The next weekend at Hogwarts, was the first Hogsmeade weekend.
Hogsmeade was one of the most important events, so, as is to be expected, people made a huge fuss about preparing for it.
Hermione awoke to the sound of her roommates giggling excitedly and planning out outfits that for once did not involve the uniform Hogwarts robes.
“Hermione!” Lavender Brown cried as she ran up to her bedside. “Which looks better?”
Lavender held up a collared shirt, which was a deep sea green that popped against her auburn hair. She then held up on her other side, a lacy, purple tank top.
“The green… it’s a bit cold for the tank top.” Hermione said.
Lavender pouted. “Hmph! That’s what Parvati said!”
Lavender stomped away, and tossed the tank top on her bed.
Hermione lazily got out of bed, and brushed her teeth quickly. She rummaged around through her clothes, unable to decide what to wear. She scraped through all her drawers while humming the Hogwarts school song out loud to herself. She couldn’t stop smiling, in fact, she practically danced. Parvati, Ginny and Lavender all continued to look at her as though she was sprouting broomsticks from her ears. They had never seen Hermione so … upbeat.
Hermione finally settled on an attractive pink cardigan, soft and comfortable, with cute pearls for the buttons. Hermione ran her thumb over the top button, to shine it up. She put on a pair of jeans, and brushed her hair out until it was smooth and glossy, then twisted it up into a long, elegant ponytail.
She stood in front of the mirror, and twisted this way and that, finally adding some pink blush to tinge her cheeks. She finished it off by putting on brown clogs, and walked to the common room to meet up with Ron and Harry.
“Wow Hermione,” Harry said nodding as he looked Hermione over.
Ron was engaging himself in looking at her slowly from top to bottom. “Yeah. Hermione. You look… good.” He said through a toothy grin. “Did you get dressed up just for me?” He asked, grinning.
Hermione shook her head, which caused Ron to contort his face into a state of disappointment.
“Let’s go, we‘re going to be late.” Hermione said walking towards the portrait.
She climbed through it, and Ron and Harry followed.
They walked down to the Great Hall, where everyone was filed into neat lines waiting to get into Hogsmeade. They stood behind Neville, Seamus and Dean, and started talking about dragons… for some inexplicable reason.
“Why is Draco Malfoy staring at you?” Neville asked Hermione suddenly, indicating Draco who was standing in a line nearby.
Hermione peaked over, past Harry’s shoulder and caught sight of Draco, who held her gaze for a moment, and then looked away.
Hermione felt her cheeks burn. He was standing with Crabbe, Goyle and Pansy Parkinson, who was gripping to his arm like some vicious crab in a denim skirt. Pansy ran a hand through his glossy blonde hair, and laughed gleefully at something Goyle had said, her white teeth flashing brightly. Pansy leaned against Draco as though not to collapse from laughing, though Hermione knew better. She watched Pansy for a moment and then looked back to Draco, but Pansy who had now thrown herself into his arms like she was carry on luggage.
Hermione turned a fearsome shade of red and found herself snatch Ron’s arm possessively.
“What?” Ron asked, turning pink.
“Uhm… I’m cold.” Hermione said awkwardly.
Neville and Harry stared perplexedly at her, but she completely ignored them.
“Harry?” Hermione said in Harry’s ear, “Do you have your invisible cloak with you?”
Harry smiled. “’Of course. What fun would it be without it?” He said laughing.
He handed her the pack he was carrying, which was thankfully very light. Hermione made a note to herself that she was extremely grateful to have a friend as prepared and resourceful as Harry.
When they got to Hogsmeade, they made their first stop at Honeydukes. They moved as a large group of mostly Gryffindors; Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, Dean, Seamus, Lavender, Parvati, Padma, and a few others tagging along too.
Hermione and Ginny were excitedly examining Canary Creams. Several employees had taken their job further by testing them out, and then fluttering around animatedly in the form of fuzzy, yellow Canaries, attempting to avoid being captured by the rambunctious first-years.
There was even a large display on one side of the store, where different candies were bewitched to spin in circles and spell out HONEYDUKES in midair.
“That must have been a difficult spell to perform,” Hermione said to Ginny.
They moved on to look at the different dishes stocked with various goodies. Berties Botts Beans, Ice Mice, Chocolate Frogs, Cockroach Clusters, Jelly Slugs, Droobles Best Blowing Gum, Pumpkin Pasties, Acid Pops, and Peppermint Cream Toads.
Hermione stocked up on Pumpkin Pasties, Sugar-spun Quills, Fizzing Whizbees, Pink Coconut Ice, and Cauldron Cakes.
Ron and Ginny had put their money together to buy a few things, and everyone else had gotten a few treats too, but nothing surpassed Harry, who had gotten at least one of every thing there was in the store.
Neville made the mistake of eating his Ton-Tongue Toffee in the middle of the shop, so that his tongue swelled to the size of an enlarged balloon.
“Wow!” Ron said enthusiastically, “That’s the biggest I’ve ever seen anybody’s tongue get!”
Hermione rolled her eyes and did a quick spell to shrink Neville’s tongue back to its normal size, and in order to thank her, he bought a couple Blood Flavoured Lollipops, which she tucked in her bag but didn’t plan on eating.
Then as they walked outside the store, weighed down with sweets, Ginny suggested that they go to The Three Broomsticks to munch on their candies and get some drinks.
The large group took up two entire tables, and pushed them together.
Harry and Ron ordered Butterbeer, Seamus and Dean ordered pumpkin juice, Neville got hot chocolate, and Lavender, Parvati and Padma all got hot tea. Ginny and Hermione both got cherry syrup and soda with ice and an umbrella. Ginny stuck her umbrella excitedly in the top of her long ponytail.
Everyone sat there and sipped their drinks, sharing all of their candy so that it formed a gigantic mountain in the center of the desk.
Hermione carefully unwrapped a chocolate frog, and examined the card. It was Albus Dumbledore, which she already had, so she gave it to Neville.
She put her drink to her lips, feeling it burn and tingle with sweet zest as it slipped down her throat. She suddenly felt less hungry, though, when Crabbe and Goyle lumbered in, eyeing Hermione down with an obvious indication of threat. Her stomach turned, but it was when Draco strode in, dressed smoothly and neatly in black that Hermione felt really queasy. Pansy was following him, clutching aggressively to his arm.
Hermione noted Goyle, who was sitting next to Pansy, was acting as though he was jealous of the attention she was giving Draco.
He consistently tapped her shoulder, but could not break the concentration she had focused on the blonde Slytherin.
Hermione raised her brow curiously. Was Draco ignoring Pansy? He took his index finger and brushed Pansy’s black hair behind her ear, the same finger Draco had tucked under Hermione’s chin so perfectly the night before.
Somehow Hermione felt cheated, but why? It was so stupid. She wasn’t even friends with Draco, so she didn’t care what he did.
She lost interest in him quickly, and went back to her own table.
“Hermione?” Ginny was saying, poking her arm.
“Huh?” Hermione asked.
“Sorry. You looked a little out of it.” She said. “Ron was just asking you something…”
Hermione looked over to Ron, who was shoving a pumpkin pasty in his mouth.
“Oh. Um. Not important.” He said, swallowing with a loud gulp.
“We were just talking about Quidditch,” Harry said. “There’s an upcoming game against the Hufflepuffs.”
“Yeah, and since Gryffindor already beat Ravenclaw, there’s a chance we could win the Quidditch cup!” Neville finished for Harry.
Hermione nodded absently, and looked down to realize she had finished her drink.
“There’s so much going on this year,” noted Ginny, also finishing up her drink with a loud slurping noise.
“Like what?” Hermione asked.
“Well, Snape and Flitwick are holding a magical dueling contest.” She said. “I’m thinking about entering myself.” She smiled proudly, and flexed her fingers. “Ron, you should try entering this time too.”
Ron glared at Ginny, and shook his head menacingly.
“Oh come on Ron! It would be fun!”
“No thanks.” He snapped.
Ginny rolled her eyes, “What a wuss.”
“He’d rather join a Wizarding Chess competition,” Harry said, stifling a laugh.
Everyone at the table burst out into laughter, except for Ron, who sat there angrily and attempted to glare at everyone at once.
Once the laughter had passed, Hermione turned back to Ginny. “What was the other thing going on this year?” She asked.
“Oh, um. There’s going to be a dance.” Ginny said. “At the end of the year. I was speaking with Professor McGonagall and she said that the boys are supposed to ask the girls. Isn’t that sexist?” She added bitterly.
Hermione just nodded.
“I am taking Luna,” Neville piped in, blushing.
Ron looked somewhat surprised, and he dropped his butterbeer glass with a thud. “Wow you plan ahead…” He said darkly to Neville.
Suddenly, there was an eruption of giggles from Lavender, Parvati, and Padma. “I have to go the bathroom.” Padma said standing up. She was immediately followed by Lavender and Parvati, who stood up and trailed after her, still emitting the remnants of giggles.
Once they were gone, the rest of the boys broke out into nervous discussion.
“I was planning on asking either Lavender or Padma to the dance,” Seamus said, grinning arrogantly.
“Geez Seamus!” Ron replied. “I don’t think you can do that…”
“But I was going to ask Lavender,” Dean responded frowning.
“Oh! Then it’s settled. I’ll ask Padma. And if she rejects me, then I’ll ask Parvati.”
Hermione rolled her eyes.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to go,” Harry said, his eyes flickering.
There was a moment of silence as everybody looked over at Harry.
Although she was surprised, Hermione knew it would be for an important reason and she also knew better than to ask why.
Ginny, on the other hand, looked both angry and hurt at the same time. “What?” she screamed. “Why?”
Harry looked a little taken aback. “Uh…”
Ginny huffed heatedly for a moment, and then stood up to go talk with some Hufflepuff’s that had just walked in, including Ernie Macmillian and Zacharias Smith.
Harry watched after her perplexed, and Ron just shrugged in response.
Eventually, Luna Lovegood had joined the table to sit with Neville, and Ginny had brought over about ten Hufflepuff students. Padma, Parvati and Lavender returned from their bathroom escapade, and Seamus was talking loudly with all of them to figure out which one he liked the best.
The noise was just too much, and Hermione got up quickly to go the restroom.
Once she was hiding behind a corner so that nobody could see her, and had checked all the stalls to be sure they were empty, she threw the cloak over her head so that it came down to her feet and she disappeared from sight.
Hermione stepped outside, and slid against the wall to avoid being hit by other students that were walking to the bathroom.
She moved cautiously through the crowd and saw Draco sitting boredly in his booth with his fellow Slytherins. Hermione moved closer to him to be able to listen to what they were discussing.
Goyle was still talking up Parvati, and they were discussing the upcoming duel Ginny had mentioned earlier.
“I’m definitely going to enter,” Goyle said stupidly, “I just need to find the nastiest curses I can, to give those other stupid morons a run for their money.” Goyle made an angry gesture towards someone, and as Hermione’s eyes followed she realized it was towards Harry back at her table.
Hermione’s eyes widened as she continued to listen. “You know, something really good. Like Cruciatus.”
Pansy Parkinson laughed, which to Hermione resembled nails on a chalkboard, and she shuddered. “Oh please, Gregory. As if you could ever manage to do that.” She snapped.
“I could too!” Goyle said, looking upset and offended.
“Malfoy, you should enter.” Pansy said, ignoring him. “You could do something to that Potter boy and put him out of his misery forever.” She batted her long, black lashes at him and puckered her pale lips.
Hermione’s eyes widened, and she looked to Draco.
“Why don’t you guys go get something to drink. Now.” He added.
All three of his cronies hurriedly got up and left, leaving Draco sitting alone.
“Sit down Granger.” Draco said, looking directly at her.
What? Hermione was shocked. Was part of her showing? But I’m completely hidden.
She did so, and slid down into the booth next to him. He looked at her and smiled.
“What are you doing here?” He asked her curiously.
Hermione turned vibrantly red, and was glad that she was hidden beneath the invisibility cloak. “Oh, um…” But she couldn’t seem give him a good response.
“Where’s your hand?” Draco asked, holding out his own palm.
Hermione placed her hand in his, imagining how strange Draco might look, holding an invisible hand.
“Okay.” He said, and he stood up to leave. Hermione walked beside him until they were outside.
“Here,” he said, carefully leading her to the stone wall of the Three Broomsticks. Hermione leaned against it and faced Draco.
Draco grabbed a lose edge of her cloak, and pulled it up over her head, revealing her face and then the rest of her body. “You look different.” He said immediately. “In a good way.”
Hermione stuffed the cloak in her bag. “Thanks,” she said “I try.”
“Where do you want to go?” Draco asked her.
Hermione must have looked surprised because Draco added, “You did come to me.” And then he smiled.
“Fine then,” she said, smiling back. Hermione readjusted her ponytail and started walking down the cobblestone paths that lined the streets. She heard the ‘click, click’ of Draco’s boots following after her, and her heartbeat mimicked every step until he had caught up with her and walked by her side.
Hermione couldn’t imagine how odd they must have looked. Draco, tall and lean with his black cloak swaying and dragging behind him, contrasting with Hermione in a her pink sweater, with the little pearl buttons and ripped jeans.
People did stare when they saw two life long, bitter enemies window shopping on the street. Hermione was testing Draco to see how far he would walk side by side with a mud blood. She looked at him, and although he did look somewhat apprehensive, he also looked rather satisfied.
Hermione insisted on window shopping, at every store. She stopped Draco to peak in the wide windows of Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop, to admire a long, scarlet Phoenix feather. Draco leaned over as he glanced curiously at the feather.
The feather was quite beautiful. It was dagger shaped, and carmine but with sharp burgundy stripes that slanted horizontally. The pointed tip was made out of gold and Hermione looked closer to realize the feather itself was laced with gold as well.
Hermione could really use a new quill, too. Her last one had somehow made its way into the mouth of Crookshanks, who had ripped it down until only the long spine of it remained.
“You know Phoenix tears have the power to heal wounds,” Hermione said. “It says here ‘THIS PHOENIX FEATHER POSSESSES MEDICAL MAGICAL QUALITIES.’” Hermione followed along the little sign with the tip of her finger.
“That could come in handy with paper cuts.” Draco said.
“I could never afford it though.” Hermione said, shifting awkwardly. “Look! Eight galleons? That’s outrageous.” Hermione shook her head, but continued to admire the sleek feather.
Draco looked over at Hermione and raised his eyebrows inquisitively. “Do you really like it?” He asked her.
Hermione just nodded absently. “You’re bored.” She said. “Sorry, we can keep going --- ” but Draco had already gone inside the store so that the little bell on the doorknob jingled merrily.
“What?” Hermione asked herself out loud stupidly, running inside after him.
Sure enough, Draco was asking the man if he could see the Phoenix feather quill. The storeowner nodded, and as though sensing the coins jingling in Draco’s pocket, hurriedly picked up the quill and it’s shiny gold box.
“What are you doing?” Hermione yelled, holding onto Draco‘s arm.
He looked at her, as though confused. “What?” He asked. “You said you liked it,”
“But, you’re not buying it, are you? That’s eight galleons!”
Draco laughed pleasantly. “My father may be a stupid man, but stupidity pays well when you have power. I‘m just, wasting money to spite him. Okay?”
“No, please!” Hermione said, ignoring his last comment, as Draco took out a large bag of coins and sorted eight, large, gold ones onto the table.
But it was too late. Draco took the box and left the money, handing it to Hermione.
“Just be grateful.” He said. “For once.”
Hermione remembered him asking her to say ‘Thank you’ in the hospital room.
“Thank you,” she said, accepting it. It was even more beautiful lying there delicately in the box, than it was inside the window display. Hermione gently put it in her bag along with the invisible cloak.
He merely nodded, and they walked together outside the door, causing the bell to jingle yet again.
Snow was falling, the first snow of the school year. Hermione shivered slightly, yet continued to find content in the thin sheet of white that crested the bunched store rooftops.
Hermione trotted to the next little store, and pressed her hands up against the cold glass.
“Zonko’s Joke Shop,” Draco said with a little laugh. “I’ve gotten several things from here before.”
“Like what?” Hermione asked.
“Well, let’s go inside and see.” Draco replied as held the door open for her.
The store was colorful and bright, and things on the shelves were twirling and twisting, whizzing and whistling.
“Nose-biting tea cups?” Draco said, carefully holding a china cup in the palm of his hand. “Do you think Professor Flitwick would drink from this?”
Hermione laughed. “He would, but I doubt it would be tea. Look at this! Belch powder?”
Draco put the tea cup back, as it was growling at him, and stared at a small bottle of Belch Powder which said in gold script ‘Meant for Enemies and Those with Extreme Gas’.
“Strange.” Hermione said. “It’d be interesting to try some of this out. Ooh. Fanged Frisbees! I confiscated one of these from a fourth year… they don’t come in any color besides lime green?”
Draco gave a sudden laugh.
“What?” She asked, turning pink.
“Sorry, it’s just… I never knew you had such an interest in pranks, that’s all.”
“Oh well, I guess I’ve just had a lot of experience with them.” She said meekly.
Draco nodded. “It’s okay. I like a girl with a bad side.”
Hermione turned tomato red, and set the bottle of Belch Powder she had in her hand back on the shelf.
They left the store without buying anything, and continued to walk through the fresh snow.
“Aren’t you cold?” Draco asked her, watching her shiver.
“Oh, no I’m fine.”
“You’re lips are blue! You look like you did after I dragged you out of the Lake…”
Hermione shuddered slightly, but even more so when he took off his black cloak, and put it around her shoulders.
“Now you’re cold?” She said, looking back at him.
“I’m fine.” He replied. “Let’s keep walking, we can stop by the Shrieking Shack.”
Hermione smiled, and nodded. They walked shoulder to shoulder, talking happily about Quidditch.
“Personally, I would want to be a Chaser,” Hermione said. “They get the most action, and they get the chance to fly the most.”
“And also you’ve taken a recent liking to flying, haven’t you?” Draco said laughing. “Although, you still aren’t very good. Maybe you should just be a keeper. They rarely need to fly at all.”
Hermione put her hands on her hips. “Excuse me? I think I’m a fairly good flier!” She said. She bared her teeth in a grin, attempting to stand as tall as him but failing.
“Well it’s just, Chasers need to move around a lot, you know, in different directions. You can fly pretty good… if you just keep going straight…”
Hermione punched Draco gently in the chest. “Hah! You’re just jealous!”
Draco smiled. “Okay you caught me.” He said sarcastically. “I am completely jealous. Let me remind you that I am seeker for the Slytherin Quidditch team.”
“Yeah sure, but Harry kicks your butt every time,” she said.
“You think so?” He said, curiously. “Well, I bet you I will catch the Snitch before him when Slytherin plays Gryffindor.”
“I don’t think so.” Hermione said, turning on her heel and walking the opposite way.
“Where do you think you’re going, Miss Granger?! You’ve forgotten your escort!”
“I don’t need an escort,” She said. “I can take care of myself. I can‘t say the same about you though…”
Draco ran after her. “Hey Granger! Face it, you need me. Go on! Say it! You need me!”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “I think you need me, Malfoy. Look at you! You can’t stand being away from me,” She walked faster and dared him to follow after her. She got as much joy out of taunting him as he did out of taunting her.
He grabbed her shoulders and turned her around to face him. “You’re the one who came to me Granger, don’t forget that.”
Hermione looked him directly in the eye. “You looked sad without me,” she joked.
“Maybe I was.”
Just then, Hermione heard Ron coming, followed by Harry.
“Hermione, what are you doing?” He asked, looking angrily at Draco.
Draco just looked back, hovering over Hermione’s shoulder and staring at Ron defiantly.
“Oh…” Hermione said awkwardly. “It was too loud in the Three Broomsticks.”
“You know what I mean,” Ron said, becoming overcome by his own temper, “What are you doing here with him?” He gestured towards Draco, who was becoming slowly irritated.
“What the hell, Weasley.” Draco said. “Granger can do whatever she wants. You have no say in what she does.”
Hermione sensed another fight about to break out, and stepped in front of Draco. “I’ll meet up with you later, okay Ron?” She said nervously.
“No! We’re going to settle this right now. I don’t know what the hell you’re planning, Malfoy, but if you hurt Hermione I’ll kill you! I swear!”
“No Ron!” She said. “Please, it’s nothing, okay? Just go!”
“She’s right…” Draco said.
Even Harry was trying to hold Ron back, but he was just too stubborn.
He pushed Hermione out of the way, and pulled his fist back to get a good shot at Draco’s face. But, Hermione had jumped back in front of Draco as Ron released the punch and as a result he nearly hit Hermione, so that she fell back to avoid it and was caught by Draco.
He steadied her and held her up, sliding his arms under hers and keeping her upright.
“GET OFF HER!” Ron yelled, pushing Malfoy away forcefully. “Jesus Malfoy! Get out of here!”
Draco watched Hermione for a moment and then obediently turned to walk away.
“No! Wait, Draco!” Hermione said, as Ron attempted to walk her back to Hogwarts.
“What are you doing?!” She snapped at him.
“You would’ve gotten hurt…”
“BECAUSE OF YOU!”
Despite her complaints, he forced her back to the castle until she finally gave in.
Harry picked up Hermione’s pack which had fallen in the snow, and followed after Ron.