Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Harry Potter characters in this chapter except for the ministry delegates, Francesca and Jimmy. So don't sue me! And I got the idea of the "I've Never" game from endymion015's What You Least Expect (and One Tree Hill – I'm an addict). The girl is a great author – read her SOR fic! It's freaking brilliant! Some of the ideas in this chapter were also taken from Jodi Picoult's The Pact – a great book!

Author's Note: Hey guys! Oh my god, I'm so freaking sorry that I took SO long to update. You guys must hate me. Instead of taking a month, I took more than three. Well to make it up to you all, here is the next chapter. I'm sorry if I've disappointed you guys but I do hope you all still review me.

Well, on a sadder note, I won't be able to update for a month again. I've got some major exams coming up so yeah. I will post again in December so keep a look out. I promise I will – I said I was going to finished this story wasn't I?

Anyway about this chapter - at first when I thought of this chapter, I thought of it differently. I thought it was going to be about the sleep over (remember that? I wouldn't blame you all if you don't) But then I changed it – it's a bit more serious than the rest of my chapters but I still hope you guys like it. I tried to add a bit of humor with the I've Never game. Hope you like that. I've also added a bit of H/G fluff – it might be a bit random and unconnected to the plot but they are my second favorite couple in this fic and so I felt that they needed their part.

Anyway that's it from me. I'm sorry again! I really am and I hope you guys keep reviewing. That's it from me!




The next evening, I walked outside with Mr. Merryman, enjoying the serenity of my well kept garden. Tactfully, neither one of us mentioned yesterday though it had been completely surreal. I think even Mr. Merryman found a screaming Smith hilarious but of course the old guy had the decency not to say so. Me on the other hand…I basked in amusement every time I remembered Poppet on the bastard.

We talked about Lanconsmere in general – the guy seemed to really like the place which I took to be a good omen. Hopefully, he'll come to his senses and refuse to have Lanconsmere all jazzed up with concrete.

"The greenery is absolutely astounding. I wasn't aware up until recently that England still had such finery" he commented as we walked.

I nodded my head, absently. "It is quite hard to imagine" I agreed. We had reached the stone pathway, just past my place, when…

…there was a sudden pop and the Weasel suddenly apparated in front of us. I had, momentarily, forgotten that Pansy and him were coming today.

Mr. Merryman seemed surprised by the sudden arrival. I strode up to the Weasel quickly and put my arm around his shoulders in a brotherly fashion – yes, I do know that I've hit rock bottom. The Weasel tensed. Well, he wasn't the only one who was bloody uncomfortable with this physical contact. "Mr. Merryman, this is Ron Weasley. Ron, this is Mr. Merryman, head of the observational team" I felt very uneasy, standing so close to the git. But I had no choice…the circumstances called for drastic measures.

Mr. Merryman smiled. "Ahh…I should have known by just looking at the red hair" All of us laughed politely. "Have the Weasleys and Malfoys, finally, put their differences aside?"

Ahh…that is exactly the impression I wanted to make. It could not have been further from the truth but Mr. Merryman didn't need to know that. I smiled, without offering him an answer. I felt that the whole effect would have been ruined if I opened my mouth. Weasley was about to say something but I, without regret, stepped on his foot in an effort to remind him to keep his trap shut.

"I thought you worked in America?" Mr. Merryman continued as held out his hand. He seemed to be very accommodating.

The Weasel on the other hand took longer to recover. He stared at the old man for a whole minute before grasping the outstretched hand. "On a small holiday" replied the git, slightly dazed.

Then when Mr. Merryman moved away from him, he turned to me and asked quietly, through gritted teeth "What the fuck is going on?"

"Ministry delegates. Play along and I'll tell you later" I muttered curtly, flashing a strained smile at the old man in front of us.

A few minutes later – after a bit of small talk, Mr. Merryman announced that he wanted to take a small walk by the lake a few meters away from here. Thank god! I can move away from the Weasel at last! "Do you want me to join y-" I started

"No, its fine, Draco. Thanks for the offer" interrupted the old man, ceremoniously

"Are you sure because-"

"Of course I am!" he insisted, emphatically. "It's best that you take care of your visitors first, Draco and we'll, undoubtedly, talk later" I couldn't help snorting at the thought of me taking care of the mudblood lover. But I agreed, nevertheless.

When Mr. Merryman did leave, the Weasel rounded on me instantly. "He is the guy you're trying to convince?"

"Yeah" I replied, inattentively. I was too busy brushing off the invisible Weasley germs from my clothes - I was very glad to have stopped with the Weasley is my best friend charade. I was already having a hard time with the Granger is not my girl friend one…except that, of course, that isn't really a charade but the truth…

"The guy seems to have lost some of his marbles"

"Like you?" I smirked.

The Weasel's eyes burned. "I see you haven't changed" he replied, coldly

I laughed "I hadn't changed in seven years, Weasel. Can you expect me to do so in a couple of days?" I looked around, suddenly noticing Pansy's absence "Where is your to be wife?"

My companion (– snorts – right!) scowled at my flippant tone before saying "She'll be here in a few minutes" He then looked around and asked "How about Hermione?"

But before I could answer, the mudblood appeared herself. "Malfoy, we need more-" she stopped abruptly, when she caught sight of her best friend "Ron!" she cried "I didn't know you were here! I thought you weren't coming for days!"

They hugged – I tried not to cringe outwardly at this gesture. Her attention towards him annoyed me for some bizarre reason. But it was my reaction that annoyed me the most. I hated her (I think I do!) – why couldn't he who is up there just leave it at that?

"You didn't know?" asked Weasley, surprised at Granger's comment. Thankfully, they had finished with all the hugging. "But Pansy called…" He let his sentence trail when he turned to me, glaring knowingly "You didn't tell her that we were coming?"

Granger turned to me, her liquid brown eyes widening in confusion. "You knew they were coming?"

I rolled my eyes. "Yeah I did"

"And you didn't tell me?" Granger asked angrily

"Look, I had more important matters on my mind, okay?" Which was true. I had forgotten, in the midst of all the chaos, about Pansy and Weasley, myself; let alone did I remember to tell Granger about them.

But before the girl could start ranting, there was another pop and Pansy appeared. Granger's mouth clammed shut at her arrival – thank god!

"Hey" I greeted my best friend, smiling at her, welcomingly – a fellow Slytherin (who is temporally suffering from mind loss…I still can't believe she's marrying the git. But then, who am I to talk, huh?) at last!

"Hey Draco!" she kissed me on the cheek, friendlily "It's been ages!"

"Only three days" I heard the Weasel mutter beside me. I couldn't help smirking slightly.

As Pansy moved away from me and towards her fiancé (the sight of the both of them holding hands made me want to puke badly), Miss. Know it all decided to inform her of my lack of understanding "Your best friend here didn't even have the decency to inform me that you were coming today"

Pansy stared at Granger, dubiously, before suddenly laughing out loud – her reaction had been so similar to mine that I started laughing myself. As we cracked up, both the Gryffindors stared at us, confusedly "Did I miss something" asked the Weasel, a tad bit jokingly, as he held Pansy's waist fondly. But Granger, I could see, was no where close to being amused.

We did stop laughing eventually. "Ah…you really are something" Pansy told Granger, smilingly

"I'm glad you think so" Her voice was cold and her eyes darkened slightly.

Sensing, accurately, that what was about to come was not something positive, Weasley attempted to lighten things up "Hermione-"

But she wasn't having any of it. "She's brain washed you, you know" Granger glared at him. I raised my eye brows – never before had I seen her like this. She is usually quite soft-spoken. "You were on my side…shouting at Malfoy and all…before she came" Pansy paled at her words.

The Weasel's eyes widened – he was hurt, I could see. Pansy on the other hand was burning with rage. "Just for your information, Granger, I did take the trouble to send you a message. It's not my fault that you've been too busy to check your phone" she said quietly.

On hearing this, Granger was mortified at her accusation. If Pansy had let her apologize (like she was about to), the quarrel would have blown over. But of course Pansy wanted to make her point. "And I haven't brain washed him" Pansy raged on "It's called love, Granger"

"Pansy…" I started, vaguely sensing where this conversation was leading to.

But she didn't hear me. Hell, I don't think she was even hearing herself. "Has anyone ever loved you Granger?"

"Pansy" said Weasley, warningly. "Really, this is not-"

"I highly doubt it" interrupted Pansy before laughing, bleakly. "And do you want to know why? Because you are nothing but an ugly-"

"Pansy!" I shouted and immediately she shut up, suddenly realizing what she had just said. I looked at Granger…a trace of pain outlined her innocent features. I opened my mouth to tell Pansy to apologize but before I could do so, Granger rushed past me, wordlessly. I was not surprised to see tears running down her cheeks.

As she disappeared, the Weasel turned towards his soon to be wife, the tips of his ears glowing red "How could you, Pansy? I thought that we-"

"Put a sock in it, Weasley" I interrupted his little tirade, wearily "Don't screw up things any further"

His eyes flashed "And you! You just keep your freaking trap shut. This is all your bloody fault, you know. If you had actually told her that-"

"I really don't think that's the issue here" I smiled at him mockingly, refusing to acknowledge the truth of his statement.

The Weasel's face burned. He opened his mouth only to close it a second later. Then finally he muttered "I should go and talk to her" as he took his hand off Pansy's shoulders.

Just as he made a move towards the far end of my garden, I held my hand out "I'll do that"

The Weasel stared at me, his eyes, widening. And then he laughed outright, in my face. "You? Yeah, right"

I felt something stir within me. What's wrong with me talking to Granger? But I decided to ignore the annoying twisting of my insides and said, calmly, instead "As far as I'm concerned Weasel, she'd talk to me more than she'd do so with you at the present moment, don't you think?

Again his face flashed as he turned away. I smiled triumphantly. I observed Pansy who was surprisingly very quiet, her head bowed down. Never before had I see the girl so reserved. I didn't call her on it. Just as she didn't harp on about my sudden willingness to go talk to Granger. I'm glad she didn't because I couldn't understand my actions very much either, let alone explain them to someone else. I had given up trying to formulate theories of our (Granger's and mine) sudden companionship (if that's what you could call it) a long time ago.

As I walked away from a shocked Weasel and a very quiet Pansy, I, surprisingly, heard the latter whisper "Tell her I didn't mean any of it"

I met her gaze. I wanted to tell her to do it herself but instead, I found myself nodding. Before I knew it, I had agreed to her plea. Refusing to agree to anything else, I left, trying my darn hardest to ignore the Weasel's expression – it really was quite unnerving.

As I walked through the garden, I couldn't help laughing at how absurd this whole thing was. God! It was only one freaking, tiny, insignificant message! Why the hell does everyone want to dramatize the whole bloody thing?

-sigh- Trust the female race to royally fuck up a situation




I could not help shaking. I have never been so furious, sad…and distressed.

What I hated the most were the horrid things I said as well. Pansy, it seemed, always brought out the worst in me, and it is much harder to live with that than with her remarks (though her one about me being ugly really did hit home). I have usually managed not to sink to her level, until now that is.

I sat by Malfoy's fountain (the beautiful one with the angel pointing an arrow towards the heavens) for a while. I had not known where I was running to until I ended up there. I collapsed onto a near by bench, staring hard at the marble statue in front of me. The longer I looked at it, the blurrier it became.

I hated myself for making such a scene. It had only been a stupid message. It really was no big deal and yet…argh! What's happening to me?

It was then that I heard foot steps behind me. I stood rigidly still, waiting for the intruder to leave. But, annoyingly he or she didn't and I had to resort to saying "Go away", choking slightly on my words.

But whoever it was did not move an inch! Instead the said individual sat down at the end of the wooden bench, beside me. I knew who it was almost instantly – I'd distinguish that wonderful after shave anywhere and this sudden realization made me gasp, softly. I really was quite surprised. Wiping my tears, hastily, I wondered why he was here.

But then…I suppose I knew, in a way, that he would come. We have, during the past few weeks, formed a kind of intimacy, I can not describe and I suppose it demanded his presence. He did not talk to me immediately though.

A silence engulfed us before I broke it by demanding "What are you doing here?" Malfoy shrugged, leaning back. "I don't need you here" I told him, a hint of resentment creeping into my tone.

He raised his eye brows "I didn't come here because you needed me"

I glared at him, unconsciously before turning away from his scorching gaze. He wasn't going away. I knew that much. Sighing deeply, I whispered, to no one in particular "I hate Pansy" I swatted at some vetch that was growing at the base of the bench.

Malfoy snorted "Sounds like something Pansy would say" He was right. The git then suddenly turned to me and sighed, irritated at some unknown entity "Listen, Granger. I don't think Pansy actually meant what she said"

I laughed out loud without a trace of humor apparent in my tone "Not mean it? How can you call someone ugly and not mean it?"

"What I -"

"Oh, so you're taking her side too, are you?" I interrupted him, angrily

He paused for a moment. "Well, she is my best friend"

"So why don't you go comfort her then? You two can hit it off pretty well"

Malfoy met my gaze, slightly surprised. "Who are you and what have you done with the real Granger?" I felt myself redden at his remark. He was right again. What had happened to the real me? Seeing my expression, he laughed. "That's more like it"

"Ha ha" I muttered. "You are so funny"

"I know" he said, flashing a set of perfect white, glistening teeth.

But I was hardly listening to him. Instead, I continued, softly, unable to contain myself "I didn't mean what I said. Back there, earlier, I mean. It just came out…I…I didn't want to be so mean. I…" I trailed off, unable to continue "Oh god! I don't know"

Malfoy sat quietly before finally saying, with his signature smirk plastered on his handsome face "Is this the part where I'm supposed to tap you on the back and tell you that everything is going to be okay?" When I looked at him, incredulously, he held his hands up as though to shield himself "Hey, I'm new to this!"

I couldn't help it. I just suddenly burst out laughing. That's the thing with Malfoy. He never changes. He's the same arrogant person I knew seven years ago and right at this moment, it's a welcoming notion. After all, my whole world is changing with each and every day. It's comforting to know that something…or someone in this case, isn't. "It would be helpful" I told him

Smiling slightly, he tapped me on the back causally "Everything is going to be fine" he said, solemnly. I laughed. "Okay, so now that we are all a happy family, let's get going" Malfoy declared

I sobered up instantly. I couldn't face Ron again – especially after what I had done and said. "No"

"Oh god, now what is it?"

"I don't want to go…not, right now, anyway"

"When are you planning on leaving this place then?"

"I don't know, okay?" I snapped.

"Fine" Malfoy said, through gritted teeth, muttering something about not helping people again. "Fine then! Let's just waste our lives away, moping"

"You don't have to be here" I pointed out

This seemed to be the wrong thing to say as his eyes flashed furiously and his mouth tightened into a straight line. "Shut the hell up" was all he said though before digging into his pockets. He then grabbed a cigarette and lightened it. He puffed on it slowly, inhaling the nicotine, only to see me scowling at him defiantly "What?"

"Do you have to smoke that thing?"

He sighed heavily. "Do you have a problem if I do?" he countered

"Yes, actually"

"What do you not have a problem with, Granger?" Malfoy wanted to know.

Ignoring his remark, I continued ranting, rather enjoying the feeling of being Hermione Granger once again "Do you know how bad smoking is for your health?"

"It's not like it concerns you"

"When you smoke around me, it does"

"Like I give a flying fuck" he muttered

"You shouldn't be smoking here anyway"

"And why not? I don't see any 'Do Not Smoke" signs anywhere" he said, his jaw tightening in frustration. He then exhaled a cloud of smoke in my face, on purpose

"I'm not so sure about that" I muttered, coughing as I pulled the hem of my trousers up. I, then, flashed my tattoo in his face, "Happy now?"

He paled slightly. "Oh…screw you, Granger"

"You were asking for it, okay?"

Malfoy stood up abruptly "You can moan here alone for all I care. I've got better stuff to do" With that, he went, puffing manically. But he came back again a few minutes later "Hey Granger?" I turned to him "That's one crappy tattoo by the way"

"Thanks for the compliment"

I laughed quietly as he left again, a moment later. A building sense of happiness rose within me. Ahh…victory is always a nice feeling. Maybe I should get Malfoy to cheer me up more often?




Shit! Holy bloody shit! I can't believe she just did that! I can't believe she freaking held it right in front of my eyes.

Oh god…argh! I hate myself! I utterly, completely and absolutely hate myself. And yet, I still can't stop thinking about how good her leg looked. Do you guys have any idea how fuckingly sexy that tattoo looked on her creamy white skin? It's bad enough from far away but when close up…

I give up. Somehow, I think suicide is the only option I have right now.




A few minutes (or hours) passed by before I had, at last, worked up my courage to go apologize to Ron. It couldn't be that hard could it? Of course not. Even if it's hard, you going to have to do it, my consciousness kept reminding me. It was right.

But just as I stood up, Pansy suddenly appeared. One look at my face and she turned away, slightly ashamed. I was surprised that the girl even had the ability to look ashamed. I didn't even think the girl felt anything.

The young blonde haired lady in front of me didn't look anything like the Pansy I knew. She stood, startlingly still, all quiet and troubled. But I was not going to be the nice one and ask her what was wrong – not now. So instead, I asked, meanly "What do you want?"

Pansy met my gaze, unflinchingly "To apologize" I stared at her, surprised. I was not the only one who was changing! Ron, it seemed, had managed to transform his once heartless fiancé into...whatever she is now. "Granger" she continued, tiredly "Look, I'm not very good at apologies but I guess I should still try, huh? Whatever you do, do not laugh, you hear me?" I was smiling already. "I didn't mean what I said. You aren't ugly. Not anymore, anyway" she smirked.

"Well, that's nice to know" I laughed

But Pansy didn't stop for a breath "It wasn't a very nice thing for me to do but I guess…you…you sort of hit a sore spot with your comment about me brainwashing Ron. I…I didn't…I haven't brain washed him" she quieted, suddenly.

I felt my face redden, knowing very well that it was now my turn to apologize. "Pansy, I'm sorry too. I didn't mean what I said either. You haven't brain washed him at all! Ron and you…I think the both of you will make a great couple. You guys complement each other in every way. You are everything he's not and vice versa"

"You mean he has a heart and I don't?" asked Pansy, cheekily

"Pretty much"

Both of us laughed. Oh god, I had no idea apologizing to a Slytherin could be that easy. Pansy then turned to me "By the way, Draco wants to head over to the bar down town now"

"Bar?" I asked, crinkling my nose. I have never been a very avid drinker "At this time?"

"It's only six. Oh come on, Granger!" Pansy said laughingly when she caught my expression "Just once. It'll be fun. Creevey and Francesca are coming"

I looked at her determined expression and gave up. These Slytherins! "Fine" I said, wearily.

Pansy smiled, grabbing my hand "Oh by the way you have to tell me what Francesca and Creevey's deal is. I've been bloody dying to know" And together, we headed over to the front entrance, deeply engrossed in our gossiping.

Yeah, I can't believe I was gossiping with a Slytherin either. But I guess there's a first time for everything, right?




Bill and Fleur Weasley had left to France for two weeks and as a result their ten year old daughter, Isabella, had to stay over at the Potters' for the period of time. She didn't mind doing so one bit. Aunty Ginny and Uncle Harry were like her second parents (Aunty Ginny was her godmother anyway). Lily was the sister she never had.

That evening, Isabella had called over her best friend, Cindy for the night – Aunty Ginny said she could. The both of them had decided to do something 'whack' today…something fun…No one was home after all.

Cindy huddled beside Izzy, who's hands tightened around the telephone receiver in anticipation. "You're a chicken" Cindy whispered as the ringing tone swam in their ears.

"Am not" Izzy murmured.

There was a pick up on the other end. Izzy felt her fingers flutter. "Hello?"

Izzy lowered her voice. "I'm looking for Mr. Longwanger"

"I'm sorry" the woman said "He's not available right now. Can I take a message?"

Izzy cleared her throat. "Does he really have one?"

"Have what?" the woman asked

"A long wanger?" Then Izzy slammed down the receiver, rolling to her side in a fit of giggles and a flurry of phone book pages.

It took awhile for Cindy to stop laughing. "I didn't think you'd do it" she said

"That's because you're a dork"

Cindy grinned at her "At least my name isn't Longwagner" She skimmed her hand over the page where the phone book had fallen open. "What should we do next?" she asked "Here's Robert Dawson. We could asked if there's a Dick in the house"

Izzy flopped onto her belly "I know" she said "Call Aunty Ginny and tell her that you're Ms. Howard and Isabella is in trouble"

"Like she's going to believe I'm the principle"

Izzy smiled slowly "Here, chicky chicky chicky" she crooned

"You do it" Cindy challenged "If you think you're all that, do it. She won't recognize the school secretary"

"What will you give me?" Izzy asked

Cindy dug in her wallet "Five bucks" Izzy held out her hand; Cindy shook it, and handed her the phone.

Izzy dialed, pinching her nose "Yesss,' she drawled out "I'm looking for Mrs. Weasley? This is Diane Webster at the principle's office. Your niece is in trouble" Izzy looked wildly at Cindy "What kind of trouble? Uh, well, we'd like you to come down and get her" She quickly hung up the phone.

"Oh god" she groaned as she flopped onto her bed. Cindy soon followed her. "What did I do that for? She's going to drive all the way down there and find out that I left an hour ago! I'm going to be grounded for the rest of my life" She ran her hands through her long red hair, the only characteristic she had inherited from her father.

"But your parents aren't here"

Izzy snorted "That doesn't mean Aunty Ginny and Uncle Harry can't. Argh!"

Cindy smiled. "Don't worry. You can call me secretly if you are"


Izzy sat with her head bowed, her aunt and uncle standing over her like sequoias. Cindy had been sent home immediately and so unfortunately Izzy had to face her angry relatives alone. "Well?" huffed Aunty Ginny, finishing the tirade "Do you have anything to say for yourself"

"I'm sorry" Izzy automatically returned

"Sorry doesn't make up for the trouble you caused" Uncle Harry said. She had always liked Uncle Harry – but at this moment, she couldn't say she could. "Sorry doesn't bring back the appointment your aunt had to cancel with the doctor when she went to get you from school.

Izzy opened her mouth to say that if she'd reasoned logically, she would have realized no kids were at school that late in the afternoon – but thought better of it. She ducked her head again, staring at the weaves of the carpet, wishing that while she and Cindy were making prank calls she hadn't forgotten that her aunt was in the middle of an appointment. She felt slightly guilty.

"I had expected better of you and Cindy" Aunty Ginny said. "You should be setting a better example for Lily"

"According to your father, except for school, you are to stay in this room for three days" Uncle Harry said. Izzy could see from his expression that he didn't like grounding her much "Let's see if that gives you enough time to think about how many people you've inconvenienced with your little jokes" Then both her uncle and aunt stepped out of the room.

Izzy flopped back on the bed and threw her forearm over her eyes. God, they were such pills. They weren't even her parents! So what if Aunty Ginny had demanded to speak to Ms. Howard, who of course knew nothing about Izzy getting into trouble. No one was going to remember a month from now.

She slowly picked up the phone on her bedside table and dialed Cindy's number. Her friend's voice floated across the meters of phone lines. "Hello"

"Hi!" Izzy whispered. She couldn't be overheard – she was grounded. "I'm in trouble"

"Don't worry. I am too" murmured Cindy. "How bad is it?"

"Pretty bad" Then Izzy smiled and leaned back on her bedspread, listening to Cindy's reassuring voice. Oh, she missed her best friend!


Outside in the hallway Ginny and Harry collapsed against the wall and tried not to laugh. "Can you believe," Ginny gasped 'they called a man named Longwagner?"

Harry grinned "I don't know that I would have been able to restrain myself either"

"I feel like such an old fart shouting at her. She's not even our kid, Harry!" Ginny said "I'm twenty three and I might as well be Jesse Helms"

"We had to ground her, Gin. Or else she'll be dialing around and asking for Prince Albert in a can"

"What is Prince Albert in a can?"

Harry groaned and tugged his wife down the hall. "You're never going to be the old fart since I'll be holding that title"

Ginny walked into their bedroom "Fine. You can be the curmudgeon. I'll be the crazy lady who barges into the principle's office and insists that her niece's done something wrong"

Harry laughed "Well at least they now know the real you" She threw a pillow at him. Harry grabbed her ankle, making her squeal and roll away from him "You shouldn't have done that" he said "I may be growing old but that doesn't mean I'm dead". He pressed her small body beneath his, feeling her go soft, tracing the undercurves of her breasts and the cords of her throat. His mouth came over hers.

Ginny let herself remember the time when the house still smelled of planned wood and fresh paint – it had been years ago. She thought back to how she and Harry would make love on the kitchen table, on the sofa, after breakfast – as if all the pressures of being a resident had knocked all those gentlemanly sensibilities from his mind.

"You," Harry said against her temple "are thinking too much"

Ginny smiled against his neck. She was rarely accused of that. "Maybe I ought to just feel, then" she said slipping her hands up under Harry's shirt and onto his strong chest, as the muscles in his back tightened in a sequence, like a tide. She pushed him onto his side and slid down his zipper. Then she looked up, eyes sparkling "Mr. Longwagner, I presume?"

Harry grinned "At your service"

He moved over her then, easing inside her as he pressed his mouth hard against her collarbone, afraid of what he might say or shout when he lost himself.

When it was over, Ginny dissolved beneath him, her breath labored and her skin damp. Harry gathered her close, tucking her head beneath his. "I love you, Gin" he whispered against her hair

He felt Ginny whisper a kiss on his chest "I love you too" she murmured, holding her husband's lean body close, knowing very well that she would never let go – ever.




I was bloody glad when I saw Pansy heading towards us with Granger – the fact that they were holding hands confused me though. The female sex never ceases to amaze me. But anyway – at least they weren't shouting at each other.

After a whole hour of apologies (mostly on Granger and Weasley's part) we drove over to a somewhat popular bar downtown and were now all seated in one of the pub's round, comfortable tables. Granger sat on my right and Francesca, on my left. Pansy sat opposite me, wedged between the Weasel and Creevey (who was made to sit next to Francesca by Granger and Pansy, much to my cousin's embarrassment)

The dim lights had a very mysterious effect on the room. All in all, it was fucking brilliant.

We had just ordered a round of beers. The Weasel and myself had nearly finished ours. Pansy, Francesca and Creevey's glasses were half full. Granger, on the other hand, hadn't touched hers. I wasn't surprised. I doubted the girl had even tasted beer before.

"So how was the trip?" I asked Pansy, finishing the last drop of my drink. Argh! I motioned for the waitress and ordered another one.

"Wonderful! We went to the bridal garden. It's absolutely beautiful! You guys should so see it!"

"Did you get flowers?" Francesca asked as I dug into my pockets for a fag. Lightening it, I took a long drag, momentarily forgetting my resolution of only smoking when I'm agitated. Screw the resolution. I hadn't had nicotine and alcohol together for ages and boy, did it feel good.

"Yeah" Pansy continued, excitedly.

"What kind?" Granger asked, sparing me a look of disapproval. She was obviously ticked off at my smoking. But psst…like I cared what she thought. And yet, I grabbed my fag and stubbed it in the ash tray in front of me, snuffing it out. The mudblood looked at me immediately, surprised at my behavior.

I turned away (I don't know why I did what I just did either) only to see Francesca smiling at me provocatively. "Stopping already, are you, cousin? The tattoo is working faster than I thought"

Damn! I had hoped no one would notice. "I can fire you, you know" My cousin laughed at my tightened jaw and clenched fists. Well, well…two could play this game. Smiling to myself, I bent down and whispered in her ear "Are you holding Creevey's hand under the table?" Francesca sobered up instantly, turning red. I smiled, triumphantly. "Or do you have him by the balls?"

"Shut up"

"You do that and so will I, with pleasure"

I turned to Pansy again who had not stopped talking "Roses" she was saying "Red roses! They are absolutely beautiful, aren't they, Ron?"

"Mmmmhmm" murmured the Weasel "Just like you" He kissed her on the cheek.

I stuck a finger down my throat in a gagging motion. Seeing me, the Weasel grabbed the bottle of water Granger had bought (don't ask me why), opened it and hauled some at me "Back off, bastard"

Everyone had a good laugh at my expense. Then suddenly Pansy got up and muttered something about coming right back. Francesca and Granger exchanged meaningful glances. "Where's she going?" Creevey asked the Weasel

"Don't ask me" Weasley answered before turning to me "Hey Malfoy, do you have a smoke to spare?"

"You smoke too?" asked Granger, horrified.

"Yeah" replied Weasley, smiling sheepishly "Since our seventh year actually"


"Harry's and mine"

"Harry too?" moaned Granger "How could you guys?" She then resorted to banging her head on the wooden table lightly, much to everyone's amusement.

Unwillingly handing the Weasel a fag, I casually draped an arm on the back of the mudblood's seat. "Looks like it's only our sweet little virgin who hasn't touched a cigarette" I was rewarded with her classic glare.

But before she could retort, Pansy appeared out of no where, a ridiculous grin plastered on her face and a bottle of tequila in her hands. "So, who's up for a game of 'I've Never'?"




I stared at Pansy, incredulously. I had never heard of whatever she was talking and had no idea what it was. But whatever it was, it didn't sound good. "What are you talking about?" I asked

Ron turned to me, a tad bit surprised "You've never played it before?"

Malfoy, who was sitting beside me, snorted audibly "For god's sake Weasel. I doubt the girl's ever tasted champagne-"

"I have tasted champagne!" I glared at him angrily

"Like she's actually played 'I've Never'" before!" the git continued, ignoring me completely

"What is 'I've Never'?" I asked again. A waitress came over and set down a plate of lemon slices and six shot glasses beside the bottle of tequila. But just before she left she smiled at Malfoy in a very discomforting way and much to my annoyance (I can't understand why I was annoyed though), he winked back at her.

"It's a drinking game 'Mione" Colin had the patience to tell me, deterring my thoughts for a moment.

"A drinking game?" I asked, faltering slightly on my words.

Francesca, sensing my distress, said "It's not that bad! It's quite fun actually, Hermione"

"Fun? I mumbled, hesitatingly

"Do you have to repeat everything everyone says?" asked Malfoy

I glared at him angrily. Pansy (not to mention Ron) also offered Malfoy a death glare of her own before turning to me and saying "Okay listen to me, Granger. It's a really easy game to play" She paused for a moment "How do I explain this? Hmmm…okay look, just simply speaking, if it's my turn, I have to say something I've never done before, and if any of you has done that thing I've never done, then you'll have to drink a shot of this right here" She pushed the bottle of tequila forward. "Got it?"

I nodded numbly. "There are no scores and no winners but you get to know a hell of a lot of things about the people you play with" Ron told me

"Any questions?" Pansy asked, already filling the shot glasses. There was a small pause. "Does anyone not want to play?"

Much to my disappointment, no one answered Pansy's question in the affirmative. Colin said he'd like it and Malfoy shrugged and said "Sounds like fun". I was the only one who didn't utter a word, afraid of what I'd say. I've never drunk much and so my tolerance for alcohol is seriously low – maybe even in the negatives. What would happen if I got seriously drunk? What would I do?

This is definitely not a good idea.

Pansy stared at me, questioningly, waiting for my answer "I…" I started and finished very lamely with "…don't drink much" What else could I say?

Malfoy snorted "You think? Look Granger, just let me know if you can't drink anymore and I'll finish the rest of your shots for you"

Pansy beamed "Well then, that's settled with" She snuggled into Ron's side. Oh god why did Malfoy have to be helpful at a time like this? Argh! I hate, hate, hate him. "Okay so who wants to start first?" Pansy asked. But before anyone could answer she turned to me and said "Why don't you, Granger since you haven't played this before?"

I gulped, my throat closing up. What am I doing? Would the old Hermione have ever played 'I've Never'? I don't think so. Malfoy's hand which had been around my chair now came over my shoulders. Surprisingly, I found this gesture rather comforting "Get on with it Granger"

Opening my mouth, I said…




"Uh, I've never failed an exam before" Granger said uncertainly. Can you believe it? That's what the girl freaking said. But I should have known. Oh god…this is all Pansy's fault. I knew then that we were in for a long ride. Creevey groaned audibly at her statement, the Weasel grimaced and I rolled my eyes. Pansy and Francesca were nice enough not to say anything. When did they grow hearts?

"Talk about interesting" I muttered softly into the mudblood's ear as I took a shot. Just so you know, everyone took shots on that.

Seeing Weasley drink on her 'I've Never', Granger was all "You've failed an exam? How can you fail an exam? I've taught you each and every-"

"Granger" I sighed "Enough with the crap. Weasley, it's your turn"

Pausing for a moment, the dork said "I've never gotten an O" O is the wizarding grade, Outstanding for those of you who don't know. I snorted. Everyone except for Creevey took shots on that.

Needless to say, the first round of 'I've Never's was a whole lot of garbage – lame beyond words. Pansy said that she'd never listened to a muggle music band (Creevey and Granger took shots on that, on the account of them both being muggles. So did the Weasel as his father is an accomplished muggle lover). Francesca said that she'd never been in a relationship for more than two weeks. I raised my eye brows at that small revelation. Hopefully Creevey will keep her for more than that – he better or else...(only Granger, Pansy and Weasely drank to that). Creevey said he'd never liked Quidditch. The fucking bastard! (The Weasel, Francesca and I took shots on that one) I, being the creative person I am –snorts-, said that I'd never read a text book willingly. Only Pansy and Granger took shoots on that one.

From the corner of my eyes, I could see Granger turning red with each and every shot she took. From the way crinkled her nose, every time she drank, it was obvious that she didn't drink anything besides water…okay, I'll give her champagne too. But that's about it. And yet, the girl stayed throughout the game without leaving. Her determination awed me slightly…I had to give her some credit.

The second round was not that much better. Granger started it off by saying that she'd never cheated on an exam. I didn't even bother to say anything…Just so you know, once again, everyone drank on her one.

It was Creevey who finally saved us all from plunging into deeper lame-ness by saying that he'd never kissed a Slytherin (I teasingly informed him that he will be soon to which my cousin had the audacity to kick me in the shin). Everyone took shots on that one – even Granger, who did it quite embarrassedly. I turned away from her, knowing very well who the said Slytherin she kissed was – me!

Pansy, being the attentive one she is (even when she's drunk), said, shocked "You have?" I tried not to grimace. Another peril of Pansy, besides her tyrannical insistence on marrying the Weasel, is the fact that she hardly misses anything and never misses the things I really, really want her to miss.

Granger, turning redder than she already was, nodded mutely. The Weasel who had finally come to his senses, asked "You kissed a Slytherin, 'Mione?" His words slurred slightly.

"What's so surprising about that?" I asked him, mockingly, sucking on a piece of lemon. Mmmm… "You've been shagging one for more than a year"

"Who's the Slytherin?" asked Weasley, ignoring me completely

Before Granger could answer (though I think she had temporally lost her tongue to the cat), Francesca started giggling. Pansy turned to her almost immediately, her face burning with excitement "You know?" When my cousin nodded, betraying me completely, Pansy nearly jumped out of her seat "Tell me!"

"Perhaps after we finish this fucking game?" I snapped, unable to hide my anger completely.

Pansy, unfortunately, noticed my tone. Her eyes then swept across the hand I had draped over Granger – I did not take it off. She turned to me, her eyes widening in understanding. Then she smiled, happily. "I should have known" she whispered. Granger turned away.

"You know who it is too, now?" demanded Weasley angrily "Am I the only bloody one here who doesn't know who the Slytherin his best friend kissed is?"

"I don't know" said Creevey, thoughtfully

"I'll tell you later" Pansy smiled at the Weasel, holding his hand.

Turing to Francesca, I snapped, "It's your turn" Oh god, I hate her. It's all her freaking fault.

My cousin said "I've never kissed a Gryffindor", unable to think of something original.

Wanting to embarrass her the way she had embarrassed me, I said "You will soon find out what that's like, Francesca. Hey Creevey, make sure you show my dear sweet cousin what you're made off. Make it a night for her to remember – she's only been dreaming of it for the past two freaking weeks".

Both the individuals I had been referring to blushed furiously. "Draco…" croaked my cousin.

I smiled, taking a long, slow shot. I didn't bother to acknowledge her death glare. "If you want to ruin my life, I can very well ruin yours" I whispered to her.

Then suddenly the Weasel turned to me again "You've kissed a Gryffinor?"

"Just like your fiancé has"

"Holy shit!" the git continued, oblivious to my sarcastic comment. Granger's face burned under the lights. "Holy bloody shit! Is it just me or has the world turned upside down?"

"Fuck off, Weasley"

Pansy smilingly told the bastard to leave me alone and that we had to continue with the game. Well, at least, she had gotten part of her brain back. "Draco, it's your turn now"

The game became dirtier and dirtier with each and every passing minute. And with each shot, my face turned red, my vision blurred and my head hurt. I was, undoubtedly, drunk. And why wouldn't I be? I had had two mugs of beer and all those shots…it really was no surprise.

Granger, I could see, was dozing out herself but whenever I offered to drink her shots, she adamantly refused to give me any.

Just when Pansy opened her mouth to give her 'I've Never', I felt my phone vibrating against my thigh. Taking it out of my pocket, I flipped it open "Hello?" My words came out a bit slurred.

"Hello Draco!" boomed Mr. Merryman's voice across the line.

Shit! Why was the old guy calling me now? I can't sound drunk when talking to him. I just can't…Concentrating hard, I tried to make myself sound normal. "Hi! Is there anything wrong?"

"Oh no! Nothing's wrong. I was just looking around for you here but you had apparently left for dinner or something, according to the one of the maids"

"Yeah I'm out with some of my friends" Well, most of them were. My friends, I mean.

"Is that so?" he asked, genuingly surprised and sympathetic "Well I'm sorry to have troubled you"

"No its fine. Is there anything you need to ask me?"

"There is actually. I just wanted to inform you that…well, I was thinking that the rest of the observational team and you should meet up to discuss some things?"

"That'll be good" I murmured

"I was thinking tomorrow. Are you busy?"

"No. No, I'm not busy"

"Well that's good. We'll meet tomorrow and get it all over with. Anyway I'll see you tomorrow then. Good night, Draco and take a good night's sleep, boy. You sound tired"

"Yes, I'm going back now. Talk to you later, Mr. Merryman" I hung up. Pansy looked me, questioningly "Its Mr. Merryman. I need to go you guys. I think I'm going to call it a night" I drained my glass of tequila.

"Yeah, me too" yawned the Weasel. "Let's get going too, Pansy"

All of us stood up on cue. I left a tip on the table for the cute waitress I had met and just as I was about to head over to the door, Granger who was standing beside me, wobbled slightly on her legs. I held my hands out and steadied her. She hadn't drunk much but I knew well that her tolerance for alcohol wasn't high, hence the wooziness. "You okay?" I asked her, concernedly

"Yeah, I'm fine" she muttered before pulling away "I can walk on my own, thank you very much"

I let her ago and sure enough, she fell, her legs giving away. If I hadn't been there to catch her again, she would have fallen flat on the floor. As she leaned against me, I felt her soft lips on my chest, through the material of my shit. Damn! "My arse you can" I whispered into her hair

Gathering her in my arms, I pulled her up and carried her towards the entrance. Surprisingly she didn't argue – I guess she was too tired to. I felt her sweet breath against my face and….Oh god! Enough of this bull shit already. This is freaking mudblood Granger we are talking about! -sigh- I guess this just proves how drunk I already am.

Everyone looked at me, surprised – Pansy smiled. Refusing to meet any of their gazes, I said "Creevey, you take this lot with you in your car. I'll take Granger, here, with me. We'll meet back at home, later"

Turning back to the entrance, the Weasel's concerned voice stopped me "Can you even drive? 'Coz if your drunk and-"

"Shut up" I replied and without a word I carried Granger to my BMW (I've grown to like this muggle invention. I know, I know. When have I liked anything muggle right? But this…this is amazing. I love the high speeds this thing can go up to. It's absolutely brilliant sometimes) – the replacement car, the ministry had given me after the Harrods fiasco. I smiled slightly, remembering the mudblood in my car, insisting that it was hers. It seemed like such a long time ago.

Flicking the door open, I placed Granger's fragile, unconscious body in the passenger's seat. I, then, moved into the driver's and started the engine before pulling out of the parking lot. I was surprised that I could even see the roads in front of me, let alone drive – maybe I wasn't too drink after all.

As we drove, I couldn't help darting glances at Granger's angelic face. She seemed so serene…so peaceful. She slept with the conviction of someone who knows that she is safe. I turned to her every second, trying to memorize her features completely. The way her lips were parted slightly…the way her brown strands of wavy hair grazed her cheeks…I swore, looking back at the road again. Yes, I think I was too drunk for my own good too.

It was particularly quiet throughout the drive before Granger suddenly moaned softly. Almost instantly her head fell on my shoulder. I sat still for awhile, trying hard to keep my eyes in front of me. But her head bobbed softly, every time I drove over a bump and needless to say, it was very distracting.

Her head was balanced lightly on my shoulder, her body canted sideways over the stick shaft between the leather seats. I kept my left hand on the wheel as my right, unconsciously, bent at a strange angle to cradle Granger's head and keep it from moving all over the place. I don't why I did it but it seemed important right then.

As I turned into a well worn pathway, I needed both my hands and so I let go of Granger only to have her slip off my shoulder and settle in my lap, her ear pressed against the ring of my belt, her small, firm breasts nestled against the gear shift, her nose an inch away from the steering wheel. Her head was warm and heavy and as I drove through the silent streets of Lansonsmere, I rested my hand on it, brushing her hair back from her face. As I turned into my driveway. I cut the motor and lights, still watching her sleep. The rest of them still hadn't arrived.

I, unconsciously, traced the pink of her ear, so fragile that I could see the slight blue veins webbing it, could imagine the traveling blood. "Hey", I said softly "Wake up"

She did, with a start and would have smashed her head on the steering wheel if my hand hadn't been there to stop her. She struggled upright, my hand still on the back of her neck. I took it off, immediately, angry at myself for being so stupid as to touch her.

Granger stretched. There was a deep red furrow on her left cheek, a scar carved by the edge of my belt. She looked slightly embarrassed "Why didn't you wake me up before?" she asked, her voice husky

I tried to shrug, noncommittally "You seemed to be fast asleep"

"You could have still woken me up" she said, somewhat angrily.

There was something in her tone that made me look back at her. As far as I was concerned, the girl was royally pissed off. And here I was trying to be nice. Oh god, maybe I really should recheck my Slytherin principles. "Yeah?" I snapped feeling like an idiot. I really should stop getting this drunk. "Well, next time, I'll make sure to play the drums while you're asleep okay? Satisfied?"

I opened the door, frustrated at myself. But before I could get out, I felt her fingers touch my hand. She held me for a moment as if to stop me from leaving "I'm sorry" she whispered "I didn't mean to sound like that"

I stopped mid-way and settled back in my seat. "Yeah well, we all make mistakes"

I didn't saying anything else. I couldn't. We stared at each other for a moment, our gazes met. Everything seemed to stop all of a sudden, everything stood still…quiet, somewhat like the pause between lightening and thunder. My eyes strayed towards her lips. Why did they have to look so lush and soft? Why did they…what the fuck is happening to me?

"Malfoy?" Granger prompted "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, fine" I mumbled looking away. The wind blew hard against the trees as the leaves rustled. A full moon shone brightly among the stars. "I think we should get going"

"We should" agreed Granger and suddenly the both of us slid out, simultaneously.

On the way to the front door, she suddenly stopped. "What's wrong?" I asked, coming to a halt myself

She stared at me again (Damn! She really shouldn't do that) and then suddenly she wrapped her slender arms around my waist, hugging me tightly "Thank you" she whispered "For today"

A tiny bubble of surprise formed itself inside my chest. Cautiously, I placed my own arms around her tiny form and hugged her back, running my fingers through her hair and breathing in that wonderful grapefruit scent of hers. This night really did have its surprises.

We stood like that, immobile, for a few minutes before Creevey's car headlights flashed in our faces. The both of us sprang apart almost immediately as the rest of them pulled into the driveway. I opened the front door hurriedly before stepping into the threshold before her, forgetting momentarily to be courteous (pfft I can't believe I'm actually thinking of being courteous to Granger!) "I thought that you'd become a gentlemen at last" Granger said referring to my haste

I laughed as she entered the living room after me "You wish"

Then suddenly, I heard Pansy from the doorway with the Weasel, Creevey and Francesca by her side, equally tired. "I'm bloody whacked. Where the hell is my bed, Draco?"

Motioning for her to be quiet, I took them all upstairs, to their respective bed rooms. When I went to bed myself, I couldn't help thinking about today. About how the tables had turned. My head still hurt from drinking too much at yet I didn't feel too bad…I drove here, didn't I? Was it because Granger had hugged me? Was it because…argh! To hell with this! I need to sleep. Maybe then I'll wake up and everything will go back to normal…Everything will be…oh god, why on god's green earth did she have to hug me? Argh!

Forget this! I give up!


A/N: So well there you are. The eleventh chapter. Different from the usual isn't it? I'm sorry if the characters are OOC but you might have noticed that the leads are now seriously pondering on their feelings – especially Draco. I can tell you that the guy is falling for Hermione and bad! Muhahaha…

I'm sorry if there were any spelling/grammatical errors and typos. They were unintended. This chapter is 22 pages long and really, I couldn't read it more than twice. I'll get my beta to redo it for me later – she's kind of busy at the moment herself.

I'm sorry again for the delay and I'm also sorry for the future delay though I promise that'll be shorter. Thanks guys for being the great reviewers you all are. I'm sorry if this chapter, for a lack of a better word, sucked! I've been too busy and sleepy for my brain to be working properly!

Anyway I better shut up and till we meet again, later! Keep a look out for a new chapter coz I promise it'll come.