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These chapter images are thanks to the one and only enchantress@TDA :)

Theo swooped down and landed right beside Hermione’s plate of eggs, a letter tied to his leg. She handed him her last slice of toast, which he readily accepted while she took the letter from him. Hermione was so glad Lizzie’s response had come; she needed to tell someone what had happened the night before. She was scared to talk to Harry about it, he might over react and was not like Malfoy had done anything wrong. She was debating on whether or not to talk to Ginny; however she may react much like Harry would, so Hermione concluded her safest option was Lizzie. Pocketing Lizzie’s letter and left the Great Hall for the common room. To successfully avoid Ron and Lavender, she had taken to eating breakfast before most of the school woke up.  True, she still had to endure them during lunch and dinner, but at least she wasn’t starting her day off with the sight of them.

Hermione made her way to the wooden table next to the window in the common room. She decided to keep her parchment and quill there at all times so she wouldn’t have to search her room for it; her quill always had a tendency of vanishing when in her room. Excitement flowing through her, she sat down and carefully opened the letter.

 

Dear Hermione,

            I miss you so much! I always knew you would become Head Girl; you’ve been talking about it since we were fourteen! I’m sorry to hear about you and Ron, though, I feel like whenever we write to each other during the school year, you two are arguing. I say give it a week and you two should be fine, if not, oh well, then you two obviously weren’t meant to be together. Besides, if it doesn’t work out, you have the freedom to date whoever this year, which is always fun!

            You’re right about me when it comes to boys. I’ve already found a guy. His name is Timothy and he’s just my type. I’ve been slowly setting the bait, so now I am just waiting for him to take it.

             I’m so excited to see you when break comes! I miss you best friend, the girls here are so…drama oriented, it can be nauseating at times.  I can’t wait to hear back from you! You have to tell me everything that’s happening there. I hope to hear from you soon!

                                                                        Love,

                                                                                 Lizzie

P.S. This letter is top priority! You better respond before you get all caught up in homework! 

           Hermione smiled and folded up the letter. She pulled a piece of parchment in front of her and contemplated what to write back. Needing to think, she closed her eyes and felt the morning sun begin to shine through the window and warm her skin. Suddenly she heard a door open and shut, and opened her eyes to see who it was. He froze when he saw her and she took the advantage to really look at him; the t-shirt clinging to his muscular arms, the pale skin that made his eyes pop, and his platinum blonde hair, which was practically glowing from the sun’s reflection. Slowly, he made his way over to Hermione, never once taking his eyes off her. He took a seat across from her and took a deep breath.

            “I just want to know what last night was about,” She said before he could talk.

            “Listen. I apologize. The moonlight must have gotten to me and I was tired after a long day. I’d rather just forget about it,” He said, his expression blank.

            “The moonlight; is that really your best excuse?”

            “I don’t have to explain my reasoning. It’s over and done with. Just forget about it.”

            “Fine, I just wanted an explanation, no need to get snappy.” She turned her attention to her letter, hoping if she didn’t pay attention to him he would leave, and sure enough he did. That did not go the way she hoped at all. Trying to forget what happened was like asking her not to study for a test.  With a heavy heart, she wrote her letter to Lizzie, explaining the Ron incident and the Malfoy one, hopeful that her best friend would be able to give her some good advice or at least her take on the situation. Once the letter was complete, she hurried off to the Owlery.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco headed down to the Great Hall, his mind wrapped around Hermione. He couldn’t believe he let his feelings take control of him last night. He actually placed her hair behind her ear! How could he do that?! What was going on? He admits he wants to befriend her, but date her? That would be going too far. Of all the girls at Hogwarts that would be glad to have him, all he can think of is Hermione Granger. I can’t help it though. I need to be in her good books, I need her to not hate my guts. I don’t quite understand it, but I need Hermione Granger to see past my cruel behavior.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            As Hermione made her way back to the common room, she decided she needed to talk to Blaise. He was Malfoys best friend after all, so he should be able to explain what happened the night before; though, she doubted whether he would give her a better explanation than Malfoy. He probably even told Blaise not to tell her anything if she asked. That’s even if Malfoy gave Blaise an explanation, since she had a hard time picturing Malfoy opening up to anybody. She figured that she might as well try, though, and she and Blaise were on good terms now. The week of corridor patrol helped them, in a way, bond almost. She walked into the common room and spotted Ron and Harry on the couch talking. She froze for a second before seeing Blaise on another couch and walked towards him.

            “Hey, can I talk to you for a second?” she asked him tentatively.

            “Sure.” He replied, looking at her expectantly. She noticed out of the corner of her eye both Ron and Harry stop talking and turn their attention to them.

            “Err… alone?” she added hesitantly. Blaise looked confused but stood up and led her to his room. He shut the door behind him and took a seat on the edge of his bed. His room, she noticed, was not adorned with the green and silver she expected, but of a creamy white.  Although their rooms were similar, his seemed to hold an air of elegance to it. She took a seat on the floor, her back against the side of the bed.    

            “I’m going to ask you something and I need an explanation. I’ll understand if you can’t say anything, but I’d really be thankful if you could.”

“It’s about Draco, isn’t it?” Hermione just nodded her head. “I don’t know what to say. I know he’s really been trying to hold his tongue around you and I know he really does want to befriend you.”

“Yes, he had said that but you saw last night. It’s almost like if you hadn’t been there something would’ve taken place.” Like a kiss, she thought, and for some odd reason her stomach did a flip.

“Yes, but he says he just wants to befriend you. Just give him a chance; he tends to speak before he thinks. He usually doesn’t mean what he says.”

“Alright, I guess I’ll try…”

“Why such hesitation?” he asked moving beside her on the floor.

“Well, I mean, he’s not just some guy I can befriend. He’s Draco Malfoy, the stuck up, ferret git, who’s sought enjoyment from being rude and hurtful.”      

“Like I said, he usually doesn’t mean what he says, I’m not excusing him from his past actions.” He added quickly when he saw the look on her face, “But I do know he regrets some of the things he said this year.”         

“Alright well, I’ll give him a chance I suppose. I’ll leave you to your day now. Thank you, Blaise.” Hermione hugged him quickly and left the room. She saw Ron on the couch snogging Lavender and she froze on the stairs. It wasn’t until she spotted Malfoy at the bottom of the steps looking up at her that she unfroze. She walked down the last couple of steps and smiled shyly when she reached him.

            “Hey, I was wondering if you’d want to take a walk with me?” he asked. Hermione noticed Ron come up for air and turn to watch them, his face full of shock.

            “Yeah, sure.” She replied, and together they walked out the door.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Draco’s face broke into a huge smile when he saw Weasley’s face when she had agreed to the walk. I wonder if he realizes the mistake he made, he thought when he glanced at Hermione. They were walking across the grounds, the sun shining brightly and a slight breeze appearing every so often. So far they had just talked about classes, but that topic had passed quickly and a comfortable silence had come between them. He took a seat in the grass right there in the middle of the grounds. After realizing he had stopped, she chose to take a seat right in front of him. She was so close she could brush the stray hairs from his eyes.

            “What’s your middle name?” he blurted out. She looked taken back for a moment, but quickly smiled.

            “Jean.”

            “Hermione Jean Granger; that’s nice.” Draco said. Her laughter rang through the air.

            “Nice? I guess. What’s yours?”

            “Mine is Lucius, after my father.”

            “What about…your birthday?”

            “June 5th. Yours?”

            “September 19th. I have three…no…two best friends, Harry and Lizzie. My favorite color is pink. I spend my days reading and I love my parents more than anything.” She told him.

            “What?”

            “I thought we were sharing small facts about ourselves. You know, to build a friendship.” She said, her smile mesmerizing him.

            “My best friend is Blaise. My favorite color is green. I spend my free time playing Quidditch. As for family, I enjoy my mothers company, but that’s all.” He admitted. He watched her as she moved to lie on her belly, pulling blades of grass up and playing with them. She wore jeans and a black cardigan which, he couldn’t help but noticing, helped play up her slender curves. “I heard Ron and Lavender are dating now.”

            “Yeah,” she sighed, “I heard. It’s so weird, isn’t it? This year in general, I mean.”

            “What do you mean?”

            “Where to start? Harry and Ginny aren’t together. Ron and I don’t even speak. So many people I cared for are no longer here. There’s no underlying fear of Voldemort, and you and I are sitting here talking and forming a friendship, like it’s nothing.”

            “What do you mean ‘like its nothing’?” He asked, not liking the sound of that. He was nervous for the explanation because there was an eighty percent chance it would anger him, and if that was the case, then he would probably do or say something that he would regret.

            “Well, it’s like the last seven years never happened…you told me to completely forget last night.” She said, sitting up to look him in the face.

            “Ugh! Did you ever think I’ve been trying to atone for past mistakes? Why can’t you just accept that? Last night, I said don’t worry so Merlin, Hermione, don’t worry!” Draco yelled, throwing his hands in the air in frustration. Just then he noticed Harry walking towards them, a look of confusion of his face. He was so busy watching Harry that he didn’t even notice Hermione’s expression when she realized he had used her first name.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione’s mind was racing. Why did he just use my name? He used it before, but then he said it was a slip of the tongue and yelled at me. He must not have realized what he said; unless he did, which maybe means, what? He changed?

            “Hey, what’s going on?” Harry asked, and she quickly sat up.

            “Nothing, Potter; just having a friendly chat. Care to join?” There was something in the way he said it that made it clear Harry was not welcome.  Harry must have heard it too, because he shook his head, politely declined the offer and turned toward Hermione.

            “Ron wants to talk to you. I think you should come. It’d be nice if we were all friends again,” He said. Though it was the last thing she wanted to do, she agreed and stood up, biding Malfoy goodbye, and heading off with Harry. He linked his arm with hers and lead her back towards the castle; she half expected Ron to start yelling when she saw him. At least now she knew she had no choice but to get over him, seeing as he really was with Lavender now. It was almost a relief that he was because now she wouldn’t doubt the breakup, and if she ever started feeling lonely, she could just spend her day reading a book until the feelings passed. Reading was her ultimate stress reliever, calming her down and allowing her to escape to another world for a moment or two.

            Before she knew it, they were in front of the portrait to enter the common room. Harry said the password, opening the portrait hole for them to climb through. Ron was fidgeting on one of the couches and at the sight of them quickly stood up and walked forward. He looked like he had something to say, but the words weren’t forming the way he wanted them to on his tongue.

            “Harry said you wanted to talk to me?” she questioned, hoping it would help his tongue to loosen. He nodded his head slowly before beginning.

            “I’m… sorry. It just wasn’t, working out between us ‘Mione. We both knew it. I’m sorry I was such a git about it. Can we just put this behind us and be friends again?” he asked, looking sincere.

            “As long as Lavender doesn’t become a permanent fixture at your side, I accept.” She said honestly.

            “I can live with that.” Ron said. Harry clapped and put his arms around his two best friends.

            “Thank Merlin! I was getting tired of not bring able to talk to you together.” Hermione smiled, glad something in her life was semi-normal again and glad she had one of her best friend’s back. “Hey, Ron and I are going down to the Quidditch Pitch, its Gryffindors first practice. Would you like to watch?”

            “Yeah, it’s so nice out today; it’ll be nice to soak up the sun.” The two boys smiled and bounded to their rooms collecting their gear. She looked for an interesting book among the shelves and quickly found one about Transfiguration. She slid a piece of parchment in the book and stuffed a quill in her pocket. Before long the two boys rejoined her and they all chatted animatedly as they walked to the pitch. A bunch of players were already there, recognizing Ginny, Dean and Seamus. Hermione took her place at the top seat in the stands and watched them for a few moments as they all flew around trying to score while Ron blocked.

            After a few moments she opened her book and slid out the piece of parchment. With all that had been happening she had forgotten to write to her parents. She scolded herself as she started writing her letter, apologizing for the delay and assuring them all was well and she was doing great in all of her classes. It wasn’t too long and she knew her mother would be disappointed she hadn’t written more, but she just wasn’t in the mood to inform her mum about her breakup. She folded her letter and slipped it back into the book and turned her attention back to the pitch. As Harry was flying around shouting suggestions to his team, Hermione’s heart felt a little stab as she remembered how her friend was upset over losing the girl he loved. How could I be so selfish only thinking of my problems and not my best friends! Poor Harry had dealt with his issue without a single complaint and had listened to her when she had needed to vent.

            She had promised to help him find a way to win Ginny back, though she doubted Ginny and Neville would break up. While thinking of ways he could, she remembered a conversation she once had with Lizzie. Hermione had told her, back in her 6th year, that Ron was acting like he didn’t like her and how it upset her and Lizzie had suggested going to Slughorn’s party with someone that would really make Ron jealous, so she had chosen to bring Cormac. Lizzie had been right, it did make him jealous and eventually they had started dating, though it took a while due to Ron’s stubborn personality. The answer to Harry’s problem was to find a girl and make Ginny jealous. She sighed, figuring she would let Harry figure out that part.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            He wandered through the many aisles of the schools library all the way to the very back. It was a corner of the library that was rarely visited. He liked to come here and sit against the bookshelves and think. He figured the only people that ventured back here were Madam Pince and probably Granger. He pulled an ancient looking book off the shelf behind him and opened it to the middle. There was a certain smell books acquired the older they became and he had always found the scent to be extremely comforting. He remembered how all the time he had come here, just to escape from her. She had always hung on him and no matter how often he had told her to stop, she never did. Sure, at first he had enjoyed the attention and had used it to his advantages, but it only took a year or two for her to fully attach herself to him.

            He had finally reached his boiling point over the summer. He had been ignoring all her letters and then one day she just showed up at his door, blubbering about things he could care less about. When he told her to leave she became hysterical until it got to the point where he had to have his house elf escort her from the manor. He then wrote her a simple letter explaining that he had no interest in her what-so-ever, and that he hoped they wouldn’t talk soon. To his surprise, she stopped sending him letters and, thankfully, he hadn’t seen her at school yet.

            He closed the book after a while and stood up, leaving the library, not at all surprised that it was time for dinner. He strolled leisurely down the halls, his hands resting in his pockets, he made it to the Great Hall in good time and took a seat at the almost empty table, waiting for the rest of the school to arrive, unfortunately he was so caught up in his thoughts, he didn’t even notice that she took a seat beside him until it was to late.

            “Hello, Draco,” She cooed.

            “Parkinson,” Was the only response he gave her, waiting for Blaise to get there.

            “I’ve missed you so, Draco. Have you had time to cool off and realize we’re meant to be?” she asked, gazing at him intently.

            “I meant everything I wrote to you in that last letter, I am done with you.”

            “Oh, I know you don’t mean that. We’re the perfect match, both from respectable, pure blood, families. Why, Draco, you know as well as I that our parents have been hoping for our marriage since we were toddlers.” She said as she started stroking his cheek.

            “Pansy. Don’t. You. Touch. Me.” He demanded. “We’re through. Don’t talk to me again.” He stood quickly, picking up a pear, and leaving the Great Hall, thankful he no longer shared a common room with her.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

            Hermione quickly summoned a wire basket and placed it over the common room fire. She turned to the massive amount of rock cakes that took up the coffee table, then, deciding placing them by hand in the basket would be too risky, levitated them instead. The trio, now back together, had decided to pay a visit to Hagrid, which ended up keeping them past dinner, so, Hagrid, being kind, stuffed each of their pockets with as many rock cakes as they could carry. Ron had started to head to the kitchens when she had stopped him. They had an argument on whether they should go (Hermione didn’t want to make the elves cook more after they had just made dinner for the whole school) and he eventually gave in. Now she was trying to, hopefully, soften the cakes so they would be edible without breaking a tooth. She figured after a good twenty minutes they’d either be edible or scorching hot. She took a seat close to the fire, watching Harry and Ron play exploding snap. She found herself thinking about Malfoy, she hadn’t seen him come up from dinner with Blaise. She thought maybe he was in his room, though she figured if he was, he was probably sleeping and she didn’t want to wake him. The next twenty minutes seemed to pass by quickly, and before she knew it she was levitating the rock cakes onto a platter on the coffee table, steam rising off them. Ron reached for them and took the first bite. His face immediately scrunched up and he spat it back onto the platter.

            “Those are worse than before if that’s possible. Can you please let us go get some food from the kitchens?” he pleaded. She took a deep breath and sighing before finally agreeing. The two boys excitedly jumped up and raced out of the portrait hole, the low growl of their stomachs reaching her ears. As bad as she felt for the house elves, she was famished and the stuff Hagrid had given them, she didn’t exactly classify as food. She threw them away and cleared off the coffee table, placing little pillows around it instead, so they could sit Indian style close to the fire. Thankfully, they made it back in good time and she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Harry had his arms full with a huge pot of soup, and still managed to levitate a pitcher of Butterbeer in front of him. Ron was carrying two platters of finger sandwiches and a basket of chocolate éclairs and behind him was Winky, carrying two stacks of dishes. So much for the coffee table, she thought as she saw how much they brought. They placed everything down on the big table, filled their goblets to the brim, and ate greedily, laughing and enjoying themselves.

            “Can I…join you? I ended up skipping out on dinner…” the voice of Draco sounded from behind her.

            “Yeah, no problem,” Harry said, Ron looking at him with shock.

            “Has everyone gone mad?” Ron asked, staring at Harry.

            “He’s actually quite nice when you don’t judge him by past mistakes.” She said as he took a seat next to her.

            “Thanks, Granger.” He said, flashing another one of those smiles that left her breathless. She mumbled a welcome as she passed him a bowl of soup and the pitcher. Harry started talking to him about Quidditch and it made her happy, maybe if Ron saw they were on speaking terms, he wouldn’t be so judgmental. The rest of their dinner passed in peace and she was glad that Ron had come around. He still wasn’t the friendliest, but he was being polite. He and Draco were currently locked in a game of Wizards Chess; she was surprised he was just as good as Ron was. She lay down on the couch watching when Harry took a seat by her head.

            “You have to make her jealous.” She stated.

            “What was that?” he asked, turning to face her.

            “Ginny; if you want to win her back, you’ll have to make her jealous.”

            “Jealous? Won’t that just make her think I’ve moved on?”

            “That’s the point, if she still has feelings for you it’ll kill her to see you happy with another girl.”

            “What do I do? Date someone?”

            “No, you can just start talking a lot to any girl, and ask her to the ball, too.”

            “Alright, but, who would I ask?”

            “That’s entirely up to you.” She finished, and left him to his thoughts. Her eyes started to droop as she realized just how comfortable and warm she was. She knew if she slept on the couch, she’d wake up with aches tomorrow, but her mind didn’t give her a chance to get up before her eyes closed. Before anyone knew it, Hermione was asleep, dreaming about eerie manors and ominous clouds.

A/N - What did you guys think of this chapter? I can't wait for more chapters to come up. Please don't forget to review and let me know what you think!

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