"For the benefit of anyone listening, I just want to clarify that I think this is an incredibly stupid idea."
Pansy raised a brow at Ron's fierce outburst. "Yes, Weasley, we actually heard you the first five hundred times you said that."
Ron straightened a napkin and placed it on his lap. He also took his wand out and readily placed it on the table. "I still think we should at least alert the other people," he said, looking around and noticing how crowded the place was. "Give them a bit of a head start to, you know, contact their love ones and write their wills--"
Harry reached a hand and clapped Ron heavily on the shoulder. "You do that, Ron."
He thought of doing just that, on his own, and abruptly shook his head. "Nah. I'll just use my wand if something happens. And, knowing Hermione? Something will."
Harry adjusted his blond hair but only ended up upsetting it further. "This wig is itchy, and too bloody long," he complained. "Plus, I can't see properly through these glasses. I want my old pair. Where are they?"
Pansy tugged one side of Harry's wig to straighten it. "I don't have them," she said sternly, adjusting her red tresses as well. "And you can't use your old one. Granger'll recognize you in those things. Plus, stop complaining about your wig. We need to have that scar covered, remember?"
"Cheer up, mate," Ron said, peering over the large spectacles he had on. "Just think, Hermione'll never suspect we're also here. Am I brilliant, or am I briliant?"
Stony stares met his declaration.
"Right." Ron's mood did not abate one bit. "I'm a bit surprised Ginny didn't show up, though. I thought she wanted this more than we do."
Harry sighed. "Well, remember, Fleur's having a baby again. Gin said she wanted to take down notes for once we... well, you know." He cleared his throat, his face turning a spectacular shade of pink. "Anyway, I think she made the pin Hermione's wearing right now. See?" He pointed at the pearl pin Hermione had on her blouse. "She enchanted it to record everything so she can watch it later."
"What? I bet that's just an excuse. This is her idea. She should be here in case dead bodies start piling up!" Ron said surly.
Pansy rolled her eyes. "I never knew you were the overly-dramatic type, Weasley. Oh, wait... no, no I already knew that."
Ron glared at her. "Shut up, Parkinson."
She inched her chin up. "Make me."
"Hey, hey! Hush!" Harry said, pushing them both away from each other. "I've got an idea. Why don't we not use our real names? I mean, that's the whole point of the disguise, right? To not have Hermione know that we're here?"
"Right, right. Sorry," Ron murmured. He threw a look of pure venom at Pansy. "Wait until you and I--"
"Shh! Incoming!" Pansy loudly whispered.
As one, they took their menus and used them as shields, until only their eyes showed.
"Have I ever mentioned how bad I think this idea is?" Ron asked, his words muffled by the menu.
"Just shut up, will you?" Pansy snapped.
And silently, they watched as a well-dressed man made his way to where Hermione was sitting.
Harry, Ron, and Pansy collectively held their breaths.
"You!" they heard Hermione exclaim.
Ron winced. "This is an extremely bad idea." Slowly, his hand inched towards his wand, until Pansy smacked him upside the head with her menu. "Hey! Ow!"
"Well, well. Girl with the pearl pin." The well-dressed man - otherwise known to the world as Draco Malfoy - quickly sat on the chair opposite hers. "Fancy that."
Hermione raised a brow. "Yes, that's me, man with green cuffs," she stated, pointedly looking at the ends of Draco's sleeves.
"Hmm. Interesting. I guess I'm your date, then."
"I never thought you'd be the type who needed to be set-up on a blind date," Hermione said airily.
"Is that a compliment?" Draco's teeth gleamed. "I'll take that as a yes."
Harry glanced at Ron. "At least they're civil to each other."
Pansy glared at him. "What, did you think Draco would just whip out his wand and curse at his date because she is none other than Hermione Granger? Please. He has more finesse than that." She turned her attention back to the unlikely pair. "He'll have to drag her out to an alley, of course..."
Ron and Harry both growled at her.
"Kidding! Or... you know. Not."
"What about you, Granger?" Draco asked, his voice smooth as silk. "I never thought you're the type desperate enough to actually go on one."
Hermione arched a brow. "For your information, I did this as a favor to Ginny," she said. "I so happen to have an unpaid debt to her - courtesy of circumstances you have no right to know - and by doing this I am paying her up twice over. What about you?"
Draco smirked. "Let's just say Pansy has a way with words."
Ron nudged Pansy. "What did you tell him?"
She thought that over. "Ah. I think what I told him was, 'I'd curse the place you use to make children until it shrivels up if you don't do as I say'."
Harry and Ron both gaped at her.
"Definitely has a way with words," Ron mumbled.
"So," Hermione said placidly, "is this your first time, then? Or have you been going on blind dates all your life?"
Draco blinked at her, then actually had the nerve to laugh.
"What? What did I miss?" Ron asked, looking around. "What's so funny?"
Pansy also looked blank.
"Granger, have I ever told you that you are an extremely lovely--"
"Just answer the damned question," she snapped.
Draco shook his head but maintained his amused expression. "This will be the first time."
Hermione cocked her head to one side. "Oh. The first, then? Does that imply that you have plans of making it into a habit, then?"
Pansy frowned ferociously. "Is it just me, or is Granger acting weird?"
"Jealousy suits you, luv," Draco said, smiling at Hermione.
This time, Harry's wig almost fell all the way. "What?"
"Shut up," Hermione said. "If you must know, I'm just keeping count. This will be... my third, I think. Yes, my third." She glared at Draco. "And my most boring, by the way. Must be the company I have this time."
Pansy rounded on Ron and Harry. "What is she talking about? Did you set her up with others before?"
"No!" Ron said.
"Honestly, Parkinson - do we strike you as the type to actually set our best friend up for a blind date?" Harry snapped.
"Well, Harry Potter, I would like to inform you that that is precisely what you have been doing in the past hour!" Pansy shrieked.
"Oh." Harry looked abashed. "Right. Heh. I forgot."
"Look, look!" Ron said, pointing at the two.
"Your... third?" Draco repeated, suddenly looking very dangerous indeed.
Hermione looked very smug. "Yes. The third... this week, I guess."
Draco was silent for a few moments. "You're bluffing."
"Am I?" Hermione grinned. "Why do you think I didn't make it last Tuesday? Or last Saturday for that matter?"
"You said you were swamped with work."
"And you believed it?"
Draco gritted his teeth. "Of course I did!"
"Why don't you ask Harry and Ron, then?"
The Slythetrin frowned ferociously at her. "Maybe I will."
Pansy smiled at the two Gryffindors. "I think this is the right moment to inform you that Draco's currently wearing his deranged look - otherwise known as the 'I'm-going-to-happily-murder-two-idiots' expression on his face." Then, the smile turned thoughtful. "Of course, the correct question for that is why is he wearing that--"
"Have I ever told you two before how extremely bad I think this idea is?" Ron burst out. "Because it is. Extremely--"
"Well, now that that's out of the way, shall we order?" Hermione happily picked up her menu. "I heard that their--"
"I've lost my appetite," Draco said.
Hermione frowned. "What? But I thought--"
Then Draco stood. "We're leaving."
She gaped up at him, and so did several other customers. "What? But--"
"I'm putting a stop to this right now. I told you this wouldn't work. It was a mistake to have kept it this long," Draco muttered.
Hermione was no longer looking so amused. "You... you're not... you can't...." she stammered.
"I can, and I will."
"Okay, what is he going to do?" Harry asked, glancing at Ron.
"Do we look like Trelawney to you, Harry?" Ron snapped.
"Draco, no!" Hermione's hands flew to her mouth. "You said--"
"Did Granger just call Draco 'Draco'?" Pansy wondered out loud.
Then they all gaped at the two when Draco suddenly grabbed her by the waist and hauled her up to him for a long, deep, searing kiss.
And the restaurant was filled with cheers and claps and cat-calls.
When they separated, Draco dragged his finger down her cheek. "I love you, Hermione Granger. There. I said it." He looked around the restaurant. "And I'm informing every breathing male to back off from her, because she's mine."
Hermione was busy blinking back tears.
Harry, Ron, and Pansy, in turn, were busy keeping themselves from getting heart attacks.
"You're such a bastard," Hermione sniffed. "Oh, I do love you too, Draco."
And suddenly, Harry, Ron, and Pansy were on their feet.
"What!" they shouted as one.
"Ron! Harry! Parkinson!" Hermione called, waving at them, and apparently seeing through their disguises. "Thank you for organizing this! Because of you, we no longer have to pretend anymore... we're free!"
"Yes, we finally are," Draco said, smiling at her. Then, he pulled her to his arms and kissed her again, in full view of everyone.
A second round of cheers was in order.
Then, laughing and literally glowing, Draco and Hermione ran out of the restaurant...
...leaving the other three bewildered beyond belief.
"What... just... happened?" Ron asked, still wearing a glazed look on his face.
"They must have... been dating without us knowing it," Harry said, seemingly talking to himself more than the other two. "I mean... Malfoy wouldn't have said that if they didn't... right?"
Pansy shook her head. "That actually explains so much," she said. "Why Draco's not in his manor on most days..."
"...why Hermione was so keen on not letting us Apparate without warning..." Harry contributed.
"...and why Draco's been so happy he's nearly bursting with gigglish, fiendish glee every time I see him! He's been dating Granger in secret and now we've forced them to come out in public!"
Ron frowned. "Because we forced them both to go on a blind date?"
Pansy beamed. "Exactly!"
"Well." Ron was still frowning. "Well."
"Have I ever told you how great I thought this idea was?"