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          [A/N- Hey guys!! I'm working on the next chapter at this very moment so hopefully it should be up soon. This chapter is the longest so far and I think I'm going to start sticking with the longer chapters, I like them more. :) Now I'll let you read!!]


All of my lovely chapter images are thanks too the incredibly talented enchatress@TDA <3

            September began to blend into October, and October into November. The leaves gradually changed from their vibrant greens to now the fiery oranges and reds that Hermione loved. There were leaves blanketing the grounds like snow, and a chill had crept into the air. Hermione spent her days completing her school work and her nights talking to everyone in the common room. Harry and Ron accepted Draco, but only in the common room. In the halls, it was like nothing had changed. She thought it was silly but she understood why they did it. To outsiders, Malfoy was still a Slytherin and Harry and Ron, Gryffindors. On the plus side, Gryffindor won their first match against Hufflepuff by a landslide. All in all, everything was going great.

            “Hey ‘Mione,” Ginny said, taking a seat next to her in the common room. Tonight everyone was just having a good night, laughing together, enjoying the good mood radiating throughout the room, “Now I know you don’t want to, but tomorrow when we go to Hogsmeade, we’re scoping out boys for your date to the ball. It’ll be fun.”

            “Alright then, but I’m not going with just any guy. I’ll probably just go alone, you know?” she said, glancing over to Draco, who was laughing with the three other boys.

            “Well, we will see about that. I’m more excited to try on dresses than anything else. Neville has been practicing his dancing every night, it’s quite funny actually.” Ginny said giggling.

            “I’m sure it is.” She laughed. When Ginny had heard about Harry and Luna she seemed very shocked but acted like it didn’t bother her, though she had the suspicion it did. She hoped it did. She didn’t want Neville to get hurt, but she knew that Ginny and Harry were meant to be together. Just then, Draco casually strolled over and took a seat near the two girls.

            “Hello, talking about the ball I presume?” he asked, smiling.

            “Hello. Oh, that reminds me Malfoy, I’ve been meaning to ask you something. Do you have a date for the ball?” Ginny asked. Hermione’s eyes darted to him as he shook his head, butterflies erupting in her stomach.

            “Why? Going to ask me instead of Longbottom?” he asked.

            “Humph, please. One of my friends has some odd crush on you, and me, being a good friend and all, was going to try and set you two up, Merlin knows why.” His eyes quickly glanced to Hermione as he asked who her friend was.

            “Her name is Janey Abbott, Hannah’s younger sister. Interested?”

            “Not really. I actually have my eye on someone else right now,” he started, taking on an air of boredom, “Maybe if things don’t work out I’ll give…you said her name was Jamie? ...a try.” He said leaning back into the couch.

            “Janey. I’ll let her know, though, Merlin knows how anyone could fall for you. No offense.” She added as he chuckled.

            “None taken.” He said, glancing again at Hermione. By then the other boys joined in and everyone was telling jokes and laughing. She laughed along and smiled, but her thoughts were elsewhere. She had led herself to believe that Draco would ask her to the ball because of the comment he made a while back. She was ready to accept when he did because they were friends now and if he needed help sending Pansy a message then she would help. Now that he had his sights on someone else, she was almost, in a way, disappointed. She should have spent her time looking for another date. Then again, a girl should never rely on a guy; maybe a ball would be more fun going alone, though everyone she knew was going with someone. Well, what a load of rubbish this turned out to be. I might as well just go alone, she thought, slightly disappointed. The rest of the night was spent in giggles until everyone’s throat was sore.

By midnight, everyone was parting way and heading to bed, with Ginny just taking refuge on one of the couches. Harry had convinced her to stay, so as to not risk getting caught by Filch, although, by the way he glanced at her when she had fallen asleep made Hermione wonder if he just wanted her close to him. She walked up the staircase to her room, her thoughts full of possibilities for tomorrow. She fell backwards onto her bed, her hair spilling every which way and, smiling, fell asleep for tomorrow.

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

Draco stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist. He wiped some of the fog off of the mirror and took in his appearance. He knew he had a great body, the faint line of underlying muscles on his chest and stomach were certainly a female favorite. His personal favorite though, was his hair, shaggy enough to hang in his eyes when he didn’t feel like taking the time to gel it nicely. He decided a shaggy doo would be acceptable for today. He was so anxious for the day to begin. He had been planning it for a week or two now. Today would be the day he asked Hermione Jean Granger to the ball, and he was almost positive she would say yes. Even on the slightest chance she said no he could always go with that…Janey?...girl. Though, no girl really ever turned down a date with a Malfoy. Then again, Hermione wasn’t the typical female. She was stubborn and intelligent, and beautiful. She just had to accept. Draco smiled at his reflection and left the bathroom to get dressed, a cold wall of air hitting him as soon as he stepped out the door. He donned his favorite black slacks with a white button down shirt and his Slytherin tie, loosely fitted. Confident with his appearance, he left his room and saw Hermione with Ginny, leaving the common room together. Off to Hogsmeade, no doubt.

“Potter! Can I speak to you for a moment?” Draco asked as he spotted Harry leaving his room.

“What’s up?” he asked with a quizzical look.

            “I’m going to ask Hermione to the ball tonight. Blaise is away with Rebecca today, so I was thinking; could you somehow get her to go to the kitchens alone later?”

            “So, you really have changed if you plan on asking ‘Mione out. I’ll do my best to get her there but let me say this. If you even hurt her in the smallest way, not only will I make you pay, but everyone who loves her will too.”

            “Wouldn’t expect any less; thanks, Harry.” He smiled and went down to the Great Hall to enjoy a nice breakfast.

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

            “Come on, Hermione! Let’s go to Honeydukes first! I want to get some sugar quills.” Ginny smiled as she grabbed Hermione’s hand and started racing down the lanes of the small town. A huge grin broke out on her face and she couldn’t help but laugh as her friends red hair blew every which way. They entered the crowded sweets shop and made their way over to the farthest wall.

            “I should probably pick up some licorice wands for Neville.” Ginny stated, scanning the colorful wall for the candy.

            “You know who loves licorice wands? Harry.” She said, examining her friends face.

            “Yes, I know, but I’m not dating Harry, I’m dating Neville.”

            “I’m well aware of who you’re with and not with.”

            “I thought you supported me with Neville. Why bring up Harry now?”

            “Oh, no reason, I was just stating a fact.” Hermione said as Ginny gathered the candies, handed over some sickles, and finally returned to the familiar lanes of the small wizard town. They headed over to the local dress shop and were happy to see it wasn’t as crowded as they had expected. A witch with long blonde hair owned the shop and greeted them as they walked in. She was surprised there weren’t dresses hanging on racks everywhere, just a few mannequins here and there wearing stunning dresses. Instead, the empty space was filled with a small lounge and a small table off to the side with coffee and pastries on it.

            “Where are all the dresses?” she whispered.

            “Haven’t you ever bought a dress from a wizard shop before?” Ginny asked, her eyes wide.

            “Never.”

            “Well, this will be fun.” She said. “What you do is you go into the dressing room and a voice will ask you some questions and then mannequins will pop up with a variety of dresses on them and you try on whichever. It’s quite simple really. Here, I’ll go first.” Ginny walked into a closed door close by and about five minutes later came out in a dark green long dress. It was skin tight and flared out a little at the bottom.

            “That looks uncomfortable.” Hermione commented.

            “Yes, it is rather hard to walk in. Let me try another.” Ginny tried or several more dresses including a dark red one, a light blue one that reminded her of Cinderella, and then a dark midnight blue one.

            “Oh, definitely that one! You look stunning.” She said as Ginny walked out in the midnight blue dress. It was a halter dress that gracefully flowed to the floor with a sheer material encompassing every inch so every time she moved, she sparkled.

            “I think you’re right. This dress is perfect!”

            “Neville won’t know what to say when he see’s you in that.”

            “Ok, ok, but now it’s your turn! I want to see you all dressed up now.” She walked into the room Ginny just came from and saw it was completely empty. The walls were covered from floor to ceiling with mirrors.

            “Good day,” a voice started out of nowhere. “What’s the occasion?”

            “The ball?” she said nervously, not knowing what to expect.

            “Any style you would prefer?”

            “Something long, please.”

            “Is color an issue?”

            “No.”

            “Here is your first set of choices.” Just then several mannequins appeared to the sides of her dressed in a variety of colors. She spotter a long purple one with small ribbon straps and decided to try it on. When it was on she decided it looked better off but she went to show Ginny anyway. Forty-five minutes and six sets of choices later, she found the perfect dress. It was a red strapless dress that fit her body perfectly. The bodice part fit like a glove and had scattered beaded accents on it. Once it hit the waist it flowed out beautifully, like a mermaid (maybe add..its just because it is a mermaid dress). She was awestruck and walked slowly out to Ginny who gasped.

            “Oh my god, Hermione if you don’t get that dress, I’ll kill you. It’s absolutely stunning!”

            “I love it. This is definitely the dress I’m going to buy.” She said as she twirled in it, the bottom spinning with her. She walked back into the stall and changed back into her clothes and left with the dress hanging over her arm.

            “Will that be it for you girls?” the shop owner asked as the girls reached the counter.

            “Yes, we’ve made our choices.” Ginny said smiling.

            “Alright, might I just say that both your dresses look stunning on both of you.” She said with a smile as she flicked her wrist with her wand for two boxes and paper to fly in from the backroom.  The dresses flew into the air and were delicately folded and placed in their boxes; each wrapped with a matching ribbon the color of each dress.

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

            “So that’s the plan, alright?” he asked as the house elf in front of him nodded his head in glee.

            “Winky bets that Miss will be most happy when she comes here tonight.” The little elf squeaked delightedly.

            “Yes, that is the plan. Now, I must be going, I’ll be back later tonight. I do expect that everything be in order when I arrive.” He stated, giving the elf a look that usually got a frightened ‘Of course master’ from the elves at home but this one just kept nodding her head with a big silly grin plastered on her face. He stood there for a moment or two more before turning and leaving the kitchens.

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

            The Three Broomsticks was crowded as always, but they were meeting Harry, Ron and Lavender, so finding somewhere to sit wouldn’t be a problem. The three of them were sitting in the very back in a booth, with the two lovebirds cuddled up and laughing together while Harry sat across from them, smiling. The two girls headed over to the table, Ginny sitting next to her brother and Hermione taking a seat next to Harry.

            “Hey did you two find a dress?” Lavender asked, focusing her attention on the new addition to the table, her blue eyes shimmering with curiosity.

            “You should see ‘Miones. It’s the most gorgeous dress I’ve ever seen.” Ginny said, smiling. Lavender was just about to ask another question when Madam Rosemerta came to the table.

            “Hello kids. Butterbeer for everyone?” she asked, knowing that’s what they got every time they came. They all nodded at her as she smiled and walked away. A few moments later five glasses of Butterbeer navigated through the crowded pub and made their way to the table.

            “Hermione, can I ask you a favor?” Harry asked, turning to face her.

            “Sure, what do you need?” she asked taking a sip of her Butterbeer.

            “I asked Winky to get me something in the kitchens and I’d pick it up later this evening but I forgot I had made plans with Luna and won’t have time to go down there. Would you mind going to pick it up for me?”

            “Yeah no problem, what is it?” she asked, wondering what he could’ve had Winky get him.

            “It’s just something small I asked her to make me.” He said, sipping his drink and glancing out the window at the passing students. Everyone was looking at him oddly, except for Lavender who was too entranced with Ron’s hair to really notice anything.

            “Hey guys.” A voice said to the side of the table. Everyone’s attention shifted from one end of the table to the other, even Lavender turned to see who it was. The voice belonged to Terry Boot. His brown hair looked like he just rolled out of bed, but she assumed that might have something to do with the fact that it was windy outside. He smiled and looked at everyone at the table, pausing as he met Hermione’s eyes.

            “Hey, Terry, how have you been this year?” Ron asked, breaking the silence.

            “Pretty good, glad that I can finish my final year, you know? Instead of last year being the final one. What about you guys?” he asked smiling, his eyes sparkling. How charming, she thought as she looked him over. He had definitely grown into his looks and he had this sparkle to his green eyes that certainly affected her a little more than she would have liked.

            “Pretty good, just enjoying being back,” Harry smiled. “Would you like to join us?”

            “Thanks for the offer but I’m here with a group of friends. I just saw you guys and thought I should stop by and say hello. It was really nice seeing everyone, especially you Hermione. You look great.” He said smiling, loosening his navy blue tie.

            “Thank you, Terry, you do to. I’ll see you around?” she said, blushing slightly at his compliment.

            “I’d like that. I should head back. Bye everyone!” and with that Terry turned around and made his way back to a group of Ravenclaw boys all showing each other the latest joke products they bought.

            “Wow, looks like someone has a crush on you.” Ginny said, becoming giddy for her friend.

            “Terry Boot has become quite the handsome one this year too, Hermione. Lot’s of girls have been competing for his attention,” added Lavender. This made her blush even more. She had always been confident about her looks, but only recently did it seem that the male population at Hogwarts seemed to be taking notice of her.

            “Maybe he’ll ask you to the ball! You two would look great together too!” Ginny’s smile growing even bigger as she pictured them together.

            “Well, if he does, don’t just agree straight away. Sleep on it before you just say yes.” Harry responded.

            “No, don’t do that. He might get the wrong impression and feel like you’re not interested. Are you interested?”    

            “Well he certainly has a certain charm about him, but I agree with Harry. I shouldn’t go saying yes to anybody that asks me to the ball. I should sleep on it if he does.” She said smiling; glad she might have a date to the ball after all. After finishing their drinks within the hour, everyone headed back up the worn trail to Hogwarts. Everyone was laughing and having a good time as the wind blew around them. The walk back seemed to pass by quickly, and as they walked across the grounds she spotted Hagrid walking along the edge of the Forbidden Forest. She waved happily as he waved back. As they were walking up the steps to the front door she heard someone calling for her through the wind. She turned around to see Terry, running towards her smiling, his cheeks flushed.

            “Hermione! Wait up!” he called. She bade everyone else good bye and told them she’d meet up with them later. Harry looked at Terry apprehensively, then turned and walked back with the rest of them. She walked down the rest of the steps where he was waiting for her and smiled as she took in his appearance.

            “Hermione,” he said, his hands on his knees as he gasped for air. “Sorry, I’m really not a running type of guy. This is the first time I’ve ever run after a girl.” His said as he flashed one of his charming smiles.

            “I should feel special then.” She smiled back.

            “Well, you are. Anyway, I was wondering, do you have a date to the ball?”

            “No, actually, I’m currently dateless.”

            “Well, then my next question will be, would you like me to accompany you to the ball?” he asked. She remembered what Harry had said just hours before and remembered she had agreed with him.

            “I’m glad you asked me Terry. Let me sleep on it, though. I’ll let you know by tomorrow, though, ok?” she asked, smiling sincerely. She was glad her response didn’t seem to put a damper on his spirits at all; on the contrary, his smile only widened.

            “I’ll see you in Herbology then.” And with that they walked into the castle together, going their separate ways at the end of the corridor. She was halfway up one of the switching staircases when she remembered she had to go to the kitchens for Harry. Just as the thought crossed her mind, the stairs moved towards another doorway, which happened to lead to a shortcut to the kitchens. Almost like the stairs knew exactly where I needed to go, she thought as she walked to the end of the corridor. She stepped behind a suit of armor and whispered the spell that would open up the wall behind. It led to a kind of concrete slide that would slide you down to the corridor next to the kitchens. She peeked around the corner once she was done sliding to make sure there were no teachers down there before she continued to the portrait with the pear. She tickled the pear the way Harry had shown her and entered the kitchens to something she wasn’t expecting.

            The kitchens were the same, but off to the side there was a table seated for two with a rose in the center. At that moment, someone stepped into the kitchen behind Hermione while Winky came running up to her as well.

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

            “Hey, I’m glad you came down here.” Draco said. She turned to see him, his shaggy hair hanging in his face, his eyes a shocking grey. She smiled at the sight of him.

            “What is all this?” she asked, gesturing to the table behind her.

            “I did this for you. I wanted to talk to you today.” He said, motioning her to the table to take a seat. He pulled hers out for her and pushed her in as she sat down, then took a seat across from her. “How was your trip to Hogsmeade?” he asked her as Winky filled their goblets with ice water and provided them each with a salad. She was wearing a hat that she wore towards the back of her head which let the curls in the front hang freely around her face, noticing how good she looked.

            “It was relaxing. How was whatever you did today?” she asked as she sipped from her water. He placed his fork down and wiped his face before replying.

            “I mostly just made sure this was all ready for you when you got back.”

            “Harry knew about this then? He was the one who told me to come down here to pick something up, but, if I’m not mistaken, I believe there’s nothing down here for him.” She smiled, looking around.

            “Correct. I asked him this morning if he could get you to come down here alone somehow, and obviously, he did exactly what I asked. I’ll have to thank him later.”

            “It still shocks me at times that the Draco Malfoy I once knew is now this new one that I can share nice dinners with while having a civilized conversation.”

            “What can I say? I aim to please.” He said smiling. They had both finished their salads and the empty plates were taken away and replaced with a steak dinner complete with sweet yams and string beans on the side. They both talked through the most of the course, joking and enjoying each others company. After they had finished that, their goblets and empty plates were replaced with a coffee and a piece of cheesecake.

            “You really went all out, didn’t you Draco?” she asked smiling, biting into the dessert.

            “A Malfoy never disappoints, Granger.” He said, flashing a smile. “Do you remember that conversation we had a month or two ago about going to the ball together?” he asked, gingerly placing his coffee cup down next to his plate. He looked up to see her pick up her own and take a sip before responding.

            “Yes, I believe I do. Why?”

            “Well, I do think I’d like it if, after all, you could accompany me to the ball.”

            “As your date?” she asked before she realized what a silly question that was.

            “Well, usually that’s what it’s called.” He smirked.

            “No wait, let me rephrase; as a way to get Pansy off your back, or as a way of enjoying a possibly romantic evening with someone?”
            “Well, more of the romantic evening one, while the Pansy one would be, more of a bonus.” He said as he leaned forward towards her, eagerly awaiting her response, but trying to seem cool and collected the entire time.

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

            Hermione’s mind was racing. She had two proposals for the ball within a day and now she had to choose between the two boys. She could choose Draco, who she had been spending a lot of time with lately, and she had to admit, she did find him attractive, though if she were asked by Ginny, she would completely deny the thought.

            Then there was Terry, who was sweet and charming and if Ginny were to ask her if she thought he was attractive, she could openly say yes. If she went with Draco, there would be no telling how her friends would react. She just got them to accept him as a friendly person, asking them to now accept him as her date to the ball might be too much for them to handle. She was sure they could handle Terry, though. She knew, however, that if she went with Terry and turned down Draco, she might regret it.

            “So, Hermione, would you like to be my date to the ball?” Draco asked, his eyes showing the slightest sign of hope in them.

 

[A/N - Hahahahaha :) Cliff hanger <3 What will she possibly do?! You'll just have to wait to find out. Don't forget to Review at the end of the chapter and let me know what you think about Terry Boot. I decided I needed to add a little twist in the story, he does sound awfully charming though! Also, if you would like to see a picture of Hermione's dress, email me at Dobbyssock@gmail.com !!]

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