Title: A Kind of Friend
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: Draco Malfoy, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, Blaise Zabini.
Summary: In which Harry unwillingly becomes Blaise's partner in crime and Draco and Hermione becomes so much more.
Word Count: 6 129
Author's Note: Thanks to my beta shag_me_draco.
Distribution: Link only please.
Written: September 2010 - For sarahyyy the dramione_duet's (at LiveJournal) Second Duet Challenge. Her request is at the end.
A Kind of Friend (1/1)
Hermione let out a near growl as her eyes narrowed even further on Draco's. They were standing on opposite sides of a small study table, both leaning into the other as they argued passionately.
Harry and Blaise shared a look across the table – Harry motioned towards Draco with a hint Blaise choose to miss, knowing that Draco wouldn't appreciate him interfering. Still, he was prepared to step in and stop them if things went too far, preferably before any wands were drawn. They were in the library after all, and not one of them could afford to be banned from it with their N.E.W.T.s coming up.
"You're just so…" Hermione struggled to find the proper word to describe him, "aggravating," she finally settled on, somewhat lamely compared to the things she'd already called him within the past hour.
"Admit it, Granger," Draco smirked, "I get you all hot and bothered and that's why your knickers are all up in a twist."
"My knickers," Hermione's eyes flashed dangerously, "are not in a twist. And even if they were, it would not be over you!"
"Ahh, but you're not denying I get you hot and bothered." Draco winked at her shamelessly.
"Oh no," Harry groaned, unheard.
"Guys–" Blaise tried, wincing in fearful anticipation as Hermione leaned forward over the table, her face a magnificent shade of red.
Draco leaned back as she advanced, his smirk diminishing in intensity at the look in her eyes.
"You bother me, it is true, but it is not – not – in any way, shape or form, because you get me hot," she hissed. Picking up her book, quill and bag in one quick move, Hermione left the table with a flounce of her wild hair. "Blaise, we'll work on the project just the two of us tomorrow at lunch and Harry, I'll see you at dinner," she called over her shoulder before rounding a bookcase and leaving their sight.
All was silent after she'd left, but for the sudden scraping of Draco's chair as he sat back down and moved it closer to the table, his head down. Harry and Blaise both stared at him.
"What?" he asked when he finally noticed, flipping a page in his Advanced Magical Theory book absently.
"Nice going, Malfoy," Blaise said. "This project is due in just two weeks and thanks to you and your big mouth we've not even decided on which aspect of time travel we're to focus on. I don't know why I even suggested we work together, like we ever could the way you and Granger go at it."
Draco shot him a pointed look of warning, inclining his head in Harry's direction. Blaise rolled his eyes.
"No more," he said, just as pointedly.
"Some friend you are," Draco muttered.
They stared at each other in a silent glaring contest until Harry spoke up, looking between the two boys. "Am I missing something here?"
"No," Draco and Blaise replied in unison.
"Great," Harry said, not believing them but also not caring, "then maybe we could get working on our project, Malfoy? Because in case you missed it, Hermione just dumped us and unlike her and Zabini, you and I have Quidditch practises to work around and as such have even less time than they do to finish it," Harry reminded him.
Blaise sighed and stood. "I guess I'll just leave you two to it then," he said, looking at Draco. "Maybe I can find Hermione and comfort her with the reassurance she won't have to work with you again."
Draco narrowed his eyes at him in a silent warning, at which Blaise rolled his eyes once more. "Fine, I'll just see you at dinner then."
He walked off in the direction Hermione had, cursing his best friend and the silly crush the blond harboured for Hermione Granger silently under his breath.
"Why do you needle her so much?" Blaise asked Draco later that evening as they both got ready for bed, still annoyed that he'd had to delay the start, and thus finish, of his Advanced Magical Theory project yet another day because of his best friend.
"Mind your own business," Draco muttered, turning his back on Blaise.
Blaise twisted him around with a hand on his shoulder. "It's affecting my grade now, Draco. You have to stop this."
Draco didn't reply and Blaise sighed.
"Seriously, just ask the girl out already," Blaise said in a tired voice, having had a similar argument with Draco many times before. They never lead anywhere.
"She wouldn't agree to it," Draco said dejectedly, shaking off Blaise's hand.
Blaise threw his hands up in the air in frustration. "And no wonder, with the way you're always trying to get a rise out of her by arguing about the stupidest things you can think of. I mean really, her foot was encroaching on your foot–space under the table? What was that about?"
Draco turned his back on Blaise again, removing his undershirt as he did so. "Nothing, it was nothing."
Blaise sighed. "I meant it you know; if this is how you're going to act, then I'm not going to help you be close to her any more. I've already done enough by befriending her for your sake, but I actually like her, Draco."
"Fine," Draco bit out, turning off the flickering light at his bedside. "Good night."
"Good night," Blaise returned quietly as he watched Draco get behind his bed curtains. Letting out another sigh, Blaise too got into bed. But he couldn't sleep and somehow, he had a feeling that in the bed right next to his, Draco lay awake as well.
Blaise came back to the study table he shared with Hermione and frowned as he noticed that in the time he'd been away, someone had taken up residence one table over. He dumped the books on the table, startling Hermione out of her writing, before he marched over to confront Draco.
"What are you doing here?" Blaise hissed, throwing a glance back at Hermione. He sent her a reassuring smile when he found her looking at them.
"I'm studying," Draco replied in his normal tone of voice. "Same as you."
Blaise stared at him in disbelief, but Draco simply smiled up at him innocently, blinking slowly.
"Fine," Blaise finally said. "But you stay here," he pointed to the chair in which Draco sat, "and do not bother us."
"I would never," Draco replied, sounding affronted at the mere suggestion of him not behaving.
Blaise made a non–committable sound before he turned back to join Hermione at their table.
"What was that about?" Hermione asked as he sat down.
"Nothing," Blaise answered, throwing a look in Draco's direction. "It was nothing."
Hermione looked at Draco as well, just in time for him to look up at her; he immediately looked back down at his book, but Hermione, her expression unreadable, continued to study his profile a few moments longer.
"All right," Blaise said, breaking her out of her thoughts. "Let's get started then." He picked up a book at random and opened it to the index page.
"Yes," Hermione agreed, shifting in her seat to get more comfortable.
They worked well, quickly and efficiently, and though Blaise sometimes had to recall Hermione to the present because he found her studying Draco rather than the book in front of her, by the time they decided to break for supper, they'd gotten a lot of work done.
They rose to leave and Blaise wasn't surprised in the least when he saw Draco follow their example a moment later.
"Think we can finish it tomorrow, if we meet early enough?" Blaise asked Hermione, turning his back on Draco. He'd watched his best friend moon over Hermione Granger for far too long already.
Hermione agreed and they decided to meet up after lunch the following day. "I'm so glad it wasn't a Hogsmeade weekend," Hermione said. "Otherwise I would've felt too much of a knob for staying indoors working on a project instead of enjoying my freedom."
Blaise laughed in agreement and turned to leave. He came face to face with Draco, standing just behind him waiting. Blaise shot him a warning look, trying to convey with his eyes to the blond that he should take it easy and behave himself.
"Malfoy," Hermione greeted with a nod before she stepped around both boys and left.
"Granger," Draco returned after her, trying to mimic her tone. He watched her until she disappeared from view and then turned back to Blaise with a sigh.
"I'm not going to help you," Blaise warned. He shouldered his bag and began to walk out of the library, Draco following closely behind.
"What kind of a friend are you?" Draco grumbled.
"The kind of friend who has tried in the past to help you get the girl, without any results other than you behaving like an ass," Blaise retorted. When he saw Draco was about to argue, he interrupted. "Like last Christmas, when I managed to get us both into the Gryffindor party and you were going to compliment her dress and instead accidentally told her she looked like your aunt. Bellatrix."
"Fine," Draco agreed, downcast.
"Or that time in Potions when I paired up with Longbottom against my better judgement so you could work with Hermione and you accidentally dropped flobberworm down her robe."
"Fine," Draco agreed again, more forcefully.
"I could go on."
"I'd rather you didn't."
"I mean it though, Malfoy. No more. This," he motioned toward the study tables they'd just vacated and the closeness between them, "is not happening again."
"I don't understand why you're being so negative," Draco said. "It's not like I'm actually asking for your help."
Blaise's eyes widened and he stopped in his tracks, stopping Draco with a hand. "We have been over this, many times, for two years, Draco. I wish you'd make a move – I wish you'd let me set you up with her. But I'm afraid to, because if I did, you'd probably just continue to act like a complete ass towards her and things would never be resolved. She's a friend of mine now and she deserves better.
"You want to be close to her? Fine, but I'm not helping you out again. I can't deal with your whining and bitching over her. Or, worse yet – how depressed you get whenever the two of you have had an argument – an argument which you've started – because you see it as proof that she hates you."
"That's not even a little true," Draco denied.
"It is very much true." Blaise sighed. "You know what? Since you refuse to forget about her, as I see it, you have two choices; either you step up and make a move or, I will do it for you," he threatened. He began walking away from Draco.
"Wait, what?" Draco called after him, shocked. He hurried to follow Blaise through the library. "You wouldn't… make a move on her yourself would you?"
"I don't know," Blaise said, enjoying the panic he was sure grew within Draco as he spoke. "I mean, we've become quite close, she and I, in the past year thanks to you, and with as much as you've spoken about her I've… come to see her in a new light. She really is quite pretty, isn't she?"
Blaise turned to watch Draco over his shoulder, stopping when he realised Draco had. He rolled his eyes at the shocked look on Draco's face. "Oh honestly, I'm kidding. What kind of a friend do you take me for? I'd never try and woo your girl."
Draco eyed him suspiciously, but the murderous look in his eyes disappeared. "See that you do not."
"I have plenty of ladies waiting for my attention as it is, I don't need your future wife too," Blaise assured him.
"Ah yes, I forgot," Draco rolled his eyes as they resumed walking towards the Dining Hall, "you're a sexy beast."
"Damned straight," Blaise agreed with a laugh.
Just before they entered the Hall, Draco stopped Blaise with a hand on his arm. "Do you think she'd say yes? If I don't make her mad when I ask her out?"
Blaise paused and remembered the way Hermione had acted around Draco lately; how she seemed to thrive on their arguments as much as he did, but became unreasonably subdued afterwards and how, just that very same day, watched Draco nearly as much as he'd been watching her.
"I don't know," he answered honestly. "I think you have a pretty fair chance though. Are you going to find out?"
Draco took a deep breath. "Would you help me?"
"What kind of a friend do you think I am?" Blaise asked rhetorically. "Of course I will."
Blaise clapped Draco on the shoulder before he entered the Hall. He quickly spotted Hermione at her table, and, as Blaise watched her stare right past him at the boy walking in through the doors just behind him, he upped Draco's chances from I don't know to I'm going to make sure.
"Potter," Blaise called down the hallway. Several heads turned; none of them Harry's. Blaise repeated the call twice more before he finally caught Harry's attention. He in turn waited patiently for Blaise to come down the long hallway. "We need to talk," Blaise said and unceremoniously pulled Harry into an empty bathroom.
"Ookay," Harry said suspiciously as Blaise made sure they were alone in the room. "What's up?"
"Granger and Malfoy," Blaise said, "how do we make it happen?"
Harry blinked. "I'm sorry; I thought I just heard you ask me how to get Hermione and Draco Malfoy together."
"As in, into a couple," Harry continued.
Blaise nodded again.
"With each other," he finished.
Blaise nodded once more.
Harry shifted on his feet. "Yeah, I don't think that's possible."
"Sure it is; Draco's been half in love with her for years and I've noticed the way Hermione looks at him when she thinks no one is watching."
"I have noticed an increasing amount of staring," Harry observed, "but that doesn't mean there's anything more there. I mean, Hermione has been very vocal about her hate for him."
Blaise nodded. "Don't you think perhaps a little too vocal?"
"Well yeah, it does seem a bit excessive sometimes, but I just figured–"
"Potter," Blaise interrupted, "I'm doing this with or without your help. It'd just be better for Hermione if you were a part of it."
"Are you forcing me to join in on a ridiculous scheme on the premise that Hermione might otherwise suffer?" Harry asked suspiciously.
"I am," Blaise admitted.
"Such a Slytherin," Harry muttered.
"Look," Blaise said, "it's very simple. We'll try and get them together. If nothing happens, then nothing happens. But I'm sick and tired of listening to Draco whine about her but not doing anything to try and get her, even after he told me he would, and as his best friend, I'd kind of like to–"
"Help him," Harry agreed with a nod, thinking of Ron's past love troubles.
"Mostly I'd like to not end up in jail for his murder."
"You're a strange breed, Zabini," Harry said.
"I've heard worse," Blaise shrugged. "You in or what?"
"As long as Hermione doesn't realise what we're doing, I'm in," Harry said. "And, if she resists, because she really isn't interested, then there's nothing keeping me from continuing trying to force the issue."
The two boys shook hands.
It was a mere coincidence that the lights overhead flickered just as they did.
Blaise had felt hopeful in being joined in his quest to help Draco get the girl, especially as the person joining him was the girl in question's best friend.
What he hadn't counted on however was Hermione's ability to resist a so obviously – to him at least – smitten and overly charming Draco Malfoy.
His and Harry's first joint attempt at getting the two stubborn would be lovers together had gone off worse than hoped for, but better than expected; convincing Draco that he and Harry should join Blaise and Hermione's study sessions had been easy – to convince Hermione of the same had been less so.
She'd reluctantly sat down at the table opposite Draco and proceeded to ignore him for the full hour they'd been seated together, after which Hermione had found an excuse to leave.
Draco had stared after her and Harry had watched him as he did so – only then finally convinced he was doing the right thing by agreeing to help Blaise help Draco woo Hermione.
At dinner that evening, Harry spoke to Hermione and with a few chosen words, got her to speak of Draco – which she did, but not at all in a flattering manner.
Still, Harry had seen the way her eyes had been drawn to the blond multiple times over the course of dinner and, surprised at himself for not having noticed it earlier, he felt certain her protests and adamant dislike of the boy were just a little too forceful to be fully sincere.
Satisfied with his discovery, Harry ate his desert with a smile on his face and a feeling that Hermione, if she ever found out what he'd done, would end up thanking him.
Their fourth attempt at locking them in a small broom closet together failed miserably from the start. They were thwarted by Peeves before they'd even been able to lure Hermione into the right corridor, because Peeves, observing Harry and Blaise and their sneaking about and whispering to each other, alerted the authorities who showed up and let Draco out of the closet he'd been shut into. Because little was as fun to Peeves as getting others into trouble.
Their Advanced Magical Theory project finished, Blaise and Harry had to find more creative ways to bring Draco and Hermione together outside of class, which had lead to a regular study session every other day after class.
Blaise had given Draco a stern talking with and though he did behave better, he and Hermione still argued.
Blaise was beginning to suspect they both preferred it that way.
One day, just before their scheduled study session, Ron cornered Harry after witnessing him and Blaise's hushed conversation outside the library doors. Suspicious, he'd accused Harry of nefarious plans involving a Slytherin – and not him, as they always had before.
But Harry, not wanting to deal with Ron's possible reaction to finding out just what Harry was up to, lied and said it was for a school project. Ron, who didn't share the same classes Blaise and Harry did, had no choice but to unhappily accept it as truth.
But his suspicions remained.
Two months and multiple failed plans later, Harry and Blaise had an emergency meeting in the second stall of the boy's third floor north bathroom.
"I'm at my wits end here. I'm trying to do the right thing, but they are so uncooperative. Can't they see we're trying to make them both happy? I'm at a point where I'm seriously considering drinking Polyjuice potion and kiss Draco myself! Maybe then he'd get the freaking hint that she's interested," Blaise complained as he stalked back and forth in the small stall.
"Yeah, but it takes a month to brew a Polyjuice potion, and we don't have that kind of time," Harry said with a sigh, pressing up against the wall least Blaise step on his feet. Again.
"Erm, yeah," Blaise shifted. "I might have a stash."
Harry paused. "You … have a stash of Polyjuice potion? Why?"
"Well you can't expect me to tell you, can you?" Blaise replied. "It's not exactly allowed."
"But we couldn't use it," Harry said unconvincingly. "Could we?" He looked at Blaise.
"You're too much of a Gryffindor sometimes. Of course we can," Blaise said. "It's brilliant and I can't believe I didn't come up with it sooner."
"You're not going to Polyjuice yourself into Hermione," Harry warned.
"Please, if she found out–"
"She would," Harry interjected.
"–she'd hex me dead," Blaise continued, ignoring Harry's input.
"So then what, you'll Polyjuice yourself as Malfoy?" Harry asked.
"What good would that do? Hermione is probably ready for him to make a move, but he's too much of a nancy to actually do it. It's Draco who needs the kiss."
"So then what?" Harry asked warily.
"You're going to Polyjuice yourself into Hermione," Blaise revealed.
There was a pause. "Yeah, I'm going to have to pass on that."
"Come on," Blaise pleaded. "Draco is being a little pansy about it all, but–"
"We've given him plenty of opportunities to ask her out," Harry interrupted.
"Hence him being a pansy. I don't know why he's resisting, when he was the one who asked for my help in the first place. The sexual tension between those two alone is killing me, Potter, but if I have to listen to him bitch any longer I'm going to explode. So we have to do something drastic."
"First of all, I can't be in Hermione's body like that," Harry said firmly, "she'd feel violated in ways you can't even imagine. Second," he shuddered, "no matter how much I love Hermione, I am not – not – under any circumstances kissing Draco Malfoy."
Three days later, the silent standoff Harry and Blaise had engaged in came to an end.
"A masquerade ball," Blaise hissed excitedly. "It's perfect!"
"I still don't see how it's going to work though," Harry said, feeling far less optimistic.
They were once more hiding out in a bathroom stall, and while the cramped quarters were uncomfortable to share, especially with another boy, they were very appropriate for secret meetings and nefarious plotting.
"I think we need to play on Draco's jealousy," Blaise said. "He was all up in arms that time Weasley got it into his head he was in love with Hermione."
Harry nodded. "I remember that. We lost 50 points when Ron retaliated over the broom incident."
Blaise snickered. "Good times."
"All right, so how?" Harry asked.
"We'll make sure we both wear the same costume as Weasley or that McLaggen guy–"
Harry gave a short laugh. "I'd forgotten about that accident!"
"–and then, making sure Draco sees it, I will kiss Hermione and–"
"Wait," Harry interrupted, holding up a hand. "Why are you kissing Hermione?"
"You have a girlfriend," Blaise reminded him.
"Well yes, but he's your best friend. If he finds out–"
"Hence why I'm dressed like someone else. It's perfect."
Harry frowned. "And why I am dressed the same also then?"
"To add to the confusion!" Blaise said with a dramatic wave of his hand. "It'd be even better if I can convince Draco to wear the costume too – then Hermione might think he was the one who kissed her."
Harry sighed. "This all hinges on Ron or McLaggen wearing a costume that hides the hair and face. Ron in particular."
"Details," Blaise dismissed. "We have a brilliant plan here, Potter. Stop killing it with logic and reasonable doubts."
Harry eyed Blaise. "You are…"
"Brilliant, I know."
"Not quite the word I was going to use," Harry admitted.
Blaise glared. "Hey, I'm desperate here. It's taken far too long for us to get this far. I'm not losing hope now."
Ron's look was doubtful. "Explain to me why you bought my masquerade costume for me."
"I actually had it lying about and when you mentioned earlier you didn't know what to go as, I owled Remus," Harry said, the costume still in his hand.
"To get him to send you a costume for me?" Ron's ears turned a slight pink. "I can afford my own costume, Harry."
Harry gaped. "Ron! I didn't get it for you because I thought you couldn't afford to get one yourself. How could you think that? I know better."
He dumped the outfit on Ron's bed. "But I had it and I won't be using it so I thought I'd save you the trouble of coming up with something since you seemed so reluctant."
He crossed the room. "Use it or don't, do whatever you want," with those parting words, Harry left their dorm.
"All right," Ron called just before the door closed. "I'll wear it."
Harry smiled; phase three completed.
Draco held the costume up in front of him, a distasteful look on his face. He shot a doubtful look at Blaise, but didn't speak.
"I'm telling you, it's perfect," Blaise hurried to reassure him. "It's classic and you'll be able to blend into the background enough to spy on Granger unnoticed."
Draco sighed. "Should I be worried you've taken such a sudden interest in my wardrobe?" he asked.
Blaise waved the dig off with a laugh. "You'll wear it." It was a statement and not a question, but Draco answered it as if it were nonetheless.
"All right, I will."
A slight costume malfunction, courtesy of Harry's wand, delayed Ron's entrance to the ball. As such, Hermione had had to go down by herself, a prospect she would've found slightly intimidating if not for the mask on her face and the charms in her hair.
She entered the beautifully decorated Hall with a smile on her face.
"Hello beautiful," a voice whispered right by her ear.
She spun around, but didn't recognise the boy standing in front of her, as his face was covered with a black mask. "Um," hello," Hermione replied, taking a hesitant step back.
"Hermione, you should most definitely dance with me," the mystery boy continued, grabbing her hand. "Right now."
"Cormac," Hermione suddenly realised. She extracted her hand from his and smiled tensely. "I thank you, but no." She spotted Ginny's flaming red hair across the room and saw her escape. "Sorry, but I promised Ginny I would find her as soon as I'd come down, but I'll see you later."
She sent off an apologetic smile she hoped looked sincere before hurrying away from him.
Trice more in under an hour did she almost run into him, far too close to her for her liking; each time she evaded his capture, though she was certain not his notice. It felt like she'd never seen him so often before, but now whenever she turned around, there he was.
Once, he'd even waved at her, and called her name from across the room, but Hermione, not in the mood to have her toes stepped on by him, had pretended not to have seen him and hurried away.
"Hermione," a quiet voice spoke behind her as she stood by the doors waiting for Harry.
Hermione froze before turning slowly. Upon seeing the black mask and cape, she groaned. "Not you again," she muttered, feeling quite fed up with Cormac.
The boy's startled voice didn't sound like Cormac's, and though he wore the exact same costume as the other boy, Hermione then noticed that the height was wrong too.
"Oh, nothing," she said quickly. "I was just–" The boy's mouth twisted in a particular way and Hermione blushed. "Malfoy?" she asked, already certain it was him.
"Yeah, who did you think I was?" he grumbled.
"Cormac," Hermione admitted.
"McLaggen? That lug–head? You're comparing me to him?" his tone was offended.
"Ah, I actually thought you were him, so technically I didn't compare you," Hermione replied, smirking in amusement.
"Worse then," Draco said.
"A bit," Hermione agreed.
They stood in silence for a few moments before Draco suddenly moved. "Right, well, I'll be going. See you later, enjoy the rest of your evening."
He turned and stalked off, his cape adding a dramatic flair to his exit. Hermione watched him go.
"How about that dance now eh?"
Hermione jumped and spun around; sure enough, the minute she let her guard down, Cormac found her.
She was at a loss for words; with no rescue in sight, she was prepared to accept her faith and sacrifice her toes for the evening, when suddenly a hand took a hold of hers and spun her around.
Not saying a word, Hermione followed Draco onto the dance floor, ignoring Cormac's spluttering in the background.
"Thanks for saving me," Hermione said as Draco took her into his arms. "I've never liked him and even less now since he's always after me to study with him."
"Doesn't want to fail his N.E.W.T.s again I'd imagine," Draco commented in a low voice.
They were quiet after that, as Draco twirled Hermione expertly around the dance floor and the other couples. Hermione's cheeks flushed and she was far too nervous to look up at him, so she focused instead on a seam in his coat in an attempt at not making a fool of herself because her heart refused to stop pounding madly.
They danced as the music flowed and Hermione didn't even notice when the song changed. She wanted to ask him what'd made him change his mind; what'd made him come to her rescue in such a gallant way. But she was afraid to, and instead simply enjoyed dancing with him, her hand in his.
A sudden loud noise at the refreshment table caught her attention as they waltzed past it and Hermione looked up; and right into the grey eyes of Draco Malfoy.
Stumbling slightly, Hermione looked up at her partner for the first time since stepping into his arms. The same grey eyes looked down at her – but, as Hermione looked closer, she suddenly realised they missed the particular spark she'd come to associate with Draco, and though his mouth was twisted in a grin, it was not the grin of Draco Malfoy.
She stopped in the middle of a spin and turned towards the impostor in front of her.
"Who are you?" she asked, hoping her voice wouldn't wobble. She felt a fool; there she'd been enjoying her dance with Draco and hoping it meant he'd finally worked up the courage to show her how he felt instead of hiding behind childish behaviour and petty arguments, when it hadn't really been him.
"What are you talking about?" the boy asked, his voice once again lower than normal.
She took a step back and let go of his hand. Throwing a look back at the Draco by the refreshment table, staring back at her, she wished for her wand. "You're not Draco."
The figure in front of her stopped. "Wait, you can tell?" he asked, his voice sounding surprised.
Hermione frowned. "Of course I can tell."
"How can you tell? I look just like him."
"Your eyes," Hermione admitted, not letting him go with hers. "I'll ask you again; who are you?"
"Oh!" he leaned forward slightly, ignoring Hermione's retraction, and whispered, "I'm Blaise."
Hermione blinked. "What?"
"I'm trying to help him," Blaise admitted in his normal tone of voice, "because Draco is too much of a pansy to think he has a chance with you."
Hermione stared. "And you'd thought you'd accomplish this by…?"
"Making him jealous," Blaise pronounced proudly. "And, make you think I was Draco so you could confront him about the kiss I was gonna plant on you after our dance–"
"–so that you both could just get over yourselves and get together already." Blaise frowned. "But I didn't think you'd recognise I wasn't Draco. You must be more in love with him than I thought."
Hermione blushed. "I'm not in love with him."
"All right, then you must be more in like with him than I thought," Blaise said with a wink.
Hermione made a face. "It's weird talking to you like this."
Blaise smirked and grabbed her hand. "Then let's take this conversation somewhere else."
"But–" Hermione tried to interject as he began to lead her toward the doors.
"The Polyjuice potion is about to wear off anyway and I better be out of sight when that happens," Blaise explained.
Hermione resisted just before they reached the wide open double doors. "How do I know you're Blaise?"
He stopped and turned towards her. "In fourth year, I caught you highlighting something in one of Madam Pince's books. In return for changing partners with me in Muggle Studies so I wouldn't have to work with Longbottom, I didn't say anything."
They resumed walking; Blaise hurrying more as they reached the outside of the castle. He continued to walk until they'd crossed down towards a clump of trees, where, after entering the small wooden area, he let go of her hand and leaned against a tree.
"So… now what?" Hermione asked.
"Now we wait," Blaise said.
"For your potion to wear off?"
"Actually, we're waiting for–" Blaise quieted as the snapping of a twig could be heard, "that."
Hermione spun around. In front of her stood Draco Malfoy; the real one, she hoped.
He stopped when he saw her. "Oh hello," he said, casually.
"Out for a stroll?" Hermione asked, crossing her arms and raising an eyebrow at him.
"I needed some air, yes." He shifted on his feet.
Hermione threw a look back at Blaise, only to find him not there any more. Frowning and feeling a slight apprehension, she turned back to Draco, and found him looking around, presumably after Blaise.
"He's not here," she said.
"Who?" he asked.
Hermione detected the hint of attempted casualty and she frowned. "The– oh, never mind." There was a pause. "Did you follow us out here?"
"No!" Draco denied.
"Uhu," Hermione hummed in disbelief.
"Why do you have to be so… aggravating?" he asked suddenly, stepping closer to her. "You walk around with your– your hair and those eyes being all beautiful and I just can't–"
"You think I'm beautiful?" Hermione asked quietly.
Draco stopped in his tirade. "What I meant to say was that I–" he looked up at her, and for the first time recognised the hope shining there. "Yes," he said. "Yes, I think you are very beautiful." He swallowed. "I came out here to… I don't know what really, but when I saw you leave with him I just…"
Hermione smiled. "You didn't think there was something familiar about him?" she asked, taking a step towards him.
He huffed. "I can't believe Blaise convinced me to wear the same costume as McLaggen," he said.
"Oh, that wasn't Cormac," Hermione said.
"Who was it then?" Draco asked, frowning.
"Draco?" Hermione asked, even closer to him now. "He's just a friend, who took me out here for some air."
"All right." Draco swallowed nervously.
Hermione stood right in front of him, their eyes locked and their breath mingled.
"Aren't you going to kiss me?" she asked, suddenly feeling brave and not worried about him possibly rejecting her.
"I– yes," Draco said. "Yes I am."
He leaned down, breathing her in as his hands came to rest on her cheeks, his fingertips just under the edge of her white mask. His breath feeling heavy and her heart being in tune to his, they finally shared their very first kiss.
"Hey," Harry whispered.
Blaise jumped in fright and spun around. "Don't do that," he whispered back, throwing a dark look at the other boy.
"How's it going?" Harry whispered, nodding towards the area Blaise had been looking.
"Very good," Blaise smirked, "they've not come up for air yet."
"Gross, Zabini," Harry complained with a wrinkle of his nose.
"Hey, you asked."
A small laugh from Hermione made them both turn and peak around the tree they were hiding behind. Draco was spinning Hermione across the snow covered leaves, stopping every so often to give her a kiss, just because he finally could.
Harry smiled at the sight of Hermione's happiness.
All was quiet.
"You know," Blaise suddenly whispered to Harry, not taking his eyes on the dancing couple, "I just realised getting them together was the easy part."
Harry frowned, throwing a glance at him. "What'd you mean?"
"I mean, what if they break up?" Blaise suddenly looked at Harry in panic. "We'll have to make sure they never do that, because I'm not going to be Draco's shoulder to cry on if it ends."
Harry smiled. "I wouldn't worry about that right now," he said, nodding towards the couple, who only had eyes for each other.
"It's difficult not to, given the amount of time and effort we–"
"Shhhh," Harry warned, placing a hand on Blaise's shoulder. "Come on, let's leave them to it."
"All right," Blaise grumbled. "But if they break up…"
"We'll just get them back together again," Harry promised.
They walked back to the school in silence, leaving their best friends to their dancing.
Era: Hogwarts years or Post-DH, EWE.
List your Kinks: humour, witty banter, snarky Draco, denial, happy endings, kissing scenes, plot, seduction, dancing without music, Blaise and/or Harry matchmaking.
List your Squicks: slash, femslash, character death, non con, dark!fic, rape, crossgen side pairings, incest, preferably no mention of Ron/Hermione.
List three prompts: (Incorporating at least one of the three prompts is mandatory.)
1. Draco and Hermione time travel
2. Draco and Hermione are bounty hunters both after the same person and he'd be damned if she won.
3. False identities