friends were all but gone. 
 
 

 




Hey guys! Guess what, only three more chapters left!!! And then maybe the start of a sequal! =) Hope you enjoy, read and review. Secret Passion x
 


Chapter 30: Future Plans
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McGonagall leaned over the desk and stared over the top of her glasses. Hermione couldn’t help but think that she had got that particular headmistress technique from her predecessor who was smiling out from his portrait just to the left of the pair. 

She hadn’t been in Dumbledore’s office much when he had been alive, at least not as much as Harry had, but from what she had seen McGonagall had changed the whole layout. Gone were the whirring instruments to be replaced by stacks of old spell books and on one table was a tea set with which the headmistress had poured Hermione a satisfying cup of milky tea, just the way she liked it. 

Hermione sipped the tea and looked over at McGonagall who had laid out a number of pamphlets on the table. She had glanced over them in the common room when they had been handed out and now McGonagall had picked three she thought Hermione should take up. 

The first one being the Auror department which Hermione knew she had a job with already if she wanted. After all she had been part of the group that brought down the greatest Dark Wizard of all time. The second was a leaflet about Healer training and the third was about jobs in the law enforcement overall. This was the one she had pushed towards Hermione when she had explained her reasons for this choice.

“Hermione Granger,” she said, “you have been one of my best students and if there were teaching places at this school open I would suggest a post here but there are not so I would not have the pleasure of working with you.” 

McGonagall paused and Hermione murmured an embarrassed thank you. To which McGonagall waved her hand at the girl and offered her a bisect from the cat shaped jar she had on the desk. In unison the two women both dunked their digestives in their tea and ate them. A small smile appeared on McGonagall’s lips and she swallowed and continued. 

“The law enforcement department employs bright young witches and wizards into a multitude of different divisions. If you agree this is the path I have a contact in the wizardmot and you can have a years internship with a job at the end of it if you perform well. During the internship you would continue studying with help of some funding I could get you and by the time you start your knew job you would be a fully train wizarding lawyer.”
 

“Wow…I…” Hermione didn’t know what to say, she was lost for words.

“Think about it and get back to me by the end of your exams. They are more important right now but the way your grades have gone so far and the fact that you’re already one of the biggest names in the country… I believe you would have no trouble in the setting what so ever.” 

McGonagall handed the leaflet over to Hermione who smiled at her teacher and left the office bewildered at what had just happened and unsure what she was going to do. She hadn’t even taken her exams, exams that were the most important ones she would take and yet the ones she had revised the least for. 

Making her way through the castle and back to the common room Hermione fingered the leaflet unsure of what to do. She could go and talk to Harry about it but he would be with Ron. Ron might have betrayed her but he was Harry’s best friend and they would be working together after school, they would have to protect each other and Hermione couldn’t jeopardize that. She could go up to the Gryffindor common room and talk to Ginny but the girl never really was very good at these sort of things, she was more of a doer than a thinker and besides she would probably be with Harry who would be with Ron.

And then there was Draco, her so called boyfriend who in the two weeks since his return had been distant and not all there. Hermione had seen it before in Ron but this time it was different. She would catch him looking at her and then he would look away as if he were about to cry and Draco Malfoy crying was not something she had seen. Hermione knew something was going on and she knew something was about to happen but not what. 

She figured that it must be the time of year. It had only just passed the year anniversary of the great battle and most people in the castle were still shaken. So she gave him his space like she guessed he wanted and he did not come to her. 

The last time they had spoken had been the day before. He had kissed her on the cheek and told her that he probably wouldn’t see her as he had to study and he wanted to be alone. 

“But I have barely seen you since you have been back,” Hermione said quietly, “can’t we study together, like we did at the beginning of the year?”

“I want to be on my own Hermione,” he had snapped back and Hermione had dropped it and taken the squeeze of her hand and the quick peck of the lips. 

It was such a sudden change. He wanted to spend all his time with her at Easter and now he didn’t want to see her at all. If it had been gradual maybe she wouldn’t have noticed but it was sudden and it was heart-breaking and she didn’t know what was going on. She was scared but it had to be pushed to the back of her mind because she didn’t know if she would be able to recover from another situation like she had been put in with Ron. 

So if he was ignoring her then she wasn’t going to go chasing after him, she was too proud for that and it caused her to much pain. Maybe he was just still getting over being held by both this ‘other side’ and the ministry. She would wait until he was ready and until then she had other things to think about. 

So instead of running to her friends like she so desperately wanted to Hermione made her way out of the castle and to a large tree that rested on the edge of the lake. By it she would be alone and undisturbed as she tried to figure out what on earth she wanted to do with the future that was just a couple of months away from her. 

Settling down out of sight and well shaded from the sun Hermione opened the leaflet and began to read the information given. McGonagall had underlined sections, especially the bits about finance and training. She would work three days a week and study for two all at the ministry. The idea of more schooling calmed Hermione. She was always happier when she was learning. 

There were bits about dress code and how to address certain people and who did what in which area. All in all the leaflet read more like a text book but Hermione didn’t mind it gave her something to think about other than exams and a lack of people to talk to. 

“Hermione!” a voice called across the grass. 

Hermione looked over to her left and a little around the trunk of the tree of which she had been leaning against enjoying the may sunshine. Dean was hurrying towards her a piece of paper in his hand. How he knew she would be there she didn’t know but was answered as he reached her and dropped to the grass next to her.

“I saw you coming outside earlier and when I got back to the common room this was waiting for you,” he said with a beaming grin. 

Hermione took the envelope from Dean and read the handwriting on the front. It didn’t look familiar. She opened it quickly and unfolded the paper. Scanning the paper a smile crept onto her face and she couldn’t help leaping over to Dean and giving him a hug. The Gryffindor was shocked but hugged Hermione back and when he let go gave her a quizzical look. 

“Good news?” he asked. 

“They have agreed to publish my book!” she squealed, “I have to attend a meeting with them in a few weeks, they have said they will talk to McGonagall and they will discuss fees and books sizes and everything else!” 

“That’s amazing Hermione! Congrats!”

“Thanks,” she said looking up at Dean who hadn’t stopped smiling since he had walked over to her, “I should go and tell Ginny!” 

Hermione scrambled to her feet clutching the letter but dropping the leaflet she had in her lap. Dean bent down and picked it up for her as well as her bag which like a true gentleman he swung over his shoulder in an offer to carry it up to the castle. 

“Wow, Law Enforcement Department,” he said following it with a low whistle, “Auror?” he asked. 

“No,” Hermione said as they started making their way up the grass and towards the castle, “Law, McGonagall wants me to train as a wizard lawyer.”

“Are you going to?” he asked. 

“Maybe,” Hermione shrugged, “I’m not sure to be honest; I think it could be fun.”

“You would excel I’m sure,” Dean said giving her a playful nudge.

“What are you planning on doing then, after all of this?” Hermione ask, her hand still clutching tightly around the letter from the publisher. 

“Thinking of taking an assistant job in the International Magical Cooperation department and work my way up, Anderson has said he has some links or something and he can help,” Dean shrugged, “I’d quite like to do something like work with the Department of Magical Games and Sports and organise things like that.”

“I figured if I took this internship and then job I have been offered I could do some good,” Hermione admitted, “abolish some of these pro-pureblood laws and things like that.”

“Sounds brilliant,” Dean laughed, “after all this rubbish that has gone on you would have figured that they would have tried to do something like that already.”

“The pureblood families always paid them off I guess,” Hermione shrugged.

“Not now most of them are in Azkaban,” Dean said. 

“No,” Hermione agreed. 

The pair reached the staircase and Dean handed Hermione he bag and leaflet back telling her that he had to meet Seamus. 

“Congrats again though Hermione, it really is brilliant.” 

Dean disappeared and Hermione made her way up the familiar staircase towards the Gryffindor common room. Part of her wished she still had to take this regular root everyday but if she did then her friends would not be her friends and Draco would not be anything.  

But Ginny was not in the Gryffindor common room nor was she in her bedroom or even in the seventh year common room when Hermione returned there. Hermione would have to wait two hours to see the girl and the girl would bound into Hermione’s room and jump on her friends bed with big excited eyes. 

“Harry hasn’t asked you to marry him has he?” Hermione asked saying the first thing that came into her head when she saw the look on Ginny’s face. 

“No,” Ginny said taken aback, then her face lit up again, “why has he said he would?”

“No,” Hermione laughed, “it was just the only thing I could think of that would make you look like this.”

“Try something even better,” Ginny said excitedly. 

“Better?” 

“The Holyhead Harpies signed me!” 

“Oh Gin that is amazing!” Hermione cried. 

“I have been in talks with them for weeks but I wasn’t allowed to say but today they signed me for after I finish school next year. I could have joined after this year but mum wanted me to get my N.E.W.Ts so I am training with them over the summer and then I can join once I finish Hogwarts.”

“What position?”

“Chaser,” Ginny shrugged, “I prefer that, I mean I did okay as seeker when Harry couldn’t but I’m a better chaser. I’ll work as a sub for a little while and then when one of the girls switches teams or leaves I’ll be able to take her place! Anyway, I bumped into Dean, he said you have had your book agreed for publishing?”

“Yes,” Hermione smiled, “I have to meet with them first but yes, it looks like I shall be a published author.”

“Yes Dean told me that too,” Ginny giggled winking.

“Gin! There is no need for that,” Hermione scolded. 

“Okay, I’m sorry,” Ginny said holding up her hands, “I just think that he has been making all these excuses to see you, just be careful okay, don’t lead him on.”

“I won’t lead him on, I don’t think of him like that you know that!” 

“I know, he’s just such a sweet guy.”

“Say’s the girl who broke up with him,” Hermione laughed. 

“Yes because I was in love with Harry!” 

“Well now you are with Harry and I am with Draco and you are being signed and I am being published and we don’t need to think about who else is in the picture.”

“Our lives are just falling in front of us,” Ginny sighed and Hermione couldn’t help but laugh at the dreamlike look on the girls face. It reminded her of Luna. 

“I guess…have you seen Draco today?” Hermione asked changing the subject so dramatically she surprised herself. 

“No…why?” Ginny asked looking concerned. 

Hermione didn’t answer. She didn’t want to tell Ginny that after a night of passion Draco Malfoy had all but ignored her. That he seemed to disappear for hours on end and she thought she had once seen him with Astoria when he said he had a meeting with Slughorn. Yes they had been exchanging heated words but still. Hermione felt like she was losing him.

On the one hand she was glad that she had time to study, studying was more important than boys, she knew that, her grades were more important. But she missed him and she didn’t understand why he was doing this to her. The fact he gave her no explanation and acted like nothing was wrong made her feel worse. 

He was messing with her head and she was all over the place and now Ginny was looking at her as if she had gone crazy and it was all she could do to burst into tears and try to explain to her through sobs exactly what was wrong. 
 

 




So now there is only one chapter left and then an epilouge and this novel is finally finished...I hope I can keep you all gripped with the final chapter when it gets posted soon! I know a lot doesn't happen in this chapter but i'm setting up for the next novel called 'chasing fate.' I hope you will all read that when it comes around! Read and review (oh and by the way, when the epilouge is posted i will post a teaser of the new novel along with it). Secret Passion x
 


Chapter 31: Love is Just a Word
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

It was over, they were finally over and Hermione actually thought that she had done okay. So Runes could have gone better but charms and transfiguration were a piece of cake and when she had demonstrated her patronus charm in her defence exam she had looked over to Harry who winked at her and Hermione couldn’t help but be grateful he had taught her to such a good level…the year out to fight death-eaters and dark wizards hadn’t been a bad thing either! 

Potions was even better. The cauldrons bubbled and Hermione’s Amortentia bubbled away at such a potent level that every time an invigilator walked by they ended up sniffing the liquid and leaving with a stupid grin on their faces. 

So N.E.W.T exams drew to a close and Hogwarts life changed. Arithmancy and Runes were the last two exams on the Friday, two weeks before term ended. An end of term party had been organised in the common room that night but Hermione couldn’t think about that. She also couldn’t think about the fact that Draco had surprised her that morning with good luck flowers and kiss. He had made her feel so much better.

“After your meeting with the publishers we can meet at the party and celebrate,” Draco said pushing a loose hair from Hermione plat behind her ear, “I might even be able to sneak in a good bottle of wine,” he had joked.

Hermione had kissed him back, “looking forward to it,” she had beamed. 

Then he had lifted her head towards his and looked her straight in the eyes. 

“I love you Hermione, don’t ever forget that.” And he had simply turned and walked away leaving Hermione swooning where she stood. 

But she was on her last Runes question and she could not think about how Draco made her feel amazing; she had to concentrate on a translation. Pushing all other thoughts from her mind Hermione scribbled down the last answer and placed her quill on the table, blowing the ink slightly to dry it. With quick eyes she scanned over the paper not once but three times to check every answer and description was correct and spelt right before the bell at the front of the great hall rang and there were groans of appreciation around the whole room. 

The last exam was over; the seventh year was officially over! Hogwarts was done and for Hermione it felt like a relief a blessing and a terrifying realisation all at once. To go from not thinking she would survive the week over a year ago to being back at Hogwarts taking exams and now she was finished and had to go into the real world. It was overwhelming and the fact she had that life to live though it was more than she could ask but there was so much expectation from everyone to live that life well. 

Hermione was the first out of the hall but was unable to stay to congratulate Ernie, Hannah and Pansy, the only other three to take the exam. Instead she hurried off towards McGonagall’s study where Hermione was to meet with an agent and a publisher. 

She was nervous, of course she was nervous she was about to walk into a room where the fate of a book she had been working on for over half a year was about to be decided. She did not know if they were going to change it or keep it exactly the same, she knew they would want her to work with an editor but to what extent she did not know. 

So as she said the password (Quidditch) and made her way up to the heads office she flattened down her hair, smoothed out her robes and clutched tightly onto her schoolbag hoping that this would make her look like she knew what she was talking about. 

McGonagall’s familiar ‘come in’ was the answer to Hermione’s knock and as the girl walked in she could see that the head had set up a small round table at the back of the office underneath a window. There were five chairs and four of them were occupied. One was taken by McGonagall herself and sitting on the other three were obviously the agent, the publisher and maybe the editor? 

Hermione walked over and introduced herself to each member who in return gave her their names and occupation. The first person Hermione shook hands with was her agent, a man of about thirty dressed in dark blue robes. His face was kind enough but his beard was a little scruffy and his glasses a tad askew but he smiled and introduced himself as Andrew Simmons. 

The second person Hermione introduced herself to was the editor. A young woman not much older than Hermione herself with long blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail and robes of cream. She smiled and told Hermione her name was Alicia Hayes and that she was ever so pleased to meet one of those who had a hand in bringing down Voldemort when she and her family had had to flee the country due to her mother’s muggleborn status. 

The publisher was an older woman with a halo of thick grey curls, glasses that rested halfway down her nose and nails to rival Rita Skeeter. This woman was obviously a long standing friend of McGonagall as when they all sat down and the head poured everyone tea and offered biscuits around it was this woman, Alma Gray, who started the conversation by asking McGonagall if she had seen her brother recently and did she know that her niece had  been spotted wedding dress shopping by the woman’s granddaughter.  

But of course the chatter eventually died down and the trio who were going to scrutinise Hermione’s book pulled out some papers and began to discuss the plans with her. 

“We are thinking a year for the editing process and publicity with a view to publish the first book some time next summer as the big summer read…” Alma said to Hermione. 

“First book?” Hermione asked tentatively, 

“We have discussed it together and we really think this book would benefit from being split,” Alicia said with a smile, “maybe the first one could be everything up to Voldemort coming back and second covering the years after his return, it really is quite long.”

“If you agree of course,” Andrew said. 

Hermione nodded and folded her hands together. They were sweating slightly; she hadn’t realised how nervous she would be. 

“Nothing would happen without your permission of course,” Alma stated, “we will give you a list of things we have worked out during this meeting and you will have to think over them, sign off on it and then we can start the real work.”

“With me!” Alicia laughed. 

So one by one each person explained what would happen in regards to them and Hermione listened and sometimes inputted her own views. Alicia discussed the editing process and how she would have to meet with Hermione each week and go through the things that needed to be done. 

“I think maybe that if we could have more of the original quotes from the interviews you did with Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley then that would be useful, even sections from the interviews themselves.”

Andrew explained that he would be the one who represented her to everyone including the publishers and that he would be the one whole handled the final manuscript. 

“We will meet every now and again, talk about how the book is going, if you need extensions, if you wish for anything specific from the publishers. I will be a sort of mediator.”

Alma had the most shocking thing to tell Hermione. 

“An advance?” she said surprised. 

“Yes,” Alma continued, “an advance of 3,500 Galleons. We know that this book will sell like pumpkin pasties and so we feel no qualms about giving you that much until the royalties come through, which we have a slight suspicion might make you a very rich woman Miss Granger. Everyone is going to want to read the story of he-who-must-not-be-named from the point of view of a trio member.”

“I know plenty of people who would relish in it,” McGonagall said, “I am constantly being as for a first-hand account of Harry’s schooldays. You just might save me the trouble.”

By the end of the interview Hermione had been shocked and pleased at the results. All she had to do was sign the contract she now carried in her bag and her book would be on its way to flourish and blotts bookshop and Hermione would be a published author. She almost skipped back to the common room. 

The party was in full swing when she stepped through the portrait and Hermione couldn’t help notice that there was a large punchbowl on one of the tables that obviously had some sort of alcohol in it. People were dancing around to some wizard band on the radio and strangely George was standing in the corner of the room demonstrating new Weasley products to groups of students, which Hermione noted were not all seventh year. There were those from fifth year and up and they were making a lot of noise.

“Don’t worry,” Ginny’s voice sounded behind her, “George put up loads of protective spells, we won’t get caught.”

“What about him,” Hermione laughed watching the older Weasley as he handed out merchandise at an obviously discounted rate. 

“Oh McGonagall knows he’s here,” Ginny shrugged, “he said he had something very important to deliver to Ron and I. To be honest I think she knows about the party.”

“She told me earlier to make sure the house elves didn’t have too much work to do in the morning,” Harry said sidling up to the two and handing Hermione a cup of punch. 

She took a grateful sip and gave Harry a quick hug. 

“Thanks,” she said, “I needed this!” 

“Well you have had the worst day of us all,” Harry laughed, “the two hardest exams of the year and a meeting in the heads office.”

“How did it go?” Ginny asked as the three migrated into the corner of the room and settled into the armchairs, Hermione in one and Ginny curled into Harry’s lap on the other. 

“Alright, my exams went better than I thought they would and the meeting, well I have a contract to sign…” she trailed off, dipping into her bag and pulling the parchment out, handing it for the two to read. 

“Wow, that’s a huge advance Hermione,” Harry said.

“I know, I don’t quite know what to say about it, they said I would get royalties too.”

“Oooh, so Hermione’s going to be rich too,” winked Ginny.

“Unless no one buys it.”

“Yeah likely Mione. A book about Voldemort from the point of view of one of those who helped kill him who is best friends with the boy who lived/chosen one/head of the golden trio etcetera. Of course people are going to buy it. It will fly off the shelves.” 

“Maybe people will stop asking me questions,” Harry said gazing into the bottom of his cup and draining the last few drops, “What exactly was the last thing Dumbledore said to you Harry, do you think he was wrong to keep things from you for so long, how many times in your life have you survived him… It gets old.” 

“They are always going to be interested in you Harry,” Hermione said, “you killed the greatest dark wizard of all time. That isn’t something that just goes away.”

“It might do if I have more punch,” he laughed with wide mischievous eyes that he used to get in those first few years when they planned to sneak out at all hours. 

He lifted Ginny off his lap and placed her back in the chair leaving the two girls alone while he went to get another drink. Hermione took another sip. She had no idea what was in it but it was potent. Careful she put in on the table next to her and drew her knees into her chest. 

Ginny was swigging her drink down and gazing after her boyfriend as he spoke to Dean and Seamus. 

“How many of those have you had Gin,” Hermione asked as the girl emptied the cup. 

“Erm…three, maybe four,” she giggled. 

“Maybe you should slow down....”

“Don’t be a spoil sport Mione, besides I’m leaving soon anyway.”

“Leaving?” 

“Harry is sneaking us down to the lake in his invisibility cloak…to the willow…where no one will see us…” Ginny winked. 

“Okay, enough information, I don’t need to know anything else.” 

Hermione looked around the common room and tried to spot Draco but he was nowhere to be seen but when she turned to ask Ginny if she had seen him the girl had gone across the room, grabbed another drink and was now snogging the face off Harry. So where was Draco? He had said he would meet her. 

Getting up Hermione made her way through the crowd and saw that Ron had made himself comfortable between Seamus and George playing some sort of wizarding party game that she had never seen before which involved drinking cups of punch and trying to defend themselves from spells in the process without spilling a drop. George was winning, Seamus was losing, badly. 

Hermione crept away from the party and tried to make her way to her room but she was stopped when a strong hand caught onto her arm. It was warm and sent shivers along her skin. She turned around expecting to see Draco but finding Dean alone with her in the corridor. 

“Are you alright Hermione,” he asked stroking his thumb across the skin of her arm in a highly inappropriate but spine tingling way. Since when had Dean Thomas made her spine tingle. 

“I’m fine I’m just looking for…” she stopped herself realising that Dean still didn’t know.

“Ginny’s back in there,” he said guessing, “but she’s a little occupied.”

“Yeah, I saw,” Hermione said turning to walk away but Dean was persistent and walked with her. 

“I know you have had a tough year, well not as tough as last year but…” 

“I know what you mean,” thinking about how Dean had lied to Madame Pomfrey so Hermione wouldn’t get into trouble when she had attack Ron with the stunning spell.

“Listen Hermione,” Dean said as they stopped at Hermione’s door, he pulled her around to face him. “I have to say this while I have something in my system or I will never say it…”

Hermione’s stomach plunged and she knew what was coming. Dean was going to tell her and Hermione didn’t know what she was going to do. Her heart was pounding. 

“Dean…”

“No,” he said, “I have to say this before we leave; I might never see you again and well… Hermione what Ron did to you this year, you didn’t deserve any of that and whoever this prince charming is…he doesn’t deserve you if he hasn’t got the guts to come out and admit who he is…”

“Dean please…”

“I like you Hermione,” Dean said quickly before Hermione could finish her sentence. 

They both fell silent and Hermione simply looked at her friend not knowing what she should do or if she should say anything and he was looking back, looking back as if he were about to kiss her…

“Ach hem,” the cough came from behind them and Hermione blushed pink when she looked around to see Draco standing a few feet from them. 

Dean looked from Hermione to Draco and back to Hermione and then took a step back. 

“I need to speak with Hermione, Head boy business,” he spat and Hermione flinched at the steely tone in his voice. Something was wrong. 

“Of course,” Dean said before turning to Hermione, “Think about what I said.” 

He walked away, glancing back at the pair every now and again before he disappeared back into the common room. Hermione opened her bedroom door and Draco followed her in closing it shut behind him a little too viciously. Hermione’s pulse raced with nerves. 

“That was weird,” Hermione laughed nervously sitting on her bed and looking up at her boyfriend. 

“Hermione,” he said in the deadpan voice he used before the war. Something was defiantly wrong. 

“Draco what’s wrong,” she asked getting up and going over to him but he just pushed her away and stared at her straight in the eye. 

“This isn’t working.” 

Hermione’s heart stopped and the world slowed completely. Had he just said that? Had he really just said that? 

“Draco…”

“It is over Hermione. It is not working.”

“What, no,” Hermione cried tears pricking at the corner of her eyes and starting to stream down he face before she could stop them. Draco was breaking up with her. Why was he breaking up with her?

“Yes,” he said stilling looking at her, not one flicker of emotion passing across his face, “I don’t love you.”

“No!” Hermione shouted, “no you’re lying.”

The tears fell quicker and Hermione had to sit back down on the bed as sobs broke through her body. He didn’t love her?

“Yes I have been lying. I have never loved you…I used you, to get closer to Harry, to find out things that I could never have known without being close to a girl like you.”

Hermione couldn’t answer, she simply sobbed into her hands. He was lying. He had to be lying. It had been true he had loved her she knew it because she loved him. She loved him so much and now she was leaving him. 

“It is over Hermione, I’ m leaving tonight. Don’t contact me; don’t ask people where I have gone. Forget I existed or it will be all the worse for you.” 

Draco turned to leave the room but Hermione leapt from the bed and grasped onto his arm. 

“No Draco you’re lying. You love me I know you do,” she sobbed, “I love you, please don’t do this. Tell me why you are doing this!”

“I have never loved you,” he snapped pushing her away from him so she landed on the floor.

“Please, you are…”

“I have never been your Romeo Hermione and I never can be,” he spat, “Goodbye Hermione Granger.”

When Hermione looked up from the floor Draco had left the room and Hermione was left alone, sobbing, confused and hurt with shock running through her veins. She had to go after him. She had to ask him why he had done this. She didn’t believe he didn’t love her. Something had happened, she needed to know why. 

Getting up from the floor Hermione burst from her room and into his but he was gone and so was everything that he owned. Everything was gone. She rushed out and down the corridor into the common room but between the people there and the tears in her eyes Hermione couldn’t see him. She saw Ginny. 

“Hermione what’s wrong,” she cried when the girl ran up to her and flung her arms around her neck. 

“Have you seen Draco,” she asked. 

“Yeah he just left the common room, why have you had a fight?”

But Hermione didn’t stay to answer her friend’s question. Instead she fled the party and barrelled out of the common room, not stopping to apologise when she knocked Dean into the wall. She had to find Draco. She had to know why he had done this to her. Why he had told her he didn’t love her when he did. She knew he did. She felt he did and she loved him enough to run after him and find the answer. 

***

“Draco,” Hermione called as she rushed through the corridors, searching hoping he had not left completely. Where was he going? Why had he done this to her?

She stopped suddenly at a window and saw Draco leaving the front doors of the castle, leading his trunk behind him, his wand in his right hand. She had to get to him. She had to make him see. He couldn’t leave her, he couldn’t tell her that he didn’t love her. 

Quickly Hermione thundered down the stairs, flying past a few prefects who were patrolling the corridor and burst out the front doors, running down the drive of the school and stopping a few meters from where Draco was walking, slowly and laboured as if he were still in pain. 

“Malfoy!” she spat.

Draco turned and his eyes widened when he spotted a breathless Hermione with her robes falling from her shoulders showing the pink shirt she was wearing underneath. Her hair had caught in the wind and her face was flushed with fury and tears. 

“Granger,” he replied, a cool edge to his voice. 

Hermione rushed over to him and yanked the trunk from his hands. His face looked pale but his eyes looked red. Had he been crying? She couldn’t really tell. The only light was from the castle and the moon. It was dark but Draco looked just as heart broken as Hermione felt. Hermione’s heart stopped and the anger leaked away. 

“Don’t leave,” she whispered into the night. 

“I’m leaving,” he said simply. 

“Why?” she asked. 

“It is none of your business Hermione,” Draco snapped. 

“It’s all of my business, I’m your girlfriend…”

“No you are not!” Draco snapped, “it is over! I told you that. Just go back to the castle.”

Draco grabbed his trunk and started walking away but Hermione stopped him and dragged him around to face her, kissing him hard on the lips. At first she thought that he was going to push her away but his hands quickly snaked around her waist and he was kissing her back. There was such an urgency to him, such a passion that Hermione ended up terrified. He pulled away from her and rested his forehead against her, breathing a little heavier than he had before. 

“Don’t do this to me,” he whispered. 

“Don’t leave,” Hermione said. 

“I have to,” he replied closing his eyes and letting a tear drip onto Hermione’s skin. 

“Then tell me where you are going,” she begged. 

“I can’t Hermione, please, it is over, it has to be over. I…I don’t love you.”

“You do,” Hermione said, “I know you do.”

“Love is just a word Hermione.”

“No, you are lying. You love me just like I love you. Please Draco.”

Draco didn’t answer, just held her tight and kissed her face gently and quickly. When he kissed her lips he lingered and brushed her hair away from her face. 

“Don’t follow me.”

Turning on his heel Draco picked up his trunk and started to walk down the drive. Hermione wanted to run after him again, to make him stop but he reached the gates too soon and apparated as soon as the grounds would let him. Draco Malfoy was gone and Hermione didn’t know if she would see him again. 

Her Romeo had died and all that was left was for her to follow him into the afterlife. 
 

 




Read and review. I hope you enjoyed the chapter! Only the epilouge left and then the sequel 'chasing fate'
 


Chapter 32: Epilouge
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

The train was slow, much too slow for Hermione. All she wanted to do was go back to her parents, curl up in a nice normal life for a couple of month before she moved into a nice new flat in a nice area of London with a nice square to look over and a good internship to attend at the ministry. 

The heavy heart she had been carrying around since that night always felt a little light when Hermione thought about the future before her. A wizard lawyer and a published author. She felt nervous but it was a good kind of nervous not like the stomach clenching worry she had carried around for the last weeks of the school term. 

She was stressed because she had so much to sort out in such a short space of time but not as stressed as she felt when she thought about the fact that she didn’t know where Draco Malfoy was. McGonagall was as shocked as she had been when Hermione told her he had left and everyone she had asked, including the minister himself didn’t have a clue. 

But she knew. They had gotten to him. They must have done or he would have told her and let her know he was going to be safe but he hadn’t he had just left her there and her friends had been the ones to peel her off the driveway and take her back into the common room just the way they had when she had caught Ron. 

Ron. Ron was joking around with Neville Harry and Dean in the opposite seat to her. Dean. 

The two boys had been the best to her. Ron had carried her up to the castle and Hermione didn’t protest. She didn’t care anymore. Dean had sat with her when Ginny had left. Sat and talked about normal muggle stuff while Hermione had been wrapped in a blanket on her bed drinking hot chocolate. He had even managed to make her laugh. 

She couldn’t get up the courage to laugh now and though Luna and Ginny were trying their best to chide the boys and make it look like Hermione wasn’t falling apart at the seams but everyone could see it anyway. 

“So,” Ginny said to the group, “I’m having a couple of training sessions with the Harpies this summer if anyone wants to come and watch.”

She was saying the question to the group but Hermione knew the girl was aiming it at her. Hermione nodded but didn’t say anything. She hadn’t said anything since they had boarded the train and she didn’t want to say anything. All she wanted to do was find out where Draco was and beg him to come back. 

Unable to stand the small compartment with so many people in it any longer Hermione leapt to her feet and left the room,  trying to make her way to the toilet before Ginny could stop her… well she knew the girl wouldn’t anyway. Ginny was giving her space, letting her do her own thing. Her brother had had the opposite reaction but Hermione tried not the think about how her ex had exclaimed that the Auror department would hunt him down and put his head on a spike. 

She splashed water from the sink at her face and it calmed her down. Made her feel less stressed. More awake. More aware. There was a knock on the door and Hermione was about to tell Ginny to go back because she was fine when Deans voice floated through the wood. 

“Hermione, are you okay?” he asked. 

Hermione dried her face quickly and opened the door a fraction, glancing up at a cheeky smile that Dean had plastered on his face.

“I’m fine,” she said coming out of the toilet and closing the door behind her. 

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure,” she reassured. 

Hermione went to walk back to the compartment but Dean stopped her. 

“I’m not going to try and pounce on you,” Dean said, “I’m still a little shocked that your prince charming was Draco Malfoy.”

Hermione nodded but didn’t look up at him. 

“I just want you to know I’m here,” he continued.

“I know Dean,” Hermione said. 

“Take this, it is my home number, quicker than Owl and I know your parents will have one. If you ever need to talk right away I am just on the other end.”

Dean pressed a piece of paper into Hermione’s hand, kissed her quickly on the cheek and walked away leaving Hermione wondering if maybe she ever could move on from Draco. Was his hold over her going to last? Could she move on? 

Glancing at Dean’s retreating body she thought, under all the heartbreak, maybe one day she could leave this life behind and though she thought she had faced her fate this year maybe she just had to chase it a little longer.


 




So this is it, Facing Fate is finished BUT stick around to read the sequel Chasing Fate! Here is a little preview! Read and Review. I hope you enjoyed this novel (it will be under revision now)

 




 Here is your preview from the first chapter of Chasing Fate - Proposals

Hermione twisted the ring on her finger as she sat in front of the computer screen trying to figure out exactly how to word the email she was about to send to Ginny. It was at precisely this moment that she regretted making the re-head get a phone, computer and email address. At the time she had insisted because it was quicker than Owls and Ginny had finally relented. Only now she expected updates on everything that was going on and Hermione knew that if she waited until they were off their honeymoon both Harry and especially Ginny would go crazy. 

Of course Hermione had been updated on every aspect of the previous two weeks in a their caribbean bliss…every aspect. If the was anyone who went over the line of too much information then it was Ginny Potter. Ginny Potter, Hermione would have to get used to saying that but that was what the loved up girls email address now said. 

Dear Mrs Potter, (bet it feels good to hear that doesn’t it!)

                He proposed…

It was all she had and all she really wanted to say. Maybe she should admit to her best friend that the moment he had proposed Hermione’s mind had skipped straight to the person who had left her in the dark on the Hogwarts driveway all those years ago. Hermione glanced at the calendar. It was the twenty-first of April. Two years, ten months and thirteen days since he left. 

But she couldn’t think about that. All she needed to think about was the fact that Hermione’s parents knew, his parents knew and now Ginny and Harry needed to know. What the girl would say she didn’t know. What the girl would say when she found out Hermione had been keeping it to herself for a week already she did know and that was why this email had to be sent. 
 


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