A/N: This is the final chapter, hope you enjoy!
The next week passed quickly as they awaited the early return to Hogwarts, all eight of them frequently owled each other with news, gossip and whatever else they could think of. Hermione's mother was quite impressed that her daughter seemed to have a more active social life.
On the day they returned to Hogwarts Hermione floo'd to the burrow in the morning and they travelled together. Parvarti and Lavender had travelled together along with Padma, Parvarti's twin sister. Padma had also convinced Ernie to come back early as well.
With news of extra students coming back Dumbledore had allowed them a private dorm especially as there were members of all four houses.
When Parvarti, Lavender, Padma and Ernie entered the dorm Ginny, Harry and Ron looked a bit worriedly from Draco and Hermione who were in each other's arms and Ernie and Padma.
"It's OK" Draco reassured them "they know about us"
"How?" Ron asked
"We walked in on them being all soppy on the sofa at the end of term" Ernie told him
"How long have you guys known about them?"
"Lets just say some of us knew before they did" Ginny admitted with a smile
"People are going to find this really weird you know" Padma said "I mean Gryffindors and Slytherins being friends. People were shocked at Parvarti and Blaise, but you two are a whole new level of seeing is believing" she continued looking at Draco and Hermione
"They'll just have to get used to it" Hermione stated
They gang all agreed and started talking about the ball, soon it was lunch dinnertime and because there were only a couple of other students staying at Hogwarts there weren't the usual house tables just one down the middle. When the gang entered and sat down together the few students looked at them in surprise, so did a few of the Professors, there had been talk of new friendships but this had just proved it. Dumbledore found this very encouraging and wished more of his students would follow their example although it seemed unlikely.
The day of the ball was fast approaching and quite a few students had come back the day before it to meet friends, dates and sort out clothes including a lot of Slytherins.
The day before the ball the gang sorted out what they were wearing, they were pretty much paired off, it was obvious that Ron and Lavender liked each other, Ginny and Harry were together, Hermione and Draco, Blaise and Parvarti and Padma and Ernie, so it worked out well.
The next day Despite Dumbledore saying he would organise and decorate himself the guys decided to see if he wanted some last minute help. They wandered through the halls attracting many strange glances from people unaccustomed to seeing Slytherins and Gryffindors together. So far they hadn't encountered much more than glares and curiosity.
Hermione was a bit ahead of the rest as they approached the deserted corridor leading to the great hall. Suddenly she was pulled roughly and pushed against the wall
"I told you to stay way from Draco, mudblood" Pansy hissed
"Parkinson, sod off and leave me alone. Haven't you grown up yet?" Hermione shot back
"Listen, you took him from me, and now you'll pay and once again there's no- one around" came the cruel reply
Pansy was about to attack Hermione when a calm voice was heard behind her
"I recommend you think twice before you act Miss Parkinson" stated Dumbledore who had witnessed the scene "bullying will not be tolerated at this school, your punishment will be discussed tomorrow in my office as well as for previous actions"
Pansy glared menacingly at Hermione thinking she'd gone to Dumbledore after their last meeting
"Miss Granger has not said anything to me regarding you Miss Parkinson, neither has any other student" Dumbledore stated as if sensing Pansy's thoughts
"It was one of the ghosts who happened to pass by, obviously unnoticed" he revealed "Now I trust there will be no more trouble?" he continued
"No Professor" Pansy said through gritted teeth
"Well then, I have business to attend to" Dumbledore said and turned to leave
Dumbledore left the two girls glaring at each other just as the rest if the group caught up to Hermione. They saw Pansy and Draco glared at her whilst moving to Hermiones side and protectively putting his arm round her waist.
"You OK?" Blaise said coming up beside them
"Yes, I'm fine" Hermione replied, but had a bit of pain in her shoulder
"What the hell's going on?" Pansy shot at Blaise and Draco, seeing the rest of the gang.
"Nothing, we're just hanging about with our friends" Blaise answered
"So the rumours are true then" sneered Michael Nott another Sixth year Slytherin who'd just arrived on the scene "you've gone soft"
"We see it as making our own choice" Draco shot back
"You're nothing without your father" Pansy spat at Draco
"We'll see, come on guys we got better things to do" he replied simply and walked off with the gang leaving two annoyed Slytherins behind. Although Blaise and Draco had recovered some of the severe bruising and scratches were still more or less visible, so it was obvious that something had happened to them and there were sneaking suspicions that it had to do with new friends.
A few hours later the ball had started, as had rumours about the earlier conflict and Draco and Blaises revelation. Many were shocked or didn't believe that two such prominent Slytherins had defied their known death- eater parents and were on the light side. The rumours were confirmed true though when Draco and Hermione walked in as a couple followed by Blaise and Parvarti.
There were a lot of whispers and pointing as well as people actually asking them if the rumours were true. It was difficult to grasp the concept of Gryffindor Princess and the Slytherin Prince being together, but then Blaise and Draco being friends with Harry Potter and the Weasleys made it all the more amazing. Many students wondered what they had missed, didn't they hate each other before Christmas?
The gang all spent the night dancing away, talking and generally having a blast. The only ones having major problems were the older Slytherins, surprisingly some of the younger ones followed example and started interacting with other houses, which made Professor Snape roll his eyes and huff, he was only at this because Dumbledore had forcefully requested it.
As the music mellowed and slowed down, the guys swapped partners for different songs seen as they all got on so well. Blaise and Ginny were dancing together at one point and talked about their friends
"They look so good together" Ginny commented about Draco and Hermione
"Yeah, I'm glad they got together, I don't think I've ever seen Draco that happy and comfortable" Blaise added
Ginny looked at him quizzically
"I mean he's always put up a front, a mask that no- ones ever got through, except Hermione"
"Yeah, I think it's been good for both of them. Now onto our next project" Ginny said mischievously, looking at Ron and Lavender
"I don't think they need any help realising their feelings" Blaise smiled
"Nope, just acting on them" Ginny grinned "my brother can be so blind sometimes"
The two laughed and continued dancing until the end of the song when they again swapped partners. Hermione danced with Harry whilst Draco danced with Ginny.
Finally the second to last dance was announced and they took their original partners ready for the countdown, then the last dance.
The song that played first was Mandy Moore 'I wanna be with you', as they danced Hermione and Draco felt so right together and as they looked into each others eyes each one knew they were falling hard and fast for the other.
I wanna be with you
If only for a night
To be the one whose in your arms
Who holds you tight
I wanna be with you
There's nothing more to say
There's nothing else I want more than to feel this way
Neither could believe that it could happen in such a short space of time, and neither wanted to let it go.
I wanna be with you
So I'll hold you tonight
Like I would if you were mine
To hold forever more
And I'll saver each touch that I wanted
So much to feel before (To feel before)
How beautiful it is
Just to be like this
As the song ended the countdown began, the gang stood in a circle so they were all together and joined the rest in counting down
"Happy New Year" could be heard throughout the great hall as friends greeted each other welcoming in the New Year.
Hermione and Draco kissed softly but passionately, loving every moment. When they parted Draco whispered in her ear
"I love you"
Hermione stared at him in shock and excitement. Draco wondered how she would take this and hoped that it wasn't too soon to say that seriously.
"I love you too" Hermione replied looking into Dracos deep silver eyes
They then joined in with their friends' greetings and the tradition of singing Auld Lang Syne. As people continued to greet each other the Professors watched as a lot of their students took no care of house rivalries. In particular they noted one couple
"Who'd have thought it" Professor McGonagall commented as she saw Draco and Hermione again in each others arms
"Yes, I know" Dumbledore replied "but they are very good together"
She agreed as they then commented on Blaise and Parvarti.
Dumbledore then wished everyone a Happy New Year, how proud he was at the display of friendship between houses and announced the last dance.
I'll be your dream
I'll be you wish
I'll be your fantasy
I'll be your hope
I'll be your love
Be everything that you need
I love you more with every breath
Truly, madly, deeply do
As Savage Gardens 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' sounded through the great hall couples danced for once not caring what anyone would say...well for the night anyway, there would be plenty to gossip about once school started again!
The night seemed to mark a turning point for the gang, as they walked back to their dorm, they each felt lucky to have found true friends, even if it took a while to get there and somewhere inside they knew that they would always be there for each other.
"Hey guys" Draco said as they were about to go to bed
"Yeah, huh?" they all muttered
"Blaise and I, we want to say thanks"
"For everything. For giving us a chance, new friends basically a new life." Blaise added
"Anytime" Harry said
"Yeah, we've had a lot of fun with you guys" Lavender piped up
"I don't know whether we'd have stood up to our parents like that if you hadn't been there for us"
"I'm glad you did" Hermione admitted holding Draco close to her as they all agreed
"OK, enough with the sentimental stuff, I'm tired!" Ron whined playfully
With that they laughed and said goodnight.
The following day after lunch Blaise and Ernie rushed into the gang's common room out of breath and laughing
"OK, what did we miss?" Ron asked
"Apparently Pansy has detention with Filch for most of next term" Blaise blurted
"What? Are you serious?" Hermione asked
"Oh yeah" Ernie said "and to make it worse she has detention on the first weekend back with McGonagall, and she hates her" he continued
"How'd that happen" Padma asked
"Well, Pansy was really pissed off after Dumbledores punishment that she stormed out, sent a first year flying into a wall then yelled at her calling her a bloody annoying first year and to get out of the way" Blaise said whilst trying not to go into hysterics
"The first year was nearly in tears, and McGonagall just happened to be walking by and gave Pansy detention on the spot" Ernie added also trying not to laugh to much "Pansy was fuming, you could practically see steam coming from her ears. It was hysterical"
"I'd have loved to have seen that" Draco said
"Me too" Ginny agreed
"Then just to wind her up even more we walked past and asked how's it going" Blaise told the gang who were now all in the same state as him and Ernie
"No way, that's bloody brilliant" Ron said
"This is going to be a good year" Parvarti said with a grin, which they all agreed to and set about discussing the coming year.
A/N: Finished it...again! Thanks to dracoisahottie13 for pointing out that the last ending was a bit rushed, I totally agree and wasn't happy with it. So I've rewritten it, and much prefer this ending.
So what do you think? Please review, I love them. Thanx for reading xx