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Everything's Changed by DobbysSock

Format: Novel
Chapters: 14
Word Count: 57,156
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Contains Spoilers

Genres: General, Romance
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Draco, Ginny, Blaise (M)
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Lavender, Harry/Luna, Other Pairing

First Published: 11/23/2010
Last Chapter: 06/17/2011
Last Updated: 06/17/2011

Summary:




awesome banner by l_arcenciel@tda!

The Golden Trio are back to complete their final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This year, though, will be different altogether. The war changed many people, some for the better. How will Hermione react to Draco's sudden interest in her? And will Harry win the heart of Ginny back from Neville?

*Currently editing chapters that have already been posted*


Chapter 1: Returning To Hogwarts
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Author's Note - I don't own any of the characters you see in this chapter. It's all owned by J.K. Rowling. Except the plot :). I hope you enjoy!

  
beautiful chapter image thanks to enchantress@TDA
 

  Hermione took a deep breath and crossed the barrier to Platform 9 ¾. After a lot of deliberation she decided it would be the best for her to return to Hogwarts to finish her magical education. Thankfully Ron and Harry had made the same choice so she wouldn’t be alone. She was actually looking forward to being back at Hogwarts.

     She decided not to mingle in the archway for too long and tried looking for a familiar face. After just a few moments she spotted Mrs. Weasley and headed over.

“Hey Mrs. Weasley.” She said with a big hug.

“Oh, Hermione dear, how are you?”

“I’m alright. Is Ron and Harry already aboard the train?”

“Oh yes. They wanted to find a cart before they were all taken.”

“Alright, I’m going to go find them now. Bye, Mrs. Weasley.”

“Goodbye Hermione. Stay safe.”

     Hermione boarded the train and started on her search for them. As she walked down the corridor, the other students began to gawk at her. It’s not like I didn’t expect this, she told herself, I mean, I’m part of the Golden Trio. I’m bound to get a few stares. She headed toward the front of the train and quickly found the cart they were in.

     Looking though the glass pane, she spotted Neville with his arm around Ginny, sitting next to Ron. Luna sat next to Harry on the other side. Hermione stared shocked at Neville and Ginny. She looked nervously over at Harry who was staring determinedly out the window. It wasn’t till Hermione walked through the threshold that he looked away.

“Hey, Hermione! I was wondering when I would be seeing you. How was your summer?”

“Oh it was alright Harry, nothing special.  What about you?” asked Hermione while taking a seat next to Luna.

“It was alright.  I mostly stayed in Godric’s Hallow. I stayed in a room at a local inn. It was nice to be that close to my parents, you know?”

“That sounds lovely.” Hermione said. After that the cart was silent. Luna was reading her Quibbler and it looked like Harry was lost in his thoughts. Ron and Neville were playing a game of wizards chess, giving Hermione a chance to speak to Ginny.

“Hey Ginny. I have to use the ladies room. Would you mind walking with me?”

“No, not at all.” Ginny replied smiling. Hermione and Ginny started walking down the corridor. Once again the other students started to stare but Hermione was determined to ignore them.  

“Ok Ginny. Explain to me why you’re dating Neville and not Harry.”

“Well when Harry ended it with me at the end of my fifth year I was heartbroken. I knew it was because he wanted to be noble but it still hurt. Neville consoled me until the summer. We spent some time together at the wedding and kept up letters back and forth. Nothing really started till last year. Neville was there for me whenever I was feeling down and, I don’t know, it just happened. It was like, one day I woke up and realized that I cared deeply for Neville. I care for Harry but it’s different. I care for him like I care for Ron, nothing more.”

“I’m glad for you and Neville, Ginny. I just feel bad for Harry. I don’t know how long it will be until he realizes he’s lost you for good. He always expected you to be there after the war, waiting for him.”

“I know Hermione. It kills me to know that I hurt him, but I honestly can’t do anything about it.”

“Oh well. Only time will tell.” By the time they had finished their talk they were already back at their cart. Much to their displeasure, Malfoy and Zabini were in there also. Oh Merlin, trouble already and we aren’t even at Hogwarts. She entered the cart and went to sit next to Ron. As she passed Malfoy he directed his attention from Harry to her.

“Hey there, Granger. It’s a shame you decided to come back too. I was just informing Scar Head and The Weasel how enjoyable Hogwarts would have been without you three.” Malfoy drawled.

“Oh! What a coincidence Malfoy. I was just thinking the same thing about you. Except I have a feeling the entire school will be thinking the same thing as me. I find it hard to believe that you’ve given up your Deatheater ways just because Voldemort’s gone.”

“You know nothing about me Granger.” Malfoy spat as he took a step towards her.

“Come on Draco. Let’s head back to our end.” Zabini said while he put a hand on Draco’s shoulder. They stalked out and left Hermione sitting there fuming.

“How could McGonagall let him back in?!” she said exasperated.

“I don’t know Hermione. Let’s just forget about him for now,” said Ron as he put his arm around her. Forgetting about Malfoy would not be such an easy thing to do. He was the one person who seemed to know exactly how to get under her skin. He always has ever since their first year. She sighed and tried to calm down. She rested her head on Ron’s shoulder and it didn’t take long for her to doze off.

Author's Note - There you go, the first chapter of many more to come. I hope you've enjoyed it! Don't be afraid to leave a review on what you thought!!


Chapter 2: Head's Room
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  Author's Note - Here's the second chapter! once again I only own the plot :)

      



Another beautiful chapter image thanks to enchantress@TDA


            Hermione woke up to lots of commotion. The train finally arrived at Hogwarts and everyone was shuffling around grabbing their trunks. She quickly put on her robes and joined everyone in the bustle of getting off the train. It was just her, Harry and Ginny in the carriage up to the castle. Ron had gone ahead with Neville and Luna went off to say hello to the Thestrals. Hermione let Harry sit next to Ginny, knowing that it would make him happy.

            “Hermione? What’s up with you and Ron?” asked Ginny.

            “What? Oh nothing, Ginny. Why do you ask?”

            “Well, it’s just you two had barely said more than two words to each other the entire ride here.”

            “Oh. Yes. Well. Ever since the war ended things have been different.  Losing Fred and thinking Harry had died, the entire war, was just really traumatic.  I think we just got caught up in the heat of the moment.  Now that the war is over, our flame has been slowly burning out.”

            “Well, things happen that we can’t control. I always thought you and Ron would marry one day but I guess the war changed people.” Ginny concluded sadly.

With the carriage coming to a stop, they walked into the Great Hall to find McGonagall talking to Ron and Neville. She quickly hurried off. Probably to get the Sorting Hat, thought Hermione.

            “What did McGonagall want?” asked Harry.

            “She wants me, you and Hermione to go to her office after the feast. I don’t know why though. Oh well. Let’s go sit down now. I’m starving.” Ron replied. 

            “When are you not hungry?” Hermione joked, and they hurried over to the Gryffindor table to sit.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Malfoy watched as Hermione hurried over to the table with Potter and Weasley. He couldn’t understand what she saw in Weasley. He wasn’t muscular, his hair was always a mess, and his clothes barely fit him properly.

            He thought for the longest time that it would be Harry and Hermione to go out but then he went after that Ravenclaw girl. Maybe she thinks that the Weasel is the best looking guy she can get…but that’s ridiculous. She must have noticed that she’s gotten prettier the last couple years. Her hair is no longer bushy, rather shiny with buoyant curls.

            “Draco. What’s on your mind? You haven’t said a word since we sat down. Why are you staring at the Gryffindor table?” Blaise questioned, following his gaze.

            “Sorry my mind was elsewhere.” Draco said, beginning to shake his head trying to clear his mind, when all of a sudden food appeared at the table. “Have I missed the sorting? I didn’t even hear McGonagall talk.”

            “Yeah, or me. Mind informing me what was so important you have been ignoring me for the last several minutes?”

            “I was just wondering why on earth she hangs around those two oafs.”

            “Who are you talking about? Please tell me it’s not Granger!”

            “What? Oh shut up Blaise. It was just a thought. It’s not like I’m pining over her.”

            “Yeah, whatever Draco. That’s how it starts.”

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            She finished dinner quickly and before she knew it she was walking with Ron and Harry to McGonagall’s office. They came to the eagle statue and stopped.

            “Ron, did she tell you the password?” Harry asked.

            “Ummm… I think she said it was…Albus?” Just then the spiral staircase appeared and the three of them slowly climbed the steps. They entered the office and Hermione looked around. It looked exactly as it had when Dumbledore was Headmaster. The only difference now was that Dumbledore’s and Snape’s portraits now hung along with the rest of Hogwarts past Headmaster’s. She sat down across from McGonagall with Ron behind her and Harry seated next to her. 

            “What was it you wanted to speak to us about Professor?” inquired Harry.

            “Just one moment Mr. Potter. We’re just waiting for two more to join us.” She responded. They all sat quietly awaiting the two more mystery guests. After several minutes it seemed to Hermione that these guests were certainly taking their time. McGonagall didn’t seem worried at all though. Just when Hermione’s curiosity was about to get the best of her, the door to her office opened. She quickly turned around to see who it was. Malfoy and Zabini strutted in leisurely. Hermione had no idea what McGonagall wanted to talk to all five of them for. Unless she heard what had happened on the train, Hermione concluded. She watched Malfoy and Zabini standing off to the side waiting with their eyes on their Headmistress. Hermione also directed her attention to McGonagall.

            “You all are most likely wondering why I have called you here. Before I get into that though, I must hand out the badges for this year. I would have sent them out over the summer but, with the task of overseeing the reconstruction of Hogwarts, my time has been very much consumed. Head Boy this year will be given to you Mr. Zabini. As for Head Girl, it will obviously be you Ms. Granger. I cannot express how proud I am of you and I don’t think there is any other that deserves that badge more than you.” McGonagall said smiling. “Gryffindor Quidditch Captain will be you Mr. Potter and as for the Syltherin Captain, Mr. Malfoy. And as for you Mr. Weasley, I would like you to continue with your Prefect duties. Due to the fact that the entire school stayed back a year to ensure the proper magical education to each and every student, out first year class is twice the normal size. Therefore Mr. Weasley, I expect more rule breaking in the hallways and during the first week or so, the hallways to be exceptionally crowded as they try to find their way to their classes. I am placing my trust in you to rightly guide them and keep the rule breaking to a bare minimum.” McGonagall stated. Ron nodded at his position. I hope he doesn’t feel left out, what with everyone getting something except him, thought Hermione.

            “Now for the second task of business. As you very well know Ms. Granger and Mr. Zabini, you will now be staying in the Heads Common Room. I trust both of you to get along and act civilized towards each other. As for you three,” she said as she nodded to Malfoy, Harry, and Ron, “I’m giving you the option also, to stay in the Heads Common Room. You each played your own part in the war and whether the entire student body will accept it or not has yet to be seen. Especially you, Mr. Malfoy. I have a feeling that most of the student’s will not be so kind in welcoming you back among them. You are allowed to decline my offer; I’m only doing this in order to make your last year back as easy as I can. Does anyone here decline?” She asked. Nobody did. “Very well. Now, I trust that Mr. Potter will be able to lead the way due to that clever map of his. The password is ‘Unity’. Now hurry along. You have classes in the morning.”

            Everyone stood up and bade Professor McGonagall a good evening and quietly exited her office.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco walked behind the other three with Blaise talking quietly, as to not be overheard.

            “I like the fact that we will be staying in the Heads room together Blaise, don’t get me wrong. I just can’t stand the fact that they will also be joining us.” Draco said as he motioned to the other three.

            “I understand how you feel Draco but I’ve been thinking. What McGonagall said was right. We’re going to be stuck with them all year. I’d rather not spend that time bickering and being uncivilized with everyone. I believe now is a good time as any to start getting along with those three.” Draco couldn’t even manage a reply. He knew Blaise was right. If they argued the entire time, Hogwarts would be miserable. Then again, he could not bring himself to become buddies with Potter. Especially not the Weasel. He didn’t have time to think any more of it because they had come to a halt. They were at the end of a hallway facing a portrait. It was of a witch, most likely from the early 1900’s from the way she was dressed, guessed Draco. She looked oddly like McGonagall in a way. Her hair was tied up in a tight bun and she had some of the same facial features.

            “Hello. I assume you are the five Minerva told me about, are you not?” Everyone just nodded their heads. “Very well. To enter your common room you must provide me with a password. Every once in a while I shall change it and go without telling you. You must answer a riddle and guess right to receive the new password. Do you have the current password?”

            “Yes ma’am. ‘Unity’.” Spoke Harry.

            “Very well. You may enter.” She said as she swung open.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione was shocked as she looked at the room. It was beautiful. The floors were made of a dark wood and the walls were a deep burgundy red. The room was absolutely huge. Against the right wall was a huge fireplace. Three dark brown leather couches surrounded a small glass coffee table which was placed in font of the fireplace. All of this rested on a circular green and silver rug. To the left was a huge glass, two story window with the most spectacular view of the Hogwarts grounds. Besides the window, along the rest of the wall, were multiple shelves filled with an enormous amount of books. It’s like my own small library Hermione thought with a smile. Next to the shelves were a few armchairs to match the couches and a nice big wooden table. All of this rested on an identical rug.

Hermione focused her attention now, towards the back of the room. There were two spiral staircases, one on the left and right, that led up to a second story landing. There stood a door next to each staircase. She also spotted three doors above too. She slowly made her way over and saw that each door had a name on it. The first one she walked to had the name Ron on it. As she walked to the right she read Malfoy. She then headed up the staircase to see Blaise, Harry and then finally hers all the way to the left.

            She opened her door to find a spacious room. The wall opposite the door was full of windows all covered by a big white curtain. She found a glass door in the middle of the windows and realized that she had the luxury of a small balcony. She looked to her right and saw she was given a big canopy bed. Across from the bed was a full length mirror which, when slid to the side, opened up to a walk in closet. She plopped down on her bed with a sigh. Oh I certainly love my room. I just wish everything wasn’t so white. It reminds me of a hospital. If only everything was maybe a pale pink. That would certainly be pretty. Just then, her room turned the exact shade of pink she had been thinking of. Oh how convenient! The room changes color at my will! And I was certainly right; this pale pink is a perfect color. She thought as she happily lay on her bed.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco didn’t bother checking out his room just yet. After all, he had the rest of the night to go admire his new surroundings. For now, he felt content to just stare out the window and take in the spectacular view. The way the moon reflected on the lake was almost entrancing, he noticed. I’ve decided Blaise was right. I must be able to put up with the other three if I hope of enjoying my last year here at Hogwarts. I guess I’ll start with Potter. He thought as he turned around. He spotted him just as he was leaving his room. Draco caught a glance of what it looked like. He mostly noticed the burgundy and gold color scheme.

            “Hey Scarhe….Potter! I need to speak to you for a moment.”

            “What is it Malfoy?” Harry asked in an annoyed voice. Draco held back an insult.

            “I’d just like to say…Thanks. You know, for saving my life twice last year.” He said it quickly, like the words would burn him if he held them in for much longer. Harry looked as shocked as anybody could look.

            “Wow Malfoy. I must say, I never thought you’d ever be thanking me. I know this is probably a once in a lifetime thing for you so I really appreciate it. You’re welcome.”

            “Alright. Don’t expect us to be all buddy-buddy though! Seven years of hate doesn’t just disappear like that!” he finished, snapping his fingers in the process.

            “I never expected it to.” Harry chuckled as he walked away. Draco sighed. He had accomplished the first part. Now he had to find a way to befriend Weasley and Granger. Ah but thankfully, I can get to that another time, he thought. He shuffled to his room, his eyes heavy with the meal he had just consumed. He collapsed on his bed without paying attention to the detail of the room. The last thing he saw before he fall asleep was his room changing to green and silver.

Author's Note - So what did everyone think? This one is better than the first. I'm almost done with my third chapter. Don't forget to review !


Chapter 3: Nightmares
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 Author's Note - Hey guys!! Sorry it took so long! Validation was taking forever. Here's chapter three, i had to rewrite it once of twice, it just wasn't coming out like i wanted it to. I hope you guys like it!

 


Ahhh I love enchantress @TDA

Everything was dark. Hermione looked around at her surroundings. She knew the place looked familiar but she couldn’t remember exactly why. She heard Draco calling her name from far away. She knew she had to find him, knew she had to figure out where he was. Slowly, she moved around the room. Just then the moon came out of the clouds and an eerie light shown through the room. A crazy cackling came from the corner just then and Bellatrix Lestrange came forward with a crazed look in her eyes. She didn’t even hear the spell cast before she felt excruciating pain throughout her body. She couldn’t help but scream, scream until her throat was hoarse. Maybe then, she hoped, the pain would stop. When she finally could not take the pain any longer, it let up. She realized she was on the floor, writhing in agony. She turned her head towards her torturer, tears streaming down her face. Bellatrix raised her wand and Hermione knew what was coming, with no way to stop it. The blinding flash of green light overtook her.

            Hermione woke with a start. She was drenched in sweat and breathing heavily. It was just a dream, she thought with a relief. She had been having the same nightmare once a week since the war was over. The only difference between each nightmare was the person that was calling her name. Why had it been Malfoy calling my name, she thought. It disturbed her to think that he was in her dream. Usually it was someone she cared for, like Harry or Ron. She tried to shake the uneasy feeling and begin her day on a good note. She quickly put up her hair and walked down to the common room. Hopefully she’ll be able to relax a little before classes start. The thought of her classes significantly cheered her up and occupied her thoughts as she made her way to the shelves of books.

            She found Malfoy sitting in an armchair immersed in a thick book. The orange light from the sunrise coming though the window played off his platinum blonde hair. He looks like a completely different person right now, she thought as she continued to examine him. Just then he looked up and caught her staring at him.

            “You alright there Granger?”

“Of course I am Malfoy. I was just wondering what book you were reading. That’s all.” She said in a matter-of-fact voice, hoping it would be enough to play off her gazing at him.

“Nothing too fancy. Just Quidditch Through the Ages. Are you alright? I heard you whimpering in your sleep. I was going to come see if you were alright but I didn’t think you’d react positively waking up to me standing over you.”

“Oh. You’re right. Its better you didn’t, and thank you for the concern but I’m fine. It was just a nightmare. Why are you so full of concern anyway Malfoy? Shouldn’t you be making some snide comment of me being afraid of my pillow or something?”

“Well I could Granger if I really felt the need for it, but you’re lucky. I’ve taken to heart what McGonagall said to us last night and decided to become more civil with you. If you’d rather me not though I’ll gladly continue insulting you every chance I get.” He stated while closing his book. I knew Malfoy would never change. What did McGonagall think? Just because she said we should be civil does not mean that someone like Malfoy will change, Hermione wondered. An ‘oh’ was all she managed to say in reply to him and this seemed to amuse him.

“Do Potter and Weasley know you’re having nightmares about the war?”

“Firstly, how did you know what my nightmare was about? Secondly, it is none of your business what I choose to tell Ronald and Harry, Malfoy.” Hermione said, getting annoyed. Draco put out his hands as if to say stop.

“Relax, relax. I was just wondering.” Hermione turned on her heel and walked back to her room. She figured it was time to start getting ready for her first day back at Hogwarts, anyways. She changed into her uniform and sighed happily as she checked her hair. She had found a simple spell that would help her control her bushy hair and had grown quite fond of it. Her hair now always fell in perfect soft curls. She left her hair up and applied some mascara before heading back to the common room.

She saw Harry talking to Malfoy; he actually looked like he was interested in what Malfoy had to say. What is happening to everyone this morning? Just then Harry saw Hermione and walked over.

“Hermione! Good Morning! How are you?” he said with a huge smile on his face.

“Oh hello Harry! I’m pretty good. What were you and Malfoy discussing?”

“Oh nothing really. I had just asked him if he knew who the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw Quidditch captains were. McGonagall must have told them separate from us since they weren’t there last night when she told us.”

“Oh…and who are they?”

“Cho Chang and Ernie McMillan.”

“That’s nice. Listen, Harry. Are you friends with Malfoy?”


“What gave you that idea? Just because I don’t spend every second hating him doesn’t mean we’re friends. He thanked me for saving his life last year. I won’t insult him when I see him but I’m not going to be best friends with the guy. Anyway I better go and wake Ron up. I’ll meet you in the Great Hall.” And with that he took off to Ron’s room. As Hermione began to walk out of the portrait hole, Malfoy got up to follow her.                                                                                                             *~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            “Wait up Granger. Let’s walk down together. Blaise likes to take his time in the morning and I don’t feel like waiting for him.” He couldn’t believe he, Draco Malfoy, was running after Hermione Granger.

“Ugh Malfoy, I don’t understand you. You have decided to be civil, just like that? I don’t trust it.”

“I’m starting to second guess it too Granger. I mean, am I or am I not a Malfoy? Should I be walking down to breakfast with you? But, as I said, I’d rather not wait for Blaise. May I ask you a question?”

“After that whole thing you’re seriously going to ask me a question Malfoy?”        “Yes Granger. I do believe I said that. What about the war was your nightmare about?”

“The night at Malfoy Manor.” Hermione said surprising herself. Draco froze up. He had not expected that, though now he thought about it, it was pretty obvious. He remembered that night clearly, remembered every detail. It was the first night he had really started to notice Hermione as a person. What happened to her that night haunted his dreams as well, though he’d never admit it. He had desperately wanted Voldemort out of the manor, had wanted Harry to triumph. Of course he had recognized him as soon as the snatchers had brought him there, though he swore to everyone he wasn’t sure. He had watched as his aunt tortured Hermione. Her screams had pierced him and he had wanted more than anything to comfort her and stop her from hurting.

            “…Malfoy?” Hermione’s voice broke his train of thought.

            “I’m sorry Hermione. I was lost in thought. What was that?” She didn’t answer him though, just stared at him with a strange expression. “What?” he asked quizzically.           “You didn’t call me Granger…you used my name. You’ve never done that before.”

            “Did I? I think you’re mistaken. You must be hearing things Granger. Why on earth would I use your dirty name?”

            “My dirty name?! You foul, disgusting cockroach! You should have stayed and waited for Blaise. Just being in your presence disgusts me Malfoy. You’ve completely spoiled my appetite!” Hermione spat at him.

            “I disgust you? My trying to be civil and walk with you has resulted in me feeling filthy. I think I need to skip on breakfast and wash all this filth off.” They had reached the Great Hall and Draco walked over and took a seat at the Slytherin table. I can’t believe I called her Hermione. Draco how could you be so stupid? Why not just tell her you think about that night also? Yes, that would go over well. Hello Granger, I might think of you as more than just the dirt on my shoes. She would probably just slap me in the face. Ugh! I can’t stand that stupid know-it-all. Just then his thoughts were interrupted as Blaise came and took a seat next to him.

            “So I heard you and Hermione walked down together. Harry told me. I am glad you agreed to be civil Draco, but that doesn’t mean you have to start wooing Hermione.”

            “I’m not wooing anyone Blaise. If you must know, the walk ended with the usually bickering. I’m glad too. For a second I thought she actually might want to be friends with me!”

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione’s thoughts were still on Malfoy when Ron and Harry sat down next to her. She glanced at Ron and immediately knew something was wrong but when she asked him he shrugged her off and before she could push the subject, McGonagall was handing out schedules. Hermione reviewed hers immediately. First off was Herbology with the Hufflepuffs. Transfiguration with Slytherin. Charms and Defense against the Dark Arts with just the Gryffindors, and then double Potions with Slytherin. She sighed. Today is going to be a long day.

            Hermione hurried off to Potions class. She knew she had more than enough time to get there but she wanted to claim a seat in the front. She wanted to be fully prepared to pass Potions this year with an ‘O’. While successfully grabbing a seat up front, she thought back to her day. Herbology and Charms were by far the easiest. They mostly reviewed in Transfiguration seeing as McGonagall was waiting for the new Professor to arrive. Defense against the Dark Arts, she could tell, was going to be more challenging.  They were already assigned a 5 foot essay on Inferi. The essay would be a piece of cake, she was just nervous of the topics they would be reviewing. The new instructor was Professor Mardinald. He was nice enough, she guessed, although he was more of a cynical being. She was jolted out of her thoughts when Harry and Ron sat on each side of her. Judging by their expressions, they had just had a row. Oh great. I’ll be dealing with this all night. Maybe if I ignore it it’ll sort itself out, but then again this is Harry and Ron we’re talking about. It’ll probably take those two months to see the others point.           Professor Slughorn walked to the front of the class and began instructing them that they would be brewing a potion of their choice and they would be graded on its difficulty and if they had properly brewed it. Hermione chose the Draught of Living Death because the last time she had made it, Harry had bested her. Now, without the help of that wretched book, she would once again be the best in the class. Smiling, she quickly busied herself with the potion.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco didn’t really know what potion he could brew. He chose one at random out of his copy of Advanced Potion-Making. He quickly looked over the list of ingredients and made his way to the ingredients cupboard. On his way up he noticed Hermione. She looked so determined, her soft curls falling out of her ponytail. He chuckled at the sight of her and continued back to his cauldron.

            It was almost the end of class and Hermione wasn’t impressed with her potion. It still refused to turn the exact color described in the book. Slughorn was making his way around the students and before she had time to try to finish her potion he was already looking into her cauldron. He made a mark in his grade book and moved on to the next student. Hermione cleaned up her cauldron and put everything away. Class was dismissed and she turned around to find Ron and Harry hurrying away from the dungeons.

            Hermione couldn’t wait for dinner. She had skipped lunch to start her DADA essay and was famished. I should probably see what Ron and Harry’s problem is. They both practically ran from the dungeons. She hurried over to the Gryffindor table and sat across from the two of them. They both looked a little tense but were at least talking. She filled her plate with food and then decided to confront them.

            “Why were you two so upset earlier?”

            “Ron got upset when he realized I didn’t hate Malfoys’ guts.”

            “There’s no excuse to be best friends with him!” shouted Ron.

            “If you weren’t so daft Ronald, you’d realize that Harry isn’t best friends with Malfoy. He’s best friends with you! It’s been that way since you both sat in the same cart that first day on the Hogwarts Express.”

            “I’m daft Hermione? Do you ever go a day without shoving your knowledge into everyone else’s face? Oh look at me I’m Hermione. I’m super smart and Ron isn’t.”

            “So that’s what you think of me then? Fine! Don’t expect me to let you copy my homework and use my notes this year!” Hermione yelled as she stormed away from the Great Hall; tears streaming down her face. How could Ronald be such an arse! I don’t try to shove my knowledge down everyone’s throats! Sure I answer a lot of questions but that’s only to prove myself to the Professors.

            She wiped her tears as she approached the portrait to the Heads Room and choked out the password. She hurried over to the bookshelves and picked up a book at random; quickly sitting down to read it.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco looked up to see Hermione rushing away, tears on her face, from the Great Hall. He looked to the Gryffindor table to see what had put her in that state. He saw Harry glare at Ron and say something, which seemed to make Ron regret whatever had just happened. Draco deliberated it for half a second and then chose to run after Hermione.

            When he reached the common room he saw her curled up in an arm chair reading. He made his way over to her, thinking of what he could possibly say to her. Turning a chair from the table around to face her, he sat down next to her.

            “You alright Granger? I saw you running up here so I came to see what had happened.” She looked up at him, her eyes puffy and red.

“It’s none of your business why I’m upset Malfoy. Like you actually care what bothers me; you probably only want to know what happened so you can congratulate them.” Hermione spat.

            “Granger I’m getting tired of your snotty attitude! Here I am, going out of my way to see what was wrong with you and all I get in return is attitude!”

            “Malfoy, you can’t really expect me to believe you skipped dinner to see why I was crying.”        

            “Obviously I can’t Granger if you don’t, can I?”

            “Ron and I are fighting.”

            “What? Is that why you’re sad, because you and the Weasel are fighting? That’s pathetic. You know you two will be back together in no time.”

            “His name is Ronald; and that’s exactly why I’m sad. I’m allowed to be sad if he and I are arguing.”

            “Well, like I said Granger. You two will be back together in no time.”

            “You don’t know that Malfoy. This time is different.”        

            “Sure it is. This time the argument was started over something that actually mattered and you two might actually break up. That’s what every girl thinks when her and her boyfriend are arguing Granger, hate to burst your bubble.”

            “Malfoy! You insensitive slug! That’s why I’m so upset! I don’t know if our relationship will last this time. I think this is one argument to many.” Hermione ended in almost a whisper.

            Just then Harry and Blaise walked through the portrait hole. Draco saw Hermione glance up hopefully for Ron, looking disappointed when he wasn’t with them. Blaise walked over to Draco with raised eyebrows. Draco just shrugged.







 

Author's Note - SO! What did you guys think about it!? You gotta REVIEW and let me know ;)
 

Chapter 4: Head's Meeting
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Author's Note - Hey guys. Here's the fourth chapter. It's super long, but i like it. Enjoy

  enchantress @TDA does the most amazing job :)

            Hermione looked at Harry as he came towards her. He was going to talk about how Ron didn’t mean it and he was just angry, but she didn’t care. Ron had been so rude to her. Ron was Hermione’s first real boyfriend.  She never counted Victor, most of the time she was with him he just talked about Quidditch or watched her study. She still kept in touch with him over the years, and he was always there for her when she needed to vent. She felt her relationship with Ron was more what one should be. They had a strong friendship and from there the relationship had formed. She was fond of him, though she was quite certain she didn’t love him. Love was such a strong word to be using and she felt eighteen was too young to be using it.

            “Hermione? You know he doesn’t mean it, right?” asked Harry.

            “I suppose I do, though an apology would certainly be nice.”

            “You know Ron, though. You know how long it takes him to admit he’s wrong.”

            “But Harry, we aren’t just friends anymore. He can’t wait two months and then expect everything to be fine.”

            “I’ll talk to him. He won’t wait that long. You know he’d hate to lose you.”

            “Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn’t. I’m going to try and see how things go but I’m only waiting so long. We’re already completely different than we were before. Things just aren’t the same anymore Harry,” Hermione finished, her eyes brimming with tears.

            “Don’t cry ‘Mione. Cheer up. Things have a way of working themselves out. Give it time.”

            “I guess so. We’ll see.”

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            “I think you should post the sign-up sheet for Quidditch, mate. We’ll be the first team to do it, so we’d have a head start on the practices.” Blaise said as he and Draco trudged up to the changing rooms.

            “Then the cup will be ours. Yes, I agree Blaise, that’s a great idea. I’ll put that up tomorrow.” Draco replied.

            “So, how’s your mom holding up?”

            “She’s doing well. With father in Azkaban she’s spending most of her time redecorating the manor. I don’t expect father to be happy when he gets out, but I must admit the house does seem brighter now.”

            “That’s nice. Listen mate, I’ve been meaning to ask you about something.”

            “What’s up Blaise?”

            “Do you have any interest what-so-ever in Hermione?”

            “Why?” Draco asked.

            “Well, do you remember that week I stayed at the manor over the summer? Well one evening you were asleep and you were mumbling something. You were having this dream, more of a nightmare really, and you were tossing and turning and mumbling Hermione’s name. I debated waking you, but after a minute or so, you subsided. Now we’re back at school and I’ve caught you, a couple times, gazing at her and stealing glances when you thought no one was looking.” Draco didn’t know what to say. Blaise was spot on about everything. He thought it over for a moment and decided Blaise, being his best mate and all, deserved to know.

            “Well do you remember when I told you of the time my aunt tortured Hermione because the sword of Gryffindor was found with them?” Blaise nodded. “Well there was this moment when Hermione was being tortured and we locked eyes and it sort of hit me that she was a person. Not just some filthy mudblood that I could insult at school. After that, every scream of hers pierced me. I felt awful. It was one of the most difficult things to witness, especially knowing there was literally nothing I could do for her. I swore to myself in that moment I would treat her better, befriend her, and show her I’m not an awful person. She, without even meaning to, had helped me see past her insufferable know-it-all side and view a glimpse of who she truly was. I don’t know what will happen, though. I still can’t control my tongue when I am around her. I just can’t help but throw snide remarks and comments her way, in hopes that they hide my true feelings.”

            “Well, that certainly was a longer explanation than I expected. You’ll never get anywhere with her, Draco, if you can’t control yourself. Most likely you’ll have to make good with Harry, and especially her boyfriend Ron as well” Draco nodded, knowing everything Blaise had said was true.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione woke with a start. She had fallen asleep on the book she had been reading. She turned to see who had woken her and was almost pleased to see Malfoy standing over her. Wait, what? Me pleased? Have I forgotten so easily what he said to me this morning? It’s Malfoy, I can’t feel pleased.

            “Hey Granger; I thought it would be rude to not wake you, so I woke you…” He finished awkwardly.

            “Well, thank you, I guess. You should probably go shower now, you’re filthy.” She said with a hint of annoyance in her voice,

            “Here I am being nice and the first thing you do is go make a comment about this morning! Merlin, Granger! Next time I’ll leave you there!”

            “Malfoy; hush up! You smell like sweaty boy! I meant it in reference to your awful ‘after Quidditch’ smell. Harry and Ron smell the same afterwards also.” Malfoy stood staring at her.

            “Oh. I thought, well you know what I thought…uhm…sorry for snapping. Goodnight.” Hermione watched him turn and walk to his room. How odd. Am I hearing things or did Malfoy just apologize to me? She quickly gathered her books and went off to her room. Shortly after she closed her door, a knock sounded. Hermione opened her door, and to her surprise, she came face-to-face with Blaise.

            “Hey Hermione; I wanted to catch you before you fell asleep. I don’t know if you knew but there is a Head’s meeting tomorrow at noon. Usually we have it in that unused classroom on the third floor but McGonagall’s using it tomorrow. I figured we could have it here instead. I sent notices out to all the prefects to let them know. If you could just get everything ready tomorrow I’ll let them in. Sound good?”

            “Yeah Blaise; sounds great. Thanks for letting me know.” Hermione replied smiling. Blaise nodded and smiled back and headed off to his room. Hermione closed her door and sat on her bed with a sigh. She really wasn’t really tired anymore. She decided to write to one of her best friends. Her name was Elizabeth, though she preferred Lizzie. They had been best friends since the first grade. When Hermione received her letter from Hogwarts she had decided to tell Lizzie that her parents were sending her to a boarding school. It wasn’t until the summer before Hermione’s fourth year that Lizzie found out about Hogwarts. Hermione had accidentally left a copy of the daily prophet on her desk. She could have played it off if Hedwig hadn’t chosen that moment to swoop through her bedroom window to give her a letter from Harry.

            At first Lizzie was a bit skeptical, but after some time she came around and became closer because of it. They wrote to each other constantly and were almost inseparable when Hermione was home for during breaks. Don’t get her wrong, Harry and Ron were great best friends to have, but Hermione needed a girl best friend too, just to even everything out; and plus, her and Lizzie have been best friends since Hermione could remember. She hurried over to her desk to write to Lizzie.

            Dear Lizzie,

           

                        I miss you already. How’s school? I would have written sooner but I have already been assigned an essay and you know me, I had to get that out of the way before I could write you a decent length letter. You’ll never guess what has happened. I was made Head Girl! I’m so proud of myself. It’s one of the things I have been striving for since I first stepped into the castle. I get to share a common room with Harry, Ron and two other students. It’s quite nice and I have my own room and bathroom now too.

                        Any cute boys caught your eye yet, this year? Why do I even ask? You’ve probably already met several of them. You’ve never had a problem snagging them have you? Now you must only learn to work on not getting fed up with them so quickly.

                        Nothing exciting has happened to me yet; no daring adventures this year. Ronald and I argued earlier tonight. I don’t think we will last much longer, but I will try. I don’t think I can lose him as a friend; we were so close before this relationship came along. Oh well, what is a girl to do really?

                        Anyway, I must be off to bed. It is reasonably late and I must attend to matters in the morning. Writing to you has certainly helped clear my head and now it will be much easier for me to get a good rest this evening. I hope to hear from you soon.

                                               

                                                                                    With lots of love,

                                                                                                Hermione

 

            Hermione sealed the letter and then flopped down on her bed, anxious for tomorrow to start.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione woke to the sun shining bright through her windows. She smiled as she lay there, thinking about the day ahead. After a few relaxing moments, she got up and quickly took a shower and then threw on a pair of fitting jeans and a Gryffindor t-shirt. She fixed her hair and grabbed the letter she had written; making her way to the Great Hall. Hermione had woken up earlier than usual, so most of the students were still sleeping. She decided to head to the Owlery while she waited for the rest of the school to awaken. It didn’t take her too long to reach the winding tower.

            She had purchased an owl for herself while shopping in Diagon Alley over the summer. She was almost done with Hogwarts and she’d definitely need one. She had bought a light brown one with large amber eyes that reminded Hermione of Hedwig. She had named the owl Theo. She called to him and held up an owl treat. He flew down and nibbled at it she stroked him. When he had finished she tied the letter to his leg and he took off into the sky.

            She made her way back to the Great Hall to find Ron sitting at the table. She hurried over and sat across from him.

            “Good morning Ron.”

            “Morning.” He replied, shoveling food on his plate.

            “We have a Head’s meeting today. Did you know?”

            “Yes.” He replied, still shoveling food, only now into his mouth.

            “Do you have anything to say to me?” She asked, getting slightly annoyed.

            “Not really, Hermione. Do you have anything to say to me?” he said, in a voice that practically dripped with boredom.

            “What do you think I need to say?” she asked still looking at him, though he didn’t even spare her a glance.

            “Maybe apologize. That’d be a start.”

            “What do you think I have to apologize for?” Hermione hissed.

            “Maybe the fact that you made fun of me and then stormed off last night.”

            “A-Are you serious? You insulted me and started the entire argument!”

            “Whatever Hermione.” Ron stated. Hermione just glared at him before grabbing an apple and walked away. She headed back to the common room. As she entered Malfoy walked out of his bedroom. For some reason, Hermione couldn’t tear her eyes away from him. He wore dark green sweats that hung low on his waist and bore no shirt. She noticed Quidditch had been very beneficial to his body, his stomach toned with the faint outline of a six pack. His blonde hair hung in his face. All of a sudden someone tackled her.

            “Good morning, Hermione!” Harry yelled into her ear.

            “Well good morning Harry.” She giggled. “What’s with the enthusiasm this morning?”

            “I woke up this morning in the most fantastic mood! I’m not quite sure why. I’m just glad we’re friends, Hermione.” Harry smiled.

            “Me too Harry; hey, do you know who I thought of yesterday? Winky. Do you think she still works in the kitchens?”

            “Hmm, I’m not sure. How ‘bout we go check?”

            “I’d like that.” smiled Hermione as Harry went to shower and change before they headed off. Hermione took a seat on the couch, her thoughts straying to the encounter she just had with Ron. Thankfully, going to the kitchens and the meeting will be enough of a distraction from it for the time being. She was so lost in thought she didn’t even notice when Malfoy took a seat next to her, so when he spoke to her she jumped.

            “Who are the new Prefects’ this year?” he asked her.

            “Uhm, well, Gryffindors are Ron and Ginny. Ravenclaws are Joseph B. and Melanie R. Hufflepuffs are Hannah Abbott and Justin Finch-Fletchley and Slytherins would be Rebecca Adams and Mark Steele.”

            “You’ll be having it at the table then?”

            “Yes.”

            “So may I sit on the couch to listen in?”

            “Sure I guess. Harry had planned on doing that also, I believe.”

            “Alright.” Harry walked over to Hermione and tapped her on the shoulder. Hermione said goodbye to Malfoy and hurried off with Harry. They were there in less than five minutes, thanks to Harry’s knowledge of the schools secret passages. They entered the kitchen and Hermione tried to see if she could spot her, but to her dismay she couldn’t.

            “Uhm, excuse me?” She said to a nearby elf. “Do you know if an elf named Winky still works here?”

            “Oh yes ma’am! She is over by the ovens! I shall go bring her to you!” the elf squeaked and ran off. Just a few seconds later the elf was dragging Winky through the crowd to a stop in front of Hermione and Harry.

            “Oh Winky; how are you!?” Hermione asked at the sight of the small elf.

            “I’m doing good misses. Winky is much better than the last time you saw me!” Indeed she did. The little elf was dressed in clean linins and was no longer hiccupping every few seconds.

            “You look so good, Winky.” Hermione beamed.

            “Yes Winky is liking working at Hogwarts now. Winky has made good friends.”

            “That’s great! Do you think you could do me a favor?”

            “Oh yes! Winky can do misses a favor!”

            “I’m holding a Head’s meeting in the common room at noon. Could you prepare food and drink for it?”

            “Yes, Winky will do that. Winky will bring pumpkin juice and butterbeer and treacle tart and lots of goodies!”

            “Gotta love the enthusiasm,” Chuckled Harry.

            “That would be perfect. I’ll see you at noon then.” And with that they said their goodbyes and headed back to the common room.

            “You know, when I see Winky all happy like that, I can’t help but to think how happy Dobby would’ve been if he was still here.” Harry said sadly.

            “I know how much you miss him, Harry.” Hermione sighed putting her arm around him. “I know he wouldn’t have wanted you to mope because of it though, he would’ve wanted you to enjoy every second of life and stay safe.”

            “You’re probably right Hermione. Hell, you’re right all of the time.” Harry said as he put his arm around Hermione’s shoulder.

            “Not all of the time.” She replied modestly.

            “Well a damn good portion of it.” After that they walked silently, arms around each other, lost in thought. Harry had become more than just a best friend to Hermione; he had become a brother to her. Most people thought her and Harry had a thing for each other and if Hermione was being honest, she had had the slightest crush on him in their first year. After that year though, she slowly started noticing Ron.

            When they had finally reached their common room, Harry gave the portrait the password, and they stepped inside.  Hermione became disappointed when she quickly realized Ron wasn’t there. She had figured that he would have come back after breakfast, unless he was avoiding her. Harry let go of Hermione and made his way to his bedroom, returning a few seconds later with his Firebolt and the broom servicing kit Hermione had bought him long ago. She smiled as she remembered the memory of it. Her parents and her spending the day in Diagon Alley, shopping, eating and just enjoying the day. Hermione loved her parents very much. It had broken her heart when she had sent them to Australia with no recollection of her. She was ecstatic when she reversed what she had done and was able to see them again.

            She glanced at Harry’s watch and noticed it was getting close to noon. It was incredible how quickly the time passed if one was lost in thought. She hurried to her room to get parchment and a quill and found a folder on her bed. She picked it up and noticed there was a note sticking to the front of it.

           

Ms. Granger,

In here are some papers to be passed out at today’s’ Heads meeting, along with a list of topics needing to be discussed. I trust everything will go smoothly.

                                                                        -Professor McGonagall

 

            Hermione quickly looked through the contents and then headed back to the common room. She noticed that the table was filled with lots of treats for everyone to munch on and next to the table stood Winky by a coffee cart. It looked like Winky had brought every kind of drink they could possibly be wanting. She smiled at the small house elf. Just as Hermione took a seat at the one end of the table, Blaise came through the portrait hole followed by all the Prefects. Ginny ran over to the table to get a seat next to Hermione.

            “Hey, Hermione,” smiled Ginny.

            “Good afternoon, Ginny,” Hermione smiled back. She spotted Ron come in but he didn’t spare her a passing glance and sat all the way by Blaise, who was at the other end of the table. Hermione noticed Blaise watching the Slytherin prefect as she made her way to the table. She had long blonde hair braided hanging over her shoulder and the most piercing ice blue eyes Hermione had ever seen. When everyone had taken their seats, Winky began passing out drinks and everyone took a share of the snacks on the table. Once everyone had settled down Hermione stood up.      

            “Ok, so now that everyone is settled I just wanted to say hello. I hope everyone’s first day of classes went smoothly. Now I’ll let the Head Boy discuss patrol duties and schedules have already been filled out. I’ll pass them around the table while Blaise is talking.” Hermione sat and withdrew the schedules out of the folder and began passing them around the table.

            “Well first off I’d just like to make it clear to everyone that if any of you have Quidditch practice on a night when you have your patrol duties, you will not be allowed to skive off your duties just because you have Quidditch; neither will you be allowed to change patrol duty with another prefect. There is a set schedule for a reason. Unless either I or Hermione receive a note from Madam Pomfrey saying your ill, you will report for your duties.” Blaise took a seat and looked at everyone expectantly. Hermione glanced over at the couch and noticed Harrys’ eyes on Ginny.

            “Right, well, with that said, there is a list of banned items that should be confiscated if one of you should spot another student with it,” she started as she passed the list around the table, “ The full list can be found in Filch’s office. If I’m not mistaken, the full list is comprised of a little over five hundred things. With that done with, I have a much more interesting matter to discuss. This year, Hogwarts will hold a Christmas Ball.” At this, everyone’s undivided attention was given to her. “It will be open to students of every year and students form Durmstrang and Beauxbatons have also been invited. The purpose of this ball is really to help unite all the students from each school. The ball will be held the Friday before Christmas break. To allow students the day to prepare, Professor McGonagall has allowed for classes to be cancelled that day. The ball will end at precisely midnight and students will be escorted to their dormitories by their Prefects. Any questions?” Hermione asked, looking around the table. The Slytherin girl raised her hand and Hermione nodded towards her.

            “Rebecca Adams,” she stated. “I was just wondering who was choosing the decorations for everything?” she asked, placing her hand back in her lap, staring at Hermione.

            “Well, I figured I’d have a sign up sheet for anyone to join and then we would get together and get everyone’s ideas out there and see what theme for the ball we come up with.” Hermione said as she picked up a piece of parchment and passed it to everyone that wanted to join. After a few more minor matters discussed, the meeting was over. Once everyone filed out, the only people left in the common room were sitting on the couches. Blaise and Malfoy were on one and Harry and Ron were on another, so Hermione took a seat next to Ginny on the love seat. For so many people being packed into the same room, it was oddly quiet.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

             Draco glanced at Hermione as she sat down next to Ginny. He noticed her turn to stare at Ron, as though waiting for him to say something. Draco kept glancing back and forth between the two. Ron seemed to be doing his best to ignore Hermione, while Hermione was intently staring at him. All of a sudden Weasley turned to Hermione, looking angrier than Draco had seen him a while.

            “Hermione, stop staring at me!” yelled Ron. Hermione slightly jumped at his outburst.

            “No, Ron! Either apologize to me or we continue arguing.” Hermione responded, amazing Draco by keeping her voice at a normal volume, though Ron didn’t seem to notice.

            “Bloody hell, Hermione! I thought you were supposed to be smart! I don’t want to talk to you right now!”

            “Ronald Billius Weasley! Do not talk to Hermione like that!” yelled the Weasley girl, her face turning the same shade as her hair. Draco was shocked, he had never really paid any attention to her, but the way she had yelled commanded his attention.

            “Shut it, Ginny. This doesn’t concern you!” yelling Ron, steam almost visibly coming out of his ears.

            “Ron, are you really going to stay upset with me?” Hermione asked.

            “Merlin, Hermione. Why can’t you just leave me alone?”     

            “I’m not just a friend you can ignore, Ronald! I’m your girlfriend, in case you’ve forgotten.”

            “Maybe I’d like to forget!” Ginny stared at her brother in shock of what he had just said. Draco looked at Hermione, tears silently falling down her face. Right then and there Draco had never wanted to hurt the red head more. Blaise placed his hand on Draco’s shoulder, as if he knew what he was thinking.

            “Hey, Ron,” Harry started softly, “Come on, you know you didn’t mean that. Take it back mate.”

            “No, Harry. I meant it.” Ron said sternly.

            “Fine.” Hermione said, standing as she wiped the tears from her face. “I won’t be with you anymore. I never even knew what attracted me to you in the first place! Don’t you dare say two words to me for the rest of the year unless they are ‘I’m sorry’, because I swear to Merlin I’ll hex you into oblivion!” with that she ran to her room, slamming the door behind her. The small redhead was getting up to follow when Harry shook his head.

            “Just let her be for now, Ginny.” Draco watched as Harry and Ginny left the common room shaking their heads. Draco got up and walked to his room and just before closing the door, turned around and spoke to Ron.

            “You do know Weasley, that you are currently the biggest arse in all of Hogwarts right now.” And with that Malfoy shut his door.

 

Author's Note - How'd you guys like it? It's my favorite chapter so far :) You guys have been holding back on the reviews!! I'd really appreciate it if you just took the time and scrolled right on down, in that little box, and left me a comment on what you're thinking. Do you love it, hate it; is it a good story, or something you despise reading? Just leave me a reciews and let me know :)


Chapter 5: Winter Wonderland
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     [A/N - Hey everyone! Here is the long awaited Chapter Five!!!!]

Thank's to Enchantress@TDA <3


       Hermione slowly opened her eyes; everything that happened the day before slowly came back to her. She had run in here after Ron broke up with her and cried until she became exhausted and let sleep wash over her. She turned her head over to her window and saw a stormy sky. Dark, ominous clouds encompassed her entire window, giving off an eerie glow and making it hard for Hermione to tell what time it was. She brought her wrist to her face and saw it was about ten in the morning. She admired her watch; it was a gift from her father when she had turned seventeen. It was light silver with a dark blue face and every number was either a planet or star. She absolutely loved it and it never left her wrist; she had even found the perfect waterproof spell to protect it during showers as well.

            She groaned as she realized she had to get herself down to breakfast before it ended, especially seeing as she hadn’t eaten since yesterday morning. She rolled out of bed and shuffled to the shower. She was so glad she had her own bathroom. It was made with the most beautiful marble and the shower seemed like someone had glued thousands of pebbles together. She felt the tensions in her shoulders slowly uncoil as the hot water beat across her back. After a few more moments she got out of the shower, quickly dried her hair, and then fixed it to its usual beauty. She threw on a grey hoodie with a Gryffindor Crest on the right sleeve, some black yoga pants, and made her way down to the Great Hall.

            As Hermione guessed, most of the students were leaving breakfast. She entered the hall, thinking of what she was going to eat, when she noticed Lavender Brown hanging all over Ron. She stood there for a minute, willing her feet to turn her around but they stayed frozen in spot. It wasn’t until he looked up and saw her standing there, that her feet obeyed and sent her from the Great Hall. She took no notice of where she was going until she felt a breeze on her face. She walked over to a tree by the Black Lake and leaned against it, playing with the blades of grass around her.

            She closed her eyes and let the breeze play across her face. She was shocked to see Ron with a girl so quickly after their break up, though; it was Lavender Brown she was talking about. She had never truly gotten over Ron in Hermione’s opinion, so as soon as she heard that he was single she probably pounced on him the second she saw him. She didn’t know why he allowed it, though according to him she was incredibly annoying and he was easily fed up with her. Then again he looked pretty cheerful when she saw him at breakfast, laughing at whatever joke she had just told. Oh just forget him. He has clearly moved on and you should too. There’s no use getting upset over someone that clearly has no interest in you any longer. From this moment on I am forbidding myself from sparing two seconds of my time to think of him. She nodded her head once in agreement with herself. She opened her eyes as she heard two bodies sit down and found Blaise and Malfoy sitting across from her, both looking in swell moods.

            “Good morning, Hermione.” Grinned Blaise.

            “Morning Blaise, Malfoy.” She said, giving each one a small nod.

            “What are you up to today?” Malfoy asked.

            “Just relaxing outside, enjoying the weather, you?” she asked. Both boys glanced up at the stormy sky and looked back towards her curiously.

            “Quidditch practice.” Blaise stated, absentmindedly reaching towards his broom, which was laying besides him.

            “It looks like it’ll storm any moment. You two better hurry along before it does, or else you’ll be soaking wet by the time you start practice.”

            “Don’t worry Granger, we’ll be fine.” Malfoy snapped, regretting it once he saw her once soft brown eyes harden.

            “I could care less if you got soaked. I was watching out for Blaise. If he gets sick then I’ll be a partner short on rounds this week and I don’t know what I’ll do without someone to speak with for a couple of hours.” She said, turning to him towards the end with a smirk on her face.

            “Well, then I must hurry off to the pitch; can’t have the Head Girl lonely for two hours, can I?” Blaise smiled. With that both Malfoy and Blaise parted with her and headed off towards the Quidditch pitch, brooms in hand. She grinned when she saw the scowl Malfoys face had acquired after she made her remark. Good to know I make him as angry as he makes me. I just don’t understand, just the other night he was apologizing and then yesterday we had a civilized conversation and now today he’s making some comment, just to make me angry. If he hadn’t used such a condescending voice I might’ve believed him to be reassuring, but he always has to be such a stuck up git. She noticed Harry and Luna walking towards her and pushed Malfoy far from her thoughts. The wind looked like it was having a silent battle with Luna’s hair, her blonde locks blowing every which way, although Luna seemed not to notice. She walked over with a dreamy look and flopped down next to her, Harry closely behind.

            “Hey, how’re you doing?” Harry asked.

            “I’m alright.” She replied, hoping the topic of Ron doesn’t come up.

            “You must have seen Ron and Lavender this morning.” Luna said, observing her pout. “Either that, or Harry and I have interrupted a thought of yours.” She went on airily.

            “Both, actually.” She really didn’t want to talk about him. She had forbid herself from it. Actually Hermione, you forbade yourself from thinking about him. She silently scowled and cursed her thoughts, knowing she was right.

            “Err, you alright?” asked Harry hesitantly.

            “What? Oh, yes. I’m fine. How was your summer Luna?” she asked, quickly changing the subject.

            “Oh, it was wonderful. Father and I searched for another Crumple-Horned Snorkack horn. The one from last year seemed to have disappeared.” Luna ended sadly as Hermione remembered vividly the day it had ‘disappeared’. “I must depart now though, I’ve spotted someone I need to speak with. Goodbye Hermione, Harry.” She said, curtseying to them in turn, before walking towards a fellow Ravenclaw.

            “Are you doing alright?” Harry asked.

            “Yes, I swear I’m fine. He’s obviously over it so, so am I.” she stated.

            “Alright, I trust you. You know we should probably visit Hagrid soon.”

            “I agree. Let’s wait till next week, though. I have too much on my mind right now.”

            “Sounds fine to me.” After that they talked about classes for a while and she was glad he stayed away mentioning Ron. He knew she needed a distraction right now and he did his best to provide one. After a little while Rebecca Adams made her way towards her. I’m quite the popular one today aren’t I?

            “Hey, Hermione; do you think we could do the party planning sometime this week? Just pick a day and I’ll let the rest of the girls that signed up know the day of the meeting.”

            “Oh yeah, that’d be great. What about Friday after dinner? We can all just meet afterwards and go up to the Heads room again. Sound good?”

            “Sounds great. See you later.” And Rebecca left with a smile.

            “Who knew a Slytherin could be so nice.” Harry wondered out loud and she nodded in agreement.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco walked down to the Quidditch Pitch with a scowl on his face. I can’t believe Granger and Blaise. What was she doing smiling at him like that, and then him smiling back! He thought, his scowl becoming more pronounced.

            “What’s wrong with you?” Blaise asked as he noticed his best mate’s grimace.

            “You and Granger, that’s what’s wrong!” Draco spat.

            “Whoa, mate. Calm down there. What do you mean Granger and I?”

            “You know how I feel about her and then you go and flirt with her while I’m sitting right next to you!” He finished angrily.

            “I know you wanted to befriend her, and I wasn’t flirting. Do you like her?”

            “Don’t be ridiculous. Do you?” he asked, a little too curious, which didn’t go unnoticed.

            “No mate. She’s all yours. This year I’m going after that Slytherin Prefect, Adams.” Blaise said and left him to his thoughts.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione entered the common room and was delighted when she saw the couch across from the fireplace was open. She picked a random book off the bookshelf and laid belly down on the couch, her ankles crossed in the air. She had ended up picking Hogwarts: a History; she had read this book so many times she had lost count. For some reason, she found comfort in this book more than others. She was glad she had finished her homework earlier in the weekend, which allowed her to spend her whole day relaxing. She had just finished dinner, indulging herself and eating to her hearts content. She was glad she was wearing yoga pants, or else she would have had to unbutton her jeans in the Great Hall so the button wouldn’t have popped off.

            She couldn’t even remember the last time she had eaten like that. She only allowed it every once in a blue moon, since she feared she would lose her petite figure. After a little while she realized she didn’t hear anyone come up from dinner and glanced at the watch, which read a quarter after ten. Amazed that she hadn’t heard anyone go to their rooms, she placed the book on the coffee table and sat up. She could feel the heat rolling on her from the fire and put her hair up to get it off her neck. She was so entranced by the fires dancing flames that she didn’t notice Malfoy come down until he was next to her.

            “Hey, Granger.” He said hesitantly.

            “Hey.” She replied, startled by his sudden appearance.

            “How was your summer?” He asked, catching her off guard. She looked at him with a curious expression before replying.

            “It was alright. I spent it with my parents. The war didn’t leave much time for bonding with them, so I had to catch up.” She tried joking, though she knew she failed miserably. “What about you?” 

            “It was good. My mum spent most of it redecorating, so I helped her out.”

            “That’s nice of you.” She said, turning more towards him.

            “I guess. With my father gone it was one of the best summers I’ve had.” He said smiling. She was temporarily stunned. He hardly ever smiled and it caught her off guard. Something about his smile rendered her speechless, but she just figured it was because it was such a rare occurrence.

            “Why are you being so nice to me? You’re sitting here having an actual conversation with me, and smiling.” She pointed out before she could stop herself. He just stared at her for a second or two before standing up and leaving, heading to his room. She sat, baffled, for a moment or two, and then remembering she had class in the morning and hurried off to bed.

* Week Later*

            Hermione refilled her goblet with more Pumpkin juice and looked around her. Harry, Ginny and Neville were all laughing at a joke one of them had just told. She was glad they were so caught up in what they were laughing about, because then they didn’t notice as she let her mind review the past week’s events. In Transfiguration class Monday they were introduced to Professor Vicks. She had found him to be a great replacement; he was one of those Professors that made the class interesting. He gave homework every night, yet he still managed to be a majority of the student’s favorite teacher. He also became the Head of Gryffindor; McGonagall found that she didn’t have enough free time to be both Headmistress and Head of Gryffindor. Furthermore, ever since that night last week when Malfoy had stormed off, he had taken to ignoring her. On one hand she was glad because she didn’t have to waste her time bickering with him and listening to his insults, but then again they were becoming more civil with each other and she couldn’t deny it had been nice to see that side of him.

            Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard an obnoxious cackling down the table. She scowled as she heard it, knowing immediately who the source of it was. Lavender, for some reason, found Ron incredibly funny and deemed it necessary to pierce the low rumble of the Great Hall with her awful cackling during every meal. Ever since the break up, her and Ron had been almost inseparable, though thankfully, they stayed away from the Head’s room. She was just waiting for the day they started dating again. One part of her hoped it would help her finalize the break up while a small part of her wanted it to never happen and have Ron come back, begging at her feet for forgiveness.

            Her friends broke out into another round of laughter and Hermione forced herself to pay attention now. She smiled at her friends, grateful that they had chosen her side of the argument instead of Ron’s. Harry would talk with Ron in the common room but other than that he stayed with her.

            “Hey, Hermione,” She turned to see who it was, only to notice Rebecca had taken a seat next to her, that same bright smile pasted on her face.

            “Hey.” She replied, also smiling.

            “I wanted to remind you of the planning thing tonight.” Rebecca said cheerfully.

            “I didn’t forget. I’m having hot cocoa sent up and asked a fire to be ready so we can have a nice area to get the idea’s flowing.”

            “Oh, sounds great. I told everyone to meet outside the Great Hall after dinner.”

            “Alright.” She replied, now in a good mood. Rebecca stood up and flounced back to the Slytherin table. “You know, she is so nice, I wonder why she’s in Slytherin.” She wondered aloud.

            “I heard she can be really nasty to people she doesn’t like.” Ginny said. Shortly after, dinner was over and she turned toward Ginny.

            “Well, let’s go plan a ball shall we?” she said holding out her arm and Ginny took it, smiling. They walked arm in arm out of the Great Hall until they spotted Rebecca standing with Hannah and Melanie. Melanie had long black hair that was always perfectly straight. She wore glasses with a dark blue frame that matched the Ravenclaw colors in her uniform. The five girls made their way up to the common room laughing and giggling. Before she knew it they were at the portrait and she gave it the temporary password and shuffled in and headed to the couch. On the coffee table was a silver kettle with five mugs beside it and a small bowl filled with marshmallows. They all got their hot cocoas ready and she got out a journal and quill and looked at the other girls, ready for ideas.

            “Alright. I’ll be the first one to throw an idea out there. What about a masquerade ball?” Hannah asked, looking around the group.

            “It’s a good idea for a Halloween Ball but not really for a Christmas one.” Melanie said, sipping her cocoa.

            “How about we do all the schools banners and colors everywhere?” suggested Hannah again.

            “Not it’d be an awful color scheme.” Stated Rebecca.

            “Does anyone know Durmstrang colors?” asked Ginny.

            “I believe they are red and black.” She replied off handedly.

            “Ok, I got it!” Rebecca practically shouted, jumping out of her seat. “Two words, Winter. Wonderland.” Hermione smiled, knowing it was perfect, and judging from the yes’! and perfects! from the girls, they agreed as well.

            “We could have glass tables and make them frozen.” Suggested Hermione.

            “We could bewitch the ceiling to look like it’s snowing!” yelled Hannah.

            “And have icicles hanging from the ceiling and doorway.” Smiled Ginny.

            “We could also have, like, fake snow on the floors and have the walls have snow along the stones.” Rebecca said, positively beaming at the idea.

            “Ok girls. I think we’ve got the perfect ball.” Melanie said smiling. Hermione nodded, smiling, putting her quill down.

            “We’ll have to schedule two Hogsmeade trips before the ball for everyone to find dress robes and dresses if they don’t have any with them. I can do that with Blaise and have McGonagall approve it.” She said. Just then Blaise and Malfoy walked in laughing, carrying their brooms. “Well now that we know the decorations this meeting is adjourned and we’ll schedule another one later on for the actual decorating.” All the girls said their goodbyes and made their way out, leaving her alone in the common room. She looked around for Malfoy and Blaise but didn’t see them. She set her hot cocoa on the coffee table and walked over to the window. It was a calm night, with the branches of some trees swaying gently. The grounds were dimly lit by the moonlight. The moon was huge that evening and she marveled at its beauty.

            “It can be mesmerizing, can’t it?” she jumped at the voice behind her and the hot breath on her neck. She turned around to see Draco standing over her. She looked him in the eyes and noticed how startling grey they were. She couldn’t help but admire his facial features, sharp but incredibly fitting. What are you doing? Draco is mere inches from you, and instead of taking a step back you admire him?

            “You know I’ve been trying to be nicer to you lately.” Draco said, smiling slightly. She just scoffed at this and his smirk quickly faded. He’s got to be kidding. The only thing he’s managed to do was ignore me for the past week.

            “You know, I would really like it if we could be civil to each other.” She only nodded to this. Half of her wanted to befriend him while the other couldn’t stop thinking of them bickering. Draco took another step towards her; they were mere inches away from each other now. He being this close to her was almost intoxicating. Why wasn’t she pushing him away? This was Draco Malfoy, not some other boy, but the one who spent years torturing her and her friends. She shook her head and took a deep breathe and a step back to, hopefully, clear her head. He raised his hand and pushed a small strand of her hair that had fallen out behind her ear. At that moment a quiet cough sounded in the room and he jerked away to see Blaise eyeing the situation. Before any of them could say anything, Draco tore from the common room to his bedroom. She looked shyly to Blaise who just shrugged and headed to his room. She stood, confused for a moment or two before also heading to bed. I’ll figure this out in the morning. I need my rest. With that she pushed all thoughts of him from her head and fell into a dreamless sleep.

[A/N - So what did you guys think of that? I know it took long, but it's finally up! Did you guys like the Draco and Hermione moment?? Just review and let me know!]



 

These chapter images are thanks to the one and only enchantress@TDA :)

Theo swooped down and landed right beside Hermione’s plate of eggs, a letter tied to his leg. She handed him her last slice of toast, which he readily accepted while she took the letter from him. Hermione was so glad Lizzie’s response had come; she needed to tell someone what had happened the night before. She was scared to talk to Harry about it, he might over react and was not like Malfoy had done anything wrong. She was debating on whether or not to talk to Ginny; however she may react much like Harry would, so Hermione concluded her safest option was Lizzie. Pocketing Lizzie’s letter and left the Great Hall for the common room. To successfully avoid Ron and Lavender, she had taken to eating breakfast before most of the school woke up.  True, she still had to endure them during lunch and dinner, but at least she wasn’t starting her day off with the sight of them.

Hermione made her way to the wooden table next to the window in the common room. She decided to keep her parchment and quill there at all times so she wouldn’t have to search her room for it; her quill always had a tendency of vanishing when in her room. Excitement flowing through her, she sat down and carefully opened the letter.

 

Dear Hermione,

            I miss you so much! I always knew you would become Head Girl; you’ve been talking about it since we were fourteen! I’m sorry to hear about you and Ron, though, I feel like whenever we write to each other during the school year, you two are arguing. I say give it a week and you two should be fine, if not, oh well, then you two obviously weren’t meant to be together. Besides, if it doesn’t work out, you have the freedom to date whoever this year, which is always fun!

            You’re right about me when it comes to boys. I’ve already found a guy. His name is Timothy and he’s just my type. I’ve been slowly setting the bait, so now I am just waiting for him to take it.

             I’m so excited to see you when break comes! I miss you best friend, the girls here are so…drama oriented, it can be nauseating at times.  I can’t wait to hear back from you! You have to tell me everything that’s happening there. I hope to hear from you soon!

                                                                        Love,

                                                                                 Lizzie

P.S. This letter is top priority! You better respond before you get all caught up in homework! 

           Hermione smiled and folded up the letter. She pulled a piece of parchment in front of her and contemplated what to write back. Needing to think, she closed her eyes and felt the morning sun begin to shine through the window and warm her skin. Suddenly she heard a door open and shut, and opened her eyes to see who it was. He froze when he saw her and she took the advantage to really look at him; the t-shirt clinging to his muscular arms, the pale skin that made his eyes pop, and his platinum blonde hair, which was practically glowing from the sun’s reflection. Slowly, he made his way over to Hermione, never once taking his eyes off her. He took a seat across from her and took a deep breath.

            “I just want to know what last night was about,” She said before he could talk.

            “Listen. I apologize. The moonlight must have gotten to me and I was tired after a long day. I’d rather just forget about it,” He said, his expression blank.

            “The moonlight; is that really your best excuse?”

            “I don’t have to explain my reasoning. It’s over and done with. Just forget about it.”

            “Fine, I just wanted an explanation, no need to get snappy.” She turned her attention to her letter, hoping if she didn’t pay attention to him he would leave, and sure enough he did. That did not go the way she hoped at all. Trying to forget what happened was like asking her not to study for a test.  With a heavy heart, she wrote her letter to Lizzie, explaining the Ron incident and the Malfoy one, hopeful that her best friend would be able to give her some good advice or at least her take on the situation. Once the letter was complete, she hurried off to the Owlery.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco headed down to the Great Hall, his mind wrapped around Hermione. He couldn’t believe he let his feelings take control of him last night. He actually placed her hair behind her ear! How could he do that?! What was going on? He admits he wants to befriend her, but date her? That would be going too far. Of all the girls at Hogwarts that would be glad to have him, all he can think of is Hermione Granger. I can’t help it though. I need to be in her good books, I need her to not hate my guts. I don’t quite understand it, but I need Hermione Granger to see past my cruel behavior.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            As Hermione made her way back to the common room, she decided she needed to talk to Blaise. He was Malfoys best friend after all, so he should be able to explain what happened the night before; though, she doubted whether he would give her a better explanation than Malfoy. He probably even told Blaise not to tell her anything if she asked. That’s even if Malfoy gave Blaise an explanation, since she had a hard time picturing Malfoy opening up to anybody. She figured that she might as well try, though, and she and Blaise were on good terms now. The week of corridor patrol helped them, in a way, bond almost. She walked into the common room and spotted Ron and Harry on the couch talking. She froze for a second before seeing Blaise on another couch and walked towards him.

            “Hey, can I talk to you for a second?” she asked him tentatively.

            “Sure.” He replied, looking at her expectantly. She noticed out of the corner of her eye both Ron and Harry stop talking and turn their attention to them.

            “Err… alone?” she added hesitantly. Blaise looked confused but stood up and led her to his room. He shut the door behind him and took a seat on the edge of his bed. His room, she noticed, was not adorned with the green and silver she expected, but of a creamy white.  Although their rooms were similar, his seemed to hold an air of elegance to it. She took a seat on the floor, her back against the side of the bed.    

            “I’m going to ask you something and I need an explanation. I’ll understand if you can’t say anything, but I’d really be thankful if you could.”

“It’s about Draco, isn’t it?” Hermione just nodded her head. “I don’t know what to say. I know he’s really been trying to hold his tongue around you and I know he really does want to befriend you.”

“Yes, he had said that but you saw last night. It’s almost like if you hadn’t been there something would’ve taken place.” Like a kiss, she thought, and for some odd reason her stomach did a flip.

“Yes, but he says he just wants to befriend you. Just give him a chance; he tends to speak before he thinks. He usually doesn’t mean what he says.”

“Alright, I guess I’ll try…”

“Why such hesitation?” he asked moving beside her on the floor.

“Well, I mean, he’s not just some guy I can befriend. He’s Draco Malfoy, the stuck up, ferret git, who’s sought enjoyment from being rude and hurtful.”      

“Like I said, he usually doesn’t mean what he says, I’m not excusing him from his past actions.” He added quickly when he saw the look on her face, “But I do know he regrets some of the things he said this year.”         

“Alright well, I’ll give him a chance I suppose. I’ll leave you to your day now. Thank you, Blaise.” Hermione hugged him quickly and left the room. She saw Ron on the couch snogging Lavender and she froze on the stairs. It wasn’t until she spotted Malfoy at the bottom of the steps looking up at her that she unfroze. She walked down the last couple of steps and smiled shyly when she reached him.

            “Hey, I was wondering if you’d want to take a walk with me?” he asked. Hermione noticed Ron come up for air and turn to watch them, his face full of shock.

            “Yeah, sure.” She replied, and together they walked out the door.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco’s face broke into a huge smile when he saw Weasley’s face when she had agreed to the walk. I wonder if he realizes the mistake he made, he thought when he glanced at Hermione. They were walking across the grounds, the sun shining brightly and a slight breeze appearing every so often. So far they had just talked about classes, but that topic had passed quickly and a comfortable silence had come between them. He took a seat in the grass right there in the middle of the grounds. After realizing he had stopped, she chose to take a seat right in front of him. She was so close she could brush the stray hairs from his eyes.

            “What’s your middle name?” he blurted out. She looked taken back for a moment, but quickly smiled.

            “Jean.”

            “Hermione Jean Granger; that’s nice.” Draco said. Her laughter rang through the air.

            “Nice? I guess. What’s yours?”

            “Mine is Lucius, after my father.”

            “What about…your birthday?”

            “June 5th. Yours?”

            “September 19th. I have three…no…two best friends, Harry and Lizzie. My favorite color is pink. I spend my days reading and I love my parents more than anything.” She told him.

            “What?”

            “I thought we were sharing small facts about ourselves. You know, to build a friendship.” She said, her smile mesmerizing him.

            “My best friend is Blaise. My favorite color is green. I spend my free time playing Quidditch. As for family, I enjoy my mothers company, but that’s all.” He admitted. He watched her as she moved to lie on her belly, pulling blades of grass up and playing with them. She wore jeans and a black cardigan which, he couldn’t help but noticing, helped play up her slender curves. “I heard Ron and Lavender are dating now.”

            “Yeah,” she sighed, “I heard. It’s so weird, isn’t it? This year in general, I mean.”

            “What do you mean?”

            “Where to start? Harry and Ginny aren’t together. Ron and I don’t even speak. So many people I cared for are no longer here. There’s no underlying fear of Voldemort, and you and I are sitting here talking and forming a friendship, like it’s nothing.”

            “What do you mean ‘like its nothing’?” He asked, not liking the sound of that. He was nervous for the explanation because there was an eighty percent chance it would anger him, and if that was the case, then he would probably do or say something that he would regret.

            “Well, it’s like the last seven years never happened…you told me to completely forget last night.” She said, sitting up to look him in the face.

            “Ugh! Did you ever think I’ve been trying to atone for past mistakes? Why can’t you just accept that? Last night, I said don’t worry so Merlin, Hermione, don’t worry!” Draco yelled, throwing his hands in the air in frustration. Just then he noticed Harry walking towards them, a look of confusion of his face. He was so busy watching Harry that he didn’t even notice Hermione’s expression when she realized he had used her first name.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione’s mind was racing. Why did he just use my name? He used it before, but then he said it was a slip of the tongue and yelled at me. He must not have realized what he said; unless he did, which maybe means, what? He changed?

            “Hey, what’s going on?” Harry asked, and she quickly sat up.

            “Nothing, Potter; just having a friendly chat. Care to join?” There was something in the way he said it that made it clear Harry was not welcome.  Harry must have heard it too, because he shook his head, politely declined the offer and turned toward Hermione.

            “Ron wants to talk to you. I think you should come. It’d be nice if we were all friends again,” He said. Though it was the last thing she wanted to do, she agreed and stood up, biding Malfoy goodbye, and heading off with Harry. He linked his arm with hers and lead her back towards the castle; she half expected Ron to start yelling when she saw him. At least now she knew she had no choice but to get over him, seeing as he really was with Lavender now. It was almost a relief that he was because now she wouldn’t doubt the breakup, and if she ever started feeling lonely, she could just spend her day reading a book until the feelings passed. Reading was her ultimate stress reliever, calming her down and allowing her to escape to another world for a moment or two.

            Before she knew it, they were in front of the portrait to enter the common room. Harry said the password, opening the portrait hole for them to climb through. Ron was fidgeting on one of the couches and at the sight of them quickly stood up and walked forward. He looked like he had something to say, but the words weren’t forming the way he wanted them to on his tongue.

            “Harry said you wanted to talk to me?” she questioned, hoping it would help his tongue to loosen. He nodded his head slowly before beginning.

            “I’m… sorry. It just wasn’t, working out between us ‘Mione. We both knew it. I’m sorry I was such a git about it. Can we just put this behind us and be friends again?” he asked, looking sincere.

            “As long as Lavender doesn’t become a permanent fixture at your side, I accept.” She said honestly.

            “I can live with that.” Ron said. Harry clapped and put his arms around his two best friends.

            “Thank Merlin! I was getting tired of not bring able to talk to you together.” Hermione smiled, glad something in her life was semi-normal again and glad she had one of her best friend’s back. “Hey, Ron and I are going down to the Quidditch Pitch, its Gryffindors first practice. Would you like to watch?”

            “Yeah, it’s so nice out today; it’ll be nice to soak up the sun.” The two boys smiled and bounded to their rooms collecting their gear. She looked for an interesting book among the shelves and quickly found one about Transfiguration. She slid a piece of parchment in the book and stuffed a quill in her pocket. Before long the two boys rejoined her and they all chatted animatedly as they walked to the pitch. A bunch of players were already there, recognizing Ginny, Dean and Seamus. Hermione took her place at the top seat in the stands and watched them for a few moments as they all flew around trying to score while Ron blocked.

            After a few moments she opened her book and slid out the piece of parchment. With all that had been happening she had forgotten to write to her parents. She scolded herself as she started writing her letter, apologizing for the delay and assuring them all was well and she was doing great in all of her classes. It wasn’t too long and she knew her mother would be disappointed she hadn’t written more, but she just wasn’t in the mood to inform her mum about her breakup. She folded her letter and slipped it back into the book and turned her attention back to the pitch. As Harry was flying around shouting suggestions to his team, Hermione’s heart felt a little stab as she remembered how her friend was upset over losing the girl he loved. How could I be so selfish only thinking of my problems and not my best friends! Poor Harry had dealt with his issue without a single complaint and had listened to her when she had needed to vent.

            She had promised to help him find a way to win Ginny back, though she doubted Ginny and Neville would break up. While thinking of ways he could, she remembered a conversation she once had with Lizzie. Hermione had told her, back in her 6th year, that Ron was acting like he didn’t like her and how it upset her and Lizzie had suggested going to Slughorn’s party with someone that would really make Ron jealous, so she had chosen to bring Cormac. Lizzie had been right, it did make him jealous and eventually they had started dating, though it took a while due to Ron’s stubborn personality. The answer to Harry’s problem was to find a girl and make Ginny jealous. She sighed, figuring she would let Harry figure out that part.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            He wandered through the many aisles of the schools library all the way to the very back. It was a corner of the library that was rarely visited. He liked to come here and sit against the bookshelves and think. He figured the only people that ventured back here were Madam Pince and probably Granger. He pulled an ancient looking book off the shelf behind him and opened it to the middle. There was a certain smell books acquired the older they became and he had always found the scent to be extremely comforting. He remembered how all the time he had come here, just to escape from her. She had always hung on him and no matter how often he had told her to stop, she never did. Sure, at first he had enjoyed the attention and had used it to his advantages, but it only took a year or two for her to fully attach herself to him.

            He had finally reached his boiling point over the summer. He had been ignoring all her letters and then one day she just showed up at his door, blubbering about things he could care less about. When he told her to leave she became hysterical until it got to the point where he had to have his house elf escort her from the manor. He then wrote her a simple letter explaining that he had no interest in her what-so-ever, and that he hoped they wouldn’t talk soon. To his surprise, she stopped sending him letters and, thankfully, he hadn’t seen her at school yet.

            He closed the book after a while and stood up, leaving the library, not at all surprised that it was time for dinner. He strolled leisurely down the halls, his hands resting in his pockets, he made it to the Great Hall in good time and took a seat at the almost empty table, waiting for the rest of the school to arrive, unfortunately he was so caught up in his thoughts, he didn’t even notice that she took a seat beside him until it was to late.

            “Hello, Draco,” She cooed.

            “Parkinson,” Was the only response he gave her, waiting for Blaise to get there.

            “I’ve missed you so, Draco. Have you had time to cool off and realize we’re meant to be?” she asked, gazing at him intently.

            “I meant everything I wrote to you in that last letter, I am done with you.”

            “Oh, I know you don’t mean that. We’re the perfect match, both from respectable, pure blood, families. Why, Draco, you know as well as I that our parents have been hoping for our marriage since we were toddlers.” She said as she started stroking his cheek.

            “Pansy. Don’t. You. Touch. Me.” He demanded. “We’re through. Don’t talk to me again.” He stood quickly, picking up a pear, and leaving the Great Hall, thankful he no longer shared a common room with her.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione quickly summoned a wire basket and placed it over the common room fire. She turned to the massive amount of rock cakes that took up the coffee table, then, deciding placing them by hand in the basket would be too risky, levitated them instead. The trio, now back together, had decided to pay a visit to Hagrid, which ended up keeping them past dinner, so, Hagrid, being kind, stuffed each of their pockets with as many rock cakes as they could carry. Ron had started to head to the kitchens when she had stopped him. They had an argument on whether they should go (Hermione didn’t want to make the elves cook more after they had just made dinner for the whole school) and he eventually gave in. Now she was trying to, hopefully, soften the cakes so they would be edible without breaking a tooth. She figured after a good twenty minutes they’d either be edible or scorching hot. She took a seat close to the fire, watching Harry and Ron play exploding snap. She found herself thinking about Malfoy, she hadn’t seen him come up from dinner with Blaise. She thought maybe he was in his room, though she figured if he was, he was probably sleeping and she didn’t want to wake him. The next twenty minutes seemed to pass by quickly, and before she knew it she was levitating the rock cakes onto a platter on the coffee table, steam rising off them. Ron reached for them and took the first bite. His face immediately scrunched up and he spat it back onto the platter.

            “Those are worse than before if that’s possible. Can you please let us go get some food from the kitchens?” he pleaded. She took a deep breath and sighing before finally agreeing. The two boys excitedly jumped up and raced out of the portrait hole, the low growl of their stomachs reaching her ears. As bad as she felt for the house elves, she was famished and the stuff Hagrid had given them, she didn’t exactly classify as food. She threw them away and cleared off the coffee table, placing little pillows around it instead, so they could sit Indian style close to the fire. Thankfully, they made it back in good time and she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Harry had his arms full with a huge pot of soup, and still managed to levitate a pitcher of Butterbeer in front of him. Ron was carrying two platters of finger sandwiches and a basket of chocolate éclairs and behind him was Winky, carrying two stacks of dishes. So much for the coffee table, she thought as she saw how much they brought. They placed everything down on the big table, filled their goblets to the brim, and ate greedily, laughing and enjoying themselves.

            “Can I…join you? I ended up skipping out on dinner…” the voice of Draco sounded from behind her.

            “Yeah, no problem,” Harry said, Ron looking at him with shock.

            “Has everyone gone mad?” Ron asked, staring at Harry.

            “He’s actually quite nice when you don’t judge him by past mistakes.” She said as he took a seat next to her.

            “Thanks, Granger.” He said, flashing another one of those smiles that left her breathless. She mumbled a welcome as she passed him a bowl of soup and the pitcher. Harry started talking to him about Quidditch and it made her happy, maybe if Ron saw they were on speaking terms, he wouldn’t be so judgmental. The rest of their dinner passed in peace and she was glad that Ron had come around. He still wasn’t the friendliest, but he was being polite. He and Draco were currently locked in a game of Wizards Chess; she was surprised he was just as good as Ron was. She lay down on the couch watching when Harry took a seat by her head.

            “You have to make her jealous.” She stated.

            “What was that?” he asked, turning to face her.

            “Ginny; if you want to win her back, you’ll have to make her jealous.”

            “Jealous? Won’t that just make her think I’ve moved on?”

            “That’s the point, if she still has feelings for you it’ll kill her to see you happy with another girl.”

            “What do I do? Date someone?”

            “No, you can just start talking a lot to any girl, and ask her to the ball, too.”

            “Alright, but, who would I ask?”

            “That’s entirely up to you.” She finished, and left him to his thoughts. Her eyes started to droop as she realized just how comfortable and warm she was. She knew if she slept on the couch, she’d wake up with aches tomorrow, but her mind didn’t give her a chance to get up before her eyes closed. Before anyone knew it, Hermione was asleep, dreaming about eerie manors and ominous clouds.

A/N - What did you guys think of this chapter? I can't wait for more chapters to come up. Please don't forget to review and let me know what you think!


Chapter 7: Thunderstorms
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      [A/N - Hey guys! Sorry it took me so long to update but it's finally up!!!!]

  ahhh <3 I love enchantress @TDA

   Draco said goodnight to the Weasel and Potter as he tended to the fire so it wouldn’t go out. He had let the Weasel win at Wizards Chess so it would put him in his good books; now that he and Hermione were friends again, Draco needed both boys approval. He turned to her, sleeping soundly on the couch, and smiled, wondering what her dreams were filled of. Hopefully something better than mine, he thought with a shudder. He walked to his room, pushing his dreams back to the dark corner of his mind, and got a blanket off of his bed and then went back to drape it over her. Now that she was covered with a blanket and the fire was roaring, he felt at ease leaving her to sleep on the couch.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione woke up the next morning feeling refreshed. She sat up and stretched out her arms over her head, surprised she wasn’t achy. She picked up the blanket that had fallen off her and made her way to her room. Wait, blanket… she thought, I didn’t fall asleep with a blanket.  As she observed what she was carrying, she realized it was Draco’s. There was nothing on it to signify it was his, but she knew it was. She folded up the soft blanket and placed it in front of his door, and then went to her room to shower. She took longer than was necessary, enjoying the way the warm water felt.

            Once out, she threw her clothes on quickly and headed to the common room. She had set up a list of dates for the Hogsmeade trips with Blaise the day before and wanted to check if McGonagall was at breakfast so she could approve the list. She used Accio to promptly locate the paper and then hurried off to the Great Hall. To her luck, Professor McGonagall was leaving just as she stepped through the spacious doors.

            “Excuse me, Professor?”

            “Yes, Ms. Granger?”

            “I have a list of dates for Hogsmeade and I was wondering if you could sign it for me?”

            “Alright, and you’ve come to a decision with the ball?”

            “Yes, we’ve decided on a winter wonderland theme. Do you know when the students from the other schools will be arriving?”

            “Yes,” she said taking the paper, “they’ll be arriving two nights in advance and will be leaving Saturday night. I’m glad you’ve had no troubles getting along with your new roommates’ Ms. Granger. Now, I must attend to Peeves before he completely destroys the fifth floor with another one of his foolish pranks, have a nice day.” With that, McGonagall took off down the hall, her robes billowing behind her. Hermione headed toward the Gryffindor table and glanced up at the ceiling, where there were black clouds taking up most of the sky and lightning flashing every minute or so. She smiled slightly at the thought of a thunderstorm. She had always loved them; the sound, the smell, the way the world would be black until the lightning returned. I’ll have to spend some time out on my balcony tonight, she thought, grabbing an apple. She smiled as she thought about cuddling up to a blanket with a good book in front of the fire, listening to it crackle as the rain fell against the window panes.

            “Morning.” Beamed Ginny as she plopped down next to her.

            “Good morning. How are you?” she asked, taking a bite of her apple.

            “I’m good. Neville and I are spending the day together with everyone else. You?”

            “I’m fine, going to spend my day reading.”

            “Hey! Why don’t you come to the Gryffindor common room? Ron and Harry are already there, we’re all hanging out today. It’ll be fun!” Ginny said, positively beaming. Hermione’s smile faded as the thought of reading by the fire might not be possible.

            “I would, but I really had my heart set on reading. I’m sorry.”

            “It’s no big deal. There’s always next time!” With that, Ginny took off to the Gryffindor common room.  Hermione sighed contently, knowing her day was back to its original plan, and once she was finished with her apple, she headed back to the heads room. As she walked down the hall to the portrait she saw Rebecca standing beside it.

            “Hey, what are you up to?” she asked her.

            “Oh well, Blaise asked me to meet him here in the morning so he could see me today.”

            “That’s nice. Do you know when he said to meet you?”

            “Well,” Rebecca started, “he didn’t really specify a time, but I’ve only been out here for a few minutes.”

            “Here, come on inside. Standing here must be boring.” She stated the password, walked in, and headed straight towards the books. She browsed the titles for something that sounded interesting and ended up picking one that looked really old. As she walked to the fireplace, Blaise came from his room smiling when he spotted Rebecca and walked towards her.

            “Ready to go?” he asked as he hugged her, to which she just nodded her head, blushing. With his hand on the small of her back, he led her from the room. Hermione quickly started a roaring fire and plopped down on the couch to start reading. Two pages into it though, she shut the book and sighed. Something’s missing, she thought, I need a blanket. She got up but instead of going to her room, she found herself in front of Draco’s. The blanket was still folded neatly outside of his door so she bent down to pick it up, thinking he’d never know. Just as she straightened up, his door opened.

            “Good morning Granger, returning my blanket?” he asked, seemingly amused as her cheeks flushed.

            “Oh well, I was going to…return it, yes. Here you are.” She stammered, holding the blanket out to him.

            “Relax, you can continue using it. I know you want to.” He said, and she slowly brought the blanket to her. “Hey, Blaise ditched me and I heard Potter and Weasley ditching you earlier. Mind if I spend my day with you?” he asked trying to seem like he didn’t care, but she could tell by the way he said it that he did.

            “Yeah, that’s fine. I just planned on staying on the couch all day. Is that fine?”

            “Perfect.” He smiled. He returned to his room to throw on a different shirt and she slowly made her way to the couch, silently cursing his smile. She wrapped his blanket around her and curled up on the couch, leaning against its arm. Draco came over and sat directly next to her, so close they were almost touching. She could feel her skin tingling at the thought of his leg touching hers.

            “How are you? I mean, with the whole you and Ron thing, it must be hard to see him with Lavender.” Draco said, watching her.

            “I’m brilliant with the ‘Ron thing’. I’m glad he and her are together, it means I can move on.”

            “Good. Now that Harry’s single, you going to snog him?”

            “Harry? Merlin no! Harry is like a brother to me. Harry and I snogging, how ridiculous.” She snorted.

            “I always thought there was something there. Didn’t you two date or flirt in the fourth year? It was all over the Prophet.”

            “That god awful Skeeter woman wrote that, Merlin, I can’t stand her, she’ll do anything for a story.”

            “Yes, I remember giving her some story ideas that year. I’m surprised it took you so long to realize she was an animagus, what with me dropping all those ‘bugging’ references and such.”

            “You made everything ten times worse that year and don’t kid, Draco, the only reasons you made those references was to rub in my face that you knew something I didn’t.”

            “I would deny it if you weren’t spot on. I’m a different person now, though.”

            “That’s true. You excited for the Ball?”

            “No, not really, I don’t feel like finding someone to go with.”

            “What, finding someone? Why Draco Malfoy doesn’t have girls falling over each other to be your date?!” she said with mock surprise.

            “Joke all you want.”

            “What about you and Pansy? Aren’t you two a thing?”

            “Thankfully, no longer. I could never stand her; she was always too clingy.”

            “I bet she didn’t take it well, she practically worshipped the ground you walk on.” She chuckled.

            “Yes, unfortunately she does not understand that no means no, but maybe if I turn up at the Ball with someone other than her, she’ll take a hint.”

            “Changed your mind already? That was quick.”

            “What can I say, I had a good idea. It would really irk her if I went with someone she hated too.” He said smiling.

            “Well, who does she hate?” You, he thought of saying.

            “Mostly every girl in the school.”

            “Well, who does she hate the most?”

            “You.” He replied before he could stop himself.

            “Me,” she laughed, “I could hardly see you going with me.”

            “Why not, I’m not good enough for your standards?” he half joked, half questioned. She didn’t answer for a moment, studying his face and wondering if was being serious right now. The Ball wasn’t for another couple of months, and if he was asking her, would he still want to go after a couple months? But, he probably wasn’t asking her, I mean, they couldn’t go together, could they? She decided to make a joke out of it.

            “I think the entire school would riot if we went together and poor Pansy would have a heart attack.” She joked.

            “Yes, it’s better if we don’t.” he chuckled, the light in his eyes slightly dimming. It was pretty quiet after that, him focusing on an essay and she reading. The room was dark despite it only being mid day and the only source of light was from the fire. The thunder rumbled loudly breaking her from her reading trance. She looked over to Draco and saw that he was sound asleep. Making sure she didn’t wake him, she silently crept up to her room. She pushed open the door to the balcony and stood there taking in the smell of the rain. Her balcony was covered with an awning so she wasn’t hit with the rain unless the wind blew it sideways.

            “I love the rain, don’t you?” he asked, stepping behind her. She no longer jumped, used to him sneaking up on her.

            “The rain has always been my favorite, especially when it’s accompanied by thunder and lightning.”

            “It washes away the mistakes and lets you start fresh.” She turned to watch him, slowly understanding how deep his need to start fresh really was. It was in that moment that she fully accepted Draco being a part of her life from now on, whether to just be friends, or more.    

            “Everyone deserves a second chance.” She said, looking into his eyes. He leaned in closer to her, their faces mere inches apart.

            “Not some people.” He said darkly, his grey eyes becoming cloudy as he turned away from her. She reached out to his hand and held it for a moment.

            “Maybe not some people, yes, but you Draco; you deserve a second chance. You’ve been given one, by me, Harry also, and I think you even won over Ronald. You deserve one, and you’ve gotten one.” She finished, breaking their gaze and turning to the storm.

            “Thank you.” He smiled as he pulled her into a hug that left her breathless. The hug was only for a split second but wished it was longer. They stood on the balcony, watching the lightning flash across the sky for a little longer, before heading back inside. She felt content as they made their way back to the couch and chatted the rest of the day away. Before either of them knew it, the common room was full with everyone changing for dinner. Blaise had stolen Draco away from her and before she could get up, Harry was plopping himself next to her. She smiled as she noticed her friends jet black hair sticking up everywhere as his green eyes sparkled.

            “How was your day ‘Mione?” he asked, swinging his arm around her for a quick sideways hug.

            “It was good. I spent it with Draco, reading.”

            “Did you just call Malfoy, Draco?” he asked, seemingly shocked.

            “Yes, I did. I think it’s childish to continue this last name rubbish. He uses my first name now, so I use his. I’m sure if you called him Draco, he’d return the favor. We’re all friends now, aren’t we?”

            “Hmmmmm, yes, I suppose your right.” He smiled as he stood up.  “Now come on before we miss dinner. I’m famished.” He exaggerated, pulling her to her feet. She chuckled as she let him pull her up.

            “Hey, did you ever decide who you were going to date to make Ginny jealous?” she asked, straightening her shirt.

            “Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you, Luna and I were talking and she had mentioned Neville, so I told her my plan and she agreed, I think mostly because I believe she fancy’s Neville.”

            “Oh! Well, I must say, that does surprise me, but it’s good you worked it out Harry.”

            “Yeah we both decided that going to the Ball would be a good idea and as of today we’re officially ‘dating’.” He said, using air quotes when he said dating.  They waited for Ron before continuing to dinner. She smiled as she realized that this year would turn out for the better. Her old friendships are stronger than ever and her new ones starting out promising. This year I’ll be able to take on anything she thought as she took a seat at the table, looking at all of her wonderful friends.

 

[A/N - OK! Sooo how did you like it?? They were so close to kissing on the balcony but then I ruined it ! But all will end well in good time. don't forget to Review and let me know what you guys think of it! The good, the bad and the ugly ]



Chapter 8: Terry Boot
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          [A/N- Hey guys!! I'm working on the next chapter at this very moment so hopefully it should be up soon. This chapter is the longest so far and I think I'm going to start sticking with the longer chapters, I like them more. :) Now I'll let you read!!]


All of my lovely chapter images are thanks too the incredibly talented enchatress@TDA <3

            September began to blend into October, and October into November. The leaves gradually changed from their vibrant greens to now the fiery oranges and reds that Hermione loved. There were leaves blanketing the grounds like snow, and a chill had crept into the air. Hermione spent her days completing her school work and her nights talking to everyone in the common room. Harry and Ron accepted Draco, but only in the common room. In the halls, it was like nothing had changed. She thought it was silly but she understood why they did it. To outsiders, Malfoy was still a Slytherin and Harry and Ron, Gryffindors. On the plus side, Gryffindor won their first match against Hufflepuff by a landslide. All in all, everything was going great.

            “Hey ‘Mione,” Ginny said, taking a seat next to her in the common room. Tonight everyone was just having a good night, laughing together, enjoying the good mood radiating throughout the room, “Now I know you don’t want to, but tomorrow when we go to Hogsmeade, we’re scoping out boys for your date to the ball. It’ll be fun.”

            “Alright then, but I’m not going with just any guy. I’ll probably just go alone, you know?” she said, glancing over to Draco, who was laughing with the three other boys.

            “Well, we will see about that. I’m more excited to try on dresses than anything else. Neville has been practicing his dancing every night, it’s quite funny actually.” Ginny said giggling.

            “I’m sure it is.” She laughed. When Ginny had heard about Harry and Luna she seemed very shocked but acted like it didn’t bother her, though she had the suspicion it did. She hoped it did. She didn’t want Neville to get hurt, but she knew that Ginny and Harry were meant to be together. Just then, Draco casually strolled over and took a seat near the two girls.

            “Hello, talking about the ball I presume?” he asked, smiling.

            “Hello. Oh, that reminds me Malfoy, I’ve been meaning to ask you something. Do you have a date for the ball?” Ginny asked. Hermione’s eyes darted to him as he shook his head, butterflies erupting in her stomach.

            “Why? Going to ask me instead of Longbottom?” he asked.

            “Humph, please. One of my friends has some odd crush on you, and me, being a good friend and all, was going to try and set you two up, Merlin knows why.” His eyes quickly glanced to Hermione as he asked who her friend was.

            “Her name is Janey Abbott, Hannah’s younger sister. Interested?”

            “Not really. I actually have my eye on someone else right now,” he started, taking on an air of boredom, “Maybe if things don’t work out I’ll give…you said her name was Jamie? ...a try.” He said leaning back into the couch.

            “Janey. I’ll let her know, though, Merlin knows how anyone could fall for you. No offense.” She added as he chuckled.

            “None taken.” He said, glancing again at Hermione. By then the other boys joined in and everyone was telling jokes and laughing. She laughed along and smiled, but her thoughts were elsewhere. She had led herself to believe that Draco would ask her to the ball because of the comment he made a while back. She was ready to accept when he did because they were friends now and if he needed help sending Pansy a message then she would help. Now that he had his sights on someone else, she was almost, in a way, disappointed. She should have spent her time looking for another date. Then again, a girl should never rely on a guy; maybe a ball would be more fun going alone, though everyone she knew was going with someone. Well, what a load of rubbish this turned out to be. I might as well just go alone, she thought, slightly disappointed. The rest of the night was spent in giggles until everyone’s throat was sore.

By midnight, everyone was parting way and heading to bed, with Ginny just taking refuge on one of the couches. Harry had convinced her to stay, so as to not risk getting caught by Filch, although, by the way he glanced at her when she had fallen asleep made Hermione wonder if he just wanted her close to him. She walked up the staircase to her room, her thoughts full of possibilities for tomorrow. She fell backwards onto her bed, her hair spilling every which way and, smiling, fell asleep for tomorrow.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

Draco stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist. He wiped some of the fog off of the mirror and took in his appearance. He knew he had a great body, the faint line of underlying muscles on his chest and stomach were certainly a female favorite. His personal favorite though, was his hair, shaggy enough to hang in his eyes when he didn’t feel like taking the time to gel it nicely. He decided a shaggy doo would be acceptable for today. He was so anxious for the day to begin. He had been planning it for a week or two now. Today would be the day he asked Hermione Jean Granger to the ball, and he was almost positive she would say yes. Even on the slightest chance she said no he could always go with that…Janey?...girl. Though, no girl really ever turned down a date with a Malfoy. Then again, Hermione wasn’t the typical female. She was stubborn and intelligent, and beautiful. She just had to accept. Draco smiled at his reflection and left the bathroom to get dressed, a cold wall of air hitting him as soon as he stepped out the door. He donned his favorite black slacks with a white button down shirt and his Slytherin tie, loosely fitted. Confident with his appearance, he left his room and saw Hermione with Ginny, leaving the common room together. Off to Hogsmeade, no doubt.

“Potter! Can I speak to you for a moment?” Draco asked as he spotted Harry leaving his room.

“What’s up?” he asked with a quizzical look.

            “I’m going to ask Hermione to the ball tonight. Blaise is away with Rebecca today, so I was thinking; could you somehow get her to go to the kitchens alone later?”

            “So, you really have changed if you plan on asking ‘Mione out. I’ll do my best to get her there but let me say this. If you even hurt her in the smallest way, not only will I make you pay, but everyone who loves her will too.”

            “Wouldn’t expect any less; thanks, Harry.” He smiled and went down to the Great Hall to enjoy a nice breakfast.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            “Come on, Hermione! Let’s go to Honeydukes first! I want to get some sugar quills.” Ginny smiled as she grabbed Hermione’s hand and started racing down the lanes of the small town. A huge grin broke out on her face and she couldn’t help but laugh as her friends red hair blew every which way. They entered the crowded sweets shop and made their way over to the farthest wall.

            “I should probably pick up some licorice wands for Neville.” Ginny stated, scanning the colorful wall for the candy.

            “You know who loves licorice wands? Harry.” She said, examining her friends face.

            “Yes, I know, but I’m not dating Harry, I’m dating Neville.”

            “I’m well aware of who you’re with and not with.”

            “I thought you supported me with Neville. Why bring up Harry now?”

            “Oh, no reason, I was just stating a fact.” Hermione said as Ginny gathered the candies, handed over some sickles, and finally returned to the familiar lanes of the small wizard town. They headed over to the local dress shop and were happy to see it wasn’t as crowded as they had expected. A witch with long blonde hair owned the shop and greeted them as they walked in. She was surprised there weren’t dresses hanging on racks everywhere, just a few mannequins here and there wearing stunning dresses. Instead, the empty space was filled with a small lounge and a small table off to the side with coffee and pastries on it.

            “Where are all the dresses?” she whispered.

            “Haven’t you ever bought a dress from a wizard shop before?” Ginny asked, her eyes wide.

            “Never.”

            “Well, this will be fun.” She said. “What you do is you go into the dressing room and a voice will ask you some questions and then mannequins will pop up with a variety of dresses on them and you try on whichever. It’s quite simple really. Here, I’ll go first.” Ginny walked into a closed door close by and about five minutes later came out in a dark green long dress. It was skin tight and flared out a little at the bottom.

            “That looks uncomfortable.” Hermione commented.

            “Yes, it is rather hard to walk in. Let me try another.” Ginny tried or several more dresses including a dark red one, a light blue one that reminded her of Cinderella, and then a dark midnight blue one.

            “Oh, definitely that one! You look stunning.” She said as Ginny walked out in the midnight blue dress. It was a halter dress that gracefully flowed to the floor with a sheer material encompassing every inch so every time she moved, she sparkled.

            “I think you’re right. This dress is perfect!”

            “Neville won’t know what to say when he see’s you in that.”

            “Ok, ok, but now it’s your turn! I want to see you all dressed up now.” She walked into the room Ginny just came from and saw it was completely empty. The walls were covered from floor to ceiling with mirrors.

            “Good day,” a voice started out of nowhere. “What’s the occasion?”

            “The ball?” she said nervously, not knowing what to expect.

            “Any style you would prefer?”

            “Something long, please.”

            “Is color an issue?”

            “No.”

            “Here is your first set of choices.” Just then several mannequins appeared to the sides of her dressed in a variety of colors. She spotter a long purple one with small ribbon straps and decided to try it on. When it was on she decided it looked better off but she went to show Ginny anyway. Forty-five minutes and six sets of choices later, she found the perfect dress. It was a red strapless dress that fit her body perfectly. The bodice part fit like a glove and had scattered beaded accents on it. Once it hit the waist it flowed out beautifully, like a mermaid (maybe add..its just because it is a mermaid dress). She was awestruck and walked slowly out to Ginny who gasped.

            “Oh my god, Hermione if you don’t get that dress, I’ll kill you. It’s absolutely stunning!”

            “I love it. This is definitely the dress I’m going to buy.” She said as she twirled in it, the bottom spinning with her. She walked back into the stall and changed back into her clothes and left with the dress hanging over her arm.

            “Will that be it for you girls?” the shop owner asked as the girls reached the counter.

            “Yes, we’ve made our choices.” Ginny said smiling.

            “Alright, might I just say that both your dresses look stunning on both of you.” She said with a smile as she flicked her wrist with her wand for two boxes and paper to fly in from the backroom.  The dresses flew into the air and were delicately folded and placed in their boxes; each wrapped with a matching ribbon the color of each dress.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            “So that’s the plan, alright?” he asked as the house elf in front of him nodded his head in glee.

            “Winky bets that Miss will be most happy when she comes here tonight.” The little elf squeaked delightedly.

            “Yes, that is the plan. Now, I must be going, I’ll be back later tonight. I do expect that everything be in order when I arrive.” He stated, giving the elf a look that usually got a frightened ‘Of course master’ from the elves at home but this one just kept nodding her head with a big silly grin plastered on her face. He stood there for a moment or two more before turning and leaving the kitchens.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            The Three Broomsticks was crowded as always, but they were meeting Harry, Ron and Lavender, so finding somewhere to sit wouldn’t be a problem. The three of them were sitting in the very back in a booth, with the two lovebirds cuddled up and laughing together while Harry sat across from them, smiling. The two girls headed over to the table, Ginny sitting next to her brother and Hermione taking a seat next to Harry.

            “Hey did you two find a dress?” Lavender asked, focusing her attention on the new addition to the table, her blue eyes shimmering with curiosity.

            “You should see ‘Miones. It’s the most gorgeous dress I’ve ever seen.” Ginny said, smiling. Lavender was just about to ask another question when Madam Rosemerta came to the table.

            “Hello kids. Butterbeer for everyone?” she asked, knowing that’s what they got every time they came. They all nodded at her as she smiled and walked away. A few moments later five glasses of Butterbeer navigated through the crowded pub and made their way to the table.

            “Hermione, can I ask you a favor?” Harry asked, turning to face her.

            “Sure, what do you need?” she asked taking a sip of her Butterbeer.

            “I asked Winky to get me something in the kitchens and I’d pick it up later this evening but I forgot I had made plans with Luna and won’t have time to go down there. Would you mind going to pick it up for me?”

            “Yeah no problem, what is it?” she asked, wondering what he could’ve had Winky get him.

            “It’s just something small I asked her to make me.” He said, sipping his drink and glancing out the window at the passing students. Everyone was looking at him oddly, except for Lavender who was too entranced with Ron’s hair to really notice anything.

            “Hey guys.” A voice said to the side of the table. Everyone’s attention shifted from one end of the table to the other, even Lavender turned to see who it was. The voice belonged to Terry Boot. His brown hair looked like he just rolled out of bed, but she assumed that might have something to do with the fact that it was windy outside. He smiled and looked at everyone at the table, pausing as he met Hermione’s eyes.

            “Hey, Terry, how have you been this year?” Ron asked, breaking the silence.

            “Pretty good, glad that I can finish my final year, you know? Instead of last year being the final one. What about you guys?” he asked smiling, his eyes sparkling. How charming, she thought as she looked him over. He had definitely grown into his looks and he had this sparkle to his green eyes that certainly affected her a little more than she would have liked.

            “Pretty good, just enjoying being back,” Harry smiled. “Would you like to join us?”

            “Thanks for the offer but I’m here with a group of friends. I just saw you guys and thought I should stop by and say hello. It was really nice seeing everyone, especially you Hermione. You look great.” He said smiling, loosening his navy blue tie.

            “Thank you, Terry, you do to. I’ll see you around?” she said, blushing slightly at his compliment.

            “I’d like that. I should head back. Bye everyone!” and with that Terry turned around and made his way back to a group of Ravenclaw boys all showing each other the latest joke products they bought.

            “Wow, looks like someone has a crush on you.” Ginny said, becoming giddy for her friend.

            “Terry Boot has become quite the handsome one this year too, Hermione. Lot’s of girls have been competing for his attention,” added Lavender. This made her blush even more. She had always been confident about her looks, but only recently did it seem that the male population at Hogwarts seemed to be taking notice of her.

            “Maybe he’ll ask you to the ball! You two would look great together too!” Ginny’s smile growing even bigger as she pictured them together.

            “Well, if he does, don’t just agree straight away. Sleep on it before you just say yes.” Harry responded.

            “No, don’t do that. He might get the wrong impression and feel like you’re not interested. Are you interested?”    

            “Well he certainly has a certain charm about him, but I agree with Harry. I shouldn’t go saying yes to anybody that asks me to the ball. I should sleep on it if he does.” She said smiling; glad she might have a date to the ball after all. After finishing their drinks within the hour, everyone headed back up the worn trail to Hogwarts. Everyone was laughing and having a good time as the wind blew around them. The walk back seemed to pass by quickly, and as they walked across the grounds she spotted Hagrid walking along the edge of the Forbidden Forest. She waved happily as he waved back. As they were walking up the steps to the front door she heard someone calling for her through the wind. She turned around to see Terry, running towards her smiling, his cheeks flushed.

            “Hermione! Wait up!” he called. She bade everyone else good bye and told them she’d meet up with them later. Harry looked at Terry apprehensively, then turned and walked back with the rest of them. She walked down the rest of the steps where he was waiting for her and smiled as she took in his appearance.

            “Hermione,” he said, his hands on his knees as he gasped for air. “Sorry, I’m really not a running type of guy. This is the first time I’ve ever run after a girl.” His said as he flashed one of his charming smiles.

            “I should feel special then.” She smiled back.

            “Well, you are. Anyway, I was wondering, do you have a date to the ball?”

            “No, actually, I’m currently dateless.”

            “Well, then my next question will be, would you like me to accompany you to the ball?” he asked. She remembered what Harry had said just hours before and remembered she had agreed with him.

            “I’m glad you asked me Terry. Let me sleep on it, though. I’ll let you know by tomorrow, though, ok?” she asked, smiling sincerely. She was glad her response didn’t seem to put a damper on his spirits at all; on the contrary, his smile only widened.

            “I’ll see you in Herbology then.” And with that they walked into the castle together, going their separate ways at the end of the corridor. She was halfway up one of the switching staircases when she remembered she had to go to the kitchens for Harry. Just as the thought crossed her mind, the stairs moved towards another doorway, which happened to lead to a shortcut to the kitchens. Almost like the stairs knew exactly where I needed to go, she thought as she walked to the end of the corridor. She stepped behind a suit of armor and whispered the spell that would open up the wall behind. It led to a kind of concrete slide that would slide you down to the corridor next to the kitchens. She peeked around the corner once she was done sliding to make sure there were no teachers down there before she continued to the portrait with the pear. She tickled the pear the way Harry had shown her and entered the kitchens to something she wasn’t expecting.

            The kitchens were the same, but off to the side there was a table seated for two with a rose in the center. At that moment, someone stepped into the kitchen behind Hermione while Winky came running up to her as well.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            “Hey, I’m glad you came down here.” Draco said. She turned to see him, his shaggy hair hanging in his face, his eyes a shocking grey. She smiled at the sight of him.

            “What is all this?” she asked, gesturing to the table behind her.

            “I did this for you. I wanted to talk to you today.” He said, motioning her to the table to take a seat. He pulled hers out for her and pushed her in as she sat down, then took a seat across from her. “How was your trip to Hogsmeade?” he asked her as Winky filled their goblets with ice water and provided them each with a salad. She was wearing a hat that she wore towards the back of her head which let the curls in the front hang freely around her face, noticing how good she looked.

            “It was relaxing. How was whatever you did today?” she asked as she sipped from her water. He placed his fork down and wiped his face before replying.

            “I mostly just made sure this was all ready for you when you got back.”

            “Harry knew about this then? He was the one who told me to come down here to pick something up, but, if I’m not mistaken, I believe there’s nothing down here for him.” She smiled, looking around.

            “Correct. I asked him this morning if he could get you to come down here alone somehow, and obviously, he did exactly what I asked. I’ll have to thank him later.”

            “It still shocks me at times that the Draco Malfoy I once knew is now this new one that I can share nice dinners with while having a civilized conversation.”

            “What can I say? I aim to please.” He said smiling. They had both finished their salads and the empty plates were taken away and replaced with a steak dinner complete with sweet yams and string beans on the side. They both talked through the most of the course, joking and enjoying each others company. After they had finished that, their goblets and empty plates were replaced with a coffee and a piece of cheesecake.

            “You really went all out, didn’t you Draco?” she asked smiling, biting into the dessert.

            “A Malfoy never disappoints, Granger.” He said, flashing a smile. “Do you remember that conversation we had a month or two ago about going to the ball together?” he asked, gingerly placing his coffee cup down next to his plate. He looked up to see her pick up her own and take a sip before responding.

            “Yes, I believe I do. Why?”

            “Well, I do think I’d like it if, after all, you could accompany me to the ball.”

            “As your date?” she asked before she realized what a silly question that was.

            “Well, usually that’s what it’s called.” He smirked.

            “No wait, let me rephrase; as a way to get Pansy off your back, or as a way of enjoying a possibly romantic evening with someone?”
            “Well, more of the romantic evening one, while the Pansy one would be, more of a bonus.” He said as he leaned forward towards her, eagerly awaiting her response, but trying to seem cool and collected the entire time.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione’s mind was racing. She had two proposals for the ball within a day and now she had to choose between the two boys. She could choose Draco, who she had been spending a lot of time with lately, and she had to admit, she did find him attractive, though if she were asked by Ginny, she would completely deny the thought.

            Then there was Terry, who was sweet and charming and if Ginny were to ask her if she thought he was attractive, she could openly say yes. If she went with Draco, there would be no telling how her friends would react. She just got them to accept him as a friendly person, asking them to now accept him as her date to the ball might be too much for them to handle. She was sure they could handle Terry, though. She knew, however, that if she went with Terry and turned down Draco, she might regret it.

            “So, Hermione, would you like to be my date to the ball?” Draco asked, his eyes showing the slightest sign of hope in them.

 

[A/N - Hahahahaha :) Cliff hanger <3 What will she possibly do?! You'll just have to wait to find out. Don't forget to Review at the end of the chapter and let me know what you think about Terry Boot. I decided I needed to add a little twist in the story, he does sound awfully charming though! Also, if you would like to see a picture of Hermione's dress, email me at Dobbyssock@gmail.com !!]



[A/N - Hey everyone! In the last chapter I told everyone that if they wanted a picture of Hermione's dress, to email me. SORRY! I left the wrong email. It's dobbyssock77@gmail.com . I'm sorry guys. I've been on a writing spree lately, banging out these chapters one right after the other! Without further ado.... Chapter 9!]

Thanks to enchatress@TDA for the beautiful chapter image :)

            Hermione stared at Draco, a sad smile on her face, as she realized that she couldn’t give him the answer he wanted to hear. She watched the small glimmer of hope in his eyes, though she knew he was trying his best to act like her answer wouldn’t really matter to him.

            “Draco…” she started; the glimmer in his eyes growing smaller. “I need to think about this for a night. Can I give you an answer tomorrow? I just didn’t expect you to ask me. I need some time to think about this. Will you give me that?” she asked; the hope clearly evident in her voice. He stared at her for a moment before taking a deep breath and smiling pleasantly.

            “You’re not going to avoid me all day tomorrow, are you?” he asked her, brushing the platinum blonde hair out of his eyes.

            “Of course not,” she replied, clearly shocked that he would even assume that she would do that.

            “Good, I’d rather not have to hunt you down tomorrow just to procure an answer from you.” He said, looking to his left at Winky and nodding once, signaling that dinner was over and it was alright to clean up. They stood up together, bade the house elves good night, and left for the common room. As they walked back, she noticed how quiet he was being and when she glanced over to him, she saw the far off look in his eyes and wondered what he could be thinking. As they reached the portrait hole and repeated the password, he let her enter first, his hand on the small of her back to help her through. As soon as she felt his hand lightly press against her spine, it was as if a jolt of electricity went through her entire body. She shook her head to clear her thoughts of his firm grasp and went to sit on one of the couches while quietly Draco went off to his room. What am I supposed to do? How am I possibly going to pick between them? There are so many reasons why I shouldn’t go with Draco, but for the past couple months all I’ve been doing is waiting for him to ask me. I need to talk to somebody, but there’s nobody here that I can talk to without them wondering why I’m even considering Draco. She sat staring into the fire for another moment or two before realizing who exactly it was she needed to talk to. There’s no way I could possibly be able to get a hold of her before tomorrow, she sighed in defeat.

            “Why the glum look?” Blaise asked, taking a seat beside her. He had a wind blown look about him and she suspected he and Rebecca had just taken a night stroll around the grounds.

            “Oh, it’s nothing really.” She said, picking up a pillow that had fallen to the floor when he had taken a seat and placing it in her lap.

            “We’ve been friends for a couple months now and I think that I can tell when something’s bothering you by now, so tell me. Maybe I can help.” She thought about his offer for a moment and decided that it wouldn’t hurt to talk to Blaise for a second.

            “I really need to talk to one of my friends, but by the time the owl would reach her, the advice she could give me will be too late and I won’t be able to solve my problem.” She said, playing with the tassels on the edge of the pillow.

            “Well, it’s good that you told me because I have a solution to your dilemma.” Blaise said with a smile as he looked at her. She raised her head, doubting his enthusiastic confidence. 

            “My cousin owns an Instant Mailing Service shop down in Hogsmeade. If you give me what you want to send to your friend, I’ll send it down to him and have him mail it for you, free of charge.” He said, his smile broadening.

            “Really, you would do that for me? Thank you so much, Blaise. That would be so helpful!” she said, jumping up and hurrying to her room, searching for what she needed. She found it tucked away in the bottom of her trunk that lay at the end of her bed and ran back down the stairs to Blaise. “Here, this is what I need to send.” She said, handing him a silver mirror.

            “What is it?” he asked, holding it up curiously to his face.

            “Harry bought this for me for my birthday. It’s a two way mirror, you give one to someone else and when you need to talk to them you just say their name into the mirror and if they have it on them, you two will be able to talk.” She said, smiling and pointing to it while he turned it over in his hands and eyed the intricate silver design that was hand painted on the back.

            “It’s really nice, must’ve cost a good chunk of gold for this. He’s a good guy, Harry.” Blaise said, conjuring up some tissue paper and wrapping it carefully. He headed towards his bedroom and stepped out onto his balcony. He let out one low soft whistle and no more than a minute later a large eagle owl appeared on the concrete rail. She couldn’t hear what he whispered to it but a second later the owl took off and faded into the night sky. Blaise turned to around and walked towards her with a warm smile on his face.

            “Thank you again, Blaise, that was so nice of you to do that for me.” She said, smiling before heading to her bedroom. They said good night to each other and she closed her door softly. She walked over to the mirror above her dresser and glanced at herself, deciding she would put up her hair for bed. She quickly changed into a soft pink lace camisole and pink pajama pants before flopping onto her bed with her silver mirror. She thought for a moment, not sure how instant, instant actually was. After a few seconds of consideration, she picked up the mirror, brought it to her face, and quietly spoke Lizzie’s name. In an instant the reflective surface of the glass rippled like someone had dropped a pebble into a lake and she heard Lizzie’s voice. At first it was distant, but after a few moments the voice grew stronger and Lizzie’s face appeared in the mirror.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Lizzie sat on her twin size bed; posters of her favorite bands littered the walls. Above her headboard sat a collage of pictures that showed her and her best friend, Hermione, throughout the years of their friendship. Their fourth grade class field trip to the zoo, a picture of the two girls laughing with birthday cake all over their faces, them together on Halloween dressed as witches. Her heart ached as she thought of her best friend and how much she missed her. She sighed, taking her long blonde hair out of her high ponytail, letting it fall around her, when suddenly a small crack sounded through the room and a small brown package appeared on the edge of her bed. She stared at it, her eyes wide with shock at the thing that just appeared out of thin air. She slowly reached for it and as she pulled it towards her she noticed Hermione’s name on it.

            She quickly picked it up, unwrapping it and throwing the brown paper on her bedroom floor in haste. It was a delicate looking silver hand held mirror. She let out a small gasp as the glass suddenly started rippling and Hermione’s voice sounded in her room.                    

            “Hermione, oh my god it’s you! What is this thing? How did this get to me? How are you?” she asked, the questions rolling off her tongue before she could stop herself as her best friends face appeared in the mirror.

            “I’m glad this got to you alright.” Hermione said chuckling. “It’s an enchanted mirror and it will allow us to talk to each other anytime we want as long as the other is holding the mirror with them. I’m good by the way.” Lizzie marveled at this beautiful magical mirror that reminded her of Beauty and the Beast.

            “This is so cool ‘Mi! But enough about this ridiculously awesome mirror, I want to know what’s going on at that school of yours! I haven’t gotten a letter in a week or two which means something is happening and you’re too busy to write me!” she said, her green eyes shimmering with curiosity.

            “That’s what I needed to talk to you about, Liz. I am in desperate need of your advice and you’re the only one that can help me. I was asked to a ball we’re having here at Hogwarts by two different boys.”

            “Well the solution is obvious, pick the better looking one.” She replied, winking at her best friend who responded with a giggle.

            “Well, Terry is charming and all of my friends would understand why I chose him and it’d be easy with him. Then there’s Draco an-“

            “Wait! You mean Draco Malfoy, the Draco Malfoy that you despised for years, the Draco Malfoy that then almost kissed you, asked you to the ball?!”

            “Yes, that would be the one, and he’s changed so much from the boy he used to be, but nobody would understand and yes, he may be slightly attractive, sure he sometimes has this way of clouding your thoughts, but… there’s no way I could possibly explain to my friends this year that, instead of Terry, I’m going to the ball with an ex-Death Eater.”

            “Well… how about you don’t; at least not yet. Spend a week or two with them, comparing them and then decide who you would rather go to the ball with. You don’t have to make a decision just yet.” She said, her voice holding an air of confidence in the plan that her friend wouldn’t be able to ignore.

            “That… that could work. Why didn’t I think about that?” Hermione said, her brow furrowed in thought. Lizzie let out a laugh before responding.

            “’Mi, you’ve always been the smartest girl in class, but when it comes to boys, I surpass your knowledge.” She said, getting a laugh out of her friend as well.

            “Yes, I guess your right.” Hermione responded. After that, the two girls spent the rest of the evening talking and laughing, glad that they were able to catch up after such a long time apart.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            As Hermione wished Lizzie happy dreams, she set the mirror down on her nightstand and crept out of her room and into the dark common room. The only light came from the moon shining through the window, which didn’t really help decrease the creepiness of the room. She slowly walked down the stairs, making sure she didn’t miss one and tumble down the rest. She tip toed to Draco’s door and as she reached it, she wondered if she should’ve just waited until the morning and just head back to her room and go to sleep. However, just as that thought was crossing her mind, the door in front of her opened up wide. He stood there in black silk pajamas staring at her expectantly, not an ounce of sleep in his eyes.

            “Come to stay the night in my bed?” he said, smirking, though she knew he was just trying to touch a nerve.

            “I need you to meet me in front of the Great Hall tomorrow morning.”

            “Why not just tell me now instead of making me wait till then?”

            “Just meet me there. Goodnight.” She said, and with that she twirled around and briskly walked to her room, anxious to sleep.

 

            Before she knew it, she was standing outside the Great Hall as the students passed her, eager to eat. She shifted her school bag from one shoulder to the other, nervously awaiting the arrival of the two boys. She planned on just catching Terry’s attention as he walked in, seeing as it was too late last night to go and ask him to meet her here. Draco was the first to arrive, dressed in his school robes, his blonde hair neatly in place. He said something to her when he arrived, but she was still so anxious that she didn’t respond. Less than five minutes later she spotted Terry coming down the staircase and she called out to him. He had a confused expression that matched Draco’s as he walked towards her, but she didn’t care for that.

            “Good morning to you both. You both asked me to the ball yesterday,” at this, Draco looked to Terry with an angry look on his face while Terry’s face held a surprised expression. “I decided I needed more than just one night to decide who I really wanted to spend my evening with, so I just wanted to inform you both that I won’t decide for another week or two.” She said, looking from one to the other.

            “Why are you telling us this?” Terry said, looking uncomfortable.

            “I just wanted this to be fair to both of you so I decided telling you both my plan would ensure fairness.” Both boys nodded and she thanked them both for meeting her as she walked to the Gryffindor table, though before she turned away, she couldn’t help but notice the smug expression Draco wore.

            Taking a seat across from Ginny, she reached for a slice of toast and filled a goblet with some pumpkin juice.

            “What was that all about? Why do I have a feeling there is something you’re not telling me?” Ginny asked, eyeing her suspiciously. She swallowed the juice in her mouth before responding to her friend.

            “It was nothing. I was just talking to Draco when Terry came over and said hello.” She said, not making eye contact. She felt awful having to lie to Ginny and she never had to before, but something told her that if she spoke to Ginny about her boy situation, she wouldn’t understand. Breakfast finished quickly and in no time at all she was walking to Herbology with Harry; Ron had left a few minutes earlier with Lavender and Parvati. Walking in, she saw that the only empty working stations left were near the back of the room, which really disappointed her. She solemnly followed Harry to the back, and gingerly placed her books on a clean spot behind her. Just as she turned back to the work station, Terry walked over and took a spot next to her. Then Professor Sprout walked into the greenhouse and everyone settled down, looking to her for directions.

            “Good morning, class. Today will be fairly easy, though I hope you all remembered to bring your Dragon hide gloves. We will be replanting the Fanged Geranium into bigger pots; they really grew over the summer. This task will need a lot of concentration; we don’t want anyone bitten by one.” She said, her gray hair sticking every which way out from underneath her green wizarding cap. They all started working right away, so there wasn’t much time to talk, but as the class wore on and they all became more comfortable with the replanting, conversation broke out between the students.

            “Hermione, you know you have some dirt, right there?” Terry asked, pointing to a spot on her face. She brought her hand to her face, trying to rub off the dirt with the back of her wrist, but judging by his laughter, she hadn’t gotten it. “Here, let me.” He said, bringing his hand to her face; his fingers brushed the side of her face, near her hairline, as he brought his thumb to the smudge of dirt and, gently, wiped it off. Her skin was warm and tingly where he touched it and she almost had the urge to shiver. She nodded a thank you and went back to work. After that, she spent the rest of the class talking to Harry, trying to ignore the fact that Terry’s touch felt nothing like Draco’s.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco walked into the Potions dungeon slowly, looking for the brown curls that had become so familiar to him. He spotted her at a table alone, watching Harry talking to Slughorn. He knew that once Harry was done, he would take a seat next to Granger. Moving quickly, he slid into the seat next to her before Potter had even finished his conversation. He saw her turn and eye him out of the corner of his eye and he couldn’t help but wear his trademark smirk. Harry turned around and saw that his seat was taken and, with a slight scowl on his face, walked towards the table Ron was sitting at waiting for Lavender.

            “Settle down, settle down.” Slughorn shouted as he slightly waddled into the room, stopping once he was in front of the class. “Now today, I’ll have you all working with your partner for this potion. Everyone will need to follow instructions exactly, for if a mistake is made, it could cause you to go into a deep and possibly irreversible sleep. Can anyone guess what you will be brewing today?” he finished, and as everyone predicted, Hermione’s hand shot into the air. “Yes, Ms. Granger.”

            “It’s called the Draught of Peace. If the potion is brewed correctly, it should emit a silvery vapour.” She finished, lowering her hand.

            “Perfect! Ten points to Gryffindor. Now you have two hours to complete the potion, the directions are on the board. You may begin.” He finished, the directions appearing on the board with a flick of his wand.

            “Ok, you go get the ingredients, I’ll start up the cauldron.” She said, looking expectantly at him. He nodded once before getting up and walking to the ingredients cupboard. It was a small musty room, with shelves lining every wall with containers everywhere, filled with all kinds of potion ingredients. Half the class was in the cupboard so he leaned against the door frame, waiting for it to empty out a little.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            She looked up to see him leaning casually against the door frame. Like we have time to lounge about before we start to brew the potion, she thought angrily. She blew a strand of hair that fell in her face, then bent down and stuck her wand under the cauldron. “Incendio.” She said before straightening up. Draco strolled back to the table, arms full of the ingredients they needed to start the potion. They spent the next hour and a half brewing the potion, stirring it, and letting it simmer. By the end of the class, she was delighted with how well the potion turned out. She knew that part of the success of the potion was due, not only to her own skills in the class, but also Draco’s. They put a sample of the potion in a vial and brought it up to Slughorn’s desk.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            “We make a pretty good team, wouldn’t you say?” he said smiling, bringing a hand to his silver and green tie, loosening it up a little around the neck.

            “Yes, I suppose we do.” She said, waving her wand and cleaning out her cauldron.

            “How was class with Terry?” he asked, spitting out his name. He wore a slight scowl and she couldn’t help but get the feeling that he didn’t like the fact that he had some competition.

            “It was just fine.” She said, stuffing her books back into her bag and heading out of the room. She was half way down the eerie hallway when he caught up to her.

            “Just fine; did he try and charm the pants off you? I don’t like him.” He said, which she couldn’t help but laugh at.

            “Charm the pants off? There’s no way my pants are ever coming off for anyone, Malfoy. Of course you don’t like him; you don’t want me going to the ball with anyone other than you.” She said, chuckling.

            “Well, Granger, maybe that’s so. Or maybe I know him better than you do and I think the only reason he asked you is because he wants more than just a dance at the ball.” He spat, opening the door that led up the main hallway from the dungeons, and then slammed it behind them.

            “How could you possibly know him better than I do? Why is it such a ridiculous thought that maybe I was asked out because of who I am and not what I can offer? You’re acting just like Ronald did when I went to the Yule Ball with Victor!” she yelled, turning around to face him, her voice attracting the eyes of the other students who happened to be in the hall at the time.

            “Lower your voice, this is no place to cause a scene.” He muttered, grabbing her arm, attempting to lead her off into an empty classroom.

            “I will not!” she yelled, yanking her arm from his grip. “I’m tired of everyone thinking I need to be protected. I can take care of myself.” She spat, and with that turned and stalked off towards the common room, taking her anger out on a couple of first years nearby that were talking a little too loudly. Stupid, ignorant, know-it-all witch; she has no idea what guys think about when they see her. Too many times have I overheard the other guys in Slytherin talking about her looks, though they would never do anything, with her being muggleborn and all, he thought, the scowl on his face becoming more pronounced as he stalked off down the hall, not quite sure where he was going, knowing only that he wanted to be as far away from her as possible.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione rolled over in bed, bringing her watch to her face, sighing as she noticed the time. It was a quarter after three and she had been lying in bed all night, fuming over what Draco had said. She didn’t need to be treated like a child, she had helped Harry and Ron find all of the Horcruxes Voldemort had made and defeat each one, for Merlin’s sake. She sighed before rolling out of bed and walking down the stairs to the common room. She noticed Harry sitting on the couch, also awake, and took a seat beside him, leaning her head on his shoulder.

            “Thinking about Ginny?” she asked quietly.

            “Yes. Terry asked you to the ball didn’t he, along with Malfoy?”

            “You knew then?”

            “I could tell by the way he was flirting with you at the Leaky Cauldron. Who did you say yes to?”

            “Neither, though, judging by the row I had today with Draco, it’ll be Terry.” She said, shivering slightly. Harry leaned to the edge of the couch, managing to just reach the blanket that lay there. He gently draped it over her, letting her rest against him. She quietly fell asleep before Harry could ask her another question. Well, its official, he thought, my best friend likes Malfoy. This year is going to be more complicated than I thought.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Pansy tapped her wand to the top of her head and added shine to her long, black hair. She straightened her green silk pajama dress and walked back to her bed, sitting on it, facing Daphne Greengrass. Daphne has long blonde hair, which she wears in beautiful curls at all times. Most girls were jealous of her looks and felt intimidated when she was around, but Pansy knew better. She had immediately befriended the girl, to have her as a friend would only help to improve her image, just like being on the arm of Draco Malfoy would help raise her standing the wizarding world.

            “Will you be attending the ball with Draco?” Daphne asked, using a spell to add a beautiful shine to her nails.

            “Of course we are. Draco and I are meant to be together, our parents arranged for us to marry years ago. Once we graduate, it’s only a matter of time before the actual ceremony takes place. Who are you set to marry?”

            “Oh, some wealthy guy from a prominent family in France; I’ve met him once and he is incredibly charming.”

            “That’s good.” She said as she spotted Rebecca lying on her bed with an open book in her hands, though her eyes weren’t moving. “I suppose you’re going to the ball with Blaise?” she asked, keeping her eyes on the girl. Rebecca’s eyes shot up and immediately knew she had been caught eavesdropping, though she didn’t look guilty.

            “Yes, Blaise and I will be attending.” She answered, closing the book and placing it on her nightstand.

            “Well, perhaps Draco and I can arrange a sort of double date with you and Blaise; I know the two boys are good friends, it would only be right for the four of us to become a group of some sorts.” Pansy said. Daphne watched the two girls closely, examining the way they acted towards each other.

            “No, that probably wouldn’t be a good idea Pansy. You see, I know Draco and Blaise are good friends, and I know that Draco thinks nothing ill of me, though, I know for a fact that he despises you; can’t stand the sight of you really.” She responded, drawing one side of her curtains to block out Daphne.

            “Who, Blaise? I wonder why on Earth he wouldn’t like me; I’ve only been nice to him.” Pansy fake laughed.

            “No, not Blaise, though, Blaise probably agrees. I meant Draco.” And with that, Rebecca drew the other curtain to block out Pansy. Daphne looked at Pansy with a look on her face that Pansy knew meant she believed Rebecca more than her.

            “She’s obviously lying.” She said to Daphne, before shooting a scowl at Rebecca’s bed. She laid on her bed, drawing the covers to her chin, thinking of all the things she could do to make Rebecca wish she had never embarrassed Pansy like that.


Chapter 10: The Decision
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 [A/N - Ok before I let everyone dive into Chapter Ten I have a few things I would like to say. First I would like to thank all of my faithful readers who have been with me from the begining. I've been incredibly grateful to you guys and you have seriously kept me motivated to continue my story! I feel like chapter ten is a milestone for me. I never thought this story would become as popular as it has and it really has made me happy! To my faithful reviewers and readers I would like to especially thank you for keeping up with the reviews and letting me know how you thought my story was coming along, Thank you very much to LumosEmmaFaye , ykai , Jillysquid , HpGirl1, FelixFelicis and Jackie - a special thanks, I owe you guys. Now, without further ado, Chapter Ten!!! ]




ahhh <3 I can't even begin to express how thankful I am to enchantress@TDA for the beautiful chapter images she has made for me :)           

            Draco tucked his Slytherin tie into his vest as he entered the Great Hall, the beautiful morning light flooding through the windows. It was pretty crowded, seeing as he was a little late getting up this morning, but he spotted Blaise and Rebecca sitting towards the middle of the table and made his way over to them, taking a seat across from Blaise.

            “Mornin’ mate.” Blaise said, shoveling more eggs into his mouth. Draco filled his plate with sausage links and scrambled eggs and poured himself a cup of coffee before fully allowing himself to converse. “So, weren’t you supposed to ask Granger to the Ball the other day?”

            “Yes, but Terry Boot beat me to it. She hasn’t decided whose invitation she’ll be accepting, so I’m to wait.” He said, annoyance evident in his voice.

            “Well, I have no worries that she’ll pick you. More than half the female population has their eyes on you, regardless of what house their in.” Both boys missed the worried look in Rebecca’s eyes as she thought of what would happen if Pansy were to get wind of this. Draco looked up from his coffee and saw Boot presenting Hermione with a red rose, anger overtaking all other emotions. He saw the pink in her cheeks as she accepted and realized that Boot was grabbing all her attention. He had more classes with her, gave her flowers, she can’t really be falling for his tricks, can she, he thought, clenching his cup a little too much. Only the scalding coffee dousing his right arm was enough to tear his eyes away from the two of them. He looked down to see a broken coffee cup, coffee spilled all over his plate of food. Blaise looked at him with a curious expression before he turned and saw what Draco had. Malfoy excused himself from the table and tore out of the Great Hall, heading to the bathroom, waving his wand over his right arm to stop any burns from forming as he walked.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Terry walked through the grounds, the bitter air biting at his face. He smiled at the thought of Hermione, knowing he was winning her over, that she would choose him instead of Draco. Thank Merlin too, he thought, if I lost to Malfoy, I wouldn’t be able to let people know that we actually fought over the same girl. Ha, losing to a Slytherin, like that’ll ever happen. He walked up the steps and entered the school, warm air hitting him like a wall. He turned the corner, heading to the Ravenclaw common room when he saw Malfoy coming down the stairs ahead of him. I should take this opportunity to make it clear that I’ll be the victor in this, he thought, stopping in the middle of the hall, waiting for him.

            “You know she’ll pick me Boot, don’t you? You know she would never pick you in a million years.” Draco said, stopping but a few feet in front of him.

            “Are you sure of that? She seemed awfully happy this morning, and I just spent some class time with her. You’ve got no chance Malfoy, no chance at all. Why are you even pursuing her, Slytherin and Gryffindor doesn’t mix; you’re a pure blood and she’s, well she’s part of the Golden Trio.” Terry said, a small smile on his face.

            “Mind your own damn business, Boot. What’s your motive anyway? Only going after her to boost your popularity, or have you just noticed that she’s attractive?”

            “Motive, I don’t know about you, but I have no motive, unless sweeping her off her feet counts.” He said laughing. Draco scoffed at that and Terry just rolled his eyes and walked away towards his common room, leaving an angry Slytherin behind.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione sat on her bed, placing the silver mirror in front of her, waiting for her friend to come back into view. As she waited, she played with the curls in her hair, twisting them around her fingers, then letting them unravel, feeling as though she could sleep for a month, she had been spending all of her free time studying for year end exams, you could never be too prepared. Lizzie quickly came back into view, though, and she quickly dove back into conversation.

            “So, you were just about to tell me who you were letting escort you to the ball.” She said, her blonde hair flouncing about as she bounced onto her bed.

            “Yes, I’ve decided to go with Terry.”

            “Wait, why not Draco? I kind of liked the whole idea of the forbidden romance.” She said with a giggle. Hermione laughed at her best friends’ assumption before continuing.

            “Draco and I had a row about a week ago and that little ferret hasn’t even given me an apology yet. It’s completely rude. He’s acting just like Ronald and there is no way I’m going to put myself through that again.”

            “I suppose that’s a good enough reason. Maybe, though, the row was slightly your fault too?” Lizzie suggested, cringing slightly towards the end in preparation of her friends anger.

            “My fault? There is no way that any of it was my fault! I simply told him I can look out for myself; I don’t need a bloody chaperone wherever I go!” she finished, her face turning a slight shade of red.

            “Alright, fine, it wasn’t your fault. Listen ‘Mi, I’m off to school. Let’s continue this conversation a different day.” Hermione barely had time to say goodbye before Lizzie ended the magical connection between them. She sighed in frustration, I really shouldn’t have bitten off her head, she was only trying to be helpful.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Ginny walked into the Head’s common room, she was there so often lately that she had memorized the password. Her long red hair was put in two low braided pig tails which clung to the Hogwarts crest on her school sweater. She carried a package in her hands from her mother, addressed to Ron; Errol must’ve gotten mixed up in the delivery. She guessed that they were probably the new dress robes Ron had wanted, the old ones were ghastly and their mother had decided that even she couldn’t deny the odd smell they carried. The common room was unusually empty, so she decided to just place it on the study table by the huge window and leave it there for him to find. As she placed it down softly, she heard a door open up behind her and turned to see who it was. Harry walked towards her, a soft smile on his face, and asked her how she was doing.

            “I’m good, just came to drop this off to Ron, his new dress robes.” She said, gesturing to the package.

            “He’ll be happy those came in, Lavender has been hounding him for weeks about what he would be wearing.” He said. As he spoke, she couldn’t help but noticing how green his eyes were, it was one of her favorite features about him.

            “You’re going with Luna right? I heard you two were dating now, how is that?” she asked, playing with her pigtails.

            “We’re excellent, I’m letting her wear whatever she’d like to and I’ll just match with it. I have an odd feeling that her dress will have something to do with Nargles, though, they do become pesky.” He said, laughing slightly at the last part.

            “That’s good. Well, I just dropped by to leave these for Ron, I should be going now. I’ll see you later, Harry.” With that, she turned and left the common room, hoping to get him out of her thoughts.

            Harry stood there, watching the retreating figure of the girl he loved, when Hermione walked down the steps towards him.

            “Hey ‘Mione, what’s up?” he asked, turning towards his best friend.

            “I know who I’m picking.” She said, sitting down on the last step.

            “That’s good then, congratulations.” He said, then turned towards Blaise as he walked up to the two of them.

            “Hey, I just wanted to remind you that we have corridor patrol tonight.” He said, talking to Hermione. She nodded at him and he left, leaving the two of them alone again.

            “So, who did you pick?” he asked her, leaning against the banister.

            “Terry Boot...” she said, hesitating slightly.

            “You want to go with him?” he questioned, knowing full well his best friend would rather go with Draco.

            “Yes, he’s suitable.” She said and with that he watched her get up and leave the common room, her eyes clouded over in thought.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            She headed down to breakfast, all her thoughts on Draco, though she tried not to think about him. She had been hoping all week he would have stopped being so stubborn and just come to apologize to her, but to her disappointment, he never did, leaving her with the only other option; Terry Boot. Speaking of the devil, she thought as Terry appeared in the hallway, a grin spreading across his face as he spotted her.

            “Morning there, Hermione, looking good as always.” He said, pulling her into a hug. She didn’t like the hugs he gave, they were always too tight, making her feel as if he would break one of her ribs if he squeezed any tighter.  

            “Hey Terry, you’re going to be my date for the ball, I’ve just decided this morning.” She said, watching students pass her in the hall, rather than looking at him.

            “That’s great! I knew you would choose me over Malfoy, I mean what competition was there really?” he said laughing, patting her on the back. Just then she spotted Draco a few feet behind Terry, looking at her with a blank expression, a small glint of anger in his eyes. She wanted to go to him to explain, but she knew it wasn’t the best idea and before she could even argue with herself on the subject, he turned and stormed into the Great Hall without a second look.

            “Yeah, no competition at all…” she said in a far off voice. She could hear Terry still talking, going on and on about the ball, but she wasn’t listening. Everything seemed to be on mute. She hadn’t wanted him to find out, at least not like that. It would have been better if she told him in person and had explained her decision. She sat down at the table next to Ginny in a trance-like state, instinctively reaching for an apple, though she didn’t eat it.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco glanced at Hermione, sitting at the Gryffindor table, almost in a daze. He couldn’t believe she had chosen Terry, especially after how close he had gotten to her the past couple months. He spent months talking to her and improving their friendship just to have Terry, who she only spoke to for a week, come and steal his date away. He had planned the entire evening out, confident she would choose him, and now, here he was, dateless. She left him, Draco Malfoy, struggling to find a date at the last second. Sure, it wouldn’t be hard, but that wasn’t the point. He angrily stood up from the table without eating anything and stormed out of the Great Hall. He was sure he felt a couple eyes stare at him as he left like that but he didn’t care. He was too angry with Boot to care about anything. As far as he was concerned, Terry Boot ruined everything that he had aimed for this year. On his way out, a couple first years were standing in the doorway, ogling over something one of them had in a box. Draco stormed over and snatched the box out of the tiny first year’s hand.

            “Ten points from Hufflepuff!” he shouted at them. “For being bothersome and taking up the entrance to the Great Hall.” He stormed away from them, peeking into the box when he was a reasonable distance away, only to find it filled with baked goods. He snatched up a chocolate cupcake and took a bit of it before throwing it, and the box, down the hallway, followed by a string of curses.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Pansy watched Draco storm out of the Great Hall, harassing a group of first year’s on the way out. She was curious as to what had gotten him worked up so much, so early in the morning, and scanned the Hall for what it could possibly be. Most of the students were chatting away happily, nothing on their minds but the ball. She kept scanning the hall, mostly up and down the Slytherin table, though she spotted nothing out of the ordinary. Frowning slightly, she sipped at her tea, happening to glance up at the Gryffindor table. It was then that she noticed Granger, watching the entrance, wearing a sulky expression as she sat at the table, an untouched apple sitting on her plate. She stared at her, curiosity surrounding her as she wondered if Grangers and Draco’s moods could be related.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione walked determinedly from her Defense Against the Dark Arts class, headed towards the library. She wanted to get as much researching done as possible during her lunch period. She entered the library, giving a small wave to Madam Pince before she dived into the shelves. The librarian and Hermione had always been on good terms with each other when she came alone. It was when Harry and Ron trailed in after her that the librarian became agitated. She never took to the two boys, likely because they would always get distracted and noisy shortly after arriving. With every turn she took, she let herself get more and more lost in the books, letting her sense of direction get lost within the maze. She ran her hands along the spines of the books as she walked, feeling the worn leather of some and the crisp spines of others. A couple turns later, she found herself standing in front of the figure of Malfoy. Open books lay all around him as he sat in a corner, holding a book in front of his face as well. She debated walking away, he hadn’t noticed her and the sounds of her steps were muffled due to the carpeted flooring, but she knew she had to explain herself, or at least relieve some of the tension that would surely be between them.

            “What are you researching?” she asked, leaning forward to try and catch a glimpse of the information scattered across the floor.

            “Why don’t you scurry away and mind your own business?” he snapped, never lowering the book he held in his hands.

            “Don’t be such an arse, Draco.” She snapped back.

            “I warned you about Terry and you completely disregarded it and are allowing him to escort you. I can be whatever I want to be towards you, Granger.”

            “Well, maybe if you took your head out of your arse and just apologized to me, I would have accepted your invitation other than Terry’s!” she semi shouted, after all, she was in a library and she wasn’t going to let her voice get too loud.

            “Maybe if you just listened, then I wouldn’t be such an arse!” he shouted to her. She threw her hands up in the air in frustration and stormed out of the library, completely forgetting about the information she had wanted to find.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Blaise met Hermione by the fire at eight and they headed out of the common room, ready to spend the next hour or so patrolling the halls for potential trouble makers. He watched as she shined her Head’s badge until it glistened and gently straightened it on her robes, making sure her wavy brown locks didn’t cover it up.

            “You’re really proud that you got Head Girl, aren’t you?” he asked her as they walked down a corridor, pointing their wands into dark corners to make sure they were empty.

            “I worked for this badge every year I was here. I don’t like flying, so Quidditch was never an option and I’m not one to join clubs, so this was the goal I wanted to achieve.” She said, tucking her hair behind an ear as she walked.

            “If I remember correctly, you were in a whole club during your fifth year, weren’t you?”

            “Dumbledore’s Army; that was completely different, that was Harry teaching everyone how to properly defend ourselves incase of an attack, Merlin knows Umbridge wasn’t teaching a thing.” She laughed sourly. He turned a corner and found a couple from Ravenclaw entwined in each others arms, deducted house points from each and sent them off to bed before focusing back on the conversation.

            “Sounds like a club to me, though. You’ve got the leader, Harry, and I bet I wouldn’t be to far off if I were to guess that you were sort of the club organizer.”

            “Yes, I suppose, when you say it like that, we were sort of a club.” She admitted, sighing in defeat.

            “So, word in the common room is you and Terry Boot are ‘official’.” He said smiling as a look of shock spread across her face.

            “Official!? Who said that? That’s completely untrue and preposterous, we haven’t even snogged yet, let alone gone on a date!” she yelled, her face turning a slight shade of pink.

            “Well, you are going to the ball with him. That seems like you’ve at least thought about the idea of snogging him, am I right?”

            “Well, I suppose, though I’m not sure if I quite like the idea or not yet.” She said, her face staying a light shade of pink. He guessed she was slightly uncomfortable with the way the conversation was headed, they weren’t as close as her and Harry or Ginny, but he hadn’t yet asked the one thing he really wanted to.

            “Have you ever thought about snogging Draco?” he asked, stopping to face her in the middle of the corridor. The light shade of pink quickly turned to a light red as she became angry with what he was asking.

            “You have no right to question who I have or have not thought about snogging, Zabini. That is very personal and it is nobody’s business but my own. You must have some nerve if you think that just because you asked, I’m obliged to tell you anything.” She said, turning swiftly and heading down the corridor without him. He chuckled slightly, amused by her reaction. Well, that was all the information I needed, if she hadn’t thought about it then she would have simply stated that she would never snog him and continued our chat. By not answering my question she only confirmed that the thought has crossed her mind, he thought before turning around and heading back to the common room, certain that she could finish patrolling by herself.


 

[A/N - There you have it folks, she chose Mr. Boot over the ever so appealing Draco Malfoy. How could she do that?! :O I certainly have no idea. :) At least you guys won't have to wait to long for Chapter 11 (it's currently up right now on my computer, more than halfway written, and just a warning to everyone - It's going to be a long one, the longest, i think, I'll ever have written) Anyway, I would really appreciate if you guys could take a few seconds and leave me a review letting me know if you think Hermione made the wrong choice and any predictions anyone wants to make about the ball! :) Thanks For Reading!!!]


Chapter 11: The Unity Ball
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   [an - Hey everyone ! I'm so glad about how quick this update came, especially since the last couple ones have taken a bit of time. Here's chapter 11! It's gonna be great :) Also, thanks to the amazing Enchantress@TDA for another beautiful chapter image.]



  The next few weeks flew by and before anyone at Hogwarts knew it, it was the day before the ball. The entire castle seemed to buzz as girls giggled in the hallways and discussed different hairstyles over meals, guys talking in huddled groups, discussing the best way to sneak in Firewhiskey; whenever Hermione came across these huddled groups, she quickly broke them up, threatening with the deduction of House points. With the approaching arrival of the two visiting schools, Hogwarts had been cleaned and shined over the span of a week. Everything from the suits of armor to the frames of the paintings along the walls* had been shined and sparkled. The usual twelve towering Christmas trees were put up and decorated in the Great Hall, some decorated with floating candles, or small fairies which flew around the branches of the tree; everlasting icicles were hung along all of the banisters of the stairs and whenever someone walked past a suit of armor, it sprang into song. Due to the cleanliness of the school, though, Filch was on high alert for the first student to even track a bit of dirt into the castle.

            It was the Thursday before Christmas break, the day before the ball. Hermione woke with a start, glanced at her wristwatch, and, realizing she had time to spare, looked out her bedroom window, glimpsing at the weather outside. The sky held the appearance that there would be snow and wind swirled the dead leaves across the grounds. Despite the fact that the holiday was right around the corner, it had yet to snow even an inch, which she found slightly disappointing. Today was the day that the students from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons would be arriving and she knew she would have to look her best. She showered and dressed, making sure everything was straight and shiny*, even taking a moment and adding a fresh polish to her black shoes with a wave of her wand. Confident that she looked like Head Girl, she left her room and made her way down to the Great Hall.

            The air around her was buzzing and she felt as if she could literally feel the excitement in the air. Simply walking towards the Gryffindor table put a grin on her face that was hard to shake off.  Just like her, most of the students had taken the extra time this morning and worked on their appearances; shining, straightening, de-tangling and de-wrinkling themselves in preparation for the guests. She noticed Harry off to the side sitting at the Ravenclaw table with Luna so she focused her attention on finding Ginny who she spotted sitting with Neville. She walked over, passing a snogging Ronald, and sat down across from Ginny, facing the Slytherin table. She poured herself a cup of tea, stirring in the sugar slowly, the huge grin never leaving her face. Looking up, she spotted Draco looking at her sullenly. She would have allowed herself to be swept up in the thought of him just then if Ginny hadn’t struck up a conversation with her.

            “Did you hear me Hermione? I asked if you wanted to get ready together tomorrow or not. I’ve become very adapt at applying makeup and I really would like to do yours for you.” She said, eating some porridge once she finished speaking.      

            “That sounds nice, though, I think we should use my bathroom for it, I’m sure every other bathroom in the school will be clogged with girls fighting over mirror space.” Hermione replied, sipping at her tea and making sure her eyes never strayed to him again.

            The classes that day zoomed by, even Professor Binn’s, which was a feat in its own. Though she tried to not look for Draco in the hall’s and not glance at him during class, she couldn’t help but give in several times throughout the day, noticing that the sullen look from breakfast never left his face. Before she knew it, Professor McGonagall was having the entire school arranged outside to welcome the guests, just like they had during her fourth year. The first, second and third years were standing on the schools steps, leaving room down the middle while all other students stood around the steps and along the school wall. All of the older students were looking anxiously to the sky and lake, already knowing what to expect, whereas the younger ones were looking nervously at the Forbidden Forest and the far off road that led to the school’s gates.

            When the Beauxbatons Carriage appeared in the sky, a ripple of excitement passed through the crowd and Hagrid waited along the sidelines ready to be of assistance. The carriage came to a crashing halt in the middle of the grounds to the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of the students around. Hagrid quickly rushed forward and opened the door, holding out a hand to help Madam Maxim out, snogging the back of her hand softly in the process. Hermione smiled softly as she noticed that he, once again, took the effort to comb through his beard and hair. The girls filed out in a single file, their blue silk dresses ruffling in the chilly breeze. Many of the male population became restless at the sight of the girls and tried, most unsuccessfully, to get a better glimpse of the new arrival. Hermione scanned the small crowd of girls and guessed that approximately fifty or so had decided to come; not as many as she had hoped, but certainly not as few as she had dreaded.

            A few moments later the Black Lake began to ripple and a single mast rose out of the watery depths, shortly followed by an entire ship. It swayed back and forth for a moment or two longer before a very wide wooden board materialized, leading from the ship, safely to the grounds. The new Headmaster stepped out first, he had long black hair which he wore hanging around his face, he had no sinister air about him other than the long scar that stretched from under his left eye all the way to the bottom of his neck, if it continued after she couldn’t tell due to the large coat he wore. His left eye was completely white except for the light blue pupil, and it gave her the chills. Following him were about seventy-five Durmstrang boys, all wearing a similar heavy coat and fur hat, each one looking earnestly at the castle. The bitter wind was biting and everyone was anxious to return back into the castle.

            “I am glad to welcome you all to Hogwarts for the Unity Ball this year.” Professor McGonagall yelled above the slightly howling wind. “If you would follow me, I will lead you to the Great Hall where we can all enjoy warmth and a good dinner.” With that she turned around and headed into the castle, the guests following her quickly. Once everyone was inside they made their way to the Great Hall, which had been newly decorated since the morning. There were banners hanging everywhere with the Hogwarts Crest on them, some even showing the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang Crest. Hermione noticed that most of the Durmstrang students gravitated towards the Slytherin table while some actually sat with the Gryffindors. The Beauxbaton girls, on the other hand, sat wherever there was an empty seat, not minding which table belonged to which house. As she looked around at the new students, she noticed that most were marveling at the halls Christmas decorations, even a couple Beauxbaton girls had gotten up and gone to inspect one of the trees that were decorated with the flying fairies.

            Once everyone had taken their seat and were all settled in, Professor McGonagall stood up once again to make her speech.

            “Welcome students from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. I’m glad to have you both join us for this special occasion. A year ago, the dark wizard known as Lord Voldemort declared war on Hogwarts, making the school year an awful and horrific experience for any student that attended. Unity between the four houses here, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin, helped bring an end to his reign. The ball this year that Hogwarts will be hosting is in celebration of the unity that brought an end to Voldemort,  and in hopes that unity can be established, not only within these four houses, but between us three schools is what I hope to be gathered from this ball. Now, without further ado, let the feast begin!” She clapped twice and the tables groaned under the heavy weight of all the food that suddenly appeared there. Hermione was amazed at all the dishes that were offered tonight, the house elves really outdid themselves. They not only added new dishes to the regular ones, but threw in some foreign dishes here and there to help the guests feel at home. The feast was loud and laughter was constantly in the air. Hermione sampled a little of everything, trying mostly not to miss out on any of the new foreign dishes. She was so consumed by the food and laughter of her friends; she didn’t stop once to look up and glance across the hall to Draco.

            At the end of the feast there was so much commotion with all the extra students leaving the hall that Hermione and Ginny linked arms to make sure they weren’t separated.

            “I’m glad you decided to stay the night with me, Ginny, it’ll be easier in the morning to just wake up and start getting ready.” Hermione said, tightening her arm as a group of third years pushed past her.

            “Me too, I’m so nervous about the ball tomorrow and I don’t know why. It’s not like it’s anything new, I attended the Yule Ball with Neville so tomorrow really shouldn’t be any different.”

            “But it is, you are a couple now, I suspect there will be much more snogging.” Hermione pointed out as they finally broke free of the crowd and hurried up the stairs, making it off the staircase just in time, as it started to move mere seconds after they climbed the last step. “I, for one, am mostly anxious to see how the decorations will turn out.”   

            “We left a very detailed description to the Prefect girls covering it, I even had Rebecca sketch a picture of what it should look like, so it should be perfect.” Ginny said. The two girls climbed through the portrait hole and made their way to the couch, Ginny stopping to quickly start a fire for warmth on the way. Just as they got comfortable, Harry and Ron walked in laughing about some Quidditch joke shortly followed by Blaise and Malfoy, who she noticed, was sporting a smile finally. For an hour or so, everyone hung out on the couches talking about the guests and how they thought the ball would turn out.  Then, one by one, they each headed up to bed, leaving Hermione and Ginny sitting alone on the couch, talking.

            “We should probably head to bed now; we don’t want bags under our eyes, do we?” Ginny asked, pulling her to her feet. They both headed up to her room. Ginny entered the bathroom to change into her nightgown leaving Hermione to quickly change at the edge of her bed. She turned around and muttered a quick enlargement spell on her bed, ensuring it would be more comfortable for the two girls to sleep on. The two girls collapsed on her bed, throwing the covers over them laughing the entire time, the excitement of the next day coursing through them. It took them a little longer then usual, but eventually each girl fell asleep dreaming of what the next day might bring.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            The sun shone through Hermione’s curtains, playing across Ginny’s eyes. She groaned softly, rubbing her eyes as she sat up. She sat there for a moment or two, playing with her tangled red hair before heading towards the bathroom. She had laid out her clothes the night before so when she got up to shower in the morning she would be able to quickly get ready and head down to breakfast. She got up and started the water, letting the hot steam fill the room.

            Hermione rolled over in her bed, the sound of the shower starting waking her. She opened her eyes and glanced out her window to a blanket of snow covering all of the grounds. She jumped out of bed and ran to the window, absolutely thrilled it had finally snowed. The same grin that she wore all of yesterday occupied her face once again. She walked over to her closet, pulling out the two girls’ dresses for later that day. She carried them in one hand, planning to lay them out on her bed, but when she took one look at the rumpled mess of her bed, she decided against it. With one quick wave of her wand, her bed straightened itself out. She levitated each dress in the air while placing the shoes underneath. As she finished placing Ginny’s shoes under her dress, Ginny walked out of the bathroom dressed in a white jumper, her hair slightly wet and up in a messy bun.

            “I’m done with the shower now. Once you’re done we can go down to eat some breakfast before coming back up here to get ready.” Ginny said as she walked over to the window, looking at all the snow that had appeared overnight. Hermione hurried into the bathroom trying to make sure she took a quick shower but made sure her hair was washed fully and that she was perfect for the ball. Once she was out she fixed her hair to how she always wore it and threw on a pair of fitting jeans and a white v neck top followed by a purple knit sweater.

            “Ok, we can head down to breakfast now.” She said to Ginny as she walked out of her bathroom, feeling like she was ready for anything. The two girls crept into the common room and realized that the boys were still fast asleep.

            “Guys have it easy.” Ginny started as they tip toed through the portrait hole. “They could probably sleep till just before the ball and then take a quick shower and throw on whatever and make it seem like they’re a million galleons.”

            “Whereas you and I are here, at eight in the morning, making sure that we have ample of time to get our hair perfect and ready ourselves. I agree, boys definitely have it much easier.” Hermione nodded as they walked down the staircases to the Great Hall. Most of the corridors were empty other than a few girls here and there, most still in pajamas, running with make up kits here and there. She suspected they were trying to get a majority of their makeup done before the rest of the female population flocked to the bathrooms. They both sat down at a completely empty Gryffindor table, picking at the small selection that was laid out this early in the morning. They quietly ate and chatted, feeling a bit awkward being some of the only few people in the hall; their voices seemed to carry if they spoke an octave higher than a whisper.

            “Hey, Hermione.” She turned to her left to see the one and only Terry Boot taking a seat beside her, helping himself to a piece of toast on her plate.

            “Good morning, Terry.” She replied, trying to hide her annoyance.

            “I figured I would pick you up around, say, seven thirty, seeing as the ball starts around eight. I want to give you enough time to make yourself look beautiful.” He said through mouthfuls of toast. She turned to Ginny to hide the disgusted look she had on her face before nodding in agreement and letting him know she would see him then.

            “Make yourself beautiful? I liked him more when he was charming you ‘Mione. Maybe it’s just me, but that sounded a bit insulting.” Ginny said, looking at his back with distaste.

            “Just a bit insulting, but at least it will only be tonight. At precisely midnight I can wish him a goodnight and not have to deal with him in a romantic matter any longer if it doesn’t go well.” Hermione said sighing, pushing her plate away from her. She swung her legs over the bench and left the hall, both girls eager to start getting ready for the evening. As they walked into the common room she spotted Draco and Harry talking on the couch softly, though once they realized they had company they abruptly stopped. Although she became suspicious, she didn’t have time to investigate seeing as Ginny grabbed her upper arm and dragged her to her bedroom.

            “Sorry if I hurt you, but I knew if I didn’t drag you up here you would have spent the next hour and a half hounding both of them for information on what they were just talking about. It was for your own good.” Ginny said, leading her into the bathroom.

            “I understand, and I guess I’m glad you did.” She said, following Ginny. Her red headed friend raised herself onto the counter, sitting along the edge facing her.

“I think it would be easiest if we started with your make up and hair and then I did mine and then we move on the getting dressed and jewelry and shoes and all that type of stuff.” Ginny said, leaning forward as she placed both palms on her knees.

            “Whatever you think would be easiest, I’m up for it.” Hermione said, knowing she honestly didn’t have a say in the matter. When it came to anything that involved styling, Ginny had the final call on exactly how Hermione would be looking. Sure, she was allowed her to pick out her own dress and shoes, but Ginny knew exactly which hairstyle and shade of pink gloss would perfectly pair with them. Nobody ever knew that about her, though, Ginny hid it mostly with her Quidditch talk. Before she pulled up a chair to face her, she glanced down at her watch to see it was only ten in the morning. She sighed silently as she realized that the getting ready part of the day, was going to be a long one.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            “So, who are you taking with you to the ball?” Harry asked, staring at Draco across the table.

            “This one girl from Beauxbatons; she was sitting at the Slytherin table last night and mentioned she had yet to find a date for the evening and I offered to escort her like any polite gentleman would.” He said nonchalantly. Harry noticed the way he acted when Hermione was in the room and he knew Malfoy was lying. He never once thought that his best friend would fall for Malfoy, or even that he would try to gain information on the subject in hope of learning something useful to tell Hermione. He didn’t really mind it, though; at least if things didn’t work out he could go back to hating Malfoy’s guts.

            “Who would you rather go with, this girl you just met last night or the one you’ve been speaking to for the past three months?” Harry asked, knowing he would strike a nerve.

            “Hmmm…I don’t know Potter, maybe the one I asked first? What a stupid question. Maybe that scar jumbled up some of your brain after all.” Draco spat angrily.

            “Back off, Malfoy, it was only a question, there’s no need to snap at me like that, we’re friends now.” Harry said, trying to keep his rising temper down.

            “Sure, whatever,” Draco mumbled before storming off into his bedroom, slamming the door in the process.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            “Ok, now before you go peeking at your reflection let me just tell you that I think this is the best I have ever done.” Ginny said, twirling her wand one last time at her hair before scooting off the counter to give Hermione a look. Her skin had taken on a tanner, natural look, her cheeks a soft pink. Ginny had applied a small amount of eyeliner that made her honey brown eyes look bigger than ever, her eyelashes extending farther than she had ever been able to. She had let her have full reign over her hairstyle and she had chosen to curl her hair and then take some of the sides and clip them together in the back with a beautiful ruby red and silver barrette.

            “Wow, thank you so much.” Hermione said, gingerly touching her perfectly tamed girls.

            “You look beautiful ‘Mione. Let me just add some pink gloss to make your lips pop, nobody will be able to take their eyes off of you tonight. I also put an enchantment on your hair to make it last throughout the night, no matter how much you dance, you’ll still look perfect.” Ginny smiled as she added the pink gloss.

            “I’ll leave you to do yourself up now; I’ll go tend to the dresses and such. Thank you again.” She said smiling as she walked back into her room, stopping in front of the dresses she had levitated before breakfast. She marveled at them, taking in their sparkling beauty; she loved this dress more than the one she had chosen for the Yule ball. She waved her wand in a twirling fashion at each dress, causing them to spin. As each dressed twirled she noticed they were both wrinkled in the back, most likely due to the way they had been hanging in her closet. Quickly wracking her brain, she came up with a de-wrinkling spell she had learned from Mrs. Weasley and made sure the dresses were wrinkle free.

            Well, now that I have time to spare, what to do. Strolling over to her silver mirror, she picked it up, wondering if Lizzie was at home right now.

            “Lizzie?” she asked hesitantly, wondering if she would answer. A few moments went by and, slightly defeated, she set the mirror back onto her dresser. It was just past noon so there was really no reason why she would be home, her school wasn’t even let out yet. She sighed and sat on her bed, grabbing her Transfiguration book from her nightstand and diving into the information.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Pansy walked over to the mirror and twirled in front of it, her dress slightly flaring out. She was slightly upset over the fact that Draco had chosen a different girl to spend the evening of the ball with, though, it didn’t worry her; every relationship had their problems and the two of them would work through it. She had her dark black hair in giant curls hanging freely around her face and she wore a gold dress which reminded her of Greece. There were two braided gold straps crisscrossing in the middle of her chest and then combining around her neck while the rest of the dress hung free; she had even gone for the whole “Cleopatra” look and had her eyeliner take on a cat-like appearance. After all, Cleo was the greatest witch of her time and Pansy certainly wanted Draco to see her dressed up like this.

            She walked back into the girls’ bathroom, maneuvering between all of the girls, and made her way to Daphne. She wore a long baby blue dress that fit her nicely. Pansy didn’t care much for the dress, thinking it to be plain and boring, though, she did fancy the shoulders, which were covered in only a sheer lace that sparkled constantly. Daphne was adding some extra curls here and there when she noticed Pansy standing behind her.

            “You all ready then?” Daphne said, her eyebrows slightly rising.

            “Yes, I don’t need to take up amples of time to look good, I’m naturally beautiful.” She replied.

            “What do you think of the girl Draco’s taking?” the other girl asked, knowing she would strike a nerve.

            “Oh, that? It’s clearly a fling, he knows where his heart truly lies and I suspect he will be knocking at the dormitory door for me by the end of the night.”

            “You do know that if he even tries to get anywhere near the dormitory, the stairs will turn to a concrete slide, and there will be no way for him to see you.”

            “Well, then I shall just wait for him in the common room, I suspect that as soon as he sees me, he’ll know that I’m the one he truly loves.” Pansy said, twirling around and leaving the bathroom, heading for the common room. She knew that no matter what happened, her and Draco would be together, they were meant for each other. Clearly he knew that; no silly French girl would get in the way, that’s for sure.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione entered the bathroom when she heard Ginny yell for her. Her friends’ skin was an even tan color similar to hers, which hid all of the girls’ freckles. She had put a clear gloss across her lips, making them shimmer and shine while her eyes were dark. She had applied more eyeliner on herself and added some dark blue eye shadow, mostly to make her eyes really go with the dress. She had taken her long plain red hair and curled it up into a bun, a few pieces curled and hanging around her face and neck here and there.

            “Wow, you look gorgeous. Neville is going to be stunned.” She said, marveling at her friend.

            “You think?” Ginny asked, fidgeting with her appearance in the mirror.

            “Yeah, even Harry won’t know what to do with himself when he sees you.”

            “What? Harry? No, he’s with Luna now; he won’t even notice me...” Hermione looked at her, noticing her almost disappointed tone.

            “He may be with Luna, but you know as well as me that he would give anything up if it meant being with you again.” Then she turned around, letting the words sink in. She slowly lowered the dresses and gave Ginny hers, each of the girls going into separate parts of the room to change. The dress was a bit poufy and she had a hard time trying to get her shoes on but when both girls were ready they looked absolutely stunning, Ginny in her midnight blue and, herself, in her ruby red.

            “We should head out to the common room now, I am sure everyone will there, it’s already past seven!” She said as she pulled Ginny away from a mirror. They stopped in front of the bedroom door, both taking a deep breath before heading out into the common room.

            Blaise was leading Rebecca through the portrait hole. Her hair was curled, but still in its usual braid. She was wearing a green dress that clung to her every curve and ended at her knees. Hermione didn’t know why, but the specific green of her dress, instantly reminded her of a mermaid. She then spotted Ron and Lavender, standing off to the side; she was wearing a hot pink dress that reminded her of a flamingo dancer. After not seeing Harry, Hermione realized he must have just gone to pick up Luna.  While she scanned the common room again, she spotted Draco. He was wearing black fitted dress robes and a dark green tie, his hair gelled out of his eyes, but instead of the usual swept back style he had always sported, he had it nicely to the sides, which gave him a friendlier appearance. Just then Ginny spotted Neville in his dark blue dress robes and ran down the stairs towards him. Hermione started walking down the steps as well, deciding to wait at the bottom for Terry to arrive.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco watched her walk down the steps, her eyes focused on the stairs in front of her, her hand clutching the banister. He walked forwards, meeting her a couple steps from the bottom. For a moment he couldn’t say anything, just taking in her appearance; she looked absolutely stunning. He could feel eyes on his back and he suspected Blaise was watching him, probably the little red head too, he thought. Without saying a word he raised a single hand towards her, motioning for her to take it. Though she kept her face still, a twinkle formed in her eyes and she took his hand and allowed him to help her down the last few steps.

            “You look…beautiful Hermione.” He said, still holding onto her hand. Her cheeks flushed and she looked into his eyes smiling.

            “You don’t look too bad yourself, Draco.” She smiled. They both held each other’s gaze, neither one wanting to be the first to look away. Unfortunately, the portrait hole opened just then and both of them looked towards it, watching Terry walk through. Hermione quickly dropped his hand, and took a step towards him. Draco ignored the hurt he felt and crossed his arms, staring at Boot with a stare that nobody could misinterpret.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            As soon as Hermione dropped Draco’s hand, she regretted it. Terry walked to her, a smile on his face, though she felt it wasn’t as genuine as Draco’s had been.

            “You look really nice Hermione.” Terry said, smiling as he handed her a single red rose.

            “Thank you.” She said, taking the rose. His compliment was nothing like Draco’s and she really didn’t smile when she saw Terry, though she doubted he noticed. Everyone waited for Harry and Luna to return, wanting to take a group picture to remember the night by; Neville had gotten a camera just for the occasion. Shortly after Terry arrived, Harry and Luna walked through the door and everyone was fixing themselves, getting ready for the group picture. Neville ended up levitating the camera and putting a spell on it so it would snap the picture at the most perfect moment. As they all stood in a line, Harry and Luna in the center with Ron and Lavender, Ginny and Neville to each side of him, we soon realized that there wouldn’t be enough room for everyone to take a full group picture so, instead, we did it in small groups. Finally, after everyone finished with the pictures, they decided to walk down to the Great Hall. They were mostly quiet as they walked down, which didn’t bother her, since she was spending her time glancing at Draco, wondering where his date was; she knew he would have had a backup date. There was absolutely no way Draco would go to this ball alone; if she had to be honest with herself, she was slightly upset that he had a date to the ball, she almost wanted him to go alone when she hadn’t chosen him, though she knew that was a ridiculous thought.

            The entire corridor outside the Great Hall was filled with students, all shouting or trying to find their friends. There was a line to get into the hall and they all joined it except for Draco, who kept walking straight, through the front doors. Turning her attention to the line, she looked around to see that Professor Flitwick was magically checking each student for any drop of alcohol they might have been trying to smuggle in. When he did manage to find some, the student was taken out of the line where Professor McGonagall waited to reprimand them. Thankfully, not too many students were clueless enough to try and smuggle some in. When they finally were able to make their way into the Great Hall, she was amazed at how well the decorations turned out. The entire hall was white with snow falling from the enchanted ceiling, though the room was warm. Just as one thought the snow would hit them, it melted a few feet from their heads. Ever lasting icicles were hanging from the entrance and hung on the sides of the walls. There were tables everywhere all covered with white tablecloths, with a centerpiece made of everlasting ice; some were fairies, while others had the different school’s crests. She had to admit, she wasn’t too thrilled with them, but many of the other students were. Music sounded from the center of the room where there was a dance floor made to look like a sheet of ice. Almost everyone was running around, trying to find a table to sit at while a very few were already on the floor dancing.

            Hermione spotted an empty table near the dance floor and one of the walls and she made her way over to it before anyone else could get to it. She took a seat, Terry sitting beside her. Ginny ran over shortly, sitting on the other side of her with Neville following behind. Harry and Ron came and sat down too, followed by Luna and Lavender. Luna was wearing an opalescent dress that ruffled out as it got longer. She had to hand it to her, no matter what odd fashion statement Luna made, she still managed to hold an air of beauty around her. She looked around the table, at the people she had come to care for the past several years, and was glad that she had made the friendships she had made. Before she knew what had happened, a giggling Parvati joined with a sullen Durmstrang boy. The addition of Parvati to the table brought out the more giggly and annoying side of both girls. Smiling, she looked around the rest of the hall, admiring the decorations and watching all of the other students enjoying themselves. Her eyes came to rest on a table close by, the familiar platinum blonde hair catching her eye. He had his back to her, whether on purpose or not she didn’t know, and he was chatting with a Beauxbatons student. She had long blonde hair, similar in color to his, with shining blue eyes and a dress that showed off her figure. That must be his date, she thought, oddly upset that she was so attractive. His table was full of Slytherin students, and she noticed Pansy staring at the Beauxbatons girl, a death glare fixed on her face. She rolled her eyes, turning her focus back to her table.

            “Hermione, these decorations look amazing. Did you help decorate?” Parvati half-screamed across the table.

            “Yes, a couple of the other Prefects and I.” she replied in a normal tone of voice.

            “You guys really did a brilliant job.” Lavender chipped in, nodding enthusiastically. She nodded in thanks and sipped at her crystal goblet of water.

            “Hey, do you want to dance?” Terry asked, grabbing her attention and motioning to the dance floor.

            “Maybe in a little bit, I do believe the food should be here soon.” She replied, trying to postpone the inevitable. She really regretted coming with Terry, though now, it was too late. He looked a bit crestfallen, but she just turned her attention to the table in front of her. Before she knew it, the food appeared on the table and she admired the cooking the house elves had done; everything looked scrumptious. They had made chicken with mashed potatoes and asparagus. As soon as she saw the food, her stomach made a loud rumbling noise and she realized she hadn’t eaten anything since the morning. Even though she was famished, she slowly reached for her silverware, making sure she didn’t end up making herself look like an imbecile. Once everyone was finished with dinner, desert appeared in its place; it was a simple ice cream sundae with a small cherry on top. The meal was over too quickly and before she knew it, Terry had her hand and was leading her out onto the dance floor. The music that was playing was fast, yet maintained an elegant sound to it. Even though the music was amazing, her dance partner wasn’t. As they danced along, moving to the rhythm of the music, she noticed he had become much more physical. He would pull her close to him and try to grab at her, which she found completely inappropriate; each time this happened she responded by twirling out of his grasp, hoping he would get the hint. He even tried pulling her face to his once or twice, but each time she turned her head a different way. This continued for one or two songs before she had the sense to twirl away completely.

            “Wait! No, I’m sorry, Hermione. I apologize; I shouldn’t have tried that during us dancing. Will you please come back and dance with me?” he asked, seeming genuinely sorry. Just then a slow song came on, she sighed, walking back to him and coming to a rest within his arms. She placed her arms around his neck and he placed his hands safely on her waist. They danced closely, her head on his shoulder, mostly because she didn’t want him to try and snog her during the dance. As they turned slowly on the spot she couldn’t stop herself from scanning the crowd for the familiar platinum blonde hair she had grown so accustomed to seeing. She searched for him during the entire song, though she was unable to spot him. She stepped away from Terry when the song had finished, bringing her arms close to her.

            “Would you like a drink? I can go get some for us.” she asked, looking at him for his answer. Instead of answering her, though, he stepped closer, a fire in his eyes as he tried to lean in and snog her. Shocked, she quickly backed out, said “Excuse me”, and hurried off to fetch some punch. She first stopped at her table, taking off each shoe. She usually didn’t think it sanitary to walk throughout the school barefoot, but she felt a little better knowing she was wearing nude stockings over her legs. Sliding her feet along the smooth floor, she walked over to the refreshments table while holding the sides of her dress up. Reaching the table, she filled a goblet with punch, wanting to forget Terry, disgusted with his behavior, and leaned against the table, sipping at her drink while observing her schoolmates. As she downed the fruity beverage, she spotted Draco and the girl he had asked to the ball, slow dancing on the corner of the dance floor. He watched the girl with the smirk that he saved for when he was flirting and she looked back at him, wearing an expression of complete awe. Rolling her eyes for probably the hundredth time that evening, she eyed the couple. Oh, clearly he really wanted to go to the ball with me. Look at him, trying to seduce his date, the nerve of him. She walked back to the table, sitting down by her shoes, placing her goblet a little too roughly on the table, spilling some punch on the beautiful white tablecloth.

            “Something bothering you ‘Mione?” Harry asked, taking a seat next to her.

            “No, nothing at all, I’m clearly enjoying myself.” She said, plastering a fake smile on her face.

            “We’ve been friends for how long, and you still forget I can tell when your upset, regardless if you smile or not.” He said, placing an arm around her. “Now, tell me what’s bothering you.”

            “Terry tried to snog me.” She said with an air of defeat.

            “Isn’t that good, you did choose him to escort you here.” Harry asked, knowing the answer to his question before she even answered.  As soon as she was about to respond, Terry had found her and was already asking her to dance again. “Sorry, mate,” Harry said, cutting in. “She promised me a dance.”

            A smile forming on her face, she followed Harry onto the dance floor, a fast paced song coming on. They laughed, him twirling her around in circles, then bringing her close to him again.

            “Thank you for saving me.” She said as Harry pulled her toward him after another spin.

            “No problem.” He replied, smiling and whirling her outwards once again. They brought their hands together and danced happily for the rest of the song.  Once over, a slow record softly came from the speakers. They would have continued dancing if Ginny hadn’t interrupted and asked Harry for a dance. Hermione looked at her suspiciously and then scanned the crowd for Neville, who was nowhere to be seen. Concluding that she would have to bring this topic up with Ginny the next day, she agreed and walked back to the table. The rest of the ball passed by fairly quickly, her spending her time splitting dances between Terry, Harry and even dancing one with Ron. It surprised her when he came up and asked for a dance, though she accepted. It wasn’t awkward, they mostly talked about how the ball was going and she asked if Lavender would appreciate him dancing with her to which he replied by saying that they were friends and if she couldn’t accept that, he wouldn’t be able to be with her. Hermione really enjoyed the end of the ball, grateful for her friends spotting her reluctance when it came to dancing with Terry and rescuing her.

            “I’ll walk you back to your common room, okay?” Terry asked her as she picked up her shoes from the table; she had decided to carry them, her feet too sore to be strapped up again.

            “We’ll meet you back up there then.” Ginny said awkwardly, knowing she might want to be alone when she told Terry that it really wasn’t going to go anywhere

            “Okay.” She said nodding to him. He smiled as he took her arm in his, leading her out of the Great Hall. When they had finally managed to break free from the crowd, he led her to an empty classroom a little off to the side. They walked in and he closed the door softly behind himself before turning to her. The classroom was dark, other than the moonlight streaming through the windows on the far wall. He turned to face her, slowly walking over, with a glint in his eyes. The way half of his face was shrouded in darkness while the other half was illuminated gave her the chills. He was mere inches from her face and she knew what would happen next, yet she surprisingly did not have the urge to run away. He leaned in slowly, closing his eyes as his lips touched hers. One snog was what she was allowing him to have, though once their lips touched, he grabbed her and roughly pulled her closer, his lips becoming jagged and hard. She struggled with his grip for a moment or so before she was able to push him off of her.

            “Terry no, it was just a ball, just a date.” She said, breathless.

            “How can you go with me and then not allow me a good night snog?” he asked, semi-angrily.

            “I did allow you a snog, that wasn’t a snog, though; you were being rough and forceful. I think it’s time I went to bed, I enjoyed the night but I don’t think we would work out as anything more than friends.” She said, trying to be reasonable while making sure she stayed a safe distance away from him. He stared at her angrily for a moment before storming out, slamming the door behind him. At first she felt offended that he was so upset over a snog, but then she remembered what Draco had fought with her over. Ha, I told Malfoy I could take care of myself, she thought triumphantly. She straightened her dress a little before walking into the corridor, thankful Terry wasn’t waiting for her outside the door, though what was there wasn’t much better. Draco and his date were intertwined with each other, snogging with a fierceness that she had only seen in movies. She had him backed against the wall, her hands running throughout his blonde hair. Her stomach dropped, though she didn’t know why, and then, before she could stop it, the door behind her shut, the quietness of the corridor making the slam sound like a gun shot. Both of them jerked away from each other, eyes resting on her. She turned a bright shade of pink, her cheeks heating up.

            “Uh…I’m…I was just…Sorry.” She stuttered before she quickly walked towards the stairs, wanting to put as much distance between the two of them and herself as possible. They looked like they were practically eating each others faces off, she thought as she walked up the stairs slowly, once again lost in her own thoughts. Apparently she was moving at a snail’s pace, because not even two minutes later, Draco was walking up the stairs beside her.

            “So, how was the ball?” he asked her, trying to be casual.

            “It was enjoyable, in fact, I had a great time.” She replied, lying just a tad. “What about you? Did you enjoy yourself? Your date certainly seemed to.”

            “It was alright, I haven’t been to an enjoyable formal event since…I don’t think I’ve ever been to one actually. Did Boot try to make a move on you? It was the two of you in that empty classroom, was it not?” he asked, though she was more curious as to his comment about the ball. They had reached the portrait hole by then and they slowly walked in, joining everyone else who already had broken out the butterbeer and were laughing and lounging around in their formal attire. The two of them walked into the common room, talking as she headed up to her bedroom to change.

            “Mmm, it was. He tried to kiss me and just like I told you, I was able to take care of myself.” She said, making sure she was clear.

            “Why? What did he try? It was obviously more than a kiss if you had to defend yourself.”

            “It’s none of your business what he tried. You clearly have no interest in my love life, you made that clear with the scene I just witnessed.” She snapped at him, getting annoyed, though there was no logical reason as to why.

            “If you just picked me over him then you wouldn’t have had to worry about anything happening afterwards. I would never try something that would be too brash.” He said, following her up the stairs to her room.

            “You clearly didn’t care if I picked you or not, you seemed quite content in the arms of that blonde after the ball, snogging each others faces off, you looked like a couple of animals.” She spat, getting frustrated that he was following her and not caring that they had acquired the attention of the entire common room below.

            “Don’t be silly, Hermione, I only engaged in that because I knew Pansy was watching me. She had her eyes on me the entire night, and so did you I noticed.” He added, his voice rising. She picked up some clothes she had left on her bed before she left and went into her bathroom to change, slamming the door in his face.

            “I did not watch you the entire night! Merely glancing at you twice does not qualify as the entire night!” She yelled through the bathroom door. She knew the rest of the common room could hear the argument but she didn’t care, he was infuriating her.

            “You picked Terry!! I had to ask the girl to the ball, I wasn’t going to go alone, do you know what Pansy would do if that happened?!” he yelled through the door. She unzipped herself from her dress, levitating it into the corner so it wouldn’t get dirty lying on the floor. She changed into black sweat pants and a long sleeve Gryffindor shirt.

            “That’s no excuse.” She hissed, throwing open the door and storming angrily past him out of her room. She headed towards the stairs, meaning to go sit with Ginny and Harry and everyone else below; they were all looking up at her and Draco with expectancy. She could hear him follow her and she knew she had made him angry. Feeling a grab at her wrist, she stiffened up, preparing herself for more arguing. He twirled her around till they were face to face, surprising her with how close he was to her. Breathing heavily from the argument, she kept her face stony as she studied his expression, not one of anger, but of determination almost. Before she knew what was happening, Draco placed both his hands on each side of her face, leaned in, and kissed her as if there was no tomorrow.



 [an - Ahhh they finally kissed ! This moment has been a long time coming ! I wonder how she'll react? Review and let me know what you think :) Also, if any of you have any time to spare and are interested in reading a Sirius/OC ship, I have a new story out and would really appreciate it if you read it. Thanks so much everyone for being so awesome :) ]


Chapter 12: The Day After
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 Author's Note : Hey there everyone! It's amazing, the queue this morning is currently empty! I've been updating all of my stories like crazy. I love it :) I only wish I had finished chapter 13 of this now : . Oh well! Here's chapter 12. It's more of a filler chapter than anything unfortunatly, hopefully the next will be better! Also, thanks Enchatress@TDA for this amazing chapter image!!

  


            Draco bolted upright, a cold sweat covering his body. His room was dark, his drapes closed to block out any source of light from reaching his eyes. He couldn’t remember what he had been dreaming about, but he was sure it was a nightmare. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed, groaning in the process. He had the worst headache he ever remembered having, each throb seeming like it would crack his head open. Staggering, he made his way to the bathroom, trying to recall what had happened the night before. He rummaged through the drawers under the sink until he found what he was looking for; a vial of Mr. Mullpeppers Cure for the Common Hangover. Downing the bottle in one gulp, he made his way over to the shower, turning the hot water all the way up and stepping in, letting last night slowly come back to him.

            He twirled Hermione around, her brown curls flying in the process. Before he could stop himself, he placed a hand on each side of her face and brought his lips crashing down on hers. It was only a single snog, though he let his lips rest on hers for some time; her lips were so soft and gentle all he could think about was spending the entire night snogging her. After a little while though, he didn’t feel her responding to him and when he pulled back, he saw the look of utter shock on her face. Disappointment flooded him and he heard Ginny gasp somewhere below. Turning around, he fled to his bedroom, trying to shake the look of her surprise from his mind. He rummaged through the bottom of his trunk and pulled out a bottle of Firewhiskey he had stowed away over the summer. He sat on the edge of his bed, taking a swig of the burning drink every so often; trying to think of what had compelled him to snog her. It was some time before he heard a knock on his door and the distant voice of Blaise calling his name, which he ignored.

            After some time, he dropped the empty bottle onto his floor, hearing again, a knock on his door, though this time, the voice was of Harry, asking to come in. The last thing that Draco saw was a creak of light coming from the opening door before his head hit the pillow, passing out for the rest of the evening.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione opened her eyes, the morning sun finding its way through the fabric of her sheer curtains and onto her face. She sat up stretching and rubbed her tired eyes before getting out of bed to exam her appearance. The once beautiful hair from last night was now a tangled mess and the mascara she had worn to compliment her eyes now gave her the appearance of a raccoon. She sighed and made her way to the bathroom, taking the ruby and silver barrette out of her hair. Stepping into the shower, the events from last night flooded her mind, taking over her thoughts.

            Draco placed both his hands on each side of her face and snogged her passionately, his warm lips resting against hers as he held her face tight. She had expected his lips to be cold and hard, she wasn’t sure why, and the warmth of them certainly surprised her. Her mind had temporarily gone blank, only focusing on his lips and the boy that was sending an electric current through her body. She couldn’t believe that this was happening, especially in front of everyone below; she knew they were all watching the scene before them with wide eyes. Sooner than she would have hoped, he pulled away from her, examining her expression, she knew her face probably looked like she was shocked, seeing as she certainly was. A small gasp sounded from Ginny below, which seemed to bring Draco back to reality and before she could stop him, he ran past her down the stairs and into his bedroom, slamming the door behind himself.

            Walking down the stairs in a trance like state, Hermione had only one thing on her mind. It had been a simple snog, nothing too romantic and certainly no tongue, though it wasn’t like anything she had ever experienced. She sat down slowly between Ginny and Rebecca, not paying attention to everyone else around her.

            “What is going on between you and Draco? Why did he kiss you?” she heard Ginny ask, though she had a hard time opening her mouth and actually replying. Instead, the only thing that came to mind was the way her skin had tingled when he touched her.

            “Malfoy and Terry both asked her to the ball on the same day, though, as everyone clearly saw, she picked Terry.” Harry then replied. She thought back to the day Draco had asked her to the ball, the way he looked and the effort he went through to set up that dinner for her, and she still chose Terry, which only made her feel guilty.

            “Good thing, too; befriending him is one thing, but dating him is a complete other. Thank Merlin ‘Mione’s got her head on straight.” Sounded the voice of Ron.

            “But I think, it’s actually quite weird if you think about it, but, I think Draco likes Hermione. He set up this whole thing for her to ask her out.” Harry said, defending her or Draco, she wasn’t sure; most likely both.

            “He did seem really into the kiss.” Rebecca said thoughtfully.

            “But he’s Malfoy. I mean, yeah he’s changed a little, he’s been a pretty good mate, but he’s Slytherin.” Ron said, trying to emphasize the point.

She let out a sigh, coming back to the present and leaving the shower to get dressed and ready for the day ahead. Throwing on a pair of jeans and an old white t-shirt, she walked over to her window, looking out onto the grounds. The Durmstrang ship had disappeared from the Black Lake and Hagrid and Madam Maxime were saying goodbye next to the Beauxbatons carriage. She turned around and faced the empty trunk lying open at the edge of her bed and sighed, once again, knowing that she had to spend her day packing, the train home would be leaving tomorrow. She waved her wand towards her dresser and nightstand, various things storing themselves neatly in the bottom; then she went through her closet, pulling out different articles of clothing she might want to wear, folding them neatly before placing them in her trunk.

            It took about a half hour of her time, but she finished packing her trunk, happy that she was able to fit all of her school books in without having to use an expansion charm. Pleased with herself, she headed down to the Great Hall for breakfast, spotting Harry halfway along the table, sitting by himself. Making her way over to him, she smiled happily, taking a seat across from him.

            “Good morning, there. How are you today?” he asked her as he set down his cup of coffee.

            “I’m doing well, I’ve already finished packing for break and I didn’t even have to add an expansion charm to my trunk to fit my books.” She replied brightly.

            “You would be excited over that.” He said chuckling. “Have you spoken to Malfoy yet?”

            “No, I haven’t seen him since…last night.” She said, her cheeks slightly turning pink at the thought of the blonde haired boys lips on hers.

            “What are you going to say to him when you do see him?” Harry asked curiously.

            “I have no idea, I’m more worried about the awkward factor really.” She replied thoughtfully, pouring some tea into a cup. Harry tilted his head, considering this as Ginny walked over to the table, sitting down and giving her a look that clearly meant she was in trouble.

            “Hermione Granger how could you not tell me about you and Draco Malfoy?!” her red haired friend hissed at her angrily, not bothering to eat breakfast, focusing all her attention on her. She had to admit, when Ginny was angry, she was greatly reminded of Mrs. Weasley at times.

            “Honestly, I wasn’t sure how you would react. I didn’t tell anyone. I was worried everyone would get upset and make a big deal over it and I would have a lot to explain. It was just easier not to tell.” She answered honestly, hoping that Ginny would understand.           

            “If you didn’t tell anyone then how did Harry know?”

            “Draco told him, it was part of this plan to ask me to the ball.” Ginny seemed to contemplate this for a moment before giving in to a smile.

            “I understand your reasoning, and I suppose, I’m alright with it; though you better not do it again.” Ginny said in an almost commanding tone.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Blaise walked into Draco’s room, closing the door behind him. He saw Draco in the center of the room, sitting next to an open trunk, piles of clothes all around him as he folded each item. As Blaise entered, he looked up and shrugged to everything around him.

            “I never quite got the hang of that folding spell.” He said as he folded a pair of pants and placed them in his trunk.

            “Why did you hide away last night?” he asked, getting straight to the point. He knew Draco would be to stubborn to talk about it unless he was forced and Blaise knew he needed to talk about what happened.

            “No idea.” He said, focusing fully on his clothes.

            “Don’t lie to me mate, you know I’ll keep asking till you give up the truth.”

            “I just, freaked out. Everyone was looking and her face was just, shocked. I couldn’t face her, what if she turned me down, or rejected me, in front of everyone? It was easier just to come in here.”

            “You need to talk to her, though, before break. If you wait till after, it’ll be too late.” He said, sitting down next to him. Draco stood up, making the motions to shoo him from the room, saying he would get right on that and before Blaise could object, he was pushed from the room and the door was shut in his face.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione stood in the doorway of her balcony holding her arm out as Theo stood on it. She admired the owls’ beauty and stroked it gently.

            “I’m going to need you to deliver this letter to my parents. When it’s delivered though, don’t fly back, stay there and rest. I’ll be there tomorrow and until then, just keep Crookshanks company will you?” she asked before throwing the owl into the air, watching his wings spread as he took flight, gliding along the wind currents. As she turned back into her room, a knock sounded on the door and sitting on her bed she told whoever it was to come in. Draco walked in, leaving the door slightly ajar before taking a seat on the edge of her bed. She watched him quietly, not sure what to expect.

            “I’m sorry for snogging you in front of everyone like that last night; and running off to my room after.” He said as he looked into her eyes.

            “Why did you do it?” she asked him, worried he would make some excuse like he had before.     

            “Isn’t it obvious? You of all people should know the answer to this. You’re one of the cleverest witches in the country.” He said, his voice one of surprise. She continued to look at him with a confused expression waiting for him to continue. “I like you Hermione, more than just a friend. I asked you to the ball to be my date, I planned out exactly how I would ask you so you couldn’t say no, yet, you did. You surprised me, you showed me that you’re not the average girl. You don’t fawn over me like all the others, you’re stubborn and irritating and beautiful, all at once. You also showed me that you can clearly take care of yourself and I shouldn’t worry about you, though I do. I have feelings for you Hermione.” He finished, moving to where she was standing on the balcony. She didn’t know what to say to him. She knew she had enjoyed the snog, but it had been just that, nothing more. Sure, there was no denying that she found him pleasing to the eye, but she also found him to be infuriating at times. They had developed a friendship, but there were times when he would go a week or two without talking to her, just because he was upset.

            “I…well, I just…I don’t know what to say…” she answered honestly, looking down at her hands as she fiddled with the edge of her t-shirt.

            “I’m not pressuring you to do anything or make any decisions on how you feel about me right now, just simply explaining last night to you.” He reassured her. “If you want to give this a chance, then I’m right here, if you don’t, I’ll still be here, just as your friend.” He got up to leave, making his way to her door when she called him back.

            “Wait, uhm…are you leaving for break?” she asked him, not wanting him to go just yet.

            “Yes, I’ll be spending Christmas at the manor; my father recently was released from Azkaban for ‘good behavior’ which means that someone was paid off.” He said, slightly annoyed, which didn’t go unnoticed.

            “That’s nice that your father will be home for the holidays, though.” She said, trying to stay optimistic.

            “What will you be doing?”

            “I’ll just be spending it with my parents, it’s been so long since I’ve spent a holiday with them and I’m really looking forward to it.” She said, a smile spreading across her face as she thought about seeing them soon.

            “That sounds like a pleasant way to spend your break. I must get back to packing now, I’m only half way done.” He said. She wanted to call to him a second time and ask him to write to her, though she felt as if it would give him the wrong impression and kept the idea to herself.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Ron brought his lips to her face gently, before breaking away.

            “Bye, Ronnie-poo. I’ll see you tomorrow on the train, right?” Lavender asked as she backed up towards the portrait hole to the Gryffindor tower.

            “Yes, I’ll meet you on the train.” He replied, watching her smile and turn around to climb through the portrait hole. He walked back to the Head’s common room, his thoughts on Christmas and his mother’s cooking, making his stomach rumble. The best part of coming home was the meals that were waiting for him. He entered the common room, making a mental note to ask his mother to make some gingersnaps when he noticed Harry sitting on the couch reading some book.

            “Already done packing?” he asked, flopping down next to him.

            “I’m staying here for the holidays, there’s no reason for me to pack.” He replied, his voice melancholy.

            “You’re cancelling on us? Mum’s going to throw a fit, that’s for sure.” Ron replied, shaking his head in dismay.

            “Cancelling?” Harry asked.

            “Yeah, cancelling. Didn’t I tell you mum invited you over? She told me to let you know months ago? Blimey, I thought by now it was just a given, what with you having no where else to go and all.” Ron said, surprise etched onto his face. He watched his friends face light up and a grin spread across. Jumping up, Harry ran over to his room, packing everything he could find into his trunk.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione walked into Harry’s room, wanting to get out of her own. As she entered she noticed his happy expression and it put a smile on her face; she loved him like a brother and if he was happy, so was she. He was running around his room, throwing everything into his trunk in a piled mess.

            “What’s put you in such a brilliant mood?” she asked smiling, taking a seat on his bed.

            “I’ve been invited to the Weasley’s for Christmas.” He replied, his eyes shining with delight.

            “That’s really nice. You’re always invited there, it’s pretty much a given now, though. Could this joy be from the fact that you’ll be spending a lot more time with Ginny in the near future?” she asked, knowing exactly why her friend was so thrilled.

            “She asked me to dance last night, Neville had gone to get drinks or talk to someone, and we danced. It was nice, it felt like old times again, I’m sure she felt what I was feeling too. It was like, something clicked back into place, you know?”

            “I’ve known you two were meant to be since our sixth year. I watched the way you looked at her when you thought no one was looking, and the way you acted when her name was brought up or she was near by. I’m happy that you’re happy.” She said as Harry continued running around his room, throwing things into his trunk until, finally, it was full. He tried closing the lid on the massive amount of junk he had just thrown in there, sitting on it in hopes of making closing it easier. Hermione rolled her eyes and motioned for Harry to get up. Opening the lid, she waved her wand over the mess of his trunk, everything flying out and folding itself in midair before floating back into the trunk in neat, organized, piles.

            “What would I do without you?” he asked her, pulling her into a hug.

            “I honestly have no idea.” She laughed; glad to know he relied on her as much as she relied on him.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione lugged her trunk onto the Hogwarts Express, ready to see her family and Lizzie. As she walked down the corridor, her trunk rolling itself along behind her, she glanced in each compartment, looking for a sign of her friends. The morning had been one of chaos and everyone had ended up leaving to find a seat at different times. Finally, she found Harry and Ron in a compartment towards the front of the train and as she stepped over the threshold, Harry took her trunk for her and heaved it up onto the rack above the seats. He and Ron had already set up a game of Exploding Snaps for the ride home which would make completing her homework a little difficult, but nothing she couldn’t manage. The ride home would be the ideal time to start my homework, that way I’ll be able to enjoy as much possible time with my parents as possible, she thought with a grin as she summoned her school books from the luggage rack.

            Shortly after she dived into her Transfiguration essay, Ginny and Neville entered, taking a seat by the door, arguing with each other in hushed tones. It wasn’t long before Ginny stood up, leaving the compartment, and if Hermione hadn’t been preoccupied, she would have gone after her friend to see what had her bothered. She knew that she tended to get wrapped up in her work, not noticing what was going on around her at times, though when she looked up after completing her essay, she had know idea just how wrapped up she got. The compartment was full, Ginny back next to Neville, Harry and Luna sitting closely to each other, giving each other googly eyes, which she assumed was to keep up the façade of their relationship. She realized that everyone else was occupied with what they were doing at the moment, so she pulled out her next essay, hoping she would have time to get to the three others that awaited her.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco leaned back in his seat, watching Blaise and Rebecca stare at each other lovingly out of the corner of his eye. It was just the three of them in the compartment, giving him some time to let his mind wander to what awaited him at home. He wasn’t thrilled to be spending the holidays with his father, to be honest; he was looking forward to it just being him and his mother, though he knew the tranquility wouldn’t last. He dreaded the moment he got off the train and saw his father waiting for him at the platform.

            “Draco, did you hear me?” Blaise asked, kicking his leg and bringing him back to the present.

            “What did you say?” he asked, tearing his eyes from the surrounding landscape and eyeing Blaise.

            “I said I don’t think I’ll be making your annual Christmas Party this year. Mother had found a new boyfriend and we’re spending break in France.” He said, tightening his arm around Rebecca.

            “You’re introducing her to your mom?” he asked, motioning towards Rebecca.

            “I believe so.” Draco couldn’t believe it, Blaise never introduced the girl he was with to his mother, let alone spend break with them. If he was going to, then Rebecca must be special.

            “Good for you mate, you’re one lucky lady.” He said turning his attention to the Slytherin girl as she blushed and started playing with the bottom of her braid.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            The train came to a stop as it pulled into the station, families and friends standing on the platform, waiting anxiously for their loved ones. Hermione had been waiting by the sliding door for the past several minutes, anxious to see her mother and father. Her robes were already stowed away in her trunk along with the homework she was able to finish during the ride. She had already said her goodbyes to her friends and with one last wave and farewell to them, she slid open the door and made her way through the throngs of students all trying to exit the train.

            Eventually she broke free of the crowd and stepped off to the side of the train, setting her trunk beside her as she searched for her parents. As her eyes scanned the crowd, they met Draco’s silver-blue eyes.  They held each other’s gaze for a moment before she heard her father’s voice through the chatter of everyone else. She broke her gaze and turned to see her parents waving to her. Smiling, she walked over quickly, dropping her trunk and spreading her arms, hugging both her parents at once.

            “Hermione, honey, we’ve missed you so much.” Her mum said as she brushed Hermione’s curls behind her ear, smiling at her. Her mother was only an inch or two taller than her, her honey brown eyes the same color as her daughters. Hermione got her hair from her mother, though her mother’s was more tamed than her own. Her father was taller than either of the girls, with sandy brown hair and the friendliest dark green eyes. Both her parents were dentists, owning their own dental business, attracting everyone with their bubbly personality. Her father walked to get her trunk, carrying it for her.

            “Let’s head home now, your mother and I have a surprise waiting for you at the house.” He said, placing one arm around his daughter as he lugged her trunk behind him with the other. They made their way out of the train station and into the small white sedan her parents loved.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            He watched her as she ran into her parents arms, a smile as big as the sun spread across her face. He envied their embrace and their evident love of their daughter, the happy family leaving the train station. He sullenly walked over to his own parents who were standing side my side, still as statues, waiting for him.

            “Hello, Draco, I trust your ride over was good.” His mother asked, smiling slightly at the sight of him.

            “Enough Cissy, we can talk when we get home. Grab my arm Draco; we’re apparating back to the Manor.” Lucius said, his expression blank. Draco walked over, his trunk beside him and grabbed hold of his fathers arm, making sure he kept a firm grip on his trunk. He felt his father turn and then the squeezed and incredibly uncomfortable feeling that was apparation.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            The small sedan pulled into the gravel driveway, coming to a stop half way up. She looked out the car window at the place she loved. Her home was small, though she preferred the term cozy, with ivy covering the front. She had come to love the sight of her two-story brick home more than anything. A small garden sat beside the front door on each side, with a small iron fence enclosing her front yard. Her home was composed of a couple of rooms; a small kitchen connected to the dining area, her parents’ study, located down the hall, and a small parlor where the stairs to the second floor were located, which led up to her, her parents, and a guest bedroom. She smiled, exiting the car, breathing in the familiar smell of the garden that wafted over to her.

            “I got your trunk dear, you just get on inside.” Her father said, pulling her trunk out and placing it on the gravel drive. She walked into her home, making her way down the hall, passing the kitchen and dining room and coming to a stop in the parlor.

            “Lizzie!” she yelled as she saw her friend jump off the couch and run over to her, enveloping her in a hug.

            “I’ve missed you so much, ‘Mione, thank goodness you’re finally home!” Lizzie yelled in her ear. She pulled away to get a good look at her friend, her long blonde hair in curls.

            “Here’s your trunk dear.” Her father said, coming into the room and setting it beside the two girls.

            “Come on, let’s go unpack!” Lizzie said, grabbing one end of her trunk and motioning for her to pick up the other end. Hermione smiled and grabbed the handle, walking backwards towards the stairs. They moved quickly up the stairs with the trunk, making it through the upstairs hall until finally making it to her room and setting it down on her bed. Hermione’s room was the same pale pink as her room at Hogwarts, though she was fonder of this room. A full size bed sat against the wall facing the door, a huge shelf lined the wall above her bed, which was where she kept her favorite books. A dresser laid against another wall near her closet and above the cluttered dresser hung a mirror. She walked over to her desk, her favorite part of her room, and looked over all the pictures she had taped along the wall. Most were of her and Lizzie throughout the years they had known each other. But some were of Harry, Ron and her, waving up at the camera or laughing under the big tree by the Black Lake. She smiled, remembering the first couple years of their friendship, when Voldemort was just a thought and the most pressing issue in their life was that night’s homework.

            Turning back to Lizzie and her trunk, she smiled and flopped onto her bed, moving her trunk to the end of the bed, not wanting to spend the rest of her day unpacking.

            “So you need to fill me in on everything that’s happened! I feel like I have no idea what’s been going on.” Lizzie said, sitting a-top her bed.

            “I don’t even know what the last thing I told you was.” Hermione said, facing her friend.

            “You had finally decided you were going to the ball with Terry.”

            “Oh, yes, well we went to the ball and he ended up trying to snog me at the end of the night, though I told him it was just a date. Then Draco and I ended up arguing and he ended up snogging me in front of everyone. That’s it.” She said, quickly recalling the events of the other night.

            “Wait, what? Draco snogged you?!”

            “Yes, it sort of just happened. One second I was yelling at him and the next he had his lips on mine.”

            “Did you like it? Was it better than Ron, or Terry?” Lizzie asked, practically begging for information. Just then, her mom called to them, letting them know that dinner was ready. Hermione smiled and hopped off the bed, not ready to tell Lizzie everything just yet.

            “How long are you staying?” she asked, hoping the answer would be forever.

            “I convinced my parents to let me spend all of break with you, and yours agreed to let me stay in the guest room.” Lizzie said laughing, completely thrilled that she and her best friend were finally reunited. Hermione smiled as she walked down the stairs and towards the dining room, convinced that this would be one of the Christmas’ she would never forget.

 

Author's Note : So what did you think of it? Were you dissapointed with how Draco and Hermione delt with everything? And for all the Ginny and Harry shippers out there, the next chapter is just for you. :)


Chapter 13: The Start of Christmas Break
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Author's Note : Hello everyone :) This is the fastest I've updated this story, EVER! It's great. A big thank you to the Validators who are absolutely amazing, making the queue wait time zero hours for the second day in a row! Also, just to let everyone know, this chapter has yet to be edited so bare with me if there are any mistakes. This is my absolute favorite chapter image ever by Enchatress@TDA

  

Hermione smiled as she walked down the stairs and headed towards the dining room, convinced that this would be one of the Christmas’s she would never forget. Walking into her dining room, she took a seat across from Lizzie at the table.  Her mother stood and filled each plate with a little of everything; there was beef with hot gravy poured over it, cooked carrots and peas to the side.

“We’re hosting the annual New Year’s party this year, dear. Are you going to Ronald’s or will you be staying home for the party?” her mum asked, setting down the serving spoon and making her way back to the end of the table. Taking a deep breath before she started, she quickly told her parents that her and Ronald had broken up a couple months ago due to some disagreements.

“Sorry to hear that, but he’s a fool for losing you. You’re a great catch, you’ve got brains, beauty, a good head on your shoulders. Your mother and I are very proud of you dear and you’ll find someone one day, and they’ll take care of you.” Her dad said, trying to console her, thinking that she was quite heartbroken over the whole breakup. Funny, if he had known about it when it first happened, his words might have eased her pain. Now, they’re just words that every father says to his daughter to cheer her up; the words by a father who wants to see his daughter happy, yet relieved she is rid of the boy that did not deserve her. 

“I’m not upset, we’re both friends now and everything is as it should be.”

“If you and Ron broke up, who accompanied you to that school dance then, dear?” my mum asked, looking at me with interest. “Is there a new boy?”

“I went with a boy I met, though he wasn’t right for me.” She said, hoping to steer away from the topic of Terry.

“Good. No guy will ever be right for you, not when you’re this young.” Her father said, the over–protective side of him kicking in.  

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Sitting down on his orange bed, he turned to his best mate who was leaning against the wall next to some of his Chudley Cannon posters. Ron was glad to be home, though home was never the same anymore. His mum always had this haunted look in the back of her eyes ever since Fred’s death. Everyone crept around the topic, nobody wanting to mention that this would be the first Christmas without him. Ron’s heart ached for his brother and he could only imagine how George felt. George had never been the same; it took a lot more to get a smile on his face these days.

            “I don’t think Hermione will be coming this holiday, do you?” Harry asked, sliding down the wall and pushing his glasses up to the bridge of his nose.

            “No, she didn’t mention anything about coming by; probably just spending time with her parents.” Ron thought, knowing how much she missed them the year before. Looking out the window, he watched the dark sky, wondering why Malfoy was falling for his best friend. “Why didn’t you tell me about Malfoy?” Harry looked up, and shifted uncomfortably under his gaze.

            “I just didn’t want to upset you. I was afraid the two of you would have a bad row.” Harry said truthfully.

            “It’s weird though, I’m not really upset about it, but I feel like I should be. I’m actually more worried that he’s got some secret motive and is going to end up breaking her heart.” He said, looking at Harry with a worried look in his eyes.

            “I already warned Malfoy, told him he would have the wrath of the entire Weasley family and me if he hurt her in the slightest.” Harry said nodding. Ron nodded along, turning to face his window, letting his mind wander.

 

 

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

Hermione woke to her mother, shaking her slightly, informing her that they were going Christmas shopping today. She nodded groggily, pushing herself slowly up and rubbing her eyes. Crookshanks jumped gingerly unto her bed and purred softly as he came to a stop next to her. She gently petted the ginger cat, scratching very softly behind his ears.

“Good morning, Crookshanks. Hogwarts certainly isn’t the same without you, though mum pays more attention to you here than I would there. Especially with NEWT’s coming up.” She softly whispered to the cat before getting herself out of bed and slowly making her way to the shower. Slowly, she got ready. For some reason, she felt the only speed she could move this morning was a snail’s pace.  Once finally ready, she made her way down into the living room where everyone was waiting for her.

Lizzie chuckled as she walked into the room and when she looked up, she realized why. Both she and Lizzie, without even realizing it, had worn very similar outfits. They both wore jeans tucked into grey knit boots and both wore a black top, though Lizzie’s was a turtleneck while hers was a scoop neck.

“It’s because you two are so similar in every way.” Her mum said, smiling, as she noticed the two girls. They all made their way to the car, piling in and heading down to London. Hermione had some wizard money in her bag and was going to head over to Diagon Alley for her shopping while everyone else was shopping in the streets around the Leaky Cauldron. They all decided to meet at a small café for lunch in an hour and a half and then parted ways.

As she entered the small wizard pub, she noticed that it was mostly empty today, and assumed that was due to the fact that it wasn’t yet noon. She nodded to Tom the barkeep before exiting the pub and tapping her wand along the brick wall, entering Diagon Alley. The weather outside wasn’t that bad, it was chilly, but it wasn’t until the wind started blowing that the cold air stung. Having a vague idea of what she was getting, she made her way into a nearby shop which looked to have many items that would be useful around the house. There wasn’t anyone in the shop other than a little plump witch who was waving her wand at the windows as they scrubbed themselves. She browsed the shelves before finding something she knew her mother would appreciate. Her mom always loved to cook, especially for guests, going all out when she knew there would be company. Hermione came across a set of self cleaning pots and pans that came with a free cookbook. Thinking of how perfect this would be, she quickly picked the box up off the shelf and carried it to the front counter, the plump witch waiting for her there.

“Buying this for you mother?” the little witch asked, smiling awfully big as a big bag zoomed towards her.

“Yes, she loves to cook.” She replied, wishing she would stop smiling like that.

“It’ll make a wonderful gift, only 5 galleons. It’s on sale, half price for the entire week. You came at a good time.” Wondering if she was getting a good deal or not, Hermione handed over the coins and picked up the bag it was in, surprised at how light it felt. It must’ve shown on her face because the little witch laughed before saying, “I’ve charmed that bag for you deary, nobody but you will be able to peek at what’s inside and it’ll be as light as a feather until your shopping is done.” Hermione nodded her thanks before leaving the shop and making her way along the alley, searching for the next shop she would need to be in. She ended up getting her father an assorted set of sugar-free, semi-expensive candy that she knew he would enjoy, Ron a broom servicing kit, Ginny some nice gloves for Quidditch and Harry a special collection of Quidditch books including Quidditch Through the Ages, A Hundred and One Ways to Improve Your Technique: a Seeker’s Guide, and a book that held all the records for anything that had to do with Quidditch.

Only having left Lizzie, she walked towards a small interesting looking shop on the corner of the alley. It looked warn down on the outside, the blue paint peeling along the door. She peeked inside and saw that it carried an assortment of items and, interested, she walked inside. The shelves were crowed and slightly dusty and, for some reason, the shop gave her a bad feeling, making the hairs on her neck stand up. She quickly browsed the shop, wanting to hurry out, when she came across something she found interesting. It was one of those necklaces that you bought in a pair, each chain containing half of a heart. One was meant for you and the other was meant for a friend. They were very popular for small girls, though this one, was different, and as she read the card next to it, realized it held magical properties. Apparently, if you find that you really need to get into contact with the other person wearing it, the necklace would somehow warn you of this, and alert the other person. This looks useful if we ever need to get into contact over the mirrors, she thought as she picked up both necklaces and brought them to the counter.

Maneuvering through the store, she made her way to the register to pay for what she wanted. As she stood there, she noticed a thin layer of dust resting on top of the counter. Noticing a bell near a stack of Why YOU should trust in Gringotts pamphlets, she gave it a quick tap, the ringing echoing throughout the back of the store. She waited patiently; hoping whoever was working would have heard the ring and come forward.

“Hello? Is anyone here? I’d like to purchase something.” She said, wondering why nobody was coming to the counter. Moving behind the counter, she stopped in a small doorway, peeking in, hoping to see someone. She went to take a closer look when she remembered it was already time to meet her parents and Lizzie for lunch. Reluctantly, she moved away from behind the counter. The store gave her the creeps and there was something weird with how nobody was here, but there was nothing she could do about it. She decided that three galleons would be enough to cover the cost of the necklace, gingerly placing the coins on the dusty counter. Hurrying from the store, she pulled the scarf tighter around her neck, scurrying along Diagon Alley, towards the Leaky Cauldron, anxious to get back onto the muggle filled streets of London.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco walked down the hallways in his home; he had been walking for about an hour now, lost in the endless maze. Thinking best when he was walking, he let his mind roam. He never really liked Christmas; it was more focused on the party his parents threw every year than the actual holiday. Wealthy and influential families would come from all over and spend Christmas night here, drinking and dancing, talking and making deals, then they would all be back for the New Years party. He never enjoyed the parties, always being introduced to eligible girls from all over in the hopes that he would fancy one of them. Not appreciating girls being forced upon him, he often tried to find ways to get out of the party or at least hide himself for half of it. He would much rather find someone on his own than it be arranged. It had started as soon as he had gotten home, his father starting in on him, talking about Pansy and the Greengrass sisters. Turning another corner, he strolled along with his hands in his pockets, and observed some of the House Elves decorating for the holiday. They were hanging garland everywhere, bewitching ornaments to suspend themselves in the air and shine. The manor was filled with decorations like these and at least three of four Christmas tree’s, each decorated with silver ornaments and white lights. He never understood why they would put up so many trees every year; they were only used for decoration. His father disapproved of gifts underneath the tree; instead they exchanged gifts over the morning meal while they all sat at the table. Draco hated it, what was the point in even having a tree if they practically didn’t even celebrate it. He didn’t even really exchange gifts with his friends, never really seeing them over the break. The only gift he bought during the holidays was one for his mother. He used to buy for his father too, but realized quickly that his father never appreciated it, so he stopped. This year, though, he planned on buying not only his mother a gift, but also Hermione. He knew he wanted her to be a part of his life and him a part of hers. Preferably something more than friends, though, if that’s what she chose, he would gladly take it. He wanted to get her something to show her that. Just then, a small elf appeared in front of him, bowing low.

            “Dinner is ready, young master.” The small elf squeaked.

            “Thank you for alerting me,” he said, examining the elf as he straightened up. “And it’s Draco.” He added as an afterthought before turning around and heading to the dining area. The dining room was huge, big enough to sit about fifty guests comfortably. The table was made of dark wood with three chandeliers hanging above it, illuminating the dismal room. It was decorated lavishly, paintings and plush rugs bringing some life to the room, though it wasn’t much at all. Sitting at one end of the table near each other were his parents, patiently awaiting his arrival to begin dinner. Making his way towards them, he took a seat near his father and mother. Dinner passed in silence, nobody really talking.

            “Draco, what’s on your mind? You’ve barely talked since you arrived. Did something happen at school? Did you and Pansy get in a quarrel?” His mother asked, looking at her son with concern in her eyes.

            “I haven’t been with Pansy for months.” He said, knowing that it would infuriate his father.

            “You’d rather focus on one of the Greengrass sisters? Good choice, both are fairly more attractive than Pansy.” His father said, nodding at him. Remaining silent, he continued eating, not bothering to reply.

            “I think Astoria is quite charming, don’t you dear?” his mother asked him, a small smile on his lips as she thought her son had finally chosen a suitable girl. He continued eating, debating on whether or not he should even tell them who he actually fancied.

            “Answer your mother, Draco.” Lucius scolded. Draco softly placed his fork on his plate and wiped his mouth before looking up, deciding it was now or never.

            “Actually, I think Hermione Granger is quite charming, don’t you?” He asked, looking at his father with an indifferent expression. A look of shock passed over his fathers face, followed by the sound of glass shattering as the wine glass was crushed in his fathers grasp. His father swore angrily under his breath, clasping his palm having cut himself. Two house elves rushed forward with a rag and scrub brush, trying to get the stain out of the carpet before it set.

            “Is this some sort of rebellion?” Lucius asked, both palms flat on table as he glared at Draco.

            “I’m a little old to be rebelling against your rules. I’m just simply not following them. I have legitimate feelings for her and I plan on pursuing her.” He stated, glancing at his mothers reaction to all this. She seemed calm enough, though, when Lucius started talking, worry flooded her eyes.

            “I give you no privilege to marry her. You will marry someone of wealth and pure blood, not some filthy mudblood,” Lucius hissed.

            “I will not follow your rules any longer father.” Was all Draco said before he stalked from the room. He expected that reaction from his father, though it angered him all the same. Voldemort was gone, couldn’t he see that the old ways meant nothing in the new world? His pure blood idealistic ways would get him nowhere. He quickly made his way to his room, deciding that tomorrow he would go down to Diagon Alley and do a little holiday shopping.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            “Ready? One…two…three!” and with that Hermione plugged in the cord and crawled out from under the Christmas tree. White lights shone from the branches, illuminating the silver, red and gold baubles that hung from the many branches.

            “You forgot the star for the top.” Lizzie said, stepping onto the step stool the two girls had brought out and delicately placing the star on the very top. “There, now it’s finished.” Both the girls looked at the tree, mesmerized by how beautiful of a job they had done; no magic necessary. Hermione walked over to the stereo and put on some holiday music, keeping the volume low to give the whole home a Christmas feeling. Lizzie walked into the kitchen, leaving her alone in the living room. She took a seat on her couch, staring at the tree, wondering when her parents would be home to witness the fantastic job they had done. Just then, Lizzie came back in carrying two mugs of hot cocoa over, taking a seat next to her.

            “You added marshmallows, too.” Hermione said, breathing in the smell of the cocoa and the tree.

            “They’ve been your favorite for ages, how could I forget them?” Lizzie chuckled. Both girls took a sip of the cocoa, relishing the warm feeling as it spread through their bodies.

            “So, how’s the love life?” Hermione asked, turning to her friend. “Wasn’t there someone you were interested in a while back?”

            “Yes, but nothing became of that, he was awful at snogging. I’ve taken a fancy to this one guy, though; his name is Roderick and he is quite the charmer.” Both girls got lost in the subject of Lizzie’s love life, only stopped by her parent’s arrival home.  They were surprised to see the tree already decorated and finished, but very impressed with how it had turned out.

            “Your father and I are going to be in our room wrapping presents. Why don’t you two go wrap your gifts, too?” her mum suggested and the two girls ran up to their rooms, closing the doors behind them. Hermione laid out all the gifts she had bought everyone on her bed, taking a look at them and wondering where to begin. She wrapped her friends’ gifts first, placing the ones for Harry, Ron and Ginny in a small basket. Walking over to where Theodore rested in his cage, she gingerly woke him up, giving him an owl treat that lay beside his cage.

            “Do you think you’re up for a trip? I have gifts for everyone to be sent.” She said, stroking the owl affectionately. He looked up at her with his amber eyes and hopped out of the cage, ruffling his wings in the process. She picked up the small basket and handed it to him, making sure he had a good grip on it before opening her bedroom window for him. “Just take this to the Weasley’s.” She said before he flew out the window and off into the sky. Turning back to the rest of the gifts, she quickly wrapped them all and headed downstairs, placing them underneath the tree.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Harry walked into the parlor to find Ginny sitting on one of the couches. Her face was in her hands and her shoulders silently shook. Feeling the need to comfort her, he took a seat next to her, placing a comforting arm around her shoulders, holding her tight.

            “Ginny, what’s wrong?” Harry asked, concern sounding in his voice.

            “Neville’s broken up with me. He just sent me the letter, his grandma wouldn’t allow him to leave the house or something.” She said, tears rolling down her cheeks, her eyes red and puffy. Butterflies erupted in Harry’s chest, elated that Ginny was finally single.

            “I’m sorry, Ginny; he doesn’t know what he is losing. Everything will be fine, though, I promise.” He said, rubbing her back in an attempt to comfort her. She sat up, wiping her eyes in the process. Harry stopped rubbing her back but kept his arm around her, hoping she didn’t mind.

            “Mistletoe.” She said, as she motioned to the small plant hanging above the couch. His heart started racing a mile a minute, wondering if she was insinuating that she wanted him to kiss her. Just then, Ron and George walked in, both absorbed in a heated argument about Quidditch to notice the two of them on the couch. Harry moved away from Ginny, both of them feeling slightly awkward about what had just transpired.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            It was the morning of Christmas Eve, snow was falling silently to the ground, keeping everyone inside. Hermione and Lizzie sat at the dining room table and were spending the morning building gingerbread houses while her parents made desserts and drank wine while dancing to some holiday music together. She admired her parents, so in love after all the years of marriage. It was what she wished for, for herself one day.

            They all laughed and enjoyed the morning together, ready to spend the rest of the day watching Christmas movies.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco walked around the manor, dreading what he knew tomorrow would bring. His father wanted to get the exchanging of gifts out of the way so tomorrow would be free for the party, so he and his mother quietly exchanged gifts. He had gotten his mother a small silver locket with a picture of the two of them when he was younger. She had teared up slightly when he had given it to her, before giving him his gift. She had bought him a new broom and black dragon hide gloves for when he played Quidditch.

            Lucius marched around the house for the rest of the day, shouting orders at the house elves as they prepared for the festivities the next day.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

              Hermione woke up to the smell of bacon and coffee wafting through the house. Excited, she threw back her blankets and ran over to her window, opening her sheer curtains to see her backyard covered in snow. Smiling, she made her way over to her dresser, examining her appearance in her mirror. She was wearing her favorite red flannel pajamas that were incredibly soft. Searching her dresser for a rubber band, she quickly put up her hair before making her way down to breakfast to join everyone else.

            “Happy Christmas.” She said as she walked into the dining area as her mum poured everyone a mug of coffee.

            “Happy Christmas.” Everyone replied back, all wearing smiles similar to hers. Her mum had made bacon and hot cakes and eggs for breakfast, filling everyone’s stomachs to the top. As soon as breakfast was over, Hermione and Lizzie rushed to the living room, each sitting down quickly, ready to open their gifts. They waited patiently for her parents to join before they started passing out gifts. She grinned as she noticed that during the night, Theo had delivered the gifts to her from her friends and someone had placed them under the tree. Opening them one by one, she fell in love with each gift she received. Harry had gotten her a planner, to help her schedule study time for NEWT’s. Ginny had bought her this really nice eagle feather quill that, apparently, wrote the smoothest out of all the quills out there. Ron, on the other hand, had just bought her a box of assorted candies. Noticing a small lumpy package under Ron’s, she opened it quickly to find a navy blue sweater with a sky blue ‘H’ on the front from Mrs. Weasley. Pulling it over her head, she noticed that it smelt just like the Weasley’s home and her heart ached as she realized how much she missed her friends.

            When she finished opening gifts, she observed what else she had received: she had gotten a lovely winter dress from Lizzie, a new knit hat, scarf and gloves from her mum, and a lovely new bookshelf from her father, as the one she had in her room currently was sagging under the immense weight of books resting on it. Hugging each person, she thanked them for the lovely gifts.

            “I absolutely love the pots and cookbook, honey. I’ll have to try some of these dishes for the New Years Eve party.” Her mum said smiling, leafing through the cookbook interestedly.

            “Thanks for the sweets, dear.” Her dad said, kissing her forehead before getting up to clean the wrapping paper strewn all over the floor.

            “I love this necklace ‘Mione. It’s beautiful.” Lizzie said, as she gently placed it around her neck.

            “I’ve got one too. Supposedly, as long as each of us is wearing ours, it will alert us when the other needs to talk.” Hermione said, putting her own on as well.

            “Brilliant, it’ll definitely help when it comes to those mirrors.” Lizzie said, gathering all her gifts in her arms, making her way to the guest room.

            “My thought exactly.” She replied, following suit. As soon as she had finished placing her gifts in her room, she hurried downstairs, ready to help her mum with the Christmas dinner cooking.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Straightening out his dark green dress robes, Draco stood in front of the mirror in his bedroom, knowing that he had avoided the party long enough. It had been a good forty five minutes since the guests started arriving and if he didn’t get down there soon, his father would kill him. Sighing, he exited his bedroom and made his way down into the ballroom where things like this were often held. Unfortunately, though, as soon as he entered the room, Pansy and the two Greengrass sisters quickly encircled him. They started going on and on about the dresses they were wearing and what they had gotten for Christmas, though he was paying no attention. Mostly he just nodded here and there when they looked at him expectantly and sipped at some wine that one of the house elves was carrying around on a platter. Draco noticed his father walking towards him and quickly put down the glass of wine, knowing that, if he became upset, he would most likely throw it at his father, which wasn’t the best thing for him to do, especially here. He wasn’t one to make a scene. Letting his father pull him away from the girls, he enjoyed the few moments of silence he got before his father started in on him.

            “Draco, you need to be friendlier. You haven’t spoken a word to any of those girls and you’ve been down for almost an hour. Tonight is the night I want you to pick which one you will marry. So, stop messing about and get to know them better, or else I will pick one for you.” His father hissed in his face, the look in his eyes clearly showing that he meant business.

            “I will not pick any of the girls here. I’ve told you who I would like to be with and that is final. I will not settle for any of the girls here, who can only hold up a conversation when it’s about what the latest gossip is.” Draco sneered back, not intimidated by his father.  

            “I forbid you from having anything to do with that Mudblood, Draco. She is none of your concern and you are wasting you time with her. You will choose a suitable companion tonight and that is final! You’re my son and you will listen to me!” Draco couldn’t stand it anymore. Who was he to tell Draco who he was allowed to fancy or not? If his father wanted to keep his pureblood ideals then so be it, but he wouldn’t allow himself to get sucked into that world again, not like when he was younger.

            “You’re not a father to me. I will not choose a bride based on status and wealth alone.” Draco said, knowing that he could stay here no longer.

            “You’re making a mistake, Draco.” His father warned him, though he no longer cared.

            “I’m not, I’m making the right choice. Give my love to mother.” And with that, Draco turned on his heel and left the party, headed for his room. Once inside, he waved his wand quickly around his bedroom, articles of clothing all flying into his school trunk, along with all of his school supplies. He changed out of his dress robes, throwing on his favorite pair of black slack and a white t-shirt before throwing his coat on over. Quickly shrinking his trunk, he stashed it into his pocket and turned on his heel, apparating away.

            The sensation left just as quickly as it came and he was left standing in the snow about twenty feet away from the last place he ever expected to be. Swiftly walking to the door, he knocked on it sharply three times, hoping that someone would open quickly.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Mrs. Weasley quickly jumped up from the table, hurrying to the front door as a knock sounded.

            “Are we expecting anyone else, Molly?” Mr. Weasley asked, a curious expression on his face as he looked around the room, most likely checking if everyone was there.

            “Harry, m’dear, it’s for you.” Mrs. Weasley said as she hurried back to the kitchen, a look of surprise on her face. Harry walked to the front door, curious as to who could be looking for him on Christmas night. Turning the corner to the front door, he stopped, surprised to see Draco Malfoy standing in the doorway, brushing snow off of his black jacket.

            “What are you doing here?” he asked, stunned to see him here, of all places.

            “I have a question for you, and I don’t really have time to explain why I need to know, I just do. Can I have Hermione’s address?” Draco asked. Whatever Harry was expecting him to ask, it certainly wasn’t this. Knowing he wouldn’t get an answer if he asked why he wanted to know, he quickly mumbled her address. Draco thanked him quickly before hurrying back out into the snow and apparating away. Harry walked back, his mind racing as to why he would need to know her address.

            “Who was that?” Ron asked as Harry took a seat back down at the table. He just shook his head slowly, knowing that if he told Ron who it was now, he would make a big fuss and probably rush on over to Hermione’s after him.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione sat down at the table, slowly eating a piece of pie her mother had served everyone, laughing as her dad told Christmas jokes from a small booklet a child at work had given him.

            “Here’s another one.” Her dad said in between laughs. “What do you call Santa when he stops moving?” he asked the table.

            “I don’t know. What do you call him?” Lizzie asked.

            “Santa Pause.” He said, and the whole table broke into another fit of laughter. Just then, the doorbell rang, and her mum quickly got up to go get it. Hermione would have wondered who it could be if her dad hadn’t caught her attention with another joke.

            “What’s black and white and red all over?” he dad asked her and Lizzie, who both shook their heads, awaiting the punch line. “Santa covered with chimney soot.” Her dad said, breaking into another bought of laughter though, this time, Hermione’s attention was focused on more important things than the punch line.

            “Hermione, this young man says he knows you from school.” Her mum said as she walked back into the dining room, followed by Draco Malfoy.

 


 

Author's Note : Ok, there's chapter 13!! Can you believe that? I even had to change the story type from Novella to Novel. It's insane. This story is alot longer than I thought it would be, though I'm not complaining :) . Did you guys find any mistakes while reading? If so, I'd be SUPER grateful if you could just leave me a review and let me know, and what you thought of this chapter. 


Chapter 14: New Years Eve
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 Author's Note : Hey everyone :) First off, I'd just like to apologize profusely for the hiatus I've been on. Unfortunatly I had the worst writers block I've ever had. On that note, I'd like to give a big thanks brittany for suggesting an amazing story and helping break my month long block. Now without further ado, the long awaited Chapter fourteen :)

 

                “Hermione, this young man says he knows you from school.” Her mum said as she walked back into the dinning room, followed by Draco Malfoy. She couldn’t believe her eyes, Draco was standing in her dinning room, looking at her apprehensively with a soft smile.

                “Can I talk to you for a moment?” she asked him, making her way into her living room with him following. As soon as he entered she twirled around, making sure the two of them were out of view before beginning. “What are you doing here, in my house?” she asked, slightly bewildered.

                “My father is back from Azkaban, and we’re gotten into a really bad argument, he wants me to marry a pure blood and I don’t want to. I can’t stay there for another week Hermione.” He said, pleading slightly towards the end.

                “Alright, you can stay here if my parents allow you too. I’m sorry Draco.” She said, wrapping him in a quick hug before continuing back into the dinning room. “Is it alright if he stays here for the remainder of vacation? He’s got no where else to go.” Hermione asked, turning to each her mum and dad, hoping they would say yes.

                “Of course that’s fine dear, nobody should be alone on the holidays.” Her mother said, looking at Draco fondly. “Lizzie can share a bed with you honey and this young man can stay in the guest bed.” She said, quickly making him a plate of food and having him sit at the table. “What was your name again?” she asked him, placing the plate of food in front of him.      

                “Draco, Draco Malfoy. Thank you so much for letting me stay here.” He said, thanking each her mum and dad in turn.

                “Oh it’s no problem at all. Hermione, why don’t you run up and change the sheets on the guest bed, make sure they are nice and fresh for Draco here.” Her mum said, and she quickly nodded and made her way from the room, Lizzie following. Once they were up in the guest room, Hermione folded back the blankets and started peeling off the sheets.

                “He’s quite the looker, you never mentioned that in all your letters and when we talked.” Lizzie said, leaning against the door. Hermione’s cheeks flushed a pale pink as she nodded in agreement with her friend.

                “Yes he is physically appealing.” She said quickly, throwing the sheets into a small pile and moving to put new ones on.

                “How could you not want to snog him senseless? Honey, if you don’t want him, can I have him?” Lizzie asked, picking up the dirty sheets and throwing them in the hamper. Hermione just laughed, dismissing her friends’ question, and made her way back downstairs. As she neared the dinning room, she heard Draco speaking, and she slowed down, hoping to hear what he was saying.

                “My father and I don’t get along; we both have very different views and plans for my future. Sometimes, it can get to be a bit too much. Thank you so much for letting me stay here. I truly am grateful.” She heard him say. Smiling softly at how kind he was being, she made her way into the room, standing against the wall.

                “I can show you to your room if you’re done now.” Lizzie said, motioning for him to follow her. “I’m Lizzie by the way.” She said, holding out her hand. He shook it gently and introduced himself as well, making his way out of the room behind her.

                “Honey, wasn’t the boy that bullied you for quite some time, named Malfoy?” her dad asked gruffly.

                “Yeah that’s him.” She answered, gesturing to the empty doorway.

                “Do you think you might have gotten the wrong impression of him? He seems charming and very polite now.” Her mum asked, taking empty dishes to the sink, and Hermione followed suit.          

                “He’s changed a lot these past couple months, into a whole new person almost.” She muttered, her mind drifting back to the morning where she had woken up to see him sitting in the common room, the sunrise reflecting off of his platinum blonde hair and mesmerizing her. Her mum eyed her curiously before taking the plates from her arms.

                “Your father and I can do the clean up.” Hermione thanked her and then made her way to the guest room, wondering if Lizzie was getting to know him or not. Lizzie was standing near the bed, looking towards Draco with an amused expression while he stood at the end of the bed, wearing a hesitant one.

                “It’s ok, she knows about Hogwarts.” Hermione said as she leaned against the wall eyeing the two of them. Draco looked instantly relieved and pulled out a small trunk from his pocket, it quickly expanding to its normal size once he set it on the ground.

                “Why did you come to me and not Blaise?” she asked.

                “He’s on vacation right now with Rebecca, I didn’t want to interrupt.” He stated, taking a seat on his trunk. Lizzie shifted awkwardly in the dark room, before reaching towards the lamp and switching on the light. Draco turned to her, a curious expression on his face, and he made his way towards the lamp, peeking into the shade. “Where’s the fire?” he asked, touching the light bulb gingerly, yanking his hand back when it burned him. “Is it in this?” Hermione walked into the bathroom and came out with a wet washcloth and made her way over to Draco, taking his hand in hers and placing the wet cloth on his fingertips.

                “It’s called a lamp. It’s got a cord in it that plugs into the wall and lights the glass bulb up.” She said, letting go of his hand.

                “Elektrity, right?” he asked, sitting down with a smile on his face, like he knew what he was talking about.

                “Close, it’s electricity.” Lizzie said, putting extra pronunciation on the word. “So, you’ll be here for the rest of vacation?”

                “Yeah, means he’ll be meeting everyone.” She replied.

                “Everyone?” Draco asked.

                “Her whole family is coming over for New Years. It’ll be one big ol’ Granger get together.” Lizzie replied.

                “Can I be your date?” he asked Hermione, a smile appearing on his face.

                “I’ll think about it.” She said, smiling softly at the thought.

                “Well if she says no, you’re more than welcome to bring me.” Lizzie said, stepping forward. Hermione laughed at her friend before dragging her from the room, leaving Draco to unpack.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Pansy stood in the corner of the room, watching Draco and Lucius exchange a heated argument. Curious, she moved forward, trying to get as close as possible without either of them noticing.

                “No, you’re forbidden from that filth Draco. You’re my son and you’ll listen to me.” Lucius hissed.

                “You’re not a father to me, I will not choose a bride based on wealth and status alone.” Draco sneered back.

                “You’re making a mistake Draco.”

                “I’m not. I’m making the right choice. Tell mother I love her.” Draco said, an air of finality in his voice. Pansy peeked over to see turn away from his father and quickly make his way from the room. Standing there, sipping at the champagne, she wondered who he wanted who his father thought wasn’t worthy. Quickly realizing that it who ever he wanted wasn’t her, she became upset, wondering what worthless girl could have stolen Draco’s attention away.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Narcissa walked through the crowd, smiling and shaking hands with everyone she saw. From the corner of her eye she saw Draco storm out of the room, and made her way towards her husband, curious as to what had happened.

                “What’s happened?” she asked, placing a hand on Lucius’ arm, concern flooding her eyes.

                “He refuses to pick a suitable bride.” Lucius spat.

                “Where did he go?” she asked, worried that her son would be out in the cold on Christmas.

                “He’s left and he sends his love to you.” Was all Lucius said in answer to her question and it wasn’t what she wanted to hear.

                “Where did he go Lucius?” she asked sternly, needing an answer from her husband.

                “I’ve no idea.” He said, looking her in the eyes. If she was angry before at her husband, it was nothing compared to what she was feeling now.

                “You drove my only child away. You better make the right Lucius. Let him follow his heart, because, I swear, if he doesn’t return, I will never forgive you.” She said, making sure her husband understood her before, she too, stormed out of the room, leaving him to take care of the guests.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Ginny watched as her mother started to clear the table and in the commotion of everyone getting up to leave, she grabbed a hold of Harry and pulled him off to the side. He looked at her with surprised eyes and she couldn’t help but let her imagination wander, though she quickly brought herself back to reality.

                “Who was that then?” she said, gesturing to the front door with her shoulder, arms crossed over her chest.

                “Malfoy.” Harry stated. This answer caught her off-guard and it took her a moment to process what he had just said.

                “What did he want?” she asked, curious as to what he could be doing looking for Harry on Christmas night.

                “To know where ‘Mione lives. I guess he just wanted to see her.” He said, shrugging his shoulders, his green eyes looking deep into her own brown ones.

                “I wonder why he’s going after her, a pureblood like him. He must’ve changed.” She concluded. She watched as the emerald green eyes travel up above them and a soft smile played at his lips. Following his gaze, she looked above them and saw a little bit of Mistletoe hanging from the doorframe where they were standing. Harry’s gaze fell unto her and she could feel her cheeks flush a soft pink. He moved closer to her, his body pressed ever so slightly against hers, and she lifted her face towards his. As his lips came softly down on hers, a warm feeling spread throughout her body and it felt like something had fallen back into place.

                This was the feeling she had been missing, the feeling of being complete when she was with Harry. All too quickly his lips broke away from hers, leaving her slightly breathless.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                The next couple of days passed quickly. Hermione and Lizzie had showed him this thing called a telly which played a sequence of moving pictures that told a story. It was quite amazing, apparently, there were quite a few moving pictures Hermione owned and she sat with him as he watched all sorts of things. Movies, she called them. They were quite fascinating.

                Before anyone knew it, it was New Years Eve and Mrs. Granger was calling everyone down to breakfast. Draco hurried downstairs, all dressed and ready to go for the day, while Hermione and Lizzie moved slowly into the dinning room, still wearing pajamas and rubbing the sleep from their eyes. Glancing at Hermione, he marveled at how adorable she looked, gently rubbing her eyes, her brown hair slightly bushy around her face.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Placing a plate of bacon unto the table, Mrs. Granger glanced up and saw the soft expression Draco wore on his face as he looked at her daughter. He was a very kind and polite boy, and quite the charmer. The past couple of days she had been keeping an eye on him, not because she didn’t trust him but because of the way he looked at her daughter. It wasn’t in a way where she was worried that she might be harmed; it was as if he was looking at her like she was something fragile he had to be careful around; gentle glances here and there and always keeping an eye on her when she spoke, a small smile playing at his lips. She knew her daughter was clever, but would she notice the way this young man watched her? Would she realize that he, and she was almost positive about this, had feelings for her?

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Hermione made her way up the stairs to her bedroom with Lizzie, both girls wondering what outfits they should wear for the evening’s party. Making her way to her closet, she opened up the double doors wide, browsing through the rack of clothes that hung in her closet. Quickly spotting what she wanted, she pulled out a black dress. It was modest and respectable, with a scoop neck; the dark material covered her shoulders and hung right above her knees. Turning to see what Lizzie had brought to wear, her best friend was laying out a dark green pencil skirt and a cream ruffle shirt.

                They were about to separate into different sides of the room to get dressed when a soft knock sounded on her bedroom door. Draco stood in her doorway, a modest grin on his face as his eyes rested softly upon her.

                “I don’t have anything but dress robes.” He said, hands in his pockets. A bolt of shock coursed through her body as she realized that he had nothing to wear.

                “Oh!” was all she managed to say before she raced down the steps and into her parents who both were sitting in the living room. “Draco has no clothes for this evening. Can you bring him to get something?” she asked, looking at her father, her voice frantic.

                “Calm down ‘Mione. Yeah, tell the lad to come on down, we’ll take a ride to town and get him something suitable for tonight.” He said, getting up and making his way to the front door where his coat and hat hung on a hook. Breathing a sigh of relief, she made her way back to Draco, glad that they had solved the wardrobe problem quite easily.

                “Draco? Father said he can bring you into town to find something suitable, he’s about to leave.” She said, walking into her room and coming to a stop beside him.

                “Great.” He said with a smile as he hurried from her room and down the steps, off to find her father.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Draco followed Mr. Granger into a small shop, taking a look around once inside. Clothes racks containing suit jackets and pants filled one side of the store while mannequins in tuxedos filled the other. Following Mr. Granger to the nearest clothes rack, he sifted through the dress shirts, looking for something that would be fitting for that evening. Pulling out a dark silver dress shirt, he held it up to himself in a nearby mirror, deciding he wanted it when he realized how it made his eyes stand out.

                “You’ll need this.” Mr. Granger said gruffly as he handed Draco a back tie to match his shirt. Draco nodded his thanks and the two made their way up to the front counter. The shop was practically empty other than the employee that stood behind the counter, everyone having completed their shopping in advance. They quickly made their way back to the car, each thankful that the shopping trip was quick and easy.

                “Do you like my daughter?” Mr. Granger asked, turning to face him as he came to a stop at a red light.

                “Yes, I do. Though, I’ve been cruel in the past, so I doubt that she feels the same way, but I’m fine with that.” Draco said, looking the man in the eyes as he spoke.

                “My Hermione is a smart girl. If she thinks someone has changed, then she’s most likely right.” He said, driving once again as the light turned green. Draco sat there silently, staring out the window at the passing scenery, hoping that he was right.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Hermione stood in front of her mirror, examining her appearance for the party. She had curled her hair and let it hang around her face, adding a bit of mascara to her eyes to help them stand out. Her modest black dress hugged her body, though not in a provocative way and her legs had a shiny look to them due to the pantyhose she had decided on wearing.

                “You look beautiful.” Lizzie said, standing beside her in the mirror.

                “So do you.” She said smiling, turning to her friend. Lizzie wore her long blonde hair in a sophisticated bun and had skipped out on wearing makeup other than a pink gloss she had added to her lips.

                “We’re missing one thing though.” Lizzie said, making her way over to her dresser. She picked up the two small heart necklaces and handed one to Hermione. “We forgot our necklaces.” Hermione smiled, placing hers around her neck before smiling at her reflection. The voices of arriving family members made their way upstairs and Hermione smiled, anxious to see her family again.

                Stepping from her room, Lizzie behind her, she made her way to the living room, knowing that was where most of her family would be congregating all evening. Stepping into the room, a smile spread across her face as she saw her entire family standing around, laughing and talking; her grandparents, five cousins and multiple aunts and uncles and, of course, Lizzie’s parents as well. Hermione said hello to her family as she made her way to the kitchen, looking for her mother.

                “Hey mum? Do you need any help with the party?” she asked as she saw her mum, pouring glasses of champagne for the guests. Her mum looked lovely in a cream cocktail dress with beautiful sash shoulders.

                “Actually I’d love some. Would you help me carry these drinks out to everyone?” she asked, placing down the empty champagne bottle and motioning towards the many glasses on the counter. Picking up as many as she could carry, Hermione walked back out into the living room and started handing them out to her nearest relatives, smiling all the while. Just then she heard her grandma say something about a ‘strapping young lad’ and she turned around to see Draco smiling and talking to her. Noticing how charming he was being around everyone, she couldn’t help but smiling. He really had this way about him when it came to charming everyone in the room. Just then he looked up, finding her with his piercing grey eyes and smiled, making his way over to her.

                “You look… amazing.” He said, his eyes focused on her face. Feeling her cheeks flush, she kept her gaze on him, not wanting to look away.

                “You look pretty good yourself.” she said happily. Feeling a hand on her shoulder she turned around to see her smiling aunt looking at the two of them.

                “Hermione dear, aren’t you going to introduce this young man to everyone?” she asked smiling.

                “Oh yes of course. Everyone,” she said loudly, successfully getting everyone’s attention, “this is Draco Malfoy. He’s a friend of mine from school who is visiting for the holiday.” Looking to Draco, she saw him flash a smile at everyone in the room before returning his gaze back to her. After the introduction was finished, her family quickly became interested in catching up with each other once again allowing Hermione time to find Lizzie and get away to the porch, Draco following. A wooden porch was connected to the back of her home with a small set of stairs leading to the backyard where a bundle of fireworks lay in the center of the lawn waiting to be set off.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Draco leaned against the outside wall, watching Hermione and Lizzie talking quietly, leaning against the railing of the porch. Draco subconsciously played with the small box that sat in the bottom of his pants pocket, wondering if tonight was the night he should give this to her. Before he could even wonder how to present it to her, Lizzie slowly went back inside leaving the two of them outside alone. Starting to move closer to her, he noticed she shivered slightly and quickly closed the distance between the two of them, wrapping his arms around her.

                “Warmer?” he asked softly into her hair. Feeling her nod slowly, he smiled happily. With her hair in his face, he couldn’t help but smell the strawberry shampoo she had used to wash her hair earlier that day. Before he knew what he was doing, he had released her and moved beside her, pulling the small box out of his pocket. “I got you something for Christmas.”

                “When you were out with my dad today?” she asked him and he shook his head in response.

                “No, back at the beginning of vacation; I’ve had it for a while but I was just waiting for the right moment to give it to you. Handing the small black box to her he watched as she gently touched the red ribbon he had wrapped around the box earlier that week. She opened it slowly, pulling at the end of the ribbon and taking of the lid of the box. He heard a small gasp escape from her lips as she opened it to see the sparkling silver bracelet inside and watched as her eyes started to shimmer with tears. Just as he noticed her eyes she sighed and looked away angrily, trying to inconspicuously wipe away her tears.

                “I’m sorry. I’ll return it if you don’t like it. It was a rubbish idea anyway.” he apologized hastily, reaching to take the bracelet back.

                “No, I love it; it’s beautiful” Turning around quickly, she placed a hand on his forearm. “I just feel awful; I didn’t get anything for you.” She finished softly. Audibly sighing in relief, he took the bracelet from her smiling and placed it on her wrist where it sat delicately.

                “I don’t want a gift. I’m happy enough with spending my entire holiday with you.” He admitted honestly, staring into her soft brown eyes hoping that he was conveying exactly how he felt right there, in that moment. He watched her cheeks flush a soft pink when her mum came out onto the porch, looking for her.

                “Get inside you two; you’ll get sick if you stay outside to long; neither of you have coats. And shame on you Hermione, you know better than to come outside without any shoes. Not get inside before I decide to punish you.” Her mum said sternly, ushering the two of them inside and closing the sliding door behind them.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Leaning against the stair banisters, she watched as Draco talked happily with her many relatives. If someone were to say that he, Draco Malfoy, would one day be having conversations with Muggles and have a smile on his face the whole while, she would have submitted them to St. Mungo’s to have the brain checked. Yet here he was, being charming and smiling happily all the while.

                “Hermione dear, what’s that on your wrist?” a familiar voice asked and she turned to see her mum picking up her wrist and examining the beautiful silver charm bracelet. “Honey, this is beautiful. Did Draco give this to you?” her mum questioned, gingerly placing each charm on her finger and examining it.

                “Yes, he just gave it to me while we were outside.” She answered, watching as the bracelet sparkled in the light.

                “Did you get anything for him?” she asked, letting go of her daughter’s wrist and a rush of guilt swept over Hermione.

                “No, I didn’t even think to.” She replied truthfully, upset that she didn’t even think to get him anything for Christmas. Sighing angrily, she excused herself from her mum and made her way to the kitchen, pouring herself a glass of champagne and sipping it angrily.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                The Weasley family all sat in the living room, laughing and talking while Celestina Warbeck sang loudly in the background. Ginny sat across the room, eyeing Harry as he laughed at something Ron had just said. They had almost kissed just a couple days ago and it felt like something had fallen into place. Her memories of the two of them together back in her fifth year had been flashing through her mind and she couldn’t help but imagine the two of them together. They hadn’t talked since they almost kissed; the Weasley house was full and bustling because of the holidays. She was hoping that tonight she would be able to find a moment to talk to him and perhaps kiss him this time. Just then Bill and Charlie ran inside beckoning everyone outside because they were ready to start the fireworks.

                With only a few minutes till midnight, everyone got up and made their way outside, Ron and Harry towards the back. Realizing that this may be her only chance, she quickly got up and grabbed his hand, holding him back. Turning to look at her, she noticed his green eyes sparkling and she took a deep breathe before doing what she was about to do. Before giving him time to say anything she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him with everything she had. She felt him respond and wrap his arms around her and deepen their kiss.

                Pulling away, she examined the smile he wore on his face before pulling him out to the yard where they stood wrapped in each others arms as they watched the firework display.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Everyone was standing outside looking up at the night sky as beautiful bursts of green, red and silver exploded above their heads. It had taken a little while for her uncles to finally light the fireworks but it was definitely worth the wait. Leaning against the wall as he had down only a couple hours before, his eyes flickered from the fireworks back to Hermione. He watched as she gazed up at the sky with wonder and the only thing on his mind was how absolutely beautiful she looked at that exact moment.

                He wanted so badly to go over to her, wrap his arms around her and watch the display together though he knew she needed her space right now. She was most likely still working through the feelings she had for them and he knew that if he pushed her, she would close up to him and deny everything she felt for him.

                He chuckled to himself when he thought about how much he had changed the past couple years, moving from one extreme to the other, knowing hardly anyone would believe that he had changed.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Her family had dispersed a little after the fireworks had ended and now, at one thirty in the morning, mostly everyone in her home was asleep; everyone but her. She had been tossing and turning ever since she had lain down. Her mind was buzzing with thoughts of Draco and she softly touched the silver charm bracelet he had gotten her. There were four different charms on it and she admired each one, a heart, an owl, a book and a small dragon. Suspecting that the dragon had something to do with him, she was still stumped on what the rest were supposed to remind her of. Lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling, she sighed loudly, breaking the silence that was pressing against her eardrums. As she lay there, a faint whimpering sound reached her ears and she stopped breathing for a moment to see if she could hear it again.

                Sitting up in her bed, the sound once again reached her ears. Deciding to find the source of the noise, she moved out of her bed and made her way to the door. Once she was in the hallway, she realized that the sound she had been hearing was coming from the guest room. Slowly opening the door, she made her way into the room. A soft glow was coming through the window and cast a light across the room. On the bed, she saw the figure of Draco tossing and turning, whimpering softly. Frozen on the spot, she was debating whether or not she should make her way towards him or just go back to her room.

                Knowing that she wouldn’t be able to sleep if she went back to her room, she walked closer to Draco, noticing that he was drenched in sweat, his blonde hair sticking to his face. His grey t-shirt was drenched along the neck line and sleeves and as she took a seat on the side of his bed, she noticed tears making their way from his closed eyes. Without further ado she took off her own t-shirt (she was wearing a tank underneath) and began to wipe the sweat from his face. Stroking the hair from his face, she quietly shushed him, trying her best to be soothing.

                Slowly he woke up and she dropped her hands, suddenly feeling embarrassed.

                “Hermione?” he mumbled softly, slowly opening his eyes to see her.

                “Yes it’s me. It’s alright now; you were just having a nightmare. It’s all over.” She said soothingly.

                “Y-you came to soothe me?” he asked looking up at her, a dead look in his eyes.

                “As soon as I heard you, what…what were you dreaming?” she asked, her curiosity getting the best of her.

                “Nothing.” He whispered shortly and she felt suddenly dejected.

                “Would you like me to leave?” she asked, wishing she hadn’t been so nosy now.

                “Do you want to?” he asked in return and she shook her head before stroking his hair gently once again. Hearing him sigh contentedly, she smiled to herself and started humming a soft melody to help him sleep. Eventually his chest rose and fell steadily and he had drifted off to sleep and with one last look, she left the room headed to her own bed, asleep before her head even hit the pillow.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Draco woke up the next morning, a soft lilac colored t-shirt clutched in his hand and then he remembered he had woken from his nightmare to her by his side, trying her best to soothe him. Smiling softly at the memory, he made his way downstairs to the kitchen, the smell of freshly brewed coffee awaiting him.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

                Hermione awoke to a sharp tapping noise on her window and opened her eyes to see and owl waiting for her to let him in. Hurrying over, she slid the window open and the owl swooped in, landing on her bed with a soft thud. Taking the letter from the owl’s leg, she turned it around to see that it was from Neville. As she opened the envelope the owl swooped back out the window and Lizzie, who was now awake, shut the window after it. Smiling, Hermione pulled out a bundle of photographs and realized that he must have had the pictures from the Ball developed and sent to everyone. Making a mental note on sending a thank you to him, she started looking through the pictures, marveling at how beautiful they all looked that night.

                Looking through them she came across one of Draco, Harry, Ron and herself and then one of Draco and her alone. Thinking back to that evening, she remembered that Draco had come up to her and asked for Neville to take the picture of the two of them; it had upset Terry a great deal. Now as she looked down, she remembered the way his arm felt against her waist and the way she had leaned into him to inhale the scent of him. The Draco in the picture kept glancing at her now and again and she had never seen her eyes sparkle as much as they did there.

                As Lizzie happily looked through all the pictures, commenting on everyone’s apparel all the while, an idea struck Hermione and she quickly made her way to her closet. Pulling out a silver picture frame, she smiled successfully before moving to put the picture of her and Draco inside of it. Picking up a red bow that lay on her floor from gift wrapping, she quickly stuck it on the frame and hurried downstairs, Lizzie following curiously behind, the pictures in hand.

                Just as she was about to walk into the kitchen, her mum walked out, smiling at her.

                “Good morning honey, how are you?” she asked, placing a hot cup of coffee in her free hand.

                “I’m wonderful. Mum, have you seen the pictures of me from the Ball? Lizzie would you care to show her?” she asked, eyeing Lizzie who just smiled back.

                “Certainly, just look how lovely everyone looks.” She said, taking her mum by the arm and leading her away from the kitchen, shoving the pictures in her face. Turning around smiling, she took a deep breathe before entering the kitchen to see Draco, leaning against the counter looking over a newspaper with a coffee cup in his hand. Hearing her walk in, he looked up at her, a smile on his face.

                “I have something for you.” She said, moving closer towards him and pulling the picture frame out from behind her back. “You don’t have to keep that picture in that frame, I just thought the two went with each other.” She said awkwardly.

                “I think it’s perfect. Thank you so much.” He said softly placing both the gift and the coffee mug on the counter before moving even closer to her.

                “Your welcome.” She said a little breathlessly, realizing that they were now only mere inches apart. Remembering the last time they had been this close he had kissed her, her stomach did a series of flips and turns as she thought of them kissing again. Vaguely registering that his arms were outstretched around her, waiting to embrace her in a hug, she quickly closed the distance between the two of them, her lips resting on his. At first he didn’t respond but after a second or two, she felt his lips respond to hers and they were kissing each other with such passion she had no idea where it all came from. Hearing voices outside the kitchen door, the pair broke apart almost as quickly as it had started and she was left wondering when she had finally fallen for him.




   

Author's Note : So what did you guys think? Was that a good enough chapter to sate everyone until the next one comes out? I had a nice time writing about their time together over break and I really liked how Draco acted around Hermione, though if you disagree, feel free to let me know! Wether you loved it, hated it, thought it fell flat or thought it was one of the best chapters I've ever written, feel free to leave a review below and let me know :) I love hearing from you guys!


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