Hermione sipped her hot tea and glanced at the clock for the hundredth time.
"Stop worrying - we'll find him," Harry reassured her.
"Can you really give him his magic back?"
"Yes. As soon as we got Draco's message about what the new spell did, we've had the Wizards in the Department of New Magic working on a way to stop it. They found an elixir that they use at St Mungo's to elevate a wizard's magic. They've modified it so that it can counter the spell."
"But Draco said it was permanent."
"They thought it was - Balsamo and his friends - but they haven't really tested the new spell. A spell invented by The Ministry would undergo vigorous tests and they are often changed slightly but this spell is in its raw state. It could be permanent but it would need tweaking. Luckily, they didn't realise that."
"How long do we have left?"
"Twenty minutes or so. I'll go and check."
Hermione paced the room, unable to relax. As each minute went by she felt more and more anxious. She felt dizzy, everything feeling surreal. The news that they had a potion to bring Draco's magic back was amazing but it was useless unless they could find him. The door was flung open and Harry came in.
"We've got him."
Hermione who had just sat down jumped up, knocking her tea over and she followed Harry into the front room. Draco was on the large armchair, unconscious. She could have cried on the spot but she turned to Harry.
"What's the matter with him?" Hermione asked, anxiously.
"They had to hex him - he wasn't in any hurry to come back here." Harry leant over him. "Rennervate."
Draco's eyes popped open and he stared at Harry and then lifted his eyes to Hermione. Without warning he then jumped up and pushed Harry away.
"I can't stay here."
"You haven't got a choice." Harry pushed Draco's shoulder until he had sat back down again. "We're short of time, so you have to listen to me."
"I don't need the lecture," Draco said. "I know I can survive without magic but I have to deal with this my way." His eyes met Hermione's over Harry's shoulder and they were still blank.
"Draco, you have to listen to Harry - you need to drink this potion."
"No, I don't." Draco went to stand again but Harry pushed him back down and tried to pass him the small bottle of the potion.
"This will bring back your magic." Harry's words hung in the air and Hermione watched Draco's expression change, just slightly.
"That doesn't matter right now. You have to take it before an hour has passed."
"But the spell was permanent," Draco insisted, just as Hermione had done earlier.
"That's what they thought but it isn't. Take the potion." Harry shoved the bottle into Draco's hand and he looked at it disbelievingly.
"Take the potion!" Hermione felt like shaking him but she could understand his disbelief.
Draco looked up at her and then took a swig from the bottle. Harry and Hermione watched him, waiting for some indication that it had worked.
"How long does it take to work?" Hermione asked but Harry shrugged.
"I have no idea - this is the first time anyone has taken it."
Hermione glanced at him and then back at Draco. "Do you feel different? Back to normal?"
"No - I don't feel any different," Draco put the bottle down. "Maybe there isn't a miracle cure after all."
Harry walked to the door. "I'll go an fetch, Simpkin..." He had his hand on the handle when he stopped. "Wait!" He walked back over to Draco and reached into his robe. He pulled out a wand and held it out to him. "Take your wand."
Draco looked at the dead piece of wood that Harry was holding and then he reached out and took it from him. As soon as he did, it was as if a breeze had entered the room, aimed directly at Draco. His hair flew back, his clothes moving and the stick seemed to shudder until it changed again. Draco stared at it for a moment and Hermione caught her breath. It's appearance was still the same but she could tell that it was now back to its former self. Draco was holding a wand again. Draco stood up, still staring at his wand and then he aimed it at Harry who eyed him cautiously.
The small cut that had been under Harry's eye healed and Harry touched it gently. His face then broke into a large smile that mirrored the one on Hermione's face. Draco shut his eyes for a moment and ran his hands through his hair, relief pouring from him.
"Thank Merlin!" Draco's voice sounded deep and he held his hand out to Harry. "Thank you."
"Thanks doesn't really cover it," Draco said. Hermione watched these two men who both meant so much to her with interest, knowing this was a big moment.
Harry nodded his head, his usual, modesty kicking in. "Thanks more than covers it - your information has stopped a terrible spell being let loose on the world." He looked over at Hermione. "Okay now?" Hermione nodded and she felt Draco's eyes on her. Harry gave her a hug and then stepped away. "It's best you stay in her for a few minutes - they're just taking Balsamo and the others back to The Ministry. I'll go and check what's happening so just stay here until I let you know they have all gone."
Harry left the room, leaving Draco and Hermione staring at each other.
"You left me!" Hermione said. She hadn't meant to say it but it just came out, her emotions getting the better of her. She saw a look of pain pass over Draco's face.
"It's like having your soul sucked out," he said and Hermione stared at him. "I had to go..."
"I wanted to help you."
Draco took three strides across the room and gathered Hermione into a hug. They didn't speak but just held each other, oblivious to the time passing.
When Harry returned that was how he found them. He slipped quietly out, deciding his news that they were free to go could wait.
Hermione surveyed the large room she was standing in, still not quite used to the scale and grandeur of Malfoy Mansion. It seemed that her and Draco's enforced weeks spent together had become a habit that neither of them could break and since the incident at Grimmauld Place just over a week ago, they had spent nearly all of their time together.
Neither of them had discussed their relationship. They had just happily spent time together without any complications. They had remained completely platonic with no repeat of their kisses but Hermione was still feeling the tingles every time Draco came anywhere near her.
The door opened and Draco walked in, bringing with him his usual air of confidence.
"So - did you think the round tables would be best?" he asked, continuing their conversation from a few minutes earlier. Draco was holding a ball and he had asked Hermione to help him organize it. When she didn't answer, he looked up at her to find her staring at him across the room, her eyes dancing, her lips curving at the edges. He stood up and looked himself up and down. "What? What's funny?"
Hermione shrugged. "Just us..."
Hermione flung her arms wide. "Look at me! Arranging a ball at Malfoy Mansion, helped by the host himself! It's ridiculous!"
Draco's handsome face cracked into a large grin. "Yep - totally." He then pulled a face. "Of course, if you don't want to help then there is no obligation. I'm sure I could do it."
"You know damn well I won't leave you to do it on your own so stop being a martyr."
Draco ignored her comment and walked over to her, putting the large catalogue he was holding down on the table she was standing by. "In that case - can you pick a colour scheme? That really isn't my thing."
"Well...I was wondering about the ball...if you..." Hermione stopped, annoyed at herself for stumbling over her words. Why couldn't she just come out and say it? He hadn't actually invited her to the ball, although she was presuming she would be welcome and she didn't know if she would be attending with Draco. Surely he didn't expect her to bring someone else as her date?
Draco had stopped flicking through the catalogue and was looking up at her through those wonderful lashes of his. "If I?" he prompted her. His eyes were surveying her face intently and she bit her lip.
"Well...about the ball..." she sighed. "Should I be buying a ball gown?"
Draco stood up, a grin on his face. "Are you requesting a formal invitation? I would hardly ask you to help me organize a ball that you weren't invited to! I thought you had gathered that you were invited but if you need it official then I'll get you a hand delivered invite." Hermione shuffled about and Draco twisted his lips. "Spit it out! What else? Does it need to be in real gold lettering or something?"
"No - I just wondered if it will be an invite for two?"
"Me and a guest?"
Draco's eyes narrowed and he stared at her. "Did you have a guest in mind?"
"No - but I'll need to find someone...I wasn't sure how it was going to work." Hermione sighed again. This was so difficult!
"What exactly are you asking me, Hermione?" Draco's voice was quiet.
"I didn't know if I'd be...if we'd be going together." She looked down at the floor. "This is awkward!" She could feel Draco's eyes on her and wished she hadn't started this whole conversation.
"Well it's only awkward if you want to go with someone else."
"No - of course I don't." She looked up now.
Draco held out his hand and took hers in it. "Miss Granger - would you be kind enough to allow me to escort you to the Malfoy Summer ball?" he said in an exaggerated fashion. "Does that make it clear enough?"
Hermione smiled shyly. "Perfectly clear, thank you."
"I've asked you so politely and you can't even be bothered to answer me!" Draco teased her and she grinned at him.
"I would love to accept your invitation, Mr Malfoy," she answered with a small curtsey.
Draco stepped a little closer. "How can you think I'd want to go with anyone else?" he asked. "Are you fishing for compliments again?"
"No," she shrugged. "I just didn't want to presume. We haven't talked about anything," Hermione tried to explain. "About us."
"I'm trying not to scare you off," Draco answered and Hermione looked at him surprised.
"Scare me off?"
"I was letting you decide," Draco hesitated in a similar way to how Hermione had. "About us." He shrugged, looking just less than his usual confident self. "All that at the house wasn't real was it? We were in a stressful situation."
Hermione felt the butterflies just starting gently in her stomach and she didn't hesitate with her reply. "It felt real to me."
She could see Draco's chest rising and falling quickly and his eyes were serious now. "Be careful what you say, Hermione."
"It did feel real...I thought it was real. Why do I need to be careful what I say?"
"Because I might be tempted," Draco's voice was deep and quiet.
Hermione took three short steps to him and stretched up until her lips met his. This time Draco didn't hesitate in responding to her. He leant closer, his lips willingly meeting hers. The kiss was deep and passionate but as always, Draco didn't push her. His lips were gentle and sweet, kissing her with a reverence that took her breath away.
When she did pull away, not because she wanted to but because she needed to see that his eyes were telling the same story as his lips. She needed to know that he was feeling what his lips were telling her and that he wasn't just a very good kisser. She needn't have worried because the startling, grey eyes that met hers were swimming with emotion, his voice husky when he spoke.
"I've got a new nickname for you."
Hermione's lips twisted, humour mixed with everything else she was feeling. "I dread to think what it might be."
"M. S. M."
"M. S. M. ?" Hermione knew he wanted her to guess. "Most sexy...?"
"I don't know!"
Draco leant close again and put his lips to her ear. "My soul mate."
Hope you liked it - let me know. x