Author's Note: This one-shot has now been betaed and has correct grammar! It's only taken me ten months to sort this out! A big thank you to mccargi for betaing this!
Remember, in That's Not My Dragon, when I said you were lucky it wasn't based on a pigeon trying drive a bus? Yeah, well, here you go! A one-shot based on that very own book. I couldn't resist this plot bunny
Disclaimer: I own neither Harry Potter, who belongs to the lovely JK Rowling or the very naughty pigeon in Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, who belongs to Mo Willems and Walker Books.
Don't Let Malfoy Drive the Bus
New Year's Eve 2001
Hermione hated New Year's Eve. Every year she said she was going to stay home and relax, and every year she let Harry and Ron convince her that she should go out with them and have fun. They claimed the night would not be the same without her. She didn't know why she couldn't just tell them no, as she always ended up being the sensible one having to get two incredibly inebriated wizards back to their homes. She inevitably had to use the Knight Bus and she hated the Knight Bus, especially on News Year's Eve. It was always full of drunken witches and wizards and, being the only sober passenger, she normally ended up having to help Stan and Ernie get everyone off at the right address.
She sighed as, once again, she had one arm around Harry, trying to stop him from falling over. She'd propped Ron up against the back entrance of the Muggle club they'd gone to, after he had vomited all over her brand new and incredibly expensive shoes. They would have to go straight into the bin.
She stuck out her wand arm and the Knight Bus popped into existence.
"'Ermione! I was wondering when you was going to flag us down. Later than usual this year," Stan said, grinning widely.
Another reason Hermione hated this evening was the fact that Stan Shunpike had a massive crush on her and kept hoping that this would be the year that she indulged him with a New Year's kiss. She hated looking at his disappointed face every year. She had enough trouble with Ron's puppy dog eyes without yet another pair to guilt her into doing things she really didn't want to do.
With Stan's help, Hermione heaved her annoyingly heavy best friends onto the bus, which was heaving with over-indulged witches and wizards. She sighed. It seemed that once again she was going to be running herself ragged to get them home - even though it wasn't her job - just so that she could get home before the sun rose.
She spent the next few hours doing helping Stan, despite the fact that the annoying conductor kept getting under her feet, causing more problems because he was showing off to try to impress her.
Finally, it was just her, Ron and Harry left. You'd think her best friends would have sobered up by now - but no, they were just as exasperatingly silly as usual.
"Look Hermininny, we're squeezing past all those Muggle cars as if they weren't there," Ron said giggling.
"Yes, Ronald, that is the point of the Knight Bus," she replied curtly.
She'd been stuck answering stupid observations for the last hour. To top it off, Ron kept slurring her name and adding extra letters to it. Why couldn't her two friends just pass out in a pile of their own vomit like any self-respecting drunk?
As they were about to finally get home, the Knight bus was hailed.
"Damn," Hermione muttered. She'd been so close to dumping Ron and Harry at Grimmauld Place and climbing into her comfortable bed. Now she'd have to spend at least another ten minutes with Stan staring at her adoringly. It freaked her out.
"Help!" came a pitiful cry from the side of bus.
Hermione and Stan got off the back of the bus and moved round. Hermione squinted at the sight of tall, dark wizard attempting to stand on what looked like a twisted ankle whilst clutching a toddler. He looked suspiciously familiar to Hermione.
"Zabini? Is that you?" she asked.
"Granger? Oh thank Merlin!" he exclaimed.
"What's wrong?" she asked again.
"I've turned my ankle and I'm in a fix," he replied.
"Hang on," she said. "I can sort that ankle out in a jiffy. Just stay still for me."
She pointed her wand at Zabini's ankle and muttered episkey. The bone crunched nastily. "No wonder you couldn't stand, your ankle was broken."
"Thanks a lot, Granger. Good job you were around."
Stan didn't like this turn of events at all. Ron and Harry were no competition. Everyone knew that Ron and Hermione had tried but failed at a relationship and Harry was happily engaged to Ginny Weasley. But this good-looking wizard who appeared to know Hermione was too much of a threat.
"Didja just flag us down for an instant 'ealing service or do you actually want to go somewhere?" Stan asked petulantly.
"Er… no, I need the Knight Bus to take us home," Zabini said, pointing to him and the toddler who had his face pushed into his neck.
The platinum blond hair on the toddler was confusing Hermione. That hair usually signified a Malfoy was present but, as far as she knew, Draco wasn't married and Narcissa was beyond the age of child bearing. Did that mean that either Draco or Lucius had had a child out of wedlock? Hermione smiled at that thought. How degrading for a Malfoy, for whom blood line and correct behaviour meant everything.
"Well that'll be one galleon and two sickles each then," Stan said.
Zabini quirked an eyebrow and Hermione just stared at Stan in shock.
"'Choo staring at?" Stan asked
"That's a bit extortionate isn't it? Last time I got the Knight Bus it was eleven sickles for an adult ticket and six for a minor," Zabini said.
"Er … well it's New Year's Eve. More expensive, innit," Stan said.
Hermione felt the need to intervene now. "Stan, if that was the case then why did you charge Ron, Harry and I the same amount as always?"
The bus conductor shuffled uncomfortably now and stared at his feet. "Get on then, one galleon for the pair of ya."
Zabini scoffed at the Knight Bus employee and handed over the money, following Hermione onto the bus.
"Granger, it's fortuitous that you happen to be here right now. I need your help," he said.
"Hey, Harry, isn't that that Slytherin bloke from Hoggywarts? You know the one who was in the Slug Club? Stuck up, good looking one?" Ron said blearily.
"Mm," Harry replied sleepily.
Hermione flushed in embarrassment. "Don't mind them. They're smashed and they talk complete rubbish when they are," she said in apology.
Zabini smirked at the two former Gryffindors. "The Death-trap Duo make terrible drunks? Who knew," he mocked.
She ignored the jibe, too tired to care and too curious about whom the child was. "So who does the child belong too? It has the Malfoy hair," she said.
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about," Zabini said, turning the toddler around to face Hermione.
"Is that Draco Malfoy?" she gasped as she looked into the blond's familiar features.
"Yep. We were at a New Year's Eve party when he ate something and suddenly turned into a toddler. I believe it was a Weasley product," Zabini explained as little Draco Malfoy buried his head in his neck once more.
"Hey, Ron, check this out. It's a mini-Malfoy," Harry called over to his mate.
Ron and Harry stared intently at the little boy, poking him every so often to check that he was real.
"Stop that!" Zabini yelled at them. "He's only little and you have to be gentle."
Harry and Ron just sniggered. Hermione groaned. Weasley Wizarding Wheezes were her personal nemesis and had been since the twins had started to test them out on students during her fifth year at Hogwarts. Since she'd taken up a teaching post at the school, she'd come to rue the day that Harry had donated his Tri-Wizard winnings to the twins. George Weasley had poured his heart into his shop after the death of his twin and he'd come up with some truly twisted products. It appeared that Malfoy had fallen foul of one. So much for her retiring to bed before the sun came up.
"Hang on; shouldn't the bus be moving again by now?" Zabini asked.
Stan, who'd been sulking by the door, watching Hermione talking to the handsome wizard, came over. "We're staying 'ere for a bit. Ern's having 'is break, innit."
"Bus!" little Draco cried pulling away from Zabini's neck.
"Yes, Draco, we're on a bus," his friend replied.
"Bus!" little Draco squealed excitedly.
"Yes, we've established that, Draco."
"Bus no move!" little Draco pouted, clambering up onto his feet on Zabini's lap.
"Hey, careful! You nearly trod on something precious then!" Zabini yelled.
Little Draco started to cry and Zabini tried to soothe him over his screaming but to no avail.
Harry put his hands over his ears. "Make it stop. It's giving me a headache," he moaned.
"I can't. He's not listening to me!" Zabini yelled back, exasperated.
Hermione sighed. Men were useless.
"Give him here!" she ordered Zabini, who happily relinquished the sobbing toddler.
"There, there, Draco. It's okay. Uncle Blaise didn't mean to shout at you," she said soothingly, stroking his back.
Little Draco began to calm down, putting his head on Hermione's shoulder and snuggling into her hair. He turned and gave Zabini the patented Malfoy glare.
She laughed. "I see some things don't change whether he's big or small."
Little Draco started to squirm around on Hermione's lap. "Bus no move. Want bus move," he said.
"We have to wait for the driver, Draco," she explained patiently.
"I move bus," the toddler exclaimed gleefully.
"No, Draco, you are not old enough to drive the bus," she ruled out.
"I move bus. I want move bus," the little boy said, the pout coming back out to play.
Hermione put on her best firm voice. "Draco, little boys do not drive buses, only grown ups do."
"Vroom vroom," little Draco said, pretending to turn a steering wheel. "Beep, beep," he continued, pressing his nose like a car horn.
She smiled down at the little boy. Malfoy made a very adorable toddler.
"Pwease, I move bus," little Draco said, as if he could read Hermione's mind and giving her a winsome smile.
"I said no. Now listen to Aunty Hermione," Hermione said.
Ron and Harry burst into giggles at that. "Ha ha ha, did you hear that, Harry, she called herself Aunty Herminny. She's Malfoy's aunt, ha ha ha," Ron laughed.
Hermione rolled her eyes at her two best friends, who, when drunk, had the mental maturity of a toddler.
Little Draco drew back into Hermione arms and looked at the two hysterical boys. "Me no like," he said solemnly.
"No, they are very silly boys," she replied.
"They have shit for brains," Zabini scoffed.
"Shit! Shit! Shit!" little Draco crowed loudly.
Hermione glared at Zabini. "You have to watch what you are saying around little ears," she said sternly. "Draco, no, don't say that, it's a bad word."
"Bad. Naughty! You naughty," he said to Zabini.
"Where are you taking Malfoy?" Hermione asked.
"I don't know. There's no one at Malfoy Manor and you can't leave him alone like that. I can't take him to mine, I share a flat with Theo Nott and Adrian Pucey, who knows what depraved sh… stuff they have happening there," he replied.
He looked at Hermione calculatingly.
"Oh no, Blaise Zabini, you are not landing me with a toddler!" she exclaimed.
"Come on, Granger. You're the only responsible person I know. You're a teacher and everything and you already know what to do with him," he pleaded.
"It's Draco Malfoy, he'll probably hex me when this spell works off," she replied.
But Zabini wasn't paying attention to Hermione. He knew what he had to do to get out of looking after a petulant toddler. "Hey, Draco, do you want to go and stay the night with Aunty Hermione?" He asked the little boy.
"Miney! I want Miney!" little Draco shouted.
Hermione tried to hand little Draco back to Zabini, unhappy with the outcome of this conversation, but the stubborn toddler clung to her and started crying loudly.
"No, no. Want Miney!" he sobbed.
"Looks like it's settled, Granger," Zabini said smugly.
"Move bus!" little Draco demanded.
Luckily for all concerned, Ern came back from his break and started the Knight Bus. The excitement of the engine turning on distracted little Draco from the tantrum that he was about to throw, leaving only Hermione with mixed feelings about the bus moving once more.
Soon it was just Hermione and Zabini left on the bus. Harry and Ron had been dropped of at Grimmauld Place with a modicum of trouble. Hermione had had no compunction about roping Zabini in to carrying both boys to their doors, especially as she was stuck with little Draco, who refused to leave her arms in case he was parted with her. So she couldn't manoeuvre either drunk wizard at the same time.
"Serves you right for landing me with your friend," she said when Zabini grumbled at her. "And he won't thank you for it when he turns back into being his usual prattish self."
"Salazar's rod, Granger, you are so sanctimonious. I don't know what Draco sees in you," he grouched before realising what he said and clamping his hand over his mouth.
She narrowed her eyes at the Slytherin. "What do you mean 'what Draco sees in me?'" she demanded.
"Nothing, nothing. I just meant little Draco seems so attached to you right now," he rushed out.
She wasn't falling for that blatant lie. However, she was confused by Zabini's comment but he had a look on his face that clearly showed that he wasn't going to give her anymore.
"I don't believe you for one minute," she said.
"I don't know what you mean, Granger. This is your stop isn't it?" he said, happily getting rid of her and the little brat.
"What time are you coming around tomorrow to pick him up?"
"Er… how about never o'clock," he replied.
"Could you get any lamer?" she snapped. "Don't think I'm having him all tomorrow if he's still a toddler. I'll bring him back to you."
Hermione carried little Draco off the bus, who happily waved at Stan and screamed 'bus' several more times before the Knight Bus popped out of view.
"Thanks for the warning, Granger. I'll make sure I put up the strongest wards possible," Blaise muttered to himself.
Hermione heaved a sigh of relief as she made into her flat at last. She was more than positive that this would definitely be the last time that she went out for New Year's Eve. She didn't care what emotional blackmail Ron and Harry tried to pull on her. They could designate each other to be the responsible friend next year. She was going to stay in with a good book.
A little tug on her hand reminded her of the presence of little Draco.
"Milk?" he asked pitifully.
Hermione held his hand and walked into her kitchen. She got milk out of the fridge, and then hunted around for a cup before realising that he probably needed a beaker, so she transfigured a glass into a beaker before pouring the milk in, snapping the lid shut and giving it to little Draco to drink.
He slurped on it happily, sleepily rubbing his eyes. It was way past the bedtime for little boys.
"Come on, Draco, it's time for bed," she said.
Little Draco started to look around her flat.
"What are you looking for?" she asked curiously.
"Dagon. Where's dagon?" little Draco asked, putting his hands out in a questioning manner.
Hermione surmised that Malfoy used to sleep with a toy dragon as a child. "What does your dragon look like?" she asked.
"Like that," little Draco said, pointing to a red cushion and then putting his hands apart to show that it was of medium size. Hermione turned to the corner and quickly transfigured a red, medium sized dragon out of a spare cushion. She hoped that she had it generally right as she handed it to little Draco, who happily accepted it.
"Bed," he said, clutching his dragon and holding his hand out for her to hold.
Unfortunately, Hermione lived in a one-bedroom flat. She kept chanting to herself that Draco was only a toddler so it wasn't weird to share a bed with him and she prayed that he stayed a toddler long enough for them both to sleep.
She settled him down on the side of the bed closest to the wall, tucking both him and the dragon in. She then settled herself down. She was just drifting off to sleep when she felt the weight of little Draco snuggling onto her shoulder. She smiled sleepily. Who knew that Malfoy as a toddler could be so adorable?
Hermione woke up the next morning and stretched blissfully. She'd slept like the dead and now felt incredibly relaxed. It took a minute for her mind to catch up and she scrambled out of bed quickly when she realised that little Draco wasn't in the bed with her. She couldn't hear the sound of a toddler wreaking havoc, which made her panic, thinking that he may have fallen out of a window or managed to open the front door somehow.
She dashed into the living room, making sure she did a quick sweep of the bathroom just in case. There on the sofa sitting silently and staring into space was the Draco Malfoy she remembered. Bollocks, she thought. Why couldn't he have just stayed a toddler for a little while longer until she got him back to Zabini?
"Malfoy," she said, disturbing him from his reverie.
He turned his head slowly to look at her. "Granger."
"How long have you been awake?" she asked, a little disconcerted at finding the full-grown Malfoy sitting calmly in her flat.
"A couple of hours. The transformation back to my normal size woke me up. It was incredibly painful. Something, I feel, I should inform George Weasley about, although he'll probably be glad as it's me," he stated.
Hermione wanted to defend her friend but she realised that George wouldn't feel any remorse at causing Malfoy pain, intended or otherwise.
"Er… well I guess I should explain how you got here," she said nervously. She really wasn't looking forward to this, knowing how the blond could get.
"It's alright, I remember last night perfectly well. Through the memories of a toddler but its crystal clear," he replied.
"Oh, well that's good, I guess," she replied, at a little loss as to what to say.
Malfoy just shot her an enigmatic look. He stood up and faced her.
"I should be off now. I need to find Blaise and smack him around the head. Twice," he said.
"Why twice?" she asked, a little confused.
"Once for me for ditching me as soon as he could and once for you for being an arse and leaving you with the baby."
She couldn't help but smile at that. It was nice of Malfoy to recognise that she had been stuck with him.
"I must say; it was incredibly nice of you to take me in and treat me as well as you did. I haven't been nice to you during the time that you've known me so thanks for that, Granger," he said.
She blushed. Her actions did seem super compassionate when put that way. "Well, it's not as if we've run into each other much since Hogwarts. I think I've seen you twice down Diagon Alley and I'm not one to hold schoolyard grudges."
Malfoy simply smiled at her, the first time he'd ever done so. "Thanks anyway."
He waved casually at her and disappeared out of her door. Hermione was left feeling a little bereft and deflated. She didn't really know what to do with herself now. She wandered into the kitchen and made herself a cup of tea.
A week later and Hermione still didn't know what to make of her New Year's Eve adventures or of that strange conversation with Malfoy. She'd been even more baffled when a beautiful bouquet of winter carnations and chrysanthemums were delivered to her flat a day later. The note briefly thanked her again and was signed by Malfoy. She smiled. She loved flowers but she rarely received any. People thought that just because she was rational she didn't have a romantic side but flowers were decidedly welcome no matter whom they were from.
A few days after the New Year, she'd been surprised by a contrite Blaise Zabini showing up in her flat. He didn't attempt to hide the fact that he didn't want to be there and that Malfoy had threatened him to make him go and apologise to Hermione for leaving her with a toddler. Hermione, being the forgiving person that she was, let him off easily, which he was openly relieved about. He'd then gone on to share how Malfoy had stormed into his flat on New Year's Day and berated him for being a prick.
She couldn't help but be more than a little touched at how thoughtful Malfoy had been. She was drawn back time and time again to Zabini's sentence on the Knight Bus about him seeing something in her. She began to wonder if this could possibly be on the romantic side and was slightly horrified to discover that she wished that it was. Maybe her New Year's resolution should be to work less and date more. Then she wouldn't be over-analysing the simple act of receiving a bunch of flowers in gratitude for her kindness.
Hermione didn't bump into Malfoy until mid-February. She'd hoped that she might see him in passing in Hogsmeade but she didn't. She didn't get any more owls or flowers from him, either. She couldn't help but feel a little disappointed and berated herself for it. She was just feeling lonely now that Harry was marrying Ginny this summer and Ron was in a steady relationship with Demelza Robbins whilst she had no one. In fact, she hadn't had anyone since a disastrous few dates with Ernie Macmillan back when she was nineteen. Since then, she'd spent her time focusing on her career, deciding that there was plenty of time for romance later. Now, she was beginning to feel that maybe she should go for a more balanced life.
Hermione was supervising the February trip to Hogsmeade. As per usual, it was full of romantic couples looking to celebrate St. Valentine's Day with a trip to Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop. She couldn't help but giggle a little as she remembered Harry's trip there with Cho Chang in their fifth year. He'd told her all about it in excruciating detail one boring winter's night when they were hunting for the Horcruxes.
"Giggling to yourself in the middle of Hogsmeade? Not a good look for a Hogwarts' professor," drawled a familiar voice behind her.
Hermione spun round and found herself blushing a little under the grey-eyed gaze of Draco Malfoy.
"Malfoy, you scared me half to death. It's not good to go round sneaking up on people," she said.
"Sorry," he smirked. "Slytherin. I can't help it."
She tried to give him her best McGonagall-style look but ended up smiling at him.
"So you've been given the short straw in trying to supervise amorous couples near St. Valentine's Day," he remarked.
"I don't mind. It's better than the first Hogsmeade weekend of the year. Then you have to deal with all the over-excited third-years rushing around."
She shuddered at the memory of it. No one wanted to supervise excited thirteen year olds at any time.
"So, what does supervision mean? Do you have to stand around here all day?" he asked.
Her heartbeat picked up. Was he asking for a particular reason? "No, I can pretty much supervise from anywhere. It's not like anyone will actually need me."
Malfoy smiled. "Fancy getting something to drink?"
She looked doubtfully at Madam Puddifoot's. "What here?" she asked.
The blond started laughing. "No way! I wouldn't be seen dead in there, especially around St. Valentine's Day. Pansy was always trying to trick me into taking her there during our school days."
"Thank goodness," she said, breathing a sigh of relief.
"How about a Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks?" he suggested.
She looked a little unsure and again Malfoy surprised her by being able to read her accurately.
"Don't worry; I've smoothed things over with Madam Rosmerta. She was remarkably understanding considering the circumstances."
Hermione flushed at reminding Malfoy about such a time in his life. They walked towards the inn together, attracting a fair bit of attention from the students.
"Oooh, Professor, got a date?" yelled one giddy sixth-year girl. "And with Draco Malfoy, nice choice, miss," she finished with a wink.
"She's a Slytherin," Hermione muttered to Malfoy.
"I know. She's Arabella Flint, Marcus's cousin. She was always sneaking into his house when she was ten or so to watch us play Quidditch. I think she may have had a crush on me," he informed her.
She giggled. Maybe she should tap Malfoy up for more information on her Slytherin students. Some of the older ones in particular still liked to sneer at her when they thought she wasn't looking. Arabella wasn't one of them. She actually liked Hermione a lot and would often drop by her office for a chat when lessons finished for the day.
"She's a nice girl. By far the nicest Slytherin in her year," she said.
He gave her a measured look. "Do you get a lot of trouble from the Slytherins?" he asked.
"Not really. Some of the older students try and give me some grief. The ones that remember me from our Hogwarts days," she said.
Malfoy frowned. "Let me know who they are next time and I'll help you out. I know all of these guys and their families. They should respect you as their professor."
Hermione looked at him. "Who are you and what have you done with the real Draco Malfoy?" she asked teasingly.
"I grew up," he smiled. "War has a funny way of doing that."
Hermione grew sober. "Yes, it does."
Malfoy opened the door for her and escorted her to a secluded table towards the back of the pub. He asked what she wanted and went off to collect it from the bar. She couldn't help but watch him every inch of the way. His behaviour towards her was surprising and not at all expected. She couldn't help but replay Zabini's words over in her head until she made her mind up. She was going to seize the moment and just outright ask him about it.
Malfoy placed the Butterbeer in front of her and she thanked him and let him get settled.
"So, I've got something to ask you," she started.
He quirked an eyebrow at that but gestured for her to continue.
"Zabini said something to me when you were a toddler that has been puzzling me ever since. He said that he couldn't understand what you saw in me," she blurted out.
There was a silence at the table and Hermione couldn't find the courage to look at him. Instead she ran her finger around her glass repeatedly, hoping he was going to reply and not just walk out.
Malfoy put a finger under her chin, tipping it up. "If you're going to ask me a question like that, you could at least look at me," he said.
She wanted more than anything to return to staring at her drink but he'd issued the challenge and she was a Gryffindor through and through. She looked up into his grey eyes and saw his amusement.
"Is that all Blaise said?" he asked.
"Pretty much, He tried to backtrack pretty quickly with some rubbish about meaning little Draco but I'm not that stupid," she responded.
"And there you have what I see in you. I admire you, Hermione, you're smart, you're feisty and you're beautiful," he said simply.
Hermione blushed bright red. That was pretty much the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her and coming from Malfoy it was even stranger. She didn't know what to say back and he picked up on this yet again and changed the subject.
"So, I don't think I ever asked you what you teach," he said.
"Oh, Arithmancy," she replied.
From there they spent a carefree hour or so chatting about this and that. Hermione learnt more about Malfoy than she had in going to school with him for six years. He didn't bring the conversation back to his view of her and she was too confused by what she felt to want it to stray back to such dangerous waters.
They parted amicably and Hermione kept the silly smile on her face all the way back to the castle.
The actual St. Valentine's Day came around that year on Tuesday. Hermione had finished her last class of the day and was just sorting through all the homework she'd received. She'd also received a couple of Valentine's Day cards from some of her students. They made her smile, especially the ones from the younger years that were very cute. There was a knock on her door and Arabella Flint poked her head around.
"Hello, Professor, are you finished for the day?"
She smiled and nodded. "Of course, come in, Arabella. How may I help you?"
It appeared that the Slytherin girl had come on a flimsy excuse of discussing a homework assignment. She was a straight O student so Hermione didn't buy for a second that she was confused by the latest homework Hermione had set. Her answer came ten minutes later when a large spring bouquet of flowers magically appeared on Hermione's desk in a cloud of rose petals and gold hearts.
"Wow, Professor! Who are they from?" Arabella asked, snatching up the card before Hermione could even react. She was still stuck in a stupor, staring at the beautiful flowers.
The spirit of spring for Hogwarts' beautiful breath of fresh air – DM
"That has to be one of the most romantic things I've ever read, Professor," Arabella squealed excitedly, waving the card around Hermione's head, who finally managed to take it off her to read herself.
She felt herself blush and the return of the silly smile.
"I take it it's from Draco Malfoy," her student continued at breakneck speed.
Hermione looked up and gave her favourite student a knowing look. "As if you didn't plan this with Malfoy!" Hermione accused.
Arabella tried to look innocent but burst out giggling half way through. "Okay, you got me. I told him where you'd be around this time and, of course, made sure I was present for when the flowers would turn up. You two make such a dreamy couple and your story is so romantic," she gushed, in the way only a sixteen-year-old girl can.
"Well, you can stop getting so sappy, we're not a couple. We've only seen each other a few times since we left Hogwarts to fight in the war. On opposing sides, I may add," she said firmly.
Arabella only smiled cheekily. "I bet you'll be seeing him a lot more in the future," she said before waltzing out the room.
Hermione rolled her eyes at the young girl's dramatics. However, she found herself hoping that Arabella would turn out to be right.
New Year's Eve 2002
Hermione sighed in bliss as she popped another chocolate in her mouth and snuggled back down under the duvet on the sofa. She was doing exactly what she wanted to do this year, which was stay in and enjoying herself rather than trying to get two very drunk wizards safely home from yet another over-crowded and over-priced club.
Harry and Ron had been rather unsuccessful in attempting to persuade her out, probably because Harry was at home with his new wife. Ron had pouted at both his friends, called them stuck-in-the-mud bores, and waltzed out with Seamus, Neville, and Dean. Hermione had to admit that he hadn't tried very hard to persuade her, unlike Harry, probably because he was worried that he was going to be stuck spending his New Year's Eve with Hermione's new accessory, Draco - or the "bleeding ferret" as Ron so affectionately called him.
Hermione tucked herself further into Draco's side and smiled blissfully up at him.
"Are you sure you're not bored, love?" he asked her, for the millionth time. "I can always take you to that new restaurant in Hogsmeade. It's the place to be seen this year."
Hermione shook her head and pouted. "No, I have everything I want right here," she said pointing to the film, her chocolates (Honeyduke's finest, courtesy of Draco) and, of course, her handsome blond beau.
She leaned up and kissed him.
"I really lucked out when you said you'd give me a chance," Draco purred into her ear before successfully distracting her from the film playing on the TV set.