Disclaimer: Okay, I have two plans to get the right of owning Harry Potter: One, I could fly on a nice plane, go to England and find J. K. Rowling's house. Once there, I shall hop the twenty-foot-high barbed wire fence, feed her guard dogs thousands of doggie treats and then climb up the trellis through the second story window and CAPTURE her! Then, I shall throw her into a pit of screaming eleven year olds who have those lightning bolt stickers on their heads and little sticks, pointy sticks! After she has fallen victim, I will steal her identity and thus own Harry Potter. The Second Way is to go to Media Play at midnight, break into the store whilst singing the Pink Panther/Mission Impossible theme song. Inside, I will do several army rolls, ending with an army crawl dash to the Harry Potter display. I will then take my black felt-tip marker, the Crayola kind, and cross out J.K.R.'s name on ALL of the books! Then, I shall substitute my own name and VOILA! I am suddenly owner. (Do Not Try This At Home…Or Ever) Ahem.
A/N: AH! The last chapter…so sad. More at the end…
"Draco…" Hermione whispered, slowly opening her eyes and scanning the room. She could have sworn that he was just there, speaking in her ear and kissing her forehead. "I guess it was a dream." Even as she thought this, she couldn't help feeling that he was there somewhere.
Carefully, the brunette pulled herself out of bed, trying to work out the kinks from sleeping at an odd angle. As she stretched, she found out that she had a large bruise on her stomach, and a faint scar that she knew would have for the rest of her life. Hermione then noticed a chair had been placed by her bed, and that it still had a faint body indentation on it. She walked over to it and felt that the seat was still warm.
"He was just here then!" Hermione whispered to herself. "I wonder why he didn't say goodbye." Just then, a large envelope sitting on her beside table caught her eye. Her name was written on the front in neat handwriting—one that she had come to know as Draco's. She picked up the letter, sunk back into the bed and began reading.
I'm sorry that I had to leave without saying goodbye, but I promised Madam Pomfrey that I wouldn't wake you, and I couldn't help agreeing that you needed your rest. I'm afraid that by the time you get around to reading this, I'll already be gone for the holiday. Father insisted on picking me up first thing this morning, most likely because he heard all about this attack. I just hope he doesn't figure out that I was fighting against the Death Eaters. But that's not the point of this letter.
Hermione, I just needed you to know how extremely sorry I am that I couldn't have done something to prevent what happened to you last night. I have a feeling it will be something I will never live down. It just hit me this morning that I could have lost you, just as I finally got around to finding you, if that makes any sense at all. I just don't what I would do if thinking about it turned into actually living it, and so I'm not going to. Not now, anyway.
I really want to spend time with you over the holiday, but with my father breathing down my back, I don't know when I'll be able to get away from him. And about my father—I don't think that I should tell him about us, at least not yet. I know that everyone at school might be okay with us, but my father…he just wouldn't understand, at all. The Slytherins already know, of course, but I can handle them. I wish this could be different, but he will never change. I just don't want to put you in any more danger right now—not when these attacks are becoming more frequent. I hate having to hide this, but I hope you can understand.
It's almost dawn, so unfortunately I must go—father can't see me here with you. I'll see you after the holidays, assuming that nothing goes wrong in the meantime. Other than this, I just want you to remember that I will always be at your side when you need me, no matter what. There is no place you can go where I won't find you.
Hermione folded up the letter, silent tears forming in her eyes. "This is silly," She said to herself, trying to get a grip. "You knew that his father would never approve of this. And besides, it's not like Draco is leaving forever—he'll be back after the holidays." But still, it was going to be a long three weeks. Suddenly, she was startled out of her musings.
Madam Pomfrey pulled back the curtain, making Hermione jump backwards and ran into the bedpost, causing her even more pain. "Brilliant," she muttered under her breath before the nurse interrupted again. Hermione vaguely wondered if she heard her talking to herself, but figured it didn't matter either way.
"How are you feeling?"
The prefect tried to collect herself before answering. "I'm feeling much better, except for this bruise on my stomach." She lifted up her shirt slightly so Madam Pomfrey could take a look at it.
"Well," she said. "I figured there would be one. Here, drink this and it should go away." She handed Hermione a vial of dark green liquid that was giving off a foul odor. Of course, it was within her experience that if something looked bad, it tasted twenty times worse.
The brunette quickly downed the whole thing and, as she predicted, almost gagged on the taste. But, she had more important things to worry about. "Can I see my friends now?"
"I suppose," Madam Pomfrey stated reluctantly. "But please be careful walking about. I've already sent Harry Potter back to his room."
"Thank you." Quickly, Hermione pulled on the fresh pair of robes that had been brought to her beside, and walked up to the Gryffindor common room, hoping to find Ron, Ginny and Harry before the rest of the house woke up.
A few minutes later, Hermione pulled herself through the Fat Lady's portrait hole gingerly, trying to move as little as possible. She really didn't expect any of them to be up at this hour, and thought that she would have to wake Ron, Ginny and Harry up in order to speak with them. However, as the common room came into view, she found that her assumptions were wrong.
"Hermione!" Ginny squealed once she saw the brunette emerge from the entrance. "I'm so glad you're alright!" The redhead made to hug the older girl, but stopped midway as if remembering that Hermione was, in fact, in a fight last night. She settled for a pat on the shoulder instead.
"Hey," Hermione replied, trying to come off as cheerful, despite the rather bleak prospects. She looked behind Ginny and saw Ron and Harry sitting by the fireplace—Ron looking tired and Harry looking worried. Chuckling, she added, "It looks like you're the only one excited to see me."
Upon hearing this, Ron and Harry both got up from their seats in what seemed like a silent protest to such an accusation. Harry took a tentative step towards Hermione, not quite sure of how to act.
"Look, Hermione," He began slowly. "I'm sor…"
"Don't worry about it," Hermione interjected. She knew that Harry probably felt guilty about going off on his own last night, and she figured that Harry already had too many other problems and feeling guilty about her shouldn't have been one of them. "What matters is that I'm alright now."
"Well, that's good, because mum's been in a right state about all of this," Ron put in. "So I guess I should tell you all now that she'll be fussing over us more than usual for the next few weeks." Harry and Hermione were going to stay at The Burrow for the holidays since Mrs. Weasley wanted them in her sight.
As they discussed further about when they would be leaving (in an hour) and how (via Floo Powder), Professor McGonagall came in to announce that Dumbledore wanted to see them in his office immediately. The four of them looked at each other before making their way out of the portrait hole and to his office.
"Please close the door behind you, Miss Weasley," Dumbledore said as all of them assembled into his office. "I think you know why I asked you to come here."
All four of them paled slightly and looked at their feet. Of course, they all were thinking the same thing: that this was the final straw. Dumbledore was going to finally expel them for all of their rule breaking.
"First off, I want to let you know that I am not going to expel you," the white-haired man spoke, cutting into all of their thoughts. Everyone then let out the breath they had not realized they had been holding. "However, I must say that I am a tad disappointed and would strongly recommend that you refrain from acting so quickly in the future."
"We understand, Professor," Harry voiced timidly, barely looking Dumbledore in the eye. Everyone else nodded their silent agreement before the elderly headmaster went on.
"But what I did want to let know was the details of last night. First of all, everyone came out of the battle just fine, with only a few injuries. Secondly, we think that it was unplanned—owing to the fact that it was more random and not carefully planned, which is not something we would normally expect from Voldemort. Another thing is that most of the Death Eaters that we apprehended are students that attend here. Naturally, they will all be expelled and may even face a sentence in Azkaban.
"Because these Death Eaters were so young, we have reason to believe that this task was something they wanted to do in order to 'prove' themselves, if you will, to Lord Voldemort. However, as some of them did manage to escape, I have reason to believe that you four might still be in danger. Therefore, I ask that you stay as safe as possible over the holidays. Other than that, I can only assure you that the other professors and I will be working to find the escaped Death Eaters. You may all go now."
It took everyone a minute to fully process the information that Dumbledore had just given them, even though it was somewhat obvious that they would have to be on their guard over the holidays—they had been ever since third year. Finally, they walked out of the door, down the steps, and out into the corridor.
Once they were far enough from the Headmaster's office, Ron spoke up. "That was close. I honestly thought we were done for this time!"
"Ron," Hermione replied testily. "You know full well that Dumbledore will always want Harry under his protection—especially now. Do you really think he would do something so stupid as to expel him?"
The redheaded boy rolled his eyes. "Oh, like you didn't think he was too."
Hermione, knowing perfectly well that she did think they were going to be expelled, chose to ignore him and walked briskly ahead of them instead. She did feel bad, however, for snapping. But, of course, it had to do absolutely nothing with Draco leaving, because that would just be absurd. Really.
"Is there anything you'd like to tell me, Draco?" Lucius Malfoy asked his son coldly once they stepped out of their fireplace at Malfoy Manor.
Draco, who had been vaguely remembering that he left his rubber ducky at Hogwarts, started slightly at this question. "Does he mean about Hermione and me? I better play stupid, just in case it isn't that."
"I don't believe so, Father," he replied out loud, trying to come off as if he didn't think he was going to be killed right there and then.
"Don't play stupid with me, boy," Lucius spat. "You had better tell me whether or not you knew about this attack last night. The Dark Lord is most displeased, and I wouldn't want to be thrown out of his good graces by my foolish son's mistake."
The seventeen-year-old Slytherin shuddered acutely as he thought of what would happen to his Father. Sure, Draco didn't approve of some of the things Lucius did and wasn't the best role model, but he didn't want to be left suddenly fatherless either. "I knew nothing of it, Father. It was as much of a surprise to me as it was to the rest of the school."
"Good," the older man sighed. "And I also assume that I can rest assured that you stayed out of the whole thing entirely. Can you prove my assumptions wrong?"
"No," Draco lied quickly. "I didn't get into it at all." After this clarification, Lucius simply gave a curt nod to his son and then left the room.
"Well, that's a good thing," the blonde boy whispered to himself. "It's better that he doesn't know his own son was fighting against Voldemort alongside a 'Mudblood' in order to save Harry Potter, Public Enemy Number One."
Suddenly, he started laughing as he realized how very ironic this all was. If someone told him at the beginning of the school year that he'd be saving Potter's neck with Hermione's help, Draco would have checked them into St. Mungo's himself. He started walking away slowly, thinking correctly that, besides not seeing Hermione, the holidays weren't going to be all that bad after all.
"And so then I said…" Ron stopped in the middle of telling his story to Harry and Hermione as a rather scary sight fell upon his eyes: Allison was speaking with Mrs. Weasley, and both of them were laughing about something. That something can only be one thing. "Oh, bloody hell," the redhead thought.
"Mum!" Ron cried out as he ran down the last of the stairs and into the entrance hall. "What are you and Allison here talking about?"
"Oh!" Mrs. Weasley exclaimed, only having just noticed Ron was there. "Well, Ginny said that Allison was your new girlfriend so I decided to introduce myself. We were just talking about some of your earlier years."
"Double bloody hell," Ron thought again. "Just what I thought they would be talking about. Oh, well. Stay calm and hope that Mum didn't say anything that embarrassing." Out loud, he commented, "Were you now?"
"Oh, yes," Allison interjected, clearing trying to stifle her giggles. "Your mother was just finishing up telling me about the time you ran around outside absolutely starkers because Fred and George told you that the bathtub was going to eat you alive."
Hermione, upon hearing this account, burst out into a violent fit of laughing as she watched Ron's ears turn an extraordinary shade of red.
"Allison," Ron managed to squeak out. "Can I talk to you for a bit?"
Ron practically dragged the Ravenclaw girl to another part of the hall. "Look," he began uncomfortably. "I was really young and if you had Fred and George for brothers you'd…"
"Ron," Allison cut in laughing. "It's alright. Everyone does embarrassing stuff when they are little. I'm more worried about how you're doing—what with that attack last night."
"Oh. Well, you know, it was hard," Ron said, trying to sound tough. "And grueling. But I got through it…everyone did. Though Draco and Harry did need a lot of my help." With this, he sighed dramatically.
"Well, I would have been right there with you, you know. But idiotic Flitwick had to go and be all idiotic and charmed the idiotic door shut." Allison said all of this bitterly, and in a great rush. Obviously, she felt the whole thing was, well, was rather idiotic. She stood there for a moment, silently seething.
"But on a brighter note," the blonde continued, rapidly changing her mood. "I learned from your mum that you actually live only about ten minutes away from my house! So, maybe you guys would want to come by sometime over break?"
At this, Ron visibly perked up. "Of course we would! It sounds brilliant!" he said. To himself, however, he thought, "Now maybe I can drag something about her past from her parents." With a malicious glint in his blue eyes, he kissed Allison soundly before returning to the rest of the group.
The six of them exchanged good byes, and Allison promised to have them all come over in a few days. Hermione was a bit preoccupied with her thoughts of Draco, but decided that she could at least try to make the most of her holiday.
"Wakey, wakey! Eggs and bakey!" Ginny screamed whilst hopping on to of the pile of covers and sheets that was Hermione. "It's CHRISTMAS!"
Indeed, it was Christmas morning and Hermione really wasn't enjoying the day so far—and she had only just woken up. "I've been here for a week," the brunette thought. "And I still haven't gotten any word from Draco…not that it matters, of course." Hermione looked about the room, as if expecting someone to hear her thoughts. She didn't want to let on how she was feeling. So, she got up and tried to be as enthusiastic as the red head in front of her.
"Yay!" Hermione exclaimed, trying her best. "Let's go see what we've got, shall we?"
Ginny, acting like a seven-year-old, grabbed the older girl's hand and practically dragged her down the many flights of stairs to the living room. The rest of the Weasley clan and Harry were already there and, by the looks of it, Ginny had woken them all up entirely too early. "I suppose she thought it would be nice to get me up last," the prefect thought sullenly. "Hmm…might as well enjoy the presents while I'm up though!"
The group spent the next two hours exchanging gifts and showing off the new stuff they got. Mrs. Weasley bustled about the lot of them; fussing about making sure everyone liked their sweaters (they did) and asking if they were hungry. After receiving an affirmative from the latter question, she spent the majority of the morning in the kitchen making up the biggest breakfast seen outside of Hogwarts. Of course, it was the most delicious thing any of them had tasted.
Hermione managed to cheer up quite substantially throughout the course of the day—a good breakfast and being with the people you loved will do that to you. However, the highlight of her day was most definitely going to Allison's house.
Around three o'clock, Ron, Hermione, Harry and Ginny all lined up in front of the Weasleys' fireplace in their brand new sweaters. Ron stepped up to the hearth, picked up a pinch of Floo Powder and threw it into the fire. "13 Wexford Lane!" he yelled clearly. Soon, he was gone in a tower of green flame.
Harry stepped up next, repeating what Ron did. Eventually, all four of them arrived in the large parlor of Allison Morell's house. Hermione took note of the warm, cozy feeling the house had—much like the Burrow did. But, before she had any more time to examine, the resident of the house herself came bounding into the room.
"You made it!" Allison screamed before launching herself into Ron's arms for a big hug. She then hugged everyone else in turn. "I'm so glad you could all make it."
Hermione smiled warmly at the younger girl and marveled at the fact that she could feel totally comfortable hugging her, even though she ultimately broke her and her first boyfriend up. "Though," the prefect thought to herself. "If she hadn't have broken us up, then I would have never gotten together with Draco. I guess some things really are blessings in disguise."
"So," Ron asked after a moment of silence. "Do we get to meet your parents?"
"Unfortunately, no," Allison replied. "Dad's at the ministry for some emergency and mum had to go to Surrey to be with her family today. She's a Muggle, you know."
"Damn," Ron thought morosely. "Foiled again!" He then watched as the blonde girl pulled a box from her pocket and poured some candies into her hand.
"What are those?" Ginny asked, very curious.
"Black Ju Ju Bees," Allison voiced. "Not many people like the flavor but I love them!" She smiled before popping another in her mouth.
The group then filed in to Allison's family room, where they filled her in on their holiday so far, and asked what Allison and her family received for Christmas.
"Well, I got loads of new books, and a few sets of robes. I also got the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, which I love, and my family also got a new toaster!" She said cheerily.
"Wait, what?" Ron asked, clearly confused. "What are those?"
"Oh, right," Allison replied, catching on. "Well a soundtrack is this little disc that plays music, and a toaster is an appliance that toasts your bread! Here, I'll show you." With this, Allison led the quartet to the kitchen.
The kitchen was painted a golden yellow color with deep blue accents. Allison walked over to the counter and picked up what looked to Ron as a metal box with holes in the top. "This," Allison stated. "Is a toaster. You put pieces of bread in the slots here, pull the lever down, and in a minute or so, you have toast!"
At this, Ron snorted loudly. He could handle some little thing playing a song, but a metal box gizmo thing making toast? That was just absurd. "Sure it does," he said sarcastically. "And I'm sure that big 'airypanes' can fly too…"
"Well…yes, they can," Allison said slowly.
"Ron!" Harry interjected, having been almost silent this whole time. "We flew a car. There's really no difference between the two."
"Alright…" The red head replied skeptically. "Let's just get back to this toaster thing. I won't believe it 'til I see it."
"That can be arranged," the Ravenclaw replied in a tone that suggested she was forming an evil plan. She then pulled out two pieces of bread, plugged in the toaster, and popped the pieces in. The blonde did all of this very slyly…maybe even stealthily. This, of course, didn't make any sense applied to the particular situation, but everyone went along with it anyway. "Watch, and learn."
Ron and Ginny waited, intently staring at the toaster. Harry and Hermione looked on with amused faces. Allison made her fingertips form a steeple. It was all very exciting. Finally, the toast popped up with a little "Ding!"
"BEHOLD!" Allison said dramatically as she pulled the golden-brown pieces out of the contraption. "I give you…toast!"
Ron looked at the pieces she held in her hand and blinked a couple of times. Then he glanced at Ginny, who was much less shocked and more open about everything. Finally, he looked back at the toast and said, "That's just…not right."
Everyone laughed heartily and general merriment ensued for the better part of the afternoon, up until Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny had to return to the Burrow. They said their goodbyes to Allison, and then Flooed home to a Christmas feast only expected of Mrs. Weasley.
Hermione found that the rest of her holidays passed a lot quicker once she stopped worrying so much about Draco. She figured that if anything extremely bad happened, she would hear about it one way or the other. So, she used the rest of her time to relax and, of course, catch up on her mountains of homework.
All too soon, New Year's had come and gone, and it was time for the quartet to return to Hogwarts. Hermione and Ginny were happy to be going back, but Ron and Harry firmly said they were going to miss lying around and doing nothing. "But," Harry said brightly. "At least I've got Quidditch practices to look forward too!" Indeed.
The addressed looked around to find the owner of the voice. Hermione searched through the crowd waiting to get into the Great Hall for the Welcome Back feast. Soon, she realized that it was Kristin Lovegood who called out to her. "Hey," she replied. "How was your holiday?"
"Oh, it was pretty good," Kristin said. "Presents, eggnog, you know, the usual. What about yours?"
"It was…as good as can be expected."
"Yeah…this whole attack thing was pretty scary." Allison came up beside Kristin then, and greeted the girl. Then she looked at the girl a little funny, as if trying to figure something out.
"You know," Allison said to Kristin. "I don't think I remember seeing you in the common room that night."
Kristin glanced away for a second, but then replied with, "I was. I decided it was better if I just went to bed. I was exhausted and I tend to sleep when I get really stressed out. Odd, I know."
"Interesting…" Allison thought to herself, keeping Kristin under a gaze of scrutiny. "Very interesting."
The three girls talked for awhile after that—well, mostly Hermione and Kristin did. Finally, they were allowed into the Great Hall and went to their separate house tables. Hermione quickly scanned the Slytherin table, and was troubled to find that Draco was not among their numbers. "Maybe he skipped the feast…" she thought to herself, even though she doubted it. "I'll just see him tomorrow I guess." She also noticed that many people from the House were missing, but that could only be expected due to the attack. Just then, her reverie was broken into my Dumbledore's voice.
"Hello again, ladies and gentleman. I trust that your holidays were thoroughly enjoyable, but I do have some unpleasant news. As you probably have noticed, a few of our students are missing, owing to the fact that they were expelled. It troubles me deeply to find that our own numbers would join Voldemort's ranks, but it is something we must come to terms with. Luckily, no one was injured in the attack.
"However, on a brighter note, Quidditch will be starting up again in a few weeks' time, beginning with the match between Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Other than that, I have nothing else to say but tuck in!" With this, the elderly headmaster sat down and mountains of food appeared on all the tables.
Hermione turned to Harry, who was already digging in, and asked, "Does it seem like Dumbledore is worried about something?"
"Well, yeah," Harry answered. "Isn't everyone worried about something?"
"I know, but it just seems like this past few weeks have just been wrong. It upsets me."
"Look, Hermione, just go with it. I know that probably sounds incredibly odd coming from me, but it's the best thing you can do right now. Just enjoy the moment, and don't think so much about what's going to happen in the future. Trust me; if you do then it's all just going to suck. Have fun, be happy, and just think about right now." He finished his inspiring monologue up with shoving a spoonful of mashed potatoes in his mouth and continuing to eat.
Hermione was totally shocked by everything Harry just said. Usually, he was the one worrying about everything and being all moody. Something definitely changed in him, and she highly expected that Ginny had something to do with it. Either way, Hermione was glad for it and actually took his advice seriously. She closed her eyes for a moment and just let everything go…when she opened them again, she saw the crowed Hall and felt, in that moment, that everything was going to be okay. With this, she too dug into her mashed potatoes with the resolve of enjoying her meal, and not thinking of anything else.
"Gooood morning, sunshine!"
Hermione woke up to see Lavender hovering inches from her face and smiling as if she was hopped up on happy pills. "AHH!!" She screamed, thoroughly disconcerted. Then, realizing who it was, she buried her head in her pillows. "Merlin…I forgot all about you. Just please don't use the bucket."
"Fine! But c'mon then! Off you trot!"
"You sound like my mother…" Hermione mumbled bitterly. "Except she's a little quieter about it." Luckily, Lavender didn't hear her, but the brunette figured it wouldn't matter either way. Then, realizing that she may very well see Draco today, decided to get a shower so she didn't smell so bad that he dumped her right away.
After cleaning up, Hermione quickly went down the Great Hall, only to find that Draco still wasn't there. "He must have slept in," she thought. "I'll see him today in lessons." So, she ate her breakfast while chatting with Ginny—both of them agreeing with each other that the rest of the year would be rather off, considering that a good number of the Slytherins were gone.
"Then again," Ginny said. "I say, the less Slytherins, the better." Hermione didn't argue.
However, the prefect did not see Draco for the rest of the day, nor did she for the rest of the week. By Friday, she was getting very, very worried that something bad happened to him, and it was all she could think about the whole day. She tried to take Harry's advice and just go with it, but it was simply too hard. Thankfully, she was given a reprieve from all of this the next day.
Hermione was just about to overdose on worry when she woke up on Saturday morning. She didn't even bother showering, figuring that she didn't have anyone to impress. The brunette followed Ginny down to breakfast numbly, barely even realizing where she was going. This was probably a good thing, because everyone in the hall was whispering behind their hands at Hermione's rather disheveled state.
"Just ignore them," Ginny said in a low voice before eating some more of her eggs. "You don't have to listen to them."
"What?" Hermione replied, her eyebrows creasing in confusion. "People are saying things about me?"
The red head stared back at her for a second but then slightly shook her head and turned away. Hermione shrugged and then trained her eyes back on the large oak doors. "Harry…Ron…Blaise…" she muttered under her breath absentmindedly, naming the people as they came into the Hall. "Parvati…Lavender…Draco…Sam…"
It took her a full two seconds to realize what she had just said. "Draco!" She screamed as she hopped up out of her seat and ran towards the boy. She threw her arms around him as soon as she was close enough, almost knocking him to the floor.
"Hey!" The Slytherin replied brightly before pulling her back out into the Entrance Hall, so they could speak a little more privately. "What's up?"
Hermione, who had barely let go of him, suddenly became somewhat angry. "What's up?! WHAT'S UP?! You're gone for a week and that's all you have to say to me? I mean, are you alright? Did something happen? Why weren't you here? Draco! Answer me!"
Draco had, in fact, been trying to answer her for the last minute, but she was simply talking much too fast for him to get a word in otherwise. Now, seeing his only opportunity to placate the Gryffindor, he chose his words carefully. "Ok, I'm sorry that I didn't write to you or anything, but I couldn't! Trust me; I would have if I could. Secondly, I am perfectly alright and no, nothing happened. I…"
"If nothing happened then why didn't you come back the first day like everyone else?"
"I'm getting to that. The reason that I wasn't back right away is because my father and mother had to go to America for 'business', which of course can't mean anything good, but they decided to take me along with them. The trip ran long, and that's why I'm only just getting back now. And, before you worry, I was not included in any of this 'business' and really spent most of my time with this Ana girl. I got introduced to something called 'Spaghettios', which are actually quite good. There, end of story."
Hermione, who had been listening intently, chuckled a little at the sight of Draco eating Spaghettios. Then, she recovered enough to feel jealous that her boyfriend spent the majority of his holiday with some other girl! However, the blonde boy sensed this and spoke up.
"The only downside was that Ana was excruciatingly dull and not even the least bit pleasant to look at," he said casually, giving Hermione his trademark smirk, effectively making her calm down. Ron passed by and, catching the last bit of the conversation, asked Draco in a quiet voice whether or not this girl really wasn't interesting or pretty. The Slytherin looked at him while shaking his head and mouthing "no" when he thought Hermione wasn't looking.
"Hey!" the brunette spoke up. "I heard that and I saw that!" She hit Draco in the arm, which, of course, didn't hurt him in the least, but he had the decency to at least look like it hurt. However, upon seeing his pathetic attempt to look hurt and sorry, she only broke out into a wide grin and kissed him anyway.
"Well, I'm just going to go then," Ron said offhandedly. Hermione and Draco barely acknowledged him, as they were too wrapped up in talking to each other to notice.
"So," Hermione spoke up after a bit. "How did your father take all of this?"
"Well actually, he doesn't know anything about us nor does he know that I fought against the Death Eaters in the attack. I just figure this is a good thing and I let him believe what he wanted. So far, so good."
"Okay…but what about the other Slytherins? Won't they tell him, or tell someone else who will tell him? I know in your letter that you said you would take care of them…but what does that mean?"
Draco got a malicious glint in his eye as he smirked. "Well, all of the younger Slytherins are too afraid of me to speak up, and most of the seventh years were participating in the attack and didn't know about us. As for the sixth years…well, they won't say anything."
"What did you do?" Hermione asked suspiciously.
"Oh, let's just say I persuaded them with a few well-placed words."
The brunette, not really wanting to know what these words were, decided to leave it rest at that. "I should be happy that I'm not going to die or something from being with Draco," She mused distractedly. She then looked back at Draco and kissed him once more. Then, she started laughing out loud.
"What?" Draco asked, surprised.
"I've only just realized I didn't shower this morning and that I must look like crap. It's all very funny, really."
Draco gave her a once over, and then finally said, "You still look beautiful to me." He leaned in for another kiss, but was so rudely interrupted when he was knocked to the floor by a blurred figure. "What the bloody hell?!" he shouted.
"Draco! What are you doing with her?!" the figure screamed. "I tried killing Hermione for you! For us! Can't you see that?!"
"WHAT?!" Draco yelled as he pushed himself out from under this person. He only had a second to get up from the floor before Hermione turned white with shock.
"KRISTIN?!" Hermione bellowed, finally recognizing who the person was. "You tried to…how could you…what…" For once in her life, the brunette was at a complete loss for words. A crowd started to form around the three of them now, drawn out of the Great Hall by all of the screaming.
"That's right," the Ravenclaw said in a low voice. "I've been trying to get to Draco since second year. This year, I thought it would finally work too. And it would have if it wasn't for that stupid kneazle! So, logically, the only way for me to get what I want was to kill you, Hermione. It's really nothing personal."
"You're crazy!" Hermione shouted in response. "How is trying to kill me nothing personal?!" She never did an answer however, because Kristin was seized by professors Snape and McGonagall, who started dragging her towards a staircase that Hermione knew led to Dumbledore's office.
Needless to say, Kristin did not go quietly. "DAMN YOU SALAZAR…er, I mean BETTY!! DAMN YOU!!"
The room was left in a shocked silence. Even Sam, who had been saying, "Bueller? Bueller?" in a nasally voice for the last ten minutes, stood quietly. People now turned to him to see what his reaction to his twin's meltdown was. He apparently was just as shocked as everyone else and even seemed to be searching for a movie line to answer with. Finally, he voiced, "You know, I begged my mom for a brother." He seemed to feel this was an adequate answer.
"I always knew that she was the odd one of the family," Luna put in, having the same dreamy expression in her eyes as she always had. "And to think people thought it would be me!"
Jennifer, agreeing with Luna, put in, "It was…stupid really."
Eventually, everyone started to file back to their common rooms or the library, seeing that there was nothing else here for them. Hermione just looked at each other with the queerest expressions on their faces, and then followed Ginny, Harry, Ron and Allison to an empty classroom where they could talk. Consequently, Hermione was now dangerously close to overdosing on shock rather than worry. Finding your boyfriend is not dead, and also finding that someone you liked wanted you dead will do that to you.
Kristin Lovegood was, of course, asked to leave for the rest of the year. She wasn't expelled, but sent to St. Mungo's instead. After looking through some of her possessions, the headmaster found that she had a long-seated obsession with Draco that had apparently gone unnoticed for too long. However, even with so many people gone from their numbers, life went on at Hogwarts as normally as could be expected.
For the next two months, everyone took Hermione's lead and immersed themselves in their homework—mostly due to the fact that there was just so much of it that you had to in order to not die…or something. Fortunately, the big group of friends always found enough time to be with each other or with their "significant others." Hermione was determined not to let this time get in the way of her homework, and it didn't, for the most part. But no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't help but get constantly distracted by thoughts of Draco. Alas.
Luckily enough, there were no more Death Eater attacks on Hogwarts, and everyone felt that they could breathe a little easier. Hermione, Harry, Ginny, and Ron, were always on guard though, knowing that they were the most likely people to be attacked. Even with this cloud over their heads, the four of them managed to enjoy the remainder of their sixth year.
The Slytherin/Ravenclaw Quidditch match was held, and Draco led his team to victory. This, of course, meant that Slytherin and Gryffindor were once again in position to go up against each other in the Quidditch final. Thus, Hermione was effectively torn between being there for her house and being there for her boyfriend. This was certainly something that she spent her time pondering. All too soon, the middle of March arrived, and with it came the last Quidditch game of the year.
"Hey everyone, look at me!" Dean Thomas stood up and did a little jig that involved much flailing on the arms. Indeed, the whole crowd of spectators turned to the little enclosure that Dean was speaking from and laughed jovially at the funny little dance they were being subjected to. "Alrighty then, now that I've got your attention, let's begin the game!"
The crowd erupted in cheers and Dean announced the Gryffindor team. "We've got Captain and Seeker Potter; Chasers Weasley, Brown and Creevy; Beaters Finnigan and Mitchell; and Keeper Weasley!"
"Next we've got the Slytherin team! Captain and Seeker Malfoy; Chasers Parkinson, Zabini and Baddock; Beaters Crabbe and Goyle; and finally Keeper Pritchard!" The opposite end of the field burst out in applauds and cheers.
"Now I want a clean game," Madam Hooch said pointedly. "Shake hands." Harry and Draco obeyed, but, even though they were somewhat friends with each other, still used a little more force then necessary in the handshake. Madam Hooch blew the whistle once they were done.
"And they're off!" Dean yelled. "Slytherin in possession now with Parkinson passing to Zabini, to Baddock, to Parkinson to Zabini again who shoots and scores!" Dean started muttering furiously at that moment, and had to be chastised by Professor McGonagall. "Anyway, Slytherin leads with ten to zero.
"Gryffindor chaser Weasley has the Quaffle now, and she passes it smoothly to Creevy. Creevy flies down the field, narrowly missing that Bludger there, he heads to the goalpost but fakes out and passes to Brown who scores! It's all tied up now. Now, I want you all to notice how the Gryffindors' formation seems to be much tighter than the Slytherins. Coincidence? I think not."
"Thomas!" Professor McGonagall cut in, seemingly on raw nerves this morning. "That doesn't even make sense! Please pay attention the game."
"Okay, okay. So Baddock in possession now, he passes to Zabini who pa…gets hits by a Bludger! Finnigan knocked that bad boy to him and Zabini drops the ball right into Brown's outstretched hands! She flies down the pitch, alternatively passing to Creevy and Weasley. Weasley shoots and…is blocked by Pritchard. CURSES!"
Much of the game went on in this fashion, with both Gryffindor and Slytherin putting up a great defense. Both teams scored two more goals, tying them up at 30-30. Hermione was too caught up in the game to notice anything else. She was basically having an epic internal battle with herself, not wanting to betray either her house or her boyfriend. Twice already Draco had gotten hit by a Bludger, but she had to fight the urge to yell at Mitchell for doing so. The Gryffindor spent most of her time muttering incoherently to herself, and was therefore so wrapped up that she didn't even notice someone reach into her bad and pull out a small, amber ball.
"Hmm…I wonder what this is," Neville said to himself secretly. He had seen the amber globe sticking out of the bag in front of him, and picked it up out of curiosity. "Hey this looks familiar…" Indeed, Neville had seen something like this in the Department of Mysteries last year. Written on it was "D.L.M. Teapot Song." Obviously, it was Hermione's neat handwriting.
Neville had made his way to the commentating booth, still trying to figure out how he could see what was inside. Suddenly, he tripped and the ball went flying—right onto the desk when Dean was commentating…and shattered. As the Gryffindor boy was just announcing another goal for the Slytherin team, a strange song filled the stadium.
"I'm a little teapot, short and stout," Draco's voice sang to the crowd. "Here is my handle, here is my spout. When I get all steamed up, hear me shout, 'Tip me over and pour me out!'"
The crowd rendered silent. However, they almost immediately broke out into uproarious laughter as the real life Draco turned a brilliant shade of red and flew to the commentating box; ready to severely main whoever did this. Thankfully enough, he was stopped by Madam Hooch, who demanded that he return to the game. Neville, although laughing heartily, hid behind the stands for the remainder of the game.
"Oh, Merlin!" Hermione thought frantically to herself. "I never really meant for that to be heard by anyone! Draco looks so…" Suddenly, the brunette realized how very funny the situation was and cracked up herself. In fact, she was so caught up with this that she barely even noticed Harry and Draco dive for the Snitch.
"And they've spotted the Snitch! Potter and Malfoy are head to head, and neither of them seems to be having any intention of backing down!"
Hermione was on the verge of having a mental breakdown, not wanting to see either of the boys get hurt. Harry and Draco were shoulder to shoulder and heading directly for the ground.
"They're diving and diving…AH! They are going to hit the pitch! Potter and Malfoy reach their arms out, both striving to get to that little gold bugger. And…" Hermione held her breath and closed her eyes, not being able to watch. "POTTER CATCHES THE SNITCH!! GRYFFINDOR WINS THE QUIDDITCH CUP WITH 180 POINTS TO 30!"
Hermione opened her eyes to see Harry and the rest of the Quidditch team get mobbed by the fans that were running down from the stands. Just before she went down to join them, she saw Draco heading solemnly back to the changing rooms. "I'll meet up with him later," Hermione said to herself. "Besides, his father might be here, and I don't want him to see us."
She wove her way through the crowd and hugged Ron, Harry and Ginny in turn. "You guys were awesome!" She shouted. As the Gryffindors all moved towards the castle to have one of their famous parties, no doubt, Hermione hung back. "I'll meet up with you later," the brunette said to Ginny. "I'm just going to go talk with Draco."
"Hey!" Draco said happily once he saw Hermione waiting for him outside. "What was up with that teapot song?"
"Oh…" Hermione replied, really not expecting that to be the first thing he asked her. "Well…er…you see, I recorded it back then and I honestly never intended for anyone to hear it. Neville just snuck up behind me and took it and I swear I never saw it coming! I'm…" She said all of this in one big breath, but then cut herself off as she saw the amused look on Draco's face.
"It's okay! I actually think it's rather funny," Draco voiced. "But I would have felt a bit better about it if we had won the game."
"I'm sorry…I hope your father didn't see this then."
"He wasn't here today, thank Merlin. But oh, well," he said. Then, looking at the broomstick in his hand, he added, "Do you want to go for a fly?"
"Oh, I don't kn…" She never finished her sentence owing to the fact that Draco had picked her up and was already in the air with her. "Draco!" she screamed, honestly afraid. She leaned back into him and closed her eyes, not wanting to see how far off the ground she was. Even though she was having a small heart attack, she loved the feeling of being in his arms. Somehow, she felt safe. Hermione took a deep breath and even relaxed a bit, enjoying the cool breeze. That didn't last long.
Draco had dipped into a dive, and Hermione screamed as loudly as she could, fearing that she would fall to her bloody death. In response to this, Draco laughed and pulled straight again. He leaned in close to her ear and whispered, "I told you I would never let you fall."
In that moment, Hermione realized the irony of that statement. Yes, she hadn't physically fallen, but something else was happening. She was falling in love with Draco, something she never thought in a million years would happen. So, smiling, she whispered, "Too late."
The pair of them stayed out for about an hour, before Hermione finally insisted that she be put back on solid ground. Twilight was falling then, and Hermione could see the faint outline of the moon in the sky. She turned to Draco and kissed him.
"What was that for?" he asked, but not really caring why.
"Because I can," was her simple reply. "Plus, I know you feel bad because Gryffindor kicked your ass." She broke into a wide grin at the semi-hurt look on his face.
"Yes, but I stole their most eligible witch. So, ha! What are you going to say to that?" He kissed the tip of her nose, and then waited patiently for her response. It didn't come. They then engaged in an intense staring game for a minute before the brunette finally smiled.
"You're impossible," she said playfully.
"Yes, but I'm dead sexy so you wouldn't have it any other way. You looove me, don't try to deny it." His gray eyes were twinkling in the dim light, and Hermione loved that. The brunette pulled him closer to her and gave him a single kiss.
"Yes," she whispered softly, smiling all the while. "Even if you are an arrogant sheep."
A/N: ACK! It's FINISHED! I can't believe it. Thanks to everyone who reviewed this story, it really means a lot to me. Thanks also, to people who put me on the Author Alerts list or favorites list. Sigh, more people to thank.
Thank you, first and foremost, to my lovely friend Allison H., who not only inspired the character of the wonderful Allison Morell, but is actually the person who I wrote this story for! This is how it went down. ::Enter flashback music::
Me: C'mon why won't you read any Draco/Hermione fanfiction?
Allison: Because! It's just not how it's supposed to go!
Me: Well, what if I wrote one?
Allison: What would it be about?
Me: Um…Draco and Hermione get paired up for a project and she hates him with a passion and they duel each other and she severely hurts him and um…then they get together in the end!
Allison: Cool! Dooo it!
Me: Hmm, okay.
So there you have it. Also a big thank you to my other friends who randomly appear in the story: Kristin, Sam, Jennifer and Betty (Kaitlin). Especially to Kristin though, who acted as my "manager" and was there with ideas. Please note that the personality of their characters in the story have nothing to do with their real life ones.
Other than that, I can't think of anything else to say. I hope you liked this story as much as I did writing it. Thanks again, I love you all. 3 Mary