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      [A/N - Hey guys! Sorry it took me so long to update but it's finally up!!!!]

  ahhh <3 I love enchantress @TDA

   Draco said goodnight to the Weasel and Potter as he tended to the fire so it wouldn’t go out. He had let the Weasel win at Wizards Chess so it would put him in his good books; now that he and Hermione were friends again, Draco needed both boys approval. He turned to her, sleeping soundly on the couch, and smiled, wondering what her dreams were filled of. Hopefully something better than mine, he thought with a shudder. He walked to his room, pushing his dreams back to the dark corner of his mind, and got a blanket off of his bed and then went back to drape it over her. Now that she was covered with a blanket and the fire was roaring, he felt at ease leaving her to sleep on the couch.

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

            Hermione woke up the next morning feeling refreshed. She sat up and stretched out her arms over her head, surprised she wasn’t achy. She picked up the blanket that had fallen off her and made her way to her room. Wait, blanket… she thought, I didn’t fall asleep with a blanket.  As she observed what she was carrying, she realized it was Draco’s. There was nothing on it to signify it was his, but she knew it was. She folded up the soft blanket and placed it in front of his door, and then went to her room to shower. She took longer than was necessary, enjoying the way the warm water felt.

            Once out, she threw her clothes on quickly and headed to the common room. She had set up a list of dates for the Hogsmeade trips with Blaise the day before and wanted to check if McGonagall was at breakfast so she could approve the list. She used Accio to promptly locate the paper and then hurried off to the Great Hall. To her luck, Professor McGonagall was leaving just as she stepped through the spacious doors.

            “Excuse me, Professor?”

            “Yes, Ms. Granger?”

            “I have a list of dates for Hogsmeade and I was wondering if you could sign it for me?”

            “Alright, and you’ve come to a decision with the ball?”

            “Yes, we’ve decided on a winter wonderland theme. Do you know when the students from the other schools will be arriving?”

            “Yes,” she said taking the paper, “they’ll be arriving two nights in advance and will be leaving Saturday night. I’m glad you’ve had no troubles getting along with your new roommates’ Ms. Granger. Now, I must attend to Peeves before he completely destroys the fifth floor with another one of his foolish pranks, have a nice day.” With that, McGonagall took off down the hall, her robes billowing behind her. Hermione headed toward the Gryffindor table and glanced up at the ceiling, where there were black clouds taking up most of the sky and lightning flashing every minute or so. She smiled slightly at the thought of a thunderstorm. She had always loved them; the sound, the smell, the way the world would be black until the lightning returned. I’ll have to spend some time out on my balcony tonight, she thought, grabbing an apple. She smiled as she thought about cuddling up to a blanket with a good book in front of the fire, listening to it crackle as the rain fell against the window panes.

            “Morning.” Beamed Ginny as she plopped down next to her.

            “Good morning. How are you?” she asked, taking a bite of her apple.

            “I’m good. Neville and I are spending the day together with everyone else. You?”

            “I’m fine, going to spend my day reading.”

            “Hey! Why don’t you come to the Gryffindor common room? Ron and Harry are already there, we’re all hanging out today. It’ll be fun!” Ginny said, positively beaming. Hermione’s smile faded as the thought of reading by the fire might not be possible.

            “I would, but I really had my heart set on reading. I’m sorry.”

            “It’s no big deal. There’s always next time!” With that, Ginny took off to the Gryffindor common room.  Hermione sighed contently, knowing her day was back to its original plan, and once she was finished with her apple, she headed back to the heads room. As she walked down the hall to the portrait she saw Rebecca standing beside it.

            “Hey, what are you up to?” she asked her.

            “Oh well, Blaise asked me to meet him here in the morning so he could see me today.”

            “That’s nice. Do you know when he said to meet you?”

            “Well,” Rebecca started, “he didn’t really specify a time, but I’ve only been out here for a few minutes.”

            “Here, come on inside. Standing here must be boring.” She stated the password, walked in, and headed straight towards the books. She browsed the titles for something that sounded interesting and ended up picking one that looked really old. As she walked to the fireplace, Blaise came from his room smiling when he spotted Rebecca and walked towards her.

            “Ready to go?” he asked as he hugged her, to which she just nodded her head, blushing. With his hand on the small of her back, he led her from the room. Hermione quickly started a roaring fire and plopped down on the couch to start reading. Two pages into it though, she shut the book and sighed. Something’s missing, she thought, I need a blanket. She got up but instead of going to her room, she found herself in front of Draco’s. The blanket was still folded neatly outside of his door so she bent down to pick it up, thinking he’d never know. Just as she straightened up, his door opened.

            “Good morning Granger, returning my blanket?” he asked, seemingly amused as her cheeks flushed.

            “Oh well, I was going to…return it, yes. Here you are.” She stammered, holding the blanket out to him.

            “Relax, you can continue using it. I know you want to.” He said, and she slowly brought the blanket to her. “Hey, Blaise ditched me and I heard Potter and Weasley ditching you earlier. Mind if I spend my day with you?” he asked trying to seem like he didn’t care, but she could tell by the way he said it that he did.

            “Yeah, that’s fine. I just planned on staying on the couch all day. Is that fine?”

            “Perfect.” He smiled. He returned to his room to throw on a different shirt and she slowly made her way to the couch, silently cursing his smile. She wrapped his blanket around her and curled up on the couch, leaning against its arm. Draco came over and sat directly next to her, so close they were almost touching. She could feel her skin tingling at the thought of his leg touching hers.

            “How are you? I mean, with the whole you and Ron thing, it must be hard to see him with Lavender.” Draco said, watching her.

            “I’m brilliant with the ‘Ron thing’. I’m glad he and her are together, it means I can move on.”

            “Good. Now that Harry’s single, you going to snog him?”

            “Harry? Merlin no! Harry is like a brother to me. Harry and I snogging, how ridiculous.” She snorted.

            “I always thought there was something there. Didn’t you two date or flirt in the fourth year? It was all over the Prophet.”

            “That god awful Skeeter woman wrote that, Merlin, I can’t stand her, she’ll do anything for a story.”

            “Yes, I remember giving her some story ideas that year. I’m surprised it took you so long to realize she was an animagus, what with me dropping all those ‘bugging’ references and such.”

            “You made everything ten times worse that year and don’t kid, Draco, the only reasons you made those references was to rub in my face that you knew something I didn’t.”

            “I would deny it if you weren’t spot on. I’m a different person now, though.”

            “That’s true. You excited for the Ball?”

            “No, not really, I don’t feel like finding someone to go with.”

            “What, finding someone? Why Draco Malfoy doesn’t have girls falling over each other to be your date?!” she said with mock surprise.

            “Joke all you want.”

            “What about you and Pansy? Aren’t you two a thing?”

            “Thankfully, no longer. I could never stand her; she was always too clingy.”

            “I bet she didn’t take it well, she practically worshipped the ground you walk on.” She chuckled.

            “Yes, unfortunately she does not understand that no means no, but maybe if I turn up at the Ball with someone other than her, she’ll take a hint.”

            “Changed your mind already? That was quick.”

            “What can I say, I had a good idea. It would really irk her if I went with someone she hated too.” He said smiling.

            “Well, who does she hate?” You, he thought of saying.

            “Mostly every girl in the school.”

            “Well, who does she hate the most?”

            “You.” He replied before he could stop himself.

            “Me,” she laughed, “I could hardly see you going with me.”

            “Why not, I’m not good enough for your standards?” he half joked, half questioned. She didn’t answer for a moment, studying his face and wondering if was being serious right now. The Ball wasn’t for another couple of months, and if he was asking her, would he still want to go after a couple months? But, he probably wasn’t asking her, I mean, they couldn’t go together, could they? She decided to make a joke out of it.

            “I think the entire school would riot if we went together and poor Pansy would have a heart attack.” She joked.

            “Yes, it’s better if we don’t.” he chuckled, the light in his eyes slightly dimming. It was pretty quiet after that, him focusing on an essay and she reading. The room was dark despite it only being mid day and the only source of light was from the fire. The thunder rumbled loudly breaking her from her reading trance. She looked over to Draco and saw that he was sound asleep. Making sure she didn’t wake him, she silently crept up to her room. She pushed open the door to the balcony and stood there taking in the smell of the rain. Her balcony was covered with an awning so she wasn’t hit with the rain unless the wind blew it sideways.

            “I love the rain, don’t you?” he asked, stepping behind her. She no longer jumped, used to him sneaking up on her.

            “The rain has always been my favorite, especially when it’s accompanied by thunder and lightning.”

            “It washes away the mistakes and lets you start fresh.” She turned to watch him, slowly understanding how deep his need to start fresh really was. It was in that moment that she fully accepted Draco being a part of her life from now on, whether to just be friends, or more.    

            “Everyone deserves a second chance.” She said, looking into his eyes. He leaned in closer to her, their faces mere inches apart.

            “Not some people.” He said darkly, his grey eyes becoming cloudy as he turned away from her. She reached out to his hand and held it for a moment.

            “Maybe not some people, yes, but you Draco; you deserve a second chance. You’ve been given one, by me, Harry also, and I think you even won over Ronald. You deserve one, and you’ve gotten one.” She finished, breaking their gaze and turning to the storm.

            “Thank you.” He smiled as he pulled her into a hug that left her breathless. The hug was only for a split second but wished it was longer. They stood on the balcony, watching the lightning flash across the sky for a little longer, before heading back inside. She felt content as they made their way back to the couch and chatted the rest of the day away. Before either of them knew it, the common room was full with everyone changing for dinner. Blaise had stolen Draco away from her and before she could get up, Harry was plopping himself next to her. She smiled as she noticed her friends jet black hair sticking up everywhere as his green eyes sparkled.

            “How was your day ‘Mione?” he asked, swinging his arm around her for a quick sideways hug.

            “It was good. I spent it with Draco, reading.”

            “Did you just call Malfoy, Draco?” he asked, seemingly shocked.

            “Yes, I did. I think it’s childish to continue this last name rubbish. He uses my first name now, so I use his. I’m sure if you called him Draco, he’d return the favor. We’re all friends now, aren’t we?”

            “Hmmmmm, yes, I suppose your right.” He smiled as he stood up.  “Now come on before we miss dinner. I’m famished.” He exaggerated, pulling her to her feet. She chuckled as she let him pull her up.

            “Hey, did you ever decide who you were going to date to make Ginny jealous?” she asked, straightening her shirt.

            “Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you, Luna and I were talking and she had mentioned Neville, so I told her my plan and she agreed, I think mostly because I believe she fancy’s Neville.”

            “Oh! Well, I must say, that does surprise me, but it’s good you worked it out Harry.”

            “Yeah we both decided that going to the Ball would be a good idea and as of today we’re officially ‘dating’.” He said, using air quotes when he said dating.  They waited for Ron before continuing to dinner. She smiled as she realized that this year would turn out for the better. Her old friendships are stronger than ever and her new ones starting out promising. This year I’ll be able to take on anything she thought as she took a seat at the table, looking at all of her wonderful friends.

 

[A/N - OK! Sooo how did you like it?? They were so close to kissing on the balcony but then I ruined it ! But all will end well in good time. don't forget to Review and let me know what you guys think of it! The good, the bad and the ugly ]

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