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    Ginny bent down to clean up the shattered wizard’s chess set, her brother had abandoned in a hurry. Her hand was shaking as she began to pick up the pieces, one by one. How much had her brother heard? What was he going to do? She thought to herself. She knew that Ron had liked Hermione for years. Apart from Harry, she was the only other person he had confided in, not that it was entirely difficult to tell. Practically, the entire student body knew how Ron felt towards the bushy brown haired know-it-all.

    “Ginny,” Harry whispered, bending down to lend her a comforting hand. “You don’t need to…” and with a wave of his wand, he repaired the chess set to its original condition.

    “Oh right,” Ginny said, still fully absorbed in her thoughts. She stood up quickly. “Harry, you don’t think…”

    “What?” Harry questioned, an air of concern lining his voice.

    Anxiety flushed her already rosy cheeks. “You don’t think—Ron will do something stupid,” she questioned. “We should go after him.”

    “Ron wouldn’t do anything.”

    “No, you are right,” she said sarcastically, gaping at Harry in disbelief. “He has only loved Hermione since, I don’t know, the beginning of time!”

    Ginny stared searchingly into Harry’s eyes. Without another word, the pair traced Ron’s steps out of the shop and into the streets.

    “I love you!” Hermione breathed.

    “Excuse me?” Draco exclaimed bewildered by the passion exuding from Hermione’s voice.

    “I love you,” Hermione blushed.

    “You what?” Draco questioned again.

    But Hermione ignored him. “I love you!” she said more forcibly, staring directly into Ron’s brilliant blue eyes.

    “I…err…me too!” Ron offered, overwhelmed by Hermione’s sudden affection. She had inched her chair closer to his and was now looking adoringly into his eyes, her lips inches from his.

    Draco choked on his butterbeer, almost spitting it out onto the table in front of him. “That’s it!” he snickered at Ron. “She finally divulges her love for you—and that’s all you can give her! I…err…me too!” Draco mocked relentlessly. “Weasel you are one hopeless idiot.”

    “Shut up, Malfoy,” Hermione snapped quickly. “At least someone loves him. That’s more than I can say for you.” She turned back to Ron, her fingers brushing through his soft and welcoming red hair while a small but purposeful smile inched across her face.

    A million thoughts raced through Draco’s mind as he sat silently, sipping his butterbeer just listening to the now very-in-love and very annoying pair whisper into each other’s ears. He knew from the beginning that she was not talking to him. He knew from the beginning, but for some reason he was not convinced. He was not ready to give up—hope.

    Draco groaned. The Amortentia, he thought, good thing it was just a sip. I don’t know how much of this lovey-dovey crap I will be able to take.

    “You don’t have to take any of it!” Hermione spat in response to Draco’s thoughts, turning away again from a very surprised and confused Ron.

    “Bloody hell, can’t a man think to himself these days!” Draco exclaimed.

    “I will not have you thinking poorly of my love—my soul mate,” she said in a daze again, looking at a smiling Ron.

    “Your soul mate?” Draco snickered. I feel very bad for you, madam, if Ronald Weasley turns out to be your soul mate! he thought knowing very well that Hermione would be able to read his mind. He heard her huff and knew instantly that she was not amused by his telepathic retort.

    “Draco, honestly, what is your problem?” Hermione bellowed from under Ron’s warm embrace.

    “You’re the problem,” Draco mumbled in reply.

    Holding Hermione close to his chest, Ron loosened his grip as he watched the pair banter back and forth. Even with the Amortentia I can’t keep her thoughts off him for more than ten minutes, Ron sighed to himself, frustrated by the scene before him.

    “Hermione, don’t… don’t let him bother you,” Ron pleaded lovingly, stroking her beautiful curls, stopping them from obscuring her mesmerizing eyes while, at the same time, trying to regain her full attention.

    “Actually Hermione,” Draco continued knowing fully well that he was being an annoying—interrupting—prat, “I wouldn’t mind another butterbeer—if it isn’t too bothersome. Uh…” Draco cleared his throat. “Hermione will you get me another butterbeer? Her… HERMIONE!”

    “What DRACO? Can’t you see I’m in the middle of something here! Why are you constantly interrupting my life,” Hermione snapped back.

    “Oh oh, I’m sorry. I had no idea that I was interrupting your precious little life!” Draco said dramatically, with a side of obvious sarcasm. “I mean if my disabling blindness is getting in the way of you know…”

    “Oh stuff it, ferret face!” she retorted.

    “Seems like you have a feisty one on your hands, there Ron! No wonder you needed Amort…” Draco started, half out of irritation, half out of plain jealousy.

    “Hermione will you please get me another butterbeer,” Ron said, cutting Draco off mid sentence, while waving his empty bottle in front of her.

    “Of course, I will my Ronnykins. Anything for you!” she said while getting down from her chair.

    “Oh yeah sure, get him a refill but ignore the disabled one. You’re the best Hermione!” Draco spat sarcastically. Ron handed her two sickles and gave her a small, but audible kiss on the cheek.

    “Hear that Draco, that’s why I get him refills,” Hermione said mischievously, with a flick of her light and flirtatious curls. Ron blushed scarlet.

    “Okay so, that’s all I have to do—kiss you on the cheek…that is where he kissed you, I mean I can’t see and all,” Draco smirked trying very hard to hide his jealousy, but Hermione ignored him, turning to converse instead with a very busy Madame Rosmerta.

    Knowing very well that Hermione was out of earshot, a smug yet defensive Ron finally chimed in. “Jealous much, Malfoy?”

    There was a hard knock on the large oak door of Dumbledore’s office. Snape gripped the golden griffin attached to the door tightly between his sweating fingers, as he continued to knock impatiently bruising the ancient oak with the brass knocker.

    “Enter, Severus,” a voice echoed from within. Doing his best to ignore the snoring portraits, Snape rushed through the doors, his black wizarding robe billowing in his wake.

    “Headmaster, I need a word with you,” Snape said with an air of urgency.

    “Of course, Severus. Here, have a toffee, I just imported them from Wales and they…”

    “Headmaster,” Snape said forcefully, clearly not interested in the toffee from Wales, “We may have a problem.”

    “I see. What kind of problem might this be, Severus?”

    “A Hermione-Draco problem.” Dumbledore set the toffee he was in the process of unwrapping on his desk, and turned to Snape, giving him his full attention. “Headmaster, I was doing my inventory count today—you know ever since Potter stole the gillyweed three years ago, I have made a point to check—”


    “Right, so as I was saying, I was doing my inventory and I noticed that Hermione’s vial of Shrouding Solution is missing.”

    “I see. Yes, this could be a problem.”

    “If Hermione or Draco took it… Headmaster, Hermione is very capable of brewing that potion to full capacity.”

    “Oh, I am well aware of this, Severus.”

    “If they have any intention of using the solution in the near future, who knows what adverse consequences might ensue. We should confront them right away—not to mention give them detention for the remainder of the term. I would be happy to give it to them myself…”

    “Bound by beauty of mind and men.”

    “Uh? Headmaster, did you hear a word I said…” Snape muttered, confused by Dumbledore’s sudden and very exclusive epiphany.

    “Blinded by magic, at first, it seems. Surrendered to silence, next, it deems. Bound by beauty of mind and men. Love, inevitable, shall follow then. Severus, it’s happening.”

    “What is happening, sir?”

    “Of course. Beauty of mind. Of course.” A sly smile crept momentarily across the Headmaster’s face. “It is beginning, again.”

    “What?” Draco responded intrigued by Ron’s sudden audacity.

    “I never thought I would see the day when a Malfoy fell for a muggleborn,” Ron said slowly, putting special emphasis on each syllable.

    “In Merlin’s name, Weasley, what are you on about!” Draco hollered, feigning ignorance.

    “You like Granger!”

    “I most certainly DO NOT!” Draco heard himself respond rashly.

    “Yes, you do.”

    “No, I do not!”

    “I can’t believe this,” Ron chuckled. “You are so jealous you are blushing…”

    Draco felt his burning cheeks in disbelief with his right hand. “I am not blushing. I am not jealous and I certainly do not like Granger…” Draco said more quietly and purposefully.

    “Now you are lying,” Ron blurted out, letting his superficial amusement give way to his anger. “I see the way you are with her. And the way she looks at you. If only you could see,” Ron finished.

    “Are you kidding—” Draco began, extremely defensive. “Me, like Granger, that mudbl—”

    “You can’t even call her a mudblood,” Ron mocked, somewhat in disbelief.

    “You didn’t let me finish! How could I ever like that mudbl—” Draco could feel Ron glaring at him. “Shut up, Weasel! I don’t like Granger. My taste is of a much higher quality than yours.”

    “Oh yeah,” Ron grimaced, “Prove it!"

    “I don’t need to prove anything to a second-hand pureblood like yourself!”

    “Take Pansy to the ball,” Ron said, motioning towards the window table, where a very jealous Pansy was sitting, among her usual troop of Slytherin followers. “She is sitting over there, by the window. Go and ask her, why don’t you?”

    Draco hesitated. He knew very well that Pansy was sitting by the window. Ever since he had rejected her invitation to the costume ball, she had been keeping a very close eye on him.

    “Hermione and I—we already said that we would---”

    “Why go to the ball with someone you don’t like very much?” Ron questioned furtively.

    “It’s up to Hermione, whatever she wants…”

    “I dare you, Malfoy” Ron said, threateningly.

    Draco sat up straight, his back tensing from the pressure. He had just been dared. He recognized Pansy’s very audible whisper and knew very well that she had been listening to their conversation from the moment she had entered the Three Broomsticks and spotted Draco with Hermione. “You don’t need to dare me, Weasley,” Draco rebutted in defeat. “I can think of no one better to take to the ball than Pansy.” Draco could hear Pansy breathe a sigh of ecstasy. She had started talking again to her friends, discussing her and Draco’s costumes. He could feel Ron’s complacency beaming from across the small bar table at the realization that Pansy had just accepted Draco’s "invitation".

    “Harry—HARRY! Over here! Come this way!” Ginny yelled over the crowds of bustling students roaming the streets of Hogsmeade. “It’s Ron,” she continued pointing towards the pub now crammed with students and visitors of all shapes and sizes. “He is in the Three Broomsticks!”

    “I’m coming! I’ll meet you in there!” Harry cried back to his girlfriend, doing his best to fight against the crowds.

    Ginny entered into the pub, running in to find her brother’s table.

    “Ron, thank goodness I found you! Are you—alright?” she asked in a very concerned whisper, oddly resembling Mrs. Weasley.

    “Yes, I’m fine. Ginny, I’m fine,” he said while swatting his sister’s sympathetic hand away from his forehead.

    “Listen, about what I said—what you heard back in Zonko’s,” Ginny began but halted almost instantly at the sight of a very irritated, but curious Draco. “Oh hello, Draco.” The tense awkwardness that had suddenly sprung up was quickly jarred by a sudden and very enthusiastic shriek.


    Ginny spun around, only to fall into a squealing Hermione’s overly affectionate embrace. This is odd, Ginny thought to herself, while eagerly returning the hug at the same time. Hermione’s affection was fleeting as she quickly turned back to Ron.

    “So, Ron,” she squealed in excitement, “I was discussing this with Madame Rosmerta—no, actually, I was more just telling her—but anyways, that is not the point. I have an idea for our costumes.”

    “Costumes?” Ginny questioned. The last time she remembered Hermione mention costumes and Ron in the same sentence, things had not gone too well for her brother. She was intrigued almost confused; Hermione seemed different.

    “Yes, didn’t Ron tell you. We are going to the ball together!” Hermione stated matter-of-factly, excitement streaming from her toothy smile.

    “No, actually he did not!” Ginny replied now glaring at Ron in search of an explanation. Ron looked away.

    Draco stopped fiddling with his empty bottle of butterbeer, suddenly very intrigued by the conversation at hand.

    “So, Ron,” Hermione continued, “I thought we could go as Romeo and Juliet. I bought this gorgeous, blue, strapless dress, that with a few modifications…”

    “Who?” Ron said, dumbfounded.

    “Romeo and Juliet, only the greatest…”

    “…lovers of all time,” Draco finished her sentence.

    Draco heard all three of his companions shift to stare at him. “What?” he said quickly in response to their apparent disbelief. “So, I’m a fan of the muggle classics.”

    “Just of the muggle classics…” Ginny provoked almost inaudibly thinking back to what she had seen. Draco shrugged the comment off, sure that no one but himself, with his now impeccable hearing, had heard the sly comment.

    “Right, so what do you think, Ronnykins?” Hermione said turning her head slowly back to Ron, still a little fazed by Draco’s surprising knowledge of Shakespearean literature.

    Ronnykins? Ginny mouthed in utter disbelief. There was only one explanation for this unusual turn in her behavior. In a moment of understanding, Ginny gave her brother a murderous stare. “Yeah, Ron! What do you think?”

    “Uh… I like the blue strapless idea,” Ron said, avoiding his sister’s glare, preferring instead to meet Hermione’s adoring gaze. But Hermione had looked away.

    “Harry,” Hermione cried in delight, “I didn’t see you there!” Having just entered the Three Broomsticks, Harry approached Hermione, who upon eyeing her dear friend nearly flung herself on him.

    “So, Harry what do you think of my idea?” Hermione exclaimed, jumping into a detailed explanation of her costume idea, for Harry who had missed out on much of the conversation.

    Ginny hit Ron on the head, now that Hermione was sufficiently distracted by Harry’s presence. “Oww! What was that for?” Ron mumbled, rubbing his bruised forehead.

    “You gave her a love potion, you dim wit!” Ginny hissed into her brother’s ear.

    “Not just any love potion!” Draco chimed in, overhearing Ginny’s tirade. “Tell her, Ron. Tell your little sister how you gave her best friend Amortentia!” Draco whispered, exacerbating the situation to his own delight.

    “Are you kidding me?” she hit Ron on the head again. “I knew you liked her, but I never thought you would sink this low,” she growled, disappointment exuding from her chest.

    “Ginny, why are you hitting my dear Ronny?” Hermione exclaimed in exasperation, turning away from Harry and edging closer to Ron.

    Because he deserved it. Slipping you love potion, forcing me to take Pansy to the ball… Draco thought, mentally condoning Ginny’s little show of violence.

    “YOU! You stay out of this!” Hermione said, pointing menacingly across the table to Draco.

    “I didn’t say anything to you,” Draco replied, feigning his innocence well.

    “BUT you were thinking it,” Hermione said sharply.

    “Yeah, so what if I was,” Draco remarked derisively, “What are you going to do about it?”

    “Ron, I—we don’t have to deal with this,” she said, fawning over him. “Let’s leave, right now!”

    “Correction!” Draco said. “You do remember the whole seven feet rule don’t you?”

    “Ughhh!” Hermione sighed. “You are trying to ruin my life.”

    “This is all you fault!” Hermione cried, as she fainted melodramatically onto the couch in the middle of their common room. She was massaging the sides of her forehead; ever since they had left the Three Broomsticks, she had had a splitting headache and was forxed to cut her date with Ron short. Draco suspected that her sip of Amortentia was beginning to wear off.

    “My fault?” he shouted back. “What is my fault?” Draco collapsed in an armchair, directly across from the complaining Hermione. He closed his eyes, exhausted from everything that had happened in the past few hours.

    “My headache! You are the reason for my headache!” she answered.

    “Well you are the reason for many things in my life—but you don’t see me complaining, do you?” Draco snapped cryptically.

    “What?” Hermione had sat up.

    “Nothing,” Draco said, exhausted and not wanting to pick a fight.

    “No. Say what you need to say. You have been avoiding my questions all day, mumbling to yourself and what not. My dear Ronnyk…Ronnyk…my dear Ronnykins was so furious with you. What is wrong with you today, Malfoy?”

    “Your dear Ronnykins does not know how to mind his own business. Someone had to put him in his place.”

    “Shut up! My Ronnyki…”

    “Your Ronnykins is a desperate fool born into a desperate lot. Do you know what he did? I will tell you not that anything goes through your love stricken brain,” Malfoy began.


    “He gave you a love potion. He saw us or heard from Ginny about our little—whatever it was—in Gladrags and he got jealous. He gave you love potion and turned you into this blabbering git!”


    “I knew he was in love with you—but he gave you Amortentia that he stole from Potions class. If I hadn’t stopped you from drinking your entire butterbeer, who knows how much of that stuff you…”


    “So don’t talk to me about your stupid, Ronnykins and how unbelievably perfect the two of you are going to look as Romeo and Jul…”

    “Enough!” Hermione shrieked. She was clutching the sides of her forehead with such force that she was practically lying on the floor in pain.

    “Hermione—are you alright?” Draco said concerned.

    “Alright?” Hermione asked, her voice trembling between octaves. “Alright? One of my best friends just gave me Amortentia and you ask me if I am alright?” Draco sank lower into his armchair. The potion, he realized, had finally worn off. “What did I do, Draco? Anything embarrassing… anything that you can use against me in the near and formidable future,” she sneered. “Oh I bet you loved this. I bet it was the best day of your life, watching me fawn idiotically over Ron.”

    “No…Hermione…that’s not…” Draco had gotten to his feet.

    “What? Did he convince me to go to the ball with him too… oh yes… Romeo and Juliet! How could I forget? You know—I was going to suggest that for us—who would be able to guess that the school’s two greatest enemies would go to the ball as lovers. It would have been perfect.” Hermione was on the verge of tears now and Draco was speechless.

    Hermione started to pace back and forth. Draco took in the driving rhythm of her footsteps and was surprised to hear them stop. Hermione had halted in front of the fireplace while hastily wiping away her tears. She took hold of the vial of Shrouding Solution that was sitting on the mantle of the common room’s fireplace. “I guess we won’t be needing this?” Hermione menaced.

    “Need what, Hermione?” Draco asked. “Talk to me, will you?” He listened as her conflicting emotions took control of her behavior. He could hear her pacing again.

    “The Shrouding Solution. We won’t be needing it—”

    “You don’t know that—” Draco tried to pacify her. He had managed to make his way closer to his distraught companion.

    “Yes. Yes, I do,” she said rather calmly. And then, without a moment’s notice she raised the vial of Shrouding Solution above her head, holding Draco’s only chance at regaining his sight just above the flames.

    “No!” he exclaimed, realizing what Hermione was about to do.

    She ignored him, opening her fingers only to let the small vial slip from her grasp. As if obeying instinct, Draco reached out his hand and caught the vial before it came in contact with the flames. He collapsed next to the fire, letting the adrenaline pump through his veins.

    Hermione stood breathless at the scene she had just witnessed. She abandoned her humiliation and anger for absolute bewilderment.


    “What?!” he said irritated.

    “How—how did you catch that. You—you can’t see!”

    Draco squeezed the vial firmly between his sweaty fingers at her words; breathing in a sigh of relief, he replied, “I don’t know, Hermione. I really don’t know.”

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