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A/N – Alright folks, it’s time to make history! Chapter 12 is being validated and I’ve already finished 13. Yes that’s right, I’m up 2 chapters!! Exciting, I know. And I have all my wonderful reviewers to thank. All of yall are awesome. I’m really trying to catch up on reading and reviewing back, so don’t worry, I’ll get to your stories too! It’s hard keeping a balance between reading and writing, but I promise I’m trying to do better. Without further a do, chapter 14. Please enjoy! And remember, J.K. Rowling invented the wonderful world of Harry Potter. 

Winning Hermione

Chapter 14: The Dates

“What the hell, Hermione?” Draco shouted in protest as she groggily looked around at the angry men in her room.

George was slowly waking up as well, “What’s going on?”

“George,” Fred said pointedly, “I think it’s best if you come with me.”

George untangled himself from Hermione and left with Fred with an apologetic look to Hermione. 

She grinned sheepishly at the boys who still held breakfast items in their hands.

“So you chose George? I thought he was out of the running,” Ron pointed out disappointed. 

“Don’t be dim, Weasley. She can’t choose George. She already eliminated him,” Draco drawled. 

Harry looked serious, “Hermione, what you trying to do playing us like that?”

Hermione couldn’t answer. After all, she didn’t really mean to fall asleep in George’s arms last night. And nothing remotely romantic happened anyways. 

The only guy who seemed to be amused by all of this was Blaise, who was leaning against a wall smirking. After a brief moment of awkward silence he made a slow clap. 

“Bravo, my dear. Any more surprises for us?” he winked. 

Hermione blushed, “No, I’m done for the day.”

“Good,” Blaise replied, “so now let us continue our surprise.”

The boys quickly remembered why they were there and carried the breakfast over to Hermione. 

Hermione made a mental note to thank Blaise to no ends the next time she had the chance. Which would be sooner than she thought. 

With breakfast starting, Fred and George were in George’s room while he changed and got ready. 

“What were you thinking?” Fred asked hesitantly. He knew what his twin was thinking.

George grinned sheepishly, “She needed me.”

Fred rolled her eyes, “Was that all?”

“I don’t know, Fred. Obviously it doesn’t matter, does it?” George replied stonily, “She already has her four finalists.”

“Right. About that,” Fred started.

“What’s the plan?”

“3 hour dates with each of them. Starting at 9am. Afterwards she’ll speak with all of us and then, if she wants, make a decision. If not, we have to figure out something else.”

“Oh joy,” George rolled his eyes.

“Come on George, old boy. There’s no reason we can’t make this a little more fun,” Fred grinned. 

“I’m afraid I’m a bit funned out, my friend,” George said sadly.

Fred didn’t pursue it further. He knew George was taking all of this quite hard. It would be better in the end though. If they could just get Hermione to actually choose someone.  

“Let’s go inform her,” Fred announced and they promptly left to Hermione’s room. 

And what a scene they came to. Breakfast was well underway. Hermione was sitting in the center of her bed with Blaise on one side and Harry on the other. On the floor below her was Ron and Draco, who both looked uncomfortable being so close to each other. 

Apparently, the boys had already told Hermione what was going on. She seemed pleased since direct pressure wasn’t on her to choose someone at the end. 

“You should all get going, so I can get ready,” Hermione announced with fake chipperness, “Ron you can come back to my room at 9, is that alright?”

“Sure!” he answered and quickly left to make arrangements for the morning date. 

The other boys left quickly too, and Hermione sighed with semi-relief when she was finally alone. She didn’t take long to get ready, choosing to be comfortable rather than glamorous. After all they all knew what she was like, anyways. No use trying too hard. It wasn’t long before Ron came back. 

His lopsided grin was addictive with excitement, “Wait til you see what we’re doing!”

Hermione couldn’t help but laugh, “What is it?”

“A surprise,” he said as he took her hand and hurried her out the door. 

Waiting for them outdoors was a magic carpet. Hermione had never ridden one, but had always wanted to. They seemed quite safer than brooms and much more comfortable. 

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see,” Ron grinned. 

They sat down on the flying rug, rather close, and Hermione let out a squeal of glee once it started moving and floated up into the air way into the clouds to conceal them. The air was getting warmer and both their faces were flushed. Hermione was amazed at the sights of the ground below. 

“Oh, Ron, this is wonderful,” Hermione exclaimed.

“I was hoping you’d like it,” Ron tried to conceal a blush. 

“It’s perfect.”

“A little escape, eh?”

“Exactly.”

“Do you really like George?” Ron asked bluntly. Hermione could detect jealousy in his voice. 

“It doesn’t matter, Ron.”

“No, Hermione, it does. He’s my brother. I’ve competed against my brothers all my life. I won’t compete against one and lose for someone I love so dearly. I wouldn’t be able to bare it.”

“Ron, it doesn’t matter. He’s out of the game.”

Ron shrugged, dropping the subject.

When the carpet started lowering, Hermione glanced around to see their destination. They were in Egypt and were lowering right on top of a huge pyramid. She couldn’t help but gasp with delight. 

“Wait til we go inside,” Ron grinned as he took her hand and helped her off the flying carpet. 

Inside was even a great surprise. Thousands of ancient scrolls full of Egyptian history, muggle and magic alike. Hermione was trembling with excitement. 

“Ron, this is all so perfect,” she said with the brightest eyes of happiness, “I can never thank you enough.”

Ron smiled, pleased with himself, “Just enjoy yourself. That’s thanks enough.”

And so she did. Ron tried to keep up with her as she went through several scrolls, showing him random bits of strange writing she seemed to understand. 

On the way back, Hermione was leaning against Ron, enjoying the wind that blew on her as the magic carpet raced back to her home. For once in a long great while, she was content. 

“Ron, I don’t know how you do this.”

“Do what?”

“Make me so peaceful,” Hermione closed her eyes and drew Ron’s arms around her. 

“Anytime,” Ron gulped as they continued their way home. 

Harry was waiting impatiently. 

“About time,” Harry complained to Ron who just smiled sheepishly in reply. 

“Sorry, Harry. It was my fault. I was so caught up in all the fun we were having,” Hermione explained for them. 

Harry acknowledged with a silent “oh” and then led her to the nearest fireplace without a second glance to Ron. Ron and Harry had decided that for the sake of their friendship, they wouldn’t discuss or talk about Hermione until everything was over. It seemed safer that way. 

“Where are we going?” Hermione asked as Harry found some floo powder. 

“To my home,” Harry grinned. 

“Sounds perfect,” Hermione grinned back. Finally, the snog session she was denied the night before. 

It was almost time to head back home when Hermione noticed something about Harry’s home. It had traces of Ginny Weasley everywhere. She could see some of her clothes hanging in his closet. There were several pictures of them together. She picked up one that showed them being quite intimate. 

“Harry?” Hermione asked not taking her eyes of the picture. 

Harry didn’t know how to answer. He took the picture and stared at it longingly. 

“What happened?”

Harry hesitated before answering, “She didn’t understand the friendship between you and me. She didn’t understand why I had to go to you. And why we need each other.”

“So she broke things off with you?”

“Not exactly. We weren’t officially together anyways. She told me she didn’t want anything to do with me if I couldn’t commit fully to her.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“You needed me.”

Hermione felt her face burn, “I’m sorry. If I would have known.”

“Don’t. It was right. Things weren’t working out between Ginny and I anyways. Whatever happens, Hermione, it happens for a reason.”

Hermione nodded. Still not convinced and feeling completely guilty for breaking Ginny and Harry up. She would never be able to forgive herself. She had to fix things. 

But fixing things would have to wait. Harry returned her back to her home and Blaise was waiting. 

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” Hermione said kindly. 

“Oh, I would wait forever,” Blaise replied with a smirk.

“For what?” Hermione asked with a quirked eyebrow. 

“Only for few things, and luckily, you’re one of them,” Blaise winked.

“Yes, how lucky,” Hermione almost rolled her eyes.

They quickly left back through the fireplace. 

“Where are we?” Hermione asked. 

“My home,” Blaise gestured around at his surrounds. 

Hermione was almost speechless. The house was beautiful. The particular room they were in was wide open and showed a beach nearby. There were white pillars and majestic architecture all around. 

“This place is beautiful,” Hermione whispered. 

“My parents built it for me,” Blaise commented, “It was meant to be a wedding present, but they figured I would never settle down so they went ahead and gave it to me.”

“Where are we at, anyways?” Hermione said while staring at the clear blue beaches. 

“On a Caribbean Island,” Blaise smirked, “Gorgeous, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is quite lovely,” Hermione replied back. 

Blaise was directly behind her and softly grabbed and turned her around so she was facing him, “Not nearly as lovely as you.”

He went down for a kiss and Hermione couldn’t possibly think to turn away from that gorgeous mouth, no matter how intimidated she was in this grand house. He was leading her upstairs now, and the fear the kiss had scared off was coming back. 

“Blaise,” she started in protest. 

“It’s ok,” he said as they reached the top of the staircase, “I have a surprise for you.”

Hermione hesitantly followed. He opened a door and she half expected to see a big bedroom with an expectant bed. But she didn’t. The room was bright. The ceiling was painted glass and was letting in tons of natural sunlight. And around the room were tons of bookshelves that reached the high ceiling. There was a fireplace on one end surrounded by comfy looking couches and chairs. On the other side was a balcony that reached over the ocean with a simple writing desk with a perfect view. 

Hermione finally gasped. 

Blaise took full advantage of her stunness and leaped forward for a kiss. Hermione, however, was not to be distracted. She gently pushed him away and headed straight for the bookshelves. 

“This is absolutely amazing,” she said as she took a tour of the room. 

“Yes, quite so,” Blaise said a little dejectedly. Maybe he should have taken her straight to his room. 

After an hour or so of exploring, Hermione finally remembered Blaise. She was at the writing desk on the balcony looking at the beautiful ocean before her. From behind he finally snuck his hands around her and held her close. 

“This could all be yours,” he whispered in her ear and kissed her neck softly. 

Hermione could just nod with tears forming in her eyes. This was so perfect for her. She turned around and faced Blaise, the only non-perfect thing about the whole thing. 

“And in return, I would be yours,” Hermione posed a sort of question/statement.

“Yes, that’s the general idea,” Blaise responded. 

“Let’s go back to my home, Draco will be waiting,” Hermione finally answered back. She needed to leave before the magic of this magnificent library worked more of its charms on her. 

Blaise nodded a little bit confused. Why wasn’t she all over him proclaiming her love for him. He was almost sure the library would have done the trick. 

Draco glared at Blaise when they returned.

“A word please?” he said as soon as Hermione and Blaise exited the fireplace. 

“Of course,” Blaise answered with much more respect than Hermione thought was common. 

They went into the other room, but Hermione, forever curious and bored at the moment, pressed her ear against the door to listen.

“Have fun?” Draco asked without emotion.

“She loved the library,” Blaise answered trying to imitate not showing any emotions, but you could see he was proud. 

“I could give her hundreds of libraries like that,” Draco sneered. 

“I know.”

“You should remember who you’re dealing with, Zabini,” Draco said with a eerie calm, “Remember in the end, who will always win.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

“So we understand each other?”

“Perfectly,” Blaise answered. His voice was tense and when they left the room Hermione could see he was angry, if not furious, and could not even look at her. 

“What’s going on?” Hermione asked concerned. 

“Nothing to worry about, let’s have dinner, shall we?” Draco answered. It was a suggestion, but from Draco it definitely sounded like an order. An order Hermione found herself unable to disobey. 

“What’s for dinner?” Hermione asked as Draco led her back to the fireplace. 

Draco had taken her to an extremely expensive restaurant in Hogsmeade. Everyone was bowing and treating them with an extreme respect that Hermione was bewildered. As she looked over the expensively made menu she saw there were no prices, but she knew that the food had to be extremely expensive as well. 

“You look confused,” Draco drawled. 

Hermione didn’t answer but continued to study the menu.

“Let me order for you,” Draco suggest with his commanding tone that Hermione could not argue with. 

He ordered an expensive sounding red wine for them and their entrees. While waiting for the food and sipping on the strong wine, Hermione felt herself become more and more nervous. 

“Your nervousness is distracting,” Draco commented. 

“Sorry,” Hermione said darkly. She quickly tried to act less nervous, but her irritation had made it easier. 

“What do you think of this restaurant?” Draco said gesturing around. 

“It’s beautiful,” Hermione answered quietly. 

Draco smirked, “I’m glad you like it.”

“I didn’t say I liked it.”

“And what does that mean?” Draco looked amused rather than irritated with the statement. 

“Just because something is beautiful or attractive, doesn’t mean it’s something to like,” Hermione said pointedly. 

Draco caught her meaning, “Ah, which is why once you taste the food and we order your desserts you will be able to say how much you like this place, no?”

Hermione sighed and answered, “I suppose.”

“You’re very wise to not judge solely on beauty,” Draco commented. 

“I wish others were so wise,” Hermione again said pointedly. 
 
“I’m sure they’re more wise than you give them credit for,” Draco answered. 

The food had arrived and they sat quietly through most of the meal. Draco, whenever he did comment or talk, was quite charming. Hermione was slightly surprised. 

After another bottle of wine, and with dessert on its way, Hermione finally asked, “And why does the great Draco Malfoy have such an interest in me, hmmm?”

“Well, perhaps, the great Draco Malfoy cares for you,” Draco suggested highly amused. 

“But why?” Hermione asked not satisfied with the answer. 

Draco just stared at her seriously and a bit darkly. 

“I have the right to know, Draco,” Hermione continued, “Why would you ever want me? I thought I was nothing but a filthy mud…”

“Stop Hermione. Just stop,” Draco sounded frustrated and angry so she did stop but still looked to him for answers which hesitantly he gave, “Things are changing, Hermione. I’m to be the new Minister of Magic. The Ministry has already decided. They’re just waiting for me to step up to the plate. I have thousands of supporters. And an army, although in secret right now, waiting for my command. The Ministry is ready for a change. They’re ready for a new ruler, a lord of the wizarding world.”

“And you’re to be this new lord, are you?” Hermione asked skeptically. She didn’t doubt it. Draco held a power which she could never understand. 

“Yes,” Draco answered. 

“That doesn’t answer why you suddenly changed your mind about my heritage,” Hermione reminded softly. 

“Like I said, things have changed. When I’m in power I plan to do away with all this pureblood nonsense. I’ve seen to many great wizards fall because of it. I don’t plan to fall because of it.”

“Ah, so it’s basically to make you look better?”

“No, it’s more, Hermione. I really do believe it. I really believe that mixed races exist for a purpose. One day we’ll all be mixed. It’s inevitable. If we want the magical race to survive, we have to mix.”

“You’re right about that. Good job, coming to your senses,” Hermione teased.

“It’s why I need you, Hermione. It’s why I care about you,” he said softly. 

Hermione tried not to act angry, “you need me because what I am? Not because of who I am?”

“Everyone loves you, Hermione. You’re so powerful in your own way. And that’s the future. Your future doesn’t rest with your ancestors, but in how powerful you are in yourself. You possess all of that and more. With you by my side, no one would question us. Everyone would be happy with us as rulers.”

“I would be your equal?”

“If you wanted.”

Hermione was speechless. How could she refuse such an offer? The dessert sat sitting on the table. Hermione couldn’t even touch it. She couldn’t speak. Her thoughts overwhelmed her. 

“Let’s get you home. You have a lot to think about, I’m sure.”

Hermione just nodded. As they exited the fireplace, Hermione was so pleased and relieved to see Fred and George waiting for her. She let herself embrace George warmly and found comfort in his arms. 

“We need to talk,” she said to George. 

A/N – hahahah guess where I am? At work. XD That’s right. The second half of this chapter was so written at my bank job. XD Anyways, enough ranting about being a naughty employee! I hope everyone enjoyed this chapter! Stay tuned to see what happens next!

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