"I've got it," Ginny Potter announced gleefully as she entered her husband's study.
Putting down his quill, Harry Potter turned to his wife with a frown. After nearly five years of being in a relationship with Ginny, and several years of knowing her before that, he knew she had a tendency to pick up conversations from hours earlier as though no time had passed, but he couldn't think of anything they'd been talking about recently that would require her announcing she'd got the answer to a problem he didn't know existed.
"Got what, Gin?"
"Hermione," Ginny answered. "I've got the answer to her problems."
"I wasn't aware she had problems," Harry replied in confusion.
Hermione Granger was Harry's best friend, and as far as Harry was aware there was nothing wrong with his friend. They worked together every day in the Auror Department, and Hermione seemed perfectly fine to him.
"I'm talking about her love life," Ginny clarified. "Even you have to admit, she needs a helping hand in that department."
"I'm not sure it's our place to interfere," Harry said warily.
Until eighteen months ago, Hermione had been dating Harry's other best friend and Ginny's brother, Ron Weasley. However, their vast differences had ultimately proved insurmountable and they'd called it a day. It had been an amicable split, and fortunately they'd still been able to work together as Ron was part of the M.L.E's crime scene task force, which worked closely with the Aurors. Although, Harry had to admit that Ron had seemed to come out of the relationship in better shape than Hermione. Within a few months he was dating again, and he'd been dating Susan Bones for the last six months. However, as far as Harry knew, Hermione hadn't been involved with anyone else since her breakup with Ron.
"It's not interfering, it's giving our friend a helping hand," Ginny protested.
"And just how are you planning on giving Hermione a helping hand?" Harry questioned, knowing there was nothing he could say to dissuade his wife from trying to sort Hermione's love life out.
"I was thinking about setting her up with someone," Ginny answered.
"A blind date?" Harry's scepticism was written all over his face for his wife to see. "I can't see Hermione agreeing to a blind date."
"She will if she doesn't know it is one," Ginny countered. "All we do is invite her to dinner and at the same time invite one of our single friends to join us. She'll never know she's been set up."
"This is Hermione we're talking about, of course she'll know," Harry snorted. "I'm telling you now, Ginny, it's a bad idea."
"It's a bad idea for me to want my best friend to be happy?" Ginny questioned with a pout. "It's a bad idea for me to try and help my friend?"
"I'm not saying your heart isn't in the right place, I'm just saying that setting Hermione up isn't the way to go," Harry said gently. He didn't want to upset his wife, but he also didn't want her to do something that might make Hermione mad. "Hermione's a big girl, she can sort her own love life out."
"If she could manage that, I wouldn't have to give her a prod," Ginny countered. "This is for Hermione's own good. If we left her to her own devices she'll become an old maid. I mean, where is she now? It's the weekend and I bet she's working."
"She's in Ireland on a case with Malfoy," Harry confessed.
Draco Malfoy was a fellow Auror, and despite their past history, Harry could admit he was one of the best. Harry had worked with Draco several times and found him to be a totally different man than the boy he thought he knew at school. Like everyone else, the war had changed Draco, and Harry had to give the blond wizard his due for making the effort to change and doing something to help the wizarding world. It would have been so easy for Draco to skulk into the shadows following the war, but he'd stood tall and joined the Aurors as a way of making amends for his family's part in the war. Over the last few years he'd proved himself time and time again, and Harry was proud to call him a colleague and a friend.
"See, working again," Ginny declared with a frustrated tut. "I bet she hasn't had sex since Ron."
"I don't know, and quite frankly, I'd rather not know," Harry said quickly. Hermione was like a sister to him, and he really didn't want to think about her sex life, or lack of it as the case may be.
"I'm just saying that it's probably been a while for her," Ginny replied with a shrug. "She needs our help Harry, and I'm going to give it to her. On Monday you're going to invite her for dinner on Friday night."
"And who are you going to set her up with?" Harry asked his wife.
"I haven't decided yet," Ginny answered, her mind already running over the various possibilities. "But don't worry, I'll find the perfect man for Hermione."
While Ginny and Harry were discussing her love life, Hermione was in a hotel room in Ireland, having the best sex of her life. The wizard she was with was none other than her partner for the Auror assignment she was working on, Draco Malfoy. The trip had been a professional one, but a slight delay in talking to one of the witnesses had led to Hermione and Draco bickering over how to spend the time before their meeting, and the bickering had led to them tearing each other's clothes off and giving in to the sexual tension that had been bubbling between them for years.
If she was honest with herself, Hermione had known she would end up in Draco's bed from the moment they'd started their Auror training. However, at the time she'd been with Ron and didn't matter how strong the spark was with Draco, she never would have cheated on Ron. Because of her relationship with Ron, Draco had also never acted on their attraction. Even though Ron wasn't his favourite person, it had never entered his head to try and take his girlfriend off him. Instead they'd ignored the sexual chemistry while Hermione had been with Ron. Following Hermione's split from Ron the sexual tension had bubbled up even further, and there'd been several times when they'd come close to giving into temptation, but they'd resisted until now.
However, once they'd given in to temptation, they couldn't keep their hands off each other, and what had started off a quick shag to relieve their desires turned into an entire afternoon in bed. In the midst of it all, Draco remembered to contact the witness they wanted to talk to and arrange another meeting for the following day. Normally, Hermione would have been mortified at putting her personal life about her job, but for once she didn't care. All that mattered to her now was Draco, and all the naughty things they were doing together.
"Bloody hell, that was good," Draco gasped, collapsing back onto the bed as he caught his breath. He'd wanted to sleep with Hermione for years, but even years of daydreaming paled in comparison to the real thing.
"Good?" Hermione arched an eyebrow at Draco as she lay on her side, her gaze flicking over Draco's naked body. "After all that, all you can say is that it was good?"
"What more do you want?" Draco asked with a cheeky grin.
"That was more than good, and you know it," Hermione replied.
"You're right, it was," Draco agreed with a nod as he reached out for Hermione and ran his hands over her seductive curves. "It was amazing. The best I've ever had."
"I doubt that," Hermione said softly. She knew Draco hadn't exactly been a virgin before her, and since she'd only ever been with Ron, she doubted she lived up to some of his previous lovers.
"Never doubt yourself, Hermione," Draco said quietly, taking Hermione's face in his hands and staring into her eyes. "You're amazing. You're beautiful and sexy, and this afternoon was mind blowing. It was damn well worth the wait."
"It was, wasn't it," Hermione agreed with a smile. "We really should make the most of it while we're away."
"Does this mean it's a one-time thing?" Draco asked with a frown.
"Hardly one time, at the minute it stands more like three times," Hermione replied cheekily.
"You know what I meant," Draco said seriously. "What happens when we get back to London?"
"I don't know," Hermione replied. "But I do know that whatever happens, I don't want it to affect our working relationship. We have to work together Draco, and I don't want our private lives messing things up."
"But you're not opposed to seeing where this leads?" Draco checked.
"I want to explore this, I just think we should do it in private," Hermione said.
"Sounds reasonable to me," Draco replied. "And just think of the fun we can have sneaking around."
"No way," Hermione protested with a firm shake of her head. "We keep our private life away from the office. There will be no sneaking around at work."
"We'll see," Draco said with a smirk as he pulled Hermione on top of him and gave her a searing kiss. "I can be very persuasive."
"Not persuasive enough," Hermione returned, grinning down at Draco. "I won't be swayed on this, Draco."
"We'll see," Draco repeated, before shutting Hermione up once and for all by picking up where they'd left off and turning their three times into four.
"So who else did you invite to dinner?" Harry asked his wife as she laid the dining table for four.
Despite his reservations, he'd gone ahead and invited Hermione over for dinner. Not knowing that Ginny had planned, Hermione had been more than happy to agree and so the evening was all set to go ahead. Hermione was due at any minute, along with the mystery guest Ginny had decided would make Hermione's perfect match.
"Neville," Ginny answered as she double checked her husband's work, straightening a few pieces of cutlery as she did so.
"Neville," Harry repeated. "Our good friend, Neville Longbottom?"
"Do you know any other Neville's?" Ginny asked as she left the dining room and headed back to the kitchen.
"But Neville," Harry continued, following his wife. "I can't see him with Hermione."
"Why not?" Ginny asked. "Neville could be just what Hermione needs. He's not intimated by the war heroine thing, because he's a war hero himself. He's got a good job, they've got a solid friendship as a base to work from, and have you seen him these days? Neville's pretty hot."
"Hot?" Harry frowned at the thought of Neville being considered hot. It was true his friend had long since outgrown his awkward shy teenager stage, but to Harry he would always be the quiet Gryffindor with his pet toad.
"Yes, hot," Ginny said with a slight grin. "If I was single, I might get in there myself."
"Well you're not single Mrs Potter," Harry said, grabbing hold of his wife by the waist and pulling her into his arms. "So you leave Neville alone this evening."
"Don't worry, the only wizard I plan on getting my hands on tonight is you," Ginny vowed as she gave her husband a steamy kiss.
Before Harry really had a chance to get into the kiss, and take advantage of Ginny's flirtatious mood, the doorbell rang, ruining the moment. Ginny quickly sidestepped from his embrace and making sure no disasters were going to happen in the kitchen, she rushed to answer the door. Harry heard Neville's voice greeting Ginny, and he heard the pair head into the front room. Grabbing a couple of beers, Harry went through to the front room.
"Hi, Nev," He greeted, handing his friend a beer. "How's it going?"
"Good," Neville replied. "You know what Hogwarts is like, always busy. So how's the Auror business?"
"Busy as ever," Harry said as he sat down to catch up with Neville while Ginny headed back to the kitchen. With Neville working as the Herbology Professor up at Hogwarts, he didn't see as much as his friend as he would have liked, but whenever they did see each other they fell back into their comfortable friendship.
Harry was halfway through his beer when the doorbell rang again. Before he could get up, he heard Ginny going to answer the door, and moments later Hermione's voice wafted into the front room.
"Ginny never mentioned Hermione was coming," Neville remarked.
"That's not a problem, is it?" Harry asked.
"Of course not," Neville replied with a light laugh. "I haven't seen Hermione for ages. Is there anyone else coming?"
"No, it's just the four of us," Harry answered as Hermione and Ginny entered the front room. "Hey, Hermione."
"Harry," Hermione returned with a smile, before she turned to Neville and let out a small squeal and hurried over to her old friend. "Neville, I haven't seen you for ages. You're looking good."
"As are you," Neville replied, his eyes sweeping appreciatively over Hermione, who looked ravishing in a deep blue halter neck dress. "So how are things?"
"Good, and how are you?" Hermione asked in response.
"Harry, could you come and help me with the dinner," Ginny said to her husband as Hermione and Neville sat down to catch up. "We won't be long, you two have fun," She called to the duo sitting on the sofa.
Harry took one more look at Neville and Hermione sitting talking, before he followed his wife out of the room. The second they were in the kitchen, Ginny shut the door behind them and turned to Harry with a triumphant grin.
"See, they're getting on like a house on fire," She beamed.
"They're getting along like two old friends," Harry replied. "Don't go reading too much into things just yet."
"This evening is going to be a complete success, I can tell," Ginny announced, refusing to let Harry dampen the mood. "I saw the sparks, even if you didn't."
Knowing it was pointless to argue with his wife, Harry stayed quiet and let her continue to gloat about her plan working perfectly. Although to be honest half an hour later as they sat down to dinner in the dining room, he had to wonder if Ginny was right. Neville and Hermione were clearly both having fun, and they barely stopped talking to each other all evening.
"Do you have any plans for the summer Neville?" Ginny asked as she served dessert.
"Not really, I plan on having a quiet one," Neville replied. "Although I might put in a few shifts at The Leaky Cauldron."
"The Leaky Cauldron?" Ginny frowned in confusion. The pub which held the entrance to Diagon Alley had recently been bought by Hannah Abbott, but she didn't know why Neville would be working in a pub over his holidays.
"Yeah, Hannah says she's going to teach me the ropes," Neville said with a grin. "Apparently it's essential that I know how to handle myself behind the bar."
"Why?" Ginny asked. "I can't imagine working in a bar is a must for a herbologist."
"It's not, but it certainly helps to know what you're doing when your girlfriend runs a pub."
"Girlfriend?" Ginny whispered, paling as she saw all her efforts of setting Hermione and Neville up going to waste.
"Have I not mentioned it?" Neville asked with a frown. "I could have sworn I told you. I've been seeing Hannah for the last few months."
"No, you didn't say," Harry said. "But congrats, Neville."
"I think you and Hannah will make a lovely couple," Hermione said with a smile. "And look on the bright side, if you're spending your summer down here in London we might see more of you."
"That would be nice," Neville agreed. "Although you could come up to Hogsmeade."
"I'll have to do that," Hermione said. "I'll be interesting to see if the place has changed much."
"Nah, it's still the same," Neville chuckled.
As Hermione and Neville continued to chat, Harry and Ginny exchanged a sad smile. It seemed that their matchmaking had been in vain. Or at least their first attempt had been. Ginny had no intention of giving up and she was already deciding on who to try and set Hermione up with next.
"Are you sure I can't tempt you?" Draco whispered in Hermione's ear, his body pressed right against Hermione's back.
In front of Draco, Hermione could feel his toned body pressed flush against her, and combined with the musky scent of his aftershave and his teasing low voice in his ear she very nearly gave in and agreed to cancel on Harry and head back to the blond's for a night of debauchery. However, she'd made a promise to Harry to join him for a drink after work, and she honoured her promises.
"Sorry, I'm having a drink with Harry," Hermione replied, summoning every bit of willpower she had to say no to her secret lover. "You can come if you want," She offered, turning around to face Draco.
"I do want to come, but not with Potter watching," Draco replied saucily.
"Bad boy," Hermione hissed, glancing around in case anyone else had heard him. Even though the filing room, which was where they were, was empty, anyone could enter and Hermione didn't want word of their relationship to start spreading just yet.
"And don't you just love it," Draco shot back, wiggling his eyebrows at her.
"I might," Hermione replied coyly. "Anyway, I can't come back to yours now. But how would you feel about a late night caller?"
"Tell me more," Draco urged with a grin.
"This caller can be at yours later this evening, wearing a very skimpy green and silver lingerie set," Hermione returned in a low, seductive voice. "That is, if you're still up for it."
"I'm up for it," Draco confirmed with a wolfish grin. "Tell this caller I'll be expecting her."
"She can't wait," Hermione replied. Quickly checking no-one was in the vicinity, she gave Draco a quick kiss and hurried out of the filing room before they got carried away.
By the time she'd finished sorting her work for the evening, Draco had already gone and Harry was waiting for her by the lifts. Apologising to Harry for keeping him waiting, Hermione headed down to the atrium with his best friend, all the time wondering how quick she could leave him and head off to see Draco.
"Are you alright, you seem a bit distracted?" Harry asked as he and Hermione headed for the wine bar where Ginny had told him to meet her.
Not wanting to Hermione to get suspicious about being set up, Ginny had suggested the next date should take place in a more relaxed setting, making it look more casual. The only thing was, Harry had no idea who his wife would have with her. As with Neville she'd made all the arrangements, and she was keeping quiet about the identity of Hermione's next suitor.
"Just thinking about work," Hermione replied with a slight smile. "You know what it can be like when you've got a big case on."
"Indeed I do," Harry said with a nod as they reached the wine bar. "I hope you don't mind, but Ginny said she would join us."
"Of course I don't mind," Hermione replied, secretly relieved as it meant she could get away quicker if she was leaving Harry with his wife.
Entering the wine bar, Harry looked around for his wife. When he spotted her, he was momentarily confused as she was sitting in a corner booth, with not one but two wizards. From a distance he couldn't see who the wizards were, but as he and Hermione got closer, he could see it was Dean Thomas and his best friend Seamus Finnegan. Dean and Seamus ran a pub in the countryside, and last time Harry had talked to the pair they were thinking about setting up a new bar in the centre of wizarding London.
"Hey," Harry said, smiling at Dean and Seamus and throwing his wife a puzzled look.
"You don't mind if Dean and Seamus join us do you?" Ginny asked, looking more in Hermione's direction.
"Of course not, the more the merrier," Hermione replied as she slid into the booth next to Dean. This was just getting better and better and she was now thinking she would be able to leave after just a few drinks as she certainly wouldn't be leaving Harry in lurch with so many other people around.
"I'll grab the drinks," Harry offered as Hermione asked Dean and Seamus how they were doing. "Ginny, do you want to come and help."
"Sure," Ginny replied with a smile.
Leaving Hermione with the two former Gryffindors, the husband and wife pair headed to the bar. As they waited to be served, Harry turned to Ginny and asked what was going on. He hadn't been at all sure about setting Hermione up in the first place, but he definitely wasn't sure about setting her up with two wizards at the same time. Somehow he doubted Hermione would be willing to be shared between the two best friends.
"I'm hedging my bets," Ginny explained to her husband. "I thought of both Dean and Seamus, but I couldn't decide which one I thought was more suited to Hermione. So I decided to invite them both out together, and we could see which one Hermione has more chemistry with."
"I'm telling you now, it'll be neither of them," Harry said as he ordered the drinks. "I just can't see Hermione with either Dean or Seamus."
"You said that about Neville," Ginny argued.
"Yeah, and look how that turned out," Harry snickered as he picked up the tray of drinks.
"Only because Neville was seeing someone," Ginny shot back. "Besides, I've checked with both Dean and Seamus and they're single. I'm sure one of them will hit it off with Hermione."
Harry didn't say anything as they returned to the table with the drinks, but he was unsurprised to find that Hermione didn't seem the slightest bit interested in either Dean or Seamus as they had a drink. That wasn't to say that she didn't talk to them and have a good time, but Harry could see by the way she spoke to them that she thought of them as friends. There was definitely no spark of attraction, at least not on Hermione's end.
"Another drink?" Ginny asked once the first round had gone. She was disappointed that neither Dean nor Seamus had been overly flirty with Hermione, but the night was still young and she was hoping a few more drinks would loosen people up.
"Not for me," Hermione said as she grabbed her bag. "I have to be going, I've got a bit of work I need to do."
"I'm sure it can wait, Hermione," Ginny said, flustered that she seemed to be losing Hermione so quickly.
"Sorry Gin, it has to be done," Hermione apologised. "We can have another drink another time. See you later."
Not giving Ginny a chance to argue any further, Hermione said her goodbyes and quickly left the wine bar. Heading home she had a nice relaxing bath, before slipping into her new lingerie set. Pulling on a long black coat, she then headed over to Draco's, ready to pay him a very sexy visit.
As Hermione was busy with Draco, she had no idea that Ginny was bemoaning her failure yet again. She also didn't know that the redheaded witch wasn't ready to give up just yet. There were still a few more eligible bachelors on Ginny's radar and she was determined that one of them would be the perfect wizard for Hermione.
Hermione entered the swanky new wizarding restaurant that everyone was dying to try, her eyes scanning the tables searching for her dining companion. The restaurant wasn't somewhere Hermione would normally choose to have lunch, but she was meeting Ginny and it was the redhead's choice of venue. Hermione was just hoping that it would be a quick lunch as she had work to get back to.
To be honest she'd only agreed to the lunch because Ginny had mentioned planning Harry's birthday and Hermione was worried in case the party loving redhead decided to go overboard. Hermione knew Harry preferred not to be made a fuss of, and she felt it was her duty as his best friend to keep Ginny under control. To be fair to Ginny, she just liked to show Harry how much he meant to her, but sometimes she could go overboard and she often forgot that Harry was a lot more low-key than she was.
When the waiter led her to their table, Hermione was disappointed to find Ginny wasn't already waiting for her. As she sat down to wait for Ginny, Hermione poured herself a glass of water from the jug on the table and wished she'd stayed in the office for a bit longer. Hermione was so busy thinking about the work she had to get back to that she didn't notice anyone approaching her table, until the chair opposite her was pulled out and someone sat down. Expecting it to be Ginny, she looked up and got the shock of her life when she was confronted with a handsome wizard with brown hair.
"Oliver?" Hermione questioned with a frown. She still saw Oliver Wood at parties and such thanks to Ginny's quidditch career, but she didn't know why he was sitting down opposite her in the middle of a restaurant while she was waiting for Ginny.
"Hermione," Oliver greeted with a smile. "I had no idea you would be here? Is Ginny running late?"
"You're meeting Ginny?" Hermione asked, not quite sure what was going on.
"For lunch," Oliver confirmed. "She said she wanted to talk to me about Harry's birthday."
"That's what she said to me," Hermione replied with a frown. "But why would she need to talk to us both?"
"I don't know, I got the impression she wanted to talk to me for my quidditch contacts," Oliver replied. "I have been in the game longer than she has, so I know a few more people."
"I'm sure she'll explain everything when she arrives," Hermione said, just as a waiter appeared at her side.
"Miss Granger, Mr Wood?" The waiter questioned.
"That's us," Oliver replied.
"A message from Mrs Potter," The waiter said, handing Hermione a folded bit of parchment.
Hermione opened the parchment and frowned at the quickly scrawled note from Ginny. It was an apology for not being able to make lunch, but she'd told them to order what they liked and have a good time as she was paying for the meal.
"Why does this seem suspiciously like a set up?" Oliver asked as Hermione recounted the note for him.
"Because I think it is one," Hermione said, the dinner with Neville and the drinks with Dean and Seamus flitting through her head.
"Damn Ginny, she's sly," Oliver said with an appreciative laugh.
"Yes, she is," Hermione agreed with a slow nod of her head.
"So should we take advantage of her generosity and have lunch?" Oliver questioned.
"I don't mind eating, but I have to tell you that I'm not interested in anything more," Hermione said. "I'm sorry Oliver, you're very nice, but I'm sort of seeing someone."
"It's okay, I'm not interested either," Oliver replied with a smile. "I've been offered a job in America, so I'm in no position to start seeing someone."
"In that case let's order lunch," Hermione said, waving the waiter back over so they could order. "And you can tell me all about your new job in the states."
"And you can tell me how you can sort of see someone," Oliver countered. "I have to admit, I'm intrigued."
Over a lovely lunch, Oliver told Hermione all about the once in a lifetime an American quidditch club had offered him, while she told him about Draco, albeit not mentioning the name of her lover. As they parted, Oliver urged Hermione to go for it with her mystery man as life was too short. With Oliver's words running around in her head, Hermione didn't go straight back to the office, instead she went to Harry and Ginny's house, where a very shocked Ginny opened the door.
"Surprised to see me?" Hermione asked as she followed her friend into the house. "I just came to check you were okay after missing lunch."
"I'm fine, something just came up," Ginny replied, brushing off Hermione's concern. "I hope I didn't leave you completely in the lurch."
"I wasn't exactly alone, was I? Oliver made a great lunch companion," Hermione said. "Not that I knew he was going to be there."
"Didn't I say?" Ginny asked, her face a picture of innocence. "I was thinking about throwing Harry a party at a quidditch stadium, and I wanted Oliver's advice."
"Really?" Hermione gave Ginny a look which told her that she didn't believe a word she said. "And here was me thinking you were playing matchmaker."
"As if I would do such a thing," Ginny said, with a brittle laugh that betrayed her nerves.
"I think you would do exactly that," Hermione said. "In fact, I don't think today was the first time. I think you were trying to set me up with Neville, and then when that failed you turned to Dean and Seamus. Now it was Oliver's turn. Am I right?"
"Okay, I admit it, I tried to set you up," Ginny confessed, throwing her hands up in the air in defeat. "I was just trying to help, Hermione."
"I know you were," Hermione replied with a small smile. "But I don't need your help, Ginny. I am perfectly capable of sorting my own love life."
"Are you sure?" Ginny snorted. "Because from where I'm standing, you're completely love free."
Hermione thought about telling Ginny about Draco, but she knew the second she did that then they would have to go public. Even though things were going well, so well in fact that they'd even spent an evening a few nights ago talking to the early hours instead of having sex, Hermione didn't want to jinx things. She and Draco had barely been seeing each other for six weeks, and she just wasn't sure if their relationship was ready to take the next step and go public. Hopefully in a few weeks, Hermione would feel ready to tell her friends about her new romance, but for now she just wanted to keep it to herself.
"I mean, when was the last time you had sex?" Ginny asked, interrupting Hermione's musings.
"Excuse me?" Hermione spluttered, completely thrown by Ginny's question.
"You've been single since Ron, you must be so frustrated by now," Ginny continued. "I can't imagine going a year without sex."
"My sex life is my business," Hermione replied primly. She close as she was to Ginny, she'd never been the sort of girl to discuss her sex life with her friends. "So is my love life. I love you Ginny, but you have to stay out of things. I don't need you fixing me up a date, is that clear?"
"Yes," Ginny replied with a sigh. "I'll keep my nose out."
"Thank you," Hermione said, giving Ginny a small smile. "And I really do appreciate your concern, but I'm just fine."
"I just want you to be happy," Ginny said as she walked Hermione back to the door.
"And I am," Hermione replied, realising that she was happy, happier than she'd been in a long time and it was all thanks to Draco.
After making Ginny swear she wouldn't try and fix her up again, Hermione headed back to work. However, her words had fallen on deaf ears and Ginny was as determined as ever to find Hermione a man. She just now knew that she would have to be more creative in her setting up plans. But she could get creative, just as she could find the perfect man for her best friend.
"Charlie?" Harry stared at his wife as though she had lost her mind.
The pair were currently in the back yard of the Burrow and Ginny had just confided in Harry that she planned on setting Hermione up with her older brother. Ginny had told Harry all about Hermione catching onto her plan, but she refused to be stopped. She was convinced that all she needed was to go about things in a way where Hermione couldn't work out she'd been set up.
"What is wrong with Charlie?" Ginny demanded. "My brother is a catch."
"He's also seven years older than Hermione, notoriously single and lives in another country," Harry shot back.
"Age is just a number, even single guys need to settle down eventually, and just last week he announced he was moving back home," Ginny answered, dismissing every one of Harry's objections.
Harry wasn't too sure about Ginny's first two responses, but he did know he couldn't argue with her third point. Charlie was indeed moving back home, and that was actually the reason they were at The Burrow. The entire family had gathered to welcome Charlie home. Even Hermione was here, as despite her break-up with Ron she was still considered part of the family. In fact as Harry looked across the garden he could see Hermione standing talking to Ron and his girlfriend, Susan.
"See, its perfect," Ginny said, taking Harry's silence for agreement.
"Aside from the fact, Hermione told you to stop," Harry retorted. "She doesn't want your help, Ginny."
"No, she doesn't think she wants my help, there's a difference," Ginny replied, refusing to budge with her idea. "Besides, she's never going to know. I'm going to bring her and Charlie together without either of them having a clue I'm behind their romance."
"Good luck with that," Harry snorted.
"I don't need luck, I've got a plan," Ginny sniffed as she stalked off to await her brother's arrival.
Ten minutes later, Harry was catching up with Ron, while Hermione and Ginny were gossiping with Bill's wife, Fleur, when there was a commotion from inside the house. Turning around, he and Ron were just in time to see Molly come flying out of the house, squealing excitedly that Charlie was home. As the family gathered around waiting for Charlie to emerge from the house, Harry walked over to Ginny and slipped an arm around her waist.
"This is it," Ginny whispered excitedly to her husband.
However, seconds later Ginny's excitement faded as Charlie sauntered out of the house with a stunning raven haired witch on his arm. The presence of a woman shocked the whole family, and they were further shocked when Charlie introduced her as Natalia, his fiancée.
"Fiancée?" Ginny gasped, turning to Harry. "Did he just say fiancée?"
"He did," Harry confirmed with a nod. "Let's go and congratulate him."
Pulling a reluctant Ginny with him, Harry made his way through the throng of Weasleys and congratulated Charlie. Ginny also managed a quick congratulations and a brief hello with the beautiful witch that would one day become her sister-in-law, before she slunk over to a nearby bench and sat down in shock.
"Come on Gin, it's not that bad," Harry said, sitting down next to his wife and taking hold of her hand. "Charlie's thrilled."
"But he's supposed to be with Hermione," Ginny wailed, watching and thinking about what might have been as Hermione gave Charlie a hug to congratulate him and the pair laughed over something he'd said in response.
"Clearly not," Harry replied with a shrug. "Maybe it's time you accepted that it's just not going to happen. You're not going to fix Hermione up with anyone."
"Maybe you're right," Ginny conceded, leaning her head on Harry's shoulder.
"Did you just say I was right, that'll be a first," Harry laughed.
"I said maybe," Ginny replied with a smile. "I just can't believe I've failed. I was so sure one of my set-ups would work."
"Maybe you just never found the right wizard," Harry said sympathetically.
"Who knew Hermione would be so hard to find a match for?" Ginny snorted. "I mean how hard is it to find an attractive, smart wizard who would appreciate everything Hermione has to offer?"
"Seemingly harder than you'd think," Harry said thoughtfully, an idea forming in his head.
"What is it?" Ginny asked, knowing her husband had something on his mind.
"I think I know the perfect person for Hermione, and he's been under our noses the entire time," Harry said.
"Malfoy," Harry answered.
"Malfoy?" Ginny questioned. "Really?"
"Yeah," Harry replied with a nod. "He's attractive, or so all the women at work say."
"He's more than attractive, he's bloody hot," Ginny interrupted.
"Fine, so he's hot," Harry amended with a roll of his eyes. "He's also smart, nearly as smart as Hermione in fact. He's also not at all intimidated by her, or by the fact she's a war heroine. When they're not bickering, they're get along just great. In fact, they're by far the best pairing in the entire department."
"So you think we should set her up with Malfoy?" Ginny questioned.
"It has to be worth a shot," Harry said with a shrug. "One last attempt, and if this fails we admit defeat."
"Okay, set it up," Ginny said. "I'll leave it to you to decide how best to approach things with Hermione."
Harry nodded as he watched his best friend from across the garden. After Ginny's efforts, he wasn't sure how receptive Hermione would be to an invite for dinner, but he could always play the apology card, and say the dinner was their way of apologising. He would think of something, and some way or another he would find a way to set Hermione up on a date with Draco.
Dining at the Potters house was something Draco had never done before, and he was slightly nervous about the evening ahead. Over the years he and Harry had become friends, and while they'd had meals together, he'd never received an invite to his colleague's house before. However, when Harry had asked him for dinner at his place, Draco had graciously accepted the offer.
Once he was ready, Draco grabbed the bottle of expensive wine he'd bought for the evening, and apparated to the apparition point nearest to the Potters home. Having already memorised the address of the house, Draco easily found the Potters house in the middle of the wizarding village, Godric's Hollow. Harry and Ginny lived in a beautiful white house, with a gorgeous garden full of roses. Draco admired the beauty of the garden as he headed to the front door and knocked.
"Malfoy, come in," Harry said as he opened the door and ushered the blond inside. Despite classing Draco as a friend, they'd never quite gotten out of the habit of using each other's surnames, but it worked for them and it didn't stop them from being friends.
"Nice house," Draco remarked as he looked around the Potters place. The house was smaller than his own family home, but then again most places were smaller than Malfoy Manor, but it was still lovely and Draco could see what a great family home it would make when Harry and Ginny had children.
"We like it," Harry replied with a smile. The house was his and Ginny's dream house, and unless they had half a dozen children and the house got too cramped, they fully expected to spend the rest of their lives in the house.
"I brought a bottle of wine," Draco said, handing the bottle over to Harry, who whistled appreciably when he saw the label and recognised it as a very expensive wizarding wine.
"Come through and say hello to Ginny, and we can grab a drink," Harry said, leading the way down the hallway and into the kitchen.
In the kitchen, Draco politely said hello to Ginny as Harry grabbed them each a drink. Leaving Ginny in the kitchen to finish the dinner, Harry took Draco through the front room where the pair settled down and began to chat. When Harry heard the doorbell ring a few minutes later, he knew it was Hermione so he let his wife answer the door. Harry had gotten Hermione over for dinner by claiming that Ginny wanted to apologise, and now he was just hoping that it didn't all blow up in his face.
"Is that Hermione I hear?" Draco asked as the quiet sounds of talking wafted into the room.
"It is," Harry replied, noticing the way Draco used Hermione's first name, not to mention the fact he could pick out her voice despite the fact she and Ginny were only talking quietly.
"And she's here for dinner as well?" Draco asked, suddenly getting an idea why Harry had invited him to his house for dinner. Hermione had told him about her friend's attempts at matchmaking and unless he was very much mistaken, they were having another try.
"She is," Harry confirmed. "Is that a problem?"
"Not for me, but Hermione might not appreciate your motivations," Draco replied.
"Motivations?" Harry questioned with a frown.
"Drop the act Potter, you don't fool me," Draco chuckled. "This is another set-up, isn't it? Another of your wife's blind dates?"
"You know about them?" Harry asked with a frown. "How?"
"Why don't you answer Draco's question first, Harry," Hermione's voice ordered, and when Harry turned around his found his best friend standing in the doorway of the front room, his wife standing sheepishly behind her.
"She figured it out," Ginny said with an apologetic shrug.
"It didn't take a genius once I heard voices," Hermione said as she entered the room. "Which begs the question, why? Why do this when I asked you to stop?"
"It was Harry's idea," Ginny said quickly, dropping her husband right in it.
"Gee, thanks for your support Gin," Harry muttered. "I thought we were in this together."
"And you are," Hermione said, giving both her best friend's a warning glare. "Let's guess, Ginny was the ringleader but Harry, you were more than happy to go along with it."
"Sorry Hermione, we just wanted you to be happy," Harry said, putting his arm around his wife as she sat down next to him on the sofa.
"I understand that, but why are you still doing it when I asked you to stop after Oliver?" Hermione asked.
"We thought we'd finally found the right wizard in Malfoy," Harry confessed. "Once Charlie was off the table, we figured Malfoy was a good match."
"Back up. Charlie? When was he ever on the table?" Hermione questioned. "I must have blinked and missed that date."
"It never happened because he came home with a fiancée," Ginny answered.
"So you were going to set me up with Charlie, but then you found out he was engaged?" Hermione checked.
"Yes, so then we thought about what you needed in a man and Malfoy ticked all the boxes," Harry answered.
"And just what boxes did I tick?" Draco asked with a mischievous smile.
"You're smart and you're not intimidated by Hermione," Harry replied. "You have a lot of the same interests, and nether of you lets the other one boss them around."
"Plus you're hot," Ginny added with a mischievous smirk of her own.
"Why thank you Red," Draco replied with a wolfish grin. "You're quite hot yourself. Not my type mind you, but you're still good looking."
"And just what is your type?" Hermione asked, turning to Draco.
"I like my witches, smart, beautiful, sassy and just a little bit bossy," Draco answered. "It also helps when they have a good sense of humour and are terrific in bed. I especially like a witch who's adventurous in the bedroom, or outside of it for that matter."
"How adventurous are we talking about?" Hermione asked with a teasing smile. In the few weeks since she'd been with Draco, she'd tried more sexually than in all her years with Ron, and she suspected there was still a lot more they could do together.
"The sky's the limit," Draco answered. "I'm up for almost anything."
"Only almost?" Hermione asked.
"I'm quite possessive and I don't share," Draco said. "Especially not with herbologists, bar owners, quidditch players and dragon breeders."
"Charlie doesn't breed dragons, he just looks after them," Hermione corrected. "Besides, I never went on a date with Charlie."
"Are you two already together?" Ginny gasped as she took in what Hermione and Draco were saying.
"We are," Hermione confirmed as she moved to sit next to Draco.
"Why didn't you say anything?" Harry asked.
"We were trying to keep it quiet until we were sure where things were going," Hermione replied. "But then we were set up on a blind date, so I think its best we come clean now."
"When did this happen?" Harry asked with a puzzled frown.
"A few weeks ago," Hermione answered. "That weekend we were over in Ireland. Can you remember it?"
"Funny enough, yes," Harry chuckled. "That was the weekend Ginny decided you needed setting up with a date."
"Typical, just as I decide to help, you sort your own love life out," Ginny said with a smile.
"Look on the bright side, Ginny, you got there in the end with your matchmaking skills," Hermione joked. "After several failed dates, you finally set me up with the wizard I'm already dating."
"You can't get better than that," Harry remarked. "But seriously Hermione, we're sorry for interfering."
"No harm done," Hermione replied with a shrug. "At least now you'll stop with your matchmaking."
"Of course we will, we've already matched you with your perfect man," Ginny replied.
"You've matched me?" Hermione questioned with a raised eyebrow. "I was with Draco long before you decided to set us up."
"It's the thought that counts," Ginny said with a pout. "Harry and I tried, it's not our fault you got there before us."
"Why don't we just be grateful everything worked out," Harry said. "Let's have a nice meal and be grateful there's no more need for blind dates for Hermione. She's got Malfoy now, and here's hoping it's the start of something good."
"I'll drink to that," Hermione said, smiling at Draco and hoping that Harry was right and that her romance with the handsome blond wizard was going to be the start of something good between them. It certainly felt that way, and Hermione was eager to see where her new romance would lead and what adventures awaited her and Draco.