A/N: I know, I know. I should be tortured. Put me on the rack if it will make you feel better. I know it's been a while since I've updated, but I've had a very odd few weeks. This is the next chapter and I will probably start updating once a week.

Chapter Ten- Granger's Hot Date

The Prophet reports it here first that Hermione Granger was seen dancing the night away with George Weasley after an embrace in the Ministry. With both Malfoy's now living with Miss Granger, it seems that her appetite for men is insatiable. Miss Granger and Mister Weasley (her former live-in boyfriend's brother) were seen having dinner at a restaurant in Diagon Alley and heading to a Muggle club in London. No word yet if Ronald knows about this newest development.

"I'm just going to pop into the loo and change. Be back in a bit," Hermione said as they reached the Atrium of the Ministry. George nodded and walked over to the fountain. It was now a memorial to all those who died in the war, an obelisk with names of the dead written on them. He searched at the bottom and saw his brother's name etched into the black marble. George had done this every time he'd been to visit the Ministry since the end of the battle. He dumped all the money in his pockets into the fountain, watching them sink to the bottom with the other coins. He felt Hermione come up beside him and do the same. "I miss him too," she said softly. "The world seems a little less bright without him in it."

George nodded and turned from the fountain to his date. She had changed into a mini dress that faded from yellow to red from top to bottom. The under layer of the dress was red silk, which peeked out at the hem, the edge of the sleeves, and around her neck. She had a pair of heels on that were adorned with red fur. She had pulled her hair up in a messy bun with a few strands of hair falling down to frame her face. He reached out and touched the necklace she was wearing, a red stone that seemed to be flickering like a fire. "You look amazing," he whispered.

"Thank you," she said.

He let the necklace fall from his grasp, his fingers trailing her collarbone lightly. "We should go to dinner," he whispered huskily.

In that moment, Hermione didn't care that the Prophet was probably watching them, that they would probably follow them, or that Ron would know all about this tomorrow. All that mattered in that moment was the way George was looking at her. While Lucius stirred her blood, he was off limits to her. And Ron never made Hermione feel more than… content. The way George was looking at her now made it all worthwhile that she had said yes. "We should," she whispered in an equally breathless voice.

Draco held the door open for Harry and his father, who walked into main foyer. The stark white walls and lack of furniture or decoration made Lucius pause and blink. "Hermione hasn't gotten to this main foyer yet," Draco said as an explanation. Harry looked around, eerily reminded of the time that he had been dragged in here, his face swollen and puffy, and Draco's refusal to identify him.

"Where is the picture of your Grandfather?" Lucius asked as he walked into the now bare sitting room, "And the furniture?"

"We burned it," Draco said in response. "Grandfather had several choice words to say to Hermione when she entered the house."

Lucius smirked and turned to his son. "I had been hoping to do the honors of destroying that picture. Is the one in my study still there?"

"We didn't touch your tower," Draco said. "We thought you would like to make the changes to it."

"And your mother's tower?" He looked towards the North tower and Draco watched his father's face contort into something close to remorse.

Draco turned to Harry, who was watching the interaction carefully. "We didn't go near it," he whispered. "Too many memories that I'd rather not face at the moment," Draco said as he turned back to his father.

"Indeed," Lucius responded. "And where is Miss Granger living?

"She took Severus' West tower," Draco said. "I think she had already stocked the lab and the library."

He smiled, and then remembered that she wasn't with them. "Are you two planning on tell me where she went with Mister Weasley?"

Harry leaned up against the wall, looking at the stairs and contemplating sitting on them. Had it just been Draco he would have, but Lucius always made him feel as if he should be on his best behavior. "Why does it matter so much to you, Mr. Malfoy?"

Draco shot a warning look at Harry, who was smiling with glee. "Stop baiting him Harry," Draco said in a hiss. "Hermione went on a date with George," he said to his father.

"Can we take this conversation to somewhere that has furniture?" Harry pushed himself off the wall and walked towards the kitchen. "Anyways Mr. Malfoy, you were asking about George." Lucius and Draco were trailing behind the messy haired brunette who immediately found himself in the fridge. "In order to understand why this isn't completely shocking, I'll have to tell you a bit about Hermione's past. I'm sure Draco won't mind listening to it again."

"I rather think that my father knows enough about Hermione," Draco hissed. "Please do not entertain him."

Lucius shot his son a glare, "What do you mean?"

"He means that he thinks it is gross you are lusting over a girl that could be your daughter," Harry said. He sat on one of the stools, placing the sandwich stuff in front of him. "Draco's just being protective of Hermione. He's been protective of her ever since the fight."

"Fight?" Lucius asked as he sat down across from Potter. Draco, who refused to entertain this conversation, leaned up against the wall.

"Mhm," Harry mumbled as he took a bit of the sandwich he made. "As you know, Ron and Hermione started dating right after the war ended. Wasn't a shock really, everyone expected them to get together. Well, two days after she moved in with Ron, which was really only a week after they started dating, Hermione went to dinner at the Burrow. While she was there she noticed the absence of George and the Weasley told her that George wouldn't talk to any of them. Bit of shock, but Hermione said she'd pop over and see him. They didn't really get alone, the twins and Hermione that is. But when she got there, saw the state he was in, she Owled to tell Ron she'd be staying with George until he was a fully functioning member of society again. At first Ron was fine with it; everyone knew that George had taken Fred's death hard. But months passed and Hermione didn't show signs of leaving George's flat. She was there when she learned the news that her parents had died in that house fire. George followed her everywhere; he went to work with her, he went to the funeral with her, and he would take little day trips with her. Hermione kept telling us that they were taking trips to all the places he had wanted to go with Fred, that they were working on George's ability to learn to be his own person. Ron got madder and madder, said that all George was doing was replacing Fred with Hermione."

"It sounds that way," Lucius pointed out.

"It did, but you had to know Hermione. She saw therapists, lying to them and telling them that it was her twin that died. She researched what happens to twins who lose their twin tragically like that. She was helping him, he was getting better. But one night, Ron snapped. He had a bit too much to drink at the pub and he headed over to George's flat. He accused George of being after Hermione and they started fighting. I think they were dueling originally but Hermione took their wands and they started fighting physically. Both of them ended up in St. Mungo's for a few days and when they got out George told Hermione to go home since it was causing problems for her and Ron. George ended up getting better on his own after Hermione had started the process, but Ron and George haven't spoken since," Harry said. "Ron still believes that George had feelings for her then."

Lucius nodded but did not respond. So Miss Granger is dating another Weasley. Does this mean that whatever happened between us at her house is regret for her? I should have known better than to assume that she would be interested in a wasted man like me. "Father," Draco said loudly. Lucius turned to face his son. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine son," he said. "I think I will go up to my room and take a bath. It's nice to not be in prison anymore." He stood up slowly and headed out the door. Behind him he heard rushed footsteps. Stopping and turning slowly, he raised an eyebrow to Potter. "Can I help you with something Potter?"

"I just wanted to say… well that is… I wanted to tell you… that I support you." He said the last part in a breathless rushed voice.

He stared at the boy… the man who stood in front of him and remembered all the reasons Potter should hate him. To have Potter's support, which he didn't have after the war ended, was strange. "What has changed Mister Potter? You were clear that you would not speak for me when the war ended."

"Yeah, sorry about that, but I didn't know. I mean, Narcissa saved my life and it was so obvious that Draco was being forced into his service. It wasn't until I became friends with Draco that I realized the error I had made." Harry looked down at his shoes and whispered, "Please forgive me."

Lucius looked over the boy's shoulder to see his son sitting at the island still. He had his back to them, but the ridged way he was sitting was a clear sign that he was listening to every word they said. "I forgive you," he said, "and I hope to get to know you better Potter. After all, my closest friend gave his life to protect you."

"Too many people gave their life to protect me sir," Harry said. "And I also wanted to say something I'm sure Draco will kill me for later. I think you'd be good for Hermione. She'd kill a Weasley if she married one."

Lucius smirked and nodded. "Indeed, well that's very… nice of you Mister Potter. Now if you will excuse me, I need a bath. And my son is seething behind you."

Harry turned to see Draco standing behind him with his arms crossed tightly across his chest. "Damn," he muttered.

George and Hermione Apparated to the gates of the Malfoy Manor and Hermione raised her wand to open them. "I still cannot believe that you live here," George said as he draped his cloak over her bare shoulders.

"It's not so bad now," she said. "Draco and I are doing a lot to the place. It's nice to know that we are taking something so tainted by the war and making it whole and beautiful again."

"Like what you are doing with Lucius?"

The comment made Hermione stop and look at George. "That's not why I took his case," she said sternly.

"No, I know you took it as a favor to Draco," George said. He kept walking and Hermione followed behind him looking up at the manor. They had almost reached the front door when George stopped again. "The thing is Hermione, I don't think that is still the reason you are involved in his case. All you've talked about all night has been him. Not the case, just him. I think you've developed feelings for him."

Hermione looked at George but turned away. She could see a light on in the East tower… in Lucius' tower. It's true, she thought, I do have feelings for Lucius. "I…"

"You don't have to explain anything to me Hermione," George said. "You know, I've begun to think you feel like I'm made of porcelain. You could have told me when I asked you out that you had feelings for him and not me."

"That's not true," she said. "I have feelings for you too George. I always did." She turned back to him, pulling his cloak closer to her. "Ron had every right to be upset, even if he didn't know it. I did have feelings for you back then. I kept telling myself that I just wanted to see you get better because you were Ron's brother. But when Ron hit you, I just knew I'd rather defend you then him."

George looked shocked and angry. "Why didn't you say anything? Damn it, why didn't you stay?"

Hermione looked down at her shoes; her left foot was tapping faster with her growing anxiety. "I didn't know what to do George. Everyone expected me to be with Ron. Everyone would have been so angry if I had left him for you and I didn't want to do that to your family. I thought that you and he would make up if I just went back to the way things were."

"We didn't make up," he said softly, "because Ron knew. He knew that I had feelings for you."

Hermione nodded but didn't say anything. What could she have said to make this any better? If she had stayed with George all those years ago, how different would her life have been? It could have affected everything she had grown to care about, starting with the Malfoys. "George… I want you to know how sorry I am. I do still care for you greatly."

George pulled her into his arms and held her tightly. "It wasn't meant to be," he whispered. "If it had been, I would have asked you before you fell for someone else." He let her go slowly until he was only holding her hands. "I'll always love you Hermione. If you ever need anything, just call me and I'll be there. You did more for me than any other person would have."

"I'd do it again," she whispered. She didn't know when she had started crying, but she could feel the wetness on her cheeks. She pulled the cloak off her shoulders and handed it to him. "Goodnight George," she said softly and leaned up to give him a soft kiss.

"Night Hermione," he said back.

Lucius couldn't help but overhear the conversation happening below. He had the window open in the bathroom as he lounged in the tub. So she does have feelings for me, he smirked. He heard the door open and close and then silence. Wait… silence wasn't right. He should have been able to hear the sound of the Weasley's footsteps away from the house. Moments later, the nagging feeling in his gut was confirmed when a scream rang through the night.

A/N: I know, it's a terrible place to end this. But it isn't fanfiction without a cliffhanger!