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Fate's Path by Lumos Nox

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 9
Word Count: 31,778
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Draco, Pansy, Ginny, Blaise (M), OC
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Draco/OC, Ron/OC

First Published: 10/20/2012
Last Chapter: 08/11/2014
Last Updated: 08/11/2014

Summary:
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After not speaking for years, the unlikely pair struggle to keep apart.

It seems as though fate wants them together, though neither of them will admit it.


Chapter 1: Welcome Back
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chapter image by autumn.shades@tda



Welcome Back

Hermione was glad to be back home. In London. It had been a year since she had seen her friends and although they kept in touch via owl, she still couldn't help the stabbing pain she felt every time she thought of them. Harry, Ginny, Luna, Neville and Ron. Ron. Her boyfriend. She wasn't sure if she could still call him that. She had been gone a year and everyone had kept in touch all except for Ron. She had sent him countless amount of owls and not once did he reply. She'd always ask about him whenever she owled Ginny or Harry, and they'd both say the same thing; 'he's fine.',Hermione highly doubted that, but she wouldn't want to worry her friends by complaining about Ron so she'd kept her thoughts to herself. And since she was back home, she was going to see Ron again.

It had been four years since the war and so many had changed. After the death of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, various death eaters had been sent to Azkaban. The Malfoys on the other hand were not, they were found Innocent in court and were said to only have been behind Voldemort to protect their family.

After graduating from Hogwarts, the Golden Trio was followed by reporters and paparazzi wherever they went, they were always on newspapers and magazines 24/7! That was one of the reasons why Hermione decided to travel around the world before she turned 20, at the same time completing her Auror training. She had gone to Greece, France, Australia, America, and decided to spend the last few months in Italy. Everyone said she was mad when she told them she wanted to go travelling; Ginny and Luna however, supported her even though they too thought she was mad. She told them that she wanted to be free, independent and see the world.

The week she was due to leave was hectic; reporters were everywhere, as Hermione had told the wizarding world that she was to leave. She had received numerous owls from everyone, all of them asking if she was mad. The newspapers had made accusations as to why she was leaving. They said it was because there was trouble in paradise, referring to Ron and Hermione. And another was that it was because the golden trio has broken up. After she read the articles, Hermione was quick to arrange an interview with Luna for 'The Quibbler' so she could set the record straight and tell them the real reason she was leaving was not because of Ron or Harry but simply because she wanted to live a little, and will be back in a year.

Hermione was now walking down the stairs at Heathrow Airport. From a mile away she had caught a glimpse of Ron’s flaming red hair and a smile crept to her face. She was going to see her parents and friends and couldn't help smiling. She saw Ginny turn around, and she noticed the big grin on her face.

"HERMIONE!" Ginny screamed as she began running towards Hermione, causing the gang to turn around and follow behind. Hermione dropped her hand luggage and suitcase so she could hug Ginny properly.

"Hermione! What did you do to your hair?" Ginny said as she eyed Hermione's new hair.

"I had it cut down, don't you like it?" Hermione asked as the rest of the gang finally reached her, except for Ron and her parents who were slowly trailing behind. Hermione heard the gasps. Harry, Luna and Neville all froze and were looking at Hermione's hair.

Hermione had cut her hair just a few weeks ago. She wanted to return back home with a new look. Her hair was a pixie cut and she loved it very much. However she wasn't sure her friends did.

"Don't you all like it?" She asked, afraid for the response.

"It looks absolutely amazing!" Ginny was the first to speak "I love it!" She said as she started to give Hermione a humble hug.

"I agree you look absolutely amazing." said Luna as she joined in the hug.

Once they had both let go of her, Hermione turned to face Harry and Neville. Neville too came over and gave Hermione a hug and Hermione couldn't help but smile. Neville had grown to be quite good looking; she couldn't believe he used to be this round-face shy boy with a short chubby build. Puberty was good to him. Once she released herself from his tight grip. She turned towards Harry and before he could say anything, she leapt on him and locked him in a squeeze.

"Hermione.. I...” He was literally panting. "I'm so glad you're back! And you look amazing!" He was practically beaming now.

"So what did you bring us?" Asked Ginny as she began digging into the hand luggage Hermione had discarded on the floor next to her. Hermione wasn't paying attention anymore; she was now walking slowly to Ron.

"Hermione, you look...” He uttered. "Your hair... It's... nice." Hermione grinned and pulled him into a warm embrace.

She pressed her lips up onto his and ran her fingers through his red hair, as he laid his hands on her hips and pulled her closer. Hermione couldn't hear anything; she had drowned the world out so it felt like only her and Ron existed in this world. They had completely forgotten that they were in an airport, filled with hundreds of muggles.

"Get a room you two!" said Neville. As they let go, Hermione realized that her parents were standing right behind Ron, looking embarrassed.  Hermione went up to them both and gave them a hug.

"Hermione, you look so grown up!" said Jean Granger. "Has it been a year already?"

Hermione was now feeling teary at the sight of her parents. After the war had ended Hermione had gone to Australia and bought them back home. She had explained to them what had happened and they understood that she only did it to protect them. They had grown fairly closer since the war.

"Now shall we go? There's a surprise waiting for you at the burrow." said Neville casually. Luna muttered something under her breath and slapped Neville hard on the arm.

"You idiot! You just ruined the surprise!" Ginny said. "It’s not much of a surprise now is it?" Neville looked sorry and Hermione couldn't help but giggle.

"It's okay guys, It's been a long flight and I just want to go home and have an early night." She said softly, careful not to hurt their feelings. "Thank you all for coming, I really appreciate it!"

After that had all said they're goodbyes, Ginny, Neville, Luna and Harry found a safe spot and apparated home. Hermione's parents drove home and then Ron and Hermione apparated home aswell.

*

Two years ago Ron and Hermione had decided to move in together. In less than a month, they had bought an apartment in the muggle village of Ottery St Catchpole, which was also were the Weasleys and Lovegoods lived. The apartment was protected by charms and spells, making it hard for reporters to find out where they lived.

Hermione had forgotten that she was supposed to be mad at Ron. She was caught up in the heat of the moment when she kissed him publicly at the airport. She started to blush at the memory.

"Mione, you're blushing." Ron said, looking at her amused. He was wearing nothing but black pajama pants.

"Why didn't you write to me?" Hermione asked him, careful not to sound irrational.

He was completely taken back. "What?"

"I was gone for a year and you didn't even bother to write to me." she accused him.

Ron was walking about the apartment. Clearly not paying attention to what she was saying.

"Ronald Weasley! Pay attention to me!" she said through gritted teeth. She was now getting impatient.

"I didn't know what to write about." Ron shrugged, obviously not wanting to have the conversation.

"I was gone for a year and you had absolutely nothing to write to me about?" Hermione was raving.

"I was busy." he said, as he grabbed a magazine about Quidditch.

Those three little words sent Hermione's temper through to roof.

"You were busy? How bloody busy were you that you couldn't pick up a quill to write to me? You had 370 days! You left me worried!"

Ron dropped the magazine and turned around to face her. His blue eyes showed deep emotion as they surveyed her up and down. He looked mad. "Yes I was fucking busy. You left me alone for your own selfish self! Not once did you bother to think about how it would affect me! I went days fooling myself that you would come back! I got lonely!"

"What did you mean you got lonely?"

"Well.. er.." He uttered, as if unsure of what to say next. "I've got to be somewhere." He marched swiftly about the bedroom and pulled on a shirt and before Hermione could say anything, he had apparated out of the room, leaving his girlfriend confused.

*

Draco Malfoy walked out of the elevator at the top floor of Malfoy Inc. There were several people who were walking hurriedly past each other, and as soon as he walked in they all turned to look at him. He, however, was in no mood to talk. He had a banging headache, all due to his terrible hangover.

"Morning Boss." said Amanda.

Amanda was Draco's P.A. She had long blonde hair that reached her hips and was tall and skinny. When he met her at the interview a few months ago, he thought she was a model, as she was that incredibly attractive. Today, Amanda wore a short dress, black leggings and red leather pumps, that made her legs look longer than they already was.

"Morning Amanda." he barely muttered. His hangover just got worse and worse.

"Are you all right sir?" asked Amanda, her face had dropped and she looked worried. "You look terrible.'

"I'm okay Amanda." he said. Trying to convince himself he was.

Amanda, however, was not convinced and the way she was looking at him showed it. "Your girlfriend's in your office. She came about an hour ago and I told her that you weren't here, but she insisted on waiting for you."

Draco was not in any way excited to face his girlfriend. He was still not feeling very good, and she would just make things worse.

"Thank you Amanda."  Amanda smiled and walked over to her desk to pick up the muggle device that was now ringing.

He had barely closed his office door before she had started yelling.

"Where the hell have you been?" yelled Astoria Greengrass.

Astoria Greengrass was Draco's girlfriend of two years. Astoria was the younger sister of Daphne Greengrass, his former Slytherin classmate. They had both attended Hogwarts but didn't start dating until two years ago. She had long brown hair that was always curled or let down. Astoria was wearing a leopard blouse with black bodycon skirt and red pumps. She was always dressed to impress.

He walked over to his desk. "I was out drinking..." he said as he took a seat on the large chair behind the large desk "With Blaise and Pansy" he added. "I lost track of time and it was too late and I was far too drunk to apparated home. So Blaise and Pansy kindly offered me their guest room for the night." He stood up and walked around his desk to where Astoria stood. "I'm sorry."

Astoria relaxed and smiled at him. "I was worried sick." she simply said.

Draco smiled and went to sit back behind his desk as Astoria sat down on the chair opposite him. She picked up a magazine that she had been reading before, and Draco noticed it was 'Witch Weekly' and to his surprise he saw who was on the front cover. It was Hermione Granger.

"Did you hear?" asked Astoria, following Draco's gaze. "She's back. Came back yesterday I heard. Apparently she cut off her hair. I haven't seen it but I heard it looks horrible!"

"Where did she go?" asked Draco, ignoring Astoria's last remark.

"I don't know. But she was spotted in Italy a couple of times last month." she answered. "I don't know why she left in the first place, now that she's back she's not going to be left alone."

"What do you mean?"

"She's part of 'The Golden Trio'." Astoria said, with air quotes. "She's a celebrity in the wizarding world. She's been gone for a year, now that she's back the media will want to know all about her journey."

"Oh right."

Draco, began to shuffle some papers on his desk.

"Have you heard about her boyfriend? The red haired boy. Apparently he's been cheating on her. He's been caught with countless girls over the year." Astoria looked back to her magazine, but still continued speaking "I doubt anyone told Granger, when she finds out she's going to have a fit."

"Weasel's cheating?" Astoria nodded. Draco almost felt bad for Granger. The last thing you want is to find out your own boyfriend's been cheating on you with not one, but many different girls.

"I better get going. I've got a hair appointment." Astoria said, standing up while grabbing her bag and stuffing the magazine in.

She walked over to where Draco was sitting and laid a quick peck on his lips before walking out of his office. The ghost of her heels hitting the floor echoed in his ears.



My first try at a Dramione. I know it started off completly cliche, but it's all part of the amazing plot. I really do feel bad for making Ron look like the bad guy, but like I said, it is all part of the plot. Everything will (hopefully) work out in the end.

R&R

-Vickyy.



Chapter 2: Ronald Weasley
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chapter image by prometheus@TDA



Complete Arse Ronald Weasley

"Can one of you please tell me what's going on?" Hermione asked the couple that was standing in front of her.

After Ron had apparated out of the apartment, she had waited for him all night to come back. She didn't worry. Every time they had an argument, Ron would go out and would come back in the morning with flowers and a box of chocolate to apologize. However, when she woke up this morning, he didn't show up and she started to worry, she sent him owls and he clearly received them and just didn't reply, as her owl came back without the letter. When it was past noon, she started to worry, at three o'clock, she was going to go out and look for him but she soon decided against the idea, as there would be reporters everywhere, and she wasn't in the mood to face them.

At exactly quarter past six, she had had enough! She apparated to Harry and Ginny's apartment with many questions. When she had told them what happened, they had both gone quiet and refused to speak.

"Hermione, please know that we love you and we're very sorry for not telling you this sooner." Ginny said softly.

"What do you.." Before she could finish her question, Harry had dropped several newspaper articles in front of her.

They all had different headlines but, the same familiar face that she had learnt to love over the years, on it. In each article, Ron was pictured with a different girl. The moving picture showed him kissing a long black haired girl; another showed him caressing a short red haired girl. There were several more articles. she was disgusted. She fell back onto the chair she had been standing in front of. Ginny walked over to her, she sat on the armchair and wrapped one hand around Hermione's shoulders.

"I'm really sorry you had to find out like this." said Ginny.

"Why didn't you guys stop him?" she asked them. She wasn't crying. She couldn't cry.

"We didn't want to believe them." Harry said, gesturing to the articles in Hermione's hand. "When we found out how serious it was, we tracked him down to a pub in Diagon Alley, as it was impossible to apparate to your house. Ginny here nearly tore his head off!"

Ginny grinned and Hermione started to laugh.

"The last time we spoke to him was two months ago! We didn't see him until yesterday at the airport. He hadn't been in the paper since we 'comforted' him and so we thought he'd put that all behind him." Ginny said. "He did say the only reason he did it was because he missed you and felt lonely."

"Did you think I wasn't going to find out? She asked them seriously.

"Well we thought Ron would tell you." Harry paused. "Which he did. We thought you two would deal with it and we could forget about what happened in the past year."

Hermione removed Ginny's hand from her shoulders and stood up to face both of the couple.

"But I can't forget the past year! Travelling was the best thing that's ever happened to me. I got to re discover myself. I never had so much fun in my life." she said, exasperated. "I don't think I can forgive him."

Harry and Ginny looked at each other before Ginny stood up.

"S'ok Mione. You're welcome to stay here for as long as you like!" Ginny said.

"Thanks for the offer," she smiled at them both. "But I need to be alone."

She gave them one last hug before she apparated to her apartment. No. It wasn't her apartment anymore. It used to be. That was when she shared it with the man she loved, and she thought he loved her back. Obviously she had been mistaken. She had packed up all of her belongings with the wave of her wand. She looked around the apartment. It'd been her home for the past two years, and she was sad to be leaving. But it was for the best. The apartment looked empty now. Without her stuff there, it felt cold and unwelcome. With one last look, she apparated to the safest place she could think of. Home.

*

It had been two weeks since Hermione heard the news. Two week since she came back, and two weeks since she had left Ron. To Hermione's surprise Ron didn't send Hermione any owls. Maybe Ginny and Ron forced him not to, as it would only make things worse. Hermione had been living with her parents since then; she didn't want to go back to the Wizarding World. She enjoyed living in the muggle world, where no one knew that she was secretly a witch who defeated the most powerful wizard of all time.

Hermione pulled up her bed covers and got up to see it was only eleven past eight. She heard an owl tapping on her window. She didn't recognize the owl. It couldn't be Harry's or Ginny's, she recognized theirs, as they had owled each other every day for the past two weeks. She pushed up her window frame allowing the owl to fly in. It flew in and dropped the letter on her bed, before it flew back out. Not waiting for a reply. Hermione quickly walked to her bed and picked up the letter. She opened it and realized it was from Luna.

Hermione,

How's everything? I haven't heard from you lately. Please pop in today, so we can catch up.

P.S - I hope you're safe from the Nargles.

Luna.


She had to laugh at the last part of the letter. Luna was truly something. She showered and washed her hair, but there was less to wash now, as she had cut it. She wore a flannel shirt underneath her thermal sweater, black leggings and black flats. She carried her black studded bag and wore her black sunglasses. She said goodbye to her parents and apparated out.

*

Luna had obviously been waiting for her, as she had laid two mugs on the small coffee table in the kitchen. When she saw Hermione she walked over and gave her a hug.

"Hermione, I heard about what happened. I'm so sorry." Luna said softly.

Luna was wearing a purple dress with black boots. She had her hair tied in a pony tail and was wearing gold studs.

"Didn't you know about it? It was all over the newspapers." Hermione said, slightly confused.

Luna shook her head. "I only read the Quibbler," she said, her voice distant. "And they wouldn't post something like that."

"Oh, how’s your father?" Hermione asked as she took a seat at the coffee table.

"Daddy's okay. He's still works at the Quibbler. But never mind that, how was it travelling around the world?" she asked.

"It was brilliant! I had so much fun!"

"Did you go to Sweden?" Luna asked, ignoring her answer.

"No.. I didn't get the chance to." answered Hermione.

"Daddy and I travelled there a few years ago over the summer; to search for a Crumple-Horned Snorkack." she explained "We couldn't find one though. We were very disappointed."

Hermione chuckled as she noticed how Luna had drifted away from the conversation.

"That complete arse, Ronald Weasley is!" she said suddenly.

Hermione couldn't help but smile at what her friend just said. She sounded so cute and innocent even when she was trying not to.

She sat up. "Luna, don't worry. I've already forgotten about him."

"That's good." Luna said.

"So... How is everything?" Hermione asked after an awkward pause.

"Everything's good." she simply said. "But I'm trying to arrange an interview with someone for the Quibbler but every time I send him an owl, the owl gets sent back. He must think its junk."

"Who are you trying to interview?" Hermione was now interested in the conversation.

"Draco Malfoy."

 "Why would you want to interview him?" she asked without even thinking.

"Oh, I forgot you've been gone. You've missed a lot." Luna said. "He took over Malfoy Inc several months ago. No one's been able to arrange an interview with him, as he keeps himself private. If the Quibbler were the first to get an interview, then it would boost our popularity and Daddy would be so happy."

After the war, Hermione had gone back to Hogwarts to attain her N.E.W.T.s. Very few six years came back, Malfoy was one of them.

No one expected him to come back. He had changed after the war, when he came back; he no longer looked ill like he did when The Dark Lord was alive. He was lucky enough not to have been sent to Azkaban. He had changed, he didn't call Hermione a mudblood anymore. A few weeks back into Hogwarts, Hermione and Draco were forced to work together in potions and they had somehow become friends over that. After they had graduated, they had all gone their separate ways and before Hermione left to travel, she heard he was going to take over Malfoy Inc. She didn't know he actually did.

"I'd be glad to arrange an interview with him for you, if you want." Hermione said, bringing herself back to the present.

"That would be lovely." Luna said enthusiastically, grabbing a paper and quill from a nearby table. "I hope he replies to your owl."

Hermione spent several minutes writing on the paper. Once she was done, she folded it up and got up to open the window; her owl appeared out of the sky and flew towards her. She gave it the letter and watched as it flew away towards the sky.



Thank you for reading everyone! If you can take one minute to review, It would be greatly appreciated! Constructive critism is always welcome.

P.S - I still love Ron btw, don't hate him please! He's awesome, I mean who wouldn't want their own freckled Weasley?

-vicky.


Chapter 3: Brightest Witch Of Her Age
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lovely chapter image by marieko@TDA.



Brightest Witch Of Her Age

Draco Malfoy was sitting at the conference table. He was surrounded by dozens of wizards and witches all having a proposal to make in the hopes of becoming somehow involved with Malfoy Inc.

Sitting here reminded him, of when Voldemort had used his home, Malfoy Manor, as a meeting place for death eaters. He had hated seeing so many evil in his house. And he was the youngest of all death eaters, which made him feel intimidated.

Draco wasn't listening to what it was that the wizards and witches were saying. His mind was somewhere else. He heard a tap on the window and everyone looked to see a scrawny owl tapping on the window. It was Draco's owl.

It was odd, how Draco had received an owl here, as all of his owls were never delivered to him, but sent back before they reached him. How did this manage to get to him? He stood up as all eyes were on him. He went to open the window and the owl flew right in and stood on the table. Draco followed the owl and once it had settled down, he removed the letter. He saw that on the envelope it read in the most elegant hand writing. ‘Draco Malfoy'

After Draco had dismissed the witches and wizard, he walked to his office so he could read the letter.

"Dear Malfoy.

I had no idea you had somehow taken over Malfoy Inc. As you know, I travelled and I just came back a couple of weeks ago, which would explain why I'm so far behind.

Anyways, let's cut to the chase. I would like to do an interview with you for The Quibbler, I have been told you keep yourself very private, but surely you can spare a few hours for an interview. I would just ask a few questions and you answer. If you are interested, please reply as soon as possible, the date, time and where.

Hermione Granger"


Draco was still a bit stunned as to how the owl had been delivered to him but he decided to let it slide. He replied to Hermione, he called for his owl, and attached the letter to it before it flew away.

*

"Turning 21 is a big deal! It's a huge deal Hermione!" Ginny was practically yelling, as they walked down Diagon Alley.

"Shut up Ginny. You're going to draw attention to us!" Hermione said as several passer bys were looking in their direction.

"I'm sorry, it's just...” Ginny took a sip from her can. "You have to have a party; it’s not every day that the brightest witch of her age turns 21!"

Hermione smiled at being called that. "I'm not even at all bothered about it. I just want a dinner party with close friends."

"No! That what Harry did! You need a party! Ginny took another sip. "What is this stuff? It's brilliant!" She exclaimed.

"It's coke. It's full of sugar, that's why you're so hyper!" Hermione explained.

"Muggle inventions are amazing!" she declared.

Ginny was wearing dark blue jeans, with camel felt pea coat and a pair of strappy leather boots. She wore a large grey scarf around her neck, which was a gift from Hermione, Rayban sunglasses with a small black purse on her shoulders, and she had her hair in one big braid down her back.

They entered a pub in the south area of Diagon Alley.

"I'll plan the party, all you have to do is show up!" said Ginny as they sat down in a corner table near the window.

"Why do you want me to have this party so much?" she asked as a waiter came over.

"Hello I'm Lucy. What can I get for you?" the waiter asked eagerly.

She had shoulder length black hair and wore a plain red top with black skirt and black flats. She looked about the age of eighteen.

"Two Butterbeers please." Ginny answered.

The waiter nodded and left. Hermione removed her sunglasses and stared right at her red haired friend.

"Are you going to start ordering for me now?" she asked with a smile.

"Your hair might have changed but I know you're still a butterbear kind of girl." Ginny reminded her.

"You know me too well." she said.

The waiter, Lucy, had returned with their drinks and placed it on the table. She was about to leave when she noticed Hermione.

"Oh Merlin! You're... Hermione Granger." she said eagerly.

It was then that Hermione realized she had removed her sunglasses.

"I love your hair! It's absolutely stunning! I think it's bold and makes a statement!" she exclaimed.

"Thank you." Hermione said.

"The butterbeers are on the house!" she called, drawing a few attentions to their table.

"Oh... er thank you." Hermione smiled at her before the young girl went back into the kitchen.

"Anyways.." Ginny said. "You're having a party and that's the end of it!"

"Fine! Whatever you want!" Hermione said, defeated.

Ginny smiled before they both drunk their butterbear.

"So, I'm thinking we should make the party official by putting it in the newspaper for everyone to know. It has to be the party of the century!" Ginny said as she wrote down some stuff in a big notebook.

"Her birthday's in a week, how are you going to plan it quick enough?" Harry asked his red haired girlfriend.

They had decided to come back to Ginny's apartment after being spotted. The last thing they wanted was to be bombarded with questions.

"I'm Ginny Weasley. I can make it work." Ginny said.

"Of course you can honey, I never doubted you for a minute."

Ginny smiled. "Now should we have a dress code? I think everyone else should only wear yellow, so the birthday girl can wear pink!" she said, turning back to the girl in question.

"Why pink?" Hermione grimaced.

"Because, Pink is a brilliant colour!"

"And Mione," Harry chimed in. "wasn't your dress pink at the Yule Ball?"

"I know, but I don't want to wear pink again."

"Fine then, how about everyone wears red and you were green."

Hermione shook her head.

"Everyone wear scarlet and you wear gold? For Gryffindor pride."

"Luna was in Ravenclaw. I doubt that she'd come in anything other than blue or bronze."

"Exception for Luna?"

"No. No dress code Ginny! Let people come dressed in what they want! They can come dressed as Santa Claus if they want!"

"Santa Claus? I hope George doesn't do that." Ginny said.

There was a tap on the window and Hermione didn't recognize the owl. Harry went over to the window and grabbed the letter before the owl flew away.

"It’s for you Mione." He said as he handed Hermione the letter.

Hermione recognized the Draco Malfoy logo printed near her name. And she knew that Harry had recognized it too.

She opened it up and read.

"Granger,

Sounds great. Meet at Giovanni’s. 7PM. Tomorrow.

Draco Malfoy."


She closed it up and raised her head to see Ginny and Harry starring at her.

"Who's it from?" Ginny asked, with an eyebrow raised.

"It's from Malfoy." she said casually, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

"What? Why Is he writing to you?" Ginny was clearly confused.

"It’s for Luna. I arranged an interview with him for the Quibbler."

"Err… okay then."

After about two hours later, Hermione apparated home. She stayed up all night watching muggle soaps with her mum, and catching up on the latest celebrity gossip.

It had been a while, and she had missed those girly times with her mum.



Sorry for the short chapter, but the plot'spicking up! :)

Personally, I love Ginny. She's a brilliant character, and I figured she might have a knack for birthday planning as well as being an incredibly tough girl. Anyone agree?

Don't forget to review everyone!

-vicky.


Chapter 4: Giovanni's
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Giovanni's

Draco woke up to an empty bed. He sat up and looked around the master bedroom, Astoria was nowhere to be seen, but there was a note on the pillow next to his. Draco's eyes were stained and he had to rub them a few times, in order to see what it said.

"I had somewhere to be. I'll be back in a few.

Astoria."

"Typical Astoria." He muttered as he got up and walked to the bathroom. She was never one to stay for the night, even if she did live with him.

Draco showered and got changed into a white plain shirt and black trousers.

He walked into the kitchen of his penthouse apartment, and started to raid the fridge for something edible. There was none.

He picked up an apple that was on top of one of Astoria's magazines. The magazine was Witch Weekly, the same one Astoria had been reading last week at his office. He took a seat on one of the dining chairs and started to flick through.

There were several pictures of Hermione Granger in it, probably taken before she left, he thought, as she still had her hair. Draco wandered where she had gone to. One of the questions he was going to ask when he sees her tonight. He had been lost in the magazine that he didn't notice Astoria had apparated into the kitchen.

"Draco!" she called.

"I'm here." he replied.

"Oh! I didn't see you!" she said, startled.

"I figured."

Astoria walked over to where Draco was sitting and sat in the chair facing him.

"What are you doing reading my magazine?" she asked peering across the table.

"I need to entertain myself somehow." Draco drawled, closing the magazine and laying it down.

"Okay then." she said, obviously not interested "So what have you got planned for today?"

She was trying to change the conversation and Draco knew it.

"I've got a dinner date with someone tonight."

"A dinner date?" she asked now interested. Draco nodded. "Is it with a girl?"

"Yes."

"Pansy?"

"No."

"Someone I know?"

Draco's eyes drifted to the magazine that was in front of him.

"Yes."

Astoria smiled. Astoria was stunning, there was no denying that. The only thing Draco hated about her was that she was so vain. She was incredibly addicted to her appearance. It didn't matter where she was going she would always over-dress. Astoria didn't have a job anymore so it was Draco who would pay for her shopping sprees. And she wasn't an easy shopper. If Draco had told Astoria about Hermione, she was bound to get jealous. He couldn't deal with that right now.

----------

"Hermione darling, we’re off!" Jean Granger yelled up the stairs.

"Okay!" Hermione mumbled as she ran down the stairs to give her parents a hug. "Bye guys. Have a lovely day!"

"If you need us, feel free to call!" Jean reminded Hermione.

"Mum, I'm nearly twenty-one, I can look after myself!' she said, pushing her parents out the door.”Now go! I love you both."

Hermione had planned to have a lazy day today; she was going to enjoy herself before she was due to meet Malfoy.

She had laid down some popcorns and cupcakes on the small coffee table in the living room. And was wearing her pajamas and had no makeup on. She had bought down her duvet and was slouching on the sofa watching TV.

This is the life, she thought. She could never do something like that when she was with Ron. He wouldn't have liked it. He never did like anything muggle-like, even If he never admitted it.

After watching Titanic and Romeo and Juliet, Hermione got up to go and get some tissues from her bedroom. She kicked herself for not thinking she would need them.

She had barely entered the living room, before Ginny apparated into the room.

"Ginny? What are you doing here?" Hermione practically yelled.

"What? I can't come and visit my best friend?"

Ginny was holding a brown leather bag in one hand and had stacks of papers in the others. Hermione watched as she dropped everything onto the table.

"Gee, what happened to you?" she asked. "You're crying."

"Oh, I had just been watching some movies... they're like moving pictures." she added.

"I know what they are!" Ginny laughed.

Hermione joined in the laughter.

"To what do I owe the honour?" Hermione asked, after they'd settled down.

"Your birthday. We need a guest list." said Ginny as she collapsed onto the huge sofa.

"I thought you would have forgotten about that now." she stated.

"Well I haven't! It's the only thing that's been on my mind since yesterday."

Ginny grabbed one of the cupcakes that were on the table and ate it.

"Mhm, this taste glorious!" she mumbled in between bites. "We should serve this at your birthday bash."

"Since when did it become a birthday bash?"

"Since, I started to plan it."

"Ginny, please don't go overboard with this!" Hermione said softly.

"Too late for that." Ginny grinned as she grabbed another cupcake. "You look gorgeous by the way."

Hermione threw the pillow that was next to her at her red haired friend.

----------

Draco checked his watch. It was six thirty which meant he was due to meet Hermione at Giovanni’s in half an hour. He had been sitting at his study for the past few hours, mostly in an attempt to avoid speaking to Astoria. He knew she was getting curious about the dinner date. And he couldn't handle the amount of questions she would have asked if they were in the same room.

Draco entered his bedroom to see Astoria sprawled across the king sized bed in a thin, see through, caramel dressing gown that barely reached her thighs. She looked up when she heard Draco enter the room.

"Are you leaving now?" she asked.

"Yeah." Draco answered as he grabbed his black blazer that matched his trousers. "Goodnight Astoria."

Astoria stood up and walked to Draco. She leaned in and gave him a long deep kiss.

"I love you Draco." she said, barely in a whisper.

"Goodnight Astoria." Draco said once again, before he apparated out of the bedroom. Leaving her alone.

-------------

Hermione wore a white Peplum top, with a short black miniskirt and black platform sandals with a bow at the end. She had worn simple jewellery and had applied on light make up. Hermione took one last look of herself in the mirror, and thought she looked decent.

"Is this a date?" Jean Granger asked.

"No mum, it’s just an interview." Hermione answered as she sprayed herself with a bottle of perfume.

"If you're interviewing him, then why are you putting on so much effort?"

"Because we're going to a really fancy restaurant. And I doubt they'll let me in if I came in dressed in my PJs and fluffy flippers." she explained. "Now I've got to go. Say bye to dad for me."

With one last kiss on her mother's cheek, she grabbed her purse and apparated out.

 ----------

Hermione had arrived in front of Giovanni’s which was in Diagon Alley. She started to walk towards the entrance, and only then did she realize what she was doing. She was going on a date. Yes a date! With Draco Malfoy of all people! It had barely been 10 days since she dumped Ron and already she was out dating again. She felt a pan of guilt and was about to return back home when she heard a voice from a distance.

"Granger!" the voice yelled.

Hermione couldn't make out who the voice belonged to. But he soon stepped closer.

"Draco Malfoy." said Hermione.

"The one and only."

Draco had hardly changed over the past years. His hair however looked somehow darker, making his grey eyes almost look blue. He was wearing a plain white shirt with black trousers and black blazer. Hermione had to admit. He looked good.

"You look... lovely." he said, as his eyes surveyed her up and down.

"Er... thanks." Hermione was shocked by his compliment.

"So how about we continue this conversation inside." he suggested. "Before we both freeze to death."

Hermione nodded in agreement. They walked in to Giovanni's and the man waiting at the door was quick to recognize who they were.

"Mr. Malfoy! Miss Granger!" He exclaimed.

"I booked a table for two earlier today." Draco said calmly, clearly used to meeting fans.

"Of course sir." The waiter said. "Right this way sir."

The waiter led them past a room filled with dozens of couples, into a larger room, with many sophisticated couples. The room was fancier and classier than the other room. There was a big aquarium in the middle and a grand piano that was magically playing in the corner.

"Thank you." said Draco to the man.

After the man had left them alone, Draco and Hermione took a seat at the table.

"I hope you know this isn't a date." Hermione said.

Draco looked at her confused. "I know, I have a girlfriend."

"Good."

"I heard about you and Weasel. I'm sorry."

Hermione looked at him, he looked sympathetic.

"I'm over it." She didn't want his pity.

"Can I ask you a question?" Draco asked suddenly.

Hermione smiled. "I thought I was supposed to ask the questions. But yes, you can."

"Why did you leave?" He looked as though he honestly wanted an answer.

"If I had a galleon for every time someone had asked me that. I could probably buy Gringotts." She heard him chuckle. "Do you want the short version or the long version?"

"Give me the long version," he looked at his watch. "We've got time."

Hermione sank back into her chair.

"We were all trying to forget about the war. Trying to forget what had happened. But I couldn't. I had watched so many innocent people be killed that night, and it pained me that there was nothing I could have done. No matter how much that I wanted to forget about it, it was just too hard. I was followed by reporters everywhere I went; my face was constantly on newspapers and magazines. A reminder that I played a major role in the war. After 3 years, I just couldn't take it anymore. If I had stayed I thought I would have had a mental breakdown.

"So I decided to go travelling, a whole year away from the wizarding world was just what I needed. And in that year alone, I was free. Free to do whatever I want. I forgot all about the stuff I'd let behind! I went to new places, discovered so many new things, it was truly remarkable... call me selfish, but I was so happy."

Draco was staring at her as if she was the most interesting human being alive.

"Doing what you want doesn't make you selfish." he finally said. "It just makes you human."

"I'm glad you think so."

"I like your hair." He said suddenly.

"Thanks. Now it’s my turn to ask some questions."

Hermione dug into her purse that was lying on the table, and bought out her Quick Quotes Quill, that was now floating next to her hair.

"Now, why have you refused to be interviewed? Yet you jumped at the chance of being interviewed with me." Hermione asked.

"Well, your owl was the only owl that was sent to me directly." he raised an eyebrow. "How is it that your owl was not sent back before it reached me?"

Hermione chuckled. "There's a reason I'm the brightest witch of our age. You just need to know the right charms."

"I see you're still a know-it-all." said Draco.

"Just like you're still the same loathsome jerk before." she smiled. "I guess some things never changed."

"Ouch." he said, moving a mocking hand towards his chest.

"I'm sorry did that hurt your ego?" she asked flatly.

"Better this than you punching me."

Hermione started to laugh out loud.

"That was the best day of my life!" she exclaimed.

"You foul loathsome evil little cockroach." he mimicked the words she had said during their third year, when she had punched him.

"You deserved it though!" she was practically sobbing from laughter now.

"I did. I wasn't exactly the best guy back then." He was now looking at her seriously. "But people change."

Before Hermione could reply, a completely different waiter was walking towards where they sat. The waitress had long red hair tied up in a pony tail. She wore a black mini skirt that barely covered her butt, and a white see through top, with black pumps.

"Hello Mr. Malfoy." she looked at Hermione. "Miss Granger. Can I take your order now?"

Hermione was just about to protest that they hadn't even looked at the menu, but Malfoy was quick to answer.

"I will have a Gamberoni alla Griglia, and the lady here," he said gesturing to Hermione. "will have a Pollo Ripieno. Forget about the starters."

The waitress flashed a big grin at Malfoy before she left the room.

"What the hell was that?" she asked him.

"What was what?" he was confused.

"You just ordered for me! What is it with everyone thinking they can just order for me!"

"Well, I'm sorry if I offended you but I doubt you would hardly recognize anything that was on here." He said opening the menu.

"I'll have you know, I spent three months in Italy!" He was now irritating her.

"But can you actually speak the language?"

"No, but please don't order for me anymore." she answered, defeated.

"Okay. Sorry."

There was a long silence, in which they both spent the time occupying themselves with their menu, before the waitress came back with the tray of food, floating behind. She picked them up from the floating tray and placed them onto the table. Hermione realized that her dish was stuffed chicken and that Draco's was king prawns. He liked sea food? How Interesting.

"There you go." The waitress said, only looking at Draco.

Hermione noticed that the top part of the waitress's blouse was now unbuttoned. Clearly showing Malfoy a lot more when she placed his food in front of him. The waitress flashed another big grin at Draco before strutting out.

"Well that was interesting." Hermione mumbled.

"What was?"

"The waitress, she was flirting with you." she explained.

"Oh, she was? I didn't notice."

"Unless you can explain why else she was showing you her cleavage."

"Oh, she was? That's nice." he said before digging a fork into his food. "She's not my type anyway."

This caught Hermione's interest. "Oh really? Who is your type then?" she asked.

"I like girls that don't go around dressing like sluts. A lady should be two things, classy and fabulous."

That was not the response that Hermione expected. Draco didn’t strike her as the kind of man who wanted a classy lady, more like the man who enjoyed a different girl each night.

"Your girlfriend must be amazing." She murmured carefully, waiting for his response.

He wrinkled his eyebrows as if trying to decide.

"Astoria's all right." he said.

"Astoria Greengrass? She's your girlfriend?" Hermione was stunned.

"Mhm. Do you know her?" He said in between bites.

"No, but I've heard about her. A model isn't she?" she asked.

"Yes. She takes a lot of pride in her work. It’s the only thing she’s good at. I can’t imagine her working at a high classed office or something.” He stopped eating. "What's your job?"

"I don't have a job. But while I was travelling I was doing my Auror training. And now that I've completed it, I'm not so sure I want to do that job anymore."

It was true; during the time that Hermione had been away, she had realized that she enjoyed traveling more than she did her job. She had lost complete interest in it, by the time she returned.

"Why not?"

"It just doesn't appeal to me anymore."

"Well, you can always work at Malfoy Inc. If you want."

Hermione started to laugh again, nearly choking herself.

"Thanks for the offer, but I'm good." she said after having a drink.

"I'm serious. You can work as a reporter. You're pretty good at manipulating people."

"Are you saying I manipulated you to you come?"

"You did."

"I didn't!"

"You did."

"I didn't!"

After bickering like this for several more minutes. The waitress was back.

"Did you enjoy that?" she asked, only looking at Draco.

"Yes." he looked at Hermione. "We did."

"Would you like a drink?" the waitress asked.

"Yes, I'll have fire whisky, and she," he gestured to Hermione once again "would probably like a butterbeer please."

Hermione was insulted that he would think she was a petty little girl that only drank butterbeer.

"Actually, I'll have a fire whisky as well." she said surprising herself.

"You don't look like a fire whisky kind of girl." said Draco, once the waitress had left the room.

"I'm full of surprises."

After they had both drunk their fire whiskeys, Hermione checked her watch, it was ten thirty.

"We should probably get going. Your girlfriend might be waiting." Hermione said.

Draco simply nodded. They left the room and Draco walked over to where the man who led them to their table was standing. Draco told the man to put it on his tab. Figures, Hermione thought, she wasn’t surprised that he had been here before.

As they stepped out into the cold darkness and Hermione felt a chill run through her spin. Draco noticed her shaking.

"Here, take this." He said as he took of his blazer and placed it on Hermione's shoulders.

"Thank you." she smiled at him.

They had barely taken another step before reporters had appeared out of nowhere. There were dozens of them all crowded around Draco and Hermione, making it difficult for them to get through. Hermione saw camera flashes at the corner of her eyes, and suddenly felt sick to the core. The fire whisky she had earlier was making her feel dizzy. Hermione felt a protective hand snake round her waist, and she looked up to see it was Malfoy. His expression was ice cold, he obviously wasn't happy that their night was being ruined.

"Is this your way of getting back at Ron?"

"Are you and Ron truly over?"

"Draco, what about Astoria?"

"Has the Golden Trio Broken up?"

"Hermione what did you do to your hair?"

"Are you two together?"

The reporters were crying furiously. Hermione was feeling claustrophobic.

"Follow me." Draco whispered into her ears.

They started to run, but the reporters were still following them. They reached an alleyway after running for a while and Draco had held onto Hermione's hand and apparated them out.

Hermione was panting. She looked around to see where they were. They were in a huge room, with big modern sofas and a giant flat screen TV on the wall. There was a large coffee table placed in the middle of the room, and on it were some magazines, and a wristwatch. To top it off, there was a huge chandelier that stood on the ceiling. The room had a door that led out to the balcony. Hermione walked out the balcony and to see the view. It was beautiful. The balcony over looked the entire city, it was truly magical, it made Hermione feel on top of the world.

She heard footsteps coming from behind her, and turned around to see Draco, in his trousers and white shirt.

"Where are we?" Hermione asked him.

"My house."



A/N: Romeo and Juliet is by William Shakespeare and the film is by Baz Luhrmann, and also the film Titanic is by James Cameron.

Review and tell me what you think, lovely readers!

-Vicky.


Chapter 5: Judas
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Judas

Hermione looked around. Of course it would be his apartment. It looked incredibly fancy, something that would appeal to Draco.

"I thought you would be living at Malfoy Manor." Hermione told him, as she snuggled up in his blazer for warmth.

"I left after I graduated from Hogwarts." he said.

"Why?"

"Too many bad memories." he exclaimed.

"Oh, of course. What about your parents?" she asked.

"I keep in contact with my mother, not so much my father."

"Why not?" He was more fascinating that Hermione had expected.

"You ask a lot of questions." he chuckled.

"Wasn't that the whole point of tonight?" she asked. "So you could answer my questions."

Draco looked at her and sighed before continuing on.

"My father wasn't exactly the best, he was a terrible father. He was incredibly intimidating and used to force me to do a lot stuff I didn't want to do. The bad decisions I made were due to him. At the time I was too afraid of him to do anything. If I disobeyed him, I was worried he would take it all out on my mother. I couldn't let that happen. As I grew up I realized that although he gave off the impression of being a man not to be messed with, he was a coward! A bloody coward." he explained.

His expression was now dead serious. "If it was up to me, he would have been sent to Azkaban."

Hermione gasped, "Don't say that. He's your father."

"I know." he said after some time.

Hermione looked at him confused; she couldn't understand how someone could feel so much hatred to their own father. Hermione protected her parents, and was glad that if anything, they had gotten closer since the war.

Hermione looked at Draco once again; he was staring at the view, completely lost in thought.

"Thanks for saving me earlier, from the reporters." she said after a comfortable pause.

"Things aren't looking good for you now." he said.

"What do you mean?"

"The last thing you need is the reporters making it out that you're involved with an ex death-eater."

"Oh... I hadn't thought about that."

She had been thinking about how she was going to get home, definitely not about those bloody reporters. Draco gave her his signature smirk.

"Why are you smirking?"

"I just realized how weird this looks but how comfortable it feels. If anyone had told me that I would be standing on my balcony at night time, with Hermione Granger after running away from reporters, I would have sent them to St. Mungos."

This made Hermione laugh.

"Come in, I'll make you cup of tea." he said.

They walked back into the living room and Hermione sat down on one of the big sofas as Draco went into a room that was probably the kitchen. Minutes later, he entered the room and handed Hermione a mug of hot tea.

"Thank you." she said.

Hermione's lips had barely touched the mug before Astoria Greengrass entered the room. Draco noticed that she was still wearing her earlier dressing gown when she saw Hermione she gave a disgusted look.

"What the hell are you doing here?" she yelled at a startled Hermione.

"Astoria, relax!" Draco had stood up and walked over to stand in front Astoria in an attempt to keep her from Hermione.

Astoria however was not calming down.

"It's her isn't it?" The girl you went on a date with!" she spat out the last two words.

"Wait Astoria." Draco was failing miserably.

"What the fuck are you even doing in my house?" She pushed past him.

It was Hermione's turn to speak, however Draco was quick to talk once again.

"I invited her round." he said.

"What! At this time? Why?" she was furious.

"Because it was getting cold, we had had too many to drink, and she wasn't in a good state to apparate home."

"Why were you even out with her in the first place?" she asked him.

"She has a name." he replied.

"I don't give a shit." she yelled back.

Hermione felt uncomfortable in the situation she had been put in the middle of. She thought Astoria had been alright with Draco meeting her. Apparently he had been so ashamed, that he didn’t tell his own girlfriend.

Astoria turned her attention to her and ook one last look.

"Filthy mudblood." she said, loud enough for them to hear.

"Astoria!" Draco grabbed her arm.

"Get off me!" she snapped, pulling her arm free from his hold. "I want her out."

She stormed back into the room she came out of and slammed the door, leaving a shell shocked Hermione behind.

"I'm really sorry about that." said Draco once she had left room.

"It's okay. But I really should get going." Hermione said, placing the mug down and grabbing her purse. "Thanks for the interview and the cup of tea. Goodnight" she smiled.

She apparated out before Draco could reply.

-----

The next day, Hermione woke up feeling woozy. She shouldn't have had that fire whisky last night, she thought. The events of last night came rushing back to her, she suddenly felt incredibly embarrassed that she had been to Draco's house and had been verbally assaulted by his girlfriend. After taking many pain killers, she apparated to visit Luna.

"Did you have a lovely time?"

It was okay...” she said.

Luna looked at Hermione.

"Just okay?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Okay then... It was... unexpected." Hermione replied with a smile.

"What do you mean by that?"

Hermione thought a bit before answering.

"Well, we had a nice long dinner. We chatted. When it was time to leave, we were bombarded by reporters; however we managed to apparate to Malfoy's apartment where I met his girlfriend."

"Astoria? What's she like?" Luna asked.

"She called me a mudblood."

She gave Hermione a shocked look as she placed a fruit basket on the table.

"She sounds lovely."

"Oh she is!" Hermione laughed.

"What did Draco do?"

Hermione’s head shot up with a questioning look. "When did you start calling him Draco?"

"Since he became a multi-billionaire." Luna answered with a wink.

"Luna Lovegood!" Luna shrugged her off and they both started to laugh.

Hermione then handed her her Quick Quotes Quill.

"That's all I could get off of him." she said.

"Wow! This a lot!" Luna grinned.

"Yeah, turns not he's not as private as people say." Hermione said, taking a bite from her apple.

"Thank you so much for doing this, Daddy's going to be so grateful."

"It's ok Luna. I feel like I owe you somehow for leaving you for a year."

"I don't blame you for leaving, Hermione." Luna said with a distant voice. "I blame the Nargles."

"Oh Luna! How I missed you." Hermione giggled.

"I missed you too."

----

"Astoria? That bitch!" yelled Ginny!

After Hermione left Luna's she apparated to Ginny's to tell her about her accounter with Astoria.

"Language Ginny!" Harry scolded his girlfriend who he was cuddling on the sofa.

"Who does she think she is?" she yelled, ignoring Harry.

"She's Astoria Greengrass. Draco Malfoy's girlfriend." Harry said.

Ginny slapped Harry lightly on the cheek.

"That was a rhetorical question! You git!"

 The sight of the couple made Hermione's heart ache. Why was it that everyone had someone? Luna had Rolf, Neville had Hannah, Harry and Ginny had each other, even Draco had someone. But Hermione had no one.

She had absolutely no one to call her own.

"You two are just adorable!" she told them.

"Yeah, we know." Harry said before he placed a swift kiss on Ginny's cheek, making her blush.

There was a knock at the door. The couple were too preoccupied with each other to have heard it. Hermione walked to the door and opened it.

A red faced Ron stormed into the room. He looked tired and worn out, as if he hadn't slept in days. And he was holding what looked like a newspaper.

"What the fuck is this?" He yelled as he slammed the newspaper onto the table, grabbing both Harry and Ginny's attention.

Ginny stood up and picked up the newspaper. Her eyes widen with shock.

"What? What is it?" Hermione asked Ginny.

Ginny handed Hermione the newspaper which turned out to be 'The Daily Prophet.'

On the front of the cover was Hermione and Draco.

Hermione's head was bowed down as if trying to hide herself from the reporters, Draco's face was stone cold, he looked pissed. Incredibly pissed. His right hand was placed on Hermione's back, protecting her as she looked unsteady in her high heels. In big bold writing at the top, it said 'Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger: Couple?’

The reporters had made it looked like something it wasn't.

"Well?!? Explain yourself!" Ron yelled at Hermione.

"I don't have to explain myself to you Ronald!" Hermione yelled back.

"So it’s true then isn't it? You're dating that traitor?"

Hermione couldn't believe he was accusing her of doing something like that.

"Ron calm down." Harry said as he ran to where he was standing.

"It's none of your business who I date." Hermione snapped.

Hermione saw Ginny at the corner of her eye, looking rather confused.

"What happened to you Hermione? Ever since you came back, you've changed!"

"I've changed? That's rich! Right, because I was the one who slept with multiple girls, while my girlfriend was away!" Hermione was now seething, he had absolutely no right to say that to her.

"It wasn't multiple girls!"

"And that makes it a whole lot better doesn't it?" Hermione fumed sarcastically.

"At least none of them have ridiculous hair!"

"My hair is not ridiculous! You asshole!" Hermione gasped.

"You look like a fucking boy!"

Hermione had had enough! She wasn’t going to just stand there and take this abuse from him! She walked up to him and delivered a hard intense slap to his cheek. Then came an ear-splitting scream from him as his face turned the same colour as his hair.

"Get out!" Hermione shrieked.

He gave Hermione a disgusted look before he stomped out in rage. Ginny quickly came rushing over to Hermione.

"Hermione, are you okay?"

Hermione collapsed down onto the sofa.

"Yeah I am, I'm not sure your brother is though."

"He had it coming." Harry said.

"You're not actually dating Malfoy, are you?" Ginny asked.

"No. I wouldn't betray you guys, It'd be like dating Judas." denied Hermione.

-----

Draco Malfoy was sitting behind his big desk in his office at Malfoy Inc. He had a very important paperwork to look at and he hadn't even bother to open it up.

He couldn't help thinking about Hermione. Astoria had been so rude to her. He knew she was hurt, even if she tried not to show it. A while after Hermione had left; he had barged into his bedroom and lost it. He started to scream and yell at Astoria, it got to a point where he threatened to leave her. Astoria had yelled, cried and slapped him across the face. She had then apologized and said she was sorry.

Things got worse in the morning. Astoria had seen The Daily Prophet and was raging. She had yelled and screamed at him once again. Draco couldn't take it anymore, he had quickly gotten showered and changed and apparated out without telling her.

It had been four hours since then and Astoria had made no effort to contact Draco. She hadn't sent any owls nor had she called him. She was probably still trying to calm herself down, he thought.

Before Draco had been given a chance to recollect his thoughts, an outraged red haired lunatic had rushed into his office, a red faced Amanda chasing behind.

"You can't go in there!" she screamed.

Draco stood up to face Ron.

"Sorry sir, I told him he couldn't come in but he wouldn't listen."

"It’s okay Amanda."

Amanda nodded and left the room.

"Can I help you?" Draco asked.

Ron bought out a newspaper from his pocket, and placed it on Draco's desk.

"Yes you can actually."

Draco examined the newspaper.

"What were you doing with Hermione?" Ron asked, trying to keep his voice quiet.

"What has it got to do with you? You're not her boyfriend!" Draco spat.

"You're threading on a thin thread Malfoy." Ron threatened.

"You know... this doesn't even concern you."

"I think it does. Hermione's very vulnerable at the moment, her hormones are everywhere. She'd jump at the first guy she sees, I suggest-"

Draco was only half listening. How dare he barge into his office and threaten him, him of all people!

"You are the most moronic mindless idiot I have ever met!" Draco yelled before Ron was given a chance to finish. "You had Hermione! You had her! And you decided to trade her in for worthless whores. Don't blame her that she's found someone better."

"Shut up Malfoy." Ron yelled, as he took a step towards Draco. "She doesn't know what's good for her."

"I think she can look after herself Weasel! Isn't she the brightest witch of her age? One third of The Golden Trio?"

Ron looked vicious.

"She deserves someone better than you!" he hissed.

"I'm a billion times better than you! I own a company! You, I presume, are in between jobs. Isn't that right?"

Malfoy was right, Ron was in between jobs, but he wouldn't let him know that.

"Who told you that? Hermione? That girl's full of shit." he informed.

"Actually, no. She didn't. You should probably read the rest of the article." Draco advised as he took the newspaper from his desk and pushed it towards Ron's chest.

Ron grasped the newspaper.

"I don't care if you're dating Hermione, you'll always be a fucking traitor, you ferret!" barked Ron as he marched out of Draco's office.

"And you'll always be second best." Draco yelled after him.

Draco stepped out of his office to realize that all eyes were on him.

"Show's over! Get back to work." he yelled at his employees.

------

After the incident with Ron, Ginny had spent a while trying to cheer up Hermione. She had even gone as far as trying to bake some cupcakes. It had ended with a messy kitchen and an annoyed Harry. Soon later, she apparated home.

Hermione had bought home a copy of The Daily Prophet, so she could read just how many lies the reporters were feeding.

She was now watching the TV with her mum.

"Let's see how many lies in are in here." she muttered.

"Don't worry about it honey! Your friends know you better than to believe in bullshit." her mother exclaimed.

"I'm guessing Ron's not my friend then." she groaned.

"It's a shame. I liked the boy."

Hermione ignored her mother and started to read.

"Hermione Granger left a year ago weeks before her 20th birthday to travel, saying that she wanted to 're-discover' herself. 

Ever since she returned about two weeks ago, Hermione Granger has been the talk of the wizarding world. Mainly because of a recent break up with Ronald Weasley, her boyfriend of four years who just so happens to be a part of The Golden Trio as well.

Last night, Hermione Granger was reported outside the Italian restaurant, Giovanni's with none other than ex death-eater and chairman of Malfoy Inc, Draco Malfoy. Now what could our beloved Hermione Granger be doing with him? It looked as though they were out on a date.

Hermione was rocking her new short pixie cut hairstyle while wearing a white peplum top and a black miniskirt with black heels. Draco Malfoy wore a plain white shirt and black trousers and black shoes. He was however missing a blazer; he seemed to have given it to Hermione as it hung loosely over her shoulders. What a gentleman.

Draco who is currently dating model, Astoria Greengrass, had place a protective hand on Hermione's back, before they both ran away from reporters. Sadly we were unable to catch up to them.

Hermione Granger who just so happens to be turning twenty-one in just a matter of days is currently rumored to be living with her parents, after break up with Ron. Some may say that she's trying to hide from the spotlight by living in the muggle world.

Draco and Hermione were said to never have gotten on during school, referring to the fact that Draco sometimes called Hermione a 'filthy mudblood'. And how Hermione was part of 'Dumbledore's Army' a secret organization formed by Hogwarts students to fight death-eaters, while Draco was a death-eater himself.

Our sources tell us that the couple had been romantically involved for a while now; apparently they had kept in touch over owls, as Hermione travelled. Some may say it's the reason why Ron decided to cheat.

If Draco and Hermione are dating, we don't blame them for keeping it a secret. It wouldn't exactly be good publicity for Malfoy Inc, if the chairman, a pureblood, was dating a muggleborn.

What do you guys think of the couple? Is it unusual that we suddenly see them together?


Maybe it's just fate."



Thank you for still reading! Don't forget to drop a review and tell me what you think everyone!

-Vicky.


Chapter 6: Andrew Russo
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Andrew Russo

"Are you sure about this?" asked Ginny.

"Yes!” Hermione nodded. "I've never been surer of anything in my life!"

"But you'd be alone, Hermione."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "I know. It’s just what I need. Some alone time."

"What do your parents think?"

"They said it's okay if that's what I want to do."

After Hermione had announced that she wanted to live alone. Ginny had said and done everything to try and make her change her mind.

"Where would you be moving to?"

She had also been asking a lot of questions.

"I don't know yet. Somewhere close to you guys.” she explained.

"Harry is not going to be happy about this."

Hermione hadn't thought about Harry. She had been too scared to tell Ginny as it was.

"Well then... Harry will just have to support me then won't he?"

"Or I'll slap him.” said Ginny, causing Hermione to laugh.

The idea had came to Hermione after she read the article in the Daily Prophet. She didn’t think she’d have to be living with her parents for ever, especially since she was turning twenty–one in a few days, but the newspaper obviously thought she was, and she didn’t want people to think she was weak. If she was mature enough to get on with her life then hopefully the attention would shift away from her to another interesting topic. Hopefully what the ex girlfriend of The Chosen One, Cho Chang, had bought when she was visiting Hogsmeade or something along the lines.

"So how's my birthday bash coming along?” Hermione asked Ginny, as she chopped the carrots. They were in Hermione's kitchen, where Ginny had kindly offered to help Hermione with lunch.

"Brilliant! I've booked the venue, arranged the band, sent the invitations, called the–”

"You sent the invitations?" Hermione asked.

Ginny nodded.

"Who did you invite?"

"Everyone you know. Which by the way is a lot! You're really popular Hermione." Ginny said as she continued stirring the Bolognese.

"Whatever, just as long as you didn't invite Malfoy... or Astoria.” she added.

"Given everything that's going on with you two, I know better than to involve your secret boyfriend."

Hermione threw a carrot at her friend.

Ginny narrowly missed the carrot and caught it with one hand; it’s like she knew it was coming. "He's going to find out soon anyways.” she said.

"What do you mean?” Hermione stopped chopping.

"Remember I suggested we put your birthday on the paper? Well I did. It was on today's Quibbler."

 "Oh Ginny!” she protested. Just what she needed, more publicity.

 "What? The party’s going to be huge! Anyone who's anyone is coming!" Ginny turned around to face Hermione.

 "Which reminds me… we need to get you a dress!"

"I have plenty of dresses Ginny!"

"I know that!” she said rolling her eyes. "But do you own any red carpet dresses?"

"There's a red carpet at my birthday?” she asked shocked.

"Yes, it's a birthday bash."

"Okay, that is awesome!” she admitted.

"I know! You're going to need a dress! After this, let's go muggle shopping."

"You really do love anything muggle don't you?” Hermione laughed as she dropped the carrots into the Bolognese.

"I'm trying to convince Harry to get us this thing called a microwave. I read somewhere that it automatically heats up your food! You don't even need a wand!” she said with a glint in her eye.

*

Draco Malfoy placed the newspaper he had been reading down and switched on the TV. Hermione Granger was having a birthday bash and she didn't even bother inviting him. Maybe she was still mad at him. Or maybe it was because of yesterday's newspaper.

In the midst of his thoughts, Astoria walked into the room wearing black shorts and a black top.

"She's throwing a birthday bash.” she informed as she took a seat across from Draco.

"I know.” he muttered.

"And we weren't invited.” she finished.

"Considering your first impression, I don't blame her."

"Well what kind of a man brings a random girl home to where he lives with his girlfriend?” she snapped.

"She's not exactly a random girl. You know who she is."

"That doesn't change anything."

He had already had this conversation with Astoria before; he wasn’t in the mood to have it again.

"You know what? I don't really care."

Astoria gave a cocky grin. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you fancy her."

Draco laughed.

"I don't know what you see in her. She's plain, there's nothing good about her." Astoria continued. "She's got horrible dress sense, she dresses like a nun most of the time and don't get me started on her hair, it's awful."

"Astoria, not everyone dresses like a whore, she doesn't need to show her legs in everything she wears.” her eyes widened with shock. "And as for her hair, I think it's brilliant."

"You might as well marry her then."

"No thanks, I'm not looking for a wife yet."

"Then why are you dating me? Am I just good shag to you?"

"I didn't say that!" Draco said as he rubbed his temples.

"That's what you were implying!"

He stood up without saying another word and walked into the bedroom, returning a few minutes later, wearing a big overcoat.

"Where are you off to now?" Astoria yelled down the hall.

"Out!” he shouted. "Don't wait up."

*

"I love that one!" Ginny said, as Hermione flung curtains open.

"That's what you've said about all of it!” she moaned.

"I'm sorry it's just they're all so beautiful!"

"I found some lovely dresses near the back.” said Luna as she walked in to the private dressing room carrying a pile of clothes.

"Err... thanks Luna. But there's a lot here! I only need one.” Hermione said, examining the pile.

"Nonsense Hermione! You're moving out! This means you need a whole new closet.”

"Luna's right, Hermione.” said Ginny.

"These all look awfully expensive though. You know you can't pay in galleons, in the muggle world."

"Oh I know.” she said "Harry's got a tab here; he bought me shopping here two months ago, ever since I became so interested in muggle stuff. He said I can come here whenever I want."

"Wow, that's so lucky!” said Hermione.

"Yeah, there are some perks that comes with dating the boy who lived.” she winked.

After trying on a few more outfits Hermione finally decided on the perfect dress.

"I found it! The perfect dress!” she called.

"Well open the curtains then!" shouted Ginny.

"Or we're coming in!” said Luna.

Hermione quickly got changed into her black jeans and black jacket before Ginny and Luna were able to barge in.

"Why did you get changed?" asked Luna.

"You don't get to see it, until my birthday.” she smiled.

"That's so unfair." moaned Ginny.

Hermione gave her friends a cheeky grin. She packed half the outfit she had tried on, and Ginny paid for them. She secretly placed an enlargement spell on her handbag so she could put everything she bought into it.

They were going to apparate out before Hermione reminded them that they were in the muggle world.

"But it's raining! You don't expect us to walk in that do you?" groaned Luna.

"That's what muggles do.” Hermione said, mainly to Ginny as she pulled out three umbrellas from her bag.

"Well, if it's what muggles do...” said Ginny as she took an umbrella from Hermione.”Let's go."

They walked out of the shop. Ginny and Luna began running, while Hermione was slowly trailing behind.

"What's the rush?” she shouted after them.

"It's raining!" Luna shouted back.

"You pansies!” she muttered.

Hermione couldn't help but laugh at her friends, they were okay to fight a couple of death eaters, but when it comes to rain, they flee.

"Hermione?"

Hermione turned around to see a tall figure standing under a large umbrella. She didn't recognize the figure at first.

"I'm sorry, who are you?” she asked.

"It's me. Andrew Russo." the figure responded.

"Andrew! Is that really you? Oh my goodness!"

Hermione ran up to give him a huge hug, drawing the attention of Ginny and Luna who were now walking towards her.

Hermione had met Andrew Russo outside a Quidditch Stadium in Italy a few months ago. He was a Quidditch player at the time and they had gotten on fairly well, he was the reason why Hermione had stayed longer in Italy than she wanted to.

A few days before she was meant to leave, Andrew had been given a Quidditch contract in Germany. He had left Hermione without saying goodbye. And now he was back.

"What are you doing here?” she asked.

"I live here now! I play for the Chudley Canons now.” he explained.

Andrew had a soft creamy tanned complexion, with face covered with light brown freckles.  He had short brown hair and light stubble. He was wearing brown cargo pants, a polo shirt and a brown cardigan. He could definitely be considered attractive, without a doubt.

"You do, that's wonderful!"

"Are you going to introduce us?" Ginny interrupted.

"Oh err... right... of course.” she stammered.

Andrew's thin lips turned into a smirk.

"Ginny, Luna, this is Andrew Russo. He's a quidditch player from Italy. Andrew, these are my best friends, Ginny and Luna.” she said.

"Quidditch player, eh?" asked Ginny as she reached out her hands to shake Andrew's. "Impressive."

"Yeah, Ginny remember you've got a boyfriend? Harry Potter." Luna reminded her.

"Harry Potter? The boy who lived?" Andrew asked, with a mischievous gleam in his eye.

"Mhm." nodded Ginny.

"Impressive.” he chuckled.

"I'm Luna Lovegood." Luna said, extending her hand.

"Andrew Russo.” he said, a deep voice.

"Oh mhm...” Luna was swooning were she stood.

"So are you single?" Luna asked. "Not for me.” she added quickly, noticing the deadly gaze both girls were sending her way.

"Actually I am.” he smiled. "Still looking for that special girl.” he added softly.

"Oh that's a shame." Ginny enticed.

The thunder seemed to shake the earth as the rain started to plummet down, causing a few pedestrians to start running with newspapers over their heads, in order to keep dry.

"We would love to stay and chat a bit longer, but as you can see–" Luna trailed off.

"It's raining cats and dogs." finished Ginny.

"Hey! I finally get that expression." smiled Luna.

Ginny rolled her eyes. "Okay, we're going to go to the ladies room to apparate. We'll leave you guys to catch up on stuff."

"Alright then, bye guys.” Hermione said as she hugged the girls.

"Owl us the details." Ginny whispered to Hermione.

Hermione watched as the girls walked into a public toilet.

*

"Pansy, are you trying to get him drunk or something?" Blaise asked as she walked to the barman.

"Let her be, Blaise. I need someone to spoil me." Draco smiled, as he took a sip of his fire whisky.

"Problems with Astoria then?” he asked.

"Am I that transparent?"

"You're a window Draco."

"Thank you.” he smirked.

Pansy came back with a butterbeer and two fire whiskeys and placed them down on the table before taking a seat beside her boyfriend.

"So what are we talking about?" Pansy asked.

"Well Draco's having problems with Astoria.” said Blaise.

"Is it about the newspaper article?"

How was it, that Pansy always knew what was up? Draco asked himself.

"Yes. And the fact that I bought her home."

"What? Draco, you idiot! Why the fuck would you do that?"

Draco saw Blaise moving slightly away from his girlfriend, obviously noticing her anger.

"We were trying to avoid the reporters.” he explained. "I apparated us to my house."

"Rookie mistake mate." muttered Blaise.

"Excuse me?" Pansy asked, turning to face her boyfriend.

"Um... nothing babe." Blaise said, placing his right hand on Pansy's shoulder.

Pansy shrugged him off. "It better be nothing."

Draco saw how happy Blaise and Pansy were, despite that they usually argue most of them time, they know how to make each other happy. Draco wanted a love like theirs, something he knew he could never have with Astoria.

Draco's eyes were glued to door as he watched random people enter ‘The Hog's Head’ pub. His eyes lit up as he saw Hermione Granger enter, followed by a tall brown haired bloke.

Blaise had also noticed the couple.

"Merlin! Is that Hermione Granger... with Andrew Russo?" he asked, pointing at the couple.

"Who's Andrew Russo?" Draco asked.

"Who's Andrew Russo?" Blaise mockingly repeated.

"He's only like the most successful Quidditch player there is. He only started to play last season and he's the already helped the team win loads!" Pansy said.

"What position does he play?"

"Seeker.” said Blaise.

"Gosh, even the back of his head is beautiful." Pansy sighed.

"He's not that good." muttered Draco.

Pansy gave him a deadly look. Draco quickly stood up in fear that her look could kill. He then decided to take a chance and walked over to where Hermione sat with the Quidditch bloke.

"Granger."

Hermione turned around to face Draco Malfoy.

"Malfoy? What are you doing here?” she asked.

"I'm having a drink with friends.” he replied.

Hermione gave a quick glance to where Blaise and Pansy sat, waving nervously in her direction. "Oh right."

"And who is this?" Draco asked as his eyes finally landed on the man in front.

"I'm Andrew." Andrew said extending his hand forward for Draco to shake.

"I'm Draco. Nice to meet you."

Hermione eyed Draco; a little confused, and surprised that he was being so civilized.

"Is he your... boyfriend?"

Spoke to soon.

"Draco!” Hermione softly cried. "Andrew's just an old friend."

"Oh right." Draco smirked. "Will he be coming to your birthday?"

Hermione glared at him. "I didn't get a chance to ask him."

"Your birthday? I wouldn't want to miss that." Andrew chimed in.

"Neither would I! I'll see you there." Draco said before he headed off.

"Err... one sec.” Hermione excused herself from Andrew before she followed after Draco.

"What the fuck are you trying to do?” she hissed at him, trying to be as quiet as possible. 

"Nothing. But you just invited me to your birthday."

"No I didn't!"

"Yes you did. I'll be expecting my invitation."

"I feel bad for your girlfriend; she's the one that has to deal with you 24/7!"

Hermione immediately regretted mentioning Astoria, as Draco's face turned serious in a flash.

"I'll see you on Saturday." he said, before walking off to join his friends.



Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or the brilliant characters you recognize! They belong to the amazing JK Rowling!

Hermione's birthday's two chapters away! Not giving anything away, but expect the unexpected! Don't forget to review and tell me what you think on this chapter!

Lots of love, Vicky! xx


Chapter 7: The Day Before
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The Day Before

 "This is nice." said Harry.

It was a sunny day and Harry and Hermione were having lunch in a coffee shop near Hermione's parent's house.

"Yeah, we never do this anymore. Go out on lunches, I mean.” she said.

"Yeah.” he said before taking a sip from his coffee. "I think the last time we did was as a double date. It was me and Ginny, you and Ron–" he stopped midway, his voice drifting off guiltily.

"You can say his name."

"I'm sorry, I keep forgetting.” he apologised.

"It's okay Harry."

He gave a sad smile. "I hope you two can somehow work it out. I'm not asking you to get back together, I'm just saying maybe you should listen to each other and maybe try to forgive and forget."

Hermione smiled and swept the small fringe of her hair away. "Harry it's not that simple."

"I know. I just don't want to lose my two best friends.” he said, his voice low and depressing.

"Harry, I would never want you to pick sides, you're my best friend! I don't blame you for what happened.” she paused before continuing on. "So, I am willing to try to forgive and forget, but it may take a while."

"That's all I'm asking."

Hermione looked at Harry and watched as her stared out the window. Sometimes he could be so jolly, but when he’s sad, the whole atmosphere changes.

"I can't believe you're turning twenty–one tomorrow.” he finally said, a sudden change of tone in his voice.

"I know! I wasn't scared before but now I am. Ginny's got me scared."

"Yeah, she'll do that.” he smiled. "But at the end, it'll all be worth it when you walk down that red carpet."

"Oh goodness me. That's the scary part.” she exclaimed.

"There's nothing scary about red carpets Hermione."

"Easy for you to say! You walk down one every week!"

"Not every week! Weekends sure, but not every week."

Hermione gave a laugh. Harry Potter was sure to be at every party there was in the wizarding world. It was a fact.

"Don't worry Hermione; everything's going to turn out fine."

"If you say so Harry.” Hermione said, finishing off her cup of tea.

"You might want to get Ginny a microwave.” she advised.

"Oh I will, I'm thinking for Christmas."

Hermione smacked his arm.

"Ouch! What was that for?"

"You don't get a girl a microwave for Christmas!"

Harry groaned childishly. "But she's so bloody hard to shop for, Hermione!"

"But still, a microwave Harry?"

"You're not going to like your birthday present then.” he frowned.

"Oh, what did you get me? A toaster?"

"If you don't want it, give it to your parents."
 
"Oh god Harry, you're hopeless.” she laughed.

*

Draco was pacing up and down his living room. When he returned from the pub at around midnight, he came home to find it empty. Astoria was nowhere to be seen. At first he had started to worry until he discovered a note on the kitchen counter.

‘I've gone out. Don't wait up!’

He knew what she was playing at. He hadn’t cared at first; he knew she would be back before the morning. But when he woke up, she still hadn't returned.

It was now getting late, and needless to say, he was getting insanely worried.

He snapped his head from the position he had been in when he heard the door behind him open. And in came Astoria. She was wearing a tight small red dress that hung tightly around her waist with a low neck line that showed an incredibly amount of cleavage.

"What the hell are you wearing?” he yelled at her, before she had properly closed the door.

She turned around. "I am wearing a dress, Draco.” she stated.

Draco watched as Astoria staggered towards the bedroom.
 
"Are you drunk?” he asked as he followed behind.

"I might be.” she drawled.

"Where the hell were you Astoria? You had me worried."

She turned around to face him, a sour look on her face. "So you're allowed to get drunk and not come home till the dawn of morn, but when it's me, it suddenly becomes un acceptable."

"That's different!"

"How is it different?” she miffed.

"I don't go to nightclubs dressed like a cheap whore."
 
The moment the words left his lips, he wanted to take it back immediately. He may not be exactly fond of her at the moment but she was still his girlfriend.
 
"A cheap whore?” she growled. "Is that what you think of me?"

A pin dropped. He was left speechless. How did the woman expect him to answer that?

"I don't care about what you think of me anymore."

Astoria walked over to dresser and picked up the wand that she had abandoned. She muttered a spell and suitcase appeared out of thin air.

"What the fuck are you doing?" Draco asked, taking long strides to get closer to her.

"I'm leaving you Draco."

"What?" his eyes shot up to face her and he squinted at her in confusion.

"You heard me.” she said as she waved her wand. In one swift hasty movement, her clothes and belonging found their way to her suitcase.

"You can't leave me!” he ordered, grabbing the arm that she was using to wave the wand.

"Oh yes, I can!” she pulled her arm away from his grip.

"Astoria, you’re drunk! Don’t make a mistake you’ll regret–”

“I won’t regret this!” she interrupted.
 
“Why are you doing all this?" Draco asked as he watched Astoria pull open drawers and grab her jewelleries.
 
She stopped; shutting the suitcase shut and faced him. Her hair was a mess, it was in odd directions all over her head, making her look more like the wild adventurous woman she was, and at the same time still mind blowingly sexy. "You're clearly not happy with me, Draco. It's better this way."
 
Pushing away the dirty thoughts that were whirling around his head and mentally slapping himself for thinking about her that way when she was supposed to be mad at him, his eyes locked with hers. "Is someone making you do this?” he asked. "You were okay yesterday, then you go out doing god knows what–"

"Stop there." Astoria cut him off. "I did not cheat on you, if that's what you were thinking!"

He was secretly relieved at that. A little part of him had thought maybe she’d gone out and slept with someone else who in their drunken state, had asked her to leave him, and she in her even worse drunken state, had accepted. "Astoria–"

She sighed, her shoulders sagging. "Please don't try to make me stay. I know you don't love me anymore, I'll save myself the heartache and leave."

With that, she grabbed her suitcase and left with a crack.
 
*

Hermione was lying on her bed reading her favourite book, Romeo and Juliet.

It was one of the books that her mother had sent when she was in Hogwarts. When Hermione had said she needed some books, she had meant educational books, not tragic love stories. She didn't want to disappoint her mother so she hadn't complained. She started to read the book and had instantly fallen in love with it, as well as Romeo.

Her mobile phone began to ring; she picked it up and saw it was Harry.

"Hello Harry.” she answered.

"It's Ginny."

A horrible feeling began to eat away at the pit of her stomach; why was Ginny calling? “Ginny? What are you doing on Harry's phone?"

"He's teaching me how to use it." Ginny giggled.

She leaned back against her bed. "Oh Ginny…"

"So how was it catching up with Andrew Russo?"

"It was good."

"Just good?" Her best friend questioned. Hermione could practically hear her eyebrow raising.

"Okay, he's going to be my date for tomorrow!” she squealed.
 
"Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh–"

"My gosh!” she finished. “I know right!"

"Harry's angry that you didn't tell him about it when you guys had lunch together."

"I didn't want to brag.” she shrugged.

Hermione heard a voice in the background that she was certain belonged to Harry.

"He says he'll forgive you, if you can get him an autograph."
 
"Deal!"
 
She heard muffled voices – someone whining and Ginny telling the person to grow up – in the background before Ginny asked, "So are you excited for tomorrow?"
 
"Yes!” she practically screamed.

"Okay, calm down." Ginny laughed.

"Sorry."

"Ha ha, it's okay. Luna and I will be over tomorrow at around mid day to help you get ready."

"Okay Gin, See you.”
 
*

"You called her a whore!" accused Pansy. "Quite frankly, I don't blame her for leaving you."

"Pansy, she was dressed like one!" said Draco.

"You still don't call your girlfriend a slut, mate! Even if she is one.” Blaise said.

Draco glared at them; so much for the sympathetic friends.

"So you think my girlfriend's a slut?"

"Ex–girlfriend." Blaise corrected.

"Draco, I don't know why you're being so upset about it! She caused you so many problems! Clinging on your every move…" Pansy said.

"Yeah." agreed Blaise. "And no offence mate, but we never even liked her."

Draco lifted his gaze from his drink and glared at his friends. He was trying to be angry at them, but he was finding it hard. He couldn’t really blame them for hating on his ex-girlfriend, she was very easy to hate.

"Draco, forget about her." Pansy said as she took a seat beside Draco. "You're Draco Malfoy. You can date whoever you want!"

"There's a lot more supermodels." Blaise added.

Pansy smacked her boyfriend on the arm, and ignoring his shouts of protest, she turned back to Draco. "Does this mean you won't be attending that party tomorrow?"

"They’ll make up some bullshit in the papers if I don't go. I have no choice.”

*

Last year for Hermione's birthday she had celebrated it alone in America. She had woken up to an empty home, no friends, no cake, no one to celebrate it with her. And although she had been sent several owls, all wishing her a happy birthday, she had never felt more isolated. The thought of not celebrating her birthday with her friends had scared her, so that’s why this year, she was glad to be able to celebrate it with the people who meant to the most to her and half of the wizarding world. She smiled at the thought.













"Why are you smiling?” her father asked.

She looked at her parents, who were having dinner at the dining table in front of her.

"Dad, I'm just excited for tomorrow.” she smiled.

"You should be! You're turning twenty–one!” her mother said.

"Why does everyone keep saying that? I know what age I will be.” she laughed.

"Sorry Mione. It's just that, you're growing up so quick!"
 
She had forgotten how emotional her mother was. The slightest bit of movement could set that woman up.

"Mum,” Hermione said. "you don't have to worry up about me growing up."

"Hermione you're a mature young lady. You've always been one. The fact that you risked your lives to protect us, proves that.” her father said, his voice grim and serious.

"We don't need to worry about you growing up, you're already grown. You've travelled around the world, you defeated The Dark Lord. I think that proves It." said Jean.

Hermione grinned at her parents.

"You need to stop showing your teeth too much." said Jean.

"Sorry, I forgot you guys were dentists.” she rolled her eyes, before standing up.

"I'm off to bed.” she kissed them both on the cheeks. "Goodnight."

She had a big day tomorrow.
 
*

Draco woke up on his sofa. He had a terrible headache and no memory of what happened the night before. He groaned in pain as he stood up and walked to his bedroom to check on Astoria.

He entered the room to find a neatly made bed and all of Astoria's belonging gone.

"Oh right.” he muttered before collapsing on his bed.

Astoria had left, he was happy that she did but he had also felt guilty, like it was his fault, even though it actually was. Astoria had announced it out of the blue, not even a warning.

At the time, Draco didn't know what he had done, but he soon realized that he hadn't been exactly the best boyfriend. He had neglected her, ignored her, and he had even put his friends and work before her. She didn't deserve that.

When they began dating, Astoria was struggling to be a model; Draco had fallen in love instantly with her because she was beautiful. Nothing else. Not because she was a pure blood, like many reporters had said, but simply because of her beauty.

Along the way, Draco had become less shallow, which resulted in him paying less attention to Astoria. Astoria didn't like it. And she would show this by wearing revealing clothes out in public. Something that she knew would catch the eye of Draco, as he didn't like his girlfriend dressed like that in public.

Draco opened his eyes and bought himself back to reality. He stood up and walked to the bathroom, where he stared at his reflection in the mirror. He looked rough. Not like the man who had been recently dumped by his girlfriend, but like a man who had been living on the street for years.

Astoria had probably thought that by leaving Draco, he would come to his sense and fight for her. But she thought wrong. Draco wasn't going to fight for her. Draco Malfoy doesn't fight for anyone.

Tonight was Granger's party and he was positive that Astoria would be there, with a date no less. And here was Draco, date less.

Draco took out his mobile phone from his pocket and dialed the number.

*

"Happy birthday sweetheart!"

Hermione woke up to the voice of her parents, who were standing next to her bed. She looked at the clock that was on her bedside table. It was 10:45AM.

"Did we wake you?" asked her father.

Hermione nodded as she sat upright.

"But it's okay because it's my birthday.” she grinned, as she hugged her parents.

"Now, come downstairs, we've got something to show you!” her mum said.

"Okay okay." she said.

She pulled on her jacket and bunny slippers before going downstairs.

"What is it, mum?” she asked excitedly.

"It’s outside." replied Jean Granger.

Hermione ran outside to see whatever it was that her parents wanted to show her.

She froze on the spot. Her face went slack, and she opened her mouth slightly as she stared wide eye at what was in front of her.

"You bought me a car?” she asked to no one in particular.

"Well yes darling, it’s not every day that our only daughter turns 21!” her father said.

"OH MY GOODNESS!” she squealed before hugging her parents. "Thank you, thank you, and thank you!"

The car was of a dark red colour, it was wonderfully designed and small enough for Hermione's liking. "It's beautiful guys!"

"It's a Toyota Prius V.” her father explained. "We figured you might like it."

"Like it? I love it!” she gleamed, before hugging her parents once again.

"Now now dear," said Jean, as she handed Hermione the keys. "Take it for a spin."

It had been four hours since Hermione was given the car her car. After taking it for a spin, she had taken her parents out to a cafe in order to celebrate.

"That was amazing!” her father said rubbing his stomach.

"Your welcome.” she smiled at them. "It was my treat."

"You shouldn't be treating us to lunch, it's your birthday." said her mother.

"But I want to. I'm a grown woman, and if I'm going to be living alone, I think I should be able to treat my parents out for lunch."

Her parents smiled at her.

"We're really proud of you Hermione.” her father said. "We really are."

"I know."



Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or the brilliant characters you recognize! They belong to the amazing JK Rowling!
 
This chapter was written months ago and I'm not exactly proud of it, and I have tried to edit it many times but nothing seems to work with it. So I just left it as it is. Anyways, onto other matters - Its Hermione's birthday 'bash' in the next chapter. Excited? Just expect a lot of surprise and shock, since the chapter is essential to the plot!


Till next time, Vicky!


Chapter 8: Turning Twenty-One
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Turning Twenty–One

Mione!" Ginny screamed as she gave Hermione a big hug. "Happy birthday!"

"Thank you." Hermione smiled.

"Happy birthday Mione!" Luna said softly before giving embracing Hermione in a hug.

It was 3PM and Ginny and Luna were round Hermione's parent’s house.

"Can we see it?" asked Luna, pointing to a black bag where the outfit was.

"No you cannot." she said."But you will, soon."

Ginny rolled her eyes playfully. "So how are you enjoying your birthday so far?"

"Brilliant! My parents bought me a car!" she announced, her eyes gleaming with glee.

"What? You're so lucky!"

"I know and it's mainly because I'm going to be living alone."

"You're still thinking about that?" Ginny asked softly, secretly hoping that the thought had deserted her mind.

"Yes." nodded Hermione. "Ginny, if my parents can trust me to live alone. Then you should to."

"Do I have to?" she moaned childishly.

"Yes, you do." Hermione giggled.

"Now, let's get you ready, the party's at five."

Hermione went and took another shower, as Ginny advised it would be for the best as she currently smelled of tea. When she returned in the room, Ginny had emptied her make-up bag all over her bed.

"Ginny, that's a lot of make–up." she pointed out, as she dried herself up with a large towel.

"It's not that much. I used to have more, but Harry made me get rid of them as they were taking up too much space in the draws." Ginny explained.

"Oh Ginny, where is Harry?"

"He took Teddy out for lunch." she explained.

Teddy was Remus Lupin and Nyphandora Tonks' child. Lupin and Tonks were one of those who were killed in the war, making Teddy an orphan of war. He currently lived with his grandmother but he also spent a lot of time with Harry, his godfather.

"That's sweet." Luna said softly.

"Yeah, he really likes the boy. And Teddy really likes him." she smiled, looking lost in space. "Anyway, let's get on with you."

They started off with Hermione's hair. There was less of her hair to style, so they were over and done within minutes. Luna applied some light but noticeable make–up on her face, as Ginny started working on her nails. She painted it a light nude colour to match her skin. After hours, Hermione was finally ready.

Hermione picked up the black bag and she pulled out her dress.

"Oh my god!" Luna said. "That dress is–"

"Gorgeous!" Ginny finished off for her. "Put it on then!" she prompeted.

Hermione carefully placed the dress over her head as Ginny and Luna pulled it down. Once Hermione was finally wearing the dress, she looked in the mirror.

The dress was a light pale nude floor length evening dress. It was tight around the hips, before going down into a big frilly gown with ruffles. She topped off the look by wearing a satin peep–toe sling back.

"The dress alone is lovely, but it's you that makes it beautiful Hermione." Luna said.

Ginny nodded.

"Thank you so much for all of this, guys! I couldn't have been ready on time without your help!" she grinned.

There was a tap on the window. It was an owl, that Hermione recognized, but she wasn't sure who it was. Ginny opened the window and the owl flew in and landed on Hermione's shoulders. Hermione carefully removed the letter from its mouth and watched as the owl flew back out.

She opened up the letter to read.

‘Here's a little something.
Sorry, it's not much.
Happy Birthday.’

And just like that, a little box appeared on top of the letter. Hermione picked up the delicate box and opened it. Inside it was a pearl necklace.

"Whoa!" Ginny murmured in astonishment. "Who's it from?"

"I think it's from Andrew!" she gasped.

"Andrew Russo?" Luna asked. "The man's got good taste!"

"All Italian men have good tastes." Ginny agreed almost immediately and no one bothered to question how she would know that..

"This is so sweet!"

"He's going to be here in thirty minutes, so you can thank him then." Ginny explained, winking cheekily.

"Thirty minutes? Ginny, we better get ready!" Luna yelped, pulling Ginny away.

Hermione watched as the girls quickly got showered and applied make up before getting changed. Luna wore a simply white dress that reached her thighs and black heels; she was clearly going for the girly sort of look. Ginny wore a long sleeved nude blouse and a matching long nude skirt; she was going for the classy look. They both looked absolutely stunning, in their own ways.

"Luna, we have to go now." Ginny said, waving to Hermione. "We'll see you in a couple of minutes."

Hermione waved at the girls and said goodbye before they apparated out. She paced around the room impatiently, anxiously removing pieces of lint from her old clothes to calm her down. She had never been nervous before, and yet here she was, acting as though it was her wedding day. In all honesty, she was just excited to see Andrew. She was getting butterflies at the thought of seeing Andrew again. There was a knock at the front door. Throwing away the box of biscuits she was about to open, she ran to the door, trying hard not to fall in her heels and dress. Checking the hallway mirror one last time and taking a deep breath, she opened the door.

"Malfoy?"

Hello." Draco smiled as he bought out a red rose from behind his back.

"What are you doing here?" she didn’t bother hiding her shock.

"I'm your date for the evening." he explained, seemingly unfazed.

"What happened to Andrew?" she asked, raising her eyebrows suspiciously.

"Andrew decided to swap you for Astoria."

"What?"

"It's pretty long, so I'll tell you on the way there." he sighed and waved his hand dismissively.

Draco moved out of the way, revealing a big white carriage led by two white horses.

"You carriage awaits m'lady." he said mockingly, extending his arm.

Hermione didn't know what to do, but after cautious deliberation, she took his arm as he led them towards the carriage.

"Okay, explain to me what the hell is going on?" she asked, as they took their seats opposite each other.

"Astoria left me last night." he murmured softly, still not taking aback.

He saw the way Hermione’s face dropped, full of guilt.

"I'm sorry–" she began.

"Don't be. I'm happy that she finally left."

"Err... okay then, but what does this have to do with Andrew?"

"I saw him this morning with Astoria." he said. "He seemed really cozy with her. When I tried to talk to him, he said a lot of crazy shit. One of them was that he was swapping dates. He'll take Astoria and that I can have you."

"He really said that?" she prompted skeptically.

"Yes. Astoria probably had him under some sort of spell, to make me jealous." he shrugged coolly.

Hermione leant back on her seat, she couldn't believe her ears. "Are you sure you're not making this up?"

He looked at her. His eyes glued to hers. He seemed so serious. "I'm not."

There was no reason for him to be lying, Hermione thought. She should have expected it. She knew from Italy that Andrew wasn't the sort of guy to settle for one girl, he was the type of guy to be with a different girl each night.

"I see you got my gift." Draco said.

"Uh?"

"My gift." he said once again, pointing to her pearl necklace.

"You sent me this?" she asked softly.

"It's your birthday; I had to get you something."

"I thought it was from Andrew."

"Why? You can't imagine someone like me sending you something like that?" He looked hurt.

Hermione thought carefully before answering truthfully. "Well... yeah."

He laughed. He had a sexy laugh, Hermione thought. A deep sexy one. Oh god. What am I thinking? It's Draco Malfoy!

"I assure you, I'm not the same Draco I was."

"I know." she said.

Draco smiled. He had good smile, a lovely smile, a smile that could make anyone's day better. How had she not noticed this before?

It was then that Hermione realized that she had been staring at him. She cleared her throat.

"Can't the muggles see us?" she asked, looking out the window.

"No. They can't see anything." he said.

Draco watched as Hermione moved uneasily in her seat. Was she scared of flying?

"Don't you like flying?"

"No. I never liked it in Hogwarts, and I don't like it now." she muttered.

"Don't worry," he said as he saw that they were near their destination. "We're nearly there."

Hermione let out a breath that she didn't know she was holding in.

"You look beautiful, by the way." he smiled.

Hermione glared at him, she wasn’t used to his compliments. "Thank you."

*

The crowd went wild as couples stepped out of their carriages. Flashes went off as many photographers and reporters tried to capture the movement.

Out came Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas each with one of the Patil twins. Neville came along with his girlfriend Hannah Abbot, he was dressed in black and so was Hannah. George came out with Angelina, who looked stunning in a short blue dress. Bill and Fleur came out with their two daughters, Victoire and Dominique, whose light red hair were in buns. Fleur wore a knee length strapless red dress. Blaise and Pansy came out, both looking smart in dark blue.

Many other ex Hogwart's students stepped out. All dressed to impress in bright elegant suits or dresses. A carriage came; Astoria Greengrass stepped out with Andrew Russo. The crowd gasped, obviously shocked as to why Astoria wasn't with Draco, but instead with rising Quidditch star, Andrew. Astoria wore a one–shouldered scarlet gown, as she rocked the red carpet with ease.

Another carriage, and out stepped Luna Lovegood and her boyfriend, Rolf Scamander. Luna looked smart as she walked down the red carpet in her short white dress. The carriage behind them pulled up and Ron Weasley came out hand in hand with a tall blonde haired beauty who was dressed in a short tight black dress and killer heels. Ron walked down the red carpet with his hand tucked in his pocket, not even daring to touch his date.

Seconds later another carriage pulled. Harry Potter stepped out looking extremely smart in a dark blue suit, as he helped his girlfriend out of the carriage. Ginny Weasley looked beautiful as she walked down the red carpet. Cameras flashed, reporters yelled, fans screamed, as they all knew the birthday girl was going to arrive next.

A big white carriage pulled up. In a matter of seconds, the carriage was surrounded by men dressed in white, In order to stop the crowd from getting any closer to the birthday girl. The door opened and out stepped Draco Malfoy, dressed in a white shirt and black suit. The press went crazy and began to yell as they all wondered what Draco Malfoy was doing in Hermione's Granger's carriage.

Draco extended out his arm and a petite arm took it. The crowd lost it as they watched a beautiful Hermione Granger step out of the carriage. They watched as the couple walked down the red carpet and posed for pictures.

"Hermione, Draco! OVER HERE!"

"Draco why aren't you with Astoria?"

"Miss Granger, Happy Birthday!"

"Are you both together now?"

Hermione just smiled at the reporters. She didn't have to answer their questions, it was her birthday. She was glad that they weren't allowed in. Draco had suddenly appeared next to her. He wrapped his hands around her waist as more pictures were taken.

"What are you doing?" she asked through gritted teeth.

"I'm playing my part." he smirked down at her. "Play along."

The cameras hadn't stopped flashing once.

"Now, hold on to my arm." Draco whispered.

Hermione did as she was told as they walked into the big hall. She paled, raising a hand to cover her beating heart as she took in the scene in front of her.

"Wow." she said taking in the view.

There were screaming swarms of children running through the huge hall as balloons drifted around aimlessly on the floor. A stack of unopened presents stood in the corner of the room, wrapped in smooth shiny wrapping paper.

A silk bow had been carefully tied around each parcel. Loud music was blaring through the speakers that stood in every corner. And to top it off there was a huge chandelier that hung in the middle of the room, as guest danced under it.

Hermione had to give it to Ginny; she did a great job.

"I think we're meant to be sat over there." Draco pointed to a table near the front, where Luna was frantically waving.

They walked over, and took a seat where their names were. Hermione was sat in between Draco and Harry.

"You look absolutely beautiful Mione." Harry whispered to her.

Hermione blushed. "Thank you."

"I hope you don't mind me asking, but what are you doing with Malfoy?"

"He's my date." she explained to Harry.

Harry looked confused, but he simply nodded and went off to find his girlfriend. Hermione looked to her left to see Draco starring at the table where Astoria sat.

"I don't think you're all that happy with her being here." Hermione muttered.

"I don't mind her being here. But him," he was now starring at Andrew. "I mind."

"What have you got against Andrew?"

"Don't tell me you’re sticking up for him?" he asked, glaring at her. "After he stood you up?"

"He didn't stood me up." Hermione explained.

"If I hadn't stepped in, you would have been date less at your own birthday."

"I wouldn't have minded. I like being date less."

"Don't we all?" he drawled.

Hermione saw that he no longer looked happy, but like he didn't want to be here at all. She felt sorry for him. Seeing your ex look happy with someone else isn't exactly what you want. Speaking of exes...

Her eyes searched the hall for a familiar red hair. When she finally found him, she saw that he was with a beautiful blonde. She felt betrayed, even though she had said she was over him, he still had no right to bring a date to her birthday. Especially when they had only broken up less than a month ago.

"Are you okay Granger?"

 Hermione turned around to see Draco with a drink in his hand.

"Yeah." she nodded. He must have left and got the drink from the bar when she was staring at her ex.

"Here, have this. Apparently it's meant to make you feel happier." he said as he placed the drink in front of her.

"Is it vodka?"

Draco smiled at her. "No, it's not. I checked."

She took one giant gulp and drank it all in one go. It tasted almost refreshing.

Ginny was now back in her seat. "Hermione, how are you enjoying your party so far?" she asked.

"It's brilliant Ginny! You did a great job!"

"Thank you."

"And I hope you don't mind, but we had to make a few changes for the seating plan, as you can see." she pointed to where Andrew sat, across the hall, with Astoria.

"Oh that's fine." Ginny said. "You can explain to me the details later." Ginny said before joining her boyfriend back on the dance floor.

There were now several couples dancing around the dance floor, including Harry and Ginny, and Luna and Rolf.

"Shall we dance?" Draco asked suddenly.

"If you want."

"I want." he smiled.

"Okay, but I warn you. I'm not going to be able to move very well in this dress."

"I'll take my chances."

They walked over to the middle of the dance floor, just as a slow song started to play. Hermione cursed the DJ.

"Just follow my lead." Draco said, with a mischievous gleam in his eye.

He gently placed his hand on Hermione's hips and Hermione placed her hand on his shoulder.

"Why are you so darn tall?" she muttered.

"Runs in my family." he said. "Same as blonde hair and dashing good looks."

"You know, most people changed for the better after the war. But not you, you just got vainer and vainer."

"Vainer? Is that even a word Granger?" he asked, an eyebrow raised.

"It is in my dictionary."

"You need a new dictionary. Maybe I'll get you one for Christmas."

Hermione couldn't help but chuckle. Couples had stopped dancing around them as they watched the brightest witch of her age slow dance with an ex death eater.

"Glad I can make you laugh." Draco smiled at himself.

"Don't get so cocky, I'm easy to impress."

"Easy job for me then."

They had been so caught up in each other that they hardly noticed that they had been joined on the dance floor by two more couples. Andrew and Astoria, and Ron and his blonde friend.

"Draco, you're a really lovely guy when you're trying to make your ex jealous." Hermione said.

"First, I'm not trying to make Astoria jealous and second, that maybe the first time you've ever called me by my first name." he said.

"First of all Draco we both know that's what you’re trying to do, and secon–."

"There it is again!" he interrupted.

"Stop trying to change the subject." She hissed in a low voice.

"Relax Granger." he looked down at her. "Let's just dance for now."

They swayed and dance to the music for what seemed like hours. Until Hermione complained that her shoes were killing her.

"Women," he said, once they were back at their seats. "Why do they were high heels and complain about it later?"

"Because they're beautiful!" Hermione said.

"So are plain flats."

"Yes they are. But you wouldn't wear that to a night out, would you?"

"Why not?"

"Because they say that you're scared. If you wear heels, it shows that you're confident and not afraid to try something new, that you're a risk taker. Someone who's not afraid of anything."

"Really? You get all that from shoes?"

"And magazines, of course." she added.

"Figures."

Hermione smacked him on the arm. "Don't underestimate the female knowledge." she said

"I didn't." he said, rubbing his arm. "God woman!"

Hermione caught the eye of Astoria Greengrass, who was sitting across the hall on a table with Blaise, Pansy, Theodore and her sister Daphne. Andrew had probably gone off to the bar, she thought.

Astoria was scowling at her.

"Astoria looks mad." Hermione told Draco.

"So does Weasel." He said pointing to where an annoyed Ron stood awkwardly dancing with his blonde lady friend.

"Want to give them something to really be mad about?" Draco smirked deviously.

"What do you mean?" Hermione turned her attention to him.

"Give me a kiss on the cheek!"

"What?"

"Just do it. It's not like it's on the lips." he said.

Hermione rolled her eyes before giving Draco a quick but sensual kiss on the cheek. She saw Astoria's eyes lit up in anger at the corner of her eye. She saw Ron's face turn red before leaving the dance floor, with his friend trailing behind.

"That was cruel." she said.

"But they both deserved it."

Hermione had to agree.

*

There was a spotlight on the stage and Ginny Weasley appeared on the stage.

"Hello. How's everyone enjoying the party?" There was a loud cheer. "That's good! Now we all know why we're here!  To celebrate a very special lady."

A spotlight appeared on Hermione, causing her to sink down onto her chair in shyness. There was another loud cheer.

"Hermione, I've known you since we were young. You're not only my best friend, but you're my sister! I always wished I had an older sister, and that's what you've been to me!" Ginny raised her glass. "I raise a toast not just to your lucky day, but also to our friendship. I'm glad to have found someone like you whom I can call a true friend. Happy Birthday dear Mione."

There was a round of applause and a few cheers from the back. Ginny walked back to the table and Hermione gave her a big hug. Dean, Seamus and the Patil twins walked on stage. They gave a long sweet speech about Hermione before Neville and Luna walked on.

"On your special day, I would like to make a toast. It goes not just to the real friend you are, but also to another year filled with fine times, magical adventures and great memories!" Luna finished off. "We love you Hermione!" They chorused.

It was George's turn. "Hermione, you're like a little sister to me, it's a real shame that you aren't because I wouldn't mind trading you for the one I've got." There was a reluctant laughter. "I'm joking Ginny, by the way. I can see your vein from over here. So, Hermione, let's raise a toast and celebrate your life as the kind, humble and generous younger sister, you've been!"

Another round of applause.

Hermione's parents walked on stage, they gave a long emotional speech with many oohs and ahhs. Then it was Harry's turn.

"I'll keep this short and sweet as I see that many of you have been eyeing the cake. Hermione, I count myself lucky that I have had the privilege of knowing you since we were young. You have thought me many things in life. Like there are more important things in life than books and cleverness, like friendship and bravery." Everyone awed. "I don't think we'd all be alive without your help! And like Ron said, we wouldn't last a day without you. So, let's raise a glass to celebrate the brightest witch of her age! Hermione Granger!" Loud cheers and applause filled the large hall.

After all the speeches were over, Hermione felt incredibly happy and emotional. She was overwhelmed with all kind of emotions.

"Are you okay?" Draco asked a teary Hermione.

"Yes, I am." she replied, rubbing away the tears.

"Good, I've got a speech myself."

Hermione watched as Draco walked up to the stage and grabbed the microphone and waited as he had everyone's attention.

"Firstly, I would like to say thank you all for coming tonight to celebrate my girlfriend Hermione's twenty–first birthday, hope you are all having a good time." There were loud gasps as people murmured to each other in confusion.

Hermione's jaw dropped at the mention of the word 'girlfriend', what was he playing at?

"I would like to raise my glass and propose a toast for who Hermione really is," he was now looking at her. "Hermione is a woman who looks at life positively in spite of the struggles and obstacles she faces, someone who strongly believes in true love and practices what she believes, a woman who's not afraid to be who she wants."

The hall was silent as he continued. "Hermione loves her friends, more than anything, she likes a good cup of tea at midnight, she likes to be right about everything and she loves bothering me affectionately. So on this day, on her birthday, Hermione, I, as your boyfriend, just want to know how happy I am to have you. You are a wonderful, beautiful person, and you make a real shining difference in every life you touch.

"Thank you for being you Hermione and I wish you health and happiness. I love you, Hermione, and happy birthday. Cheers."

Everyone awed and cheered as Draco walked off the stage. Hermione had stood up and met him halfway, and pulled him to the corner, where no one could hear them.

"What the fuck was that?" she hissed.

"A speech, you're welcome." he seemed ignorant to what he had just said.

"You called me your girlfriend."

"I know." he smirked.

"Why?"

"Did you see Weasley's face when I did? He was practically seething.”

Hermione searched and found Ron and his lady friend arguing near the bar.

"But still! People will actually think we're dating now!"

"That’s the general idea?" he smirked.

"What?"

"Are you against the idea?”

"Yes I am! It's preposterous! You're only doing it because you want to make Astoria jealous!"

"No."

"Then why?"

Hermione couldn’t figure out why he was doing this. Was this some kind of a cruel joke he was playing at? If so then it certainly wasn’t funny. She hadn’t expected him to say that lie in front of everyone, it was just simply mean.
 
Draco took a deep breath and ran a hand through his hair before continuing on. "I can't let people know that Astoria left me."

" Why not?"

It would be bad publicity for my company. I’ve been with Astoria for years, we seem like the perfect couple to everyone. It wouldn’t do the Malfoy name any good if it got out that I’m single. It’s a tradition for them to be married by the age of twenty–two."

Hermione listened carefully; it made a lot of sense to her.

“If I ruin the tradition, it’ll break my mother’s heart!”

“Draco–"

“Hermione, just listen to me,” he sighed and ran a hand through his hair, as if trying to think of a way to phrase what he was going to say next. “I know I was terrible to you back at Hogwarts and I always tried to get you and your friends in trouble, but you have to understand, that I had absolutely no choice.” He was practically pleading her now. “I just had to protect my family.”

Hermione heaved a sigh and stared at the man in front of him.

"So out of all the girls in the wizarding world, you choose me?"

"Well, pretending to date you makes more sense." he shrugged.

"And how, may I ask, is that?"

"The press already thinks we're dating. Might as well say it's true."

“Do you expect me to marry you?” she stared at him.

 “No no no! There’s no need for that!” he said quickly, as if it was the most ridiculous thing she could have said. “Just give it a few weeks, Hermione!”
 
What was he expecting her to do, play along?

"Malfoy, this is a stupid idea, I won't partake."

"Please Hermione." he looked needy. "Please. All I need is one favour from you, and you can go back to hating me as much as you like. Give me one chance, please."

In all the years that Hermione had known Draco, he had never looked more vulnerable than he did at that moment. She felt sympathetic for him. She liked to think that she had grown to know the man almost like a close friend, and she would always be there for her friends, no matter what it was that she had to do.

She’s the kind of easy–going girl, willing to risk everything and just go for it. She puts everything on the line and does it. No buts, no questions, just do it – that’s her motto. But what is he asking her to do? Forget about her own life and try to help him? She didn’t think he realized what a big deal it was! It’s not exactly something you announce in a party filled with gossiping gossipers.

After all, she was looking to get back at a certain red head. And if dating the enemy would do just that, then well, what’s there to lose?

"Ok..." she said before she could stop herself.

 She wasn’t sure why she had just said that. But she was all about second chances.

"Oh thank you!” he said with a massive grin. “You won't regret pretending to date me!" 
 
"I already do." she muttered.

He took her hand in his and they walked back to their seat.

Harry was the first to speak. "So, girlfriend uh?"

Hermione looked around the table; everyone seemed to be suddenly interested in nothing else but the couple. Hermione nodded.

"And when did this relationship begin?" Ginny asked, eyeing the couple suspiciously.

"It's been a secret." Draco answered before Hermione had the chance to.

"Really? So the press was right, this whole time?" asked Luna.

"Yeah, we had to lie a lot though; we didn't want to give them the benefit of doubt."

Harry was starring at Hermione, obviously confused. Hermione didn’t blame her. A minute ago, she had been single now she’s suddenly dating her childhood nemesis.

"Hermione, want to dance?" Harry asked her. "If that's okay with your boyfriend, of course."

Draco simply nodded.

"So, Malfoy uh?" Harry asked once they were on the dance floor.

"Yeah, it came as a shock to me too." she said.

"I hope you're not just doing this to spite Ron."

"No I'm not. And quite frankly I don't give a damn what Ronald thinks." she hissed.

"Okay. I'm sorry for bringing that up Hermione. It's your birthday. We should be having fun."

When the music turned upbeat, Harry started to show off his terrible dance moves.

"Harry please, you're embarrassing yourself!" she laughed.

"Careful Harry." said Neville, who had suddenly appeared beside Hermione. "Hermione, care to dance?"

Hermione nodded.

"So you're really dating Malfoy then?" he asked after a while of dancing.

"It seems so.”

"You two are the most unusual couple here tonight." he stated.

Hermione chuckled, and searched for a suitable reply. "I guess we are."

After she had danced with Neville, Dean, Seamus and even George, she walked back to her seat, where Draco was sitting alone.

"You must be tired." he said.

"I am." she sighed.

"Well you don't have time to rest. You have to give a speech in a few minutes before cutting the cake."

"Speech? I had completely forgotten about that! What am I meant to say?"

"Just thank everyone for coming here," he said. "And don't forget to mention your boyfriend."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Where's Ginny and Luna?" she asked him.

"They're dancing." he pointed to the dance floor. "With their dates. Unlike me." he pouted.

"You want to dance again, Malfoy? Why didn't you say so? Tell you what, after my speech, we'll dance. Now if you excuse me, I have to give my speech."

Hermione stood up and walked up to the stage. She had barely reached the microphone before people had started to cheer and applaud. She started to blush.

"Er, thank you all for coming here tonight." she began. "Hagrid, Professor McGonagall, The Weasleys, my parents, my friends – which is all of you. I also want to thank Ginny and Luna for making my birthday a brilliant success. I want to thank my best friends, the friends that I have known since day one. Harry Potter." A spotlight appeared on Harry, and a loud cheer followed. "And Ronald Weasley." and another loud cheer, but not as loud as Harry's.

"I know today is a day to celebrate my birthday. But I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for all of you. None of us would be here. I have you all to thank that I reached this age. So thank you all very much!" Hermione was just about to turn around and walk off when she caught a quick glimpse of Draco amidst the crowd that was now cheering and applauding.

"Oh and before I go. I want to thank someone very important to... my... my heart." she stammered nervously. How was she supposed to go with this? "My boyfriend, Draco Malfoy.”

Expectedly, there were gasps.

“And I know a lot of you don't even like him." She stated. There were a few murmurs of agreement, some nodding feverishly. "We all say that we've moved on from the war, but none of us truly have. Why do you all still hold a grudge against those who were once against us?

"If I can learn to forgive and er–love an ex death eater, then isn't that enough that we should move on? I admit that I'm with someone who’s made all the wrong decisions, but he's just someone who just wanted a second chance. And I gave him that second chance.” The hall was now silent. “So quite frankly I don’t care what you all have to say about this.” she continued, “I honestly don’t!” That part was true.

As she walked off the stage, she saw that Draco had stood up and was now walking towards her.

"Thank you." he whispered into her ears as he hugged her.

"You owe me." she whispered back.

When they let go, everyone had started applauding once again. Hermione had expected them to boo and start throwing their meals at Hermione and start calling her a traitor, but she received the exact opposite of that. Draco took Hermione's hand in his, as they walked over to where the cake was. The cake was a large red velvet cake, and much to Hermione's dismay, there was a childhood picture of her, engraved on it. She was grinning foolishly and had a huge badge on that read ‘birthday girl’, the picture was of when she was five.

"I'm going to kill Ginny for that picture." she muttered.

"Cut the bloody cake already!" someone shouted from the back, most likely George.

Draco handed Hermione a small knife, and with a large smile across her face, she cut the cake.

"You are now officially twenty–one." he said.

"So the past nineteen hours doesn't count?" she asked.

"You don't age until you cut the cake!" he said in a know–it–all voice.

"Really? That's stupid."

"Yeah, it is." he said, causing Hermione to laugh. "Now, how about that dance, you promised?"

"You don't forget a thing, do you?"

"I try not to." he smirked.

"C'mon then."

Hermione pulled him on to the empty dance floor. A slow song started to play and all eyes were on them as he placed his hands on her hips and she, on his shoulders.

"So Malfoy, how are we going to make this work?" Hermione asked, as they swayed to the music.

"Given, the speech you just gave. I think it shows that we're past the early stages of boyfriend and girlfriend."

"What? We've only started to pretend to date for thirty minutes."

"You made it seem like we've been together for months."

"But we haven't." she stated desperately.

"I know. Which is why I suggest you move in with me."

She stopped dancing, she couldn’t believe her ears. "Move in? Are you joking?" He was asking a little more than she had hoped for.

"No." he stared at her, with a serious look in his eyes. "You're going to be followed by reporters more and more now. If you move in with me, you'll be safe."

"Malfoy, are you kidding me? It's bad enough that I have to pretend to date you, but I won't move in with you!"

"Why not? I've got an extra bedroom, so we don't have to share the same bed."

Hermione blushed. "It's n–not that." she spluttered.

"Then what is it?"

"It's just seems... so wrong."

"It shouldn't. Hermione, you said it yourself, people change. I'm not the death eater I was."

"I know."

"Then do this for me."

Hermione didn't know what to do. Everything was happening so fast. An hour ago she was this twenty–one year girl old celebrating her birthday, now she's this twenty–one year old witch pretending to date an ex–death eater and might possibly be living with him.

"Okay Malfoy." she watched him release a breath. "I'll move in with you."

He grinned down at her.

"But if this is going to work out, then we're going to do it my way."

"Oh no."

"Oh yes." she smiled at him.

"People are starring, let's seal the deal." he said.

And before Hermione could recollect herself, Draco lifted her chin, their noses almost touching. She could feel the warmth of his breath brushing the top of her lip. She stared right into his hardened grey eyes as he pushed his lips down onto hers. The kiss was like none other and although it only lasted a few seconds, it was magical. His lips smiled against Hermione's, then he pulled away from the kiss, their forehead's leaning against each others.

The kiss was pure lust; it was a show for the viewers. And they did not disappoint as a familiar red hair had stormed out of the hall with his blonde friend and an Italian Quidditch player was trying to calm down his angry date.

How the hell was this meant to work?



Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or the brilliant characters you recognize! They belong to the amazing JK Rowling!

This is by far, the longest chapter so far! Again, I should point out that most of the chapters up to chapter eight or nine were all written within one week when I first started off writing fanfictions. They aren't good and I'm not proud of it. But for me to re-write it all, wouldjust  take longer and I can't be bothered to go through that process again. The later chapters do get better - in terms of plot, grammer and flow.

Don't forget to drop a comment to tell me what you think. And Just so you know, this is just the beginning of the major plot.


Chapter 9: Adjusting
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Adjusting

Hermione Granger, turned twenty–one yesterday, and she celebrated it with a birthday bash. And although reporters were banned from entering, we still have all the juicy details...

Seamus Finnigan, Dean Thomas, the Patil twins, Neville Longbottom, Hannah Abbot, George Weasley, Angelina Johnson, Blaise Zabini, Pansy Parkinson, Daphne Greengrass and Theodore Nott are a few of those who were invited.

Who Astoria Greengrass was going to arrive with, was a mystery to all; rumor has it that there was trouble in paradise. So imagine our surprise when she stepped out of a carriage with none other than Andrew Russo! The promising young Quidditch star! Astoria looked sexy, as always, in her one–shouldered scarlet gown, but what was she doing with Andrew Russo?

In case you don't know who Andrew Russo is. He’s the Chudley Canon's new seeker who was transferred from Italy. Sources tell us that Andrew was spotted with Hermione Granger just a few days before her birthday in the Hog's Head Pub. It seemed that they knew each other! Maybe they used to date.

Another carriage, and out stepped Luna Lovegood, the daughter of the editor of the magazine, ‘The Quibbler’, and her boyfriend, Rolf Scamander, the grandson of the famous Professor Newton Scamander who was the author of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.’ Luna looked wonderful (as always) in a short with dress, whereas Rolf was rocking the black tux. The couple are both Magizoologists, so it's no surprise that they've been together for this long!

Next came Ron Weasley hand in hand with a tall blonde haired beauty who just so happens to be the model and Witch Weekly's newest spokeswoman, Eva Dawn. She was dressed in a short tight black dress, which left little to the imagination, and killer heels. We couldn't help to think that Eva looked out of place with a man like Ronald. But who are we to say anything? They could be in love.

The saviour of the wizarding world, Harry Potter stepped out looking extremely smart in a dark blue suit, with his long term girlfriend, Ginny Weasley. Ginny looked beautiful in matching nude coloured blouse and skirt and Harry wore a black suit, looking as charming as always.

Now, there has many speculations and rumors about who the birthday girl would be arriving with. Would she arrive with someone we didn’t expect, or arrive by herself? Our question was soon answered.


A white carriage pulled up and Hermione Granger stepped out with none other than ex death eater, Draco Malfoy! Yes! Draco Malfoy! The birthday girl looked beautiful as she walked down the red carpet in a light pale nude, floor length evening dress. The dress was tight around the hips, before going down into a big frilly gown with ruffles. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that she was the best dressed.

The couple were kind enough to pose for pictures before entering the hall. Sadly, reporters were banned from entering the hall, but we still heard about what happened inside.

Friends and families gave toasts to the birthday girl, all except her ex boyfriend, Ronald Weasley. When it was time for the birthday girl speech, she thanked everyone for coming and was even sure to include her boyfriend in the speech. Yes, her boyfriend. Draco Malfoy. So we were right! The couple had been in fact dating, we should have figured! They made no effort to deny the rumors at all! It's said, that the couple danced together a lot before Draco gave Hermione a tender kiss in front of everyone.

So it's official! And you heard it first from Witch Weekly.

Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger are indeed dating! So where does that leave their exs?

Ronald Weasley and Astoria Greengrass?

In frustration, Hermione slammed the newspaper down on the table, making no attempt to hide her irritation with the article she had read.

“Relax, woman!” Harry said, lifting his feet from where she had slammed the article.

“Why so moody?” Ginny asked in a concerned tone.

Hermione sighed and rubbed her forehead. “I'm sorry guys... I'm just tired.”

The couple exchanged a knowing look. “Oh right…”

“How's the packing going?” Harry quickly asked to avoid suspicion.

Happy to have dodged a bullet if they had asked any further questions, she answered enthusiastically, “I'm nearly finished. I have so many books that I can't take them all; hence why I bought this box of books.”

Ginny cleared her throat and said in a sing song way, “I know a girl that might like them.”

Hermione rolled her eyes and decided to play dumb. “Oh, Luna?”

“Me, you idiot!” Ginny said, pretending to act hurt, as she threw her scarf at Hermione.

“Since when did you become so interested in books?” Hermione asked, ignoring the scarf.

“She's not. It's for her muggle collection.” Harry interrupted, dryly.

“Muggle collection?” Hermione laughed.

“It's not funny.” Ginny pouted, crossing her arms across her chest.

“She's collecting anything muggle. So that when she's older, she has something valuable in the wizarding world to pass down.”

“I didn’t know muggle things were valuable in the wizarding world.” Hermione said.

“They aren’t.” Harry answered wryly.

“Then it makes sense to collect them then.” she replied, sarcasm dripping from her tone.

“Don't encourage her!”

Hermione giggled and Ginny joined along. Ignoring the laughter, Harry checked his watch.

“I've got to go pick up, Teddy.” he said, standing up.

“Oh, where are you going?” Hermione asked, curious to see if it was some lame excuse to get out of helping her pack when she eventually asked.

“Quidditch match. The Chudley Cannons are playing! He's excited to see Andrew.” he answered, a grin on his face. “Which reminds me, Mione, where's my autograph?”

“Oh, that! I... will get that for you!”

Harry raised an eyebrow.

“I promise!”

“You forgot didn't you?” he asked, looking smug.

“I've been busy lately.” she said, in hope it was enough of an apology.

“With Malfoy no less…” Harry said quietly.

“No.” she answered, deadpanned. “I actually haven't seen him since my birthday.”

“And you're moving in with him?” Ginny asked, her eyebrows sinking into a disbelieving gaze.

“We have to keep things private; we don't want the press finding out too much about us.”

“I still can't believe you didn't tell us.” Ginny said.

Hermione received a lot of this lately, mostly from her parents, who had no idea that she even had another boyfriend, let alone a rich one. And she’d give them the same answer she’d been giving everyone lately.

 “It would have caused too much commotion.”

“Obviously.” Harry muttered.

She was quick to defend herself. “It's not that I didn't trust you guys enough to tell you. It's just that I didn't think you were going to take it well and–”

“Hermione, we're your friends! If you’re happy with Malfoy, then we're happy for you.” Ginny said kindheartedly.

“You don't have to hide anything from us.” Harry added, a little reluctantly.

Hermione felt guilty. She was hiding something from them. They thought she was in love with Draco, but she was only pretending. She couldn’t imagine how they would react if they found out that she had lied to them in the first place.

“I'm going to be late.” Harry said, dismissing himself as he laid quick peck on Ginny's cheek and gave Hermione a hug. “Bye ladies.”

“So, are the books mine?” Ginny asked hopefully, once Harry had shut the door behind.

Hermione playfully rolled her eyes. “Yes, they're yours!”

“Thanks!” she squealed, grinning madly. “More to the collection!”

“Poor Harry.” Hermione muttered jokingly.

“He'll thank me when our kids start taking interest in Mummy's books.”

“Kids?” Hermione asked, stunned at her statement. “You think about that stuff?”

“Of course!”

“And you think about having them… with Harry?” she prompted gently.

Ginny nodded. “I love Harry. I can't imagine it with someone else.”

Ginny was certainly the kind of person to have done so. She’d had a huge crush on him since they first met at King Cross Station when she was ten.

“How many kids do you want?” Hermione asked, curious for her answer.

“I don't know.” Ginny shrugged casually, not fazed by Hermione’s questions. “I want a lot! I think it’s because I have a big family.”

Hermione smiled at the thought of Harry and Ginny being the couple with a lot of children.

Ginny glared at Hermione oddly. “Why are you asking me these questions? Are you pregnant?”

“No no no Ginny! I'm not pregnant!” she answered quickly. “That's not even possible!”

“Not possible?” Ginny raised a curious brow. “Haven't you slept with Malfoy yet?”

Hermione blushed, surprised at such an intimate question. “It's none of your business!”

“You haven't, have you?” Ginny gasped. “Why not?”

“We're taking things slow!” she said, annoyed that her friend was taking too much an interest in her.

“But still! You’re moving in with him!” Ginny still spoke in a disbelieving tone.

“Ginny, I–”

“And you're going to be sharing the same bed with him! So something's bound to happen!”

Nothing was going to happen. Hermione knew that. They weren't even going to be sharing the same bed for something to happen. Granted, when you’re in the same space with someone for long, something could possibly happen, but she respected herself to know that nothing would happen. They were both respectable adults.

“Ginny why are you being so interested in my sex life all of a sudden?” she snapped impatiently.

“I'm just curious!” Ginny defended, shrugging innocently.

“Don't be! It's freaky!”

Ginny eyed Hermione up and down before coming to a conclusion.

“You're a strange creature Hermione Granger.”

“I'll take that as a compliment, so thank you.”

*

“Honey, I'm home!” Draco called as he opened the door to his flat to find a messy Hermione sprawled on the floor, surrounded by random boxes. “Um, what are you doing?” he asked.

“I'm arranging my stuff.” she replied with her back turned to him.

“Your stuff?” he asked, bending down to examine a box. “It looks like you were already planning to move.”

“I was.” she said, smiling up at him. “I was about to buy a flat.”

“Living alone?”

She nodded. “I'm old enough to live by myself.”

“I know that.” he said as he walked into another room.

“Oh and I went grocery shopping earlier today, so the fridge is stocked.”

“Impressive!” Draco called from the kitchen.

Hermione smiled to herself. At least someone appreciated her.

“You're a much better girlfriend than Astoria.”

Hermione looked up and glared at the former Slytherin, who had discarded his tie and jacket and now had an apple in his hand.

“Really?” she asked with mock gratitude.

“Yeah. Astoria would never go grocery shopping. She hired this girl that comes twice a month to do all the house duties.”

“Is she that lazy?” Hermione asked, looking up to see him with an apple.

“Pretty much. She doesn't do anything that requires...” he bit into his apple, as if contemplating a suitable word. “…working.”

“She sounds like a catch.”

“Oh, she's wonderful!” he said sarcastically.

Standing up to face Draco, she was surprised when he turned out taller than she had first thought. Granted, at the party she had been wearing heels and was still not as tall as him, but he really was tall.

“So are you going to help me with the boxes or what?” she asked, picking up a box.

He rolled his eyes. “If I choose not to help you'll hit me.”

Hermione smacked him lightly on his arm.

“So you were going to hit me either way then?” he remarked smugly.

“Malfoy, just pick a box and follow.”

Unwillingly, he did as he was told.

“You certainly had enough time on your hands!” he commented as he dropped the box on her bed.

Hermione looked around her bedroom, feeling proud of what she had done. “I had to make it look welcoming, unlike the god forsaken room it was before.”

“Don't blame me! I forgot this flat even came with an extra room.”

“Did you just buy it because it was big?”

“Well it was Astoria's idea at the time.”

Hermione looked up at the mention of Astoria. “I don't think you're fully over her.” she stated.

“What makes you think that?” he asked, his eyebrows raised.

“You mention her name a lot.”

“I've only mentioned her like twice!” he stated candidly.

“It's normal to still think about her. It's only been like four days, and it’s not expected of you to be over–”

“Where are you going with this, Granger?” he interrupted curtly.

Hermione chose not to reply but instead said, “I'm going to help you get over her!”

“Alright! Don't get all therapist on me.” Draco waved her away.

Hours later, she had finally finished unpacking the boxes and arranging them around the room. The bedroom alone was quite big. It had a big black and white four poster bed situated in the middle. Almost everything else was black and white, giving the room a modern look to it.

Hermione felt tired and hungry. All she wanted to do now was heat up some cold pizza and eat in. But Draco might not be up to it. She was just about to go and see where Draco was, but when she heard a female voice coming from the other side; she stopped dead in her tracks.

In that small moment, her mind was filled with questions. Was Draco cheating on her? They might not be truly dating, but that doesn't mean he was allowed to bring home other women, especially when his “girlfriend” just moved in.

Hermione moved closer to the door so she could hear what was being said on the other side. She was unable to hear them properly as the sound was distorted. She heard Draco say something and the female voice laughed. The high pitched laugh made her blood boil. Why was she laugMalfoy wasn’t that funny. After listening for a few more minutes and hearing absolutely nothing but muffled voices, Hermione couldn't take it anymore, she had to be careful however, she couldn't make it obvious that she had been eavesdropping on them.

“Draco, sweetheart," she put on a sickening tone as she entered the living room. "Have you seen my–” she stopped at the sight of the woman that was sitting next to Draco.

“Hello Hermione.”

“Pansy?”

Draco stood up and walked over to stand next to his girlfriend. “Hermione you remember Pansy Parkinson. Pansy, you know my girlfriend, Hermione.”

Pansy extended her hand.

Hermione shook it.

“I must say, I was really surprised when I heard your speech on Saturday. When Draco said it, I thought he just had a little too much to drink. But when you confirmed it, it was really unexpected.”

“To me too.” Hermione forced a smile through gritted teeth.

“Pansy just came over to invite us to a dinner party she's throwing tomorrow.” Draco informed her.

“My annual dinner party.” Pansy corrected. “I hope you two can come.”

It’s no secret that Hermione and Pansy never got along during Hogwarts, before the war and even after the war, when there was nothing to be afraid of. They had both made no effort to befriend one another; there was no reason to. Neither of them expected to somehow cross paths in four years time.

Pansy was an annoying woman who was used to dating movie stars and going out to nightclubs every night. The last thing Hermione wanted to do was to spend a night with her and her snooty pure blood friends.

“I assure you, we'll be there.” Draco smiled.

Hermione shot him a deathly look, which he noticed, but chose to ignore.

“Wonderful!” Pansy grinned. “Oh and I hope it’s okay but Astoria's going to be there.”

“I don't mind.” Draco shrugged.

“Great! Now I must dash. I’ve got others to invite.” Pansy stood up, grabbing her purse. She gave Draco a kiss on the cheek and Hermione, an awkward hug before apparating out.

“Malfoy! What the hell! I don't want to attend her dinner party!” Hermione barked.

“Why not?”

“I don't like her! Isn't it obvious?”

“Pansy's a lovely girl, there's no reason to dislike her.”

“Maybe for you! She's all cosy and nice to you!”

“If you don't like her then why did you invite her to your birthday?” he asked in a challenging tone.

“I didn't.” she sighed, infuriated, accepting defeat. “Ginny did. She invited everyone.”

“All but two people...” Draco muttered, but not silently enough.

“All for good reasons, of course!” Hermione defended; making it known that she had heard him.

“So she says.”

Hermione huffed before turning away from him. He was starting to act like a douche now. Why did he have to bring that up?

She went into the kitchen and pulled out a box of pizza from the fridge and heated it up. If he continued to behave like this, she would not hesitate to return back to her parents. She was doing him a favour, not the other way round. Frustrated, she cut the pizza with a sharp knife and was eating it when Draco decided to join her.

“Where's mine?” he asked as he entered the kitchen, raising an eyebrow.

“In the fridge.” she said, holding a greasy pizza.

He walked over to the fridge and bought out another box of cold pizza.

“What am I meant to do with this?” he asked, holding it up, a look of confusion across his face.

“You're meant to heat it up.”

“Heat it how?”

“Oh my god.” Hermione groaned as she covered her face. “Don't tell me you don't know what an oven is.”

“Of course I do.” Draco scowled. “I just don't know how to use it.”

“And here you are complaining about Astoria, when you're no better.” she laughed.

Draco shrugged. “I can cook a mean pasta.”

“So you can cook.”

“Probably better than you.” he joked, teasingly.

Hermione stopped eating and looked at him with mock hurt. “I'm offended.”

“Oh really?” Draco laughed.

“You can't cook and yet you’re insulting my cooking.”

“Well you haven't really cooked once, so I have no idea if your good or not.”

“I'm good.”

“Fine.” he said humorously. “I'll take your word for it.”

Draco looked lost as he began searching the cupboards for something edible that he could have in a matter of seconds.

“Here, you can have mine.” Hermione said standing up so that Draco could sit where she was.

“Thanks.” he smiled. “And I'm sorry about the dinner party. I'll be sure to involve you before I make any decision next time.”

*

Hermione woke up the next morning at the sound of tapping on her window. It was a large white owl, which she didn't recognize. She opened the window and it flew right in, dropping the package on her bed.

Taking the letter from the beautiful owl, she read.

Hermione,

I don't blame you for choosing to ignore my owls, since I ditched you at the last minute on your birthday. But you need to hear me out! I'm more likely the victim here.

And since you were actually dating Draco Malfoy, I did you a favor really.

–Andrew.

Hermione re–read the letter over and over again, her eyes scrutinizing to see if she was reading it correctly. Something did not make sense. He said that she was ignoring her owls. She did no such thing! None of his owls had been sent to her at all.

The more she thought about it, the more she realised that there was only one logical explanation: Malfoy!

Angry, she threw the letter onto her bed and stormed out of her bedroom straight into Malfoy’s, to find him sleeping peacefully in his bed. Shame she was going to change that.

“Malfoy! Wake up!”

He moved slightly but showed no sign that of hearing her. Sighing exasperatingly, she moved towards his bed and sat next to his sleeping form.

“MALFOY!” she yelled into his ears.

He immediately got up from his bed, his hands covering his ears.

“Damn it woman, what's do you want?” he groaned.

“You have some explaining to do!” Hermione said, standing up to point her fingers at him.

“What is so important that it couldn't possibly wait until noon or something?”

“Andrew.” she said simply.

“What about him?”

“I received an interesting letter from him this morning…”

“And?”

“He said I was ignoring his owls.”

“What's your point?” he asked impatiently.

“I don't remember ignoring his owls.”

He was staring at Hermione, looking a bit dazed.

“Are you saying that I intercepted with your owls?”

“It seems the only logical explanation.”

“Granger. I can't believe you don't trust me!” he said, raising a mocking hand to his chest.

Hermione rolled her eyes. “Just answer me Malfoy! Did you intercept my owls?”

“I might have.” he said sheepishly.

“You did?” she screeched.

“Okay, calm down Granger.” His voice was gentle and soothing, and for some reason, Hermione found it incredibly irritating. She sat down on the large bed with her arms folded across her chest as Draco stood in front of her.

“You received an owl yesterday when you were decorating your room. I thought it was for me, but when I opened it, I realized it wasn't. I was going to give you the letter but after I read it, I thought it was best not to.”

Hermione couldn't believe that he had read her letter. Her letters were private! Why was he reading it? She didn't go around reading his letters, now did she?

“So let me get this straight.” she said, a scornful tone to her voice. “You read my letter, refused to give it to me, then you–”

“I thought you were going to reply to him!” Draco interrupted loudly.

“Of course I would have!” Hermione defended.

“That would have been a mistake!”

“Well it would have been my mistake!”

“Are you actually mad at me for protecting you?” he asked, a hint of anger in his voice.

“I don't need protection! I'm twenty–one!” she snapped.

“Congratulations.” he muttered.

Hermione ignored him. “He sent other owls, didn't he?” she didn’t wait for his reply. “What did they say?”

“Nothing important.”

Yeah right. Hermione knew that there was probably something worth knowing in the owls that Andrew had sent. Draco was acting like a child.

“Okay then. You can go back to sleep now.” she said quietly, realising her defeat as she turned around to leave.

“Hermione...”

She turned around. “Yes?”

“I'm sorry, about reading your letter.” he said, scratching the back of his neck as if he felt completely out of character for apologising. “I won't do it again.”

Hermione just stared at him.

“You don't have to go.” he murmured quietly. “I'm fully awake now, so we can talk.”

“Talk?” she raised an eyebrow. “Are you that desperate for some company?”

He walked closer to her, the corner of his mouth twitching up. “You woke me up.”

“And for that, I apologize.” she said, moving away. “Besides, we should probably shower first.”

“Is that an invitation Granger?” he smirked.

“In your dreams, Malfoy.” she replied.

He laughed to himself before saying. “I'm going out after breakfast; I've got a meeting.”

“You better be back in time for Pansy's dinner party!” she said. “If you're not here, then I'm not going.”

“I don't think you know a lot about it, do you?”

Hermione shook her head.

“The dinner party isn't like any other dinner party.” he explained. “There will be wizard celebrities there, such as Quidditch Players, singers, veelas, and models. So you can bet your arse that your Andrew friend will be there. The dress code as always is smart and sexy. So wear something nice.”

*

Andrew was in the Chudley Cannon's changing room with his teammates. They were discussing team tactics for the game tomorrow but he was not paying attention. He was too busy thinking about Hermione and feeling guilty. He didn't realise it before, but it was obvious that he'd made a mistake by choosing Astoria over her. Maybe if he didn't, Hermione would be with him, instead of being with the spoilt heir who gets way too much pocket money.

Sure Astoria had that model veela beauty, and yes, she was without a doubt stunning, and yes, he should be lucky to have her. But Hermione was something else. All the times when he had shown up at her flat in Italy, to find her with her messy curls everywhere and her face free of makeup, he was always attracted to her. The thing about Hermione was that she didn't need to try; she always managed to look gorgeous. She was one of those rare beauties. She was just naturally beautiful.

“So Russo, do you know what you've got to do?” asked the Coach, and Andrew’s head jerked, pulling him out of his thoughts.

“Yes, coach.” he lied.

*

“Won–won, are you okay?”

Ron cringed at the familiar words. It just reminded him of Lavender and how much she had annoyed him. Hiding his annoyance, he looked up to see Eva looking worried.

“I'm okay.” Ron replied. “And please stop calling me that!”

“Sorry.” she smiled. “I've just received an invitation for Pansy's dinner party tonight. Would you like to come?”

“I can't let you go alone, can I?” he said. “Who else is going to be there?”

“Oh you know, the lot.” she grinned. “Celebrities; like Quidditch players, models, entrepreneurs–”

“So Malfoy will be there?” he asked sharply, interrupting her.

“Yes. He's always there.”

“Brilliant.”

*

“So how do I look?” Hermione asked, twirling to give Draco a good view.

“You look nice.”

“So do you.”

“I know.”

“Vainer and vainer.” she said, mimicking what she had said at her birthday.

“Not a word, Granger!” he said, once again.

Hermione was wearing a short red and black Alexander McQueen dress and a Christian Louboutin Pigalle Studded Pumps, completing the look with a Christian Louboutin Loubi Croissant Satin Clutch and a Vintage Butler & Wilson Red Heart. She was basically wearing everything designer; she might as well be going to some sort of premiere. But she couldn’t complain, she looked amazing in the outfit, and since Ginny – who had particularly enjoyed it as it was from muggle designers – had chosen it, it was no surprise.

“I've got something for you. Wait here.” Draco said, disappearing into his bedroom and returned a few minutes later, holding small black box.

“Open it.” he prompted, handing it to her.

Hermione stared at him confused, but nonetheless she opened the box.

Inside the small box was a ring; a diamond solitaire on a shiny green band. It looked beautiful. Hermione recognised the ring from a catalogue she had been reading earlier that day. The only thing different about the ring was that it had the Slytherin symbol around the band. The symbol was small and could only be noticed from up close.

“Draco... this... is–” she was speechless.

“It matches your dress, don't you think?”

“But how – how did you?”

“I saw you reading the article this morning. Obviously, it’s not enough to say thank you but I thought you might like the surprise. I had to make a few calls but…”

Hermione wasn’t listening anymore as she put the ring on. It fit perfectly. “Thank you.” she smiled up at him. Even though she was wearing heels, he was still taller than her.

“We look the part, don't we?” Draco commented, looking at the mirror that stood in front of them.

Hermione had to agree, they did look the part. The reflection showed a couple. A couple who looked like they were truly in love. They were even colour–coded. Hermione was wearing black and red, while Draco was wearing a dark grey suit. He looked handsome, especially since he had a little stubble on his face.

“So shall we go?”

“We shall.” Hermione said, grabbing her black jacket from the coffee table in front of the mirror. “So are we apparating?”

“Nope, I'm going to drive.” Draco answered without hesitation.

“Drive? You can drive?”

“Shockingly yes. I can. I learnt how to drive after I graduated. One of the many skills I needed.” he said, as he led Hermione out the front door, closing it behind.

*

Draco put the keys in the ignition, the car giving a soft purr before starting.

“Where’s Pansy's flat?” Hermione asked, as she sank down in the passenger seat.

“The dinner party's not at her flat. It's at her parents.”

“Parkinson Manor?” she nearly choked.

“Yeah. You can meet her parents.”

She groaned and glared at him. “You should have told me this before.”

“You're meeting Pansy's parents. Not mine.” he asserted, shrugging indifferently.

“A warning would still be good.”

“Next time you're meeting any more of my friend’s parents, I'll be sure to inform you first.”

“I hope you're joking.”

Draco gave a small laugh and stepped on the accelerator.

“Are we nearly there?” Hermione asked minutes later.

“Keep looking ahead. You'll see when we're nearly there.” he said, not taking his eyes off the road.

Hermione turned and stared out the window. It was dark at night and it looked like there wasn't another car for miles. The only light there was, was of the car headlights.

Hermione moved uneasily in her seat. She felt uncomfortable for some reason. Maybe it was because she was stuck in a car with Draco. The boy who had made her life hell for pretty much all of her Hogwarts years. He had called her a filthy mudblood, he had made snide comments at the trio, and worse of all, and he had stood there on that day and watched as his aunt, Bellatrix, tortured her.

Bellatrix had tortured Hermione with the Cruciatus Curse repeatedly, until she was unconscious. During the torture, she had left a 'mudblood' scar on her arm. Hermione was not proud of her scar; it was a constant reminder that to some people, blood purity was more important than anything else. And until this day she used a concealer charm to cover up the scar.

“Come on.” Draco said, parking the car and getting out.

Hermione had been so lost in her thoughts that she hadn't even realized that they had arrived. She unbuckled her seatbelt, and stepped out the car, gaping at the large mansion that set beyond the sidewalk, towering over her as if attempting to intimidate her. The cream coating of the paint shined as the streetlights above them beat down on it, causing Hermione to have to squint.

Uniquely twisted fencing kept the house enclosed; neatly trimmed hedges surrounded the house. The roof was peaked, slanting down at an angle. The windows had royal purple curtains hanging on the other side of them, drawn so that the streetlights couldn’t stream through.

“You ready?” Draco asked as he took Hermione's arm.

“I think so.”

“Don’t worry. Nothing to worry about.”

As they stepped away from the marble drive, Hermione noticed a marble fountain sitting towards the right side of the lawn. An angel holding a flower was perched on top, looking up towards the sky. Bushes trimmed into all sorts of animals and people littered the parts of the lawn that was not taken up by the fountain. They walked towards the extravagant house, down the little stone path to the large black door.

Draco stabbed the doorbell, which glowed with a yellow light surrounding the white button. In a matter of seconds, the door was open and they faced a grinning Pansy. She was wearing a green full length silk style satin gown, with crystal embellishment and pleated fabric.

“Draco, Hermione! I'm so glad you could make it!” she squealed loudly, pulling them both into hugs. “I nearly thought you weren't coming.” she said.

“Oh, are we late?” Draco asked when Pansy had released them from the bone crushing hug.

“No. You're right on time. Do come in!” she said, ushering them inside.

As Hermione entered the house, her heels clacking loudly on the marble floor, she saw the tallest ceiling ever, lovely crown molding, a table in the center of the room, and two flights of spiral staircases going up to the second floor. Draco led her to the room on their right.

There was a small fire burning on one side of the wall, surrounded by a huge brown couch and a rocking chair. To the left, there was a large dining table, with several chairs around it, a small closet with lots of dishes and glasses behind it and several mirrors on the sides of the sort–of–separate room.

Hermione looked over her shoulder and spotted several photo frames all over the wall. They were moving pictures of family and friends, along with various framed awards and certificates. She looked upward to see a huge glass chandelier with lit candles on their plate. 

“What a lovely house.” Hermione said, gushing at the marvelous trophies in their trophy case.

“Thank you! Mother spent a lot of time decorating it.” Pansy smiled at Hermione. “This house is her prized possession.”

“I can understand why. The interior design is amazing.” she stated, nodding approvingly.

From the corner of her eyes, she could see Draco holding up his thumbs as if to tell Hermione that she was playing her role well so far.

“Draco, Hermione!” Blaise greeted loudly, as he entered the room, followed by several other couples.

“Hey!” Draco said as he clapped the back of his friend.

“Hermione...” Blaise said, prolonging her name as he looked her down before giving her a hug.

“Um... Hi.” Hermione nervously pushed an imaginary strand of hair back behind her ear. She always forgot that she had short hair now.

“Wow.” he said, his eyes surveying her up and down. “You look amazing!”

Hermione turned a light shade of pink; she wasn't used to all the compliments she had been receiving lately.

“Put your tongue back in your mouth Zabini!” Draco muttered, pulling Hermione close to him.

“Sorry.” Blaise smirked.

“Don't worry, I'll deal with him!” Pansy said, suddenly appearing next to him. “Draco, why don't you guys go to the dining room; everyone’ll be there in a second.”

“Alright.” he smiled to the stunning brunette as her and Blaise left to go and talk to another couple.

“You're doing well so far.” Draco murmured to her, once they were out of earshot.

“I hope so.”

They walked to the dining table, which – like you’d expect from a house like this – was decorated with a large vase in the middle with three beautiful roses sticking out. Names were on the chairs, so guests knew where to sit. Luckily for Hermione, she was sat between Draco and Blaise, people that she already knew. They took their seats, and seconds later, several more couples had joined them. The men were all dressed in black and the women were also dressed in sexy black lace.

Well, she mostly fit in with the dress code. Thanks a lot, Draco.

Her eyes darted to the door as she heard a familiar voice. Ron Weasley entered the room hand in hand with his blonde date, Eva Dawn; he stopped dead in his tracks as he saw Hermione.

“Well well well,” he began. “If it isn't my ex... and her boyfriend.” he spat out the last part.

“Nice to see you too Weaselbee.” Draco said sardonically.

“Of all people to date, you choose him?” Ron spat, surveying Draco.

“We all know I’m billion times better than you!” Draco muttered as he stood up quickly.

“So you say!”

“Draco, leave it.” Hermione said, pulling Draco back down to seat.

“Listen to your girlfriend, Malfoy.” Ron retorted smugly.

Hermione glared at Ron. What did she see in him before? When they were in Hogwarts, he had been the perfect guy. He had been thoughtful, considerate and charming. Now, he just looked like a desperate guy. A desperate guy with a model girlfriend. Hermione noticed that even Eva had looked uncomfortable when Ron started to pick a fight. Poor girl; she almost pitied her.

“Ignore him.” Hermione whispered to Draco. “He's just trying to get you mad.”

“It worked.” he said.

“Just... don't do anything you'll regret.” she said to him, speaking softly. “Please.”

He turned to face her. “I'm sorry,” he said. “I didn't know he was going to be here.”

“It's okay. I know he's only here to–” Hermione was interrupted by a male voice.

“Hermione?”

She looked up to see a handsome looking Andrew entered the room, followed by a gorgeous Astoria. They were both dressed in black, like almost everyone else in the room. Astoria scowled at the sight of Hermione. Andrew however, smiled apologetically before walking over.

“Hermione, it's nice to see you again.” He said leaning down to kiss her on the cheek. “You look amazing!”

Hermione smiled up at him. “You remember Draco.” she said, gesturing to her annoyed boyfriend.

“Hard to forget.” Andrew said as he shook Draco's hand. “And you remember Astoria.”

Astoria had somehow suddenly appeared beside Andrew. “I don't think we've formally met. Hermione, is it?”

Hermione knew what she was doing. Astoria was acting as if they had never met before. As if the first time they met, she hadn't called her a mudblood. She decided to play along; after all, she didn't want to cause a scene.

Hermione shook Astoria's hand; she probably gripped it tighter than she was meant to. Oh well. Astoria let out a soft cry only they could hear. She glared at Hermione before turning around and walking to her seat, Andrew trailing behind.

“Welcome everyone!” Pansy said as her and Blaise decided to join her guests. She quickly had everyone’s attention. “Some of you haven't been properly introduced, so I'll do it.”

A house elf entered the room, carrying bottles of wines and glasses. Pansy took them and said thank you.

Hermione smiled to herself, happy that house elves weren't been treated badly anymore. She was glad that none of them had to live like Dobby did.

“Everyone this is Ronald Weasley.” Pansy said, and Ron stood up. “He is one third of the Golden Trio, and best friends with the saviour of the wizarding world.”

Not anymore, thought Hermione. Ever since Hermione had found out, Ron had not been in contact with Harry or Ginny. He might have thought that they wouldn't want to see him because of what he did to Hermione. But the truth was that they both missed Ron like hell. They may deny it, but she knew that they did. And she didn't blame them. You can't forget someone that's been a major part of your life, that easily– no matter what they did.

This is Andrew Russo.” Pansy continued and Andrew stood up, straightening his suit. “He's a Quidditch Player and… he's Italian.” she added dreamily.

Everyone – all the women, at least – seemed to swoon at the sight of Andrew. No surprise there, the man was beyond gorgeous.

“And last but not least, Hermione Granger.”

Hermione didn’t know whether she should stand up or not. The nudge from Draco, told her that she should. As she stood, all eyes were on her.

“She as well, is part of the golden trio and she is known as the brightest witch of her age.” Pansy finished off.

Hermione sat back down, just as another house elf came in, holding a letter. Pansy took the letter and opened it. Her expression didn't change as she read the letter.

“Mother and Father will not be able to make it today. They're stuck in France for some work reason.” she said. “They send their apologies.”

Hermione noticed that Draco's shoulders dropped as Pansy spoke; he looked relieved.

“That's not going to stop our fun.” Pansy continued, a little excitedly. “Let's eat.”

Food appeared in front of them; it was just like Hogwarts, when they were in the great hall. In front of Hermione, were pork chops. It was especially what she was craving! In front of Draco was salmon. It was no surprise; the man seemed to really liked sea food. Everyone else was already eating, so with no regard for elegance, she stabbed her food and began eating.

“Save some for everyone else.” Draco remarked.

“I'm sorry. Is it unattractive the way I eat?” she retorted rudely, her mouth full. “In case you haven't noticed, I'm starving.”

“Did you eat before we left?” he asked, concerned.

“I was saving room for this.” she motioned to the food in front of them.

“Next time, eat, Granger. It's unhealthy.”

“Stop acting like you care, Malfoy.” she mumbled, annoyed at his sudden concern.

“I do.” he muttered.

“Whatever.”

Hermione rolled her eyes childishly, before stabbing her food again. He was still angry that Ron and Andrew were here. Riskily, she took a quick glimpse of Ron. For someone who loved his food, he wasn’t eating. In fact, he was scowling at Draco, not noticing that Hermione was watching him. Andrew, on the other hand, was neatly eating. No stray bits on his dinner jacket, neither was there any disgusting bits on his chin; he ate so dignified.

Unlike Ronald.

Andrew looked up and caught her eye. Hermione quickly looked away, embarrassed that he had caught her staring at him. A small blush had crept onto her cheeks. Desperate for it not to be noticed, she quickly reached for her glass, in hopes that it would distract him from looking at her with that smug smile on his face.

“What the hell is that?”

Hermione looked up, her eyes searching for the all too familiar bitter voice. Astoria’s gaze was on Hermione's hand.

“Is that an engagement ring?” she asked slowly, starring at the ring on her Hermione's finger.

Hermione inwardly hit herself. She'd completely forgotten about the ring. She'd forgotten that she was even wearing it. Taken aback by the question from Astoria, she quickly retracted her hand away from her glass. Now, she was definitely blushing. Everyone seemed to be starring at her. Desperate to save face, she opened her mouth to say something, but Draco was quicker.

“It's none of your business Astoria.” He replied sharply. He was starring right at her, looking irritated and annoyed.

“You've known her for like three days and you're already engaged?” Astoria scorned harshly.

All eyes fell were now on Hermione’s hand. She felt too embarrassed to even look at anyone else other than Draco. When she heard someone scoff, she looked up to see Ron. He looked angry and a little… disappointed?

“Are you engaged to this ferret?” he spat bitterly.

Why did he seem mad? He had no right to be mad! He cheated on her! So he deserved it if she was engaged to someone else.

“Ronald, it's really none of your business either.” she found herself saying.

Ron gasped, slamming his hand on the table. “You're engaged to him?”

Hermione didn't reply. She didn't need to. Her silence alone was an answer.

“I'm sure they're not really engaged!” Andrew attempted as he stood up, trying to calm down the murderous exes.

“You can do so much better, Draco!” Astoria blurted, shaking her head at Hermione.

“Funny, I kept telling myself that when I was with you!” Draco muttered as a mocking smile took over his attractive features.

Astoria gasped, and so did most of the room, all except for Blaise who nearly choked on his drink.

“I doubt your parents will be happy to hear you're engaged to a mudblood.” Astoria hissed as the room fell silent.

“I don't really care about them.”

“Don't fool yourself.” Astoria spoke sharply, grabbing her glass of champagne.

“Slow down on that babe.” Draco drawled sneeringly. “We don't want your date to carry you home, now do we?”

“Oh, it's not for me.” Astoria laughed scathingly, her lips curving cynically., a cunning glint in her eye. “It's for her.”

Hermione gasped when she felt herself drenched in something cold and sticky.

“Astoria!” Andrew yelled, pulling her back down to her seat.

“Are you fucking mad?” Draco roared, his eyes getting darkening. He then took a lower, more concerned approach to speak to Hermione. “Are you okay?”

The chorus of concerned questions from everyone was too much for Hermione to take. She felt revolted, disgusting and embarrassed.

She was shaking from the coldness when she whispered back to Draco, “I think we should go.”

Her date just simply nodded.

“We're leaving.” he said as he helped Hermione up.

Pansy and Blaise followed them as they left the room.

“I'm so sorry for that, Hermione!” Pansy apologised.

“It's... okay.” she said, but she couldn’t even convince herself.

“We'll deal with her.” Blaise insisted, his face free of all emotion. Opening the passenger door for her, Draco helped Hermione get into the car before running to his side and getting in himself.

“That fucking bitch.” he muttered, annoyed and aggravated. It was obvious that he was mad. But there was no reason to have rushed out so fast. Hermione, however, was silently happy that he was mad. It showed that he cared.

“She just can't stand to see me happy!” he grumbled. “She left me!  Can't I be happy for once?”

From where Hermione was sat, she could see that Draco was seething in his seat and driving incredibly fast.

“Slow down Draco.” she warned him, her voice soft and composed.

Draco turned, his face softened as he did so. “Sorry.”

Hermione's bag started to vibrate. Bending down to pick it from beside her feet, she pulled out her phone. It was a text, from Harry.

“How's the dinner party going? Did you get a chance to talk to Andrew and get his autograph for Harry?

–         Ginny.”

Hermione quickly sent a reply.

“I was unable to. Draco and I had to leave in a hurry due to wardrobe malfunction. I'll tell you all the details later. Tell Harry I'm sorry.”

Hermione felt a pan of guilt. She had promised Harry that she was going to get him his autograph tonight. And here she was breaking her promise. Draco parked the car outside the building and ran to her side to help her get out.

“Are you still cold?” he asked, once they were in his flat.

“Yeah.” Hermione nodded.

“Go take a cold shower.” he said and Hermione gave him a confused look. “It'll help.”

Hermione got out of her wet dress and stepped into the shower. Draco was right; the coldness seemed to somehow make her warmer. She no longer felt sticky and clammy in her designer dress, she felt clean. She left her bathroom to find Draco sitting on her bed; he was changed to his pjs now.

“The ring.” he said, pointing to the ring that Hermione had discarded on her dressing table. “It does look like a wedding ring.”

“I know.” she said, nodding slowly.

“I'm sorry. I was unaware of that when I gave it to you.”

“Don't apologise anymore.” she said, raising a hand to stop him. “You need to stop apologising. I mean, every couple has its misunderstanding from time to time.”

“But we're not a couple.” he explained, walking over to stand in front of her.

“Then what are we?” Hermione asked.

“We're...” he looked up, debating the correct answer. “we're friends, helping each other out.”

She nodded uncertainly, secretly satisfied with the answer. “I guess so.”

“So how do you feel? Still cold?”

“Not anymore.”

“That’s good. And erm – I'm really sorry about Astoria.” Draco said, apologising yet again. “She gets jealous really quickly.”

“I figured that out.” Hermione rolled her eyes jokingly.

“You are a star, Hermione Granger.” he said before pulling her in a warm hug.

“So I've been told.” she joked once they had let go.

“Want to watch a movie or something?” he asked.

“Sure. But let me get changed first.” she said.

“Oh right!” Draco screeched – like the ever so manly man that he was –, leaping away from the girl in front of him, that was only clad in a towel.



Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or the brilliant character you recognize! They belong to the amazing JK Rowling!

So here's Chapter NINE! I had no idea that I hadn't updated since like May/June, so please forgive me. Hope you enjoyed this chapter and please leave a review. I might not have time to reply to all of the reviews but please know that I read and appreciate every single one.


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