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   [an - Hey everyone ! I'm so glad about how quick this update came, especially since the last couple ones have taken a bit of time. Here's chapter 11! It's gonna be great :) Also, thanks to the amazing Enchantress@TDA for another beautiful chapter image.]

  The next few weeks flew by and before anyone at Hogwarts knew it, it was the day before the ball. The entire castle seemed to buzz as girls giggled in the hallways and discussed different hairstyles over meals, guys talking in huddled groups, discussing the best way to sneak in Firewhiskey; whenever Hermione came across these huddled groups, she quickly broke them up, threatening with the deduction of House points. With the approaching arrival of the two visiting schools, Hogwarts had been cleaned and shined over the span of a week. Everything from the suits of armor to the frames of the paintings along the walls* had been shined and sparkled. The usual twelve towering Christmas trees were put up and decorated in the Great Hall, some decorated with floating candles, or small fairies which flew around the branches of the tree; everlasting icicles were hung along all of the banisters of the stairs and whenever someone walked past a suit of armor, it sprang into song. Due to the cleanliness of the school, though, Filch was on high alert for the first student to even track a bit of dirt into the castle.

            It was the Thursday before Christmas break, the day before the ball. Hermione woke with a start, glanced at her wristwatch, and, realizing she had time to spare, looked out her bedroom window, glimpsing at the weather outside. The sky held the appearance that there would be snow and wind swirled the dead leaves across the grounds. Despite the fact that the holiday was right around the corner, it had yet to snow even an inch, which she found slightly disappointing. Today was the day that the students from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons would be arriving and she knew she would have to look her best. She showered and dressed, making sure everything was straight and shiny*, even taking a moment and adding a fresh polish to her black shoes with a wave of her wand. Confident that she looked like Head Girl, she left her room and made her way down to the Great Hall.

            The air around her was buzzing and she felt as if she could literally feel the excitement in the air. Simply walking towards the Gryffindor table put a grin on her face that was hard to shake off.  Just like her, most of the students had taken the extra time this morning and worked on their appearances; shining, straightening, de-tangling and de-wrinkling themselves in preparation for the guests. She noticed Harry off to the side sitting at the Ravenclaw table with Luna so she focused her attention on finding Ginny who she spotted sitting with Neville. She walked over, passing a snogging Ronald, and sat down across from Ginny, facing the Slytherin table. She poured herself a cup of tea, stirring in the sugar slowly, the huge grin never leaving her face. Looking up, she spotted Draco looking at her sullenly. She would have allowed herself to be swept up in the thought of him just then if Ginny hadn’t struck up a conversation with her.

            “Did you hear me Hermione? I asked if you wanted to get ready together tomorrow or not. I’ve become very adapt at applying makeup and I really would like to do yours for you.” She said, eating some porridge once she finished speaking.      

            “That sounds nice, though, I think we should use my bathroom for it, I’m sure every other bathroom in the school will be clogged with girls fighting over mirror space.” Hermione replied, sipping at her tea and making sure her eyes never strayed to him again.

            The classes that day zoomed by, even Professor Binn’s, which was a feat in its own. Though she tried to not look for Draco in the hall’s and not glance at him during class, she couldn’t help but give in several times throughout the day, noticing that the sullen look from breakfast never left his face. Before she knew it, Professor McGonagall was having the entire school arranged outside to welcome the guests, just like they had during her fourth year. The first, second and third years were standing on the schools steps, leaving room down the middle while all other students stood around the steps and along the school wall. All of the older students were looking anxiously to the sky and lake, already knowing what to expect, whereas the younger ones were looking nervously at the Forbidden Forest and the far off road that led to the school’s gates.

            When the Beauxbatons Carriage appeared in the sky, a ripple of excitement passed through the crowd and Hagrid waited along the sidelines ready to be of assistance. The carriage came to a crashing halt in the middle of the grounds to the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of the students around. Hagrid quickly rushed forward and opened the door, holding out a hand to help Madam Maxim out, snogging the back of her hand softly in the process. Hermione smiled softly as she noticed that he, once again, took the effort to comb through his beard and hair. The girls filed out in a single file, their blue silk dresses ruffling in the chilly breeze. Many of the male population became restless at the sight of the girls and tried, most unsuccessfully, to get a better glimpse of the new arrival. Hermione scanned the small crowd of girls and guessed that approximately fifty or so had decided to come; not as many as she had hoped, but certainly not as few as she had dreaded.

            A few moments later the Black Lake began to ripple and a single mast rose out of the watery depths, shortly followed by an entire ship. It swayed back and forth for a moment or two longer before a very wide wooden board materialized, leading from the ship, safely to the grounds. The new Headmaster stepped out first, he had long black hair which he wore hanging around his face, he had no sinister air about him other than the long scar that stretched from under his left eye all the way to the bottom of his neck, if it continued after she couldn’t tell due to the large coat he wore. His left eye was completely white except for the light blue pupil, and it gave her the chills. Following him were about seventy-five Durmstrang boys, all wearing a similar heavy coat and fur hat, each one looking earnestly at the castle. The bitter wind was biting and everyone was anxious to return back into the castle.

            “I am glad to welcome you all to Hogwarts for the Unity Ball this year.” Professor McGonagall yelled above the slightly howling wind. “If you would follow me, I will lead you to the Great Hall where we can all enjoy warmth and a good dinner.” With that she turned around and headed into the castle, the guests following her quickly. Once everyone was inside they made their way to the Great Hall, which had been newly decorated since the morning. There were banners hanging everywhere with the Hogwarts Crest on them, some even showing the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang Crest. Hermione noticed that most of the Durmstrang students gravitated towards the Slytherin table while some actually sat with the Gryffindors. The Beauxbaton girls, on the other hand, sat wherever there was an empty seat, not minding which table belonged to which house. As she looked around at the new students, she noticed that most were marveling at the halls Christmas decorations, even a couple Beauxbaton girls had gotten up and gone to inspect one of the trees that were decorated with the flying fairies.

            Once everyone had taken their seat and were all settled in, Professor McGonagall stood up once again to make her speech.

            “Welcome students from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. I’m glad to have you both join us for this special occasion. A year ago, the dark wizard known as Lord Voldemort declared war on Hogwarts, making the school year an awful and horrific experience for any student that attended. Unity between the four houses here, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin, helped bring an end to his reign. The ball this year that Hogwarts will be hosting is in celebration of the unity that brought an end to Voldemort,  and in hopes that unity can be established, not only within these four houses, but between us three schools is what I hope to be gathered from this ball. Now, without further ado, let the feast begin!” She clapped twice and the tables groaned under the heavy weight of all the food that suddenly appeared there. Hermione was amazed at all the dishes that were offered tonight, the house elves really outdid themselves. They not only added new dishes to the regular ones, but threw in some foreign dishes here and there to help the guests feel at home. The feast was loud and laughter was constantly in the air. Hermione sampled a little of everything, trying mostly not to miss out on any of the new foreign dishes. She was so consumed by the food and laughter of her friends; she didn’t stop once to look up and glance across the hall to Draco.

            At the end of the feast there was so much commotion with all the extra students leaving the hall that Hermione and Ginny linked arms to make sure they weren’t separated.

            “I’m glad you decided to stay the night with me, Ginny, it’ll be easier in the morning to just wake up and start getting ready.” Hermione said, tightening her arm as a group of third years pushed past her.

            “Me too, I’m so nervous about the ball tomorrow and I don’t know why. It’s not like it’s anything new, I attended the Yule Ball with Neville so tomorrow really shouldn’t be any different.”

            “But it is, you are a couple now, I suspect there will be much more snogging.” Hermione pointed out as they finally broke free of the crowd and hurried up the stairs, making it off the staircase just in time, as it started to move mere seconds after they climbed the last step. “I, for one, am mostly anxious to see how the decorations will turn out.”   

            “We left a very detailed description to the Prefect girls covering it, I even had Rebecca sketch a picture of what it should look like, so it should be perfect.” Ginny said. The two girls climbed through the portrait hole and made their way to the couch, Ginny stopping to quickly start a fire for warmth on the way. Just as they got comfortable, Harry and Ron walked in laughing about some Quidditch joke shortly followed by Blaise and Malfoy, who she noticed, was sporting a smile finally. For an hour or so, everyone hung out on the couches talking about the guests and how they thought the ball would turn out.  Then, one by one, they each headed up to bed, leaving Hermione and Ginny sitting alone on the couch, talking.

            “We should probably head to bed now; we don’t want bags under our eyes, do we?” Ginny asked, pulling her to her feet. They both headed up to her room. Ginny entered the bathroom to change into her nightgown leaving Hermione to quickly change at the edge of her bed. She turned around and muttered a quick enlargement spell on her bed, ensuring it would be more comfortable for the two girls to sleep on. The two girls collapsed on her bed, throwing the covers over them laughing the entire time, the excitement of the next day coursing through them. It took them a little longer then usual, but eventually each girl fell asleep dreaming of what the next day might bring.


            The sun shone through Hermione’s curtains, playing across Ginny’s eyes. She groaned softly, rubbing her eyes as she sat up. She sat there for a moment or two, playing with her tangled red hair before heading towards the bathroom. She had laid out her clothes the night before so when she got up to shower in the morning she would be able to quickly get ready and head down to breakfast. She got up and started the water, letting the hot steam fill the room.

            Hermione rolled over in her bed, the sound of the shower starting waking her. She opened her eyes and glanced out her window to a blanket of snow covering all of the grounds. She jumped out of bed and ran to the window, absolutely thrilled it had finally snowed. The same grin that she wore all of yesterday occupied her face once again. She walked over to her closet, pulling out the two girls’ dresses for later that day. She carried them in one hand, planning to lay them out on her bed, but when she took one look at the rumpled mess of her bed, she decided against it. With one quick wave of her wand, her bed straightened itself out. She levitated each dress in the air while placing the shoes underneath. As she finished placing Ginny’s shoes under her dress, Ginny walked out of the bathroom dressed in a white jumper, her hair slightly wet and up in a messy bun.

            “I’m done with the shower now. Once you’re done we can go down to eat some breakfast before coming back up here to get ready.” Ginny said as she walked over to the window, looking at all the snow that had appeared overnight. Hermione hurried into the bathroom trying to make sure she took a quick shower but made sure her hair was washed fully and that she was perfect for the ball. Once she was out she fixed her hair to how she always wore it and threw on a pair of fitting jeans and a white v neck top followed by a purple knit sweater.

            “Ok, we can head down to breakfast now.” She said to Ginny as she walked out of her bathroom, feeling like she was ready for anything. The two girls crept into the common room and realized that the boys were still fast asleep.

            “Guys have it easy.” Ginny started as they tip toed through the portrait hole. “They could probably sleep till just before the ball and then take a quick shower and throw on whatever and make it seem like they’re a million galleons.”

            “Whereas you and I are here, at eight in the morning, making sure that we have ample of time to get our hair perfect and ready ourselves. I agree, boys definitely have it much easier.” Hermione nodded as they walked down the staircases to the Great Hall. Most of the corridors were empty other than a few girls here and there, most still in pajamas, running with make up kits here and there. She suspected they were trying to get a majority of their makeup done before the rest of the female population flocked to the bathrooms. They both sat down at a completely empty Gryffindor table, picking at the small selection that was laid out this early in the morning. They quietly ate and chatted, feeling a bit awkward being some of the only few people in the hall; their voices seemed to carry if they spoke an octave higher than a whisper.

            “Hey, Hermione.” She turned to her left to see the one and only Terry Boot taking a seat beside her, helping himself to a piece of toast on her plate.

            “Good morning, Terry.” She replied, trying to hide her annoyance.

            “I figured I would pick you up around, say, seven thirty, seeing as the ball starts around eight. I want to give you enough time to make yourself look beautiful.” He said through mouthfuls of toast. She turned to Ginny to hide the disgusted look she had on her face before nodding in agreement and letting him know she would see him then.

            “Make yourself beautiful? I liked him more when he was charming you ‘Mione. Maybe it’s just me, but that sounded a bit insulting.” Ginny said, looking at his back with distaste.

            “Just a bit insulting, but at least it will only be tonight. At precisely midnight I can wish him a goodnight and not have to deal with him in a romantic matter any longer if it doesn’t go well.” Hermione said sighing, pushing her plate away from her. She swung her legs over the bench and left the hall, both girls eager to start getting ready for the evening. As they walked into the common room she spotted Draco and Harry talking on the couch softly, though once they realized they had company they abruptly stopped. Although she became suspicious, she didn’t have time to investigate seeing as Ginny grabbed her upper arm and dragged her to her bedroom.

            “Sorry if I hurt you, but I knew if I didn’t drag you up here you would have spent the next hour and a half hounding both of them for information on what they were just talking about. It was for your own good.” Ginny said, leading her into the bathroom.

            “I understand, and I guess I’m glad you did.” She said, following Ginny. Her red headed friend raised herself onto the counter, sitting along the edge facing her.

“I think it would be easiest if we started with your make up and hair and then I did mine and then we move on the getting dressed and jewelry and shoes and all that type of stuff.” Ginny said, leaning forward as she placed both palms on her knees.

            “Whatever you think would be easiest, I’m up for it.” Hermione said, knowing she honestly didn’t have a say in the matter. When it came to anything that involved styling, Ginny had the final call on exactly how Hermione would be looking. Sure, she was allowed her to pick out her own dress and shoes, but Ginny knew exactly which hairstyle and shade of pink gloss would perfectly pair with them. Nobody ever knew that about her, though, Ginny hid it mostly with her Quidditch talk. Before she pulled up a chair to face her, she glanced down at her watch to see it was only ten in the morning. She sighed silently as she realized that the getting ready part of the day, was going to be a long one.


            “So, who are you taking with you to the ball?” Harry asked, staring at Draco across the table.

            “This one girl from Beauxbatons; she was sitting at the Slytherin table last night and mentioned she had yet to find a date for the evening and I offered to escort her like any polite gentleman would.” He said nonchalantly. Harry noticed the way he acted when Hermione was in the room and he knew Malfoy was lying. He never once thought that his best friend would fall for Malfoy, or even that he would try to gain information on the subject in hope of learning something useful to tell Hermione. He didn’t really mind it, though; at least if things didn’t work out he could go back to hating Malfoy’s guts.

            “Who would you rather go with, this girl you just met last night or the one you’ve been speaking to for the past three months?” Harry asked, knowing he would strike a nerve.

            “Hmmm…I don’t know Potter, maybe the one I asked first? What a stupid question. Maybe that scar jumbled up some of your brain after all.” Draco spat angrily.

            “Back off, Malfoy, it was only a question, there’s no need to snap at me like that, we’re friends now.” Harry said, trying to keep his rising temper down.

            “Sure, whatever,” Draco mumbled before storming off into his bedroom, slamming the door in the process.


            “Ok, now before you go peeking at your reflection let me just tell you that I think this is the best I have ever done.” Ginny said, twirling her wand one last time at her hair before scooting off the counter to give Hermione a look. Her skin had taken on a tanner, natural look, her cheeks a soft pink. Ginny had applied a small amount of eyeliner that made her honey brown eyes look bigger than ever, her eyelashes extending farther than she had ever been able to. She had let her have full reign over her hairstyle and she had chosen to curl her hair and then take some of the sides and clip them together in the back with a beautiful ruby red and silver barrette.

            “Wow, thank you so much.” Hermione said, gingerly touching her perfectly tamed girls.

            “You look beautiful ‘Mione. Let me just add some pink gloss to make your lips pop, nobody will be able to take their eyes off of you tonight. I also put an enchantment on your hair to make it last throughout the night, no matter how much you dance, you’ll still look perfect.” Ginny smiled as she added the pink gloss.

            “I’ll leave you to do yourself up now; I’ll go tend to the dresses and such. Thank you again.” She said smiling as she walked back into her room, stopping in front of the dresses she had levitated before breakfast. She marveled at them, taking in their sparkling beauty; she loved this dress more than the one she had chosen for the Yule ball. She waved her wand in a twirling fashion at each dress, causing them to spin. As each dressed twirled she noticed they were both wrinkled in the back, most likely due to the way they had been hanging in her closet. Quickly wracking her brain, she came up with a de-wrinkling spell she had learned from Mrs. Weasley and made sure the dresses were wrinkle free.

            Well, now that I have time to spare, what to do. Strolling over to her silver mirror, she picked it up, wondering if Lizzie was at home right now.

            “Lizzie?” she asked hesitantly, wondering if she would answer. A few moments went by and, slightly defeated, she set the mirror back onto her dresser. It was just past noon so there was really no reason why she would be home, her school wasn’t even let out yet. She sighed and sat on her bed, grabbing her Transfiguration book from her nightstand and diving into the information.


            Pansy walked over to the mirror and twirled in front of it, her dress slightly flaring out. She was slightly upset over the fact that Draco had chosen a different girl to spend the evening of the ball with, though, it didn’t worry her; every relationship had their problems and the two of them would work through it. She had her dark black hair in giant curls hanging freely around her face and she wore a gold dress which reminded her of Greece. There were two braided gold straps crisscrossing in the middle of her chest and then combining around her neck while the rest of the dress hung free; she had even gone for the whole “Cleopatra” look and had her eyeliner take on a cat-like appearance. After all, Cleo was the greatest witch of her time and Pansy certainly wanted Draco to see her dressed up like this.

            She walked back into the girls’ bathroom, maneuvering between all of the girls, and made her way to Daphne. She wore a long baby blue dress that fit her nicely. Pansy didn’t care much for the dress, thinking it to be plain and boring, though, she did fancy the shoulders, which were covered in only a sheer lace that sparkled constantly. Daphne was adding some extra curls here and there when she noticed Pansy standing behind her.

            “You all ready then?” Daphne said, her eyebrows slightly rising.

            “Yes, I don’t need to take up amples of time to look good, I’m naturally beautiful.” She replied.

            “What do you think of the girl Draco’s taking?” the other girl asked, knowing she would strike a nerve.

            “Oh, that? It’s clearly a fling, he knows where his heart truly lies and I suspect he will be knocking at the dormitory door for me by the end of the night.”

            “You do know that if he even tries to get anywhere near the dormitory, the stairs will turn to a concrete slide, and there will be no way for him to see you.”

            “Well, then I shall just wait for him in the common room, I suspect that as soon as he sees me, he’ll know that I’m the one he truly loves.” Pansy said, twirling around and leaving the bathroom, heading for the common room. She knew that no matter what happened, her and Draco would be together, they were meant for each other. Clearly he knew that; no silly French girl would get in the way, that’s for sure.


            Hermione entered the bathroom when she heard Ginny yell for her. Her friends’ skin was an even tan color similar to hers, which hid all of the girls’ freckles. She had put a clear gloss across her lips, making them shimmer and shine while her eyes were dark. She had applied more eyeliner on herself and added some dark blue eye shadow, mostly to make her eyes really go with the dress. She had taken her long plain red hair and curled it up into a bun, a few pieces curled and hanging around her face and neck here and there.

            “Wow, you look gorgeous. Neville is going to be stunned.” She said, marveling at her friend.

            “You think?” Ginny asked, fidgeting with her appearance in the mirror.

            “Yeah, even Harry won’t know what to do with himself when he sees you.”

            “What? Harry? No, he’s with Luna now; he won’t even notice me...” Hermione looked at her, noticing her almost disappointed tone.

            “He may be with Luna, but you know as well as me that he would give anything up if it meant being with you again.” Then she turned around, letting the words sink in. She slowly lowered the dresses and gave Ginny hers, each of the girls going into separate parts of the room to change. The dress was a bit poufy and she had a hard time trying to get her shoes on but when both girls were ready they looked absolutely stunning, Ginny in her midnight blue and, herself, in her ruby red.

            “We should head out to the common room now, I am sure everyone will there, it’s already past seven!” She said as she pulled Ginny away from a mirror. They stopped in front of the bedroom door, both taking a deep breath before heading out into the common room.

            Blaise was leading Rebecca through the portrait hole. Her hair was curled, but still in its usual braid. She was wearing a green dress that clung to her every curve and ended at her knees. Hermione didn’t know why, but the specific green of her dress, instantly reminded her of a mermaid. She then spotted Ron and Lavender, standing off to the side; she was wearing a hot pink dress that reminded her of a flamingo dancer. After not seeing Harry, Hermione realized he must have just gone to pick up Luna.  While she scanned the common room again, she spotted Draco. He was wearing black fitted dress robes and a dark green tie, his hair gelled out of his eyes, but instead of the usual swept back style he had always sported, he had it nicely to the sides, which gave him a friendlier appearance. Just then Ginny spotted Neville in his dark blue dress robes and ran down the stairs towards him. Hermione started walking down the steps as well, deciding to wait at the bottom for Terry to arrive.


            Draco watched her walk down the steps, her eyes focused on the stairs in front of her, her hand clutching the banister. He walked forwards, meeting her a couple steps from the bottom. For a moment he couldn’t say anything, just taking in her appearance; she looked absolutely stunning. He could feel eyes on his back and he suspected Blaise was watching him, probably the little red head too, he thought. Without saying a word he raised a single hand towards her, motioning for her to take it. Though she kept her face still, a twinkle formed in her eyes and she took his hand and allowed him to help her down the last few steps.

            “You look…beautiful Hermione.” He said, still holding onto her hand. Her cheeks flushed and she looked into his eyes smiling.

            “You don’t look too bad yourself, Draco.” She smiled. They both held each other’s gaze, neither one wanting to be the first to look away. Unfortunately, the portrait hole opened just then and both of them looked towards it, watching Terry walk through. Hermione quickly dropped his hand, and took a step towards him. Draco ignored the hurt he felt and crossed his arms, staring at Boot with a stare that nobody could misinterpret.


            As soon as Hermione dropped Draco’s hand, she regretted it. Terry walked to her, a smile on his face, though she felt it wasn’t as genuine as Draco’s had been.

            “You look really nice Hermione.” Terry said, smiling as he handed her a single red rose.

            “Thank you.” She said, taking the rose. His compliment was nothing like Draco’s and she really didn’t smile when she saw Terry, though she doubted he noticed. Everyone waited for Harry and Luna to return, wanting to take a group picture to remember the night by; Neville had gotten a camera just for the occasion. Shortly after Terry arrived, Harry and Luna walked through the door and everyone was fixing themselves, getting ready for the group picture. Neville ended up levitating the camera and putting a spell on it so it would snap the picture at the most perfect moment. As they all stood in a line, Harry and Luna in the center with Ron and Lavender, Ginny and Neville to each side of him, we soon realized that there wouldn’t be enough room for everyone to take a full group picture so, instead, we did it in small groups. Finally, after everyone finished with the pictures, they decided to walk down to the Great Hall. They were mostly quiet as they walked down, which didn’t bother her, since she was spending her time glancing at Draco, wondering where his date was; she knew he would have had a backup date. There was absolutely no way Draco would go to this ball alone; if she had to be honest with herself, she was slightly upset that he had a date to the ball, she almost wanted him to go alone when she hadn’t chosen him, though she knew that was a ridiculous thought.

            The entire corridor outside the Great Hall was filled with students, all shouting or trying to find their friends. There was a line to get into the hall and they all joined it except for Draco, who kept walking straight, through the front doors. Turning her attention to the line, she looked around to see that Professor Flitwick was magically checking each student for any drop of alcohol they might have been trying to smuggle in. When he did manage to find some, the student was taken out of the line where Professor McGonagall waited to reprimand them. Thankfully, not too many students were clueless enough to try and smuggle some in. When they finally were able to make their way into the Great Hall, she was amazed at how well the decorations turned out. The entire hall was white with snow falling from the enchanted ceiling, though the room was warm. Just as one thought the snow would hit them, it melted a few feet from their heads. Ever lasting icicles were hanging from the entrance and hung on the sides of the walls. There were tables everywhere all covered with white tablecloths, with a centerpiece made of everlasting ice; some were fairies, while others had the different school’s crests. She had to admit, she wasn’t too thrilled with them, but many of the other students were. Music sounded from the center of the room where there was a dance floor made to look like a sheet of ice. Almost everyone was running around, trying to find a table to sit at while a very few were already on the floor dancing.

            Hermione spotted an empty table near the dance floor and one of the walls and she made her way over to it before anyone else could get to it. She took a seat, Terry sitting beside her. Ginny ran over shortly, sitting on the other side of her with Neville following behind. Harry and Ron came and sat down too, followed by Luna and Lavender. Luna was wearing an opalescent dress that ruffled out as it got longer. She had to hand it to her, no matter what odd fashion statement Luna made, she still managed to hold an air of beauty around her. She looked around the table, at the people she had come to care for the past several years, and was glad that she had made the friendships she had made. Before she knew what had happened, a giggling Parvati joined with a sullen Durmstrang boy. The addition of Parvati to the table brought out the more giggly and annoying side of both girls. Smiling, she looked around the rest of the hall, admiring the decorations and watching all of the other students enjoying themselves. Her eyes came to rest on a table close by, the familiar platinum blonde hair catching her eye. He had his back to her, whether on purpose or not she didn’t know, and he was chatting with a Beauxbatons student. She had long blonde hair, similar in color to his, with shining blue eyes and a dress that showed off her figure. That must be his date, she thought, oddly upset that she was so attractive. His table was full of Slytherin students, and she noticed Pansy staring at the Beauxbatons girl, a death glare fixed on her face. She rolled her eyes, turning her focus back to her table.

            “Hermione, these decorations look amazing. Did you help decorate?” Parvati half-screamed across the table.

            “Yes, a couple of the other Prefects and I.” she replied in a normal tone of voice.

            “You guys really did a brilliant job.” Lavender chipped in, nodding enthusiastically. She nodded in thanks and sipped at her crystal goblet of water.

            “Hey, do you want to dance?” Terry asked, grabbing her attention and motioning to the dance floor.

            “Maybe in a little bit, I do believe the food should be here soon.” She replied, trying to postpone the inevitable. She really regretted coming with Terry, though now, it was too late. He looked a bit crestfallen, but she just turned her attention to the table in front of her. Before she knew it, the food appeared on the table and she admired the cooking the house elves had done; everything looked scrumptious. They had made chicken with mashed potatoes and asparagus. As soon as she saw the food, her stomach made a loud rumbling noise and she realized she hadn’t eaten anything since the morning. Even though she was famished, she slowly reached for her silverware, making sure she didn’t end up making herself look like an imbecile. Once everyone was finished with dinner, desert appeared in its place; it was a simple ice cream sundae with a small cherry on top. The meal was over too quickly and before she knew it, Terry had her hand and was leading her out onto the dance floor. The music that was playing was fast, yet maintained an elegant sound to it. Even though the music was amazing, her dance partner wasn’t. As they danced along, moving to the rhythm of the music, she noticed he had become much more physical. He would pull her close to him and try to grab at her, which she found completely inappropriate; each time this happened she responded by twirling out of his grasp, hoping he would get the hint. He even tried pulling her face to his once or twice, but each time she turned her head a different way. This continued for one or two songs before she had the sense to twirl away completely.

            “Wait! No, I’m sorry, Hermione. I apologize; I shouldn’t have tried that during us dancing. Will you please come back and dance with me?” he asked, seeming genuinely sorry. Just then a slow song came on, she sighed, walking back to him and coming to a rest within his arms. She placed her arms around his neck and he placed his hands safely on her waist. They danced closely, her head on his shoulder, mostly because she didn’t want him to try and snog her during the dance. As they turned slowly on the spot she couldn’t stop herself from scanning the crowd for the familiar platinum blonde hair she had grown so accustomed to seeing. She searched for him during the entire song, though she was unable to spot him. She stepped away from Terry when the song had finished, bringing her arms close to her.

            “Would you like a drink? I can go get some for us.” she asked, looking at him for his answer. Instead of answering her, though, he stepped closer, a fire in his eyes as he tried to lean in and snog her. Shocked, she quickly backed out, said “Excuse me”, and hurried off to fetch some punch. She first stopped at her table, taking off each shoe. She usually didn’t think it sanitary to walk throughout the school barefoot, but she felt a little better knowing she was wearing nude stockings over her legs. Sliding her feet along the smooth floor, she walked over to the refreshments table while holding the sides of her dress up. Reaching the table, she filled a goblet with punch, wanting to forget Terry, disgusted with his behavior, and leaned against the table, sipping at her drink while observing her schoolmates. As she downed the fruity beverage, she spotted Draco and the girl he had asked to the ball, slow dancing on the corner of the dance floor. He watched the girl with the smirk that he saved for when he was flirting and she looked back at him, wearing an expression of complete awe. Rolling her eyes for probably the hundredth time that evening, she eyed the couple. Oh, clearly he really wanted to go to the ball with me. Look at him, trying to seduce his date, the nerve of him. She walked back to the table, sitting down by her shoes, placing her goblet a little too roughly on the table, spilling some punch on the beautiful white tablecloth.

            “Something bothering you ‘Mione?” Harry asked, taking a seat next to her.

            “No, nothing at all, I’m clearly enjoying myself.” She said, plastering a fake smile on her face.

            “We’ve been friends for how long, and you still forget I can tell when your upset, regardless if you smile or not.” He said, placing an arm around her. “Now, tell me what’s bothering you.”

            “Terry tried to snog me.” She said with an air of defeat.

            “Isn’t that good, you did choose him to escort you here.” Harry asked, knowing the answer to his question before she even answered.  As soon as she was about to respond, Terry had found her and was already asking her to dance again. “Sorry, mate,” Harry said, cutting in. “She promised me a dance.”

            A smile forming on her face, she followed Harry onto the dance floor, a fast paced song coming on. They laughed, him twirling her around in circles, then bringing her close to him again.

            “Thank you for saving me.” She said as Harry pulled her toward him after another spin.

            “No problem.” He replied, smiling and whirling her outwards once again. They brought their hands together and danced happily for the rest of the song.  Once over, a slow record softly came from the speakers. They would have continued dancing if Ginny hadn’t interrupted and asked Harry for a dance. Hermione looked at her suspiciously and then scanned the crowd for Neville, who was nowhere to be seen. Concluding that she would have to bring this topic up with Ginny the next day, she agreed and walked back to the table. The rest of the ball passed by fairly quickly, her spending her time splitting dances between Terry, Harry and even dancing one with Ron. It surprised her when he came up and asked for a dance, though she accepted. It wasn’t awkward, they mostly talked about how the ball was going and she asked if Lavender would appreciate him dancing with her to which he replied by saying that they were friends and if she couldn’t accept that, he wouldn’t be able to be with her. Hermione really enjoyed the end of the ball, grateful for her friends spotting her reluctance when it came to dancing with Terry and rescuing her.

            “I’ll walk you back to your common room, okay?” Terry asked her as she picked up her shoes from the table; she had decided to carry them, her feet too sore to be strapped up again.

            “We’ll meet you back up there then.” Ginny said awkwardly, knowing she might want to be alone when she told Terry that it really wasn’t going to go anywhere

            “Okay.” She said nodding to him. He smiled as he took her arm in his, leading her out of the Great Hall. When they had finally managed to break free from the crowd, he led her to an empty classroom a little off to the side. They walked in and he closed the door softly behind himself before turning to her. The classroom was dark, other than the moonlight streaming through the windows on the far wall. He turned to face her, slowly walking over, with a glint in his eyes. The way half of his face was shrouded in darkness while the other half was illuminated gave her the chills. He was mere inches from her face and she knew what would happen next, yet she surprisingly did not have the urge to run away. He leaned in slowly, closing his eyes as his lips touched hers. One snog was what she was allowing him to have, though once their lips touched, he grabbed her and roughly pulled her closer, his lips becoming jagged and hard. She struggled with his grip for a moment or so before she was able to push him off of her.

            “Terry no, it was just a ball, just a date.” She said, breathless.

            “How can you go with me and then not allow me a good night snog?” he asked, semi-angrily.

            “I did allow you a snog, that wasn’t a snog, though; you were being rough and forceful. I think it’s time I went to bed, I enjoyed the night but I don’t think we would work out as anything more than friends.” She said, trying to be reasonable while making sure she stayed a safe distance away from him. He stared at her angrily for a moment before storming out, slamming the door behind him. At first she felt offended that he was so upset over a snog, but then she remembered what Draco had fought with her over. Ha, I told Malfoy I could take care of myself, she thought triumphantly. She straightened her dress a little before walking into the corridor, thankful Terry wasn’t waiting for her outside the door, though what was there wasn’t much better. Draco and his date were intertwined with each other, snogging with a fierceness that she had only seen in movies. She had him backed against the wall, her hands running throughout his blonde hair. Her stomach dropped, though she didn’t know why, and then, before she could stop it, the door behind her shut, the quietness of the corridor making the slam sound like a gun shot. Both of them jerked away from each other, eyes resting on her. She turned a bright shade of pink, her cheeks heating up.

            “Uh…I’m…I was just…Sorry.” She stuttered before she quickly walked towards the stairs, wanting to put as much distance between the two of them and herself as possible. They looked like they were practically eating each others faces off, she thought as she walked up the stairs slowly, once again lost in her own thoughts. Apparently she was moving at a snail’s pace, because not even two minutes later, Draco was walking up the stairs beside her.

            “So, how was the ball?” he asked her, trying to be casual.

            “It was enjoyable, in fact, I had a great time.” She replied, lying just a tad. “What about you? Did you enjoy yourself? Your date certainly seemed to.”

            “It was alright, I haven’t been to an enjoyable formal event since…I don’t think I’ve ever been to one actually. Did Boot try to make a move on you? It was the two of you in that empty classroom, was it not?” he asked, though she was more curious as to his comment about the ball. They had reached the portrait hole by then and they slowly walked in, joining everyone else who already had broken out the butterbeer and were laughing and lounging around in their formal attire. The two of them walked into the common room, talking as she headed up to her bedroom to change.

            “Mmm, it was. He tried to kiss me and just like I told you, I was able to take care of myself.” She said, making sure she was clear.

            “Why? What did he try? It was obviously more than a kiss if you had to defend yourself.”

            “It’s none of your business what he tried. You clearly have no interest in my love life, you made that clear with the scene I just witnessed.” She snapped at him, getting annoyed, though there was no logical reason as to why.

            “If you just picked me over him then you wouldn’t have had to worry about anything happening afterwards. I would never try something that would be too brash.” He said, following her up the stairs to her room.

            “You clearly didn’t care if I picked you or not, you seemed quite content in the arms of that blonde after the ball, snogging each others faces off, you looked like a couple of animals.” She spat, getting frustrated that he was following her and not caring that they had acquired the attention of the entire common room below.

            “Don’t be silly, Hermione, I only engaged in that because I knew Pansy was watching me. She had her eyes on me the entire night, and so did you I noticed.” He added, his voice rising. She picked up some clothes she had left on her bed before she left and went into her bathroom to change, slamming the door in his face.

            “I did not watch you the entire night! Merely glancing at you twice does not qualify as the entire night!” She yelled through the bathroom door. She knew the rest of the common room could hear the argument but she didn’t care, he was infuriating her.

            “You picked Terry!! I had to ask the girl to the ball, I wasn’t going to go alone, do you know what Pansy would do if that happened?!” he yelled through the door. She unzipped herself from her dress, levitating it into the corner so it wouldn’t get dirty lying on the floor. She changed into black sweat pants and a long sleeve Gryffindor shirt.

            “That’s no excuse.” She hissed, throwing open the door and storming angrily past him out of her room. She headed towards the stairs, meaning to go sit with Ginny and Harry and everyone else below; they were all looking up at her and Draco with expectancy. She could hear him follow her and she knew she had made him angry. Feeling a grab at her wrist, she stiffened up, preparing herself for more arguing. He twirled her around till they were face to face, surprising her with how close he was to her. Breathing heavily from the argument, she kept her face stony as she studied his expression, not one of anger, but of determination almost. Before she knew what was happening, Draco placed both his hands on each side of her face, leaned in, and kissed her as if there was no tomorrow.

 [an - Ahhh they finally kissed ! This moment has been a long time coming ! I wonder how she'll react? Review and let me know what you think :) Also, if any of you have any time to spare and are interested in reading a Sirius/OC ship, I have a new story out and would really appreciate it if you read it. Thanks so much everyone for being so awesome :) ]

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