Chapter 3: The spell has been broken
"Hermione, you home?" called Ginny.
"In the kitchen Gin!" came the reply.
"Mmm, cookies! Smells lovely!" said Ginny, licking off the remaining cookie dough from a spoon.
"Thanks! I was bored and had nothing else to do! So, what's up?" asked Hermione.
"Well, I need to ask you a question. Well, a couple of questions actually" replied Ginny.
"Okay, let's go into the living room" said Hermione.
"I was just wondering, do you have a date for the Christmas party yet?" asked Ginny, not looking her in the eye.
Hermione frowned "No, because as you should know, I won't be going!"
"Aw, come on Hermione! I really think you should come! It'll be another step towards you getting over Ron" pleaded Ginny.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Fine, I'll go, but I have absolutely no-one to go with, and it's in two day's time, so I won't have time to find anyone either!"
"That's where you're wrong! I've found the perfect person for you!" grinned Ginny.
"Oh gosh Gin, what have you done?" asked Hermione, looking worried.
"Well, guess who's the new keeper for the Harpies? Cormac McLaggen! And guess who was asking me about you? Cormac McLaggen. And guess who's single? Cormac McLaggen!" squealed Ginny.
"Ginny! Do you seriously think by saying his name over and over again, it's gonna make me wanna go with him?"
"Well, I was hoping it would work. Oh c'mon Hermione, what do you say? It would piss off Ron so much!"
Hermione grinned. Ginny was right, Ron used to hate Cormac.
"But why would it piss him off Gin? He's got Lavender now, so why should he care who I'm seeing?" asked Hermione, slightly upset at the thought of this.
"Cos I know my brother, Hermione. He'd be pissed off if you had a date with anyone. Every so often he asks me if you're seeing anyone."
Hermione's face brightened up "Really?"
Ginny shook her head at her "Hermione, stop it. He asks cos he's curious. Each time I say no he gives a relieved sigh. Once I told him you had seen Viktor, and he went ballistic!"
"Ginny! You didn't tell him did you?" asked Hermione, looking shocked.
"Of course not. I just wanted to see his reaction from that. He's a possessive git, Hermione. He doesn't want you, and nobody else can have you."
"Gin, I think I'd rather go with Viktor than Cormac. I mean, Cormac only ever talks about himself, and me and Viktor actually like each other. Maybe I should ask him?"
"I already did. He's in major quidditch mode at the moment, no time to come over here."
Hermione laughed "You really do think of everything don't you!"
"Okay, back to Cormac. Is it a yes?"
Hermione scrunched up her face "I dunno Gin..."
"Come on Hermione, even if Cormac is a stuck up ass, at least you'll have a good night out with me and Harry!"
Hermione gave in "Fine, but if you leave me to fend off Cormac's big head, you're in big trouble!" she laughed.
"Deal! Now, time to get a dress!" grinned Ginny.
Harry was reading the note from Ginny, stating that she had succeeded in making Hermione come to the Christmas party. He was grinning to himself when Draco walked in his office.
"What's the good news Potter?"
"Just that my girlfriend is an amazing woman!" smiled Harry.
Draco pretended to pull a puke face "Don't make me sick Potter!"
"Hey, you asked Malfoy!"
"Well, what do you want this time?"
"Potter, always so pleased to see me. You're needed in care of magical creatures. I tried to find Granger, but she wasn't in her office, so you were the next best thing."
"Oh brilliant. I'm guessing it’s about her damn house elves again" said Harry, rolling his eyes.
Draco laughed. It was a running joke in the department about Hermione trying to set new guidelines for treatment of house elves. "Wrong Potter, it's about Hippogriffs. Someone got attacked or something. So, where is Granger?" asked Draco, trying to sound casual.
"Well, that's what my note was about. Ginny's managed to persuade Mione to go to the Christmas ball, so she's taking a few hours off to find a dress."
"Oh right" responded Draco.
"You're coming right? Bringing Astoria?" asked Harry.
Draco shook his head "We broke up months ago Potter. Nice to see you take an interest in your employee's.
"Oh crap, I remember now. Sorry..." said Harry, unsure whether it was a sore topic or not.
"Nah, its fine. I just need to get a date."
"Well, you've got two days left, plenty of time for our resident Casanova" joked Harry.
Hermione returned to her office later in the afternoon, carrying her day's shopping. It had been a successful trip. She had bought the dress, shoes and brand new make-up as well. She smiled to herself, looking at the carrier bags. She hadn't spent so much money in one go in a long time, she just hoped Cormac would be worth all the effort.
There was a knock on the door.
"Come in" called out Hermione, cheerfully.
In came Draco.
"What are you so happy about Granger?" he asked, noting she looked pleased about something.
"None of your business. Now what do you want?"
"You really know how to hurt a guy's feelings don't you?" smiled Draco.
"With you Malfoy, I try extra hard" she smiled back.
There was a pause, Hermione was waiting for Draco to continue speaking, but he didn't. Instead he was looking all around her office, anywhere but her.
"The lights are on, but nobodies home" chuckled Hermione to herself.
"Right... well the reason I came in here was to ask you something" he said, sitting on the edge of her table.
"Obviously. Go ahead"
Before he could continue Ron entered her office without knocking. He looked shocked to see Draco sitting so comfortably on Hermione's desk.
"Don't you ever knock before entering a room, Weasel?" asked Draco.
"I'm not here to see you
Malfoy. I'm here to see her
" he said, waving his hands at Hermione.
"You really have no manners do you?" sneered Draco.
"Are you trying to tell me you do?" replied Ron, starting to turn red.
"Yes. I am. Now, let me give you your first lesson. Get out of this office. Knock on the door again, and wait for a response this time. Understood?"
"I don't have to listen to you Malfoy. This isn't your office, and you’re not my superior. Besides, what is it to you how I walk in here?" replied Ron, turning brighter by the minute.
Hermione was listening to all this in confusion. Firstly, Draco was standing up for her. Or just pissing Ron off as he always tries to. Secondly, Ron was being a right git. Since when did he think he could just barge into my office? she thought angrily.
"You're right Weasel. For a change. This isn't my office. Let's ask Granger whether she wants you to take part in my first lesson." Draco turned to Hermione and smiled encouragingly at her. Hermione was at a loss for words.
"Ronald, I think its best you leave. Me and Malfoy were discussing something important. Come back another time" said Hermione, looking at Draco for approval. She didn't want to humiliate Ron, but she didn't want him in her office either.
Ron looked angrily at Hermione "You're siding with him?" he asked with disgust.
"I'm not siding with anyone. Me and Malfoy were in the middle of something, when you rudely interrupted us! So I want you to come back another time, okay?" said Hermione, a lot more firmly now.
Ron gave out an angry grunt, mumbled some words to himself and slammed the door on his way out.
Hermione put her head on her hands on the table, forgetting Draco was still in the room.
A small tear rolled down her cheek. Every time she had to speak to Ron, the old feelings would resurface.
"Granger. Don't waste your tears on him" said Draco softly.
She hastily wiped it away, and sat up straight. "What was it you wanted Malfoy?"
"Granger, you can't let him treat you like that" continued Draco "You need to stick up for yourself"
"What does it matter to you, Malfoy?" asked Hermione angrily.
"I just don't like seeing women treated like that, that's all" replied Draco, remaining calm.
"Okay... well, thanks anyway, it was actually quite sweet of you to stick up for me." smiled Hermione.
"Any time Granger."
"So, what was it that you wanted?" asked Hermione.
Draco shuffled around uncomfortably, trying to choose his words carefully "I heard you were coming to the Christmas party."
"Blimey, I only decided a couple of hours ago! News travels way too fast around here" chuckled Hermione.
"Yeah, so anyway, I was wondering whether you were going with someone or not" replied Draco, staring at the ground.
Hermione was shocked. Was Draco asking her as a date for the party? Surely not, she thought. Maybe he was just being nosey?
"Err, yeah Ginny's set me up with someone actually" replied Hermione carefully, unsure where this was going.
Draco's face fell. "Oh right."
Hermione couldn't help but grin "Why do you want to know? You weren't going to ask me were you?" she teased, positive the answer would be a no.
"Actually, I was. I don't have a date, and I assumed you didn't either so I thought it would just be convenient to go together. And it'd piss Weasel off as well." replied Draco quickly, mentally kicking himself for even thinking about asking her.
Hermione was shocked. "Oh, right. Yeah, it would piss Ron off, but as I said, I'm already going with someone."
"Yeah, I heard you Granger. As I said, it was just a matter of convenience." replied Draco, sounding annoyed. And with that he left her office without another word.
Hermione was left speechless. What has got into him? First he checks on me to if I'm ok, next he sticks up for me, and now he wants me as his date? Maybe this was a joke of his. Hermione grinned to herself. He's a right git, thinking he can fool me, she laughed to herself. Anyway, even if it was at all real, he only wanted to go with me out of convenience. Typical of him!
Draco made his way back to his office quickly, not greeting or looking at anyone he passed by. He shut the door behind him and locked it. He didn't want to be disturbed. What the hell am I doing? thought Draco angrily, slightly pulling at his hair. Of course she'd have a date. And even if she didn't she wouldn't have gone with me. The look on her face when she realised I was asking her... was it shock? Or disgust? As if she would want to be seen with someone like me, a bloody ex-death eater!
Draco couldn't hide it from himself any longer. He had a crush on Hermione and it was beginning to piss him off.
AN: Hey guys, hope you enjoyed this chapter! Please let me know what you think of it!!
Oh, and the next chapter is gonna be a long one! xx