Slight change of plans here. I've decided that, as an extra-special bonus to all my lovely reviewers, this chapter is also going to contain Draco and Hermione's first snog! *dabs tears from eyes* Also, Neville makes a cameo. Be sure to enjoy it, since you're not ever going to see him again. And finally, whenever you wonder where any random people and objects come from, the answer is always this: Why, through the plot hole, of course! (Powerful things, plot holes…)
Oh! One more thing. Concerning CompleteBastard!Ron: Don't worry, he'll get eviler as the story goes on. Right now, though, he's not really a bad person, as he hasn't had time to go mad with jealousy because of the perfect love between Hermione and Draco. I'll do everything I can to speed the process along, though… *cackles*
Disclaimer: Add one part original fiction to two parts plagiarism. Mix well and serve with a godawful plot, lousy characterization, bad grammar, a crummy title, and an even worse summary; garnish with the name "fanfiction" and a disclaimer that states that you absolutely, positively, and… eh, I can't be arsed to think of another synonym right now, but the point is that I don't own Harry Potter or any of the related characters. Confused? Good.
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"So," Hermione concluded, beaming at Harry (bless his sweet, noble, long-suffering soul) and Ron, "I've decided that it would be a good idea for me to fall madly in love with Malfoy. Isn't that wonderful?"
Harry (bless his sweet, noble, long-suffering soul) could only stare at her in shock, but Ron immediately exploded. "You think what? He's Malfoy, for Merlin's sake!"
"Ron!" Hermione snapped. "You're not being fair! Just because he's spent the past four years being a complete jerk without any visible redeeming qualities doesn't mean that he's a bad person! I'm sure that he's just misunderstood."
"And I'm sure that You-Know-Who is just lashing out at the world because he has lingering emotional scars from being an orphan!"
"Hey," Harry (bless his sweet, noble, long-suffering soul) protested weakly.
"Oh, sorry," Ron said absently, not taking his eyes off of Hermione. "But honestly, Hermione, what are you thinking?"
"Well, maybe I'm not thinking!" Hermione said shrilly. "Maybe love is blind! And I'll have you know, Mr. Honestly-Hermione-What-Are-You-Thinking, that I have every right to randomly fall in love with any stuck-up jerk I want to!"
"Well, if you're talking about falling in love with Malfoy, love isn't just blind, it's deaf, mute, and brain-damaged!"
"Are you saying that I'm brain-damaged!"
"No," Ron retorted. "But if you keep this up, I might change my mind – Ow!" He rubbed his right cheek, which Hermione had just caught in a ringing slap. "What was that for?"
"If you don't know, I'm certainly not going to tell you," Hermione said loftily, and turned to Harry (bless his sweet, noble, long-suffering soul) with a hopeful expression. "Harry, you're on my side, aren't you?"
"Er – " Harry (bless his sweet, noble, long-suffering soul) said articulately.
"See, Hermione," Ron cut in, "he doesn't agree with you. He thinks it's a stupid idea, don't you, Harry?"
"Er – " Harry (bless his sweet, noble, long-suffering soul) said again. Privately he agreed with Ron, but he wasn't about to risk the slightly manic expression in Hermione's eyes. "I think it's great that you're in love," he began diplomatically, "but – "
"See?" Hermione said, smirking at Ron triumphantly. "See? Harry agrees with me!"
"No he doesn't! You just cut him off before he could say that he thinks you're completely cracked!"
"Or maybe he didn't get a chance to say that you're being an insufferable prat!"
Harry (bless his sweet, noble, long-suffering soul) decided that in this case discretion would be the better part of valor, and quietly crawled beneath his seat. Neither Ron nor Hermione noticed.
" – And I still can't understand why you object so much to my being in love with Draco, Ron – "
"Oh, so it's Draco now? What's next, Ickle Drakiepoo?"
"Well, I can't very well continue calling him by his surname, can I? Especially since it'll eventually be my surname."
Dead silence. Harry (bless his sweet, noble, long-suffering soul) closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable explosion.
He didn't have to wait for long.
"You want to marry that git?!?"
"Oh, as if you had any say in how I live my life!"
"No, but I'm allowed to say that I think that the groom-to-be is a bigoted idiot!"
"He is not a bigoted idiot!"
"Of course not! He just calls you an M – a Mu – that word because he's a sweet, tolerant person!"
"How do you know he isn't?"
"How do you know he is?"
"Because he has to be misunderstood! I'm not even going to argue with you anymore – " That lofty tone again. " – because you're being an insufferable, intolerant… boy without the decency to support his best friend when she falls in love. I'm leaving now." And with that, Hermione marched out of the compartment, her nose in the air.
Ron stared after her for a minute, muttering to himself. "Insufferable and intolerant… huh, I'll show her… I'll show them all… hey!" His eyes had just fallen on Harry (bless his sweet, noble, long-suffering soul), crouched under the seat. "What are you doing there?"
"Nothing, Ron," Harry (bless his sweet, noble, long-suffering soul) said quite truthfully. "Nothing at all."
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Hermione waited until she was well away from the compartment before bursting into tears because of the injustice with which she had been treated. Oh, wicked, wicked world! Oh, the bitter agony of it all! Oh, the uncharacteristically flowery descriptive phrases that she normally never would have thought in a million years!
Love, it seemed, did very weird things to a person.
"Oh, Draco," she sobbed to the empty corridor, "where are you? I simply can't live without you despite having lived quite happily for eleven years without even being aware of your existence and then for four more years thinking that you were a worthless waste of oxygen!"
"Never fear, sweet lady," said a voice from behind her.
Hardly daring to hope, Hermione turned around. There, kneeling on one knee and holding out a bouquet of flowers in his trembling hands, was…
"Neville!" she hissed. Honestly, didn't these people ever read the script? "You're spoiling Draco's entrance!"
Neville Longbottom, for indeed it was he, stood up and frowned. "But I thought this was the fic where we fall in love after I save you from the herd of mutant Peruvian iguanas."
"No, no, no," Hermione said impatiently. "That one's in the third compartment to your left. And for heaven's sake, Neville, the mutant iguanas are from Brazil, not Peru."
He slapped one hand to his forehead, dropping the flowers. "Oh, right. Sorry about that." And with that, Neville raced off in the general direction of the third compartment on the left – a surprisingly long distance, given the fact that it wasn't really a very long hallway. But we must forgive these minor spacing errors, as the rather excessively long period of time it took for Neville to enter the proper compartment gave Draco (who had been running late, as he had stopped three times on the way to King's Cross in order to write some spectacularly atrocious love poems) enough time to sneak up behind Hermione and strike a dramatic pose, complete with adoring expression. Never mind the fact that Draco's face wasn't really suited for adoring expressions – actually, it wasn't even particularly well suited to expressions of mild approval. But for the sake of the Moment, let's just forget about whose face is best suited for what and get on with the story, hmm?
Anyway, as Draco struck an appropriately dramatic pose, Hermione turned around, smiling dreamily as she saw who it was. Finally, blessed relevance! "Oh, Draco," she sighed. "You're here."
Draco's expression grew even more adoring. Several fangirls passed out from sheer ecstasy. "Hermione, my love," he breathed. "You're even more beautiful than when I last saw you."
Hermione blushed. Who would ever have guessed that a spoiled, sneering bigot could make up lines that would make a Regency novel proud? "I dreamed of this day," she sighed again, not to be outdone. "I've always loved you, even though you've treated me like dirt for the past four years and I've always acted like I thought you were the scum of the earth."
"And I," he whispered, "have always adored you even though I've always made a point of calling you the most insulting names I could think of."
"Oh, I'm so glad we agree about this," Hermione said happily. Then, because the author had gotten heartily sick of writing cavity-inducing dialogue, she said, "Now kiss me, you fool!"
"Oh, yes," he breathed, and touched his soft lips to hers.
Some five minutes later, when she could finally think coherently again, something occurred to her. "Sweetie pumpkin?"
"Yes, my little honey bunches of oats?"
"Why are we kissing in the middle of a hallway?"
He shrugged, a task made considerably more difficult by the fact that her arms were twined firmly around his neck. "I'm not really sure… romantic momentum, maybe?"
"Well, why don't we find an abandoned compartment so that this chapter doesn't go above a PG rating?"
He looked deeply into her eyes. The fangirls, who were just being revived, promptly passed out again. "My love, has anyone ever told you that you're brilliant?"
"Well, the fact that I've been at the top of my class every year since I came to Hogwarts was sort of an indication, yes. But if you're referring to my skill in picking out good places to snog, then yes, you're the first person to point that out."
"Oh," he said rather sheepishly. Well, why don't we go, then?"
"Oh, Draco," she sighed, leaning her head on his shoulder – a rather impressive feat, given the fact that he was still about five inches shorter than her. "I'm so lucky to have you."
And so, as our hero and heroine snogged passionately in an abandoned compartment, Fate peeked in to make sure that the Prophecy of Whatnot was being fulfilled properly – for professional reasons, you understand.
Then she blushed and looked away.
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Next chapter: The plot sickens… er, thickens. Lucius reveals his Very Wicked Plan To Tear The Lovers Apart™, Ron mutters in dark corners, Harry discovers the therapeutic value of banging one's head against the wall, and Filch makes a completely gratuitous cameo.