All characters belong to JK Rowling and I make no money from the writing or publishing of this story - thank you
Rules of Engagement
Summary – There were rules for everything: rules for how to act, rules for how to speak, rules of decorum, and even rules of love. However, sometimes rules were made to be broken.
Hermione Granger was engaged to one man, while Draco Malfoy was engaged to another woman. Together, they were celebrating the engagement of their friend, who was engaged to yet someone else. It seemed as if everyone was engaged to someone, but no one was engaged to the person they really wanted to be engaged to; therefore, it was time for someone to break a few of those rules, especially the harsh rules of engagement.
Chapter 1 – The one where everyone smiles too much
Shall I compare thee to a summer day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Part of Sonnet 18 – Shakespeare
Sunday, May 18
Driving down a deserted, bumpy lane toward their destination, Roger Davies said to his fiancée of seven years, "This should be an interesting week, don't you think, ducky?"
Hermione, who was gazing out the side window of the Muggle motorcar, merely said, "Don't call me ducky, Roger. And why do you think this will be an interesting weekend?"
"There's going to be such an array of interesting couples there, that's all," he continued.
"Hmm, interesting," she murmured, repeating the word he had already used twice. But then she perked up and turned in her seat. "Who's going to be here this week? I thought Ron told me that his wedding to Astoria was going to be a small affair. That even his family wasn't coming. He assured me that only Harry and I were invited."
"He lied, except when he said that his family wasn't coming," Roger confirmed. "They don't approve of his bride." They continued their drive, while Roger continued his speech. "She's divorced, she's known to be flighty, and she's somewhat vain."
"He's divorced," she pointed out.
"True, but think of whom she was married to," Roger interrupted, "that's bound to make a difference."
Hermione frowned. "I don't see how that makes a difference. Anyway, how do you ALWAYS seem to know these things? Why don't I ever know anything going on, even with my own friends?"
"I'm the editor of the Daily Prophet, my dear ducky. It's my business to know these things. You're merely a researcher at St. Mungo's. You don't know anything important," he responded with a laugh.
Inwardly she growled. "I know if you call me ducky again I'm going to hex you bald." Sometimes, she hated her fiancé. She decided to stop talking to him, even though he continued to talk to her. Instead, she looked out her window at the passing scenery.
She had been engaged to Roger Davies for seven years – seven long years – and before that she'd dated Anthony Goldstein for four years, Michael Corner for another three, and Ron for a year after graduation, yet still she wasn't married. In all those years Ron had married Susan Bones, had a lovely daughter named Rose, had divorced and was now marrying Astoria Greengrass. Harry had dated Ginny Weasley, become engaged to her, she cheated with someone, they broke up, and now she was supposedly engaged to someone else, although Hermione didn't know to whom.
Neville was married (quite happily), to Hannah Abbott.
George Weasley was married to Angelina Johnson.
Bill Weasley and Fleur were married.
Everyone was married or about to get married, save for her (and now Harry Potter). She looked down at the ring on her finger and wondered 'why?' What was wrong with her? It wasn't Roger who continued to put off their wedding. It wasn't her other boyfriends who weren't interested in marriage. It was always HER.
Even Draco Malfoy pointed that out to her the last time they met. It was at an engagement party for another mutual friend. Hermione remembered that it was warm inside, so she went outside for some air, and while walking the gardens she spied Draco Malfoy leaning against a large statue, looking bored and smug, as usual.
She walked up to him, noticing immediately how very handsome he looked. The bright sun was shining on his light hair, making it glisten and shine. His eyes, which in Hermione's opinion were his best feature, glowed silver, and they seemed to hold a secret or two. She wanted to know what those secrets were, so she decided to join him out on the patio.
As she advanced he seemed to assess her up and down, slowly, from head to toe, with an appraising eye, which she knew caused a blush to form from her hairline to her neckline. She felt the blazing heat bloom, but still she approached him, even as his idle grin turned into a brilliant smirk.
To hide her blush she walked around him, and the entire Greek statue, slowly and surely, acting as if she didn't have a care in the world.
"Hello, little lion," he said lazily when she finally faced him again.
"Why are you calling me that, Malfoy?" she asked. She circled the entire sculpture a second time, and then ended up in front of him once more.
"Doesn't a lion circle their prey?" he asked with one eyebrow in the air.
She laughed. "You're not my prey." She held her hands tightly together at the front of her to keep from touching him. "I was merely admiring this fine work of art."
He held out his hands, shrugged, and said, "Thank you. I've been called many things over the years, but a fine piece of art - never. Boring little party, isn't it? I give their wedding two, maybe three years."
Hermione made a funny face and said, "Actually, I believe Penelope and Michael are in love. I think they'll be very happy. And I was calling this Greek bust the fine piece of art, not you." She leaned around him, a bit closer, to peer at it, her breath catching slightly. The male nude was taller than Draco Malfoy, with a bit less clothing. On the bottom of the statue was a phrase written in Latin. Hermione peered at the writing, but before she read it, she asked, "Don't you believe in true love, Malfoy?"
He barked a loud laugh. "True love? No. Never." He placed a hand on her back, on the pretense of steadying her, and said, "And neither do you, little lion. If you did, you'd be married by now. Do you know you're about the only one of our classmates not yet married?" He moved to the side to give her more room.
She remained bent at the waist, her hair hanging like a curtain, long and wavy in front of her. "You're not married, and neither are Harry or Ron," she began, turning her head to look up at him.
"Divorced, stupid, divorced," he answered, ticking off on his fingers. He leaned down next to her, close enough that his cheek was almost next to hers.
"Go on, you," she laughed. She couldn't help it. He was smiling as he said it, so she laughed. "And if its Harry's problem that he's stupid, what's mine? Am I stupid?"
"You know you're not. I haven't gotten you figured out yet, but I will," he promised.
Each word spoken next to her cheek felt like a small, butterfly kiss. She almost melted like a puddle at the foot of the statue. They were both still bent over, supposedly leaning over to read the inscription at the base of the statue, but in reality they were staring in each others eyes. Hermione said, "You've not remarried, are you stupid?"
He expelled a small laugh, and blinked his eyes; each movement seemed as if they happened in slow motion. "You know it's not that we're stupid. Perhaps we're smarter than all of them, staying away from marriage." Changing the subject, he asked, "Why are we leaning over as such?"
"To read what's written on the bottom of this statue," she stated, her finger pointing toward the inscribed words on the plaque at the base of the sculpture.
"Latin?" he teased, standing back up to his full height. He placed one hand on her back again (allegedly for purchase), but he kept it there as he said, "You speak Latin? My, but you're so very smart. Tell me what it says, Granger. Something about love, I'm sure."
Hermione straightened beside him, smiled, and said, "I wouldn't know. Don't read a word of Latin, myself."
He dropped his hand from her back, walked away from her to some extent to lean against a fountain's ledge. "I do. Shall I tell you what it said?"
"If you must, Malfoy." Hermione walked around the statue again, her hand going up to the smooth marble, as Draco started to speak.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, and summer's lease hath all too short a date."
From the other side of the statue, Hermione stared at Draco, lounging on the side of the fountain. "That's from a Shakespeare sonnet, isn't it? Are you sure that's what it says? I think you're lying, because you spoke more words than were on the statue."
"Would I ever tell a lie, lion?" he asked sincerely, hands to his heart.
Hermione smiled and then laughed.
"Which brings us back to my first question … true love? Your feelings on it, Granger?"
Hermione walked closer to the fountain, realizing for the first time that Draco Malfoy had a seductive voice. One which would make a woman follow him anywhere. Then she realized that SHE was following him. That was interesting.
"I think that's a fascinating question, Malfoy," she found herself saying, instead of answering how she really felt. She turned away from him, mainly because she wanted to prove to herself that she could resist following him if she wanted, and picked a white rose from a bush nearby. In the process, she pricked her finger.
"Ouch," she said softly, bringing her finger to her chest. A small drop of blood pooled on the tip.
Draco stood before her – how did he get there so fast – a silk handkerchief in his hand. Taking her hand in his, he pulled on her injured finger, bringing it close to his chest. It was almost as if time stopped. She was able to examine each and every action and moment and expression and emotion as it happened.
His breath fanned her hair. His hands were somewhat rough, his fingers long, his skin slightly darker than hers. He was gentle, and he called her 'careless' and asked her 'why did she do something like that'. He laughed and said, "Not so brave now, aye little lion?"
When he wrapped the piece of white silk around her finger, he pulled her closer to his chest, and her breast touched his arm, and whether he was aware of it or not, Hermione was aware of it. His shoulder and head blocked the bright sun from her view and she was able to look up into his face if she angled her head just right. That was when she took the moment to notice something … when had Draco Malfoy become so completely, utterly, devastatingly handsome?
His eyes went from her finger to her gaze and he smiled at her. She felt lost and confused and she swayed. He made a silly joke about 'blood' and 'fainting', but Hermione didn't hear the rest of it.
Her throat felt tight, her limbs like lead, but even so, she willed her body to turn from his, then she pulled her finger from his hand and walked away from him without a single word, not even 'goodbye'. She marched back into the house, told Roger she had a headache and they left the party.
With Roger still prattling on beside her in the car, she continued to daydream about a certain someone with silver eyes and blond hair (a recurring daydream, for some insane reason) when Roger announced, "What a lovely house."
Hermione leaned down to peer out the window. They had arrived at their destination, and to call this massive, rose-coloured stone mansion 'a house' was a minor understatement, but then again, Roger always tended to understate the obvious. With a sigh, she opened her door when the car stopped. "Yes, lovely, lovely."
Roger instructed a house-elf toward their luggage and threw another one his keys and said, "It's hard to believe and highly unfair that someone like Ron Weasley is marrying into this sort of money, but there you go."
"That's unkind, Roger," Hermione said with a frown. "Ronald is marrying Astoria Greengrass-Malfoy because he loves her very much."
Roger snorted. "She was a bit young for me to remember her much, and it wasn't as if we were in the same house," he expressed, his hand going to her back as they entered the massive foyer behind one of the house elves, "but everyone knows her family's wealth could rival that of Draco Malfoy's, plus she got a nice settlement from Malfoy when they divorced. And speaking of Malfoy, he's coming this week, seeing how he and Astoria were once married."
Hermione stiffened at the mention of Malfoy's name. She always did. Then she thought about the last time she'd seen Draco Malfoy, and now he was going to be at her best friend's wedding. Right. How embarrassing!
She was quickly becoming annoyed with Roger. Annoyance was a familiar emotion where her fiancé was concerned, unfortunately. Sometimes she felt as if she was only using him as a means to an end, but she quickly pushed that thought away, walked away from him and asked the elf that escorted them in the house, "Has Harry Potter arrived yet?"
"Only moments before you, miss," the small elf replied. "He's in his room upstairs. I'll inform him that you would like to see him. Would you like to go upstairs?"
"I think I need a drink first," Roger replied. "But we can go upstairs, if you'd like."
"We'll go in the parlor and wait for him," Hermione answered for the two of them and the decision was made.
Roger and Hermione followed the elf into a huge parlor while another elf took their luggage up a formal staircase. Roger plopped down in a chair near a large set of windows, pulled back a velvet curtain and said, "I'm shocked Potter would show himself here this weekend."
Hermione frowned. "First you make disparaging remarks about Ron, now I suppose you have something bad to say about Harry." She sat on the arm of his chair. "And how do you know Malfoy's coming? Just because he was once married to Astoria doesn't mean he would come to her wedding to Ron. In fact, I would think that would mean he WOULDN'T come."
"That shows how much you know," Roger said, winking at her.
Hermione felt like sticking her wand in his eye, merely because of the phrase, 'that shows how much you know'… well, and because he was being condescending, which he knew she hated. "And I'm not saying anything against Potter," he continued. "It's only, Ginny and he are no longer together, and I would think it would be uncomfortable for him to be here with her here, since she's the only member of Ron's family that's coming."
Hermione turned on the arm of the chair and held out her hand, motioning that he should continue. "And Malfoy? How do you know he's coming?"
Roger pulled her down to his lap, hugging her with his arms around her waist. "He's engaged to Ginny Weasley now," he explained. "Don't you keep up with any of the gossip, Hermione?" He kissed her cheek and pushed her off his lap.
She stood, mouth open, shocked. "Draco Malfoy is engaged to Ginny Weasley? When? How? Why? Are you sure?"
"Yes," a man behind her said. "He's sure."
Hermione turned quickly to see Harry walking toward her from the doorway of the massive room. He smiled at her, held out his arms, and said, "It's good to see you, sweetheart."
She rushed to his arms. "Harry," she responded. With her head on his chest, her hands around his waist, she said softly, "I can hardly believe it. When did that happen?"
Harry shrugged. "Ron told me about it when he invited me to the wedding. He wasn't even going to invite Ginny, but Astoria insisted Malfoy come, because she doesn't have any family any longer, except for Malfoy and their son, and since Ginny's engaged to Malfoy …." His voice dropped away.
"I'm so sorry," she insisted. "Still, it's odd that Astoria would want her ex-husband here."
"Why is that odd? Ron's ex-wife is coming," Roger supplied, moving over toward the fireplace to the sideboard to pour a drink of the alcohol persuasion.
"How do you know all of this?" Hermione asked a pit peeved.
"I make it my business to know these things," Roger said. "I always thought Susan Bones was too good for Ron, excuse me for saying so, but I guess when you threw him over after school, refusing to marry him and all, he found the next best thing. She was smart, pretty, and serious. In other words, too good for him, just as you were too good for him."
"Roger Davies!" Hermione said, stomping her foot on the floor. "Stop saying bad things about my friends!"
He glared at her, flummoxed, and planted his arse back in his chair. "Sorry, ducky, I thought I was saying something good about you this time! And all of this information is just the newspaper man in me. I have to tell the truth."
Harry laughed. "Ducky?"
Hermione turned to Harry. "Don't repeat that name, Harry Potter," and turning to Roger she warned, "Nor you, Roger Davies!" She turned back to Harry to explain. "I made the mistake of telling Roger that the last time I saw Malfoy he called me 'lion', and Roger asked if I liked having a pet name, and I said it was alright, and ever since he's been calling me 'ducky' for some insane reason!"
Harry couldn't contain his laughter, so she quickly changed the subject by asking, "Do you think our god-daughter will come with Susan to see her Ron remarry?"
"I don't know." Harry took Hermione hand and led her to one of the sofas near the fireplace. "Rose hasn't taken to Astoria very well, from what I hear."
"Ron told me that she considers her new stepbrother-to be her nemesis at school," Hermione informed Harry with a grin.
"Sounds like you and Malfoy," Harry agreed. "He and I were enemies, but he was more like your nemesis."
"Malfoy wasn't my nemesis. That would mean he was my archenemy, and I don't think he was that important in my life." She laughed. "We were merely adversaries," Hermione decided.
"No," Draco Malfoy corrected as he came in the room. Hermione and Harry turned from their place on the couch and watched him as he entered. "Don't tell falsehoods, you brave, little lion. We weren't adversaries. We were archenemies, and you know it."
Hermione sucked in a breath when Draco Malfoy walked into the great room, silver eyes and all. Suddenly, it shrank in size, merely from his presence. Behind him stood a boy of about fifteen, who looked exactly as Draco Malfoy looked at that age. Draco introduced the young man to everyone as his son, Scorpius. Walking in behind them was a woman with long red hair. She needed no introduction, because everyone knew it was Harry Potter's ex-love, Ginny Weasley.
Ginny smiled at everyone, and then flitted around the room, making small talk first with Roger, then with Ron and Astoria, who had just joined the group. However, she pointedly ignored both Hermione and Harry, who had moved from the sofa to stand next to the patio doors. Hermione wrapped her arm through Harry's arm and said softly, "I'm so sorry, Harry. Will this week be horribly painful for you?"
Harry started to say something, when a woman walked into the room, taking up all the air with her apparent charisma and charm. "Am I terribly late?" she asked, smiling brightly. Her long blond hair shined like silk, her eyes were bright, her smile brighter … she stood in the doorway, waiting for someone to either announce her to the room, or escort her somewhere.
"Pansy?" Astoria asked, walking up to the woman. "What are you doing here? Not to be rude, but who invited you here this week to my wedding celebration?" Everyone knew that the two women did not like each other, so the fact that Pansy Parkinson was here in Astoria Greengrass' home was not necessarily a good thing.
Harry walked away from Hermione, brought his hand out toward Pansy, and he said, "I'm sorry, but my invitation did say, Harry Potter and guest. Pansy's my guest for the wedding; so of course, she'll be here all week. Isn't that okay?"
Astoria flipped her long black hair behind her back and said, "But of course. The more the merrier. Welcome to my home, Pansy. It's a pleasure to have you here."
"Charmed," Pansy returned to Astoria with a smile, placing her hand in Harry's. "Charmed, I'm sure."
When Pansy placed her hand in Harry's, the room grew so silent that one would be able to hear a feather drop … if someone had dropped a feather. Hermione noticed that although everyone had plastic smiles on their faces, underneath their demeanors told the truth of their feelings. Roger looked smug. Ginny Weasley looked shocked. Astoria looked livid. Ron looked a bit hurt. Scorpius looked bored. Harry looked happy, and Draco had a true smile on his face, although it turned to a smirk the moment he looked at Hermione.
Well, well, well. Hermione had forgotten that Ron and dated Pansy for six months before Astoria had come on the scene. She seemed to recall that Draco had dated Pansy in school, long before he married Astoria. She wondered if Roger has a history with the woman as well.
Hermione glanced at Harry and wondered what in the world Harry Potter was thinking bringing THIS woman here THIS week, but if there was something she had learned over the last twenty years it was to trust Harry Potter's instincts.
Suddenly, she felt Draco Malfoy at her back. He whispered in her ear, "Get ready, lion. It's going to an interesting week, to be sure."
She turned her head a bit, met his silver eyes and said, "So I've heard, so I've heard."
Thanks to Rachel for betaing this for me! You did a fantastic job! And also, thank you to all of you who followed me here from the other site. I appreciate all the support. This should be a fun story I think, without all the stress and sorrow of the last one!
Also, I'll have some 'interesting' news (in the words of Roger Davies) -
My stories are featured on a brand new site called 'The maple bookshelf'. Address link to my stories is: http : / / the maplebookshelf (dot) com /
I'll be updating 'A Silver and Gold Lining' there first, as well as 'Envy'. Also, I'll start a new story just for that site. My newest story, 'Rules of Engagement' will be on both this and that site, but will show up a day earlier on that site. I want to thank them for making me feel welcome, and as it's brand new, (and in fact, I'm the only writer at the moment) I want to see it succeed. They made me feel welcome at a time when I was feeling down, so again, thank you to the submissions people over there!