Hermione waited patiently in the compartment she shared every year with her friends. She had disguised The Art of Seduction in a plain black cover, not wanting to trust anyone else with her new plan. Ron and Harry would tease her, Ginny would try to support her but inevitably make her feel bad and as far as Luna, Seamus and Dean were concerned... Well they weren’t close enough to her for this type of secret, even though they were in her good group of friends.
Before she could react, Ron and Harry had enveloped her in a huge shared hug, threatening to squeeze the breath out of her lungs. She hadn’t seen them all summer and while she had reveled in the chance to be an individual without them, she had really missed her best friends. They didn’t notice her new highlights or plucked eyebrows, and even though it was disappointing that not even her best friends could see her small changes, she still loved them all the same.
“How was your summer?” she asked as they, Ginny, Luna and Seamus sat down around her.
Harry beamed at her as he slipped his arm around Ginny’s waist. “It was bloody fantastic!”
Ron shuddered slightly before turning back to Hermione smiling. “I, I mean, we missed you so much this summer ‘Mione, Fred and George stayed at the Burrow! And mum and dad went on their own vacation, leaving us the house for two whole weeks!”
Ginny laughed and layed her head on Hermione’s shoulder, lacing her arm through the crook of her best friend’s right arm. “Let’s just say that the parties they threw while our parents were gone were a million times better than the parties in our dorm!”
Hermione laughed and glanced over at Luna, who was dreamily looking out the window. “Oh it’s true. I was invited to one and it was quite invigorating! I’ve never consumed any liquor before, it was,”
“Yeah yeah, we all had fun.” Seamus interrupted, shaking his head at Luna and rolling his eyes at Hermione.
The Gryffindor dorm was frequently the location of high energy parties, and while Hermione would go, she wasn’t on the same party level as her fellow housemates. She hardly drank and barely danced, because she felt so out of her element. But she knew that by taking on the task of becoming a seducer, all of that would have to change.
As her friends continued to talk about the past summer, both what they did together and what they did separately, Hermione pulled out the book and opened to Part 1.
“We all have the power of attraction – the ability to draw people in and hold them in our thrall. Far from all of us, though, are aware of this inner potential, and we imagine attractiveness instead as a near-mystical trait that a select few are born with and the rest will never command. Yet all we need to do to realize our potential is understand what it is in a person’s character that naturally excites people and develop these latent qualities within us.”
Hermione chuckled to herself at how absurd all of this was sounding, but she had promised herself she’d do it. It was true that almost everyone thought a special few were born attractive and the rest just, weren’t. But if this book was true, she’d be able to be just as attractive as the girls all the guys wanted at Hogwarts. It wasn’t that she necessarily wanted that, she just craved the attention other girls were getting. It didn’t seem fair that she was so easily cast aside, and she wanted this to be her year. She would make sure it happened.
“Successful seductions rarely begin with an obvious maneuver or strategic device. That is certain to arouse suspicion. Successful seductions begin with your character, your ability to radiate some quality that attracts people and stirs their emotions in a way that is beyond their control. Hypnotized by your seductive character, your victims will not notice your subsequent manipulations. It will then be child’s play to mislead and seduce them.”
Throughout the train ride, Hermione would occassionally respond to her friend’s comments or laugh at some joke before returning to reading. By the time she finished reading and rereading the intro to Part 1, as well as analyzing it, she had made it through the train ride as well as the carriage ride up to the castle. She took her usual seat with Ron and Harry at the Gryffindor table and sat patiently through the sorting as well as Dumbledore’s speech. All she was interested in was finding out who made Head Girl.
Just as dessert was winding down, Dumbledore returned to the podium and cleared his throat. It was the moment every 7th year had been waiting for. Everyone was betting on Hermione and Harry, even though Head’s were rarely from the same house. Hermione blocked out every word the Headmaster said until, “This year’s Head Boy and Girl and Draco Malfoy of Slytherin and Hermione Granger of Gryffindor!”
The hall erupted into cheers for Hermione, even from other houses, not really understanding that Dumbledore had said Draco Malfoy. Hermione beamed and blushed as everyone around her congratulated her and patted her on the back, until an eerie silence filled the Great Hall. Silently, murmurs began to swirl about Draco Malfoy being Head Boy, and just as Hermione realized it and turned to look at him, Dumbledore announced it was time for the students to turn in to their dormitories.
Numbly, Hermione held her bag to her stomach as she moved against the sea of students and up to Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape. Malfoy was already standing off to the side, arms crossed infront of his chest, his back ramrod straight. When Hermione arrived infront of her elders, Dumbledore smiled warmly.
“Ms. Granger, congratulations on your position as Head Girl! We are all confident that you will lead our student body and be an outstanding role model.” Hermione smiled at him, glanced at Malfoy, then back at Dumbledore. “If you and Mr. Malfoy would be so kind as to follow us, we will show you to your Head’s quarters.”
As Draco trailed behind the small party, his thoughts drifted to Amelia. She had eluded to some sort of... He didn’t even know what. He was anxious to be rid of Granger’s presence and find out what his sort-of-but-not-really girlfriend had in store for him. It would be the death of him having to share a dormitory with the mudblood, but if it meant he could have Amelia every night... Wait. How was that going to work? He was so caught up in his thoughts he hadn’t realized they had stopped until he crashed into the back of Professor Snape, who only glared down at him.
“Your password, for the time being, is ‘splendor’.” Professor McGonagall said, stepping aside so the two Head’s could enter their common room alone.
Hermione, too immersed in wanting to continue her book, walked straight through the common room and up the stairs to her room, which was clearly marked with her initials above the door. Draco, too wrapped in his thoughts of Amelia, sauntered into his own room to wait to hear from her.