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Darkover Magic by K A Woods

Format: Novella
Chapters: 14
Word Count: 40,108
Status: WIP

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

Genres: Romance, Action, Humor, General, Angst, Mystery, Drama
Characters: Draco, Ginny, Harry, Dumbledore, Hermione, James, Lily, Neville, Ron, Snape, Voldemort, Luna, Lucius, Seamus, Pansy
Pairings:

First Published: 02/14/2005
Last Chapter: 06/28/2005
Last Updated: 06/28/2005

Summary:
A prosaic story of the Final Year for Harry Potter and his friends- interlaced with romance, and the thin line that is drawn between good and evil that is crossed in order to win the ultimate battle. A good read for the reader who is enthralled with Harry Potter and the relationships, some unlikelier then others, that bond the characters together.


Chapter 1: A SPECIAL DELIVERY
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CHAPTER 1: SPECIAL DELIVERY

“Harry! Ron! Are you two up yet?” Hermione yelled from outside Ron’s old wooden door.

No response.

“Harry! Ron! If you two don’t get up this instant I swear I-”

“Bloody Hell Hermione you don’t have to yell…” Ron said with a little grin as he opened his door cutting Hermione off in mid-sentence.

“Now what were you saying again Hermione?” Ron implored with a little smirk.

“Well Ronald, I was simply going to tell you two that Ginny has been downstairs slaving away in the kitchen making us all breakfast because your mum has gone down to have breakfast with Fred and George in Diagon Alley this morning, thought you ought to know.” Hermione said in her usual omnipotent tone.

“BREAKFAST IS READY!” Ginny bellowed from the kitchen bellow.

“Well thanks for the update Hermione.” Ron replied with a little grin as he rushed passed her and went hurtling down the stairs.

“Have a nice sleep Hermione?” Harry asked with a slight smile as he came out of Ron’s bedroom.

“No, but I have had worse.” Hermione said with a little grin as the two walked down stairs toward the kitchen.

“Well it’s about time you two gits got up! I was beginning to think that the two of you forgot what today was…” Ginny said with a mischievous smile as she served everyone one pancakes.

“Why Ginny? What’s today?” Harry asked completely perplexed as he eyed Ginny’s floral apron amused. She looked an awful lot like her mother right now.

“Honestly Harry you’re kidding me right?” Hermione asked abhorred.

“Wotsh gowing on twoday?” Ron asked, his mouth overflowing with pancakes.

“Honestly Ron, we are about to enter our seventh year at Hogwarts and you still haven’t mastered the whole not talking with your mouth full thing yet?” Hermione snapped.

“Alright you two that’s enough it is 8:30 in the morning and you two are already on each other’s case, but Ron, Hermione does have a point.” Ginny said as she sent Ron a napkin with a slight flick of her wand.

“Okay now what is today again?” Harry asked in vain, as he was cut off by the rushing sound of wings. With in a flash four sealed envelopes were sitting on the table by an auburn colored screech owl who took a bite of one of Ron’s pancakes then flew off again.

“DID YOU SEE WHAT THAT BLOODY OWL JUST DID TO MY PANCAKE?” Ron yelled completely infuriated.

However, no one answered as they all opened their letters, which each bore the Hogwarts crest, which could only mean one thing, their school letters had arrived.

A weird sort of silence endured as each one of them read their letters with complete concentration.

“Well it seems we have a Prefects’ meeting at 9:00 on the first day.” Ginny said aloud, breaking the silence.

“And Quidditch Practice at 7 a.m. the second day of school...” Ron said brightly.

“Quidditch practice? Ron, mine doesn’t say anything about that...” Harry retorted perplexed.

“Oh well it seems that I have been made Quidditch Captain …” Ron said quietly.

“Are you serious Ron?! Congratulations that’s absolutely brilliant!” Harry said with a jubilant smile.

“You mean you’re not mad Harry?” Ron implored.

“No not at all! You deserve it Ron. Honestly.” Harry congratulated again. Hermione and Ginny shared rather uneasy glances as Harry and Ron continued.

“I don’t know mate I mean I think you would be a more appropriate choice but I am happy all the same it is a big honor, I just don’t know if I can… live up to it.” Ron said a little uneasily.

“Well Ron even if you don’t, with me as your chaser and Harry as your seeker I am sure we will be a shoe in for the cup.” Ginny retorted in a teasing manner with a little smirk as she took a small bite of pancake.

Harry, Ron and Ginny immediately broke into a big Quidditch discussion at the very mention of the upcoming Quidditch season. The only one who seemed to not be in jubilation for the upcoming Quidditch season was Hermione who was sitting at the end of the table staring at her letter and sipping coffee as though in some sort of trance.

“What’s wrong Hermione? Cat got your tongue?” Ron said with a little snicker as Harry snorted into his orange juice because they both were reminded of the time in their second year where Hermione turned herself into a cat after drinking the Polyjuice potion.

“No Ron…” Hermione said solemnly as she passed her letter over to Ginny.

Ginny looked down at the letter and looked up perplexed at Hermione as she saw the book and supply list. Hermione motioned her to flip it over to find a letter from Dumbledore himself. Ginny’s eyes widened as she began to read aloud...

Dear Ms. Granger,

I hope you are enjoying your summer break and are remembering to have at least a little fun because you deserve it. All of the hard work and dedication you have shown these passed six years at Hogwarts have really made a difference and I would like to personally thank you, as I am sure you know you really are the brightest witch in your year.
On that note, I would like to bestow on you the title of Head Girl. I know it is a big honor and responsibility but I could think of no one better suited for it then you Ms. Granger. It was a unanimous decision made by all of the staff and professors and you should be very pleased with yourself.
I hope you a very happy rest of holiday and am looking forward to speaking with you and the Head Boy at the end of the mandatory Prefects’ meeting. We will need to go over duties and housing arrangements.
- Professor Dumbledore.


“Bloody hell Hermione YOU got Head Girl? Seriously I never saw that one coming…” Ron said sarcastically as he rolled his eyes. He looked rather smug as he put a piece of pancake in his mouth.

“Ron you do know that the owl ate off of that right?” Hermione replied nonchalantly. Ron’s cheeks proceeded to turn a vibrant shade of scarlet that reached all the ways to the tips of his ears.

“OH THAT IS BLOODY DISGUSTING!” Ron bellowed as he rushed up to the sink to spit out the chewed remnants of his pancake.

“HARRY HOW COULD YOU LET ME EAT THAT? AFTER THAT BLOODY OWL HE WELL… YOU SAW HIM!” Ron blabbered still trying in vain to spit the pancake particles out.

“Honestly Ron, Harry is not your keeper.” Hermione replied simply as she took another little sip of her coffee.

“Obviously Hermione, he’s not the Keeper I am!” Ron replied indignantly.

“Ron, are you that thick? She doesn’t mean the Quidditch keeper!” Ginny retorted absolutely disgusted with her brother’s stupidity.

“What other keepers are there?” Ron asked absolutely dumbfounded.

“Why do I even try…” Ginny said more to Harry and Hermione then Ron. “Well to get away from Ron’s stupidity and BACK on to what we were saying… I believe congratulations are in order, so Hermione congratulations that’s wicked.” Ginny directed at Hermione with a sincere smile.

“She’s right Hermione you should be proud of yourself this is everything you have been working for.” Harry told her assuredly, as he gave a smile in her direction. Harry knew that there was no one more deserving than Hermione.

“Well thanks but this is quite a big responsibility.” Hermione responded with a smile as a little flush came to her cheeks.

“Speaking of responsibility, who the bloody hell is the Head Boy?” Ron blurted out suddenly.

“Well Ron lets go through this logically, first it probably has to be one of the boy prefects in your year, and so that narrows it down to four.” Ginny started smugly.

“Well obviously Ginevra.” Ron replied scathingly as he rolled his eyes.

Ginny shot Ron a hateful glance as she continued, “And out of those four we know it’s not you, we also know it is not Anthony Goldstein- seeing as he was caught snogging Padma Patil in the astronomy tower- we also know that it couldn’t possibly be Justin seeing as how his grades are about on the level of a troll, so that only leaves…”

“Draco.” Hermione spoke up solemnly.

A placid silence ensued as the thought sunk in. Hermione and Draco. Head Girl and Head Boy. Sure, it had always been a possibility, they had all even joked about it at times but it actually happening, no one was prepared for that.

The silence was abruptly broken by the deafening screech of a bird. In a torrent of wings, a single forest green letter was dropped in front of Hermione. All four heads looked at the letter with suspicion, which at closer examination bore none other than the Malfoy family crest.

“What the bloody hell does he want?” Ron blurted out as he looked at the letter with the utmost contempt.

“Well let’s find out…” Ginny implied, no longer able to hide her anticipation.

Hermione ripped open the envelope with precision to remove a silver embossed page with the most exquisite of handwriting- it must be Draco, Hermione thought to herself.
“Well go on Hermione read it aloud...” Ginny squealed at the sight of the letter.

Hermione threw Ginny a look to calm down as she read the letter herself first, her eyes widening and even letting out a little laugh at one point.

“Find something amusing eh Hermione?” Ron asked his voice still quite contemptuous.

“Oh don’t be daft Ron, it’s just Malfoy.” Hermione commented with a little chuckle.

“Care to share what you found to be so amusing?” Ginny directed at Hermione, she looked to be in serious pain she was so anxious.

“Do you really want me to read it? I mean it’s not that interesting.” Hermione replied nonchalantly as she passed the letter into Ginny’s curious clutches.

Ginny’s face lit up as though she had just been given the key to the universe and her eyes got as big as saucers as she began to read aloud for the second time:

Dear Granger,
It has come to my attention, as no surprise, that we shall, dare I say, be working together for the next school year. I would offer my sincere congratulations but that is not in order seeing as how your Mudblood self already knew that, being the insufferable know-it-all that you are, you would be Head Girl.

Now here are some guidelines that I am going to request that you follow to make our experience more, dare I say, pleasant, for both of us.
1.You will address me as either Malfoy or Mr. Malfoy- nothing else
2.You will in no uncertain terms come up to me at lunch, or any other time when I am with my fellow Slytherins to talk or associate in any other manner- which I don’t think associating in any other manner will be a problem
3.You will not, boss me around as to what needs to be done- I do things on my time
4.You will not have any sort of Prefects meetings with out first consulting me- I am Head Boy so that means I will be privileged of such information
5.Potty and Weasel are not coming into our dormitory- it is bad enough that I must share it with you, please don’t antagonize me
6.You will not think of me as a friend – we are only, oh must I say it, partners, in this little endeavor, so please don’t even try to become all ‘buddy-buddy’
7.When I am in the bathroom please have common courtesy not to come in- no matter how bad your Mudblood self wants to see me naked
8. No more sucking up to the Professors- you are already Head Girl, your work is done Granger
9.I am not your toy so don’t think that it is your duty to mold me into something you think is adequate- I rather like who I am thank you very much
10.You will not, under any circumstances, come into my bedroom.
Well if these regulations are met, I believe that our last year spent together at Hogwarts will at least be bearable. See you at 8:30 sharp in the Prefects’ common room. And yes Granger, I know the meeting starts at 9:00 but I wanted to go over some things first. Enjoy the rest of your summer and see you, unfortunately, at school.
Hogwarts New Head Boy,
Draco Malfoy
p.s. nice try weasel bee, but like I said some wizarding families are better then others


“WHO THE BLOODY HELL DOES THAT GIT THINK HE IS? WRITING TEN COMMANDMENTS LIKE HE IS GOD OR SOMETHING?” Ron bellowed irately.

“Actually Ronald, I found it quite amusing.” Hermione spoke with a little laugh. “Besides two can play his game.”

“What are playing at Hermione?” Harry asked with a mischievous grin.

“Well if he thinks he is God then I am most certainly a Goddess, giving me the divine right to compose a list of my own ‘rules and regulations.’” Hermione addressed the group pompously.

“WELL HE IS MOST CERTAINLY NOT GOING IN YOUR BEDROOM!” Ron blurted out. Harry turned towards his best friend in total disbelief; did he actually say that aloud? Why doesn’t he just profess his love for her- Harry was sure, that Ron could not be more obvious if he tried. Harry and Ginny exchanged a look and both kind of smiled, they both were thinking the exact same thing over Ron’s outburst. However, Hermione as usual acted like nothing happened.

“Okay now Ronald we need to compose this letter in an organized fashion.” Hermione stated matter-of-factly as she took out some parchment and a quill and began scribbling away fiercely.

Dear Mr. Malfoy,
I can guarantee that finding out that you would be my counterpart this year was no pleasure of mine, and furthermore learning that I am to be required to follow guidelines set up by such a pompous git as yourself was even more demoralizing. So on that note I would like, not to offer my congratulations, but to set upon you my own rules which, if you want me to follow yours, you need to strictly adhere to. They are as follows:

1.You will address me as either Hermione or Granger- Mudblood or any other nickname is prohibited seeing as how it denounces my status
2.You will not disturb me with any of your characteristically rude and immature comments when I am with my friends
3.You will not treat me as though I am less than you just because of who my parents are- though I cannot say I will do the same for you
4.You will not treat the other Prefects as though they are vermin unworthy of your time, obviously they are of they wouldn’t be prefects- this also goes in regard to Ron- Malfoy he is a prefect and deserves respect for being so
5.Harry and Ron are my best friends and you are to at least treat my friends with respect and I will do the same for you- yes even Crabbe and Goyle who barely have a high enough I.Q. to be considered living
6.We will have to work together but seeing as how we are ‘partners’ we will share the work and the credit- yes Malfoy, this means we will have to come to a sense of equilibrium between the two of us in regards to work
7.You are under no circumstances to mess with my stuff, especially my toiletries – that would be considered a little homosexual though wouldn't it Malfoy?
8.No more bribing people off with your Daddy’s money- it is a nasty little habit of yours that does nothing more then piss people off and make you look insolent in the process
9.No more strutting about like you own the school because you don’t- I am Head Girl and top of the class but you don’t see me strutting so stop for your own good
10.Promise me you will not fall in love with me- not saying you will but if the thought ever does cross your mind…

Well if these, what was it you said, oh right ‘regulations’ are followed then I believe we will have a livable school year. And yes Malfoy I will meet to discuss the Prefects meeting before hand, do not be late. I hope you have a nice rest of break at your obscenely large manor, see you, unfortunately, at school.
Your New Roommate and Counterpart,
Hermione Granger

p.s. Are you so insecure about yourself that you must insult Ron because you were appointed Head Boy? That is seriously pathetic Malfoy.

Hermione laughed a cocky little laugh to her self as she looked down at her annoyingly chauvinistic letter.

“Well what does it say Hermione?” Ginny asked anxiously again. Everyone could tell that Ginny lived for this kind of drama. Hermione read the letter aloud as several of them laughed at many of her comments but when Hermione read the last line, everyone got rather quiet.

“What do you mean by that whole ‘don’t fall in love with me’ thing?” Ron asked quietly.

“Oh Ronald, seriously it was just a joke.” Hermione remarked flippantly as she folded and sealed the letter into an envelope. The group watched as Malfoy’s extravagant eagle soared out the window with the letter clamped firmly in its jaw.



Chapter 2: NIGHTTIME REFLECTIONS
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CHAPTER 2: NIGHTIME REFLECTIONS

It was well passed midnight when the magnificent bird soared up to the equally magnificent manor. All was asleep in the manor with the exception of one tormented soul.

Draco Malfoy lay awake contemplating his tempest of thoughts when his eagle swooped into his bedchamber. The eagle landed obediently on his shoulder and dropped Hermione’s letter into his lap.

“What the devil is this?” Draco remarked perplexed to the bird. Draco looked down at the letter addressed to ‘The Pompous New Head Boy.’

Oh nice one Granger, Malfoy thought to himself, did you come up with that one all by yourself?

Draco ripped open the letter precisely and began to read, his temper flaring up in a matter of seconds.

“Who does that Mudblood think she is? Does she honestly think she can tell a Malfoy what to do? Who gave her the right?” Draco queried aloud to himself in a fit of rage. He walked over and fell heavily onto his bed, the letter still grasped firmly in his hand.

Draco ran his hands threw his silver blonde hair, why was he, a pureblood Slytherin, worrying himself over a stupid little Gryffindor Mudblood. It just did not make sense. Come to think of it, he knew exactly why, because ever since she had come to Hogwarts she had been nothing more then a thorn in his side. And now they would even have to share a dormitory! If this was someone’s idea of a joke then it certainly was not funny.

Well maybe it won’t be too bad, Draco thought to himself, but shook the thought away immediately. Being in that close quarters with her would be almost unbearable, or so he thought. How could he possibly make this work? They were from two completely different worlds. It just did not seem feasible. Draco laid his tormented head onto the cool confines of his pillow and drifted off into an uneasy sleep with thoughts of Hermione still lurking in his mind.
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Halfway across the country there were three other restless seventeen year olds swimming in the depths of their own thoughts.

The Burrow seemed to be particularly quiet that warm August night though its inhabitants were wide-awake- unbeknownst to one another.

Ginny Weasley seemed to be the only soul in the house able to drift off to sleep. Hermione lay awake in the twin bed next to her listening to the sound of Ginny’s soft snores as she tried in vain to fall asleep, though she knew her mind would not let her.

This should be the best night of her life. She had finally accomplished what she had worked for, for six years but she still felt like something was missing- and the fact that Draco had become Head Boy did not help.

She did not really see why it had surprised her so much; she always knew it would be either him or Harry. Harry deserved it more though, and she knew that Draco in some way had to know that. Harry deserved so much more then he was being given credit for. He had not been prefect, he was not made Head Boy and now he was not even going to be Quidditch Captain! You would think Dumbledore would have at least given him that much.

Hermione wanted to talk to Harry, tell him she cared, but she didn’t know how. How could she approach that conversation? ‘Oh hi Harry I was just wondering if you were upset about never getting anything…’ Even in her head, it sounded apathetic and preposterous.

And what about Ron? The way he acted this morning was quite startling, first he would barely acknowledge the fact that she was Head Girl and then when he found out Malfoy was Head Boy he would not shut up about it. She really didn’t get him, was he honestly worried for her? Or did he just hate Malfoy that much?
***************************************************************************

Ron laid in his bed fingering a hole in his Chudley Cannons comforter as his mind raced and heart ached.

He hated Malfoy, he absolutely hated him! Why did that git have to make his life a living hell? It was bad enough that he made fun of his name and family but now he would be sharing a living quarters with Hermione!

And on top of that, he was barking out orders like some sort of a sick drill sergeant. Did he honestly think that Hermione would do what he said? She was way to smart for any of that nonsense.

Speaking of nonsense what was this business about ‘don’t fall in love with me’ Malfoy? That was by far the least funny joke Ron had ever heard. She better have been kidding because that git was in no way worth her time. Come to think of it, Malfoy was not worth a stupid little Cornish Pixie’s time. If he and Malfoy ever met down some deserted dark alley, and Ron knew he would not be thrown straight into Azkaban, he knew exactly what he would like to do to that stupid little ferret.

He especially wondered what Malfoy would say when he found out that Ron had been named Quidditch captain over Harry. Ron knew he could at least expect a rendition of ‘Weasley is our King.’ But what about Harry? He must feel absolutely terrible, though Ron knew that Harry would never allude to the way he really felt and that was why he was so worried about his best friend…

***************************************************************************
Across from where Ron was laying on his Chudley Cannons bedspread Harry Potter laid staring up at the bright orange ceiling his feelings caught up in a torrent of emotions.

He should be happy for his best friend, he really should but he could not help but shake the fact that it should be him going back to school as Quidditch Captain, not Ron. He had been on the team since his first year; he deserved to be captain. Harry spent days talking to the former Quidditch captains about what it would take for him to become it one day. He thought he had it all nailed and now, here he was, seventh year and he lost it to his best friend.

What happened? Where did I go wrong? Harry mused to himself, as he lay awake in the room that he shared with Ron, his hands behind his head as he stared up at the ceiling, pondering over the day’s events.

Hermione becoming Head Girl had come as no surprise but he was happy for her all the same, though he did find himself to feel a bit sorry for her for having to put up with Malfoy, the pompous git better not give her a hard time or else Harry would have some Ferret arse to kick. He smiled to himself at the thought of causing any harm for the creep for hurting his best friend in any way, shape, or form. He knew he would be able to get Ron to help him too, if he would learn to remove his head from his bum and tell Hermione how he obviously felt about her. Their oblivious feelings were driving everyone crazy. Ron had practically admitted how he felt about Hermione and she took it as him being thick.

He let out another sigh as he turned over on his side in his twin size bed. His mind still unable to focus on anything other than the fact that he was not made Quidditch Captain. He had not expected for it to get to him this much. Ron deserved it; he had worked hard for the passed three years and it really meant a lot to him, but, on the other hand, Harry had worked hard for the passed six years, and what had it gotten him? Nothing but helped him keep the title of the Boy-Who-Lived, as well as ‘the youngest seeker of a century’ attached on to it. A title that Harry used to proud of but now, it meant nothing, because he lost whatever that title could have possibly meant, to Ron, The new Quidditch Captain. He knew things would be different between them now, regardless of the fake persona of being happy for Ron Harry put on. He knew he should be honest with Ron but it would cause nothing but a fight and, considering the circumstances, that was the last thing that Ron needed.

‘You would think that for once, just once, I would be considered for something that I have always dreamed about.’ Harry mused angrily, almost spouting the words out in a whisper, but held back, in fear that Ron may hear. He was not being honest with him about his feelings and he knew Ron knew that but he could at least pretend that he did not. Harry made a promise to himself that he would not feel sorry for himself. He had enough people feeling sorry for him already and once it got out that he was not captain, more people would be pulled into that group because everyone was so sure Harry was going to be a shoe in. Not making prefect was one thing, but not making Quidditch Captain too was almost a slap in the face to Harry. Quidditch was the one thing he relied on, the one thing that he was sure no one would be able to take away from him, but was taken away in the matter of one letter. Harry should know better than anyone to expect the unexpected and life did not always go the way it should, however, Harry hoped that just this once, something would go right for him.



Chapter 3: ABOARD THE HOGWARTS EXPRESS
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CHAPTER THREE: ABOARD THE HOGWARTS EXPRESS

“HURRY UP YOU FOUR! YOU ARE GOING TO MISS THE TRAIN!” Molly Weasley screamed at the top or her lungs as Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny clamored along behind her toward Platform 9 ¾.

“Alright Harry dear, you first.” Molly stated affectionately as she gave Harry a little kiss on the cheek and he charged through the barrier with the other three close behind.

Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione all trudged through the throngs of people lined up to wave goodbye and finally boarded the Hogwarts Express. And to their pleasant surprise found an empty compartment.

“Finally we get a bloody compartment after five years.” Ron stated as he rolled his eyes and lifted his heavy trunk onto the storage bin atop the benches.

“Well Ronald, if you really wanted to be a gentleman you could put my trunk up there too.” Hermione responded curtly.

“You are Head Girl, do it your bloody self.” Ron replied indignantly.

“It’s alright Hermione I got it.” Harry directed at Hermione with a sympathetic smile as he graciously lifted her and Ginny’s trunks up.

“Why thank you Harry.” Hermione and Ginny said in unison as the two shot Ron icy glares. Ron shrugged it off as he pulled out a pumpkin pasty and took an obscenely large bite, chewing with incredible force.

“Oh how very mature of you Ron, mum would be so proud.” Ginny shot at Ron with a look of complete disgust.

The train ride went rather smoothly for the first part of the day with very little interruptions with the exception of Neville looking for Trevor again and Seamus coming by with Dean to show Harry and Ron the spell they worked that turned water into rum. It had been apparent that the spell actually worked because Seamus and Dean were so drunk they could barely walk down the hall.

It had been a pleasant ride until a certain knock on the compartment door changed everything.

“I TOLD YOU SEAMUS, ONLY COME BACK WHEN YOU HAVE MORE BLOODY RUM!” Ron bellowed from inside the compartment not knowing who had knocked.

“Tsk, Tsk Weasley… not consuming illegal rum are we? We wouldn’t want your prefect title taken from you now would we?” The icy voice cut through the air as the sliding door to the compartment glided open to reveal the solid form of Draco Malfoy.

“You must have heard wrong then Malfoy.” Hermione mused coolly as Ron stuttered in indignation.

“I know what I heard Granger and you ought to be ashamed of a fellow Gryffindor, and Prefect I might add, consuming, talking, or even joking about such an offense. If he were in my house-”

“Which he is not, So Malfoy if you have nothing better to do then try to get others into trouble then I suggest you leave.” Hermione interjected as she shot Draco a look of contempt.

“Well feisty today now aren’t we Granger? I swear if I didn’t know any better I would say that your Mudblood self had a bit of a crush on weasel here.” Malfoy remarked, knowing the comment would push Hermione over the edge.

“Don’t call her that Malfoy…” Ron growled through gritted teeth.

“Oh so sticking up for Granger now Weasel? How chivalrous of you, but I didn’t come around to watch this sick display of affection, I only wanted to say that there will be a very brief Prefects meeting in the very first compartment to discuss passwords in about 15 minutes so, you two, or should I say three? Need to be present.” Draco stated smugly as he shot Ginny an insolent glare before turning and disappearing down the hall.

“If I didn’t know any better I would say that Lucius Malfoy had just strutted into our damn compartment!” Ginny stated furiously her face almost mirroring her hair.

“Like father, like son.” Hermione declared as she opened up an advanced Arithmancy book and sunk behind its cover.

“Advanced Arithmancy? Now I know she is bloody mental.” Ron commented towards Harry in exasperation. Harry simply laughed and turned his head towards the window where the sun had just begun to set and sighed.

The feelings of uselessness had started to swell up again when Malfoy mentioned the Prefects meeting. In less then fifteen minutes he would be sitting in the compartment in solitary confinement while Ron, Hermione and Ginny went to the Prefects meeting. He thought he was over this but he wasn’t, the pangs of jealousy were rising again even stronger and he couldn’t help but hate what they had. It was not fair. His head was starting to spin and with a torrent of anger came a stifling hotness and then a sudden throbbing in his scar. A laugh erupted in the back of his mind, Voldemort’s laugh. Or was that his laugh? It had seemed so real even he couldn’t tell. The room began to spin into a ray of colors that gave way to a bright red circle emblazoned in his mind; he then heard a scream and everything went black.

“Harry? Harry? Harry, are you okay?” The soothing voice of Hermione spoke softly from above his body, which he now noticed was lying on the floor.

“Yeah I’m fine Hermione.” Harry stated curtly as he rubbed his scar, and sat up in his seat rather quickly making himself feel rather queasy.

“You don’t look so well mate…” Ron implored as he gave Harry a concerned look, but Harry didn’t want Ron’s pity- at the moment he barely wanted to look at Ron.

“Okay well we must be going down to the meeting Harry, but we will be back shortly.” Hermione cooed bracingly making it painfully obvious that she was worried that Harry might snap.

“Hermione maybe it is isn’t a good idea to leave Harry after-”

“I said I was fine Ron now just go to your stupid Prefects meeting.” Harry seethed at Ron.

Ron gave Harry a hurt yet perplexed look as he glanced back in forth between Hermione and Harry.

“I’ll stay with Harry; you two go to the meeting and just tell me what goes on when you get back.” Ginny said with a little smile as she looked reassuredly at Hermione and Ron. The pair gave Harry and Ginny a worried look before begrudgingly leaving the compartment.

“You know Ginny you really didn’t have to stay, I said I was fine.” Harry remarked the jealousy still oozing through his voice.

“I know I didn’t have to Harry so you could at least show a little common courtesy since I did choose to stay with you.” Ginny shot back at Harry as she pressed a damp cloth she had conjured to his forehead, which was now extremely hot.

“Well thanks then, even though you really didn’t have to. I don’t need your pity.” Harry stated the last part more under his breath then actually towards Ginny.

“I wasn’t doing this out of pity Harry, I was doing this because I am your friend and I care about you.” Ginny said noticeably softer then before as she continued to pat his forehead with the damp cloth, which Harry had to admit felt rather comforting. Harry closed his eyes and let the feelings of security consume him as Ginny took care of him and was soon put into, thankfully, a dreamless sleep.

“How is he doing?” Hermione started “I was so worried about him all throughout the meeting, I could barely concentrate.”

“He’s fine, I had him lay down, dabbed his forehead with a damp cloth and the next thing I knew he was asleep. I was rather worried though seeing as how his forehead was burning up.” Ginny responded as she patted Harry’s head, which was resting peacefully in her lap.

“What the bloody hell was wrong with him anyway?” Ron queried as he gave sleeping Harry and Ginny a look of discomfort.

“I don’t know exactly but he did seem a bit ornery when we spoke, said something about not wanting pity.” Ginny stated a bit uneasily.

The three shared a look of understanding before averting their glances onto Harry still resting peacefully in Ginny’s lap. Hermione took back out her Arithmancy book while Ron covered himself up with a Hogwarts robe and curled up at the other end of the seat, leaving Ginny alone to ponder her thoughts.
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Chapter 4: HOME AGAIN
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CHAPTER FOUR: HOME AGAIN

The sun had set and the moon was shining like a beacon of light amongst the ebony of the starry night sky when the Hogwarts Express came to a stop at Hogsmeade Station. The jolt of the brakes had awoken the entire cabin where it seemed Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Harry had all fallen asleep. A little groggy and disoriented the group began to collect their things and depart from the Hogwarts Express. After a few minutes Hermione had gotten her bearings straight and grabbed Ron by the robes to direct him towards the carriages waiting by the station to take the students to Hogwarts.

“SECOND YEARS AND UP THIS WAY PLEASE!” Hermione shouted over the noise of the hustle and bustle of the returning students.

One by one the students clamored into the carriages talking excitedly. Harry seemed to be one of the only ones not to be excited to board the carriage seeing as how he was one of the unlucky select few students who could see the hideous beasts that pulled the carriages. The Thestrals as they were called could only be seen by those who could see death, making Harry feel quite uneasy.

“Have a good summer Harry?” an airy voice asked as Harry turned to see the ever eccentric form of Luna Lovegood standing in front of him.

“Yes, pretty good.” Harry replied shortly with a small unconvincing smile.

“Well if you ever need anything I know of a good Ancient Norse amulet that Daddy says will cure all of your ill-faded questions.” Luna said with her eyes widening as big as saucers as she pulled out the latest edition of the Quibbler, which bore an old medallion on the cover and hopped into the nearest carriage.

Harry simply rolled his eyes, as he looked at the magazine cover, which he assumed to be the amulet in question, the chances of him wearing that ridiculous thing around where less then that of him keeping a blast-ended skrewt as a pet.

“OVER HERE HARRY!” Harry heard someone bellow from the carriage right behind the one Luna had gotten into, saving him from having to ride with her. Harry walked up to the carriage to find Neville, Dean and Seamus all sitting in the carriage with smug looks on their faces.

‘Ribbit’ came the small noise from Neville’s shoulder that caused Harry to whip around quickly as soon as he had set down in the carriage.

“Well I see you found Trevor.” Harry remarked with a smile as he looked at Neville’s toad resting obediently on his shoulder.

“And I see you found Looney-Lovegood” Seamus remarked with a smug grin as Dean sniggered at his side. Harry tried to keep a straight face for a moment before all four of them broke out into a fit of laughter on there way up to Hogwarts.

*** I may be ripped and torn but before you snicker and scorn,
I can guarantee that there has never been a smarter hat then me to be worn

More than a thousand years ago, I was stitched with precision and grace,
To help the four founding wizards choose and still save face

The choices to be made were tough and very hard to define,
The houses themselves were each so divine.

The Hufflepuffs chose those who were kind and fair,
While Ravenclaw took those of intelligence and savoir-faire.

The selective Slytherins took those of cunning and ambition,
While to Gryffindor went those who were brave without submission.

Though the houses varied in students, they admitted,
The plan was the same and never was acquitted.

To teach the young sorcerers was why Hogwarts was founded,
The hopes and dreams of the students never to be grounded.

All those who enter Hogwarts want to fly above the rest,
But all must first be put to a little test.

So put me on and give me a try,
For first, you must be sorted before you can begin to fly.

The loyal, the intelligent, the ambitious, and the true,
All started the same way, as I will with you.

What are you waiting for? We haven’t got all night,
But don’t be scared I promise not to bite. ***

The Great Hall erupted into applause as the sorting hat finished it’s song and the first years lined up behind the rickety old stool the sorting hat was sitting on looking as though they were about to faint from fright.

“Carino, William” Professor McGonagall shouted as a boy with chestnut hair raced up to the stool, nearly knocking it over.
“RAVENCLAW!” The hat shouted after some deliberation.

“Chandara, Alexis” Professor McGonagall shouted as a rather thin first year with stick straight black hair winced at the mention of her name before she walked confidently up to the stool.
“RAVENCLAW!” The hat shouted after only barely touching her head.

“Goodnight, Alexander” Professor McGonagall beckoned as a boy with light brown hair walked casually up to the stool.
“HUFFLEPUFF!” The hat shouted before the hat had even touched his head.

“Kent, Orion” Professor McGonagall said a little bit quieter. A boy with pale skin and ebony black hair strutted up to the stool and Professor McGonagall didn’t even pick the hat up before it screamed “SLYTHERIN!” loudly.

“WHEN THE BLOODY HELL ARE WE GOING TO EAT!” Ron bellowed as his stomach let out a huge growl.

“Oh Ron hush, everyone waited through your sorting ceremony I think your stomach can wait just a little bit longer.” Hermione snapped as the sorting ceremony finished with Mia Thompson being sorted into Ravenclaw.

The stool was taken away; the hat was put in storage until next year’s sorting and with a few words of wisdom and a clap of Dumbledore’s hands, the Welcoming Feast began.

“Took em’ right long enough, every year that bloody sorting ceremony seems to get longer.” Ron remarked as he tore into a chicken wing dangling from his hand in front of him.

“Well Ron that is because every year your patience seems to diminish at an astonishingly rapid rate.” Hermione stated scornfully as she watched Ron stuff a whole roll into his mouth at once. “Is that really necessary, Ronald?” Hermione scoffed with complete disgust.

“Hermione can’t I ever, just once, eat in peace.” Ron replied, food spewing from his mouth.

“Not till you come to realize that your table manners are comparable to that of a troll!” Hermione spat as she sliced and curtly buttered her roll.

“ ‘Ow ‘bout I eat mysh foosh and yew eet yurrsh!” Ron combated with an entire pumpkin pasty occupying his mouth.

“Well Ron I would agree to that except it’s a little hard for me to eat my food while I am being sprayed by yours.” Hermione retorted as she brushed a piece of pumpkin pasty off from under her eye.

Harry and Ginny let our little sniggers as the Great Hall began to empty, that was all except the scared looking first years sitting at the end of the table helpless.

“Why the bloody hell, are they just sitting there like scared little field mice?” Ron queried aloud as he looked at the first years as though they were nothing more then helpless little babies.

“Oh Ron must you be so inconsiderate, they don’t know where to go, they have never been to Hogwarts!” Hermione countered fiercely as she walked down to the group of first
Years Gryffindors fidgeting uncomfortably at the end of the table.

“First year Gryffindors follow me.” Hermione stated firmly, yet empathetically as she gave a little girl with blonde hair a little smile.

“And what about the rest of us?” A slytherin first year boy snapped as he sat sullenly at the end of the table amongst the rest of the first years.

“Well that is for your Prefects to determine, I may be Head Girl but I am not inclined to take you to the Slytherin dormitories.” Hermione snapped at the insolent brat, putting special emphasis on Head Girl.

“No but I am.” Draco’s cool voice spoke suddenly from beside Hermione. Hermione whipped around to look bracingly at Draco.

“Well then Malfoy they are all yours.” Hermione spat indignantly as she turned back to her own house and ushered them out of the Great Hall towards the Gryffindor Common Room.

Upon entrance into the Gryffindor Dormitories, the first years ooh and awed at the extravagant Common Room.


“Girls your Dormitory is up the stairs and to the right, Boys the same for you on your left.” Hermione said matter-of-factly as she directed the first years toward the dormitory.


“And what took you so bloody long? You do remember that we have a Prefects’ meeting right?” Ron snapped at Hermione when she walked in.

“Yes Ron I DO remember the Prefects’ meeting, but YOU the other hand DID NOT remember to help me direct the first years!” Hermione lashed back at Ron as she planked down on a plush chair in exasperation.

“Well we can’t all be perfect like you Hermione.” Ron mumbled under his breath as his cheeks flushed a little with embarrassment.

“I am not perfect Ron.” Hermione sputtered quietly as she closed her eyes and rested her head back on the chair. Her eyes closed and she drifted off to sleep.




{ *** denotes the start of my first (and rather pathetic attempt) at a Sorting Hat song. I hope eveyone is enjoying the story so far and i can guaratee more angst, action, drama and a little more humor as the plot thickens.... please read and review it would mean a lot....thanks!}


Chapter 5: A TORRENT NIGHT
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CHAPTER 5: A TORRENT NIGHT

“HERMIONE GET UP!” Ron bellowed frantically.

“What are you on about Ron?” Hermione sputtered groggily as her eyes fluttered open.

“IT’S BLOODY 9:05! WE ARE LATE FOR THE PREFECTS’ MEETING!” Ron yelled as Hermione was up in a flash and already racing towards the portrait hole.

“Not in a hurry now are we dears?” The Fat Lady mused as Ron and Hermione burst through the Portrait hole, practically knocking the Fat Lady’s picture off the wall. “How rude…”

“RON HOW COULD YOU LET ME OVERSLEEP?!” Hermione raged at Ron as she raced down the hall towards the Prefects Common Room, Ron having to practically sprint to keep up with her.

“WELL SORRY HERMIONE BUT I DIDN’T THINK AN INSUFFERABLE KNOW IT ALL LIKE YOURSELF WOULD NEED ME TO BE YOUR ALARM CLOCK!” Ron countered at Hermione, his cheeks bright red with fury.

“WELL RONALD IT WOULD AT LEAST HAVE BEEN COMMON COURTESY, ESPECIALLY SINCE YOU HAD TO BE THERE AT NINE TOO!” Hermione shrieked in Ron’s direction as the two continued their sprint down the hallway.

“I WAS SHOWING COMMON COURTESY BY NOT WAKING YOU UP!” Ron yelled back, his crimson ears practically steaming from anger.

“REALLY RON AND HOW DO YOU FIGURE THAT?” Hermione spat as the two arrived at the door leading to the Prefects’ Common Room.

“WELL FIRST I SAT DOWN ON THE COUCH, YOU FELL OVER ON ME ASLEEP, THEN I FELL ASLEEP, ALONG WITH MY BLOODY RIGHT ARM WHICH I MUST SAY STILL HASN’T FULLY WOKEN UP!” Ron raged as his right arm dangled oddly at his side. The pair stood staring daggers at each other for several moments before the door to the Prefects’ Common Room suddenly opened.

“Well, well have I caught you two at a bad time?” The silky voice of Draco Malfoy sneered from the doorway, “Sorry to interrupt your lovers’ spat but there was a Prefect Meeting that started at nine you know.”

Ron and Hermione shot loathing looks at each other before slithering into the Prefects’ Common Room, careful to avoid anyone’s eyes, even each other’s.

“Tsk, Tsk, and here I expected punctuality from you Granger.” Draco whispered menacingly to Hermione as she walked past him.

The meeting ran rather smoothly, the only interruptions being the question of nighttime patrol stations. Slytherins of course commandeering the dungeons while Justin Finch-Fletchley and the rest of the Hufflepuffs being stuck with the rooftops. Hermione worked out a solution that involved a rotation between houses and patrol areas that kept everyone, for the most part, happy.

After some more discussions on policies, rules, regulations, and meeting times, the very first Prefects’ meeting of the year was adjourned. The room immediately broke into a torrent of chattering as all of the Prefects went their separate ways.

“Mr. Malfoy, Ms. Granger I have some things to discuss with you both, would you please come with me.” The omnipotent voice of Albus Dumbledore declared as he entered the common room just as Hermione and Draco were cleaning up, Ron still hanging around in the corner.
***********************************************************************

Harry sank onto the couch that Hermione and Ron had previously deserted, having over heard the whole argument they had only moments before, he let out a sigh. Those two wasted more time arguing than they did being friends, maybe if they could learn to get along, they could become more like confidants, perhaps even developing a rather decent relationship. It would make us all a lot happier. Harry mused rather bitterly as he shook his head at the thought of what he overheard. He remembered what time Hermione had to be at the meeting, and he went down into the common room to get some work for Snape done, hoping they were gone. However, when he arrived in the common room, he found Hermione AND Ron asleep on the couch. Aware of all the stress Hermione had been going through, Harry decided to leave her sleep. Hence, sneaking back up to the dormitory until both of them were gone.

Thinking back on it, it was his fault they both were late, and for once, he didn’t feel bad about it. He was sick and tired of seeing them get along just for the reason that they were prefects, and seeing both of them asleep on the couch in the common room, proved to Harry that there was something more there than they would let anyone see. He rested his elbow on the armrest of the couch as he stared into the fire, pondering over the things that were said. He would bet a hundred galleons that they would come back in through the portrait hole arguing just as they were when they left. Hermione was too stubborn and Ron was too prideful to admit he was wrong. Which was one of the reasons why Harry felt they belonged together, and frankly, it was just getting on his nerves how much they wouldn’t let each other see it.

The thought once crossed his mind to help Ron out, but if he was to ever find out, he would take it as Harry turning against him rather than doing him a favor and the last thing Harry needed was for his best friend to feel that he was turning against him. Perhaps one day Ron would appreciate what Harry thought of doing but that day wouldn’t be today nor any time this year, nor anytime until they lost touch and Ron completely forgot that he ever had a best friend. However, if they continued like this, someone was going to have to take action and it obviously was not going to be one of those two, especially not Ron. As much as Ron meant well, he could be so stupid and thick headed sometimes, and as for Hermione, as intelligent as she was, she could be extremely oblivious to anything that didn’t come from a textbook. Neither one knew where to start nor could either figure out how to approach their feelings about each other, meaning only one thing, Harry was going to have to give them a step in the right direction. If he heard one more shouting match over how thick Ron was being, he would have to hang his own self by his toes in the dungeons.

***************************************************************************
“Mr. Weasley if you would please excuse us, I promise we won’t be too long.” Dumbledore said with a little smile and he glanced over in Ron’s direction.

“Oh right Professor, I uh, I we- I will just be heading back up to the dormitories then.” Ron stuttered embarrassed as he walked out of the common room with his head down trying fleetingly to make eye contact with Hermione to tell her he would be waiting up for her in the Common Room.

Hermione glanced in Ron’s direction as he left and kind of gave a guilty smile, she felt rather bad about yelling at him earlier. Malfoy followed Hermione’s gaze and scoffed, “You have got to be kidding me Granger.” He commented softly as he and Hermione turned to follow Dumbledore.

At the back of the Prefects’ Common Room was a rather large extravagant painting of Merlin surrounded by King Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere and the Knights of the Round Table in the background. Dumbledore pressed the jewel-encrusted amulet atop the staff that Merlin was holding and the painting slid aside revealing a scarlet- velvet-winding staircase, the pathway lit up by golden sconces on the wall.

“Well follow me.” Dumbledore stated to Hermione and Draco with a twinkle in his crystal blue eyes. Hermione and Draco shared looks of foreboding before following him up the winding staircase.
The staircase came to a stop in front of an arched jewel-encrusted, solid oak door, with some sort of old Latin inscription at the top and the Hogwarts Crest embossed in the oak. Both Hermione and Draco let out utterances of approval as Dumbledore spoke.

“Contra Veritas.” Dumbledore stated and the solid oak door swung open to reveal the most exquisite abode they had ever seen. The most wonderful scarlet and hunter renaissance pattern made up the soft carpet that covered the entire common room. On either side of a massive oak fireplace, below a vast window that overlooked the Forbidden Forrest, were two torch- lit winding stone staircases.

“As with your House Common Rooms the boys are on the left and the girls on the right. Though I doubt that after seeing the two rooms you will need that direction.” Dumbledore interjected as Hermione and Draco stood gaping at the Common Room.

“Well I guess that will be all, if you need anything you always know where to find me.” Dumbledore spoke softly with a smile before nodding and walking out of Hermione’s and Draco’s new living quarters.

“Well I guess the accommodations here are nice enough that having your Mudblood self wont ruin the essence too bad.” Draco spat with an air of aristocracy.

“Is your memory so incredibly horrid that you forgot what my first rule was Malfoy?” Hermione retorted, her temper flaring up at the mere mention of the word Mudblood.

“No I remember your list quite well Granger, thus the point for breaking it.” Draco replied smugly as he plopped down into a plush hunter green armchair in front of the fire, making him look even more like a self- pretentious vicar.

“Well in that case Draco then I am in no way bound to follow your rules either.” Hermione stated as she walked over to the bookshelves and began thumbing through the books wistfully.

“As much as I enjoy having this invigorating round of witty repartee with you I must admit that I believe things would run more smoothly if we came to an agreement to follow each other’s rules- even if that means me giving up Mudblood.” Draco declared as he looked at Hermione over at the bookshelf bemused.

“Fine then, it is settled.” Hermione presumed as she turned to face Draco, an Arithmancy book clamped firmly in her grasp. “What are you smirking at?” Hermione questioned Draco in disgust.

“Oh nothing, I just found you meandering over towards the books to be amusing.” Draco chimed as he got up and went up the cold, hard staircase towards his bedchamber.

Hermione looked after him with contempt before going up her own; not knowing what awaited her at the top of the staircases, though she was pleasantly surprised. Hermione’s eyes were first drawn to the solid gold, King-sized, four-poster bed adorned with a scarlet velvet comforter and many intricate gold and scarlet pillows. At second glance, Hermione realized all of the furniture in her room, even the nightstand, was made of solid gold placed against the wood paneling of the floors and walls. It was enough to bring tears to her eyes. In the far corner of her room, next to a plush reading chair was a door with a view of the Forbidden Forrest in all its glory. Hermione pulled on the door handle and stepped out on to a magnificent balcony that gave her the most breath-taking view of the Hogwarts grounds she had ever seen. After sitting out on the balcony for what seemed to be an eternity thoughts of Ron and Harry still waiting up for her crossed her mind. So she threw on a cloak and headed down towards the familiar confines of the Gryffindor Common Room.

“And where might you be going?” Draco questioned abruptly as Hermione rushed passed him towards the archway.

“Out, I’ll be gone for a while so don’t wait up.” Hermione retorted sarcastically, not even turning to face him as she raced towards the Gryffindor Common Room.

Draco sat in front of the fire staring at the archway Hermione had just exited through. What had he gotten himself into? He remembered his dream he had had about Hermione not to long ago and cringed, in the dream they had actually become friends! Draco mentally scolded himself before turning and staring into the fire, becoming friends with the Mudblood was just not an option.

“Where the bloody hell is Hermione? I mean she should be back by now shouldn’t she mate?” Ron questioned Harry as he paced around the Gryffindor Common Room.

“If I didn’t know any better Ron I would say that you were worried about her.” Harry replied with a little smile at his best friend.

“Aren’t you? I mean she has been with Malfoy this entire time, I would be worried about a Yeti if they were spending this much time with Malfoy.” Ron countered as he wrung his hands together, still pacing.

“I’m sure she is fine Ron, Dumbledore is there right?” Harry asked his friend, trying to settle him down. It was so funny how obvious Ron was being about his feelings for Hermione. Harry wondered if Ron could tell just how obvious.

“Yeah but still…” Ron stated offhandedly still pacing and looking intently at the Portrait Hole. Just then, the Portrait Hole opened and Hermione’s form appeared looking absolutely elated, the happiest Harry had seen Hermione in quite some time.

“What are you so damn happy about?” Ron questioned abruptly as he plopped down with relief into a nearby plush armchair. Harry turned and gave a perplexed look in Ron’s direction. Just seconds before he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown he was so worried about Hermione and now he seemed to be mad at her again, was this his way of showing his relief at seeing Hermione?

“Well Ronald, as I was about to tell you and Harry, I have just been shown my new living quarters-” Hermione started with a smile on her face.

“You mean the one you now share with Malfoy?” Ron interjected rudely, not even turning to look at her and Harry. What was going on with him? Harry thought, making a mental note to ask Ron about this later.

“Yes the one I share with Malfoy, Hermione answered coolly, But anyways- they are absolutely exquisite! Solid gold furniture, scarlet velvet, everything! You two must come by and see them after Potions tomorrow!” Hermione explained excitedly, she looks like a kid at Christmas, Harry thought amusedly. But it was good to see Hermione happy like this, she deserved it. After her hard work for six years, she needed something like this, something that rewarded her.

Hermione and Harry went over plopped down in chairs by Ron who had been listening the entire time. Ron came around, and the three sat there talking in the Common Room until long after midnight. Finally, Hermione began to drift off to sleep so she excused herself and walked back to her new dormitory, enjoying the nice quiet stroll.

She finally reached the Prefects’ Common Room and glided toward the picture and pressed the jewel-encrusted amulet with a smile, she could definitely get used to this, she thought to herself as she climbed the stairs.

“Contra Veritas.” Hermione spoke sleepily as the oak door opened and she rubbed her eyes, making a mental note to look up what the password means in Latin.

“Midnight rendezvous with Potter and Weasel eh’ Granger?” Draco commented with a sinister grin as he rubbed his eyes and set the book he had been reading down on the coffee table. Hermione glanced down at the book, Advanced Potions for the Overly Ambitious Wizard, and scoffed, it certainly suited him.

“What’s it to you Malfoy?” Hermione questioned as she yawned and walked over towards her staircase, so tired she could barely make it up the stairs.

“Nothing Granger, absolutely nothing.” Draco muttered under his breath as he looked over at her staircase, shook his head, and climbed his own.

When Draco’s head finally found solace with the confines of his forest green silk pillow, he drifted off, almost immediately, into an uneasy sleep.


Chapter 6: POTIONS
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CHAPTER 6: POTIONS

“Well it seems that we have all been fortunate enough to survive the summer to come back for another year of Potions, and as seventh years I might add.” The sneering voice of Severus Snape cut through the air.
“Now I presume everyone has done their essays that were assigned over the summer… they are due today you all know my policy on late work by now.” Snape said with a little evil grin as he looked around at all of the nervous faces. “Okay now if you would pass up all 5 of them.”

“What are the titles again Professor?” The little voice of Hannah Abbot squeaked from the back of the classroom. Draco turned to glare at the insolent little Hufflepuff, how could she be so thick…

“The five you were assigned Miss Abbot- though if you don’t know the titles of them by now then I am to presume that you either didn’t do them or did a very poor job on them- are ‘Uses of Mandrakes’, ‘Properties of Wolfsbane’, ‘Steps in Sleeping Droughts’, ‘Proper Policies of a Polyjuice Potion’ and ‘Veritaserum.’ Well now that you all have been pitifully reminded, pass them up.” Snape sneered with a scornful grin.

Draco glided his long essays out of his folder and sat back with a smirk. He was willing to bet that more then half the class had not done theirs. Draco looked to the front of the class where the Golden Trio were digging for their essays- well Weasley and Potter were digging- Hermione had hers sitting on the desk in neat looking report covers. Draco scowled, what an overachiever, Draco thought to himself.

“Psst, Granger.” Draco whispered fiercely to Hermione. Hermione looked around and glared right at him, Ron looked sideways at Hermione and turned to stare at Draco as well.

“What the bloody hell do you want Malfoy?” Ron whispered at Malfoy with a menacing glare.

Draco acted as though Ron didn’t exist and looked straight at Hermione, “Why do you try so hard on your essays? You do know that Snape will never respect a Mudblood like yourself, even if you are an overachiever.” Draco spat at Hermione with an evil glare as Crabbe and Goyle laughed right behind him.

“Nice One.” Goyle said thickly as him and Crabbe continued their insipid guffawing.

“Sod off Malfoy!” Ron spat as he put an arm around Hermione and turned her around. Draco glared at the pair of them, Ron looked so pathetic, acting as though it was his duty to protect Hermione or something from big-bad Draco.

“Really Weaslbee I wasn’t talking to you in the first place so please mind your own damn business.” Draco sneered.

“Turn to page four hundred and seventy- four.” Snape proclaimed as he glided to the front of the room.

“LISTEN MALFOY I AM SICK OF YOU ALWAYS BLOODY-” Ron turned abruptly and began to yell at Draco before Snape raced up to the desk where the Golden Trio were sitting and slammed his hands down on their table.

“Mr. Weasley.” Snape sneered as his eyes glinted menacingly at Ron. “Feel free to quit trying to be noble and actually pay attention to the lesson, that way you might actually get an acceptable grade in this class- miracles do happen.” Snape remarked as he towered over Ron, just daring him to retaliate.

“Five points from Gryffindor for Weasley’s venerable attitude.” Snape proclaimed. “Now turn to page four hundred and seventy-four.”

Harry gave a sidelong glance at Ron who looked to be so embarrassed that his ears were the same color as his hair. “Sorry.” Harry mumbled.

“It’s alright; Snape’s a bloody bastard anyways.” Ron whispered back to Harry who laughed a little, drawing some unwanted attention.

“Potter, Weasley stop talking or you will find yourselves serving detention for the next two weeks, 5 points from Gryffindor.” Snape declared as he returned back to the lesson.

“Who knows the properties of the Veritas Forma potion?” Snape questioned the class. Hermione’s hand shot straight up into the air. “Potter, Weasley, you two seem not to need to listen so tell me do either of you know the properties of the Veritas Forma Potion?”

“No, but clearly Hermione does.” Harry responded firmly as he stared straight back at Snape, Hermione was still holding her hand straight up in the air.

“But I didn’t ask Hermione, Potter. I asked you, but clearly you don’t know- what a surprise.” Snape growled as his lip curled. “Detention Potter, for your serious lack of respect. Now Ms. Granger seeing as how you cant seem to stop being an insufferable know-it-all please do tell us the properties of-”

“The Veritas Forma, or True Appearance, Potion, Hermione interjected, allows the drinker to see everything and everyone in a sense their ‘true light.’ This is achieved by a color coding system that only the drinker can see. It is especially useful to detect whether or not a person is a friend or foe.”

At the last line, Harry turned and stared intently at Snape who returned the stare for a moment before looking away.

“Thank you Ms. Granger. Now the Veritas Forma potion is very difficult to brew so some of you will need considerable help tomorrow when we brew it.” Snape declared with sadistic satisfaction as he turned his gaze on Neville. After that, Harry stopped listening to what Snape was saying and thinking back to the potion identifying friend or foe. Something about that worried Harry. He knew Snape was supposedly a spy that was helping The Order but Harry still didn’t trust him, and neither had Sirius.

The rest of the Potions Class dragged by at an intolerably slow rate. By the end of the Lesson Snape had taken away at least thirty points from Gryffindor and had almost caused Ron to walk out in fury after being assigned detention along with Seamus. The only thing that was keeping Harry going at the moment was the prospect of seeing Hermione’s new Head Girl dormitories and Common Room.

{ I know this Chapter is a tad on the short side but i promise to make up for it on the following ones so please bear with me and KEEP READING AND REVIEWING!! I love the advice ;) }


Chapter 7: A HUMBLE ABODE
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CHAPTER 7: A HUMBLE ABODE

“Well it’s good to see that Snape was in such a good mood.” Hermione remarked flippantly as she, Harry and Ron walked the hallways towards Hermione’s new living quarters.

“I hope you are kidding Hermione, that bloody bastard gave me Harry and Seamus detention!” Ron replied exasperated.

“But would you expect anything less from him, Ronald?” Hermione queried as they turned left down an ornate hallway that Harry new to lead to the Prefects’ common room and bathroom- having visited it in his fourth year.

“No but still Hermione, even you can’t deny that he is a bloody bastard.” Ron retorted looking almost abashed that Hermione didn’t seem to be as upset about Snape’s behavior as he was.

“Were here.” Hermione stated jubilantly, completely ignoring Ron’s profession.

“What? This is the Prefects’ Common Room… this can’t be your new living quarters?” Ronald questioned as he eyed Hermione suspiciously while she gave the password.

Harry’s eyes widened in amazement as he walked into the Prefects’ Common Room. It was worth all the work to be a Prefect just to see this but, Harry had a feeling that there was still more to see.

“Follow me.” Hermione commanded as Ron and Harry beside Hermione as she approached the big portrait.

“Isn’t that King Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere, and the knight’s of the Round Table?” Harry asked aloud as his eyes looked over the magnificent piece of artwork and landed on a character that he hadn’t seen the first time. “Is it just me or does that Merlin look a lot like Dumbledore.”

“Oh my, you are right Harry it does. I hadn’t even noticed that until now.” Hermione replied as she studied the figure before pressing the jeweled amulet. The painting slid aside, revealing the dimly lit velvet staircase.

“Wicked.” Ron remarked as the three walked up the winding stairs until they got to the door at the top.

“Rather secretive about this place aren’t they?” Ron asked aloud as he stared at the solid oak door. Harry agreed there was something mysterious about this door; Harry looked up to see the Latin inscription, Coercere ambitio fugare ratio tunc traditum a cupiditas amare contra veritas, atop the archway.

“Um Hermione, what does that say?” Harry questioned as he pointed to the words.

“You know Harry I was wondering that when Dumbledore first brought me and Malfoy up here, I am not sure exactly- but I did translate the password. I think I will owl Percy and ask him.” Hermione replied with a smile as she spoke.

“Contra Veritas.”

“That’s Latin isn’t it?” Ron asked thickly as the solid door opened with a loud creaking sound.

“Oh very good Ronald.” Hermione retorted sarcastically as she rolled her eyes. “It means on the other side of truth.”

“Odd password.” Ron remarked to himself before noticing the Common Room. “BLOODY HELL THIS IS ABSOLUTELY WICKED!” Ron remarked as he stepped inside and began looking around feverishly.

“Red and Green? Didn’t see that one coming. Harry spoke to himself more then Hermione who overheard and let out a slight chuckle.

“That’s exactly what I thought; just wait till you see my actual dormitory- very Gryffindor indeed.” Hermione stated to Harry as Ron let out a gasp of admiration at seeing a table and chairs made for playing chess.

“I WANT TO BE BLOODY HEAD BOY!”

“You’d like that wouldn’t you Weasel?” Malfoy proclaimed icily as he stepped into his Common Room.

“What the bloody hell are you doing here Malfoy?” Ron spat indignantly, gripping the back of a chair firmly.

“This happens to be my living quarters, unlike you. And Potter here isn’t even a Prefect so he shouldn’t even be any where near here.” Draco stated lazily as he traipsed over to an armchair in front of the fire and plopped down, staring menacingly at Ron and Harry.

“Sod off Malfoy, we were just visiting Hermione.” Harry said back, his emerald eyes narrowing with extreme dislike.

“Well don’t let me intrude, I mean it is my down time to. As much as I love watching you three with your silly little love, triangle I do find your escapades nauseating. I thought we discussed this in the letter Granger.” Draco shot at Hermione who was standing next to the bookshelf with her arms crossed.

“YES ABOUT THAT BLOODY LETTER, WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” Ron yelled suddenly at the mere mention of the letter. His face was already turning bright red in fury.

“Malfoy you have no right to send Hermione a letter declaring rules as if she is less then you.” Harry chimed in as both he and Ron closed the space between them and Draco.

Draco’s hand tightened around his wand as he saw Harry and Ron advance. He wasn’t too scared of Ron but Harry on the other hand- anyone who could survive a wand duel with Voldemort deserved some respect.

“What is it Weaselbee? Gonna curse me because I sent a bloody letter to your little girlfriend?” Draco mused as he pulled his wand out and glared into Ron’s eyes, which averted their glance down at Draco’s wand with the slight flicker of fear. “Oh don’t be scared Weasel you are hardly worth my time, plus I wouldn’t want your family suing me, even though they are in obviously in desperate need of money.” Malfoy sneered softly to Ron who lunged at him and connected his fists first with Draco’s nose, then his mouth.

“STOP IT!” Hermione screamed as she rushed over just as Harry was pulling Ron and Draco apart.

“He’s not worth it Ron!” Harry bellowed at Ron in a desperate attempt to calm him down.

“DID YOU HEAR WHAT HE SAID ABOUT MY FAMILY? I AM SICK OF IT! I AM GONNA KILL THAT BLOODY LITTLE FERRET!” Ron shouted as he lunged at Draco again but Harry held him back.

“Ron there is no use in getting yourself expelled over a git like Malfoy!” Harry yelled again, still holding Ron back. “Hermione I think it is time that we left.” Harry said offhandedly to Hermione as he maneuvered Ron towards the door. Ron walked through it and could be heard banging his fists on the walls the whole way down the staircase.

“Yes Potter leave and don’t come back.” Draco sneered as he held his hand up to pinch his bleeding nose.

After taking a split second glance to make sure Ron was out of sight Harry marched up to Draco and in a flash had him pinned up against a wall.

“WHAT THE HELL POTTER!?” Malfoy yelled, his back pressed firmly against the wall.

“You listen Malfoy and you listen well. I know how to get up here so you better not wrong Hermione in anyway or you will have me to deal with, and I can bloody well assure you that you will be in for worse then a bloody nose.” Harry threatened before releasing Draco off the wall.

“Is that a threat Potter?” Malfoy countered as he brushed down his robes.

“No Malfoy, that’s a promise.” Harry declared as he nodded to Hermione with a smile before leaving.

“Now do you understand why I made that a rule!” Draco spat accusingly at Hermione after Harry and Ron were out of earshot.

“Sometimes Malfoy, you will learn, rules are meant to be broken.” Hermione said with a sly grin as she turned on her heel, book clasped in her hand, and ascended to her bedchamber, leaving Draco to contend with a fresh bloody lip and nose.
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Chapter 8: AISLES, BOOKS, and INSCRIPTIONS
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CHAPTER 8: AISLES, BOOKS AND INSCRIPTIONS

Hermione sat staring out the window of the solitary aisle she had found in the library. It was the middle of October and the leaves of the magnificent trees on Hogwarts Grounds had begun to turn vibrant shades of orange, yellow, and red. Hermione smiled a little as she looked out the window; so much had happened since the start of school- though, with the exception of the incident in her Living Quarters, none of it really that bad.

Quidditch season had started and Gryffindor had made quite a showing of themselves in their first match against Hufflepuff. Ron didn’t allow a single goal, Ginny scored twelve and Harry had caught the snitch while dangling from his broom with one hand. What a match that had been, they certainly were a shoe in for the cup. Hermione knew she should be incredibly happy for Ron, Ginny and Harry but in some ways, she had distanced herself from them because of it. They, well mostly Ron, had let it go to his head. Hermione had to admit that he had come a long way since the early chidings of ‘Weasley is our King’ but that certainly did not make it okay for him to strut about the place as if he was, well, Malfoy.

Come to think of it, Hermione hadn’t seen much of him in a while either. The pair of them had, in a way, patched things up since the first incident with Harry and Ron and in a way had come to a mutual respect for one another, even occasionally having study sessions, though neither would admit it. Hermione had begun to rather like Malfoy’s company, once you got past his rough exterior he really wasn’t that bad, on the contrary, Hermione had found him to be one of the most intriguing people she had ever associated with.

“Trying to find the true meaning of life?” A sweet voice asked from behind Hermione, she smiled knowing exactly who it was.

“Well Ginevra, some one has to.” Hermione replied with a smile as she gave Ginny a little hug and the two sat down.

“Yikes, Advanced Arithmancy?” Ginny grimaced as she looked down at the book Hermione had just been pouring through. “With those kind of studies you are gonna put yourself in an early grave ‘Mione.” Ginny stated with a wistful sigh at her friend.

“I think you would find it quite intriguing Ginny, you see first you take the Character number and-” Hermione started though quickly interrupted.

“Spare me the details Hermione. So how have you been? I know we haven’t seen much of each other since season started and we all miss not seeing you as much.” Ginny declared with an empathetic smile.

We? So now you guys care about how I have been, now that I am not there? I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder. Hermione thought to herself in exasperation. She didn’t know whether she wanted them to be fawning over her or to leave her in solitude. A rather unlikely person soon interrupted Hermione’s tempests of thoughts.

“Um Granger I was wondering if you understand the Arithmancy homework? That horrid Professor Vector woman does nothing for me in the way of explanation.” Draco stated as he casually walked down Hermione and Ginny’s secluded library aisle. Ginny stared in apparent disbelief and dislike.

“Yes I understand it perfectly; I am guessing you want help so I will help you after I am done chatting with Ginny.” Hermione responded courteously with a polite smile, Ginny on the other hand was not so courteous.

“Just because you two share a living quarters does not mean you have to help him.” Ginny smarted off to Hermione; completely ignoring the fact, that Draco was standing right there.

“And just because you are a Weasley doesn’t mean that you have to act a though you can boss around Mudbloods.” Draco sneered back vindictively, Hermione’s head jerked up abruptly at the mere mention of the word Mudblood, which was a word that had not slipped out of Draco’s lips in quite some time, well at least not in earshot of Hermione.

“That’s enough Malfoy; I said I would help you now leave us in peace.” Hermione directed at Draco curtly.

“As you wish my lady.” Draco replied sarcastically with a mock bow and turned to leave the aisle, only to collide with Ron.

“Watch where the bloody hell you are going!” Ron seethed, their eyes met, a sense of deep hatred passed between them, and a silence endured until one of Draco’s sly comments broke the tension.

“Well Weaselbee if I didn’t know any better I would say that you need to watch those monstrous feet of yours, they are obviously impairing your walking.” Draco stated maliciously before continuing out of the aisle.

“I really hate that git!” Ron raged before a light bulb clicked on in his head. “Ginny, what was he doing down here anyways?”

“I don’t know exactly, why don’t you ask Hermione? She seems to be the only one he wanted anything to do with. Something about studying Arithmancy together.” Ginny declared as she shot Hermione a look that Hermione couldn’t tell whether was a look of concern or distrust.

“Is this true Hermione? Are you two ACTUALLY bloody studying together?!” Ron queried his eyes as big as saucers.

“Well yes Ronald, why do you ask?” Hermione asked Ron skeptically, raising her eyebrows a little.

“WHY DO I- WHY DO I ASK?” Ron started blubbering “HERMIONE HAVE YOU GONE BLOODY MAD? THAT IS MALFOY! ... YOU TWO AREN’T FRIENDS ARE YOU?” Ron questioned dangerously at Hermione, Ginny’s head whipped around as well and both of the Weasley’s were now staring intently at Hermione.

“Well I wouldn’t say friends per say but we do study together, Why do you care any way Ron? You are so busy with Quidditch I am surprised you even had time to notice.” Hermione shot back acidly, she felt bad immediately after it came out of her mouth but there was no way she was backing down now. Who was Ron to tell her whom she should study with? She knew there were friends but, he was acting as though they were dating or something.


“I was only worried about you Hermione, I do care you know.” Ron sputtered softly to Hermione before turning and walking out.

“Is Ron alright?” Hermione asked Ginny concernedly.

“Well I guess so; he just has a bad case of heartache.” Ginny stated directly as she looked behind her where Ron had just left.

“Heartache for what?” Hermione asked, her chestnut eyes looking straight into Ginny’s.

“You know Hermione for being the brightest witch in school you sure are rather oblivious, especially when things are staring you right in the face.” Ginny commented before giving a small nod with a slight smile and turning to leave. There at the end of the aisle was the solid form of Draco Malfoy staring at Hermione. Hermione saw Ginny glare at him before walking away, a worried look plastered on her face.

“Did I come at a bad time?” Draco commented sarcastically as he pulled a chair up next to Hermione and smiled.

“You know you did Draco.” Hermione stated softly as she looked out the window for a second, worrying about Ron, he seemed so crestfallen.

“Granger, did you just call me Draco?” Draco asked stunned.

“Oh I suppose I did, sorry it must have slipped.” Hermione replied, still staring intently out the window.

“No it’s fine I rather liked it.” Draco commented softly as he studied Hermione for a second before letting out a little cough. “Well I suppose we better get to this um Arithmancy then.”

“Yes, suppose we should.” Hermione said wistfully as she turned around and looked at Draco, her chestnut eyes reflecting the pain she was feeling. She was so confused, Ginny and Ron were both upset about her spending time with Draco, Ron said he truly cared about her and Ginny said she was oblivious. “Draco, do you think I’m oblivious?”

“What?” Draco said taken completely off guard by the question and hearing his name again.

“Well Ginny said that for being the brightest witch in school I was completely oblivious, especially when things were staring me right in the face.” Hermione stated before looking down hopelessly at her feet.

Draco laughed out loud throwing Hermione completely off. “What are you laughing at Malfoy?”
“Oh nothing, you are oblivious Granger! Don’t you get where Ginny was going with that?” Draco questioned Hermione with a mischievous grin.

“Well I guess I am oblivious then, care to explain your reasoning?” Hermione shot back, sick of no one coming out and saying what they meant.

“Well obviously the Weasel likes you.” Draco proclaimed with a smirk.

“Of course he does, him and Harry are my best friends.” Hermione scoffed.

“No Granger, you really don’t get it, Weasley REALLY likes you.” Draco started. “I am surprised it has taken you this long to figure it out, the rest of us did way back in second year.” Draco sneered; he hated having to bring this to Hermione’s attention. As much as Hermione infuriated him, it was nowhere close to the deep loathing he had for Ron. Hermione could do better, Draco thought before mentally scolding himself, she is a Mudblood he reminded himself- he was not suppose to care about who she ended up with, but he couldn’t help it.

“What do you mean by we all figured it out in second year?” Hermione snapped at Draco, she hated the fact that everyone knew something she didn’t.

“Well you obviously didn’t know because you were petrified but the rest of us had to watch Ron and Harry mope around here for months, Ron in particular was a nasty wreck.” Draco stated with a malicious glint in his eyes at remembrance of Potter and Weasley looking so lost without their precious Hermione.

“Oh…” Hermione said softly as she turned and looked out the window again in deep thought. So Ron had had feelings for her all these years, why hadn’t that git said anything. Hermione thought to herself.

“So anyways, before we got way off topic, about this Arithmancy work…” Draco interjected, bringing Hermione’s attention back on to himself.

Hermione looked down on it and scoffed, “Oh Draco this is SO simple, all it is asking for is your character number.”

“And that means what?” Draco asked back promptly, he didn’t like being made feel inferior to a Mudblood.

“Okay well we will start from the beginning then, you obviously don’t understand.” Hermione started pompously. “Okay as you know every letter has a number that translates with it. And to find your character number you add up the number values in your name. So here take out a piece of parchment and I’ll show you.”

Draco followed in suit as Hermione began to scribble a chart on the parchment, explaining the entire process. But Draco found he was unable to concentrate on her little Arithmancy lesson. He couldn’t take his eyes off Hermione. He was seeing Hermione in a different light. He couldn’t believe it had taken him over six years to really notice how beautiful she was. Her once bushy hair was now cascading down in soft brown curls, her buck teeth were now perfectly straight and white, and those mesmerizing chestnut eyes-

“Draco? Draco, are you paying attention?” Hermione scolded when she noticed Draco staring at her.

“Yeah, whatever Granger.” Draco spat back, his cheeks turning a little pink with embarrassment.

“Well like I was saying your Character Number tells your general personality. So let’s figure this out.” Hermione lectured as she wrote the word ‘Draco Malfoy’ on the parchment and figured out the math. Draco stared at her again, what was happening to him? Was he actually having some sort of feelings for Granger? He had to be coming down with something.

“Okay so your Character number would be five.” Hermione stated proudly with a little smile at Draco.

“What does that mean?” Draco asked with a confused look.

“Okay so it basically means that your general personality is centered on instability and imbalance indicating change and uncertainty. Those with the number five are drawn to many things at once but commit to none. They are adventurous, energetic and willing to take risks. They enjoy travel and meeting new people but may not stay in one place for very long. Fives can be conceited, quick-tempered, and impatient.” Hermione replied, laughing at a few parts.

“Did you just quote the book without looking at it Granger?” Draco questioned with a smirk as he thought about what she said, it did describe him rather well.

“Why yes I did Malfoy, but why do you care, you got your question answered and some personal insight in the process.” Hermione snapped back a little embarrassed that she was caught actually quoting the book, but Arithmancy was her favorite.

“Well I guess your right, thanks Granger.” Draco replied with a smirk as he scribbled Hermione’s answer on to his parchment. Hermione turned and stared out the window again, Draco looked up at her again- captivated.

“Okay well I must be going back to the dormitories now, see you later Granger.” Draco snapped as he let out a confused sigh and quickly packed up his stuff.

“You okay Malfoy?” Hermione asked without even turning around.

“Oh I am just dandy Granger.” Draco retorted back, sarcasm seeping from his voice. As he got up from his stool.

“Hey Malfoy, before you leave I have one more question.” Hermione stated as she swiveled her stool around and looked Draco directly in the eyes.

Something rose up in Draco’s stomach as Hermione looked him in the eyes and he started to feel a little hot numbness go through his entire body. “Yes Granger?” Draco managed to get out.

“Well I have been wondering for a while what, Coercere ambitio fugare ratio tunc traditum a cupiditas amare contra veritas, means. I even owled Percy to ask him, seeing as how he was Head Boy but he didn’t know, those weren’t even the words above the archway when he was Head Boy.” Hermione asked Draco, her eyes latching on to Draco’s steel eyes.

“Oh what is above our archway?” Draco laughed a little at such a question, Granger had not figured that out yet, shocker. “Well that one is simple, it’s Latin, it means ‘Supress ambition, flee reason and surrender to desire to love on the other side of truth.’ Honestly Granger I am surprised you didn’t figure that out.” Draco stated pompously as he turned to go, leaving Hermione to think about what he had just said.

It was true, for the past several months Draco had been beating himself out over just what the inscription above that archway meant. He had figured out the English his second day at Hogwarts but what those words would be doing above him and Hermione’s dormitory entrance was a mystery, with each guess more farfetched then the last.



Chapter 9: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
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CHAPTER 9: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

“YOU READY RON?” Ginny yelled from the middle of the Quidditch pitch.

“OH HURRY UP GINEVRA SO WE CAN GET THIS PRACTICE UNDERWAY!” Ron yelled back from the three rings he was guarding.

Ginny took off in a flash, swooping and swerving trying to throw Ron off guard, the Quaffle grasped firmly under her arm. Ginny took a sharp swerve to the right, Ron followed, as Ginny shot straight to the left- the goal that Ron had just left unguarded.

“AND SHE SCORES!!!” Ginny yelled as the Quaffle sailed through the goal and Ginny immediately took off on a victory lap around the stadium, just to infuriate Ron.

“WELL I HAD TO GIVE YOU THAT ONE GINEVRA!” Ron bellowed across the field at her, though Harry could tell she had done a little number on his pride. Ron touched his broom down on the ground and took a clipboard in his hands.

“GINNY, GET DOWN HERE SO WE CAN START PRACTICE!” Ron shouted at Ginny, who was still doing victory laps around the field.

“Well someone has got their knickers in a twist.” Ginny shot at Ron as she touched her broom down gracefully next to Harry. Ron shot Ginny a dangerous look before calling out the roll.

“WEASLEY!” Ron started the roll out with the Chasers.

“Obviously Here.” Ginny retorted as she nudged Harry in the side and gave him a look that said, “What a bloody idiot.”

“LONGBOTTOM!”

“Here.” Neville squeaked at Ron, Harry looked up and studied Neville. He had lost quite a bit a weight and gained some confidence since their fifth year and Harry due that mostly to his run in at the Ministry of Magic.

“BROWN!”

“Present.” Lavender responded as she twirled her hair. Ron looked up at her for a second before scoffing in disgust, “Lavender, how many times have I told you, no jewelry on the Quidditch pitch…and make up really isn’t necessary either.” Ron directed at Lavender before rolling his eyes and continuing. “Alright then Beaters, FINNEGAN, THOMAS?”

“BOTH HERE-” Dean started.

“- AND READY FOR ACTION.” Seamus finished. Lavender turned around and looked disdainfully at the pair of them. “Looking for action too?” Seamus remarked at Lavender with a mischievous grin.

“When hell freezes over Seamus.” Lavender spat back.

“That’s not what you said last night.” Seamus countered as he put a hand on Lavender’s shoulder- that was quickly slapped away- though Dean and Seamus just laughed.

“POTTER!”

“Present.” Harry responded to Ron, who was now looking absolutely frazzled.

“WEASLEY!”

No response.

“WEASLEY!”

No response.


“WHERE THE BLOODY HELL IS WEASLEY?” Ron roared.

“If I am not mistaken Ron, you are Weasley.” Neville remarked timidly.

“OF COURSE I AM NEVILLE I JUST- oh sorry, right you are.” Ron responded sheepishly as he marked it down on his list- his cheeks turning bright red. The whole team roared with laughter for several minutes before finally getting a game plan.

“Okay well I thought we could all start out with Chasers dodging bludgers, set forth by the Beaters, while trying to score on me. We will continue this drill till Harry catches the snitch.” Ron proclaimed before breaking off into positions and letting the snitch loose.

About ten minutes later Harry had caught the snitch effortlessly and Ron’s drill with the rest of the team had barely gotten underway, needless to say Harry was asked to catch snitch a few more times so the rest of the team could get a decent exercise.

“Alright now I want to go over the attack plan for the Ravenclaw game.” Ron started, a little out of breath, Ginny had become such a good shooter that Ron really had to work to stop her shots- though his skills had actually surpassed that of Oliver Wood. “Alright now we are gonna run a Pentagon Formation with Ginny in front and obviously our two beaters at the back. Neville and Lavender, you two will be in the flanks acting as decoys and sending crosses into Ginny.”

“Alright Captain.” Neville responded proudly, he really took the whole Quidditch thing very seriously.

“Wait so Neville and I don’t get to shoot?” Lavender spat at Ron indignantly while examining her fingernails.

“You can but for the most part Ginny will be the one shooting, why is that a problem for you Lavender?” Ron shot back at Lavender contemptuously; it was no secret that Ron really didn’t think to much of Lavender Brown.

“Not at all Weasley.” Lavender responded before tying her long hair back in a jeweled barrette and mounting her broom. The others followed in suit and practiced Ron’s new plan, which Harry had to admit worked rather well. After about another hour of training the practice finally ended and they all left talking excitedly.

“You know you ride really well.” Seamus remarked at Lavender.

“Did you say something Finnegan?” Lavender spat back, though it was obvious that she did not exactly hate the attention.

“Ride the broom really well I mean.” Seamus responded quickly with a little smirk as Lavender turned and threw Seamus a look that said, ‘I know exactly what you were getting at.’

“Wow Brown you really are a pervert…” Dean commented as he and Seamus strolled passed her snickering and laughing, leaving Lavender Brown looking absolutely livid.

Harry and Ginny were walking right behind the three of them as they exited the stadium trying desperately not to laugh.

“Hey Harry I was wondering if well um-” Ginny started before being interrupted by none other then Ron.

“Um Harry could we talk for a minute mate…” Ron stated rather offhandedly towards Harry as Ginny studied him for a second, what was he playing at?

“Sure Ron, what about?” Harry asked hoping it was not anything life threatening.

“H-E-R-M-I-O-N-E” Ron mouthed rather slowly, though anyone within a ten-mile radius could have understood what he said.

“Oh right- well um, er I guess I will see you later in the Great Hall Ginny…” Harry remarked as he cottoned on to the fact that Ron wanted a little privacy. Ginny nodded at Harry with a little smile before turning and walking up towards the castle. Harry watched her walk and the sun hit her vibrant red hair just right and Harry could feel a weird sensation come over himself, a sort or excitement and nervousness at the same. Ginny is really pretty, Harry thought to himself, how could I have not noticed it before?

“Don’t think I didn’t bloody see that mate.” Ron shot at Harry, calling Harry’s attention back on to him.

“Oh right sorry Ron, I was just uh…” Harry started in vain.

“Forget it mate.” Ron directed back at Harry with a little smile but was still a little skeptical; did he just check out Ginny? Ron thought to himself perplexed before continuing. “So have you talked to Hermione in a while?” Ron asked Harry as the two started to walk around the Quidditch pitch.

“Um well I talked to her yesterday in Defense Against the Dark Arts but just about the lesson, why is she okay?” Harry asked Ron a little worried about where he might be going with this. Harry had not even realized his lack of communication with Hermione in a while till Ron brought it up, Harry made a mental note to himself to have a talk with her soon.

“Well I think she’s fine, but well she was talking Malfoy today…” Ron trailed off, and Harry could tell Ron was leaving a lot unsaid.

“What are you trying to say Ron?” Harry asked, hoping he could coax Ron into saying what he actually feels for once.

“I don’t know I just find it a bit queer, you know? They hated each other, and now they talk and have study sessions together, he doesn’t even call her a bloody Mudblood anymore Harry!” Ron raged a little as he brought his hand up and rubbed his forehead in frustration. Harry looked at him for a moment before responding, Ron looked like he was really hurting.

“Well yes Ron it is a bit odd but isn’t it good that at least Malfoy is being civil to her?” Harry asked delicately.

“IT IS, BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE WAY HE LOOKED AT HER THEN GLARED AT ME I – I just don’t want to see her get hurt.” Ron finished before staring down at the grass.

“You care for Hermione don’t you Ron?” Harry whispered to his best friend.

“More then you know mate.” Ron professed softly, surprising Harry quite a bit; he did not think that Ron actually would have said it.

“Why don’t you tell her Ron?”

“I don’t know how mate- I just don’t, I am afraid of what she might say.” Ron spoke quietly before stuffing his hands way down in his pockets. “Well I better be going, need to clear my head before class, I’ll see you later Harry.” Ron said curtly before taking off towards the lake. Harry looked after him for a second; he knew it was a big thing for Ron to have told him yet. I have to talk to Hermione, Harry thought before turning towards the doors leading into Hogwarts with a heavy heart.

{ I hope everyone enjoyed this Chapter as much as i did writing it, thanks again for the reviews and KEEP READING! I promise chapter additions as soon as possible...;) }

Chapter 10: THE MOON AND MARS
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CHAPTER 10: THE MOON AND MARS

Hermione walked into the Great Hall to find a rather unusual sight, Ron was picking at his food not eating or talking while Harry and the rest of the Gryffindors were talking rather feverishly about the upcoming match against Ravenclaw.

“Well they might be smarter then us I can guarantee that there is no damn way they will bloody beat us this year.” Seamus was saying pride fully with Dean egging him on by his side. “I personally can’t wait ter see the look on Corner’s face when I smack the bloody bludger right at ‘em!”

Ginny let out a slight chuckle as Hermione sat down right beside her; Harry looked up at her and smiled.

“Hello Hermione, hey um I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind meeting me out by the Lake after class.” Harry asked, hoping he did not sound too suspicious.

“Um sure Harry, there is nothing wrong is there?” Hermione responded, a little taken aback at Harry’s request. It had been quite a while since the two of them talked.

“No nothing at all, just want to um- talk.” Harry stated rather unconvincingly. Hermione studied him for a second before looking diagonally at Ron who was sitting there picking at a sandwich right in front of him, looking as though he had just found out his dog died.

“What’s wrong Ron? And don’t say ‘nothing’ because you are not eating like a ravenous dog so I know something is troubling you.” Hermione directed at Ron with a little smile trying, unsuccessfully, to lighten the mood.

“I’m fine.” Ron replied flatly.

Harry looked at Ron out of the corner of his eye, he looked an absolute wreck but Harry thought it best to leave him alone at the minute. Hermione on the other hand did not seem at all satisfied with Ron’s answer.

“Ronald, you are obviously not fine, now what could possibly be bothering you so much that you are not eating?” Hermione asked considerably louder and more direct then before.

Ron looked up at her for a moment before responding, “NOTHING I JUST DON’T LIKE CORNED BEEF!” He raged before storming out of the Great Hall.

“Um I’ll see you after class by the Lake.” Harry said hurriedly as he got up quickly and rushed after Ron, it was about time for them to start making their way towards Divination anyways.

“What the hell was a matter with Weasley?” Seamus asked Hermione.

“I wish I knew.” Hermione stated softly, more to herself then Seamus. Ginny looked up at her and the two shared a look of understanding before Hermione got up to leave.

“Um I have suddenly lost my appetite so I guess I will see you later.” Hermione said to Ginny before getting up and walking out, with all eyes on her and her mind swimming with thoughts.
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From across the Great Hall another watched her walk out. Draco Malfoy had watched the whole thing unfold with Ron and could not help but feel a little bit sorry for Hermione. It was not her fault that Ron liked her. Then having him blowing up at her was totally out of line.

“Draco dear, where are you going?” The insipid voice of Pansy Parkinson rang out.

“Arithmancy.” Draco stated flatly, not even turning around as he continued to walk out of the Great Hall. Pansy watched him like a hawk as he walked out and noticed Hermione exit right before him, and Pansy scoffed in dislike. If she found out that Draco even had the slightest of feelings for that Mudblood she would have something to say about that.
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“Ron, wait up!” Harry called out as he rushed after Ron who was already halfway down the hall. “Are you okay?” Harry asked a little out of breath when he finally reached Ron.

“OH YES HARRY I AM BLOODY FINE!” Ron burst out, Harry looked at him in surprise; he knew Ron had a lot of pint up emotions but not like this.

“Ron, I was just trying to be a good friend, I don’t really know what else to do at the moment…” Harry trailed off, trying to quiet Ron down.

“I am sorry mate, I am just kind of lost at the moment… I care about her so much.” Ron stated softly.

“I know Ron; I think I have always known.” Harry replied, making this realization as soon as he said it. In some way, he had to have known it all of these years. “Where were you going anyways?” Harry asked Ron a little more upbeat.

“Uh? – Oh I don’t know, I guess to the Divination Tower.” Ron said, snapping back to reality.

“Oh well we are in Classroom Eleven today.” Harry remarked as he steered Ron back the other way.

“Why the bloody hell are we in there?” Ron asked thickly, sounding like his old self again.

“We have class with Firenze today.” Harry declared, not sure, whether or not he was happy about that. His classes definitely were a change from Professor Trelawney’s though.

“Oh lovely.” Ron replied sarcastically as he rolled his eyes.
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“Hey Granger!”

Hermione completely ignored whoever it was that was calling after her as she clenched her books to her chest in deep thought. Was she the reason Ron was acting like that? Ginny had hinted at Ron liking her and Draco had stated that rather bluntly, but she was not sure she would believe that until it slipped out of Ron’s lips, which, at the moment, did not seem like a likely prospect.

“Are you purposely trying to ignore me Granger?” A voice asked a little out of breath from practically sprinting to keep up with her.

Hermione turned around to come face to face with the steel grey eyes of Draco Malfoy and her heart seemed to jump into her throat for a second.

“Oh sorry Malfoy, I must not have heard you.” Hermione stated softly, still rather taken aback at the closeness between the two of them and took a step back. “Did you need something…?” Hermione implored, still staring him in the eyes. She did not know why she felt so jittery at the moment, probably just stress, she thought to herself.

“Well we were both walking to the same place so I thought company might not be too bad.” Draco replied still looking in her chestnut eyes as though trying to understand her.

“No I suppose not…” Hermione said softly before a hot searing pain cut through her ribs and she winced in pain, dropping her books to the ground, and slumping over slightly.

“Hermione are you okay?” Draco asked exasperatedly as he stepped forward as though to catch her but stepped back a little when she did not fall and looked at her with great concern.

Hermione clutched her ribs for a moment as she let the pain subside. Here it was over a year later and the curse that Dolohov had used on her back at the Ministry still hurt from time to time. “I’m fine Draco I am used to it by now.” Hermione replied, still rubbing her ribs.

“What is it from?” Draco queried, still staring at her darkly.

“A curse…” Hermione started as she straightened out her robes. “… but it happened back at the end of fifth year, it just hurts from time to time.”

“Oh…” Draco spoke softly, a dawn of understanding appeared across his face when she said the end of fifth year. His father had told him that she had been at the Ministry of Magic along with Potter, the two Weasleys, and Longbottom. But, for some reason, the fact that grown Death Eaters had been flinging dark curses at them hadn’t registered till now. “Do you need me to take you to the Hospital Wing?”

“I said I was fine Malfoy.” Hermione responded with a little laugh at how much he was fussing over her. Though the truth was she really didn’t feel fine, but she could deal with this, plus she couldn’t very well miss Arithmancy over some silly pain.

“Well here…” Draco started as he got down on his hands and knees and began picking up her books. Hermione looked at him in surprise for a minute before dropping to her knees as well. They both reached out for Advanced Arithmancy at the same time and their hands touched, sending little jolts up both of their spinal cords. Their eyes met and something passed between them before Hermione cleared her throat and stood up. Draco’s cheeks turned a light shade of pink as he stacked up the rest of the books and handed them to Hermione.

“Thanks Draco…” Hermione stated softly, careful to avoid his eyes, before taking her mound of books and walking off at a fast pace towards Arithmancy, leaving Draco standing there gaping.
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Classroom Eleven was situated in the ground-floor corridor leading off the entrance hall, opposite the Great Hall, making it not too difficult for Harry and Ron to get to class. Prior to Firenze teaching at Hogwarts the classroom was one of those that was never regularly used and used to have a slightly neglected feeling to it, but now it felt more like the Forbidden Forest then a classroom. That was due mainly to the fact that the entire classroom floor was covered in moss and trees were growing out of it; spreading their branches across the ceiling, creating a sort of canopy that in some parts covered the starry night sky that was the ceiling.
In the center of the room, where there were no trees, stood the gallant figure of Firenze- illuminated by the moonlight shining down from the enchanted sky. Upon recognition of Harry and Ron, the Centaur came up to them,
“Harry Potter.” He acknowledged Harry, holding out his hand.
“Er- hi,” Harry responded, as he shook hands with the centaur that seemed to be surveying him with his vast crystal blue eyes, “Um, good to see you again…” Harry trailed off a little uncomfortably- There was something about the omnipotent presence of the centaur that made Harry go a bit rigid.

“And you,” stated the centaur, “it was foretold that we would meet again.” Firenze finished, inclining his white blond head in a cross between a nod and bow. Harry looked at Firenze’s chest, which now showed no more trace of the horrible bruise it had when he had started here, that Harry was at least glad to see. Harry pulled Ron, who was gawking at Firenze, by the shirt and the two went and sat against a nearby tree stump while the rest of the class filed in.

Seamus, Dean and Neville came over with large grins on their faces and sat down next to Harry and Ron.

“What’s with the bloody grin?” Ron asked Seamus, still a bit irritable.

“Well with that attitude Weasley I don’t know if I should tell you-” Seamus replied with a mischievous smirk.

“Oh go on Seamus, he’s bound to find out sooner or later.” Neville commented, obviously excited as well.

“WILL YOU TWO SAY IT ALREADY?” Ron lashed out, more annoyed then excited.

“Alright well there won’t be a Halloween Feast this year…” Seamus started.

“That’s no reason to bloody smile!” Ron yelled aghast as though it was the end of the world.

“But there will be a Halloween Party in the Great Hall for the whole school!” Dean finished, unable to hold it in. Seamus elbowed him in the gut for this, “What? I couldn’t help it…” Dean trailed off as he shot Seamus a glare and rubbed his stomach.

“That’s absolutely brilliant!” Harry exclaimed as he looked at Ron, this would be the perfect opportunity for him to ask Hermione.

“That’s not the half of it mate, it is a costume party as well!” Seamus added with a wink. The whole group murmured their approval with a smile.

“But there is a catch…” Neville piped up.

“Oh right, Dumbledore said that everyone must go with someone from another House, something about building school unity…” Seamus trailed off a little uneasily.

“HAS HE GONE BLOODY MENTAL?” Ron bellowed and Harry knew exactly what he was thinking, Draco and Hermione.

“That’s exactly what I was thinking, I had someone in mind too but now…well you know.” Seamus stated obviously crestfallen.

“You were gonna ask Lavender weren’t you mate?” Dean asked Seamus loud enough that her and Pavarti could over hear and started to laugh.

“Would you pipe down?” Seamus growled, elbowing him in the stomach again. “Well I thought you two ought to know.” He finished with a smile at Ron and Harry as he laid his head back against a stump and Firenze began the lesson.

“For this lesson we will be discussing something similar to what humans refer to as Astrology which is the study of how events on Earth correspond to the positions and movements of astronomical bodies. As I am sure you all know, Astrologers believe that the position of the astronomical bodies at the exact moment of a person’s birth and the subsequent movements of the bodies reflect that persons character and, therefore, destiny.” Firenze stated, as the entire class seemed to be listening with the utmost attention.

“Now we, as centaurs, do not merely use the positions of planets to give Horoscopes but also feel that they can predict things far greater. Using astronomical bodies such as the sun, moon, and planets we can predict greater happenings such as wars and famine as opposed to using zodiacs for a person’s day to day life because there are greater things happening in the world then you and me.” Firenze professed the last part with more emphasis, causing a couple of the students to jump a little.

Harry, on the other hand, had gone numb. He knew exactly what Firenze was talking about, the War that had begun with Voldemort. Well Harry had said it had begun but their really had not been a huge battle since the end of his fifth year in the Ministry of magic. Only small little fights had occurred, none of which had caused any further loss of life, though Harry had a feeling this would change. Voldemort was planning something that he could be sure of, judging by the occasional twinges of pain in his scar.

“With that said I am going to tell you what the different Astronomical bodies represent, you may take notes if you wish-” Firenze paused as all of the students took out quills and parchment. Firenze, in the mean time, parted the thick canopy the trees made to reveal a crystal clear night sky. “- this first Astronomical body is one which we are all familiar with, the moon.” Firenze announced as a large opaque moon came glittering in the sky above their heads. “Now the moon is associated mainly with dreams and disposition, so depending on what other Astronomical body the moon is closer to expresses whether it has a positive or negative affect.”

The whole class looked up at the moon as Firenze began to explain something about the moon and the changing of tides, Harry, although, was still transfixed by the moon’s glow. As he gazed at the moon’s surface, the white began to swirl and Harry felt as though he was spinning before a tug at his midsection pulled him from where he was sitting. The white spinning stopped and Harry now stood gazing out the window of a house looking at the moon.
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“It’s beautiful isn’t it?” A voice whispered from beside him. Harry turned his eyes to look at the man beside him, or was it a mirror? Harry couldn’t be sure at the moment seeing as how he and the man beside him looked identical. “Though I must say Mars looks rather bright tonight.” The man who looked just like Harry said with a little laugh.

“Oh James! Look at it now!” Harry stated excitedly, but it wasn’t his voice at all… it was a woman’s voice coming from him, a woman’s he knew he had heard before. Harry walked over to a cradle where a tiny baby boy with jet black hair was sleeping softly and gently picked him up. The baby’s eyes fluttered open to reveal vibrant emerald eyes, Harry’s eyes.

“Look Harry, Look at the Crimson Moon.” Harry spoke again in the voice not his own as he brought the baby over to the window and they looked out. The moon had begun to turn a deep shade of red and was looming in the night sky. They all stood gazing at the moon before a loud bang from downstairs caused them all to jump.

“QUICKLY LILY! HIDE HARRY!” James yelled as he rushed out of the room, the door banging behind him.
The sounds of people yelling and spell casting could be heard from downstairs before a flashing green light shown from under the door and Harry let out a cry. The only sounds that could be heard now were the dull thump of someone walking up the stairs. Harry quickly threw a blanket over the baby before positioning himself in front of the crib. He tried to cry out in confusion but found he could not make a sound, the voice that was coming out not his own, all he could do was watch. Watch as the things around him happened out of his control.
The dull clamoring stopped right outside the door and for a second there was silence before the door burst open and Harry could see a dark hooded figure with bright red eyes and wand in hand standing in the doorway.

“NO! NOT HARRY! ANYTHING BUT HARRY!” The voice yelled in desperation from Harry as the woman he was in stood her ground in front of the crib.

“Move Aside.” The voice hissed, making the hairs on the back of Harry’s neck stand up. He knew that voice.

“NO YOU WILL NOT TAKE HIM!” The woman’s voice rang out indignantly as she raised a wand and sent a spell flying straight at the cloaked figure. For half a second Harry believed it would hit him. But in a flash the spell was deflected and the dark figure let out a laugh, a cold high-pitched laugh.

“PLEASE I BEG OF YOU, ANYTHING BUT HARRY!” The woman pleaded, still standing in front of the baby’s crib. The cloaked figure grinned evilly before raising his wand. The woman, or Harry, turned sharply and threw herself over the baby. “I love you Harry.” She whispered as she looked into the baby’s eyes, her eyes, Harry’s eyes.

“AVADA KEADARVA!” The hooded wizard yelled and a flash of green light was sent at the woman, still staring into the baby’s eyes- that now reflected the Crimson Moon shining in the night sky, or were they the eyes of the hooded figure? And with her last breath the woman crumpled to the floor, amidst that same terrible satanic laughing.
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“HARRY!” An incoherent voice rang out in the back of Harry’s mind.

“HARRY!” The voice rang out again, this time with more concern and urgency then before.

Harry’s eyes fluttered open to be met with Ron’s urgent face lurking over him. Behind Ron, Harry could barely make out the blurry faces of the rest of the class, who seemed to be circling him.

“Harry, are you okay mate?” Ron questioned Harry as he handed him his glasses, a worried look plastered across his face. Harry put on his glasses before looking up to see the image of the Crimson Moon floating above the class.

“Yeah I am fine Ron, You saw it too then?” Harry exclaimed loudly as he stared straight at the moon and pointed. The whole class turned scared faces on the moon before looking back reproachfully at Harry.

“What are you talking about Harry?” Ron asked skeptically, still studying Harry uneasily.

“The Crimson Moon, It was the last thing I – I mean she, saw before she died, she saw it in my eyes.” Harry proclaimed aloud, not even thinking about what he had just professed. The whole class gasped a little, some looking at him frightened, the others studying him darkly.

“I don’t know what you are talking about mate…” Ron trailed off uneasily. “Are you sure you are okay? Maybe we should go down to the hospital wing…” Ron implied timidly.

“I said I was fine Ron.” Harry responded curtly, irritated that they did not know what he was talking about. Here the whole class sat looking at the same crimson moon but with no understanding. He knew what he had seen but he did not know how. That had to be how they died, Harry thought solemnly, I was seeing it all through my eyes, my mother’s eyes.

“Well like I was stating, the next Lunar Eclipse will take place this year on March 25. That date, at one time, was considered the first day of the legal year in England all the way up to the year 1752. March is coincidently the month of the planet of Mars, which is shining particularly bright.” Firenze stated solemnly just as the bell rang to release class.

The rest of the class filed out quickly, many of them shooting Harry dark looks in the process. Harry shrugged it off though as he walked right up to Firenze.

“Um excuse me Firenze I was wondering if I could ask you about-”

“The Crimson Moon.” Firenze finished solemnly as he studied Harry as though trying to see whether he should be privileged of such information. Firenze inclined his head a little before beginning. “A Crimson Moon is the name we give to a Lunar Eclipse that takes place in the month of Mars.”

“Month of Mars?” Harry asked Firenze, not understanding what he was trying to say.

“Mars is particularly bright.” Firenze stated softly as he looked up at the night sky, which still reflected the Crimson Moon. Harry looked up at the sky before a chill ran down his spine, which was the same night sky that he had just been looking at in his vision.

“Well thanks anyway Firenze.” Harry stated as he walked out of classroom eleven, leaving Firenze still studying the sky. Oh man, I have to go meet Hermione, Harry thought all of a sudden, as he picked up his pace and headed out to The Lake.
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“What took you so long Harry?” Hermione asked as Harry came at sat beside her at the edge of The Lake.

“I had to ask Firenze something…” Harry responded softly, still in deep thought over what had just happened. It was as though he was in a Pensieve, though it was different this time because he was seeing it through his mother’s eyes.

Hermione studied Harry, the moon reflecting in the depths of his emerald eyes, and she saw a tear trickle down his face.

“Harry what happened?” Hermione questioned softly as she put a hand to his cheek and turned him to face her.

“I saw it Hermione, I saw it all.” Harry whispered as he brushed a tear away and looked into her eyes. “I saw when they died; I saw it through my mother’s eyes.” Harry finished as more tears rolled down his cheek.

“Oh Harry!” Hermione gasped as she pulled him into a hug.

Harry let her hug him; there was a part of him that needed to be held, a part of him that needed nurturing. Seeing it all through his Mother’s eyes brought up a whole new kind emotion in him, a swelling of hate at seeing how his Mother had begged and pleaded to no avail, and was killed out of malicious pleasure.

“For neither can live while the other survives.” Harry spoke the words with hate in his voice, a hatred that almost made it sound as though spoken by another. Hermione let go in shock and looked at Harry.

“What did you say Harry?” Hermione asked, staring at him darkly in the moonlight.

“Neither can live while the other survives, it is in the prophecy.” Harry stated as he looked at Hermione.

“The prophecy was destroyed Harry… wasn’t it?” Hermione queried, a fear reflecting across her face as her eyes searched Harry’s for answers.

“No Hermione, it wasn’t.” Harry professed as he looked up into the moonlight that was cascading down over the Lake- the same Lake where he had first conjured the Patronus charm.

“But Harry I saw it smashed in the Ministry of Magic-” Hermione started in disbelief.

“It is with held in another.” Harry alluded to.

“What does it say.” Hermione asked, scared to here the answer.

“Either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.” Harry recited in monotone.

“That means you will have to- have to-” Hermione breathed.

“Will have to either kill Voldemort or die at his hands.” Harry finished, the words coming out mechanically. He was already used to this fact by now, seeing as how he had dealt with the impact of it since the end of his fifth year. Though this was the first time he had ever told anyone else.

Hermione let out a large gasp as she looked at Harry, “I knew it Harry, I always somehow had… but oh Harry! You will live, you will!” Hermione declared as she threw her arms around him in an embrace, as though to keep him safe.

The two sat by the moon lit lake talking long into the night, Harry feeling considerably better since telling Hermione about the Prophecy. At half past one the two finally went their separate ways.
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Draco watched from his balcony as Hermione raced into the castle and turned his head to look at the full moon, something was happening to him. However, what it was, he could not be sure of.

{ I hope everyone enjoyed this chapter and that it wasn't too hard to follow as we get thicker into this ever developing plot... keep checking back for more chapters and READ AND REVIEW... it really does help!}


Chapter 11: NEW DEVELOPMENTS
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CHAPTER 11: NEW DEVELOPMENTS

Despite the huge homework load and the obscene amount of Quidditch practice, that Ron was assigning the team Harry had still found a bit of time for some fun. Last week’s win over Ravenclaw had certainly done a lot to lighten his mood, winning the House Cup was now actually becoming a possibility. And his Occlumency lessons starting back up with Dumbledore were going well, though he still hadn’t told him of the incident in Classroom Eleven.
The only thing that seemed to be hanging heavily on his mind was the upcoming Halloween Dance. It was a noble idea for Dumbledore to preach unity between the houses but it just did not seem like a feasible idea. The only one at the moment who seemed to be happy about it at the moment was Seamus, seeing as how he now had a good reason to tease Neville.

“Did ya hear?” Seamus proclaimed when he walked into the Great Hall for dinner about four days before the Halloween Ball.

“Hear what?” Dean piped up.

“Longbottom’s found himself a date to the Halloween Dance.” Seamus said with a grin.

Dean and Ron burst out laughing and Harry snorted into his pumpkin juice.

“Who is it Seamus?” Hermione asked Seamus as she shot a evil glare at Dean, Ron, and Harry.

“Looney Lovegood!” Seamus shouted and the laughing got even harder, Harry’s sides were hurting so bad he could barely move.

“Oh well isn’t that lovely.” Hermione stated trying hard to keep a straight face. “At least HE has found a date from another house.” Hermione spat at the boys immediately subduing their incessant laughing.

“Who would want to?” Dean retorted , still laughing. Ron on the other hand immediately stopped laughing and looked at Hermione. Harry noticed Ron and knew exactly what he was thinking.

“And what about you Hermione? Have you managed to find a date yet?” Ron asked, trying to sound apathetic to the situation, though failing miserably.

All eyes were on Hermione when she took a deep breath and replied, “I am not going with anyone seeing as how I have to help coordinate the entire thing, not leaving that much time to fraternize with others.” Hermione replied pompously as she took a sip of tea, the others still looking at her incredulously. “What? Did you all honestly think I would go with Malfoy?” Hermione questioned with a scoff.

“Course not, just curious.” Ron replied with a laugh, though that was exactly what he was thinking, and Hermione along with Harry knew it, Harry for one was glad that Hermione had said that because it looked like the weight of the world had been lifted off of Ron’s back. But, the quickness in which Hermione had brought up Malfoy worried him a little, she wasn’t actually thinking in Malfoy that way was she?

“But the rest of you should follow Neville’s example and find someone from another house to go with…” Hermione implored as she looked around at the group and took another sip of tea.

“I call Padma Patil!” Seamus proclaimed as he jumped up and walked over to the Ravenclaw table. With in a few seconds Padma Patil could be heard giggling with her friends and Seamus wearing a smile on his face. Dean ran over to join him and before long had asked a Ravenclaw with long brown hair who Harry had seen with Padma though her name was a mystery. Harry turned and looked down the table at Lavender Brown who seemed to be looking a bit crestfallen as Pavarti patted her on the back in consolation.

“See that’s the spirit!” Hermione said cheerfully as she looked at Harry and Ron as if to tell them to go do the same. The two of them avoided her eyes and suddenly became very interested in their food. Hermione simply shot the two icy glares and rolled her eyes. “Well what about you Ginny?” Hermione implored.

“I already have a date.” Ginny said with a mysterious little smile.

“Who?” Harry burst out involuntarily causing both Ron and Hermione to give him suspicious looks.

“Anthony Goldstein.” Ginny proclaimed proudly while Harry, Ron and Hermione stared at her.

“Well that’s nice Ginny.” Hermione stated unconvincingly trying to break the silence.

“Nice? NICE? ARE YOU BLOODY KIDDING ME HERMIONE? I HATE THAT GIT!” Ron roared as he shot a dark look across the Great Hall towards where Anthony was sitting at the Ravenclaw Table.

Hermione simply rolled her eyes, “I have come to the conclusion Ronald that you would hate anyone that Ginny went with.” Hermione remarked smartly with a reassuring nod at Ginny as she took another sip of tea.

“I MOST CERTAINLY WOULD NOT!” Ron yelled back indignantly, refusing to let it go.

“Really Ron? Then who wouldn’t you mind Ginny going with?” Hermione retorted back, obviously amused with Ron’s response.

“Um- er-Harry, THAT’S IT HARRY! I WOULD NOT MIND IF SHE WENT WITH HARRY!” Ron proclaimed, causing Harry to snort into his pumpkin juice and everyone to turn and look at him.

“Sorry,” he mumbled, “Caught me by surprise is all...” Harry stated softly as his cheeks went a little pink. He could not believe Ron had just said that, and in front of Hermione AND Ginny.

“Well then that’s that, it is a shame though that you must go with someone from another house.” Hermione announced as she shot Ron a dangerous look. “Well I must be off to the Library- see you all at the D.A. meeting.” Hermione whispered the last part with a smirk before turning and leaving.

Harry’s eyes widened at the mention of the D.A. meeting, between classes, Quidditch, and Occlumency he had completely forgotten about the resurrection of the D.A. meetings. His heart seemed to feel considerably lighter as he went off to Potions at the prospect of the first D.A. meeting of the year.
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At nine thirty, sharp, all of the old D.A. members had assembled themselves in the Room of Requirement. Judging by the looks on the faces of the members, they were all just as excited to be here as Harry was. There were several hugs and handshakes exchanged, judging by the fact that most of them had been so wrapped up in school and there own houses that they hardly had time to associate with each other.

“Thank You all for coming!” Hermione stated proudly, calling attention to where she was standing at the front of the room. “I would like to apologize for waiting so long to start up meetings again but I, as have you all I am sure, been really busy.” Hermione stated as the rest of the room nodded in unison. Harry smiled a little; Hermione had gotten quite good at public speaking since their fifth year.

“Now there is a role sheet being passed around and I would like everyone to sign next to their name, I would also like to take this time to say that since we DO have permission from Dumbledore for this there is in no need to fret about being caught out after curfew … especially seeing as how The Head Girl and most of the Prefects are members with you.” Hermione professed with a smile and everyone kind of laughed. “I know most of you already know that but I just wanted to state that point for anyone who might have forgotten.”

“Now without further ado I will turn the meeting over to Harry Potter!” Hermione said the last part considerably louder as she, and the rest of the members clapped loudly.

“Um- er thanks.” Harry spoke a little nervously as he went to the front of the room, blushing a little from the applause, they really didn’t have to do that, he thought to himself.

“As we all know Voldemort-”, Harry started as a few members let out a few gasps, Harry’s face hardened and continued on, “- has come back. However, for some odd reason he has been pretty, er- quiet since his return- a big attack not really occurring since the end of my fifth year. This gives us, me I mean, more cause to believe that we can expect something before the end of this term.” Harry stated as he looked around the room at the faces to the members of the D.A. For the most part, they all had the same expression of determination plastered on.

“This should give us even more of a reason to continue this, because you never know when we may be called upon to fight.” Harry proclaimed as the whole group seemed to nod in approval of his insight.

“With that said I want everyone to break off into groups of threes.” The whole group got up on Harry’s command and broke off into threes, the same determined looks still on their faces.

“I want everyone to first take turns using the Shielding Charm to block spells from multiple attackers.” Harry directed and the air immediately filled with the sounds of people yelling spells and jets of light.

Harry paced around the room and could not help but laugh when he saw both Creevey Brothers hit Zacharius Smith with spells, sending him flying backwards.

“Better luck next time Smith!” Dennis yelled as Collin whipped out his camera and snapped a picture just as Zacharius was getting up.

Harry blew a loud whistle and the entire room got deathly silent. “Er- thanks.” Harry stated a little nervous at the placid silence that had been brought about. “Now we are going to try a new spell that is a more advanced version of the shielding charm because it shields you from the attacker’s spell, and reflects the spell back at them at least twice as hard.” Harry announced as a murmur of approval spread throughout the group. “Now everyone say it with me, RE-FLEC-TO NO-CI- TUM.”

“RE-FLEC-TO NO-CI- TUM!” The Group chanted back in unison.

“Good, now the one thing you must remember is to have confidence when you say the spell, the more confident you are the more force it sends back at your opponent.” Harry proclaimed as he paced back in forth between the trios. “Okay um, begin.”

The whole room burst in to pandemonium as spells were sent flying back and forth between brightly colored shields (the Reflecto Nocitum spell produces various different colored shields that send the spells flying back) After about twenty minutes Harry brought the group in and they had a tournament using the spell, which Neville ended up winning, that lasted quite a while- way past curfew.

“Harry!” Hermione yelled from the other side of the room.

“What is it?” Harry yelled back above the noise of the tournament, the last match being between Ron and Neville.

“Harry it is 10:35!” Hermione screamed back with urgency in her voice.

“Oh,” Harry mumbled to himself in shock before blowing his whistle- causing the room to go quiet again. “Um er- no one panic but it is 10:30 and we all need to be getting to our dorms now, I believe Hermione has a couple of closing statements but other then that good job everyone.” Harry addressed the group as Hermione walked up to the front.

“Alright well first off congratulations to Neville for winning the tournament tonight!” Hermione stated with a smile as she led the group in applauding Neville, who turned a brilliant shade of pink. “Also I have taken the liberty of printing out schedules of D.A. meetings for you all- so if you would all take one.” Hermione stated as she started to pass out the schedules before Lavender Brown gasped aloud.

“Hermione what’s this on December 31st?” Lavender questioned aloud as a surprised little smile came on her face.

“Oh right- I knew I was forgetting something- well I haven’t really told anyone this but I am at the present moment organizing for us to have a New Years Eve party for all of D.A.” Hermione announced with a little smile as the whole room broke into a torrent of excited whispers.

“That’s brilliant Hermione!” Seamus shouted from the back of the room, beaming from ear to ear.

“Well I thought since there wasn’t anything being done at Hogwarts for Christmas this year I thought it might be a bit of fun- but this does mean that everyone will have to make arrangements to get back up to school a few days before term starts- well if no one else has anything to address then this meeting is adjourned.” Hermione addressed the group as everyone left, chatting excitedly.

“What a wonderful way to ring in the New Year!” Pavarti exclaimed as her and Lavender Brown turned to walk out of the class.

“Yes I know, absolutely smashing but you do know what happens at midnight don’t you Pavarti?” Lavender questioned shrilly as a little grin spread across her face.

“Oh my!” Pavarti gasped as she looked back at her best friend, blushing a little. “I hadn’t even thought about that!”

“Well I did!” Seamus stated as he came up behind the two girls, putting an arm around both of them.

“Sod off Finnegan!” Lavender spat at him icily as she shrugged off his shoulder and turned to glare at him icily.

“You know Lavender you could be a bit nicer, especially if you are going to be my date to the New Years Party.” Seamus replied with a devilish grin as Dean came up and beside him.

“And since when are we going together?” Lavender shot back dangerously.

“When you decide to quit being so uppity and realize how much you like me.” Seamus retorted with a wink as him and Dean strolled off towards the Gryffindor Common Room, leaving Lavender standing there with Pavarti who were now speechless.

Harry smiled and shook his head in disbelief as Seamus and Dean strolled away, Lavender and Pavarti following- after Lavender had regained composure. He had a feeling that scenes like this were going to be popping up everywhere once all of the D.A. members came to the realization that at midnight they would more then likely be kissing someone else. Harry swallowed hard, he had not kissed anyone since Cho making him feel more then a little uncomfortable, and why didn’t Hermione tell me about this party before now? I think I should at least be privy to that… Harry thought to himself, not that it would have really mattered, but at least he would not be so shocked. Now he had to find some one to take to the party, not to mention someone to kiss at midnight…. he definitely could not be the only one without some one. But who? There wasn’t really anyone left, well except… no Harry that’s not an option! Harry mentally scolded himself… that was Ron’s little sister. Well, but Ron did say he would not mind if… no Harry that was not how he meant it!

“Are you almost ready to go Harry?” Hermione asked Harry as she stood waiting at the door with Ron.

“Yeah I was um just- well let’s just go.” Harry replied as he was shaken from his thoughts.

“What’s wrong with you mate?” Ron asked Harry, eyeing him suspiciously, as the Golden Trio walked down the hall towards the Gryffindor Common Room.

“Huh? Oh nothing…” Harry replied unconvincingly as they reached the Fat Lady’s portrait. What was going on with him? First, the thing out by the Quidditch Pitch then, the pumpkin juice in the Great Hall and now he wanted to go with her to the New Year’s Eve Party.

“Well, I better be off to my Common Room, I guess I will see you two tomorrow then…” Hermione said quietly as she shifted a little uneasily, peering over at Harry who now stood staring intently at the ground in deep thought.

“Oh well I’ll can walk you over there-” Ron blurted out with a little smile as he ran a hand through his red hair, a gesture which Harry now knew was a sign of nervousness.

Harry turned and looked at him, immediately remembering their talk out by the Quidditch Pitch and decided it was better that he left them alone, “Um I’ll just be going up to my room then… see you at breakfast Hermione.” Harry stated as he turned and gave Ron a little smile and nod before walking through the portrait hole, a cheeky little smile now creeping across his face at the thought of Ron and Hermione.

That little git, Ron thought to himself as Harry turned and walked through the portrait hole, what the bloody hell was he thinking with that little smirk!

“What was with the smirk?” Hermione queried as she looked at the Portrait Hole where
Harry had just exited through darkly.

“Oh that? Well- um, I’m not quite sure really… he has been acting a bit queer lately.” Ron replied as his cheeks went a bit pink when Hermione stated she noticed Harry’s smirk.

“Yes I suppose…” Hermione started as her and Ron started to walk off down the hall towards the Common Room her and Draco shared.

“Oh I think that New Year’s Party idea for the D.A. is bloody brilliant.” Ron announced a little uneasily as the two continued their nighttime stroll down the hall.

Hermione whipped around to face Ron with a bright smile now spreading across her face, “You do Ron?” She asked as she looked into Ron’s eyes.

“Absolutely, very well done…” Ron replied, a little taken aback by Hermione’s sudden burst of excitement.

“Well I am glad someone is because Harry didn’t seem to be too keen on the idea.” Hermione responded, frowning a little.

Ron simply let out a little laugh causing Hermione to peer over at him.

“And I am supposing you think you know why he wasn’t too keen on it?” Hermione questioned, irritated that Ron knew something she didn’t.

“Well actually I do…” Ron retorted with a knowing smile that only made Hermione more irritated.

“Care to explain?” Hermione shot back icily.

“Well it is obviously kissing…” Ron stated as the smile on his face grew.

“Pardon Me?”

“Oh come on Hermione I thought you were supposed to be smart…obviously Harry is worried about the whole kissing at midnight thing, and after Cho I would be too…” Ron said as he let out a little chuckle.

“Oh is that all?” Hermione replied with a laugh. “I haven’t kissed anyone since Krum and I’m not even the slightest bit worried.”

Hermione laughed nonchalantly again but Ron was suddenly rather serious, “Do you still have feelings for him Hermione?” Ron asked, not even looking at Hermione but instead staring down at the ground as they walked.

Hermione stopped as the questioned registered and put a hand to Ron’s shoulder causing him to stop and face her.

“Ron, I don’t have feelings for him… I never really did.”

“Oh right then, that is why you went to the bloody Yule Ball with him, which makes perfect sense Hermione.” Ron shot back more fiercely then Hermione was expecting.

“Well Ron I was sick of waiting around for you to finally notice I was there!”

“I knew you were there but how was I suppose to know that you wouldn’t yell at me for asking you, like you usually do!” Ron yelled back.

“So you did want to go with me then?” Hermione shot at Ron.

“THERE WAS AND STILL IS NO ONE I WOULD RATHER GO WITH!” Ron raged back at Hermione then, realizing what he had said, looked down at the floor embarrassed, way to go you bloody git you just practically professed your heart to her!

“Do you mean that Ron?” Hermione asked softly as she lifted Ron’s chin up to look her in the eyes.

“Yeah, it is.” Ron stated before running a hand through his hair, noticing now that they had been outside of Hermione’s Dormitories now for several minutes.

“Oh.” Hermione whispered to herself softly.

“Well you are here now so I guess I better be getting back, um Sweet Dreams Hermione.” Ron stated and before Hermione could say another word, he had started walking off down the hall.

Hermione stood there for a minute gaping at Ron’s shadowy form before something rose up in her and she ran after him.

“Ron, there was no one I would have rather gone with either.” Hermione professed with a little smile before walking back to the Prefects Common Room and entering.

“I cannot believe I just did that,” Hermione whispered fiercely to herself as she entered into her common room, still shaking her head in disbelief.

“What did you do now Granger?” Draco seethed with a mischievous smirk from where he was sitting in front of the fire. “Oh wait don’t tell me… you snogged Weasley didn’t you.”

“Wouldn’t you like to know…” Hermione retorted before running a hand through her silky brown curls, causing Draco to stare at her. “What are you still doing up anyway?”

“Well, if you must know, while you were away at your silly little Defense Meeting I was here working on the plans for the Halloween party which is rapidly approaching.” Draco replied smugly.

“How did you know about the Defense meeting?” Hermione questioned Draco sharply.

“Oh I beat Longbottom into submission so he would tell me.” Draco retorted sarcastically, though Hermione did not find it to be the least bit amusing. “Oh come on Granger, the whole school knows about those silly little meetings.”

“Oh right…” Hermione responded calmly though inside she was completely shocked to know that the whole school, including Draco, knew about D.A.

“Well now that you have gone out and had your little funnzies tonight with Weasley I would appreciate a little help with some of these details, if it isn’t too much trouble.” Draco sneered is he motioned to the chair strategically placed beside him in front of the fire.

Hermione studied the chair for a moment. “I won’t bite Granger.” Draco remarked a little annoyed with her hesitance.

“It wasn’t that- it’s just well… never mind.” Hermione muttered as she walked towards the chair. Upon sitting down, her gaze immediately fell upon the stacks of papers and notes sprawled on the table, Wow, Draco really has been working hard.

“Yes I have been working hard Granger. Now I am gonna need your approval on some of these ideas.” Draco stated as he sat two papers on Hermione’s lap accidentally brushing his hand on her knee. “Sorry.” He muttered hurriedly. Oh nice one Malfoy, now she is going to think you are a total creep.

“How do you do that?” Hermione spoke fiercely to Draco, still trying to slow her heart down.

“Do what?” Draco spoke softly, his mind immediately went back to their meeting in the hallway when the touch of her hand sent jolts up his spine, and his heart raced.

“That think, you like read my mind or something.” Hermione spoke accusingly as she looked at him darkly.

“Oh that.” Draco responded dully, feeling stupid for even thinking about the hallway. “It’s a Malfoy thing.” Draco finished coyly and gave her a mischievous grin as he scooted a little closer and drew attention back to the papers on her lap. “Now Granger, this is a list of activities I have drawn up for the Halloween Dance.” Draco stated matter-of-factly as he motioned down to the papers as Hermione picked them up and read them.

“Karaoke, Costume and Dance Contests? Draco, I thought we were trying to build house unity here, not start a war.” Hermione questioned as she looked up at Draco who was still smiling smugly.

“Ah but yet again you miss the point Granger, these are all partner events- meaning that all of these activities are being done between people of different houses- thus, House Unity.” Draco replied.

“Well it sounds impressive, I certainly wouldn’t mind doing these activities. I know for a fact my friends would have a good time.” Hermione responded with a smile. Draco really has done a good job, Hermione thought to herself proudly as she flipped through the other pages, which contained everything from food supplies to music to decorations.

“Mine won’t.” Draco spoke more to himself then to Hermione.

“Oh right- well they are going right?” Hermione questioned as she studied Draco, it seemed to her that Draco had just made this realization and it made Hermione feel a little sorry for him. The Slytherins definitely were not big on interhouse unity but you would have at least thought that since a Slytherin as Head Boy they would make some kind of effort.

“I suppose they are, but only because it is something to do- fraternizing with the other houses isn’t big on our priority lists, but I am guessing you knew that.” Draco remarked slyly, as though he had read Hermione’s mind again.

“Yes well it doesn’t take the smartest witch in the school to figure that one out.” Hermione shot back icily.

“I see you have yet to retire your insufferable know-it-all persona.” Draco replied, obviously amused.

“And I see you are still as self- pretentious as ever.” Hermione spat back.

“Tsk Tsk Granger, If I were you I would at least try and be a little more civil towards me.” Draco responded, his coy smile expanding.

“And why would I be inclined to do that Malfoy?” Hermione argued back, her eyes narrowing with dislike, and here I thought we were making progress! That is the last time I ever even think of being friends with Malfoy!

“Well Granger, because we are obligated to go to the dance together…that’s why.” Malfoy spoke silkily as he let the idea sink in.

Hermione’s heart seemed to beat out of her chest and her eyes became unfocused, she had seen this coming but that still did not make hearing it any easier. She was obligated to go to the Halloween Dance with Malfoy, what would people think. Maybe it will not be so bad, just tell everyone you have to because you are Head Boy and Head Girl… that’s why you two are going together you silly ponce! Honestly, Hermione, did you think it was anything more?

“Cat got your tongue Granger?” Draco questioned, interrupting Hermione’s thoughts.

“I am feeling a bit light headed actually…” Hermione responded frazzled as she got up from the chair shakily and started to walk towards the staircase leading up to her dormitory, her head flowing with a tempest of thoughts.

Hermione reached out for the stone wall as she began ascending the stairs. About three stairs up her shaky foot missed and Hermione fell face first into the cold stone stairs whacking her throbbing head in the process.

Hermione screamed out in pain as the lightheaded feeling she had just been experiencing turned into searing anguish.

“HERMIONE!” Draco called out as he exploded up from his seat in front of the crackling fire and bounded to her crumpled shaking body.

“Hermione are you okay?” Draco questioned as he took her weak, shaking crumpled form into his arms. Draco pushed back her silky brown curls to reveal a stream of blood now trickling out of her head. “Oh my God!” Draco gasped as his gray eyes focused on the crimson blood.

“Draco, I don’t mind you know.” Hermione spoke softly as her brown eyes stared into his for a second before closing.

“MIND WHAT HERMIONE?” Draco screamed back in panic as she shook her, trying to regain consciousness. “Oh come on Granger, you can’t die on me now.” Draco muttered to himself as he hurriedly picked up her limp form and rushed down towards the Hospital Wing as fast as his feet would take him, the whole time praying that nothing was seriously wrong with Hermione.

“MADAME PINCE, OPEN UP!” Draco yelled as he banged loudly on the enormous oak door leading into the Hospital Wing.

After several moments there was still no response and a panic swelled up inside Draco again, “MADAME PINCE PLEASE OPEN THE DOOR!” Draco yelled with even more urgency.

A couple of seconds later the large door creaked open to reveal a middle aged witch in a dressing gown and robe. “WHAT THE DEVIL IS GOING ON OUT HERE?” Madame Pince yelled abruptly before her eyes focused on Draco, “What is the meaning of this Malfoy?” Madame Pince questioned as her old eyes bore down on Draco in apparent dislike.

Draco motioned down to Hermione’s still limp form resting in his arms; the blood that had been trickling down her forehead now covered almost her entire face. “OH MERLIN! BRING HER IN, QUICKLY!” Madame Pince squealed as she immediately ran to the back of the room to gather medicines and dressing, Draco on the other hand laid her down on an hospital bed.

Draco studied her face for a minute and felt her forehead, still warm, he thought to himself, oh come on Hermione please be alright.

Draco stayed by Hermione’s bed almost the entire night working on arrangements for the Halloween Dance, leaving only once to go and alert Dumbledore of Hermione- who immediately rushed down. This was all fine and well, except that both Dumbledore and Madame Pince felt it was necessary to interrogate Draco. After going over exactly, what happened at least ten times Draco was finally able to relax in a chair beside Hermione’s bed….

“Mr. Malfoy?” A voice spoke softly in Draco’s ear.

“Mr. Malfoy?” The voice spoke again but a little louder, arousing Draco from his sleep.

“Oh hello Madame Pince…” Draco replied groggily as he rubbed his eyes then a realization set in on him. It had not been a dream.

“Where’s Hermione?” Draco questioned urgently as he stood up to see that Hermione was no longer in the bed beside him and he feared the worst.

“She is right down there Mr. Malfoy, sleeping peacefully, she will be just fine in a couple of days.” Madame Pince responded sweetly, much sweeter then she had been last night.

“What happened?” Draco asked, still skeptical.

“She appears to have become dizzy and blacked out, but she whacked her head open in the process, obviously causing a concussion and unconsciousness. This could have been very serious had you not brought her straight to me.” Madame Pince said the last part as she gave a little wink at Draco.

“May I -?” Draco asked as he motioned towards Hermione’s bed at the end of the Hospital Wing.

“Yes you may, but let me say that was a very noble thing you did Mr. Malfoy.” Madame Pince proclaimed before walking back into her office.

Draco gulped as he walked towards Hermione’s hospital bed. The image of Hermione’s face covered in blood would still not leave his mind and he did not know what to expect when he saw her.
Draco pulled back the white curtains enclosing her bed to see Hermione lying peacefully on her back, dressed in a white hospital gown with her skin snow white and loose curls framing her face. She looked like an angel, Draco eyes fluttered up to gaze at the crown of her head and to his surprise there at the top of her forehead was a crescent moon shaped scar residing on her forehead, right where her skin met her hair. Draco reached out his longs fingers towards the scar, touched it lightly, and almost instantaneously Hermione’s eyes lids fluttered open to reveal her chestnut eyes.

“Draco…” She whispered softly as a little smile graced her face.

“How are you feeling?” Draco asked as he returned the warm smile.

“Fine, thanks to you, unfortunately.” Hermione responded smartly.

“Unfortunately?” Draco questioned softly.

“Well now I seemed to have found myself in debt to a Malfoy, I almost would have rather died.” Hermione shot back sarcastically as she tried to raise her self up a little.

“That’s not funny Granger.” Draco responded as he helped her sit up and gave her some pillows.

“I know. So now I am Granger again?” Hermione retorted as she gazed into his steel gray eyes.

Draco looked up at her perplexed. “I mean now that you see I am fine we are back on a last name basis?” Hermione questioned playfully as she pushed a few curls out of her face.

“Oh that well- would you like for me to refer to you as Hermione?” Draco asked, feeling rather silly.

“I think that would be more appropriate, seeing as that is what you called me last night…” Hermione stated with a smile.

“Last Night?” Draco inquired trying to think back to last night.

“Yes, the last thing I remember before I passed out was your face floating over me saying my name…” Hermione stated in remembrance.

“Well then that’s what I will call you…“Well I have some stuff to attend to so I will come and see you later Granger, uh- I mean Hermione.” Draco stated with a little smile as he got up from beside her bed.

“Oh and Draco, don’t think you are gonna get all the credit for this Halloween Dance. I get out of the Hospital in tomorrow night you know.” Hermione retorted

Draco gave Hermione a nod before walking out of Hospital Wing, his heart feeling considerably lighter knowing that she would be okay. He did not know what had caused this change of emotion but he a feeling that from now on everything would be different between the two of them. Now instead of dreading the upcoming Halloween Dance he was actually looking forward to it.

{The next chapter is halfway done (and very long i might add) so please bear with me as i finish it... i swear between writing, soccer and school i am going to go CRAZY!! But yes please dont forget about the story and keep reading and reviewing as usual~}

Chapter 12: Countdown to the Dance
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CHAPTER 12: COUNTDOWN TO THE DANCE

“Where the bloody hell is Hermione?” Ron asked irritably as he stabbed a mountain full of scrambled eggs that lay on the plate before him.

“Calm down mate, she is probably just freshening up after a long night of snogging with Malfoy.” Seamus retorted with a snicker as Neville and Dean broke into a fit of giggles.

“Oh sod off Finnegan!” Ron replied irritably as he stuffed some eggs into his mouth and looked at Harry for some sort of moral support.

“I’m sure she wasn’t snogging Malfoy… at least not all night.” Harry remarked with a little grin as Neville, Dean, and Seamus broke into a roaring laugh.

“Thanks mate.” Ron replied flatly as he started poking at a piece of bacon.

“Speaking of snogging, Seamus isn’t that your hopeful little snog right there? And looking ravishing I must say.” Dean stated as he motioned towards the door to the Great Hall where Pavarti and Lavender had just walked in. Lavender was looking quite pretty actually, her long brown hair was not in it’s usual plait down her back but instead hanging down straight and sleek.

“Pinch me.” Seamus muttered as he looked up at her. Neville of course, being the thick person he is, took it upon himself to pinch Seamus right on the upper part of his arm, causing him to howl in pain.

“LONGBOTTOM YOU DUNDERHEAD I DIDN’T MEAN TO LITERALLY PINCH ME!” Seamus roared.

Harry on the other hand had turned his gaze from Seamus and Dean to Ron, who was now walking down the table to where Pavarti and Lavender had just sat down.

“Can I help you Ron?” Lavender asked curtly when Ron sat down in front of her and Pavarti.

“Maybe…I was just wondering if you two had seen Hermione this morning.” Ron questioned, looking down, his cheeks blushing a little.

“No we haven’t, I mean she is not in our dorm anymore so we barely see her as it is…” Lavender started.

“But it does seem a bit odd that she isn’t down here by now, surely she has to always be the first one down in the morning.” Pavarti finished.

“Maybe she had a late night snogging Malfoy.” Lavender commented jokingly as her and Pavarti broke into a fit of giggles.

“Thanks for the help.” Ron replied flatly, as he rolled his eyes and walked back to where Harry was sitting watching the whole scene.

“No one seems to have seen her, and I know she is not in the Library because I checked there before I came down to breakfast this morning. Bloody hell... she probably was snogging Malfoy!” Ron announced as he slammed his head down on the table and let out a sigh of exasperation.

“If that’s what it is like to be in love then I never want to be in it.” Dean remarked as he looked over at Ron slumped over on the table.

“It’s not that bad you know.” Neville spoke softly as his cheeks went red.

“What the bloody hell do you know about love Neville?” Ron snapped, his head still slumped over the table.

“Longbottom, you are not ACTUALLY in love with Looney Lovegood are you?” Seamus blurted out causing Dean to spit out his pumpkin juice.

“It’s a sensitive subject…” Neville spoke softly as he suddenly became very interested in playing with the eggs on his plate. Harry studied Neville for a minute, if Neville can find true love then there is definitely hope for the rest of us. Harry thought to himself as a certain red head floated into his mind.

“Ginny!” Ron called out as though reading Harry’s mind. Harry turned to see Ginny walk into the Great Hall, her long red hair falling down in soft curls. Ginny nodded at Ron before looking over and smiling at HARRY? This had to be some mistake; did she just smile right at him? Harry’s stomach seemed to do a little flip-flop before he too became very interested in his food.

“Good morning Ron.” Ginny spoke courteously to Ron who still looked to be an absolute wreck. “Something troubling you?”

“No.” Ron replied flatly “Well actually yes… Have you happened to see Hermione this morning?”

“Um no, I haven’t seen her since the D.A. meeting last night, why?” Ginny questioned as a worried expression came over her voice.

“Ron is just worried because Hermione hasn’t come in for breakfast yet this morning.” Harry replied before Ron could even get two words out.

“Oh I see…” Ginny responded as she gave Harry a knowing smile, “Well Ron I am sure your love is fine, probably just getting ready after a snog with Malfoy.”

“Thanks Ginevra.” Ron spoke through gritted teeth.

“No problem Ronald.” Ginny retorted with a smile at Harry.

All of a sudden, the Great Hall seemed to be swept up in a torrent of rushing wings as the post arrived. Harry looked up expectantly then dropped his head, Sirius cannot write, Harry reminded himself. A letter, on the other hand, pelted Ron.

“Is that from mum?” Ginny asked excitedly as Ginny an over and peaked over his shoulder.

“Sod off Ginny, it was addressed to me.” Ron spat back as he tore open the letter dangerously as he read, his expression turning from angry to ecstatic in a matter of seconds.

“Bloody hell Harry, mum says you and Hermione are both invited to The Burrow for Christmas Break!” Ron exclaimed, his eyes as big as saucers.

“That is absolutely brilliant Ron!” Harry responded, a flood of happiness filling him… this was going to be the best Christmas ever.

“I hope Hermione can go!” Ginny exclaimed excitedly.

“Me too.” Ron spoke softly, the worry reflecting yet again on his face.

“OH DRAKEY WHAT HAPPENED!” The shrill voice of Pansey Parkinson echoed throughout the Great Hall, causing all heads to turn towards the front entrance of the Great Hall.

“I really don’t care for that girl.” Ginny scoffed as Harry nodded in agreement, “OH MY WORD!” Ginny exclaimed as she too looked in the direction of the door, causing the rest of the Gryffindors to follow in suit.

There standing at the entrance to the Great Hall was the form of Draco Malfoy in silver dressing robes, covered in blood. The whole hall went deathly silent as Draco started to walk, not towards the Slytherin Table, but towards the Gryffindor table instead. All eyes followed him as he walked, finally stopping in front of Harry and Ron.

“I think you two should come with me.” Draco spoke softly but firmly, his steel gray eyes showing not menace but concern.

Harry immediately rose out of his seat, Ron, on the other hand, decided to be a bit more ornery. “What the bloody hell is this about Malfoy?” Ron snapped as he stared contemptuously at Draco.

“Hermione.” Draco declared, holding his gaze with Ron. Ron’s eyes immediately changed from menace to concern as he rose out of his seat and the three of them began to walk out of the Great Hall.

“What did you do to her Malfoy?” Ron sneered as the three of them passed by the Ravenclaws.

“Oh don’t be thick Weasley, I would never hurt her.” Draco declared causing Harry to turn sharply in his direction. Did Draco just say he would never hurt her? This had to be some kind of joke. This was the same Draco that back in their second year hoped that the Basilisk would kill Hermione… and he almost got his wish.

As soon as the three of them had exited, the Great Hall Harry decided he could now interrogate Draco without the fear of someone over hearing, “What are you playing at Malfoy?” Harry shot at Draco causing Ron to look over at him as well.

“Nothing Potter, I just thought you and Weaselbee would like to see your precious Hermione-especially since she almost died last night.” Draco sneered back, his head beginning to ache from sleep deprivation.

Harry stopped dead in his tracks as Draco’s words sunk in. Ron turned and looked at Harry who was as white as snow and in a fit of rage had Draco pushed up against a wall. “I AM GONNA ASK YOU ONE MORE TIME MALFOY, WHAT THE BLOODY HELL DID YOU DO TO HERMIONE?” Ron roared, his face red but his eyes glaring down on Malfoy with the utmost contempt.

Draco’s head slammed against the stone, hard wall and his eyes immediately went out of focus. Ron’s voice seemed to echo in his head as though his own conscious was yelling at him. Draco pushed Ron off him in a fit of rage and Ron hit the wall on the other side of the hallway. “WHAT DID I TO HER YOU ASK WEASLEY? I SAVED HER LIFE, THAT’S WHAT I DID!” Draco yelled back, no longer to control his pent up anger. Sure, it might have been something he said that made her light headed in the first place but who knows, what he did know was that last night he had never been so frightened before in his entire- frightened over losing someone that up until a couple of months ago he could have cared less about.

There was a placid silence that ensued as Harry and Ron’s eyes bore down on Draco, neither of them saying much.

“Is that her b-blood?” Ron muttered, finally breaking the silence as his eyes flickered with fear when they looked at Draco’s robes.

“What? Oh yes…” Draco trailed off as he looked down at his night robes. He had not even realized he had them on, much less that they were covered in blood.

“What happened?” Harry asked in a whisper, as his green eyes bore into Draco’s- as though trying to decipher the truth.

“I’ll tell you on the way to the Hospital Wing.” Draco responded hurriedly as he took off towards the Hospital Wing with Harry and Ron in tow, hanging on his every word.
***************************************************************************
“Hermione?” A soft voice questioned.

“Hermione?” The voice implored again as her eyelids fluttered open to reveal deep chestnut brown eyes.

“Hullo Hermione.” Ron spoke softly as he sat close by her bed his eyes looking at her with deep concern and compassion.

“Oh Ron, it is so wonderful to see you, how did you ever know where I was?” Hermione questioned softly.

“Malfoy came and got us.” Harry responded sternly, drawing attention to his presence at the foot of Hermione’s hospital bed.

“Oh Harry it is wonderful to see you too. If it wasn’t for Draco I don’t think I would ever have seen you two again.” Hermione proclaimed as tears welled up in her eyes.

“So we’ve heard.” Ron muttered to himself angrily as he threw Draco a hateful glare. Harry looked back at Draco as well, he found it to be terribly ironic that the one person who had yearned for Hermione’s death back in their second year saved her from an almost certain death.

“So how are you feeling Hermione?” Harry questioned as he looked empathetically down upon Hermione’s fragile form, she looked so delicate with her pale skin and loose curls, almost as though to touch her would be to break her.

“Better, though my head is still throbbing something awful. But I will be fine, I get out tomorrow so I don’t want you two to fret one bit.” Hermione responded trying to ease the looks of worry plastered on both Harry and Ron faces.

Ron’s heart seemed caught in his throat as he looked down upon Hermione’s limp form, she seemed so frail and helpless, Draco had alluded to how much blood she had lost last night but that still had not prepared Ron for the Hermione he was now gazing upon. Nothing could have prepared him for this. His eyes traced up to Hermione’s forehead, which was where Draco had stated she had busted her had open, and inhaled sharply.

“Bloody hell Hermione, you have a scar…” Ron murmured.

“Oh well that is to be expected but I am lucky that is the only permanent damage I will incur from this endeavor.” Hermione replied optimistically, causing Ron and Harry’s faces to soften a little.

In that same moment the door to the Hospital Wing burst, open with a loud bang.

“WHERE IS SHE? HERMIONE? ARE YOU IN HERE?” The frantic voice of Ginny Weasley yelled shrilly as all four of them turned their heads towards the door.

“Would you shut the bloody hell up Ginevra? This is a Hospital you know and you sound like a raving lunatic!” Ron shot at Ginny as she drew closer to the curtains surrounding Hermione’s bed.

“You would be an absolute raving lunatic as well Ronald Weasley if you had heard the rumors I had! All of which ended with Hermione being in the Hospital Wing! First, I was told that Hermione had a bad reaction to the food at breakfast this morning, then that she had simply blacked out from stress and the last being the most preposterous… Someone ACTUALLY wanted me to believe that Draco Malfoy saved her life in their dormitory last night!” Ginny exclaimed, her chocolate eyes full of fear and as round as saucers.

“Well I regret to inform you that the last of those preposterous stories is in fact true.” Draco stated coolly from where he was standing back in the shadows, still wearing his blood soaked dressing robes.

Ginny froze in horror as she looked over at Draco. “That cannot be possible.” Ginny spoke incredulously.

“But it is.” Hermione spoke sweetly, trying to calm her friend down. Ginny’s face melted from being in a state of horror into an expression of deep compassion as she rushed towards Hermione, pushing Ron aside in the process.

The rest of the morning Harry, Ron and Ginny stayed beside Hermione’s hospital bed chatting feverishly, completely ignoring Draco who had fallen asleep in a nearby chair, his heroic efforts seeming to be a thing of the past. Finally, the morning bell rang at 11:30 announcing everyone’s first class of the day. Therefore, after several heartfelt goodbyes the three of them skulked off to class.

“Draco.” Hermione spoke sweetly, trying to wake him from his slumber. After several more attempts, his eyes finally opened and for once, he gave Hermione what appeared to be a sincere smile.

”You okay?” Draco questioned groggily as he got out of the armchair he had been residing in and stretched.

“I am fine; you on the other hand are going to be late for class.” Hermione directed.

“Oh Snape won’t mind, but if you insist…” Draco responded with a coy smile as he got up, pulled Hermione’s covers up for her, and turned to leave.

“Draco, wait…” Hermione implored as she put a frail hand up to his arm.

Draco’s heart seemed to stop as he turned to look down upon Hermione. “Yes?” Draco spoke softly; surprised he could even speak at all.

“Thank You.” Hermione whispered as her eyelids closed and she drifted off to sleep. Draco stood gaping at her for a moment before finally turning and leaving, stopping only to give a polite nod to Madame Pomfrey.

Nothing will ever be the same between us now… Draco thought to himself as he strolled down the solitary hallway towards the dormitory to quickly change out of his blood stained robes.
***************************************************************************

“RON, BRING THE STREAMERS OVER HERE!” Hermione directed at Ron from across the Great Hall frantically.

Since early this Saturday morning, all of the Prefects and the Gryffindor Quidditch Team had been slaving away setting up for the Halloween Dance tonight. Hermione, who had gotten out of the hospital only a day ago, was definitely living up to her title as Head Girl nicely. Everything had seemed to go back to normal again, except for Draco and Hermione. Draco had barely spoken to her since the morning after her accident-, which left Hermione extremely perplexed.

“SEAMUS, DEAN, WOULD YOU PLEASE MOVE THE PUMPKIN OVER INTO THE CORNER?” Hermione yelled across the hall again. The two saluted at her before levitating a huge orange jack-o-lantern into the corner. It is finally starting to take shape, Hermione thought proudly to herself as she looked around the Great Hall. The only thing left to do now is cast the enchantments for the decorations with Draco.

“HAS ANYONE SEEN DRACO THIS MORNING?” Hermione questioned the group loudly. Everyone shook there heads as they hurried along on their tasks, trying to not be noticed- seeing as how Hermione seemed she was about to spontaneously combust from being under so much stress.

“PANSEY, CAN YOU COME HERE FOR A MOMENT PLEASE?” Hermione asked across the hall, catalyzing Pansey to roll her eyes and skulk across the hall.

“You rang?” Pansey asked nonchalantly.

“Um yes, have you seen Draco this morning? Because I really need his help with the enchantments…” Hermione trailed off as she studied Pansey.
“You’re asking me? Honestly Granger, you two share a dormitory, shouldn’t you know?” Pansey shot back.

“Well obviously I don’t or I wouldn’t be asking you.” Hermione snapped back as she glared at Pansey, who was she to be smarting off to the Head Girl?

“I don’t know where he is Granger and even if I did I would not tell you so don’t talk to me again.” Pansey responded curtly before turning on her heel and walking back over towards the corner of the Great Hall- where her and a sixth year Slytherin Prefect girl were sorting silverware and plates.

“HERE HE IS HERMIONE!” Collin exclaimed excitedly as Draco walked into the Great Hall.

“Oh how wonderful!” Hermione gasped as she smiled at Collin and marched up to Draco. “So do you have all of the enchantments?” Hermione asked excitedly, her eyes looking over Draco apprehensively.

“Yes I have them here.” Draco replied shortly as he produced a piece of parchment from his pocket, his gray eyes devoid of any emotion though Hermione noticed a letter grasped firmly in his right hand bearing the Malfoy Family Crest.

“Oh, well um- thanks. Well after a lunch break I suppose we should probably get on them then.” Hermione spoke uncomfortably, why is he being so distant? Hermione was having a hard time dealing with Draco’s allusiveness, something had changed in him and at the moment, she would almost prefer his biting insults to his apathetic nature.

“ALRIGHT EVERYONE GOOD WORK! WE ARE NOW GOING TO BREAK FOR LUNCH OUT IN THE COURTYARD FOR ABOUT AN HOUR!” Hermione directed at the entire group as everyone dropped what they were doing and headed out to the Courtyard.

“I wonder what is wrong with Draco…” Hermione spoke softly as she sat with Harry and Ron in the Courtyard.

“Who the bloody hell cares, that bloody git didn’t even show up till lunch time...Not much of a Head Boy if you ask me!” Ron interjected as he took a huge bite out of his sandwich and glared at Draco who, coincidently, was still walking around in the Great Hall. “OH THIS IS BLOODY DISGUSTING!” Ron roared as he jumped up and started spitting out his huge bite of sandwich while Lavender, Padma and Hannah Abbot all giggled.

“I thought you might get a charge out of that Weasley.” Seamus remarked as him and Dean wore the same coy grins, Neville on the other hand was staring down at his feet.

“OH COME ON FINNEGAN YOU KNOW I BLOODY HATE CORNED BEEF!” Ron moaned as he stormed off into the Great Hall to get a drink-still spitting out corned beef, while everyone roared with laughter.

“Seamus, was that really necessary?” Hannah Abbot squeaked defensively though obviously working hard to suppress a fit of giggles.

“Of course it was I lost five galleons to that git in a game of chess.” Seamus retorted causing everyone to roar with laughter again.

“So Hermione, what kind of things do you and Malfoy have planned?” Lavender asked poignantly. All eyes focused on Hermione as she broke into a longwinded speech about the different enchantments, games, and contests they had planned.
***************************************************************************

“GROSS! I swear Finnegan will pay for this one!” Ron grumbled to himself as he walked into the Great Hall still spitting out the remnants of the horrid corned beef sandwich.

Seeing a pitcher of Pumpkin juice and cups set up across the Great Hall on a table he walked right over, not paying any attention, and walked right into Draco Malfoy.

“WHAT THE-” Ron started as he stumbled over Draco.

“You need to watch where you’re walking Weasley!” Draco shot at Ron. Ron regained his composure and drew closer to Draco.

“You need to watch who you are bloody talking to.” Ron spat back icily as the two stood there staring daggers at one another.

“I know who I am talking to and you should feel privileged to even be standing this close to me.” Draco spoke softly as his gray eyes glinted with contempt.

“JUST BECAUSE YOUR FATHER HAS BOUGHT AND THREATENED HIS WAY TO THE TOP DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ACT LIKE YOU ARE BLOODY SUPERIOR TO THE REST OF US!” Ron roared in indignation. Draco’s face tightened into a grimace and he suddenly turned and looked away from Ron.

“You don’t know the first thing about my father Weasley…” Draco trailed off a lot less angry, more hurt then anything.

“YOU’RE KIDDING RIGHT? I THINK I HAVE A PRETTY GOOD IDEA ABOUT WHO YOUR FATHER IS!” Ron yelled back, his face contorting in anger, “HE IS A BLOODY CONNIVING AND SINISTER BASTARD AND HAS A SON JUST LIKE HIM!”

“I am not like my father…” Draco shot back still not facing Ron- clenching tightly to an envelope under his cloak.

“YOU’RE NOT? I THINK YOU ARE JUST AS SADISTIC AND CONNIVING AS HE IS!” Ron roared back.

“Really Weaselbee… And why is that?” Draco responded coolly.

“WHY THE HELL ELSE WOULD YOU SAY YOU WANTED HERMIONE DEAD IN OUR SECOND YEAR AND NOW YOU SAVE HER LIFE!” Ron raged back causing Draco to turn sharply and face him, his eyes glistening with tears yet peering at him with the utmost loathing, neither of them realizing that Hermione had entered the Great Hall.

“What are you two on about?” Hermione interjected as she ran between the two of them and pushed them apart, glancing from one to the other with great concern. “What is this nonsense about you wanting me dead Draco?” Hermione finally asked as she looked into Draco’s gray eyes.

“Yes Hermione, me and Harry never told you but he told us that he hoped the Basilisk would kill you, didn’t you Malfoy?” Ron shot at Draco.

Draco’s face went as white as the first snow of winter as he comprehended what Ron had just said. That night back in second year, he thought, that night in the Common Room, Crabbe and Goyle were acting strange…, and when I asked them about it the next day they did not know what I was talking about, how could I have been so thick? That was Potter and Weasley!

“That was you and Potter…” Draco spoke softly to Ron- a dawn of understanding spreading across his face.

“Oh spot on Malfoy, we thought you might have been the heir of Slytherin, but now I see that we grossly overestimated you!” Ron spat back as his eyes boar down on Draco.

Draco, on the other hand, avoided Ron’s glare and looked instead over at Hermione whose eyes were flickering with fear as they studied him. What could he say? He could not even begin to try to explain his actions back then, he really had wanted her dead and now he could think of nothing worse… but how would she believe that now?

“I knew you hated me but, but…Did you really want me dead Draco?” Hermione stuttered before she asked again more forcefully. Draco looked over at her but said nothing, “DID YOU WANT ME DEAD MALFOY!” Hermione yelled as tears welled up in her eyes.

“Yes.” Draco professed barely audible above a whisper, carefully avoiding her eyes as his own welled up with tears.

Hermione’s eyes began to overflow with tears of anger, “GET OUT!” Hermione screamed as her face reddened from anger and tears.

Draco looked up at her before dropping the list of enchantments he had been wringing in his hand and walking out, his hand fumbling with a letter in his cloak pocket.

After pushing several second years out of the way, Draco made it to the Prefects Common Room and found himself staring at the portrait guarding the Entrance of him and Hermione’s Common Room. His eyes focused on the Merlin-Dumbledore doppelganger in the centre of the painting. “IS THIS WHAT YOU HAD PLANNED, HUH, FOR ME TO END UP LIKE THIS? WELL, CONGRATULATIONS IT WORKED!” Draco yelled in frustration before storming up the winding stone staircase.

Once through the archway, he threw himself into his high-backed armchair, with a flick of his wand had a fire roaring in the grate in front of him, and gazed into the flames- the envelope still clasped firmly in his hands. He did not know how long he had sat there staring into the fire but he must have drifted off to sleep but when he did awake, it was past seven. His eyes were heavy from sleep and tears and his chest ached from breathing deeply but the first thing to enter his mind was
Hermione. “OH CRAP! THE DANCE STARTS IN THIRTY MINUTES!” Draco blurted out as he went racing up the staircase and into the shower.
***************************************************************************

A few hours earlier…

Hermione stood there awestruck in the middle of the Great Hall- a sober realisation overtook her as a few angry tears rolled down her cheeks. How could she have been so stupid as to think that maybe Malfoy hadn’t hated her all of these years? Now she saw that she couldn’t have been farther from the truth. He wanted her dead… he had told Harry and Ron inadvertently back in their second year…second year… it seemed like such a long time ago…people change…but can they change that much? No, no, no- Hermione argued with herself- any feelings of friendship she might have thought were developing between her and Draco were nothing more then wishful thinking, and for all she knew he could be trying to be friends with her in order to somehow get close to Harry…

“Hermione…” Ron whispered softly as he put a comforting arm around Hermione small frame.

Hermione turned to gaze into Ron’s sincere eyes- eyes that never once had held a malicious glare, eyes that she could always trust to be true, eyes that showed honest courage. Those were the eyes she could trust… and they had always been there, waiting…

“I am sorry to have…um… upset you Hermione, I uh, just thought you might like to know the truth.” Ron spoke delicately as he continued to look into Hermione’s eyes.

Hermione smiled back as she wiped away a tiny tear, “Just promise me you will always tell me the truth Ron.”

“You have my word ‘Mione.” Ron responded with a gentle smile as Seamus and the rest of the team burst into the Great Hall- looks of confusion plastered across their faces.

“You alright there ‘Mione? … We uh… heard you yellin’…” Seamus stuttered as he looked at her quizzically.

Hermione became suddenly aware of the closeness between her and Ron and stepped to the side a bit. “It was nothing Seamus…just Malfoy…but oh well let’s finish this place…” Hermione trailed off as everyone immediately got back to work with out any fuss. Hermione started walking around the room with the list of enchantments Draco had composed- bewitching all the necessary objects with a heavy heart.

Ron and Harry stood across the Great Hall setting up tables- both casting worried glances in Hermione’s direction.

Harry’s mind was alive with thoughts, something was going on with Hermione and Draco… he just did not know what. If he had not known any better he would have almost bet that they might even had started becoming friends…

“It’s weird mate… I mean if I had told Hermione that last year she probably wouldn’t have even blinked an eye but now she… she took it as though one of us had said that…” Ron trailed off to Harry as he cast another worried look in Hermione’s direction.

“What did you tell Hermione, Ron?” Harry asked his friend; he had been outside in the courtyard and had not really heard anything except Hermione yelling incoherently.

“Well um…I told her that that I didn’t understand why Malfoy was trying to be her friend now because he said he wanted to kill her back in Second Year… and she got really quiet and then asked Malfoy if it was true, and when he didn’t answer she yelled it at him and then told him to get out.” Ron finished as he looked up at Harry for some sort of explanation but when he got none he continued on, “I just don’t understand why that seemed to surprise her so much…I mean it is Malfoy I was talking about…”

“For some reason Ron, I believe the reason Hermione took it like that is because it was Malfoy you were talking about.” Harry finished as he set the last piece of silverware on the table.

“ALRIGHT EVERYONE THE HALL LOOKS GREAT AND YOU ARE ALL FREE TO GO AND GET READY, SEE YOU ALL TONIGHT!” Hermione announced from where she was standing in the middle of the Great Hall. Everyone let out cheers of approval as they began to file out of the Hall to get ready. Harry and Ron just stood there looking around the hall until a little cough interrupted the boys’ train of thought.

“Oh, um… sorry to startle you Harry but I just wanted to let you know that I think we should meet in the Entrance Hall um, about thirty minutes before the dance starts…I mean if that is alright with you…” The little voice of Hannah Abbot squeaked as she gave Harry a small smile.
Harry smiled back as Hannah ran a small hand through her straight shoulder-length light brown hair. “Sure that will be fine Hannah.” Harry responded.

“Oh and Susan will meet you there too Ron.” Hannah turned and spoke to Ron before turning and walking away, leaving Ron standing there looking more then a little uncomfortable.

“Ron, you didn’t tell me you had asked Susan Bones to the dance…” Harry stated as a coy little smile spread across his face.

“Oh I didn’t? Must have slipped my mind I guess… yeah um right before Herbology.” Ron stuttered as his cheeks turned a little pink.

“Who is this you asked before Herbology Ronald?” Hermione questioned as she walked up to the two boys.

“Susan Bones.” Harry interjected before Ron could even open his mouth.

“And Harry is going with Hannah Abbot.” Ron announced causing several kids exiting the Great Hall to turn and stare- one of them, in particular, being Ginny Weasley. Their eyes met and Harry turned away a little embarrassed, was it wrong of him to be thinking that he would rather be going with her?

“Oh well I think that is absolutely smashing you two.” Hermione responded, as she looked to Ginny then back to Harry-catching his eye and giving him a knowing smile. “Well I must be off to get ready and I suggest you two do the same…see you later.” Hermione spoke cheerfully as she turned on her heel to leave.

The two boys stood there watching Hermione leave as Ron fidgeted a little with his collar. Is he ever going to make a move? Harry thought to himself as he watched his best friend mull things over in his head. This is insane Harry thought again as an idea popped into his head.

“Hermione!” Harry yelled causing Hermione to turn and look at him quizzically.

“This is your chance Ron…” Harry whispered to his friend as he gave him a little shove.

“I, uh well… I was wondering, if you have time that is, would you save me a dance?” Ron finally choked out looking as though he was a few more words away from passing out where he stood.

Hermione looked at him in awe for a second, making it more then obvious that she had been taken off guard. A few gruelling seconds later her face softened into a smile, “Alright Ron, I will.”

And, with that, she turned and left, a little feeling of giddy anticipation overtaking her...




((i hope everyone liked the chapter... sorry i didn't quite get to the dance yet but i can guarantee you it will be in the next one... and i am almost done with it so you shouldn't have to wait too long, please keep r&r and if you have any suggestions or just want to talk feel free to drop me a line))

Chapter 13: THE HALLOWEEN DANCE
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CHAPTER 13: THE HALLOWEEN DANCE

Hermione traipsed into the Head Common Room with her spirits higher then they had been in a while. Harry and Ron both and dates to the dance and Ron had asked her to save him a dance- something Hermione thought Ron would never be capable of. A moaning coming from the highbacked chair in front of the fire soon interrupted Hermione’s thoughts of Ron.
She tiptoed towards the chair to find Draco slumped over obviously in a rough sleep. As much as what Hermione had found out today scared her, she still could not help but think that something had changed between them.
The episode in the hall, working so hard on the dance, saving her life, staying by her at the hospital, even getting Harry and Ron… something was different about him, and he looked so crestfallen when he admitted to wanting her dead back in their second year.
She had to know how he truly felt about her… and with that, Hermione tried to wake him up, “Draco?” she whispered softly.

Several more times she tried this tactic, but to no avail. She gently put her hand on his and tried on last time before slowly standing up. In a flash, he had gripped tightly on to her wrist.
“No Father, I will not let you hurt her…” Draco spoke softly as he slept before loosening his grip enough on Hermione’s wrist that she could pull it away.

“Hurt who Draco?” Hermione questioned, fear rising in her voice. Draco gave no reply but the letter he had been grasping floated out of his hand and close to the fire that was still roaring in the fireplace. Afraid the letter might burn, Hermione grabbed it quickly and kneeled there next to Draco for a couple of minutes apprehensively but when he said nothing her attention focused back onto the letter still in her hand.

After some contemplation, she took the letter out of the already opened envelope and began to read, tears welling up in her eyes.

Draco,
I presume you are still aware of what it means to uphold the name of Malfoy. If you are not aware of this then I must have failed miserably in your upbringing but can assure you that I will not make that mistake again.
This brings me to the reason for my letter – you are, under no circumstances, to be befriending, fornicating, or otherwise associating with Mudbloods- this definitely applies to saving their lives. I have spent the greater part of my life trying to purge the Wizarding World of them and my own flesh and blood heroically saves one of their lives! I do not know what you were playing at son but I can guarantee you there will be consequences for such an action as this.
You have disappointed me beyond belief Draco- you should be lucky I am not removing you from that school of yours- and were you not Head Boy I would be. Do not let me here of such actions again boy or you will be out of there. You are in enough trouble as it is; do not make it worse for yourself.
-Father

p.s. Do not forget what it means to be a Malfoy, Draco, or I will most certainly have to remind you. And trust me the remembrance will be a high price to pay.

Hermione folded up the letter shakily as she looked down at Draco with fear and hurt in her eyes. He saved her life, but ruined his own… Hermione was glad of one thing though…this apparently was not some plan to get close to Harry… to harm him.
But the letter did present another dilemma, Draco had obviously saved and befriended her of his own accord… so did that mean he had changed?
Was he not the same snotty boy from second year who had wanted her dead? A smile played across Hermione’s softening face, she already knew the answer to that question- and with that last thought, Hermione set the envelope down on the coffee table and ran up to her chambers to get ready for the dance.
************************************************************


About two and a half hours later Hermione came gliding down the stairs of her chamber looking ravishing for the Halloween Dance. Her hair was swept up in an up do with curls cascading down, her face delicately powdered and her make up perfect.

She lifted up the bottom of her dress in order to walk down the last couple of steps in order to prevent a repeat of the other night and was not surprised to see Draco still sleeping in the chair.
A little smile spread across her red velvet lips as she walked over towards a table with a quill, ink and parchment sitting knowingly on top of it. She quickly scribbled a note to Draco and pinned it on the door before leaving.
*-*-*-*-*-*
As soon as the door to the Heads Common Room had closed behind Hermione, Draco’s eyes had fluttered open in surprise.

The first thing to come to his mind was Hermione and his eyes darted over towards the huge Grandfather clock on the wall.
“OH CRAP! THE DANCE STARTS IN THIRTY MINUTES!” Draco yelled aloud to himself as he darted off to the shower.

And not too long later he was walking down his own stone stair case looking rather dashing indeed in his all black attire with a velvet black cape cascading down the back. He was almost at the door when his steel grey eyes focused on the note Hermione had pinned on the door:

Draco-
I read the note from your father. Please meet on the hallway (you know which one) before the dance.
-Hermione

Draco’s heart seemed to skip a beat as he looked at the Grandfather clock; he only had 5 minutes to get to there.

With that thought, he raced down the stairs towards the hallway- completely disregarding what his father had told him- all that he could think about right now was getting to the hallway that led to the Arithmancy classroom- and the fact that Hermione had chosen that hallway to meet, the hallway where they had had their ‘moment.’

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Draco skidded onto the long dark hallway but saw no one.

His heart seemed to sink into his chest as he took a couple of steps down the hallway, “Hermione?” Draco questioned aloud.
However, he got no response. Almost as though on cue, the Great Hall erupted into a torrent of clapping signalling the start of the ball.

“I missed her.” Draco stated aloud to himself as he slumped down into the corner to think for a moment.
He had asked no one to the ball and was seriously considering just going back up to the Common Room when the door to the Great Hall burst open and the sound of someone running towards the hallway could be heard approaching rather fast.

Draco got to his feet quickly as the footfall stopped right at the edge of the hallway.
“Who’s there?” Draco shot at the person icily as he peered down the dimly lit hall. He in no way wanted anyone to see him in such a defeated state.

“And here I expected punctuality from you, Malfoy.” Hermione stated nonchalantly with a little scoff as she took a few steps down the hallway- stopping right next to one of the sconces.

Hearing Hermione’s voice, Draco peered in her direction and saw her standing there and his heart seemed to jump into his throat. She looked so elegant in her black silk ball gown and her hair all done up in curls. His eyes then drifted down to the corset top of the dress with delicately pushed up her chest and he felt his heart beat loudly in his chest- causing him to be unable to speak as he began to walk towards her.

“You know Draco, what I don’t understand is how people can change so suddenly or how the past doesn’t seem to matter once you have changed…” Hermione continued pompously as she glided towards him. “… I have thought a lot about what I found out today and I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter to me.” Hermione finished as she stopped and looked up at him with a little smile.

Draco on the other hand was gawking at her speechless.

“Cat got your tongue Malfoy?” Hermione spoke teasingly.

“You don’t care Hermione?” Draco asked bracingly, still in apparent disbelief.

“No Draco I don’t… You saved my life and well, you’ve changed and I don’t know I just want to be friends, confidants….” Hermione trailed off as she looked into his steel eyes hoping she hadn’t made a mistake and that this really was a changed Draco Malfoy.

“You know Granger I don’t know the reason I have changed but I know I have and… well I want to be friends too…” Draco finished as he looked at Hermione in all her glory, she looked so beautiful that he couldn’t help but think he wanted to be more then friends... but there was no way in hell that he would put that into words- this was unreal enough. Asking for anything more might shatter such a fragile moment.

They were both acting as though they were walking on eggshells as it was.
Moreover, a smile crept across Hermione’s delicate face and before she knew what she was doing, she embraced Draco in a hug.

Time seemed to stand still as they embraced and everything faded away, all that mattered was that she felt safe in Draco’s strong arms.

After what seemed like an eternity later the two parted – not saying a word but neither needing to – “Well Hermione, I am very anxious to see what you lot have done with the place.” Draco joked as the pair of them walked up to the two great oak doors leading into the Great Hall.

“Come and see…” Hermione said with a playful smile at Draco as she pushed open the doors and Draco let out a gasp of approval…

“… AND ON THAT NOTE I WOULD LIKE YOU ALL TO WELCOME TO THIS YEARS HALLOWEEN DANCE, THE HEAD BOY AND GIRL OF HOGWARTS!” The booming voice of none other then Professor Dumbledore rang out across the expanse of the Great Hall as Hermione and Draco entered- Hermione smiling brightly and Draco looking around speechless.

The Great Hall erupted into a wave of applause as they walked down the centre towards the stage that was set up in place of the Teacher’s usual table- though a torrent of whispers also started to blossom as Draco held out his arm for Hermione to grasp- which she did instinctively.

“So what are you suppose to be?” Draco whispered smartly as they glided across the parted crowd of people.

“If you must know Malfoy, I was lacking creativity so I chose the best black dress I could find.” Hermione whispered back through clenched teeth as she continued to smile and wave at the crowd.

“Well you’re beautiful…uh I mean the dress is beautiful, well when I say- it’s just… you look beautiful in the dress.” Draco finished clumsily as he cleared his throat and his cheeks reddened a little.

Hermione smiled to herself, thoroughly enjoying the compliment, “Thanks Draco… and what are you suppose to be? Gothic? A vicar? Or dare I say, Professor Snape?” Hermione retorted.

“My father, actually.” Draco replied solemnly. Hermione turned and studied him and there was silence, “… I wanted to have one of the scariest costumes here…” Draco trailed off with a forced laugh that did not reach his steel grey eyes. For all of his joking, Hermione knew what he was trying to say, he was scared of his father. Who wouldn’t be? His father had just written him a letter saying that he was going to beat him for his indiscretions with a muggle-born and that if he stepped out of line again he would be facing expulsion from Hogwarts… along with a far worse beating then the one he already had coming. Then another thought crossed Hermione’s mind, she was the reason for the letter… and his upcoming beating.

Finally, the two reached the stage and took their place in behind two strategically placed microphones, and the Halloween Dance began…

“Ron, close your mouth.” Ginny sharply directed at Ron as she walked up beside where him and Harry were standing while Hermione and Draco walked down the Great Hall.

“Wow, Hermione looks hot!” Anthony Goldstein proclaimed thickly from beside Ginny, causing Ginny and Ron to look over at him dangerously. “…But you look so much better babe…” Anthony added as he tried putting an arm around Ginny’s waist.

“Save it for someone else Romeo, lets just go dance.” Ginny stated to Anthony as she gave Harry a coy smile and walked off with Anthony.

“What was with the look mate?” Ron questioned Harry as soon as Ginny was out of earshot.

“What? Oh, I don’t know I guess we just understand each other…that’s all.” Harry mumbled back as he looked down at his feet.

Noticing the tension arising Hannah slipped her arm into Harry’s, “Well now Harry try and understand me when I say lets dance!” Hannah remarked with a reassuring smile at Harry and winked at Susan as she did the same to Ron and all four of them walked out onto the dance floor, just as a fast song started up.

“Hermione and Malfoy did a great job planning this dance!” Hannah shouted over the music to Harry as the two danced. “The DJ is awesome!”

Harry looked up to the stage where a young wizard with spiky green hair and shiny black robes that had been strategically torn had his wand out directing discs this way and that. Then his gaze averted to Draco and Hermione who were laughing on stage with the two microphones in their hands. They looked so happy, so content with one another, as if the last seven years had never happened- Harry did not know whether to be happy, sad or worried by this scene. Harry looked over to Ron, he was looking up at Hermione and Draco- his face set in an expressionless stare. Then the music stopped, Hermione cleared her voice and it seemed the whole hall was now looking at her and Draco.

“ALRIGHT IT IS TIME FOR OUR FIRST INTERHOUSE COMPETITION OF THE NIGHT!” Hermione spoke over the microphone before motioning to Draco.

“THE COSTUME CONTEST WILL WORK AS SUCH… THE FIVE COSTUME FINALISTS THAT WE CHOOSE WILL STAND FACING YOU AND WHEN I OR HERMIONE PUT A HAND OVER THE HEAD OF THE CONTESTANT YOU WILL MAKE AS MUCH NOISE AS POSSIBLE FOR THE COSTUME YOU THINK IS THE BEST.” Draco continued.

“THE WINNER WILL RECEIVE A TWENTY GALLEON GIFT CERTIFICATE TO GLADRAGS WIZARDWEAR IN HOGSMEADE!” Hermione stated with a broad smile, accompanied by a rather loud round of applause.

“NOW THE HEAD GIRL AND I ARE GOING TO WALK THROUGH WHILE YOU ARE DANCING AND IF WE TAP YOU ON THE SHOULDER PLEASE WALK ONTO THE STAGE.” Draco finished as he nodded towards the DJ who immediately started the music, and everyone went back to dancing.

Hannah and Harry were dancing rather close when Hermione came up and tapped him on the shoulder, to both Hannah and Harry’s utter surprise.

“Wow that is the best Harry Potter costume I have seen all night- you must go on the stage!” Hermione spoke jokingly in Harry’s ear as he whipped around to face her with a smile.

Harry peered over at her to make sure she was joking. “How are you doing Hermione?” Harry asked empathetically.

“Oh I’m fine… having the time of my life, I think I like hosting these things more then actually going to them.” Hermione said honestly with a knowing smile at Harry, the last dance they went to, the Yule Ball, was definitely not the most memorable of experiences. Images of her and Ron’s row afterward floated into Harry’s head and he gave Hermione an empathetic smile.

“You look absolutely ravishing Hermione.” Hannah interjected with a sweet smile at Hermione that only the Hufflepuff could produce.

“Thank you Hannah, you too do as well.” Hermione said genuinely as she peered over Hannah and Harry’s costume, Cinderella and Prince charming. Harry and Hermione shared a look of understanding before Hermione excused herself, and Harry and Hannah began dancing again.

Hermione then walked up behind another familiar face only about three feet away and gently slipped her hands over his eyes. “Ronald Weasley, what do you think you are doing in those dreadful green robes?” Hermione asked Ron sharply in the best ‘Mrs. Weasley’ voice she could muster.

“Well Hermione, if you must know Susan picked these out for me in Gladrags…” Ron retorted with a smile, his eyes still covered by Hermione’s soft hands, though Hermione was feeling a little awkward.

“Oh and what are you two suppose to be?” Hermione asked delicately as she released Ron from her grasp.

“Slytherins.” Susan interposed with a coy smile and all three of them erupted into laughter.

“Well, I must be getting back up to the stage- I don’t know if Draco could handle the costume contest by himself.” Hermione remarked with a little laugh.

“The two of you did a great job on this dance.” Susan replied with a smile.

“Yes, it was definitely a joint effort-” Hermione responded avoiding Ron’s eyes.

“Well it’s great, and if I may say the two of you look rather good up there as well-” Susan continued, not even noticing Hermione’s cheeks flush pink as she looked down at her feet. “- I mean, don’t they look great up there Ron?” Susan continued.

“Yes Susan, they look great.” Ron answered with a smile that did not reach his eyes as he looked at Hermione.

“Excuse me.” Hermione stated softly before turning on her heel and walking away at a rather fast pace.

Hermione’s head was swimming, why did Susan have to bring up me and Draco looking good together in front on Ron? Now he is really going to hate me! And, the way he looked at me! Hermione continued her journey towards the stage as a hand grabbed hers and she whirled around.

“Hermione, um… don’t forget about that dance you promised me.” Ron said with a genuine smile as their eyes met.

“I won’t.” Hermione spoke back, a little above a whisper. With that, Ron gave her hand a little squeeze before turning and walking back towards Susan, leaving Hermione standing there with a grin across her face. Finally, she came back to reality, and walked up to join Draco on the stage, still smiling like a ninny.

“What’s with the smile Granger?” Draco whispered to Hermione. However, Hermione did not answer as she lined up the five contestants to start the costume contest…

After some considerable debate and several shenanigans Seamus Finnegan, who had dressed like Professor Snape, won the contest with Dean, who had dressed like Umbridge, following in a close second.

“I BELIEVE IT IS TIME TO SWITCH THINGS UP A LITTLE NOW!” Draco announced as the hall quieted. “I KNOW THIS DANCE IS ABOUT INTERHOUSE UNTIY BUT FOR THE NEXT COUPLE DANCES I AM GOING TO ASK THAT YOU ASK SOMEONE FROM YOUR OWN HOUSE!” Draco bellowed as the crowd roared with approval.

Hermione turned sharply and looked at Draco, what was he playing at? Draco caught Hermione’s look and stalked across the stage toward her.

“Wasn’t this what you wanted... A chance to dance with Weasley?” Draco whispered to Hermione with a sad smile.

Hermione studied him for a second before giving him a smile back and walking off stage to find Ron…

Harry jaw dropped as he watched the scene between Draco and Hermione unfold, Draco did that for Hermione? What was going on here?

Harry peered up at the stage to see Draco just standing there, looking…sad- As though he had just lost something dear to him…

.... then Pansey motioned to Draco off stage and Draco jumped down to dance with her, but not before giving Hermione one last fleeting glance.

Harry turned away and looked down at his feet, oh how things had changed. Suddenly, Harry became very aware that he was standing in the middle of the dance floor by himself.
Then, someone tapped him on his shoulder, a feeling rose up in Harry as he turned…it could not be her. He thought to himself anxiously, but was immediately crestfallen to find Hannah Abbot staring back at him.

“Um Harry, do you suppose it would be alright if I danced with Justin for this dance?” Hannah asked cautiously.

“What…oh, of course Hannah.” Harry stated distracted as he looked around the Great Hall.

It was too good to be true. By now she was probably off dancing with one of the 6th year Gryffindor boys… you are the farthest thing from her mind.

Harry took a deep breath and was about to start walking away when another tap on his shoulder sent shockwaves through his entire body…this had to be her.

“Um excuse me sir, but I was wondering if I might have the pleasure of this dance.” Ginny stated wittingly with a little smile as she looked into Harry’s emerald eyes.

“The pleasure would be all mine Ginny.” Harry responded as his hand slid onto Ginny’s hip and he pulled her close.
His mind was racing a mile a minute- this is Ron’s little sister, he said he would not mind, who cares about Ron, YOU LIKE HER! Look at her you stupid prat, she is beautiful! - And with that last thought, Ginny wrapped her arms around Harry’s neck and they looked into each other’s eyes, speechless as a dawn of understanding passed between them…

Ron, where are you? Hermione cried out in her mind. Hermione looked back to find Draco dancing with Pansey- but no Ron, to her right Seamus and Lavender were dancing- but no Ron, to her left Harry and GINNY?!
Hermione’s heart seemed to skip a beat as she watched the two of them- completely forgetting about Ron… this was too good to be true!

Hermione watched them for a second more before she realized that she was standing on the dance floor watching another couple dance- pathetic, I am the Head Girl and I cannot even get a partner for the dance!

Suddenly two strong hands slipped over Hermione’s eyes and she was in total darkness,
“You know ‘Mione I thought I would never find you.” Ron whispered in Hermione’s ear, removed his hands from her eyes and spun her around to face him.

“I was looking for you as well; you aren’t too easy to find yourself!” Hermione shot back icily, trying unsuccessfully to hide the fact that she was visibly shaken by their closeness.

"Well now you’ve found me… what are you going to about it?” Ron responded coyly as he wrapped his arms around Hermione’s slender hips, pulling her even closer.

“Well, I suppose I might wrap my arms around your neck like so-” Hermione replied with a smile as she draped her arms around his neck. “- and tell you that I have been waiting all night for this.” Hermione finished as she looked into Ron’s honest eyes.

“Well, then I suppose I might have to confess that I have been waiting over six years for this.” Ron replied with a weak smile.

Hermione studied him for a second before laying her head down on his shoulder- and they stayed like this for the next several songs.
*-*-*-*-*-*
Up on the stage Draco stood there looking like a deer in headlights. He didn’t know why seeing Ron and Hermione like this was bothering him so much but it was… it was as though Hermione could do better, hell, in his mind a house elf could do better then a Weasley. Whom was he kidding? He was a bit jealous, plain and simple… But why? Was it because, for once, he could not have something he wanted? No, he knew that feeling- he wanted the glory that Potter had but that was not about to happen anytime soon. No, he was jealous because he could not have something he had never wanted until now- an honest relationship. A relationship not based on greed, power or intrigue. A relationship like Ron and Hermione's… more or less a relationship with Hermione.
A tap on his shoulder roused Draco from his tempest of thoughts.

“Hey man this slow song mix is almost up, do you want to change it up for a little?” The DJ asked as he gave Draco an apprehensive look from behind his sunglasses with silver lenses.

Draco gave one last glance at Ron and Hermione still in each other’s arms and smiled coldly. “Yes, I suppose it is time we changed things up.”

“Rock on mate!” The DJ said exuberantly as he gave Draco a thumbs up and walked back over to his song mixer and began working feverishly while Draco walked over towards the microphone, nodded to the DJ, the music faded out, and a murmur of disapproval overcame the Great Hall.

“OH COME NOW, WE COULDN’T HAVE DONE THE SAME HOUSE THING ALL NIGHT!” Draco stated sarcastically while the hall snickered in unison with him and he shot a look at Ron and Hermione who were still wrapped in each other’s arms.

“What is Malfoy playing at?” Ginny asked Harry sharply as she lifted her crimson head up sharply from his shoulder.

It didn’t take Harry long to see Ron and Hermione dancing and Draco’s glares to put two and two together. “He’s jealous.” Harry murmured to himself amusedly, though just loud enough that Ginny could hear.

“What are you on about Harry?” Ginny questioned, sounding astonishingly lot like her mother.

“Oh Ginny don’t you see? He-” But Harry stopped mid sentence when he saw Ginny looking at him like he was crazy so he leaned closer in and began whispering his observations in to her ear.

“NOW FOR THESE NEXT SET OF SONGS WE ARE GOING TO MIX IT UP YET AGAIN… EVERYONE IS TO DANCE WITH SOMEONE FROM ANOTHER HOUSE, WHICH THEY DID NOT COME WITH!” Draco announced, and the Great Hall fell placidly silent for a few seconds before a faster pace music started and people started moving across to find partners.

A pleased smile spread across Draco’s face as he saw Ron and Hermione finally part…Ron giving Hermione’s hand a more then blatant little squeeze.

A few moments later Ron could be seen dancing with Padma Patil while, Hermione was walking alone towards the stage.

This is perfect, Draco thought slyly as he descended from the stage into the throngs of people bumping and grinding to the music.
When he finally reached Hermione the beginning notes of a fast Salsa song had begun to play and the Great Hall was going crazy…

“Oh move over!” Hermione directed at several fourth years who were dancing on each other in a rather ungodly manner while she tried to squeeze past them.

“Oh, this is just useless…” Hermione sighed aloud as more students packed onto the dance floor, making it almost impossible for her to get out.

Then Hermione’s ears tuned into the Salsa song that was just beginning causing her to scoff and roll her eyes, “Oh now this is just wonderful…”

“Great minds must think alike Granger, because I was about to say the very same thing.” Draco spoke silkily from behind Hermione.
She whirled around and their eyes met, a shiver ran down Hermione’s spine. A shiver of lust and anticipation that Hermione tried, to no avail, to dismiss.

“What’s wrong Granger? Cat got your tongue?” Draco asked with a playful smile.

“Nothing Malfoy, just wondering when you are going to ask me to dance?” Hermione retorted back as the music picked up in tempo.

“Who said I was going to ask?” Draco snapped back with a grin as he slipped his hand into Hermione’s and spun her around so that when she was facing him again they were closer. “I don’t even know if you can salsa…” Draco continued with a smirk as he twirled Hermione around again, this time ending up behind her and brushed his hand across Hermione’s neck.

Hermione shivered yet again at his touch but regained her composure quickly.

“Oh I do alright for myself.” Hermione countered as she placed Draco’s hands on either side of her hips and then closed the space between them.

Draco leaned in towards Hermione’s ear so that she could feel his hot breath,
“Well then Granger, why don’t you prove it.” Draco challenged.

Almost instantaneously, the two began to dance with passion and vigour, their bodies becoming one with the rhythm of the music.
After a couple moments of dancing, it was quite clear that Draco and Hermione had lost all their inhibitions. They seemed to have fled reason and surrendered to passion, though it did not go unnoticed by those that surrounded them.

The rest of the students on the dance floor seemed to part like the Red Sea to admire the Head Girl and Boy dance. The music seemed to play louder and the energy reverberating throughout the room was intoxicating.

“Oh my word!” Lavender Brown whispered frantically into Pavarti’s ear as her and Seamus, who had completely ignored the partner rule, stopped dancing.

“What is it?” Pavarti hissed back clearly upset at someone ruining her dance with a rather dashing 6th year Hufflepuff. She didn’t have to wait long before Seamus cottoned on to Lavender’s observation.

“Merlin’s beard! Look at Malfoy and… GRANGER!? Bloody hell! They look like they are about to snog each other silly in the middle of the dance floor!” Seamus exclaimed with a broad grin before motioning to Dean Thomas, who was still caught up in a dance with a pretty little blonde Ravenclaw.

“So how am I doing Malfoy?” Hermione panted breathlessly as she rolled her hips into Draco’s and shook her beautiful curly hair back from her face.

Draco smirked and whipped Hermione around so that he was behind her before snaking his hand around her tiny waist. His breaths hot on her neck he whispered into her ear: “I would say you were a natural but…” Draco trailed off as he gently swept his hand across her neck.

“But what?” Hermione retorted as she struck a pose with her foot out to the side and Draco started to trace a hand up her leg before wrapping it around his waist and leaning to the side- taking Hermione with him.

Hermione let her back arch and her bosom was in full frontal view as Draco traced a line right down the centre- leaning in close and whispering: “… but I know you got it from a book, Granger.”

“Sensual Salsa for Sensual Sirens.” Hermione responded pompously as Draco began to spin her in broad circles across the dance floor- accompanied by several exuberant whispers from the now totally awe-struck inhabitants of the Great Hall.

“You would consider yourself a ‘sensual siren’, Granger?” Draco remarked slyly just as he tugged Hermione’s hand and she spun in towards him. He then spun her away before the two hit their final pose and the music came to an end. The whole place erupted into jubilant applause, as Hermione stayed plastered on Draco- the two panting heavily.

Hermione looked into Draco’s eyes that were alight with a sort of lust. The grey shining like a newly formed metal just taken from the fire whence it came.

“Yes I would Draco, and don’t call me Granger.” Hermione responded finally, still holding Draco’s lustful gaze- torn between excitement and exasperation.

Then a remark from someone in the hall abruptly tore Hermione’s gaze away.

It was Ron.

Hermione looked to the side just in time to see him turn sharply and push past several still gawking third years. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what was bothering him. The excitement Hermione had been feeling moments earlier dropped out of her like a hundred pound weight and she soon found herself making her way through a plethora of costumed witches and wizards trying desperately to find Ron…


Chapter 14: THE GARDEN OF YOU AND I
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CHAPTER 14: THE GARDEN OF YOU AND I

The stagnant cold of the October night air penetrated through Hermione’s elegant black dress, as though she were wearing little more then a House-Elf’s tea rag, as she burst through the doors leading out of the Great Hall and into the courtyard outside…

Her mind was racing a mile a minute. She had heard Ron’s voice mumble out of everyone in the Great Hall as her and Draco struck their final pose, she had seen the look on Ron’s face- the look of defeat, she had seen the way he had jerked his vibrant red head away and pushed through the crowd, but most importantly she saw Harry and Ginny give her a look of… well, disappointment.
And why shouldn’t they? Hell, Ginny had tried to tell her way back at the beginning of the year in the Library that Ron had feelings for her but, Hermione didn’t see it. Or didn’t want to see it. She wasn’t quite sure which one made more sense at the moment. Probably the later seeing as how if she did see then she would have been required to really look into herself to find something other then knowledge or a witty remark. It would have required an introverted look at how she felt- romantically that was, something she had never really done before. Even with Krum it had been more of a duty, self preservation – a witty reply to Ron not confessing his feelings to her.

But now Hermione was stuck…

Instead of having time to get a grip on the situation and sort out her tempest of feelings for Ron she felt as though she was in a race and everyone else already had a head start. Sure, it was her own doing. She had told Ron she would save him a dance, pretty much accepting his invitation of feelings- to share feelings that is- in his own simple way he had said all Hermione had ever needed to hear from him just by that. And the dance they shared had sealed it- he had said it best with the dance- he cared for her, far beyond the simple duty of best friend. Her and Harry had never danced like that – and they wouldn’t, he was more of a brother figure, but Ron- he had always been there- the brother’s best friend that you are friends with as well but scared to take it any farther for fear that it might mess up the triangle. Well now she had messed it up- by adding an unlikely component…

A rustle from one of the lighted bushes awoke Hermione from her jumble of thoughts and put all of her senses on alert. Another rustle had her hand on her wand- which proved a good thing as in the next breath something orange leapt right for Hermione !

“STUPEFY!” Hermione roared sending a spell straight towards the hurtling figure causing it to drop like a sack of potatoes in mid air.

Hermione looked apprehensively over at the bushes again, and heard the snap of a twig and stood at attention with her wand at the ready. After a few moments at guard she finally felt it safe to go examine the victim and let out a surprised gasp at the form lying at her feet.

“Crr-rookshanks?” Hermione stammered still in shock as her bandy-haired cat lay crumpled at her feet, unable to move. How could he have wondered out of Gryffindor tower? Well, he was a cat so that wasn’t too suspicious but how in the world had he found her hear? And what had frightened him so much that he would pounce at her, Hermione?
“Ennervate.” Hermione spoke clearly as she pointed the tip of her wand at her beloved cat- which came to instantaneously. “Are you okay darling?” Hermione whispered affectionately as she stroked the area between the cat’s ears- which of course elicited purring from the animal straight away.

Feeling bad about jumping to conclusions and stupefy-ing her own cat Hermione picked up the animal and walked slowly over to a stone bench situated in front of a stone waterfall her and Ginny had enchanted to flow and create a sort of mist effect on the whole terrace in the courtyard. (think dry-ice) Now, if it was possible, she felt even worse.

“Oh Crookshanks, what am I going to do? .. I have really screwed things up…” Hermione trailed off as she lazily stroked the cat- Her mind turning back to her thoughts again.

…Why did I have to go and do this to Ron? Hermione thought guiltily. It is hard enough for him to have to be around me all the time and keep his feelings bottled up inside and now, when he finally sort of does, I end up loosing all of my inhibitions in the arms of someone else! Hermione scolded herself mentally… So that was what I had done, lost all of my inhibitions. What was I thinking? You weren’t. And now look where it has gotten you- sitting in a beautiful garden stroking your cat and wallowing in your own self pity. Hermione mentally noted to herself.
Hermione swallowed hard before setting Crookshanks down lightly on the ground. “Sorry, but I really need to find Ron.” Hermione said bracingly to the animal before directing it towards the door. “Now you just go back up to the dormitory and try not to get yourself trampled on… and steer clear of Mrs. Norris!” Hermione added as an afterthought while Crookshanks stalked off obediently.

Hermione watched the cat skulk off before she was jolted from her trance by another rustling in the bushes.

“Who’s there?” Hermione spat in the direction of the moving bushes across from her.

The Garden was unearthly silent and Hermione started to relax a little when a branch snapped and she jumped of the stone bench and started slowly backing up around the corner into the enchanted Garden that her and Ginny had earlier decorated with several fairies. She would have found the scenery so much more enjoyable if she wasn’t more then a little freaked out.

Suddenly, while backing up, she hit something with a dull thud from behind and she toppled to the ground.
“What the bloody hell- HERMIONE?!” Ron gasped thickly as he looked down at her black satin clad self crumpled on the ground.

“Well don’t stand there gawking Ron, help me up!” Hermione snapped at him as she rubbed the place on the back of her head where she had obviously collided the hardest with Ron’s back.

“Oh- Right you are ‘Mione.” Ron responded as he offered a strong hand, which she gracefully took, and started to help Hermione up. She gracefully rose off the ground and long after she had regained balance the two were still holding hands, their eyes firmly fixated on the other’s.

“So… what are you doing out here anyways?” Ron mumbled- finally breaking the silence- though not retracting his hand or his gaze. “Shouldn’t you be back in there dancing?”

“Actually Ronald,” Hermione retorted, a little shaken from Ron’s comment, “I came out here after you.” She finished as she gave him her usual glare and removed her hand from his sharply. She didn’t know why she had acted so fiercely towards him after they had had a ‘moment’ – but looking back at it she would probably blame it on nerves- or the fact that she was completely lost when it came to Ron. One minute she was arguing with like he was some sort hypocritical politician and the next she wanted to be in his company more then anything else.

“Oh well that’s funny Hermione because I came out here because of YOU!” Ron shot back, his anger boiling up inside. Was she that cold and callus that a moment of intimacy made her feel that uneasy? Or did the thought of Ron just make her that disgusted? He had seen the way she danced with Draco… she didn’t pull her hand away from him… Bloody Hell! With the way those two were dancing Ron was surprised that Hermione had pulled herself off of him to come out here and not just shagged him silly right in the middle of the dance floor!

“Me, Ron? And what did I do?” Hermione countered her chestnut eyes darkening to the colour of freshly brewed coffee.

“YOU KNOW HERMIONE FOR BEING THE BRIGHTEST WITCH IN SCHOOL YOU REALLY ARE BLOODY OBLIVIOUS!” Ron yelled in frustration before turning and fixing his gaze on some fairies that were frolicking in a nearby bush.

“… Ginny and Draco told me the same thing…” Hermione trailed off softly, reflecting back on their encounter down the desolate library aisle.

“Oh I’m sure they did. So tell me Hermione what else does dear old Draco tell you?” Ron shot back icily but the look on his face looked more pain than anything as he put emphasis on the word ‘Draco.’ “No, you know what Hermione? … I don’t even want to know what ferret-boy tells you. You want to know why? Because I remember when all he used to ‘tell’ you was that you were a good for nothing Mudblood!” Ron proclaimed, his eyes looking directly into Hermione’s.

Hermione took a step back aghast. Had Ron really just used that word? How could he possibly stoop so low as to use those words in her presence? So Draco had said them, so what? He hadn’t even used a phrase close to that in ages… he had, in her eyes, changed.

“No witty retort, eh’ Hermione?” Ron continued on, “Didn’t think so. You know just because he has ‘changed’ doesn’t mean that you should automatically lose all of your sense of self around him… some of us don’t have to change because we were there for you from the beginning… not a change of heart after six years.” Ron concluded as he breathed in deeply.

“What are you not saying, Ron?” Hermione whispered softly as she walked towards him.

“He is saying that he wants to be with you … and to stay away from me.” The icy voice of Draco Malfoy sliced through the thin, chilled October night air like a knife through butter.

Hermione and Ron both froze in their spots, looking directly into each other’s eyes- Hermione was searching for an answer to Draco’s proclamation and Ron was trying to see how Hermione would react to what Draco had just said. They stood there gazing, both wanting reassurance from the other though neither was willing to give it in return. So finally Hermione, with much effort, turned around slowly to face Draco.

Her heart caught in her throat as she turned gracefully around. In the dark garden alit with fairy lights Draco’s white blonde hair shone around his pale face- making him look ethereal. But his gray eyes were no longer the color of a newly processed metal but now look frigid and cold- more or less stern. What was Hermione supposed to say? She hadn’t expected something like this… after six years of trying to ignore the prat she now found herself wanting to forge some sort of friendship with him- but not at the cost of losing Ron’s.

“Cat got your tongue Hermione?” Draco sneered with a smirk though Hermione could tell he was simply trying to lighten the mood a little as his eyes lightened a little.

“What are you doing out here Malfoy?” Hermione said through clenched teeth. For some reason the way he said Hermione, almost affectionately, made her uneasy in Ron’s presence.

“Oh, so I see we are back to surnames again, eh Granger?” Draco said softly, his voice hardening with every word and putting special emphasis on ‘Granger.’

Hermione held him in a hard stare before her eyes averted their gaze towards Ron who was standing cattycorner to Hermione looking utterly perplexed. Draco’s eyes followed Hermione’s towards Ron and then he found himself staring back at Hermione again. The time wasn’t right… “Contra Veritas, Granger.” Draco whispered softly before turning on his heel and gliding back towards the castle.

Hermione looked down at her black satin heels for a moment- Ron’s gaze still holding her- before she finally looking up at him.

“You have feelings for him, don’t you Hermione.” Ron softly proclaimed- making it more of a statement then a question.

“How so? I mean I have feelings for him as a friend but-”

“Oh save it Hermione! Why don’t you ever just say what you mean for once!”

“WHY DON’T YOU!” Hermione yelled back just as the Great Hall erupted into blood curdling screams….


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