DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling. This fiction is purely for my own enjoyment and yours. No money is being made by me or anyone else from this fiction.

Author Note: First I have to say, I am so sorry for keeping you waiting! I don't know if any of you are aware of this, but some serious storms hit the state of Ohio (and several others along the east coast) and as a result I've been out of power for a week! Trust me when I say, I had the chapter written and ready for you, my dear readers, but Mother Nature decided we had to wait. So without further ado, he is the (hopefully) amusing conclusion to this story! Thanks to all who have stuck with me to the end and to those who are even now reading it for the first time. I hope you've enjoyed it.

Chapter 17

Draco blinked his eyes. The room slowly came into focus, as did the shapes standing around him. Madame Pomfrey, Professor Snape, and Professor Dumbledore were staring down at him. He was in the Hospital Wing. They were back. "Hermione!" he cried, bolting upright in his bed. He looked around wildly, searching for her. Where is she, she was ill, I have to help her! "Mr. Malfoy, calm yourself!" ordered Madame Pomfrey, trying to make him lay back down. But Draco wasn't having any of it.

Suddenly he heard some whimpers from the bed next to his. Hermione was laying there, tossing and turning. "Hermione!" Draco shouted again and leapt from the bed.

"Mr. Malfoy, you get back into bed this instant!" shouted Madame Pomfrey. Dumbledore said nothing, but watched the events with the usual twinkle in his eye. Professor Snape kept his face blank, but confusion filled his normally stoic eyes. Draco ignored them all and ran to Hermione's side. He took her hand in his and squeezed it gently.

"Wake up Hermione, it's okay, we're back," said Draco soothingly. "It's alright, I'm here." Professor Snape's eyebrows rose. Madame Pomfrey was still trying to get Draco back into bed.

"Get back in that bed, you silly boy! I need to run some tests on you to make sure you're alright!" Still Draco ignored her. He started stroking Hermione's hair.

"Please wake up, Hermione," he said. Dumbledore's eyes twinkled.

Suddenly Hermione's eyes flew open and she bolted upright, just like Draco had. She glanced around the room, taking in the sight of Professor Snape and Dumbledore and Madame Pomfrey. Then she looked down at her hand in Draco's and a look of anguish and alarm covered her face. She turned to Madame Pomfrey. "My baby, is my baby alright?" she cried.

The witch's eyes widened in shock and she simply stared at Hermione dumbfounded. Professor Snape made a choking noise and his mouth dropped open. Professor Dumbledore simply smiled. Finally Professor Snape recovered enough to ask, "Your what, Miss Granger?"

"My baby, is he okay?" repeated Hermione. Then a frown crossed her face. "Wait, why did..."

She was cut off by Draco, who turned irritably towards Professor Snape. "Didn't I tell you not to call her that? Her name is Mrs. Malfoy, not Miss Granger!" he snapped. This time Professor Snape did choke.

"Wh-what on earth are you talking about, boy?" shouted Professor Snape.

"WHY ISN'T ANYONE TELLING ME ABOUT MY BABY?" shouted Hermione, looking frantic. At this point Dumbledore stepped in. Draco, who had ignored Professor Snape's outburst, looked up imploringly at Dumbledore at Hermione's question. Yes, how is our baby?

"Your child is perfectly fine, Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy," he assured them, ignoring the stunned looks on both Madame Pomfrey and Professor Snape's faces. Draco heaved a sigh of relief. He almost didn't hear Dumbledore's next question. "May I have a word with Professor Snape and Madame Pomfrey?" he asked. Hermione nodded, looking relieved after hearing her baby was safe. Draco nodded too, not caring what the Headmaster did as long as Hermione and the baby were safe. But something was bothering him, niggling in the back of his mind like a piece of forgotten homework. How did we get here? The last thing I remember is Hermione passing out in the hallway at the Manor. Why are we at Hogwarts? Dumbledore walked further down the Hospital Wing to give Draco and Hermione some space.

Draco saw Professor Snape storm over to Dumbledore, Madame Pomfrey hot on his tail. "What in the name of Salazar is going on here, Albus?" he demanded. Draco continued to hold Hermione's hand and stroke her hair, but he strained to hear what Dumbledore was saying. He saw Madame Pomfrey nodding furiously, still a little shocked over what had just happened.

Dumbledore merely smiled. "Really Severus, I would have thought it was quite obvious. Mr. Malfoy and Miss Granger—"

"Don't you mean Mrs. Malfoy?" Snape sneered. Dumbledore held up a hand to silence him. A confused look crossed Draco's face. Why did Snape think it was odd to call Hermione by her married name?

"As I was saying, Mr. Malfoy and Miss Granger are merely suffering from the after effects of the potion. That is to say, they haven't fully woken up yet. No doubt they will be quite shocked when they do," he said amiably. Sudden awareness flooded Draco. He looked down at Hermione, who seemed to coming to the same conclusion. The potion we brewed! But we never took it, we passed out before we got the chance... As if to prove Dumbledore's point, there was a sudden chorus of "Bloody hell!" from both Hermione and Draco, who had realized at the exact same moment they were no longer in the dream world. Draco leapt back from the bed and released Hermione's hand like it burned him. His eyes flew to the three adults in the room, who were watching Draco and Hermione with various looks of shock, amusement, and derision. Sweet Salazar, I was just holding Hermione's hand and I told Professor Snape to call her Mrs. Malfoy! His cheeks turned pink.

Madame Pomfrey bustled over to their side immediately. "I trust you'll calm down now, Mr. Malfoy?" she asked briskly. His cheeks burning, he nodded. This is ridiculous! Malfoys don't get embarrassed! He glanced over at Hermione who was looking at him with the same look of embarrassment he was feeling. She asked about her baby, he suddenly realized. Hermione Granger, resident goodie-goodie and know-it-all just yelled at the Headmaster, Professor Snape, and Madame Pomfrey about the health of her baby. The whole thing was too ridiculous. He burst into laughter as Madame Pomfrey waved her wand over him, checking for any lingering effects.

"And just what is so funny, Mr. Malfoy?" asked Professor Snape in his usual menacing tone. Draco looked up at him, then over to Hermione and burst into even more laughter.

"This seems to be a common side effect," observed Madame Pomfrey. "Mr. Finnigan laughed for a full fifteen minutes after he woke up." Draco's laughter apparently hadn't effected her at all.

"Baby," Draco finally managed to choke out, still glancing back and forth between Hermione and Professor Snape. At this, Hermione's face turned and angry shade of red and she glared at him. Uh-oh. Here it comes...

"It's not that funny!" snapped Hermione. She swung her legs over the side of the bed, causing the dressing gown she was wearing to hitch up. Draco couldn't resist taking a peek at her legs to see if she really looked like she had in their dream. He smiled. She did. So Granger really does have a fine figure...wait, am I really going to pursue this? He looked at Hermione's enraged form, her flushed cheeks and wild hair, crackling with energy. Yes, I dare say I am. "Don't you grin at me, Draco Malfoy!" she raged, eyes flashing. She jumped out of the bed and ran over to him.

"Control yourself, Miss Granger!" said Professor Snape angrily.

Draco's eyebrows flew to his hairline when she turned from him and said cooly, "I will when he does, Professor." Then she turned back to Draco and shoved him in the chest. Draco forgot all about Professor Snape. "Stop laughing! You were just as worried as I was! It's not just my baby, you know!" she cried.

Draco's eyebrows furrowed and he forgot for a moment where they were. "Well that wasn't my choice, was it?" he snapped.

Hermione's eyes flashed. I love it when they do that, Draco thought idly. "Oh, you want to contest that now?" she argued, appearing outraged that Draco even suggested such a thing.

"Ahem." There was the sound of someone clearing their throat loudly and both Draco and Hermione turned to look at the professors and Madame Pomfrey. Briefly, Draco glanced down at Hermione and realized how close they were. I could kiss her right now. Hermione looked up at him and caught his glance. The widening of her eyes told him she was thinking the same thing. She stepped a foot backwards.

Draco watched as Hermione straightened her gown and smoothed down her hair. "Yes, Professor Dumbledore?" she asked. Draco could have laughed again at the prim tone of her voice.

Dumbledore was watching them with a twinkle in his eye. "I hate to break up this little family discussion, Mr. Malfoy and Miss Granger," but there are a few things we need to know about what you experienced while under the potion. Professor Snape is compiling a set of notes to prevent anything like this from happening again."

Draco watched with amusement as Hermione immediately straightened up and an eager look covered her face. Here we go. The know-it-all is back. "Oh, did you find an antidote, Professor? Is that why we woke up? I was beginning to think we would have to wait until Neville's potion left our systems. We brewed our own antidote, of course, but we woke up before we had a chance to test it. Was your potion perhaps a ghastly shade of neon green? Because I—"

"Miss Granger!" barked Professor Snape. "That is quite enough. Five points from Gryffindor for your incessant chatter. Did you not hear the Headmaster when he said we wanted to question you?"

Dumbledore put a hand on Professor Snape's arm to quiet him. "Now, now, Severus, it is only natural that Miss Granger should be curious as to how she was cured." Draco snorted as Professor Snape muttered something under his breath about "insufferable know-it-alls." Hermione ducked her head and had the grace to look abashed, but Draco knew she wasn't the least bit sorry and intended one way or another to get those answers. Dumbledore smiled broadly. "Indeed, Miss Granger, Professor Snape did brew an antidote. However, it was a combination of time and the antidote which woke you up. The antidote, as it were, had to fight the original potion out of your body. Some cases were easier to cure than others. You and Mr. Malfoy were the last to wake up."

Hermione nodded, taking everything in, then suddenly looked at Dumbledore with a horrified expression. "We were the last? How long were we under?"

It was Madame Pomfrey who answered. "Two weeks," she said. "A right fright you two gave me, I was beginning to think you might not wake up."

Draco felt stunned. Two weeks? It can't be! Whatever shock Draco felt, he realized it was nothing compared to the horror Hermione felt. "What?" she squeaked. "B-but we were only there two days! We can't have missed two weeks!" Draco grinned, knowing she was freaking about about missing so many classes.

"Relax, Hermione," he drawled. "I'll help you catch up on all your work," he said, missing the astonished looks on Professor Snape and Madame Pomfrey's faces.

Hermione snorted. "Yeah right," she said sarcastically. "You mean I'll be helping you catch up on your work."

"Even better," said Draco smoothly. Somehow this is even more fun in reality, he thought. Then realized his professors were still standing there. He cleared his throat. "Right. You said you had some questions for us, Professor?" Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Hermione immediately snap back to attention and blush. That's right Granger. We were just flirting in front of the Headmaster and Professor Snape. It didn't really matter if Madame Pomfrey saw them. They didn't have class with her everyday. And Dumbledore, well he was Dumbledore. The Headmaster. By principle it was awkward to be caught doing something you wouldn't normally do in front of him.

"Ah, yes," said Dumbledore cheerfully. "I was wondering when you two would let us get to that. Now, what we need to know is everything that happened in your respective dreams. Which of you would like to go first?"

Draco felt his cheeks burn again. He didn't have to look at Hermione to know she was blushing too. "Um, Professor," Hermione said a bit timidly, "I don't think we'll need to go separately. Draco and I had a shared dream, you see," she finished.

If it were possible, Dumbledore smiled even wider. Does his eyes ever stop that damn twinkling? "I suspected as much. That makes your case even more interesting."

This time Draco beat Hermione to the punch. "Why is that, Professor?" he asked. He felt Hermione's eyes on him. What? I can ask questions too.

Professor Snape answered. "You and Miss Granger are the only ones to report sharing a dream, Mr. Malfoy. It is unusual." Great. I'm some kind of freak accident, thought Draco bitterly.

"Why don't you start at the beginning," suggested Dumbledore smiling. "I find it is the best place to start most things."

Draco resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Hermione glanced at him, then back at the professors and back to Draco. She blushed crimson. "Well," she started, taking a deep breath. Draco could practically see her summoning her Gryffindor courage. "It started with us waking up. Together." Professor Snape rolled his eyes. "We were married," Hermione finished, as though this were the worst bit. They don't know the half of it, Draco thought. Suddenly he looked at Hermione in alarm. The professors don't need to know everything, right?

"We were at the Manor," Draco cut in, "and we knew something had gone wrong. So we worked out what had happened with Longbottom's potion—Hermione knew which ingredient caused the explosion—and then Hermione passed out." Hermione blushed again. Draco smirked. She's so cute when she's flustered—gah! Focus, Draco!

"Draco took me to Saint Mungos, where they checked on my..." Hermione faltered. "My baby. Apparently, Draco and I had two children—two little girls and another one on the way." Her eyes warmed at the thought of Naomi and Evanna, but Professor Snape's cold voice cut through her recollection.

"Congratulations," he said dryly. Both Hermione and Draco blushed. "Spare us all the little details. You were both aware of your situation? That you were in a dream state caused by Longbottom's mess of a potion?"

"Yes Sir," Draco and Hermione answered together. Hermione continued.

"But no one else in the dream was. They seemed to think Draco and I were soul mates," she said wrinkling her nose. Draco snorted. Yeah right. Granger may be attractive, but my soul mate? I think not.

Professor Snape nodded. "Yes, the other students reported similar sentiments. The potion apparently sent everyone into an alternate reality created by your minds." Draco saw Hermione's eyes gleam as she digested this information. Her hand twitched. Draco wondered if she would raise her hand. Professor Snape seemed to notice it as well. He hurried on. "You and Mr. Malfoy had children, you say?" he asked, sneering. Hermione nodded.

"Yes Sir." Draco noticed she was barely suppressing a smile at the mention of their little girls. He thought about Naomi's bright smile and Evanna's soft blonde curls and had to hide a smile as well. He caught Dumbledore watching him merrily, and he hastily looked away.

"Your dream was obviously set in the future then, am I correct?" asked Professor Snape. Draco nodded and answered for Hermione.

"Yes, about seven or eight years Sir. The Ministry was holding a Memorial Dinner for the heroes of the War," he said, carefully watching the professors' expressions. Professor Snape predictably stiffened, and Dumbledore looked wistfully sad.

"Yes, You-Know-Who had been defeated," whispered Hermione. Her voice trembled a bit and Draco knew she was thinking of Potter. "In our dream, H-Harry sacrificed himself to defeat him." At this, Madame Pomfey gasped, Professor Snape looked colder than ever, and Dumbledore looked very grave.

"Alas, not all dreams can be happy," the Headmaster lamented. Draco snorted, as did Professor Snape.

Hermione cleared her throat, obviously snapping out of it. "But that was just the dream," she said firmly. "What else do you need to know?" Professor Snape scowled at her.

"Everything," he snapped. Hermione took a deep breath and launched into the story. Draco found himself quite content to let Hermione do the telling, occasionally jumping in to add something she forgot. With a shared look they omitted both of their kisses, their talk after the Ministry dinner and some of their other more intimate moments. No need for the old bats to know everything.

By the time they finished, Hermione was a brilliant shade of red. Madame Pomfrey had repeatedly cooed and gasped during their story and was now wearing a sickeningly fond look on her face. Draco attempted to keep a bored look on his face, but with Professor Snape's constant sneering, Madame Pomfrey's incessant cooing, and Dumbledore's knowing smile it was difficult. Small spots of pink were fixed on both his cheeks. Sweet Salazar, is this interrogation over yet? I don't know if I can take much more.

Dumbledore clapped his hands together. "Well, that was fascinating. You got all you needed, I trust, Severus?" he asked Professor Snape. "Good," he nodded as Professor Snape inclined his head stiffly. He was looking at Draco and Hermione with an expression of extreme disgust, which annoyed Draco for some reason. I could do worse than Granger, you know. I could have fallen for the Weaselette. He didn't say this of course. Dumbledore eyed the students with a cheerful smile. "After a good meal, I think both Mr. Malfoy and Miss Granger should be free to go. Is that correct Madame Pomfrey?" he asked.

The matronly witch smiled. "Yes Headmaster," she answered and bustled off to get a tray of food. Draco brightened at the thought of food. All at once he realized he was famished. To his surprise however, Hermione protested.

"But we've just had lunch," she said. Almost immediately a low rumbling was heard and Draco smirked as Hermione blushed yet again. Guess again, Granger.

Professor Snape sneered and opened his mouth, no doubt to say something nasty, but Dumbledore stopped him. "It would seem your stomach disagrees with you, Miss Granger," Dumbledore said amusedly. "I would imagine feasts in our minds, however delectable, cannot fully sustain us."

Draco laughed. "You didn't eat anything anyway, Hermione."

She puffed up indignantly. She is so easy to rile up. "I was busy feeding Evanna!" she said a bit hotly, still blushing over her rumbling stomach.

"Who was busy flicking food in your hair," laughed Draco, just to rile her up some more. Hermione turned a deeper shade of red. Draco thought she looked glorious when angry. Her hand flew up to her hair and Draco laughed harder. Hermione's eyes narrowed.

"Enjoy it while you can, Malfoy," she hissed. "You won't catch me in this vulnerable state again."

Draco's smile grew. He noticed Dumbledore was still watching them amusedly and Professor Snape was still sneering, but he thought he detected a glint of amusement in his dark eyes. "Trust me, Granger," he drawled, eyeing her up and down, "I intend to." He smirked victoriously as Hermione flushed and her mouth dropped open. Professor Snape made a slight choking noise, though whether it was from disbelief or amusement, Draco couldn't tell. He decided to take it one step further. "And I'd thought we'd come to an understanding, Hermione," he said, practically purring as he said her name.

"Indeed we did, Draco," she snapped back, pouring just as much seductiveness into his name as he had with hers. Draco grinned. Teasing her like this was going to be so much fun.

"I'm glad we understand each other," he said, giving her another raking look.

Hermione was extremely agitated. She'd never felt more exposed or embarrassed in her entire life. She'd just spent the last twenty minutes telling Headmaster Dumbledore and Professor Snape how she'd been playing house with Draco Malfoy for the past two days. Draco hadn't helped matters much, having the audacity to bait and flirt with her in front of everyone! His blatant ogling was the last straw. She stood there, her cheeks blazing, her mouth open in shock. I am going to strangle that boy! She was saved from the effort of answering by the return of Madame Pomfrey bustling over, two trays of steaming shepherd's pie, creamy chocolate pudding and a cool glass of pumpkin juice floating behind her.

"Into bed, the pair of you!" she said briskly, pushing past Professor Snape and Dumbledore. "You've been talking long enough, now eat up and we'll have you out of here in no time." Dumbledore smiled and bowed and moved out of the witch's way. Professor Snape sneered, turned on his heel and left the Hospital Wing, his black robes billowing as usual behind him. Thank goodness he left, Hermione thought, sighing slightly. Not even a thank you for my help in solving this, she thought indignantly. Of course, I suppose he would have figured out Neville used powdered root of asphodel eventually, but I'm sure my hint helped.

She glanced over at Draco, who winked at her. Hermione rolled her eyes, then glanced sheepishly up at Dumbledore, who was eyeing the pair of them and smiling broadly. "I'm glad to see a bit of inter-house community, especially in these troubling times," he said. This time Draco blushed with Hermione. Ha. I knew he wasn't as unaffected as he was acting. Hermione suddenly found her food extremely interesting and began shoveling it in her mouth as the headmaster walked away.

Hermione heaved a sigh of relief as Dumbledore disappeared from the Hospital Wing, but her relief was short lived. No sooner had Dumbledore left than Harry and Ron burst into the Infirmary, their eyes wide and their cheeks flushed. They caught sight of Draco and immediately scowled. Hermione watched Draco roll his eyes and mutter something under his breath. He viciously attacked his shepherd's pie and went about the task of ignoring Harry and Ron. Here comes our first test, Hermione thought. If Draco and I can fool these two, we can fool anyone.

Harry and Ron hurried towards Hermione, identical looks of relief written on their faces. "Hermione!" they cried, coming to a rushed stop beside her bed. "We were so worried," said Harry. Hermione's heart leapt, filled with joy at seeing her best friend again, thankfully alive. She knew it had only been a dream, but the possibility of losing Harry was too real to ignore. She thought of the dementor attack over the summer and of his increasing dreams about You-Know-Who. Harry, it seemed, would always be in constant danger.

"Yeah," said Ron. "We were beginning to think you wouldn't wake up!" Hermione laughed.

"Ron and I woke up three days later," said Harry quickly. "Snape was able to whip up the antidote pretty quickly, but Madame Pomfrey said it had to fight the potion out of us, like a virus."

"Professor Snape, Harry," corrected Hermione automatically. Ron grinned.

"Same old Hermione," he said. He straightened up. "Look, we knew you'd be frantic when you found out how long you'd been asleep, so Harry and I collected all your homework!" He pointed to a large stack of books and parchment on the bedside table to Hermione's left. She followed his pointing finger and beamed. How sweet. She turned and smiled at the pair of them, too happy at their thoughtfulness to worry about how much work she had to catch up on.

"Oh, thank you Ron!" she said, setting her tray aside and pulling him into a quick hug. After a moment she released him and pulled Harry in for one too. Ron's ears went pink.

"It was nothing," Ron mumbled. He suddenly found his feet to be very interesting.

Beside them Draco cleared his throat very loudly. "Excuse me, but some of us are trying to recover in here," he drawled in his usual aristocratic voice. "It's bad enough that I have to look at Potty and Weasel here, but do I really have to watch you throw yourself all over them, Granger? It's putting me off my lunch."

Ron's whole face went pink, Harry glared and clenched his fists, and Hermione's eyes narrowed dangerously. Is that jealously I detect? She made a mental note to file it away and ask him later.

"Shove off, Malfoy," spat Harry. "Just because you have to buy your friends doesn't mean the rest of us do. I notice nobody cares whether you've recovered or not." Hermione saw that this wasn't entirely true. On Malfoy's beside table was a huge pink card with hearts on it and a box of what looked like Honeydukes best chocolate. She smirked.

"Come now Harry, you know that's not true," she sang out. Harry and Ron stared at her with open mouths. Draco's eyes widened in shock. Hermione fought to keep the grin off her face. Not yet, she thought. "See there, Malfoy's got a lovely present from his girlfriend, Pansy Parkinson. I'm sure she's just dying for Drakie-poo to get out of the Infirmary," Hermione continued in a sickly sweet voice. Both Harry and Ron burst out laughing. They with Hermione thought Pansy was a nightmare. Draco's shocked face quickly contorted into fury. Pansy wasn't that bad, but her infatuation with Draco was borderline obsession.

"Watch your tongue, mu—Granger!" Draco snapped. Hermione's eyebrows raised a fraction of an inch. Was he really just about to call me mudblood? After everything we've just been through? Old habits die hard, I guess.

Hermione, not wanting push her luck any further, decided that this was enough confrontation for one day. She turned to Harry and Ron. "I think I'd better finish my lunch now. You two head up to the common room, I'll meet you up there when I'm finished," she said quickly. Both boys' faces fell.

"But Hermione, we want to hear all about your dream! It must have been a good one, for you to be under so long," Harry said. Hermione bit her lip and glanced at Draco. Harry seemed to take this as a sign that she didn't want Draco to overhear. He whirled around.

"Oi! Malfoy, we're trying to have a private conversation, if you don't mind," he snapped, as if Draco had been listening in on their every word. He was, of course, but that wasn't the point.

Hermione jumped in, not wanting to hear any more arguments. "I'll tell you later, Harry," she said firmly, tugging on his arm. Harry nodded,

"Fine then. Don't let this git bother you, or we'll hex him into next week. You hear that Malfoy?" Harry asked, his voice rising in pitch a little. Again Hermione tugged on Harry's arm.

"I'm perfectly capable of handling Dr—Malfoy," Hermione said loftily. Inwardly she cursed herself for almost saying Draco's name. Good one, Hermione. Way to almost ruin everything! But Harry hadn't appeared to notice. He was still glaring daggers at Malfoy, who was glaring back.

"Hermione's right, Harry," cut in Ron. "She can handle him." Harry nodded, and Hermione felt pleased with Ron's assessment. He didn't often give her enough credit, she thought. It was nice when he did. Suddenly Ron's face lit up. "Hey! Tomorrow is a visit to Hogsmeade!" he said excitedly. "Hermione, you can hang out with us all day tomorrow! We'll even go to the bookshop with you." Harry nodded enthusiastically at this.

Hermione heart leaped at the chance to spend some time with her best friends and she blushed a little at Ron's excited manner, but the pile of homework seemed to be towering behind her. I am so behind! She smiled and patted Ron's hand. "That sounds wonderful, Ron," she said.

Harry looked shrewdly at her. "I sense a but in there," he said. Ron's face fell a bit.

Hermione looked apologetic. Surely they'll understand, she thought resolutely. "It's not that I don't want to go," she said, "but look at all the work I have to catch up on! I'll be working all weekend. I can't possibly allow myself to fall behind, not when we have our O.W.L.S. coming up!" she breathed. To her relief, Ron smiled.

"Well, you wouldn't be our Hermione if you weren't worried about homework," he said. "I guess we'll talk with you tonight in the common room, yeah?" For a moment Hermione looked stricken. She desperately wanted to get a head start on all the work she missed, but the looks on her best friends' faces were too much for her. I can work on it later, she decided.

"Of course," she said brightly. She couldn't help but reflect the wide grins on both Harry and Ron's faces and she ignored the fierce scowl that had become fixed on Draco's face.

"Are you through yet?" he sneered. "All this Gryffindor cheeriness is making me sick. I think I'll just go back to sleep. At least I didn't have to deal with you lot there," he said meanly. Hermione wondered if he really meant it. Would Draco really go back to our dream world?

"I wish you would," said Ron, cutting though Hermione's thoughts. "Then we wouldn't have to deal with you either, ferret-face." Hermione hid a smile as she looked over at Draco, who looked livid. I told you I could make no promises about the boys, she thought gleefully.

"Alright, you need to go. I've got to finish my lunch!" ordered Hermione. Harry leaned in for another quick hug.

"Okay, Hermione. See you back in the common room," he said and turned to leave.

"Yeah, later Hermione!" called Ron over his shoulder, hurrying to catch up with Harry. As soon as they left, Draco spoke.

"Merlin, I thought they'd never leave," he said.

Hermione picked up her lunch tray and began attacking it. "Oh hush. I told you I wouldn't make any promises about them. Anyway, I think we handled that well," she said.

Draco sneered. "Oh yes, it went swimmingly." He paused to eat a spoonful of pudding. "So how about it, Granger?" he asked after he had swallowed. Hermione looked at him, confused.

"How about what?" she asked. What on earth is he talking about now?

He smirked at her. "You turned down Potty and Weasel for Hogsmeade, so how about you and I sneak off later, hmm?" Hermione snorted. Is Draco propositioning me? He really must be serious about this whole friendship thing. She smiled. "Is that a yes?" he drawled.

Hermione shook her head. "I meant what I said, Draco," she answered. "I have loads of homework to do, and I have to catch up. Who knows what we've missed while we were asleep."

"But you're a prefect," Draco said, a smug smile appearing on his face. "We'll have to patrol the younger students."

"I will talk to Professor McGonagall," Hermione said, not even looking at him. She took a sip of her pumpkin juice and continued. "I'm sure she'll excuse me."

"You can't just shirk your duties," Draco argued. "It will damage your chances of becoming Head Girl." He smirked again, obviously certain he had the upper hand. Hermione smiled grimly.

"I had no idea you wanted to spend time with me this much, Draco. Very well, if you put it like that, I can't argue. As prefects, we can't shirk our duties." Draco's smirk grew and he puffed up like a cat whose just been given a bowl of cream.

"I knew you'd see reason, Hermione," he said. Hermione nodded.

"Of course. I'll ask McGonagall to give both of us the afternoon off. Since you're so keen to spend time with me, you can work on your missed work with me. We'll help each other. I believe you've already made me that offer anyway, isn't that right?" she said innocently. See what you make of that, Draco Malfoy.

Draco looked dumbstruck. Hermione continued to eat her lunch rather innocently, as though she had not just one-upped him in their argument. She only just managed to hide her smile. "That's right, I did," said Draco, desperately trying to recover. Hermione grinned. She had already won the argument. Draco frowned. "Don't look so smug, Hermione, it doesn't suit you. Besides, this isn't over." Hermione didn't answer, she only continued to eat her lunch. They finished their lunch in silence.

When they were done, Madame Pomfrey appeared like magic, as if their trays had some alarm to notify her when they were empty. She gathered up their trays and handed them each their school robes. With a flick of her wand, two sets of curtains had appeared to give them some privacy. "You two are free to go," she said. "Just leave your hospital gowns on the bed, and I'll clean them up later. Good day." She bustled off to help a first year who had boils covering his face.

As they were dressing, Draco's voice floated over the curtains to where Hermione was dressing. "Are you going to tell them?" he asked. Hermione had no need to ask for clarification. Tell Harry and Ron I dreamt about being married to Malfoy? Don't be absurd.

"Of course not," she said. "Are you planning on telling?" As she predicted, Draco snorted.

"Don't be ridiculous," he said. Hermione patiently rolled her eyes and folded up her discarded hospital gown.

"I thought not," she said, coming out from behind the curtains and setting her folded gown on her bed. Draco emerged seconds later and tossed his gown onto his bed as well. Hermione frowned at the mess. Boys, they're all the same. She pointed her wand and the gown folded itself neatly on the end of the bed.

"Was that really necessary?" asked Draco. Hermione gave him a scolding look, one she often gave Harry and Ron when they asked to see her homework. He truly is my friend now, she realized. She'd started thinking of him like she did Harry and Ron. The image of their kiss popped into her mind and she blushed. Okay, maybe not exactly the same as Harry and Ron. She walked quickly out of the Hospital Wing. Draco followed at a more leisurely pace until they reached the corridor. After checking that the corridor was empty, he hurried to her side.

"What are you doing?" she hissed, surprised he would be seen with her in public, but strangely happy. She hadn't imagined the better side of Draco after all.

"Eager to be rid of your doting husband?" he teased.

"Hardly," she snorted.

Draco grinned. "I knew you were crazy about me."

"You wish," she teased back. "I just don't wish to be seen with the Prince of Slytherin. It's bad for my Gryffindor image.

"I always knew you'd recognize the nobility of my blood someday," he drawled, clearly enjoying the look of outrage Hermione knew had crossed her face. She halted and narrowed her eyes. Oh, so that's how it is, hmm? Let's see how you like this.

"I believe I vowed test something when we woke up," she declared, a mischievous glint coming into her eye. Draco looked startled by her sudden change in subject and looked wary. As well you should, thought Hermione, then launched herself at Draco's middle, tickling him mercilessly.

Draco was completely caught off guard and howled in laughter, doubling over in a fit of giggles as he tried to ward off Hermione, who danced around him, tickling him all over. "I can't believe it!" she crowed. "Draco Malfoy is ticklish. Oh this is too rich!" Draco took advantage of that moment to snake his arm around her wist and pull him firmly to him, effectively causing her to gasp in surprise. She recovered quickly however. "You know, I really have to thank you for all this," she said musingly. Draco was surprised by her cool tone, but inside Hermione was desperately hoping he wouldn't notice her heart beating a mile a minute. He should not effect me this much! But she was enjoying herself too much to listen to her conscience at the moment.

"What do you mean?" whispered Draco in her ear, and Hermione's heart skipped a beat.

With difficulty, she continued. "I mean, if you hadn't taunted Neville in Potions, he wouldn't have mixed up the ingredients and I would've have caught his mistake. So really, it's all your fault that we're in this position."

Draco's eyes flicked down to her lips and Hermione had to fight the urge to lick them. Not in the middle of the hallway, in broad daylight! One side of her mind urged, but the other half wanted her to lean in and finish the job. "I think I can live with that," said Draco smiling. Hermione controlled herself. I need to end this, she told herself. There would be plenty of time for them to ah, "get to know each other" later.

"Good," she said promptly and reached up to his rib cage and tickled him again. Draco immediately let go of her and she darted out of his grasp. She was halfway up the stairs before he could call out to her. She gave him a little wave. "See you tomorrow, Draco!" she said sweetly, then ran up the stairs, leaving him standing in the corridor with his mouth open. Hermione smiled to herself. Taunting Malfoy had never felt so good.


Note: Well, what did you think? Good ending or not? I wanted to leave it a little open-ended. Who knows? I may even write a sequel. ;) Thanks for reading!