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Author's Note: Welcome to chapter one of THE GAME OF LOVE! Enjoy, and don't forget to review!


"D'you think she'll get mad?" Ron Weasley whispered anxiously as he took a pink sheet of parchment titled Do You Want To Be In The Game of Love? out of an envelope that had been delivered to him by owl post that morning. 

"Of course she'll get mad," his best friend Harry Potter whispered back. "The thing is, this is for her own good and she'll thank us later for it." He took out a battered quill from his pocket and unscrewed a bottle of ink. 

"You write it," said Ron fervently, "your handwriting is better than mine." 

Harry rolled his bright green eyes. "Fine. Just help me fill this out quick." 

The first blank was easy. Under NAME, he wrote Hermione Granger. The second and third were also easy. Under AGE, he wrote 27 and beneath EDUCATION he scribbled Hogwarts (graduated at the top of the class, most brilliant witch of my age). The fourth was a bit difficult. The question was, DESCRIBE YOUR APPEARANCE. They didn't want to exaggerate, but they didn't want the judges, or whoever picked the contestants, to pass her up either. In the end he wrote, curly brown hair, brown eyes, 5' 6", slender, very pretty. He added a picture just in case. The photo was moving, of course, and Hermione was scowling at them as if she knew what they were doing. The next question, DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY, was also hard, and so was WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN THE OPPOSITE SEX? By the time they were done filling out the little questionnaire, they were exhausted. 

Ron sent the pink parchment back to the Game of Love headquarters just as his girlfriend of three years, Lavender Brown, walked in, yawning and stretching. She noticed Ron and Harry's guilty faces and narrowed her eyes. "What did you guys just do?" 

"N-nothing!" said Ron. 

"See you later mate," said Harry hastily, clapping a hand onto Ron's shoulder. He nodded to Lavender and then quickly left before his wife, Ginny Potter, became suspicious as well.

…A week later…

A loud tapping noise caused Hermione to raise her head from her cup of coffee, which she had almost fallen asleep in. She looked up and saw the most ridiculous owl she had ever seen in her life fluttering on the other side of the kitchen window. The owl's feathers were various shades of hideous pink and it had a red ribbon tied around its neck (do owls have necks?). Shaking her head, Hermione let the owl in and untied the scroll of parchment. The owl hooted disdainfully, looking a disheveled Hermione up and down. Hermione scowled and slammed the window shut after shooing the owl back out. She unrolled the scented pink parchment, read what it said, and then sat down in a daze.

Dear Miss Hermione Granger,
You have been chosen to compete in the first-ever season of the Game of Love with 49 other women. The objective is to win the heart of our handsome bachelor, ***** ****** (his name is highly classified information). The show will air on WizardVision next spring. The competition begins in a week. You will, of course, attend the ball. An official invitation will be sent soon. It will be a masquerade, so please dress accordingly. At the end of the night, 25 women will remain. And when we say 'of course,' it means you are magically bound to take part in the Game of Love. Our handsome bachelor cannot wait to meet you. See you soon! Au revoir!

M. Claude Beaumont
Chief Executive Officer of The Game of Love, Co.; So You Think You Can Duel?, Co.; Living Like A Muggle: The Reality WizardVision Series, Co.; and other affiliated companies.

"What...the…bloody…hell." Hermione set the letter down. This had to be a stupid prank. Maybe Fred…or George…or the both of them. 

As if on cue, the door to her small London flat burst open and a redheaded man stumbled in, though it was not one of the prank-loving twins. It was Ron Weasley, and right behind him was Harry Potter. 

Hermione raised an eyebrow. "Hello, boys," she said pleasantly enough, hiding the letter behind her back. She didn't want them to jump to conclusions, after all. 

"Hi," said Harry. Ron attempted to smile. 

"Er…is something the matter?" said Hermione. 

"Oh, er, we were just wondering, did you, um, receive a letter by owl post this morning?" said Harry. 

Suspicion hit Hermione very hard. She said, in a voice of forced calmness, "What sort of letter?" 

"A letter from…ah…yes, a letter like that." Ron caught sight of the pink parchment Hermione held up and braced himself for an explosion. 


Harry and Ron cringed. "We…we thought it'd be for your own good…." 


"We were worried about you, Hermione…all you do is work, work, and work. You don't come out with us anymore, you don't see your friends…you need a…a…" Ron's voice trailed off. 

"A love life," finished Harry. 

Hermione calmed down a little. "Well, thank you very much for your concern," she said, "but don't you think you could have asked me about this first? According to this letter, I can't decline--I'M MAGICALLY BOUND TO ATTEND THIS BLOODY MASQUERADE!" 

"You--you would have said no," said Ron in a small voice. He brightened a little. "But masquerades are cool…you'll have lots of fun." He smiled hopefully. 

Hermione sighed, shook her head of messy dark brown curls, and smiled slightly. "So…I'm going to be on the Game of Love." She remembered the mushy reality TV shows her mum used to watch and cry over and then tell her about. Now she was going to be a contestant on one of them. A sudden thought struck her, and she smiled evilly. "Hey…if I act absolutely abominable, then the bachelor, whoever he is, won't choose me…and I can leave after one night!" 

"No!" cried Harry. 

"Hermione, please…just be yourself. At least try…for us…." Ron made a sad puppy-dog expression and Harry hastily rearranged his face to copy him. 

Hermione closed her eyes a little wearily. "Fine," she said at last. "I'll do it." She paused. "I can't believe I just said that." 

There was a pause. 

"Well, this has been a fun morning!" said Harry. "But I have to get to the Auror office--" 

"OH MY GOD! WORK! I'M GOING TO BE LATE!" With that Hermione dashed to her bedroom to change, leaving Harry and Ron to stare after her sheepishly. 

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