Arcanus was uncharacteristically empty. The large men that normally guarded the doors were absent. Andy was standing behind the bar, mixing drinks and enjoying the quiet. His eyes followed Draco as he paced the floor.
"I'm not sure this is a good idea," Draco muttered.
"It's fine," Andy said dismissively. "You want this." He set a tumbler containing an amber liquid on the counter and gestured for Draco to take it.
"Care to explain what we are doing in an empty club?" Severus asked, looking bored and a bit annoyed.
"We're going to work some magic," Andy said with a grin. He sighed happily. "I really amaze myself sometimes. I should do this more often."
Harry snorted in amusement. "Do what?" he asked.
"Play cupid," Andy replied.
"Merlin help us," Severus groaned tossing back his shot of firewhiskey.
Andy smirked and then looked at Harry and Draco with a conspiratorial wink. "Sounds like Snape needs to be my next target," he said in a loud whisper. He laughed at the glare Severus shot at him. "They should be here any minute," Andy said, rubbing his hands together briskly. "Everyone looks great," he added, eyeing the three other men critically.
Draco and Harry were wearing white collared shirts, black slacks and black ties. Severus was wearing the same ensemble, but he had abandoned the tie almost the second they walked into the club. Andy was wearing khaki colored slacks and a light blue polo shirt. "Tell me again why this is necessary," Harry said, tugging at the collar of his shirt uncomfortably. "Couldn't I wear something like that?" He gestured to Andy's shirt, eyeing it jealously.
"You'll thank me for this," Andy assured him with a smile. He turned to face the door as he felt his wards being removed. "Here we go," he muttered to himself.
Hermione and Ginny entered the club with the Freeman sisters, feeling a little nervous. Andy had instructed everyone to dress up for the occasion, but refused to tell them what the occasion was.
Hermione felt incredibly self-conscious. This time, Jenna had selected Hermione's attire. Hermione was now wearing a glittering dark blue dress that clung to her body. The wide V-neck didn't show much cleavage but that didn't give her a lot comfort. The fabric hugged her hips gently before flaring out slightly and stopping just above her knees. She tugged absently at the narrow straps, wishing she could cover up with her teaching robes. Her hair was swept up in an elegant chignon, courtesy of Jenna. Luckily she had the foresight to cast a cushioning charm on her high heels. She had the feeling that it was going to be a long evening.
Caroline looked amazing in a long satin dress with an empire waistline. The flowing, light blue fabric did little to hide her curvy frame. Samantha wore the same dress in a pale pink that was very striking against her dark skin, while Jenna's dress was dark green.
Ginny squealed as Harry scooped her up into his arms and spun her around in a circle before setting her back down. His eyes roamed her body, as if trying to memorize every detail. Her slim form was encased in lavender fabric. The dress had a plunging V-neck and it clung to her body. She twirled around for him, loving the way the fabric swirled around her legs. "You look amazing," Harry said softly to her.
She grinned, her excitement shining in her eyes. "Thank you," she replied. "When do we find out what's going on?" she asked, smoothing his tie with her hands.
"Malfoy wanted to surprise Caroline," Harry said, smiling. "I can't say anymore though."
"That doesn't explain why I have to walk around only half-way dressed," Hermione grumbled, moving to Ginny's side.
"Don't be silly," Ginny said, rolling her eyes. "You look fabulous. And how often do we get the chance to dress up like this?"
Hermione nodded, though she didn't look as if she agreed. She spotted Severus sitting at the bar, looking as uncomfortable as she felt. She approached him uncertainly, offering him a smile when he met her eyes. "Hello Severus," she said, taking a seat next to him. "You look nice."
"Thank you," he replied, shifting uncomfortably. He was missing his teaching robes a great deal at this point. His eyes drifted to Hermione's dress and his brow rose in surprise. "I see you intend to make a habit of shocking me with your attire," he drawled. He smirked in amusement when Hermione giggled. "And the fun is about to begin," he muttered.
Hermione looked around to see Draco guiding Caroline to sit down with her sisters while Andy set about enchanting various instruments. "This should be interesting," she said, turning her seat to get a better view.
Draco sat down and waited expectantly for Andy to begin. With a wave of Andy's wand, music filled the club. Caroline's face lit up with a smile as she instantly recognized the song. Her sisters shared in her obvious excitement, leaning forward slightly, watching. Their eyes locked on Andy's face as he swaggered forward, taking a deep breath.
The voice they heard was unfamiliar, and Andy's mouth wasn't moving other than the sly smile curving his lips. The Freeman sisters whirled around to see Draco strolling towards them, his rich baritone voice caressing the words he was singing. Caroline's mouth dropped open in surprise. Sam and Jenna looked mildly impressed.
Draco had felt a little uncertain but Andy had coached him to really play up the drama. His eyes stayed locked on Caroline as he crooned to her. He was feeling smug when the verse ended and Caroline lifted her chin and met his eyes with a playful smirk. He took a tiny step back when the Freeman's sang the next verse, rising slowly from their chairs and approaching him, their hips swaying to the music. They stopped within arms reach of him, their voices harmonizing perfectly. Sam and Jenna fell silent, watching Caroline and Draco sing. They winked at Andy as Draco shifted a bit closer to Caroline, unable to resist the call of her voice. Sam and Jenna rejoined the song at the end of the verse, harmonizing and echoing throughout the remainder of the song.
By the end of the song, all four of them were a bit breathless. Draco's hands were on Caroline's waist and his eyes were focused intently on hers. "Andy put you up to this didn't he?" Caroline asked, blushing.
"I asked him for help," Draco admitted. At Caroline's puzzled look he went on. "We've spent a lot of time together, but I always end up feeling like you've managed to keep me at arm's length. I'd like to be a bit closer," he added with a flirtatious wink.
Caroline blushed even more, looking away uncomfortably. She stilled when Andy approached and rested one hand on her shoulder. "You know I'd never help a guy that I thought was bad for you," he said firmly. "This guy is in it for the long haul. He was desperate to find a way to be with you."
"I wouldn't say desperate," Draco muttered. Andy ignored him.
"You light up when he's around," Andy said. "He worked hard on this just to show you that he wants to be with you. Give him a chance." Andy glanced at Draco apologetically. "I'll get out of your way," he murmured, moving away to watch from a more discrete location.
"This is so sweet," Caroline said quietly, meeting Draco's eyes shyly.
"Only for you," Draco replied, his gaze steady. He watched her as he slowly lowered his mouth to hers, thrilled when she didn't back away. He was pleasantly surprised when she relaxed in his arms and returned his kiss.
Sam and Jenna stood nearby, watching the scene with mild interest until Sam cleared her throat loudly. When Caroline and Draco looked at her she smirked. "As touching as this is, I think make this a little more interesting," Sam said. "Besides, Snape might hex his own face off if he has to watch you to make out anymore." She glanced back at the potions master to see him smirking in amusement. Without further comment, she shooed Caroline and Draco away so she and Jenna could get to the stage, followed by Andy.
Harry led Ginny to the dance floor as a beautiful melody began to play. He pulled her into his arms and he smiled with contentment when she rested her head on his shoulder.
Draco walked over to the bar to get Caroline some water. He frowned when he saw Severus and Hermione sitting there watching the others. Sam, Jenna and Andy taking to the stage had effectively left the pair with two couples. After a moment of consideration, he moved around the bar to stand next to Hermione.
"Draco that was really sweet of you," she said, gesturing toward Caroline, who was approaching them. "You sang so well. And Caroline looks very happy."
"Yes well, it might have been better if all you sods hadn't been watching," Draco retorted.
"I was coerced and the ladies were invited," Snape reminded him.
"Just ignore this guy," Caroline said, stopping next Draco and giving him a playful wink. "I'm glad we're all together tonight."
Draco nodded grudgingly, earning a poke in the ribs from Caroline. He grinned at her and then turned to Hermione. "Why haven't you talked Severus into dancing with you?" he asked, smirking at her look of startled surprise.
"I didn't know that Severus liked to dance," Hermione said, glancing at the potions master.
"That's a good idea," Caroline said, sounding pleased. "You two should come dance. It's fun and relaxing." She smiled in satisfaction when Severus rose from his chair and held out his hand to Hermione. His expression was unreadable, but Caroline felt certain that it was a good sign that he didn't simply refuse. She saw Hermione hesitate slightly and then allow Severus to take her by the hand and lead her to the dance floor.
Caroline turned to face Draco and caught his smug look. "You embarrassed them," she said.
"So?" he said with a shrug. "They'll be fine. It won't kill Severus to be social."
Caroline rolled her eyes and took a sip of the water he offered her. She set the glass back on the bar and then allowed herself to be guided back to the dance floor.
Hermione's heart raced at the feel of hands on her waist. She noticed that Severus seemed nervous instead of irritated. She was having trouble thinking straight with their bodies so close together. When Severus met her eyes, she smiled tentatively. "Caroline was right," she said quietly. "This is nice."
"Indeed," Severus agreed, his fingers inching to her lower back. "However, I would still very much like to hex Draco."
Hermione laughed. "Can I watch?" she asked with a grin.
"Certainly," he replied smirking. "I may even allow you to help." His lips twitched when she laughed again.
The laughter drew Caroline's attention. She smiled and said "Draco, have you ever wondered if maybe..." Her voice trailed off as she nodded toward Severus and Hermione.
Draco followed her gaze in confusion. "Severus and Granger," he muttered. He frowned thoughtfully. He looked back at Caroline and caught her look. "You mean them together? No, I've honestly never thought about it. But, now that you mention it, you may have a point." He smirked when he saw that Ginny was shooting curious looks at Severus and Hermione as well. He caught her eye and chuckled when the red head raised her eyebrows mischievously.
Hermione sighed softly. "This song is nearly mesmerizing," she said quietly, closing her eyes and enjoying the music and the warm pressure of the hand on her lower back. She was nearly tempted to lean forward just a bit more to rest her head against Severus' shoulder. She was amazed by the effect that the Sirens' song had on her. The Freeman sisters had a truly wonderful gift and it was a pity that it had to be so well hidden and protected.
Severus was content to hold Hermione in his arms and watch the emotions that flitted across her face. While he didn't appreciate being pushed into dancing with Hermione, he was enjoying the companionship. While he would never admit it out loud, he didn't particularly enjoy being alone. His time in Azkaban had cured him of any desire for a solitary life. Hermione's presence was soothing, and she was perfectly happy to work in silence, which pleased him immensely. When they did speak while working together, she listened intently and responded intelligently.
His musings were interrupted when Hermione's eyes snapped open and she gasped, clutching at the front of his white shirt. "What is it?" he asked, his eyes searching her face in alarm while his grip on her tightened just a bit.
Hermione's eyes stared into his, her excitement evident. "We hadn't considered using the siren's song in our potion," she said in a rush. Her gaze became unfocused as her thoughts raced. "It may not even work, but the very idea opens up so many possibilities," she muttered. She focused on Severus again with a smile. "It may be worth looking into."
Severus stared back at her for a moment, surprised. "It is most definitely worth testing," he replied slowly. "We could speak with Caroline to find out how exactly it works." He smirked when Hermione immediately looked toward Caroline, and he tightened his hold on her slightly to prevent her from rushing off. "We can let this wait until tomorrow. She appears rather distracted at this time."
Hermione nodded, smiling slightly. "She looks very happy," she murmured, her expression wistful. She glanced up at Severus and blushed a bit when she saw his curious look.
Severus hesitated and then said "I am a little surprised that Mr. Weasley had not been invited to this little outing."
"As am I," she admitted. "I cannot say that I am disappointed." She laughed ruefully. Seeing his puzzled frown she went on. "Ronald and I didn't last long when we attempted to move beyond friendship. Trying to move back to friendship was awkward at best. At worst, a homicide in the making."
Severus chuckled darkly, earning an amused smirk from Hermione. "I find it astounding that know-it-all Granger did not see that disaster coming," he drawled.
"That makes two of us," she said giggling.
Draco and Caroline watched them from a safe distance. Caroline sighed. "That is adorable," she murmured. "They would be really good for each other."
"Yes, the two workaholics," he replied, snorting in amusement. "We certainly wouldn't have to worry about them snogging all over the castle. They'll be to busy being brilliant."
Caroline rolled her eyes. "I think you're under-estimating them," she said. "I think that they would be just as susceptible to be overcome by passion as anyone else."
Draco frowned in distaste. "That's disgusting," he said, earning another poke in the ribs.
Please review! I need to know how I'm doing. I appreciate suggestions and constructive criticism. Also let me know if you notice errors. I'll gladly make corrections right away.