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Chapter 4: I adore you, and want you so

Hermione went over to Harry and Ginny's to get ready for the party. Cormac was meeting her at their house later on.

Ginny had bought a gorgeous pale gold, floor-length dress, while she had picked out a hot-red dress for Hermione that came just above the knee. At first Hermione was adamant she wasn't going to wear something so noticeable, but Ginny finally persuaded her to.

Both girls looked gorgeous, and as soon as Harry saw Ginny he swept her up and gave her a full on kiss.

"Seriously guys, get a room!" moaned Hermione.

"We have a room!" grinned Harry.

Hermione rolled her eyes "Then use it!" she replied, poking her tongue out playfully at them.

Cormac arrived on time, and Hermione was surprised to see how handsome and well-groomed he looked. He walked out of the fireplace and planted a kiss on Hermione's cheek.

"Hermione, it's been years. You look beautiful!" said Cormac.

Hermione couldn't help but blush, he was a charmer. "Thanks Cormac, you don't look so bad yourself!" she smiled back at him.

Ginny poked Harry in the ribs and whispered "Told you they'd get on!"

"We'll see Gin, it's just the start of the night, I bet you she'll be running and hiding away from him like last time!" grinned Harry.

"Fine, let's bet on it then!" laughed Ginny. "Loser cleans the dishes for the rest of the month!"

"And the winner?"

"Obviously doesn't have to do the dishes you moron!" said Ginny playfully.

As they made their way to the party, which was being held in a large function hall in Diagon Alley, photographers were waiting at the entrance to get any pictures of the guests. As the minister would be in attendance, it was a formal affair and there were always high profile celebrities around.

As they made their way to the door, the photographers couldn't believe it was Hermione looking so stunning, and on the arm of Cormac McLaggen as well. There were plenty of shots of the two and when they finally got indoors Hermione was relieved it was over.

"Didn't you enjoy that Hermione? They absolutely loved you" said Cormac.

"No, I hate those sorts of things. All they want is a bit of gossip for the papers!"

"Well, any press is good press I say."

Hermione rolled her eyes. Cormac had already begun to irritate her.

They entered the brightly lit hall, filled with vast numbers of tables, two large bars and a dance floor in the middle. As they made their way to their table Hermione was surprised, but pleased to see that Draco was also on their table. In fact, he was placed to sit next to her. Draco saw her and Cormac make their way over, and he nodded curtly at them both.

"This is a nice surprise" smiled Hermione to Draco.

"Really? I thought you didn't like being anywhere near me" replied Draco moodily.

Hermione was shocked "What do you mean Malfoy?"

"Forget it" said Draco, and turned back to his date. Draco had brought Tracey Davis, an old school friend who had also been in Slytherin. They had never been romantically involved as Draco had never found her attractive or interesting at all. He had asked her as he knew she would say yes, whether she already had a date or not.

Hermione saw Ron and Lavender make their way through the crowd at the entrance hall as well, and it suddenly hit her. They would be on this table as well. She started to shake slightly. Draco noticed and looked at her concerned, until he realised what the matter was.

"Granger, let it go. You've got Ginny, Potter and your date to talk to all night to avoid having to speak to them." he said "And me" he added in quietly after a pause.

Cormac immediately started talking to Hermione about his new position on the Harpies. He was talking non-stop for ten minutes about just himself. Hermione leaned on one hand, pretending to listen to him. As the majority of the people had taken their seats, the hall became suddenly quieter. The minister, Kingsley Shacklebolt, stood up from his table and started speaking, increasing the volume of his voice with his wand.

"Ladies and gents, I'm very glad you could make it to our wonderful Christmas party. You've all worked hard this year, so I hope you enjoy yourselves tonight. Please eat, drink and dance the night away!" his deep voice boomed across the hall.

A few people cheered, and then the food was starting to be served.

As Ron and Lavender took their seats after the speech, Hermione immediately sat up from her slouching position and gave all her attention to Cormac. She started asking him more questions about himself, which he was very pleased about. He became more animated, and Hermione started laughing loudly at all his corny jokes.

Ron obviously noticed as soon as he walked into the hall that Hermione was at his table. He didn't know that she would be there, and was surprised and slightly annoyed that Harry hadn't bothered telling him.

He looked her up and down. She looked beautiful he thought to himself. He saw who she was with. Cormac, he had always hated that guy. Ever since he also tried out for the keeper position in Hogwarts, Ron had always been wary of him. He was jealous that he had a thing for Hermione back then, and now he was even more jealous that he was actually here with her, and they were talking to each other as if they were the only two people in the world. Cormac was well-built and had a lot of female fans, which Ron was aware of. He looked darkly at them one last time, before being distracted by Lavender to meet some friends on another table.

Ron was slightly put out that Lavender hadn't dressed up so well as Hermione had. Lavender had a fuchsia pink baby doll dress on and it was revealing far too much skin for such a formal affair, but she had been insistent to wear it, and Ron didn't mind much looking at her in it. He liked it when guys ogled at Lavender, but tonight was different. As he went over to the table where Lavender dragged him to, they were all whispering about Hermione.

"I didn't expect her to come. She looks bloody fantastic" came a male voice.

Another person added in "That Cormac is a lucky git, bringing the prettiest witch here!"

Ron suddenly felt a pang of jealousy. Or was it regret? He wasn't quite sure.

As Cormac left the table to get them drinks, Draco broke his conversation with Tracey to speak with Hermione.

"You can stop pretending to listen to McLaggen now, Weasel's not here right now" smirked Draco.

Hermione turned red "I'm not pretending Malfoy! Cormac has some very interesting things to say" lied Hermione. As she turned away, Draco caught a glimpse of a smile on her face.

As the night progressed, Cormac became progressively more drunk. He was however a lot more interesting when drunk, laughed Hermione to herself. She decided to let loose, and joined in drinking with him, but was only slightly tipsy. Draco watched them from the corner of his eye.

As everyone had finished their meals, the dance floor had opened and the music became louder. Cormac dragged Hermione to the dance floor. She tried to resist, but was too wobbly on her feet to not be dragged by him. She hardly ever danced in public as she felt too embarrassed to do it, but right now, she didn't mind. She felt alive, and was actually starting to enjoy her night. She danced with Harry and Ginny and mostly with Cormac. A lot of other men tried to ask her, but Cormac was too drunk and possessive to even let them have a single dance.

Ron watched Cormac and Hermione from the table.

"Come on Ronnie, I want to dance!" pleaded Lavender.

"You go dance by yourself, I can't be bothered" replied Ron, not even looking at her.

Lavender huffed. "Fine, I'll find someone who wants to dance with me then! And don't you come complaining to me if he tries making moves on me!"

Ron ignored her and continued watching Hermione and Cormac.

Draco also watched them for the majority of the night. As much as he wanted to have a dance with Hermione, he knew Cormac was too drunk to see sense and didn't want to cause a scene.

"You want to get another drink, babe?" slurred Cormac to Hermione.

"Yeah, I need some water, I'm so thirsty. And don't call me babe!" scolded Hermione.

Cormac grinned "C'mon let's go to the bar. Neither of us is having any water though!"

Draco's eyes followed them to the bar. He was disappointed that Hermione genuinely seemed interested in him.

The bar was packed full of people. They squeezed their way through. Cormac ordered a round of shots for both of them.

"Cormac, I don't do shots! I get far too drunk if I do!" said Hermione.

"Oh come on Hermione, live a little, don't be so boring!" laughed Cormac.

Hermione absolutely hated it whenever anyone called her boring, so she immediately drank the blue-coloured shot. And a second. And a third.

"That’s more like it!" laughed Cormac, who was now leaning over Hermione. "You know babe, you are absolutely gorgeous, and I just want to kiss your little face off!"

Hermione grinned. "Lay off Cormac, nothing's happening between us!"

"Don't be a tease Hermione, I know you want a little kiss!" said Cormac, pulling Hermione closer into himself. Hermione struggled to push him away and had to turn her face away to avoid the incoming kiss.

"Cormac, you git, get off me!" pleaded Hermione, getting ready to grab her wand from her purse.

But before she had to, Cormac had been pushed to the ground already. Hermione turned around to find a furious looking Draco looking down at Cormac. The crowded bar turned to see what all the commotion was.

"Keep your filthy hands off her McLaggen!" spat Draco at him.

Cormac quickly got up off the ground, staggering to his feet. He looked ashamed of himself "I'm sorry Hermione, I don't know what came over me, I was drunk!" he yelled after her as she quickly moved out of the crowd and into the empty entrance hall. The alcohol had taken effect and Hermione was now finding it difficult to see straight.

"Granger, you alright?" came a familiar voice behind her.

Hermione put her hand to her head, rubbing her temples. "Leave me alone Malfoy."

"What, not even a thank you?" asked Draco, slightly amused.

Hermione turned around to view Draco, with an angry expression on her face "Thank you Malfoy" she spat "Happy now? That's what you wanted isn't it? A great big thank you for the great big man who saved little, helpless me? I'm a witch in case you've forgotten, and I've dealt with things far worse than some drunk idiot!"

Draco could tell it was the alcohol talking, but it still annoyed him. "Fine Granger, next time I'll leave you to it!"

"Yes, do that!" screamed Hermione "You men are all the same!"

Draco was turning to leave until she said that. He walked up to her "We're not all the same. I would never cheat on you" he said quietly, looking Hermione directly in her eyes.

Hermione's eyes flew wide open "How the hell do you know?"

Shit, thought Draco, I'm not meant to know that am I? Why did I even say that? "I overheard someone gossiping" he quickly lied.

Hermione let out a laugh "Well, that explains it all. I don't need frigging pity, especially from you."

"What the hell is that meant to mean?" shouted Draco.

Hermione ignored the question "Stop asking me how I am, stop defending me from Ron, stop trying to protect me, and don't you dare ever ask me to be your date again out of damn pity!" cried out Hermione. And with that she turned on her heels and left the building. Draco just stood there, speechless. She thinks I pity her? he thought sadly.

At that moment, Ginny arrived. "What just happened Malfoy?"

Draco shrugged "She's drunk and pissed off. Leave her be" he said.

"Leave her be? She’s drunk Malfoy?! Hermione never gets drunk! We need to find her!" yelled Ginny.

"We? Not a chance. She doesn't want me anywhere near her."

"I don't care. I know this is somehow your fault so you're going to help me find her!" replied Ginny, and with that she dragged him into the street.

Ginny and Draco wandered around Diagon Alley, trying to figure out where she could be. Ginny sent Harry a patronus asking him to check Hermione's flat, but she wasn't home either.

"Where the hell could she be?" murmured Ginny.

"Where would you go if you're drunk? To find more alcoholic. Let's try the pubs" said Draco.

Ginny shook her head "Hermione's not like that. She wouldn't be in a pub."

At that exact moment, they heard some commotion coming from O'Callaghan's bar, an Irish pub down the road. In front of it was Hermione entertaining a group of older men by dancing and singing. Ginny's eyes nearly popped out of her head.

"Shit" murmured Draco and Ginny together.

They ran towards her, dragging her away from the group of loud men. Hermione tried to resist, but she was now so drunk she had no idea what was happening around her.

Draco and Ginny managed to pull her away further up the street, away from the men who were still shouting obscene things at them. Hermione was leaning on Draco for support and eventually ended up sitting on the floor of the street as she was too tired to stand. She let out a small snore after a couple of minutes.

"Well, what do we do now?" asked Draco, looking down at Hermione in amusement.

Ginny slapped him across the arm "This isn't funny Malfoy!" she said, although she was trying to suppress a giggle as well.

"Yes it is, and you know it is! Can't wait to see her in work on Monday, never gonna let her live this one down!" laughed Draco.

"That's if she ever speaks to you again, I know you pissed her off somehow." said Ginny.

Draco ignored that last sentence "Well, what do we do?" repeated Draco.

"Take her home. You're gonna have to carry her. We're gonna have to go back to the hall, we can't apparate with her like that" stated Ginny.

Draco didn't bother to argue. He didn't really mind having to help. He put one arm under her shoulders and the other under her knees and lifted her up. She wasn't heavy, but the dead weight did slow him down considerably.

As they got back to the hall, the photographers spotted them approaching.

"Oh shit. Any way of us avoiding them?" asked Ginny.

It was too late to do anything, shot after shot was being taken of Draco carrying what looked like a lifeless Hermione. The press would have a field day with it.

Without making any comments to the reporters they rushed into the building and met Harry.

"Bloody hell, what's happened? She ok?" asked Harry, looking worried.

"She's fine, just drunk. Harry, can you deal with the reporters outside before they tell the entire world Hermione's dead. Me and Malfoy will get her back home, ok?" replied Ginny, looking around for the nearest fireplace to floo.

It was the first time Draco had been in Hermione's flat. Ginny led the way to her bedroom. Draco carefully placed her on the bed, careful not to wake her up. Ginny stood at the door watching him. Draco softly moved a curl out of Hermione's face before removing her shoes and gently tucking the duvet around her.

"I could have done all that you know" said Ginny, still confused at what she had witnessed.

Draco shrugged. "It's not a big deal. Maybe we should place a glass of water near her?"

"Yeah, I'll do that. I'm gonna spend the night in case she wakes and throws up" said Ginny, deep in thought.

"Alright. Well, guess I'll be off then" said Draco, taking one last look at Hermione.

"Thanks Malfoy. Really. I mean, you didn't have to do all that" said Ginny to him at the fireplace.

"Like I said, it's no big deal" said Draco, and he left back to his flat.

Ginny sat on the sofa a while, trying to piece together what she had seen. Was there something going on between Draco and Hermione? Maybe that's why they had an argument earlier? She refused to believe it, after all Hermione was her best friend and told her everything. She hoped so anyway.


The next morning, Hermione woke up to the smell of bacon and eggs. She looked at her alarm clock: 1.30pm. She then looked around and realised she was still in her dress from the night before. She had no idea how she had ended up in her bed. She sat up in bed, trying to figure out what happened. Then it all came flooding back to her. Cormac being a drunk idiot, the fight with Draco and then she was at a blank. She had no idea what had happened after that.

She walked to the kitchen slowly, still in her dress that was completely crumpled up. She saw Ginny by the stove, magically cooking a full English breakfast.

"Hey" croaked Hermione.

"Hey yourself" said Ginny, turning around to see her. Ginny burst out into laughter when she saw Hermione.

"Shhh, you're hurting my head Gin!" complained Hermione, as she sat down on the kitchen counter.

"Here, get this down you, it'll make you feel better" said Ginny, handing her a plate full of food.

Hermione groaned "I really don't think I can eat all this Gin."

"Well, eat as much as you can, it'll make your hangover much better."

After a few minutes silence, and after getting some food and coffee down her, she did feel considerably better. "Well, tell me what happened last night then."

"Mione, I think it's best you go take a shower and we'll talk it over after ok?" said Ginny, trying to hold in her laughter.

As Hermione looked into her bathroom mirror, she was met with a startling image. She had mascara and eyeliner all around her eyes and running down her face, half her red lipstick was on her lips, the other half smeared across her cheek. Her hair looked like she had been dragged backwards through a bush. No wonder Ginny was laughing!

She had a quick shower, changed into some comfy clothing and went into the living room. Ginny filled her in on the night’s events. She decided to leave out the part about Draco tucking her into bed though.

"Wow, guess I've got to say thanks to Malfoy then. Bet he loved every minute of it, how humiliating! And I've got to apologise!" said Hermione.

"What for?" asked Ginny

"About the argument we had. I said something about guys all being the same and he came out with that he would never cheat on me. I was furious, I mean, how could he have known about Ron? Although, looking back on it now, it's not hard to put two and two together I guess. Anyway, I continued yelling at him, even about him sticking up for me in front of Ron and getting Cormac off me" said Hermione, feeling bad for what she had said to him.

Ginny raised her eyebrows. So not only did Draco tuck her in gently, he has also been looking out for her.

"Oh, also Mione, you might wanna look at the social section in the Daily Prophet. You're not gonna like it" added in Ginny, yet again trying to hide a giggle as she passed the newspaper to her.

"Oh my gosh! Ginny! I can never show my face again in public! How embarrassing! Look at this picture!" cried Hermione.

There was a picture of Hermione and Cormac as they arrived and a picture of Draco carrying a passed out Hermione. The title read "Arriving with McLaggen, leaving with Malfoy."

Ginny couldn't contain her amusement anymore and ended up gripping her sides with pain due to all the laughter. Hermione eventually joined her as she couldn't help but see the funny side of it as well.

"And people say I'm boring?" laughed Hermione.

AN: So, here it is! Please continue letting me know what you liked, what you didn't etc! Hope you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading xx

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