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Just For One Night by tomfeltonisdeadsexy
Chapter 1 : Just For One Night
 
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Just For One Night

 

Setting: An Alternative Seventh Year

 

Disclaimer: No, I do not own the Harry Potter series, but if I did I would have never let them butcher the movies like they did.

 

            I had always told myself that if there were another ball during my time at Hogwarts I’d simply refuse to go. I mean, it’s not that I didn’t enjoy the last one immensely because I did, but just the drama of the event is enough to make me scream and hide away from the next one that decided to come around. I’m just not cut out for those kinds of things.

 

            Alright, so maybe I did enjoy dancing and being completely not myself for a night. I liked forgetting about homework, stress, worries, and all of my inhibitions. During the Yule Ball I had felt popular, wild, unstoppable, and adventurous. And while it was bloody amazing, I knew that I couldn’t do it again. It just wasn’t me, and it wouldn’t be the same.

 

            First off, the next time around I wouldn’t have a date. Victor was no longer here and, heck, the male population wouldn’t see me as anything more than a bookworm even if I danced around the school stark naked. WHICH I CERTAINLY WOULDN’T BE DOING ANYWAY.

 

            But back to my point. When I saw the flier for the Farewell Ball that would happen at the end of my seventh year, I had told myself I wouldn’t go. There was no way I was going to participate in it. And yet, here I am, outside, in the warm heat of the summer evening, waiting for my date to the occasion that Hogwarts has been raving about since January.

 

            Yes, you heard me correctly, my date. I, Hermione Granger, have managed to snag a boy for the event. And I am rather proud of myself. I bet you’ll never guess who it is.

 

Ron Weasley.

 

            Yup, that would be the boy. I guess he had remembered what I told him from the Yule Ball. “Next time Ronald, don’t ask me as a last resort.” Ah, how effective those words have been.

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

            Now before you get carried away with ideas and thoughts just as everyone else has, I must explain that Ron and I, right now at least, can never be a couple. Sure, we like each other, maybe even to the point of love, that much was obvious in sixth year. But over the summer, after some very embarrassing moments and some affectionate ones, him and I had a talk, a serious one, mind you.

 

            We ended up admitting our feelings for each other, but we also told about our fears. We didn’t want to destroy the friendship between us that was so wonderful. With our tempers, the mounting tensions of Lord Voldemort, our up and coming N.E.W.T.S., and the worry of Harry being alone searching for the horcruxes in a few months, all of them would wreck any relationship we tried to build. So even though it was one of the most difficult decisions of my life, I had to let Ron go for the time being.

 

            It was a hard thing to do for sure. Half the time I just wanted to throw all of the cautions to the wind and snog the living daylights out of him. Over the summer, the temptation was so strong to give into my desires, but I was just barely able to restrain. I was just glad I wasn’t the only one having a tough time. Ginny told she had heard me Ron talking to himself one day about how he can’t to do this or that with me.

 

            I ended up submersing myself in studying, spending most of my time with Ginny during the day, and had long talks with Mrs. Weasley at night. I had to avoid Ron at all costs during those days because I knew I wouldn’t be able to see him and not break into tears. But it all worked out in the end.

 

            By the last few weeks of summer, my feelings became more stable and the two of us relaxed around each other. Things were back to normal again. Well, until Harry left to hunt for the pieces of Voldemort’s soul alone. Noble prat, he could have at least taken one person with him. So poor, heartbroken Ginny, Ron, and I all went back to school, and oddly, nothing too out of the ordinary happened. Unless you counted the return of Malfoy to school. No one knew why he had come back.

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

I’m standing on the bridge.

I’m waiting in the dark.

I thought that you’d be here by now.

 

            So now, here I am, still waiting outside on the wooden bridge that crosses over the lake, reminiscing about the past, all the while wondering where on earth Ron can be twenty minutes late. It wasn’t like him to keep me waiting. I began to tap my foot impatiently and fiddle with the sequences on my dress. I should have known by then that it was too good to be true.

 

            Trying to focus my mind on something else, I went over every square inch of my body, making sure everything was in place. I wanted to give everyone one last flawless impression of me. My hair was pinned up in curls, the normal bushiness taken away easily by Sleekeasy’s Solution, and a red bow attached with bobby pins. My eye make-up was simple, but effective. The porcelain mask that covered my forehead had two holes for eyes and ended at the middle of the nose, was securely in place. My peach lip liner coated my lips as did a faint blush for my cheeks. Next came my ruby heart locket that dangled around my throat along with the brown sugar perfume I had sprayed. Then there was my dress, which was as simple as it was elegant. It was crimson red with a bodice and flowing skirt, no straps, but there was a lace that was tied down my back. And finally, there were my shoes, red tango heels that were much easier to dance in than stilettos. I was good to go.

 

            As I listened quietly, I could hear laughter echoing across the grounds, the sounds of people chatting was mingling with the music that was playing. I could see silhouettes of the couples standing outside for fresh air and meeting up with friends. There was a slight mist in the air, making the night muggy. I looked down at my bracelet, which had a small clock face engraved into it.

 

There’s nothing but the rain,

no footsteps on the ground.

I’m listening but there’s no sound.

 

            Ron was now forty minutes late, and I realized painfully that he wasn’t going to come at all. No matter how much I had tried to get over the red head, there was still a piece of me that had longed for him the whole year. It was that part of me now that felt the icy freeze of rejection coursing through my body. My throat clenched up uncomfortably; my normally hidden emotions getting the best of me. But I sucked up the forming tears in my eyes before they could fall.

 

            I was Hermione Granger. I would not let these feelings overwhelm me. I would not cry over a boy I should have already forgotten about. I would march into that ball and have a bloody fantastic time if it was the last thing I ever did. I was going to be a lady of the night. I wouldn’t know anyone, and they wouldn’t know me. I wasn’t going to meet up with friends; I was going to mingle with people I didn’t know, and I was going to enjoy every moment of it. That is, after I cornered Ron.

 

            I walked determinedly across the grounds, holding my head high. I wouldn’t let anyone see me sweat. I was going to be an object of attention. I was going to be a different person tonight. I was going to show them all what I was made of.

 

            I reached the large doors of the school’s, and the noise grew steadily louder. Suddenly I felt uncomfortable. I could feel many pairs of eyes watching me as I walked, and I saw at least three boys wink at me. One even had the nerve to shout out, “What’s your name?”. The corridor leading to the Great Hall was lined with silver torches, lighting the way to the party, more boys stopping in their tracks to look at me. Within two minutes of this night, I was receiving more attention than I had my whole life. All because no one knew who I was.

 

            When I reached the second set of large, opened doors, I couldn’t help but to emit a gasp at the transformation that had taken place. Colors of shimmery silver, deep scarlet, ocean blue, and black met my eyes, each hue taken from a house. The main part of the hall had been turned into a dance floor, a wizard DJ spinning away records. In the empty space were chairs, tables, and a refreshment area for social time that had been currently abandoned.

 

            I gazed out into the sea of students and suddenly felt sad. I wasn’t coming back to this place that I had called home for seven years. I wouldn’t see hardly any of my fellow classmates again. The teachers I had grown up with were no longer going to be my mentors. I longed for my childhood again. Things were never so complicated back then. And I wished at that moment that Harry would have been there to see the hall in all its glory. He would have enjoyed this spirit up-lifter. And I wished I knew where Ron was and why he had stood me up. So many things in my life had never been fair.

 

Isn’t anyone trying to find me?

Won’t somebody come take me home?

 

            I sighed heavily as I went over to the drinks and poured myself a glass of punch. I then seated myself down at a table and watched my fellow classmates. Once I was good and ready, I’d get up there and dance with them, but for now I took a special interest in all of them, and I began to play a game in my mind.

 

            Everyone looked different tonight. We were all dressed up and wore those masks to cover our faces. So what I did was pick a person out of the crowd and see if I could tell who it was and what they would go on to do with their life. My eyes first settled on a brunette girl with long hair.

 

            I knew at once it was of the Patil twins, judging by their ethnic dress, the skin tone of hers, and the fact that her movement could have just as well been belly dancing. The girl would probably go on to create a beauty product line for witches and marry some rich, handsome man.

 

            Next, my eyes landed on a blonde girl, and I instantly knew it was Luna Lovegood. She had been invited by a seventh year, so that was the reason of her presence. And while she looked absolutely stunning in her purple, knee length dress, she still had put on those famous radish earrings of hers. I smiled. I had gained a lot of respect for Luna lately. It was tough being different these days, and she passed with flying colors in that area. Luna would go on to do something spontaneous with her life. I wasn’t sure what would happen, but I had a feeling someday she’d meet a man as kooky as her.

 

            Then, looking to Luna’s left, I spotted Lavender Brown with ease. I felt my stomach squeeze with dislike and my fingernails dig into my palm. I tried my hardest to ignore my reactions. Lavender used to be tolerable even with all her gossip and uncontrolled flirting, but after last year I wanted to rip her to shreds. She’s a shell of a person, always jealous, always berating people. I don’t want to label anyone because I think it’s a horrible thing to do, but this girl is, and always will be, quite the scarlet woman. Like her mini black dress that she was wearing, that thing was so tiny and so tight that every time she moved she flashed someone her knickers. Lavender Brown would never work a day in her life, whoever was her boyfriend will see to that.

 

            Speaking of which, I then noticed a young man dancing next to her. He was quite tall and his moves were a little awkward. He was wearing midnight blue dress robes and had red hair - Ron?

 

            I stood up quickly, my mind reeling in shock. The glass I was holding slipped out of my hand, sending it shattering to the floor, but I didn’t notice. I blinked my eyes rapidly, trying to see if I was hallucinating. I quickly found that I wasn’t. Ron Weasley, my date, was dancing -no- grinding with his ex-girlfriend.

 

It’s a damn cold night,

Trying to figure out this life.

Won’t you take me by the hand,

take me somewhere new.

I don’t know who you are,

but I’m with you.

 

            An anger so deep erupted in me. I was stood up for some raunchy dance moves with a very questionable female? I couldn’t take it. I wouldn’t be stepped on. I marched over to the two aggressively. I was going to get some answers from him by Merlin! Even if it meant I had to slaughter him!

 

            I stood right behind him, waiting for a moment, letting him have the last few precious seconds of happiness before I exploded. I reached up, tapped him on the shoulder, then rested my hands on my hips. He turned around and looked at me for a moment, trying to figure out who I was behind the mask, but once he recognized my dress, he gulped nervously. His face turned bright red with embarrassment.

 

“Oh-er-hi, Hermione.”

 

“Don’t you “hi Hermione” me, Ronald Bilius Weasley!” His eyes softened and turned apologetic, but I beat him to the chase. “Don’t act like you’re sorry. And don’t act like you didn’t expect me to react this way. Don’t give me some lies to cover the truth. Just tell me why you conveniently forgot about me to come with her!” I roared, violently pointing my finger at Lavender.

 

“I really-er-wanted to come with you, Hermione. Really, I did. But then I remember we’d only be coming as friends, and I thought that would be too-er-hard on us. And then Lavender told me that she, well, she still likes me,” Ron mumbled pathetically. I glared at him until I felt like I was burning holes in his head. How dare he assume I wouldn’t want to go with him!

 

“I overestimated you, Ron! Instead of having an emotional range of a teaspoon, you don’t have any real emotion,” I spat. “You chose her over me because you can’t wait for conditions to get better so we can date. You chose her because she’ll snog you at the end of the night just so you don’t have to think about me. End of story.” I scowled at the both of them, never feeling so much hatred before.

 

“You really know how to ruin a friendship, Ron.”                                                                                   

            With all of that said, I turned on my heel and stalked off to a secluded corner of the chairs, not paying the least bit of attention to the calls of “Hermione, wait!” coming from Ron. And even though I knew that by tomorrow we would say our apologies and forgive each other, and in turn falling back in love with each other, forgetting completely about Lavender, I still felt tears prickle my eyes for the second time that night. And before I could get them under control, two slipped and fell down my cheeks as I hastily poured myself another glass of punch, not minding that I was being completely abusive to the ladle and bowl.

 

“Bad night?” I heard a man’s voice ask.

 

            I whipped around and came face to face with a mask towering over mine. At first, I knew instantly who he was with that taunting voice and posture, but then suddenly I wasn’t so sure. There was something about his demeanor though that I couldn’t put my finger on. With everything that was visible, I should have been able to tell who I was looking at by simple deduction, but for some reason, right when the name was on the tip of my tongue, it disappeared again, the knowledge slipping away. The man’s eyes were so familiar, a deep blue with flecks of grey. I jostled my mind again, but I still couldn’t match the identity. The man must of put an identification charm on his mask, so even though I did know who he was, I didn’t actually know. It doesn’t make too much sense, but that is how Professor Flitwick had explained it. Apparently, it’s very complex; not everyone can perform such an advanced spell.

 

I’m looking for a place,

Searching for a face.

Is anybody here I know?

 

“You have no idea,” I grumbled as I plopped down in a chair, my emotions still clawing at me from the inside.

 

“Do you mind if I sit with you?” the stranger asked, pointing at the chair next to me. I shook my head, and he seated himself.

 

“Don’t worry, I’m not having a very good time either.” He smiled at me as he leaned back and put his feet on another chair.

 

            I flashed a semi-smile back to him and hoped he wasn’t looking for pity, for certainly I wasn’t going to hand out any anytime soon. I could feel him looking at me, and he followed my eyes to the red head I had been starring at. I felt two more thick tears trickle from my eyes and had the extreme urge just to leave.

 

“You shouldn’t cry over him. He’s not worth it.”

 

            I looked over at the boy in surprise. I wanted to throw some kind of barbed comment back at him to show how much I was hurting, but he continued to talk.

 

“I’m sorry he did what he did. You didn’t deserve it.” His eyes sparkled from behind the mask apologetically.

 

“So y-you heard the ar-argument?” I asked, my eyes starring into my lap, worrying that my cover was blown.

 

“Well, I saw more than heard.” I breathed a sigh of relief. “He’s a right foul git to do that to a woman. And I wish I could say that not all men are like that, but then I would be hypocritical,” he said as I laughed, feeling a bit better at his comment.

 

“The best advice I can give you is to forget about him. There are plenty of other men that will line up for a chance with you.”

 

“Oh yes, I’m sure,” I replied sarcastically, rolling my eyes.

 

“I’m serious. Based on just looks alone, more than half of the male population in this school would kill to be on your arm. You must have seen the looks they were giving you when you entered and now still. If it helps, I certainly noticed you.” He smiled at me. I looked at him in disbelief.

 

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

 

“No, I’m not. So why waste your tears on him?”

 

“Well, I just always thought he was different. He liked the smart, serious side of me along with the fearless, fun side that he showed me I could be. We are best friends,” I explained, and I thought I saw him blanch at that in confusion, but then a second later he was back to normal. “We talked this summer, and he admitted his attraction to me, and I told him I felt the same, but we knew we could never date because we couldn’t ruin our friendship. I’ve liked him since forth year, but I don’t want to anymore. All this turmoil has done is damage, but yet I don’t know what I’d do without him. I have no clue what I should do.”

 

Cause nothing’s going right,

And everything’s a mess,

And no one likes to be alone.

 

            I sighed deeply, trying not to dwell on the past. The stranger had moved his chair closer and now had a comforting hand on my shoulder. He was looking at me with a mix of pity and wonder, and just then a strange thought popped into my head. I was comforted completely by such a small act.

 

“If it makes any difference, I know how you feel.” He cleared his throat and began his story. “Before I continue though, you have to understand that my family is made up entirely of purebloods. And I could go on and on about how horrible of people they are, but that would take a lot of time. The point is that I was going to be forced into an arranged marriage a year ago whether I liked it or not. And I was a rebel.”

 

“I did everything I could to find someone else to be with that my parents would despise, and my attempts were futile until my summer after fifth year. While I was in Paris for vacation for a month, I hired a personal assistant to teach me to speak French. She was a muggle girl my age. We quickly bonded, and I found myself attached after two weeks and she to I. Needless to say, we formed a relationship.”

 

“Those were the best days of my life, but they quickly came to an end. I had to leave for Hogwarts again. I told her that I would write everyday and visit her every weekend I could. It stayed like that until Christmas break of sixth year, the two of us together. She had given me the key to her house by then, and when I walked in to surprise her one day, I found her snogging with another guy on her couch. She didn’t even care. She screamed at me to get out and told me it was over. I left for good that day.”

 

“She told me in a letter later on that the only reason she had kissed him was to try and fill the empty space she had when she was without me. I still couldn’t forgive her completely, but we still keep in touch. But you, being the bigger person, will forgive him without delay, won’t you?” he asked me.

 

            He looked up at me with sad eyes, and I nodded my head to his question then reached out a comforting hand to his. He gave me a half smile, but I never took my eyes off of his. How could he already be making me feel better about myself?

 

“Don’t you wish you could be as oblivious to things like everyone else out there?” I asked, waving my hand in the vague direction of the dance floor, and the man nodded.

 

“If you look hard enough, you can tell who each of them are. You can see what they are like and what their futures have in store for them,” I commented as he starred out into the crowd.

 

“Let’s see,” he mused, his hand on his chin. “ The girl in the corner over there, dancing with those boys, is the pretty, young Weasley, am I right?” the boy asked.

 

“Yes, that would be her.” I smiled. Always the popular one Ginny was. She had been asked by no less than eight boys to this ball.

 

“I believe her to be an intelligent one. She knows what she wants, and she knows how to get it. See the way all those boys watch her, but yet she’s got them under control. She’ll settle down with Harry Potter, everyone knows that, and they will have a large family, but still she will be able to run her own business in her spare time,” he summed up.

 

“You pretty much nailed her on the head. Who’s next?”

 

“Well, see that girl in the skimpy silver dress?” he asked, pointing her out. “That’s Pansy Parkinson. She’s a downright cow, if you don’t mind me saying. I don’t care who you are, she’ll use you, take everything you have, and run. She’s been around the block, and she has blackmail, so whatever path she decides to take, she’ll push her way into. She’ll never get married,” he spat viciously, looking at the raven-haired woman in contempt.

 

“I couldn’t agree with you more,” I giggled, beginning to like this fellow even more, but then I spotted some blonde hair amongst the crowd. “And while we are on the topic of Slytherins, there’s Draco Malfoy.” Out of the corner of my eye I saw the man stiffen. “I can’t stand him. He thinks he’s so special, strutting around school like he owns the place, even after Dumbledore’s death. He’s nothing but a stuck-up, stupid, greedy coward, and I just wonder how he got to come back. I wonder what his secrets are. He has a heart of ice, and I hope he chokes on his pride,” I angrily babbled. I then looked up into the face of the stranger, and he looked ridged, almost pale white. Had I said too much?

 

“I’m sorry if you’re friends with him. I didn’t mean for all of that to come out,” I apologized, but the man shook his head.

 

“No, it’s fine. I know Malfoy. He’s an okay bloke. People just don’t understand what really happened last year,” he explained, still reasonably tense.

 

“Oh, so there is a reason he came back?”

 

“Yes, but it’s best I don’t divulge it. Besides, that’s not even him on the dance floor. That’s some bloke named Cooper from Ravenclaw. I don’t even know if Malfoy is coming tonight,” he admitted.

 

“That’s strange. You would have thought that he would at least spend his last hours at Hogwarts in here.”

 

Isn’t anyone trying to find me?

Won’t somebody come take me home?

 

“Yeah, I know. And speaking of strangers, I don’t believe I know what this beautiful girl’s name that I’m talking to is.” He smirked as I blushed.

 

“Well, I don’t know who you are either. Care to tell me?” I asked.

 

“Wouldn’t that ruin the reason for this to be a masquerade?” he asked, playfully winking at me. “I’ll keep my identity to myself, thank you.”

 

“And I’ll do the same,” I replied.

 

            He smirked at me again, his eyes burning into mine as if he could see my soul. I was scrutinized under his gaze, and I knew he was trying to figure out who I was. And I was doing the same to him. It was now essential to know who was turning this night into a magnificent one for me.

 

“You are a tricky one to figure out,” he deduced. “You’re not one of the popular ones or you’d be strutting your stuff like the rest of them, but then again you aren’t one of the shy, unnoticed ones either because you wouldn’t be having this conversation with me,” he concluded. “I can’t pinpoint it, and I like that,” he grinned flirtatiously, and I flushed, unable to conceal my happiness and instability at his charm and finesse.

 

“You know, I’d really liked to have this next dance with you, if that’s alright?” He stood up, offering his hand to me as the next song began. I looked up in mild surprise.

 

“I think that would be lovely.”

 

It’s a damn cold night,

Trying to figure out this life.

Won’t you take me by the hand,

take me somewhere new.

I don’t know who you are,

but I’m with you.

 

            My hand reached out for his, and he cupped it, bringing it to his lips for a brief moment. I giggled as he winked at me again. By then, I had completely forgotten about Ron. My mind was a thousand miles away. The stranger led me to the dance floor as nervous jitters erupted in me. I hadn’t danced in a long time.

 

            We came to the middle of the floor, and he wrapped his arm protectively around my waist and intertwined his fingers with mine. There was something about his touch that wiped away all my thoughts, and I gazed serenely into his eyes as my arm curled around his neck.

 

            He twirled me, dipped me, spun me, and held me close. I had to focus all of my attention on keeping up. It was obvious to see that he was no novice, unlike I, but I think I did alright. And I couldn’t explain it. There was this feeling of euphoria that surrounded me suddenly as the man smiled at me. I felt safe in his arms, and it was then that I realized how handsome he was. I found myself even more curious as to know who lay underneath the disguise. Which boy had I completely overlooked during my seven years here? His hair in a way reminded me of Malfoy’s, all blonde, soft, and ruffled looking, but his eyes were the most magnificent part of him. They shined with such life and warmth that I had never seen before in a person. I couldn’t help but to admit that at that moment and time I was completely taken by him.

 

            The song ended, and a slow and steady one began. We slowed down to pace, and I now felt comfortable enough with the masked man to rest my head on his shoulder. At first, I felt him tense up at my touch, but soon enough he held me even closer, and I sighed deeply.

 

“So tell me a bit about yourself,” I initiated.

 

“Well, there’s not much to say that I can be proud of.” I raised my head in disbelief at his words. “I never used to be what you could call a respectable person.” This time I knitted my eyebrows together, trying to see where he was headed with this.

 

“Oh,” I said dejectedly, “so far I think you’re wonderful, if that makes any difference.” He smiled.

 

“Thanks, but I don’t mean this year. I’m talking about the other decade and a half of my life. I was basically an arrogant little git who thought he was better than everyone else and thought it was wonderfully fun to make people miserable,” he admitted.

 

“You sound like someone else I know,” I mumbled, thinking of Malfoy.

 

“And trust me, I did a lot more worse things than that, but then over the summer I did a lot of changing. I matured, and I found I didn’t want to be who I was anymore. It was really hard to do, but I left everything of my former self behind. So that is why I wouldn’t tell you my name, it’s because you gave me a chance based on personality alone, which was my goal.”

 

            I looked up at him, now even more inquisitive to whom he was. Oh, how I dearly wanted to reach up and remove that mask of his. I felt almost as if I knew who this stranger was in my deep subconscious, but I still had no luck in fishing out the name inside of me. Damn identification charm.

 

Oh, why is everything so confusing?

Maybe I’m just out of my mind?

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.

 

“Well, as I said before, I think you are quite the gentleman, and I don’t think I could have asked for a better person to be with right now. Your past is the furthest thing from my mind,” I assured him, smiling.

 

“Did I ever mention how beautiful you are?” he grinned, obviously in a much better mood, his eyes gleaming with new thoughts. I laughed pleasantly.

 

“Yes, I believe you already covered that.” And I sank back into the warm bliss that this man gave me.

 

“So how about you tell me about yourself?” he asked.

 

“Okay, well I normally don’t look all this dressed up. And I’ve never really cared before about my appearance, but I suppose it’s nice for tonight. So maybe that is why no one recognizes me.”

 

“Ah, I understand,” he said wisely. “So now how about your favorite color, animal, candy, book, class, and place?”

 

“Hm, well my favorite color would have to be a ocean blue and favorite candy would definitely have to be sugar quills.” My forehead creased in thought. “My favorite animal is probably a fox or a otter. And the book would by far have to be Hogwarts; A History.” He gave me a scrutinizing, quizzical look. “What?” I asked.

 

“Hogwarts; A History? Now you’re beginning to sound like someone I know.” He laughed.

 

“Is that a bad thing?” I asked, and he shook his head.

 

“No, I suppose not. It might have been last year when I held grudges though.” I looked at him oddly, trying to catch the meaning of the sentence. “But hey, you still have to answer place and class.”

 

“Alright, place? Hm, probably the school grounds. I’m going to miss them a lot after I leave. And class? That’s a tough one. Either Arithmancy or Transfiguration,” I answered.

 

“Oooh, hard classes. We’ve got ourselves a overachiever here,” he teased me. “So I suppose you got all of your N.E.W.T.S. then?”

 

“Yup, all O’s, except for in Astronomy, I got an E,” I said, slightly downtrodden.

 

“What are you mopping about? That’s brilliant! I got the same as you, except my E was in Herbology. I hate that class,” he grumbled.

 

“Oh, so you are quite the intelligent one too. I like that in a man,” I stated boldly. He smirked in pride. Funny enough, it was another trait of his that reminded me of Malfoy. Finally, the sixth song we had been dancing to ended.

 

“Hey, let’s continue this conversation outside, shall we?” he asked, offering his hand to me once again.

 

It’s a damn cold night,

Trying to figure out this life.

Won’t you take me by the hand,

take me somewhere new.

I don’t know who you are,

but I’m with you.

 

            He led me over to the other side of the hall which had been magically altered to a large balcony. The night was refreshing compared to the bright, loud, and muggy atmosphere of the castle. The two of us leaned on the edge of the stone and looked out over the grounds briefly. I then looked up into the heavens. It was a clear night, the stars shining magnificently. I closed my eyes and sighed deeply. I was so at peace and so happy. The night had gone wonderfully. Suddenly, I jumped at the sound of my escort’s voice.

 

“Would it be horrible if I removed your mask?” he whispered, suddenly close to me. His voice was so soft, and I realized that his hand was resting on the small of my back. I breathed in slowly, trying to contain the tingles that I had suddenly received when he touched me, and I caught his scent. He smelled of peppermint.

 

“I don’t know what it is about you, but from the moment we began talking I felt like I knew you. And I know it’s only been an hour, but you are amazing, and I desperately need to know who you are,” he confessed, now cupping my cheek with his hand.

 

            I felt myself melting under his words. The way his fingers felt on my skin was causing my arms to sprout goosebumps. Suddenly, I was nervous. This guy was wonderful, and I would even admit to liking him, but did I really want him to know that this so-called “amazing” person he met was no more than Hermione Granger? But yet I also pondered how I could be so entranced by a person in so little a time and the same with him to I. Surely it must have counted for something?

 

“Okay, you can,” I breathed, feeling frozen in nervousness.

 

Take me by the hand,

Take me somewhere new.

I don’t know who you are,

But I’m with you.

 

            I felt my cheeks freed from the porcelain as his fingers grazed my skin, and I looked up into his eyes to find his reaction. Second felt like minutes as he starred at me. The smile that had been on his face was still there, but it looked frozen, fake even, and his eyes told the real story. They spoke of fear and disbelief. He took a step back.

 

“Oh Merlin,” he breathed quietly, his eyes wide. And now I was afraid that I had been under the correct assumption. No one wanted to see Hermione Granger under the mask.

 

“H-Hermione?” he stuttered. I nodded my head as the awkward silence took over.

 

“Well, maybe I should just-um-go now?” I said as more of a statement then a question and turned to leave. I could feel an ugly string of tears about to emerge. First Ron and now this? Was I that horrible to be with? But as I was about to step away, I felt the man’s hand on my waist, and I turned back around.

 

“Wait, please don’t go,” he requested. “I’m sorry, it’s just you were kind of the last person I expected,” he explained. “And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just think that you won’t be able to accept me now, not the other way around.” I looked at him curiously.

 

“Who are you?” I voiced my question.

 

            The stranger reached up and pulled the mask off his face. The man’s blonde hair fell into his eyes and a half smile formed on his face as everything fell into place. I didn’t know how I didn’t see it coming after all the clues that had been thrown at me tonight. I never once came to the conclusion that the person I had such a completely and utterly wonderful time with was really Draco Malfoy.

 

“Oh l-l-lord,” I gasped, my hands flying to my mouth. Suddenly, I felt light-headed. How could such a heartless jerk have been the one who had me floating on cloud nine?

 

“Hermione, let me explain.”

 

            I had to let him. I was too caught up in shock to do anything else.

 

“As much as I know we’ve hated each other in the past, and as much as I was a royal pain in the arse, can we please forget about it, just for one night? I’ve tried to be better this whole year and while that’s a whole other story, I want to you know that everything in sixth year was false and tonight was the first real thing I’ve ever felt. I just don’t want to pretend like nothing happened between us because I can see my own emotions in your eyes, and I know that tonight was simply brilliant,” he pleaded, looking directly into my eyes. “I’ve underestimated you all these years, and I could never apologize enough, but you are truly an amazing woman, and I hope you can understand,” he finished.

 

            I looked at him in bewilderment, and I found that no matter how much my mind was against believing him, no matter whatever the reasons for his actions last year were, and no matter how horrible he had been all the years before, I gave in. After all, tonight had been proof in itself.

 

“I believe you.”

 

            He looked at me as if he couldn’t believe what I was saying, and then a grin broke onto his face. He took a step closer to me and put his hands on my shoulders.

 

“Are you serious?” he asked.

 

“Completely,” I affirmed.

 

            Suddenly, I felt my feet leave the ground as his hands touched my waist. He hugged me tightly as he spun us around in a circle, then set me back down, grinning from ear to ear.

 

“So where do we go from here?” he asked genuinely as I blushed from our contact and the insanity of this all.

 

“Well, do you have some parchment and a quill on you?” I asked, unsure if what I was doing was entirely sane. He nodded and scrounged up some from a pocket in his dress robes. I quickly wrote:

 

Here’s my telephone number: 020-79277563. If you want to meet up this summer you’ll have to demote yourself to using a muggle contraption. Tonight was amazing and so are you.

            Love,

            Hermione Granger.

 

            I tucked the quill back in my sash and held the parchment in my mouth as I reached up and un-did that clasp on my necklace. I opened up the heart-shaped locket and stored the paper inside. I then reached out for Draco’s hand and laid the necklace in his palm, then curled his fingers back over it.

 

“This is for you to remember me by,” I told him, and he smiled softly.

 

“And would it be too much to ask for if I could give you something in return?” he asked mysteriously, quirking an eyebrow.

 

Take me by the hand,

Take me somewhere new.

I don’t know who you are,

But I’m with you.

 

“What do yo-”

 

            And then suddenly I felt the slightest pressure against my lips, but then in the next second it was gone, but not without making flutters scramble up my stomach. That is when I realized that, for one small second, Draco had kissed me. I reached up with my fingers and touched my now tingling lips. I felt like bursting with excitement.

 

            For the rest of the night, as Draco and I sat outside talking about many things, but mostly him explaining about sixth year, I couldn’t wipe that damn smile that had formed on my face off. And I couldn’t help but wonder if Draco would ever do something like that again.

 

            And even if this whole thing was just for one night, I really wouldn’t mind at all if he did.




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