Ron Weasley and Harry Potter were walking through the corridors of Hogwarts School, chatting about the loads of homework they had received that day, especially from Potions and Divination.
"That miserable old bat," Ron complained. "I can't believe we have to do another starchart!"
"It's pretty horrible," Harry agreed. "But, it's not as bad as the essay we have to write about stupid Shrinking Potions. That's going to take forever! We not only have to write out exactly how it's prepared and exactly how it's used, but we have to look through the book to see how many known potions have beencreated and what they did. Not to mention, we have to say how many people have misused it."
"Tell me about it."
They continued walking through the corridor until something stopped them in their tracks: giggling.
Harry and Ron glanced at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and continued until the giggling started again.
"Okay, I so heard that," Ron said, looking around. "Tell me I'm not going crazy."
"Either you're not going crazy or we both are going crazy because I heard it too," Harry replied, looking around as well. "Where'd it come from?"
"I don't know." The giggling came again. "Over there," Ron told Harry, pointing at a closed broom closet not far away.
"Do we care who's in it?" Harry asked.
"Course we do!" Ron said as though he thought Harry was insane.
"But, people always snog between classes or after them. It's not unusual."
"Curiosity killed the cat, you know," Harry reminded his friend who was about to open the door.
"Crookshanks is dead?" Ron asked hopefully.
Before Ron could actually get his hand around the doorknob, the door opened with a loud bang.
Hermione Granger emerged from it, her hair bushier than normal. She wasn't wearing her tie; instead something was clamped between her fingers. Ron and Harry couldn't distinguish what it was.
Hermione went pink when she saw them.
"Oh, hey, guys," she said, waving her free hand at them. "What's going on? Lots of homework tonight?"
"Yeah…" Harry said, raising his eyebrows at her. "Hermione, what?"
"Where's your tie?" Ron asked, pointing at her tieless collar shirt.
She opened her mouth to speak but her words were cut short when someone else stepped forward.
"What's going on here, Granger?" called a cold, unmistakable voice. Draco Malfoy followed Hermione, his hair slightly disheveled. Harry's and Ron's jaw dropped; their eyes traveled from Hermione to Draco, and then up his face, spotting a gold and scarlet tie tied around his head. He looked absolutely pleased with himself.
Ron couldn't form words. He grabbed Hermione's hand and forced it open; a green and silver tie fell from it and onto the floor.
Ron picked it up, looking shocked.
"Hermione… what? WHAT IS THIS?" He yelled, thrusting it under her nose. She went even pinker.
"It's a tie, obviously," she replied; despite her nervousness, she was able to speak with her usual know-it-all tone. "What'd you think it was?"
"I know what it is!" He shouted. "I'm not stupid! Why was this…?" He shook it again. "… in your hand? It's a Slytherin tie, Hermione!"
"Well done, Weasel-bee," Draco said, clapping his hands with a sardonic smirk on his pale face. "You know the House colors."
Harry came forward and yanked the Gryffindor tie off his head.
"Ouch! What was that for, Potter?"
"It's all tainted now," Harry complained, handing it to Ron.
"So, why give it to me?"
"You're already holding Malfoy's tie," he pointed out.
Ron gave a yelp of disgust and dropped both ties. "I don't want to know… actually, yes, I do. Hermione, what in the hell were doing in there with him?"
"Excuse me," Draco spoke up. "I do have a name."
Ron ignored him and continued glowering at Hermione, who stared back defiantly.
"You have no right to tell me who I can and cannot associate with, Ronald," she told him. Harry had to give her props; she was being as independent as she always was despite this whole mess. "Yes, Draco can be a jerk. A big one. And if he ever does anything to hurt me or you two, or any of my friends, I won't hesitate to snap at him But… I felt like this for a while. He's actually kind of sweet." Harry sighed in relief; at least Hermione was still the tough Hermione he knew and loved.
"Sweet? Sweet? Maybe if you covered him in chocolate…!" Ron stopped. "Thank you, Hermione, getting mental images here! Anyway… this is Malfoy we're talking about. And since when do you call him "Draco?"'
"Since a few weeks ago," Hermione said.
"A few weeks ago?" Harry spoke up. "That's how long this has been going on?"
"Our relationship didn't start until last week," Hermione admitted.
"You don't have to explain anything to him, Granger," Draco said, putting his arm around her. He kissed her cheek.
"Ah, come on!" Ron screamed. "Stop it, stop it!"
"What is going on here?" A soft voice asked.
Severus Snape was striding toward them, his robes billowing behind him, giving the impression of a bat. His black eyes scanned over Ron and Harry-they met Harry's green eyes for a moment-before finally settling on Draco and Hermione; Hermione was, if possible, even pinker than before. Draco's face actually changed a shade of red. "Ah, I see. Public displays of affection."
"Well…" Hermione started.
"Silence!" Snape barked. "Fifty points from Gryffindor." He made to walk away until Ron called after him.
"Hey! What's that all about? What about Draco?"
"What about him, Mr. Weasley?" Snape's tone was dangerous. It wasn't dangerous enough for Ron to back off, however.
"She's not the only showing affections. Draco was the one showing them with her!" Snape examined Draco.
"On your way," he told him curtly before turning to leave himself. He ignored Ron's protests as he walked down the stairs.
"That stupid ass!" Ron growled when Snape was out of sight and earshot.
"Ron!" Hermione shrieked. "You can't go calling teachers things like that."
"He didn't take any points from Slytherin when he can clearly see that Draco was in on it, too. Look at his hair!" Ron pointed at Draco's messy, white blonde hair.
Draco grinned. "Granger likes it, don't you, Granger?"
Hermione laughed as Draco nuzzled into her neck. Ron looked ready to get a machete and cut him down.
Harry didn't accept… at all, and Hermione knew that, but he didn't have the heart to tell her off. She was one of his best friends. She helped him so much along the way, and he wouldn't have been able to do half the things he did without her aid. Instead, he glared up at Draco and said, "You hurt her, and you'll have us to answer to. I don't want you dumping her just because you're afraid of losing your reputation."
"We're working up to that," Draco said. "Too afraid to show her off now, but soon it'll happen; count on that, Potter."
"We better get started on this homework, Harry," Ron said with much difficulty. "Going to take hours to finish. Hermione… meet us in the Common Room in five, okay?" They both glared at Draco as they walked away.
"Sure," she said as Ron and Harry continued their journey to the Gryffindor Common Room.
"Well, gotta run, Granger," Draco said, kissing her lightly on the lips. He picked up the discarded ties. "Here." He handed her hers.
"Better button up your shirt."
"I guess I better, huh?" Draco buttoned up his shirt before putting his tie on. Hermione was busying herself with hers. "Don't let them get you down," he added when she saw her frown slightly.
"I won't," she promised.
Draco kissed her again before heading down the stairs to the Slytherin Common Room. Hermione followed Ron and Harry's path.
As Draco made his way to the Common Room, he went past Snape's office.
Snape's eyes followed the young boy. He didn't dock points from Slytherin for two reasons. One: he favored his house. Two: He admired Draco's actions. Snape was unable to form a relationship with the girl he loved, a Muggle-born, much like Hermione. Draco was a pureblood, tied to a family that hated Muggle-borns, and yet, he was in love with one. Snape was tied to classmates who regarded Lily as garbage, and yet, he was in love with sighed; Draco sure was a brave young man. He only hoped the braveness wasn't hindered by the pureblood fanatics. One little slipup, and the relationship could be cut short.