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 [A/N - Ok before I let everyone dive into Chapter Ten I have a few things I would like to say. First I would like to thank all of my faithful readers who have been with me from the begining. I've been incredibly grateful to you guys and you have seriously kept me motivated to continue my story! I feel like chapter ten is a milestone for me. I never thought this story would become as popular as it has and it really has made me happy! To my faithful reviewers and readers I would like to especially thank you for keeping up with the reviews and letting me know how you thought my story was coming along, Thank you very much to LumosEmmaFaye , ykai , Jillysquid , HpGirl1, FelixFelicis and Jackie - a special thanks, I owe you guys. Now, without further ado, Chapter Ten!!! ]




ahhh <3 I can't even begin to express how thankful I am to enchantress@TDA for the beautiful chapter images she has made for me :)           

            Draco tucked his Slytherin tie into his vest as he entered the Great Hall, the beautiful morning light flooding through the windows. It was pretty crowded, seeing as he was a little late getting up this morning, but he spotted Blaise and Rebecca sitting towards the middle of the table and made his way over to them, taking a seat across from Blaise.

            “Mornin’ mate.” Blaise said, shoveling more eggs into his mouth. Draco filled his plate with sausage links and scrambled eggs and poured himself a cup of coffee before fully allowing himself to converse. “So, weren’t you supposed to ask Granger to the Ball the other day?”

            “Yes, but Terry Boot beat me to it. She hasn’t decided whose invitation she’ll be accepting, so I’m to wait.” He said, annoyance evident in his voice.

            “Well, I have no worries that she’ll pick you. More than half the female population has their eyes on you, regardless of what house their in.” Both boys missed the worried look in Rebecca’s eyes as she thought of what would happen if Pansy were to get wind of this. Draco looked up from his coffee and saw Boot presenting Hermione with a red rose, anger overtaking all other emotions. He saw the pink in her cheeks as she accepted and realized that Boot was grabbing all her attention. He had more classes with her, gave her flowers, she can’t really be falling for his tricks, can she, he thought, clenching his cup a little too much. Only the scalding coffee dousing his right arm was enough to tear his eyes away from the two of them. He looked down to see a broken coffee cup, coffee spilled all over his plate of food. Blaise looked at him with a curious expression before he turned and saw what Draco had. Malfoy excused himself from the table and tore out of the Great Hall, heading to the bathroom, waving his wand over his right arm to stop any burns from forming as he walked.

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

            Terry walked through the grounds, the bitter air biting at his face. He smiled at the thought of Hermione, knowing he was winning her over, that she would choose him instead of Draco. Thank Merlin too, he thought, if I lost to Malfoy, I wouldn’t be able to let people know that we actually fought over the same girl. Ha, losing to a Slytherin, like that’ll ever happen. He walked up the steps and entered the school, warm air hitting him like a wall. He turned the corner, heading to the Ravenclaw common room when he saw Malfoy coming down the stairs ahead of him. I should take this opportunity to make it clear that I’ll be the victor in this, he thought, stopping in the middle of the hall, waiting for him.

            “You know she’ll pick me Boot, don’t you? You know she would never pick you in a million years.” Draco said, stopping but a few feet in front of him.

            “Are you sure of that? She seemed awfully happy this morning, and I just spent some class time with her. You’ve got no chance Malfoy, no chance at all. Why are you even pursuing her, Slytherin and Gryffindor doesn’t mix; you’re a pure blood and she’s, well she’s part of the Golden Trio.” Terry said, a small smile on his face.

            “Mind your own damn business, Boot. What’s your motive anyway? Only going after her to boost your popularity, or have you just noticed that she’s attractive?”

            “Motive, I don’t know about you, but I have no motive, unless sweeping her off her feet counts.” He said laughing. Draco scoffed at that and Terry just rolled his eyes and walked away towards his common room, leaving an angry Slytherin behind.

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

            Hermione sat on her bed, placing the silver mirror in front of her, waiting for her friend to come back into view. As she waited, she played with the curls in her hair, twisting them around her fingers, then letting them unravel, feeling as though she could sleep for a month, she had been spending all of her free time studying for year end exams, you could never be too prepared. Lizzie quickly came back into view, though, and she quickly dove back into conversation.

            “So, you were just about to tell me who you were letting escort you to the ball.” She said, her blonde hair flouncing about as she bounced onto her bed.

            “Yes, I’ve decided to go with Terry.”

            “Wait, why not Draco? I kind of liked the whole idea of the forbidden romance.” She said with a giggle. Hermione laughed at her best friends’ assumption before continuing.

            “Draco and I had a row about a week ago and that little ferret hasn’t even given me an apology yet. It’s completely rude. He’s acting just like Ronald and there is no way I’m going to put myself through that again.”

            “I suppose that’s a good enough reason. Maybe, though, the row was slightly your fault too?” Lizzie suggested, cringing slightly towards the end in preparation of her friends anger.

            “My fault? There is no way that any of it was my fault! I simply told him I can look out for myself; I don’t need a bloody chaperone wherever I go!” she finished, her face turning a slight shade of red.

            “Alright, fine, it wasn’t your fault. Listen ‘Mi, I’m off to school. Let’s continue this conversation a different day.” Hermione barely had time to say goodbye before Lizzie ended the magical connection between them. She sighed in frustration, I really shouldn’t have bitten off her head, she was only trying to be helpful.

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

            Ginny walked into the Head’s common room, she was there so often lately that she had memorized the password. Her long red hair was put in two low braided pig tails which clung to the Hogwarts crest on her school sweater. She carried a package in her hands from her mother, addressed to Ron; Errol must’ve gotten mixed up in the delivery. She guessed that they were probably the new dress robes Ron had wanted, the old ones were ghastly and their mother had decided that even she couldn’t deny the odd smell they carried. The common room was unusually empty, so she decided to just place it on the study table by the huge window and leave it there for him to find. As she placed it down softly, she heard a door open up behind her and turned to see who it was. Harry walked towards her, a soft smile on his face, and asked her how she was doing.

            “I’m good, just came to drop this off to Ron, his new dress robes.” She said, gesturing to the package.

            “He’ll be happy those came in, Lavender has been hounding him for weeks about what he would be wearing.” He said. As he spoke, she couldn’t help but noticing how green his eyes were, it was one of her favorite features about him.

            “You’re going with Luna right? I heard you two were dating now, how is that?” she asked, playing with her pigtails.

            “We’re excellent, I’m letting her wear whatever she’d like to and I’ll just match with it. I have an odd feeling that her dress will have something to do with Nargles, though, they do become pesky.” He said, laughing slightly at the last part.

            “That’s good. Well, I just dropped by to leave these for Ron, I should be going now. I’ll see you later, Harry.” With that, she turned and left the common room, hoping to get him out of her thoughts.

            Harry stood there, watching the retreating figure of the girl he loved, when Hermione walked down the steps towards him.

            “Hey ‘Mione, what’s up?” he asked, turning towards his best friend.

            “I know who I’m picking.” She said, sitting down on the last step.

            “That’s good then, congratulations.” He said, then turned towards Blaise as he walked up to the two of them.

            “Hey, I just wanted to remind you that we have corridor patrol tonight.” He said, talking to Hermione. She nodded at him and he left, leaving the two of them alone again.

            “So, who did you pick?” he asked her, leaning against the banister.

            “Terry Boot...” she said, hesitating slightly.

            “You want to go with him?” he questioned, knowing full well his best friend would rather go with Draco.

            “Yes, he’s suitable.” She said and with that he watched her get up and leave the common room, her eyes clouded over in thought.

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

            She headed down to breakfast, all her thoughts on Draco, though she tried not to think about him. She had been hoping all week he would have stopped being so stubborn and just come to apologize to her, but to her disappointment, he never did, leaving her with the only other option; Terry Boot. Speaking of the devil, she thought as Terry appeared in the hallway, a grin spreading across his face as he spotted her.

            “Morning there, Hermione, looking good as always.” He said, pulling her into a hug. She didn’t like the hugs he gave, they were always too tight, making her feel as if he would break one of her ribs if he squeezed any tighter.  

            “Hey Terry, you’re going to be my date for the ball, I’ve just decided this morning.” She said, watching students pass her in the hall, rather than looking at him.

            “That’s great! I knew you would choose me over Malfoy, I mean what competition was there really?” he said laughing, patting her on the back. Just then she spotted Draco a few feet behind Terry, looking at her with a blank expression, a small glint of anger in his eyes. She wanted to go to him to explain, but she knew it wasn’t the best idea and before she could even argue with herself on the subject, he turned and stormed into the Great Hall without a second look.

            “Yeah, no competition at all…” she said in a far off voice. She could hear Terry still talking, going on and on about the ball, but she wasn’t listening. Everything seemed to be on mute. She hadn’t wanted him to find out, at least not like that. It would have been better if she told him in person and had explained her decision. She sat down at the table next to Ginny in a trance-like state, instinctively reaching for an apple, though she didn’t eat it.

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

            Draco glanced at Hermione, sitting at the Gryffindor table, almost in a daze. He couldn’t believe she had chosen Terry, especially after how close he had gotten to her the past couple months. He spent months talking to her and improving their friendship just to have Terry, who she only spoke to for a week, come and steal his date away. He had planned the entire evening out, confident she would choose him, and now, here he was, dateless. She left him, Draco Malfoy, struggling to find a date at the last second. Sure, it wouldn’t be hard, but that wasn’t the point. He angrily stood up from the table without eating anything and stormed out of the Great Hall. He was sure he felt a couple eyes stare at him as he left like that but he didn’t care. He was too angry with Boot to care about anything. As far as he was concerned, Terry Boot ruined everything that he had aimed for this year. On his way out, a couple first years were standing in the doorway, ogling over something one of them had in a box. Draco stormed over and snatched the box out of the tiny first year’s hand.

            “Ten points from Hufflepuff!” he shouted at them. “For being bothersome and taking up the entrance to the Great Hall.” He stormed away from them, peeking into the box when he was a reasonable distance away, only to find it filled with baked goods. He snatched up a chocolate cupcake and took a bit of it before throwing it, and the box, down the hallway, followed by a string of curses.

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

            Pansy watched Draco storm out of the Great Hall, harassing a group of first year’s on the way out. She was curious as to what had gotten him worked up so much, so early in the morning, and scanned the Hall for what it could possibly be. Most of the students were chatting away happily, nothing on their minds but the ball. She kept scanning the hall, mostly up and down the Slytherin table, though she spotted nothing out of the ordinary. Frowning slightly, she sipped at her tea, happening to glance up at the Gryffindor table. It was then that she noticed Granger, watching the entrance, wearing a sulky expression as she sat at the table, an untouched apple sitting on her plate. She stared at her, curiosity surrounding her as she wondered if Grangers and Draco’s moods could be related.

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

            Hermione walked determinedly from her Defense Against the Dark Arts class, headed towards the library. She wanted to get as much researching done as possible during her lunch period. She entered the library, giving a small wave to Madam Pince before she dived into the shelves. The librarian and Hermione had always been on good terms with each other when she came alone. It was when Harry and Ron trailed in after her that the librarian became agitated. She never took to the two boys, likely because they would always get distracted and noisy shortly after arriving. With every turn she took, she let herself get more and more lost in the books, letting her sense of direction get lost within the maze. She ran her hands along the spines of the books as she walked, feeling the worn leather of some and the crisp spines of others. A couple turns later, she found herself standing in front of the figure of Malfoy. Open books lay all around him as he sat in a corner, holding a book in front of his face as well. She debated walking away, he hadn’t noticed her and the sounds of her steps were muffled due to the carpeted flooring, but she knew she had to explain herself, or at least relieve some of the tension that would surely be between them.

            “What are you researching?” she asked, leaning forward to try and catch a glimpse of the information scattered across the floor.

            “Why don’t you scurry away and mind your own business?” he snapped, never lowering the book he held in his hands.

            “Don’t be such an arse, Draco.” She snapped back.

            “I warned you about Terry and you completely disregarded it and are allowing him to escort you. I can be whatever I want to be towards you, Granger.”

            “Well, maybe if you took your head out of your arse and just apologized to me, I would have accepted your invitation other than Terry’s!” she semi shouted, after all, she was in a library and she wasn’t going to let her voice get too loud.

            “Maybe if you just listened, then I wouldn’t be such an arse!” he shouted to her. She threw her hands up in the air in frustration and stormed out of the library, completely forgetting about the information she had wanted to find.

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

            Blaise met Hermione by the fire at eight and they headed out of the common room, ready to spend the next hour or so patrolling the halls for potential trouble makers. He watched as she shined her Head’s badge until it glistened and gently straightened it on her robes, making sure her wavy brown locks didn’t cover it up.

            “You’re really proud that you got Head Girl, aren’t you?” he asked her as they walked down a corridor, pointing their wands into dark corners to make sure they were empty.

            “I worked for this badge every year I was here. I don’t like flying, so Quidditch was never an option and I’m not one to join clubs, so this was the goal I wanted to achieve.” She said, tucking her hair behind an ear as she walked.

            “If I remember correctly, you were in a whole club during your fifth year, weren’t you?”

            “Dumbledore’s Army; that was completely different, that was Harry teaching everyone how to properly defend ourselves incase of an attack, Merlin knows Umbridge wasn’t teaching a thing.” She laughed sourly. He turned a corner and found a couple from Ravenclaw entwined in each others arms, deducted house points from each and sent them off to bed before focusing back on the conversation.

            “Sounds like a club to me, though. You’ve got the leader, Harry, and I bet I wouldn’t be to far off if I were to guess that you were sort of the club organizer.”

            “Yes, I suppose, when you say it like that, we were sort of a club.” She admitted, sighing in defeat.

            “So, word in the common room is you and Terry Boot are ‘official’.” He said smiling as a look of shock spread across her face.

            “Official!? Who said that? That’s completely untrue and preposterous, we haven’t even snogged yet, let alone gone on a date!” she yelled, her face turning a slight shade of pink.

            “Well, you are going to the ball with him. That seems like you’ve at least thought about the idea of snogging him, am I right?”

            “Well, I suppose, though I’m not sure if I quite like the idea or not yet.” She said, her face staying a light shade of pink. He guessed she was slightly uncomfortable with the way the conversation was headed, they weren’t as close as her and Harry or Ginny, but he hadn’t yet asked the one thing he really wanted to.

            “Have you ever thought about snogging Draco?” he asked, stopping to face her in the middle of the corridor. The light shade of pink quickly turned to a light red as she became angry with what he was asking.

            “You have no right to question who I have or have not thought about snogging, Zabini. That is very personal and it is nobody’s business but my own. You must have some nerve if you think that just because you asked, I’m obliged to tell you anything.” She said, turning swiftly and heading down the corridor without him. He chuckled slightly, amused by her reaction. Well, that was all the information I needed, if she hadn’t thought about it then she would have simply stated that she would never snog him and continued our chat. By not answering my question she only confirmed that the thought has crossed her mind, he thought before turning around and heading back to the common room, certain that she could finish patrolling by herself.


 

[A/N - There you have it folks, she chose Mr. Boot over the ever so appealing Draco Malfoy. How could she do that?! :O I certainly have no idea. :) At least you guys won't have to wait to long for Chapter 11 (it's currently up right now on my computer, more than halfway written, and just a warning to everyone - It's going to be a long one, the longest, i think, I'll ever have written) Anyway, I would really appreciate if you guys could take a few seconds and leave me a review letting me know if you think Hermione made the wrong choice and any predictions anyone wants to make about the ball! :) Thanks For Reading!!!]

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