Disclaimer: I do not own HP. I make no money here.
AN: Many thanks to my wonderful beta sweettiff_14
Draco entered the bar--it was hard to see at first, it took his eyes awhile to adjust to the darkness. He was supposed to meet someone here, but he didn't know what she looked like. That sounded funny; the reason he didn't know what she looked like, is because this was a blind date. Against his better judgment, he had allowed his friends to convince him to go along with this insane plot. So, he found himself on a Friday night, and on his birthday no less, entering a strange bar to meet a woman he'd didn't know, because he "needed to get out and socialize". How stupid was he?
Then he saw her, or at least he thought it must be her. She had her back to him, but she was the only one in the place who could possibly be the "date". From what he could see, her looks were decent. She had long, rather dark, curly hair. He liked long hair, he preferred blonds though but perhaps he would make an exception. She had a creamy complexion, seemed rather petite, though it was hard to tell while she was sitting down. She was playing with the stem of her wine glass; she looked a little nervous. There was the telltale long-stemmed white rose lying on the table, it's mate was in his hand. He approached the table and leaning over her shoulder lay the rose next to the other one. "I believe this is for you... FUCK!" As she turned to look up at him, he found himself gazing into the big, brown eyes of none other than, Hermione Granger.
"MALFOY!" She spat his name as if it were a dirty word. "Why are you here? And why are you giving me this white rose, and why... Oh no, I get it. Crap! We've been set up. Damn it all, I'll kill them. Who was it on your end? Who sent you here tonight, I mean."
He sat down with a sigh. "Blaise and Luna, Pansy and Weasley," he answered. "And you? Who amongst your group came up with this brilliant idea?"
"Same here, Ron and Pansy, Luna and Blaise as well as Harry and Ginny, too. What were they thinking?"
"Well, mine said things like: 'You need to get out more, Draco,' and 'You can't spend all your time working.' and 'We know just the perfect girl for you.'"
"Yea, that sounds exactly like what my friends said. Except they also told me, 'You'll really like him if you give him half a chance.' and 'You actually have a lot of things in common with this guy, Hermione.' and ' Stop hiding behind your job and get out and live your life, have some fun for a change.'"
"Sounds familiar," he agreed. He looked at the woman in front of him, his former nemesis and childhood rival and suddenly the entire situation seemed hilarious. He chuckled a bit, and before he could stop himself he was laughing out loud. She looked at him for a moment as if he'd gone insane, but then she too, started to laugh.
When they finally stopped, she took a slow sip of her wine, and gazed at him speculatively. "Well, I'm here, you're here. We might as well have dinner, it's better than going home and eating alone. What do you think?"
"Sure, where's the harm, right?" Draco agreed, picking up his menu. "So, what did they tell you about me in order to convince you to come here tonight?"
"Let's see. They said you were extremely intelligent, tenacious, handsome, dedicated to your job, devoted to your family, umm... you like to read, you like sports and you like to travel. What sort of things did they say about me?"
"Hmm... That you were brilliant, persistent, lovely, dedicated to your job, fiercely loyal to your friends and family, you love your cat, like to read , and you also like to travel." Taking a drink, he paused to think a moment before commenting. "You know, except for the part where I like sports and you like your cat, it does sound like we have a great many things in common."
As Hermione pondered his statement, she seemed like she was going to comment but then hesitated. She started again, but stopped,. Did she really want to open that can of worms? Finally she replied, "Well, yes, I suppose it does sound like it. Until you get to the part where you're pure as the driven snow and I'm nothing but a filthy Mudbl..."
"Stop," he demanded, holding up his hand in protest. "Don't say it, please don't say it, Hermione."
"Why not, Draco? You said it often enough." Her voice was soft, but he could detect the hurt there, even now all these years later.
"You're right, I did. But I was wrong, very wrong. I know better now." Draco swallowed hard before lifting his gaze to hers and continuing, "Look, I was a spoiled, arrogant, little snot who thought he knew everything there was to know. But in reality, I didn't know anything." He paused, and looked down, tracing little circles on the table. He seemed to be thinking deeply.
Finally he spoke, "Look, Granger, I can't change the past, I said and did a lot of things back then that I regret now. I did grow up finally, though. I guess we all must sooner or later. But maybe, just maybe, our friends are actually onto something here. In addition to several well-meaning friends, we actually do seem to have an awful lot of things in common."
She smiled knowingly at him. "Well, yes. Except for that sports and cat thing."
He smiled back. "I suppose I could learn to tolerate your cat."
"And I could probably try to understand your sports."
"Want to try for a fresh start, Granger?"
She reached across the table and clasped his hand. "Hi, I'm Hermione Granger, my friends thought we should meet."
"I'm glad to meet you, I'm Draco Malfoy. And my friends think that you're a real catch." Hermione blushed as he slid his chair closer and leaned in to kiss her cheek. "It's my birthday tonight. Would you have dinner with me?"
"I'd love to, Draco."