Chapter 11 : Dancing
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Oh, and I went really girly with this one, guys. I apologize to any of my male readers if this is ridiculously boring to you, but unfortunately there are important snips all throughout the chapter, so skipping it or just reading a certain part would be hard. Sorry!
Also, I apologize wholeheartedly to you guys. I’m sorry updates are coming slower, but I just started college and am in a sorority and part of a musical production. I promise to you that I will finish this story, it might just take a little longer now. Please have faith in me and keep checking back!
“Students of Hogwarts,” Dumbledore bellowed, his wand tip pointed against his neck, “I have an announcement to make.” The low rumble of voices that usually filled the hall during dinner quickly died down as the student body averted their attention to the Headmaster. “As you all know, this past year has been a year of new beginnings and celebration. With the threat of Voldemort gone, the Ministry has decided to instate a new holiday. With this new tradition, we teachers have decided that it is time for Hogwarts to have a new tradition as well to celebrate the defeat of the dark lord.” Dumbledore paused and the students looked at each other anxiously. “In two weeks and a half weeks, on April 15, Hogwarts will be holding its first Annual Celebration Ball.”
The silence that had reigned supreme in the hall quickly vanished as the students broke into excited chatter about Hogwarts having a Ball. “Silence!” Dumbledore’s voice rang out again over the hall and the students sheepishly stopped talking. “This will be a formal occasion for Fourth through Seventh years. First, Second, and Third years will have a separate event. A date is not mandatory to attend, though to promote school unity, we encourage dates to be brought. In fact, our own Heads of House will be attending this dance together as examples.” Jaws dropped throughout the hall, including those of the Head Boy and Girl, and Pansy glared heavily at Draco. “Now, now, students. Miss Granger and Mr. Malfoy had no prior knowledge of this. They shall also open the dance together, much like was done at the Yule Ball in the year that the TriWizard Tournament was held here. We hope that this ball will not only prove as a celebration, but as a wonderful distraction from the studying we know our fifth and seventh year students will be doing for O.W.L.S. and N.E.W.T.S.” Dumbledore smiled, “The Hex Girls shall be providing the musical entertainment for the night and Dinner will also be provided. Now, you may chat amongst yourselves.”
Ginny quickly turned to a very pale faced Hermione excitedly, “Hermione! Can you believe it!? We’re going to have a ball!” Hermione mustered up a smile for her friend.
“Yeah, except I have to go with Draco…” she mumbled.
“Oh no, Hermione!” Lavender chimed in, mistaking Hermione’s reason for sounding unexcited. “This would have been the perfect opportunity for your secret admirer to reveal himself! Oh wow, how romantic would that have been…”
“Yeah…” Hermione muttered “Romantic…”
“We all have to go shopping!” Ginny squealed to distract everyone from Hermione’s sour mood. The conversations quickly turned to dresses and shoes and hair and away from Hermione. She shot Ginny a grateful glance and sneaked a peak across the Great Hall to where Draco was sitting with Blaise, Pansy, and Co. He looked even more pale than usual and Pansy looked rather animated, and not in the happy little chipmunk animated, more like wicked witch about to kill someone animated…
“I can’t believe you have to go with that filthy little mudblood.” Pansy spat. Draco felt too astonished to respond. He and Hermione got to go the Ball together… Sure, it was forced, but still… he didn’t have to go with Pansy. He’d have to hear her bitch about it for the next two and a half weeks, but he wouldn’t have to go with her. Wouldn’t have to dance with her. There. Is. A. God. “I mean, you’re so above her. You should be allowed to go with whomever you want. Someone who’s among your caliber. Honestly, she’s not even that attract-”
“Shut up, Pansy.” Draco looked up, surprised that it was Blaise who had been speaking. She narrowed her eyes.
“You’re annoying everyone, Pansy. Draco is going with Hermione to the Ball. There’s nothing you can do about it. Get over it and stop embarrassing yourself.” Blaise answered in a particularly bored tone. Pansy huffed, but said nothing further. Draco shot Blaise an appreciative look. It was going to be a very long two and a half weeks.
“Hermione! The ball is in a week and you have yet to pick out anything to wear!” Ginny complained to her friend. Hermione groaned.
“I know… I just don’t know what to get. Nothing seems… right. I mean, Draco’s going to look like royalty in his dress robes. No matter what I wear, I’m not going to look as good as he will. What am I supposed to do?” Hermione dropped her face into her hands. “I want us to look good together… like I belong with him, but I can’t.”
“Hermione, that’s ridiculous! You’re beautiful! We just have to find you the right dress….”
“And where do you expect us to find it? Hogsmeade? Yeah right… Standard dress robes. Nothing special.”
Ginny grinned. “Of course not. We’re going to London.” Hermione gaped. “What? We’re both old enough! We’ll apparate to Diagon Alley, exchange some money and go shopping in Muggle London! We’ll have dresses like no one else.”
“But… we can’t just leave the school! And we can’t apparate inside of Hogwarts! Hogwarts, A History clearly says-“
“So ask Dumbledore if we can use the Floo network to get to Gringotts! I’m sure that he’ll understand! He loves you after everything you did to help Harry.”
Hermione finally began to look a bit excited. “It’s worth a shot, I suppose…”
Ginny grinned. “Let’s do it.”
“I can’t believe that worked!” Hermione squealed as she and Ginny stepped out of the fireplace at Gringotts. Only minutes ago Hermione had pleaded with Dumbledore to let she and Ginny go shopping in London. With a twinkle in his eye, Dumbledore consented. It was now roughly 4:00PM, giving the girls a good few hours to get shopping done and be back by curfew. They quickly exchanged some galleons to muggle money and left Diagon Alley.
“Do you know where we can go?” Ginny asked as they stepped out onto the London streets.
“Uhm, I think so. We could try Fortnum & Mason first. It’s a department store, so it’s going to have everything. Dresses, shoes, makeup… Of course we can use spells for makeup, so that’s a bit pointless. After Fortnum & Mason, I think the boutiques on Bond Street would probably have what we’re looking for if the department store doesn’t.”
Ginny nodded, “Alright, let’s go!” Hermione and Ginny made their way through the streets of London, asking for directions every so often to the department store. They found their way easily enough and entered the large store. The moment they stepped inside Hermione heard Ginny gasp and she laughed. Clearly this was Ginny’s first visit to a muggle department store; this was bound to be interesting.
“Come on, Ginny. The first floor is jewelry and shoes and accessories. The dresses are up a floor,” Hermione explained as she pulled Ginny to the escalator. Of course, fascination with the escalator struck Ginny and she made a huge deal about the moving stairs, saying that Hogwarts definitely needed some. Another gasp escaped Ginny’s mouth when they reached the second floor where they were greeted with a myriad of dresses in every size, color, and shape imaginable.
“I’m in heaven…” Ginny breathed and Hermione laughed again. A fierce, wicked grin spread across Ginny’s face. “We won’t need to go anywhere else. Let’s get started!”
Eight dresses later, Hermione groaned in frustration. “Ginny! None of these are working!”
“Suck it up and keep looking!” Ginny commanded from the dressing room next to her… right before she squealed. “Hermione! Hermione, look at this dress!” she exclaimed as she stepped out of the dressing room to check herself out in the larger, angled mirror. “Do you think it’s too…. Slytherin?” Ginny asked as Hermione poked her head out of her own dressing room. The dress was a green satin, floor length, and completely backless. Silver, rhinestone straps held the front of the dress up and criss-crossed in the back to connect to the fabric that covered her lower back.
Hermione quickly shook her head. “Absolutely not! It’s perfect… at least one of us has a great dress now. I’ll probably never find one.”
“Oh yes, you will.” Ginny replied determinedly. “I’m going to take this dress off and personally find you the perfect dress.”
“Good luck.” Hermione mumbled, shutting her door and proceeding to slip out of the pale pink dress that had completely washed her out.
“Do you want to wear your locket at the Ball with those matching earrings that Draco sent you as your secret admirer on Valentine’s Day?” Ginny called to her.
“I’d like to… they’re beautiful, and I hate taking my locket off.” Hermione still hadn’t told Ginny about the promise ring. It was still just too soon. “And I really do like how I look in purple…”
“I know. It really brings out the warmth in your eyes and hair.” Ginny complimented. “I’ll be right back, I think I saw a dress earlier that might be perfect for you…” A few minutes later, Ginny was back and threw a long dress over Hermione’s door. “Try this one. If it’s not perfect, I’ll eat a disgusting flavor of Bertie Bot’s Every Flavor Beans.” Hermione laughed and stepped into the unzipped dress.
“Oh…” Hermione gasped as she pulled the dress onto her shoulders. “Oh, Ginny…” She reached behind her and zipped it up. “It’s perfect…”
“Let me see! Let me see!” Ginny demanded, banging on the door.
“Alright! Be patient!” Hermione surrendered, opening the door and stepping out into the small room containing mirrors. Even Ginny gasped at the sight. The deep purple of the dress contrasted perfectly with Hermione’s milky white skin. Its deep-v neckline revealed the perfect amount of décolletage without making her look like a call girl while the matching deep-v in the back exposed a classy amount of her back. The thick straps ran over the outside of her shoulders, accenting her delicate collarbone. An elegant metal piece gathered the dress beneath her bustline, accentuating her thin waist. “I don’t even look like me…” she mused thoughtfully.
“Yes, you do.” Ginny countered. “At least, this is how everyone else sees you. Now, let’s get everything else we need and get back to Hogwarts. We only have a few more hours until curfew!” Hermione agreed and entered her dressing room again to put on her regular clothes so that she and Ginny could complete their outfits. For the first time, Hermione anticipated the Ball without feeling animosity towards it.
Hours later, Hermione and Ginny returned to Hogwarts with their purchases. Dresses, shoes, new jewelry for Ginny, even a little bit of muggle makeup, just for fun. At one point in the evening it had occurred to Hermione to ask Ginny how she was paying for all of this. The Weasley’s had never had much money before…
“Father was promoted in the Ministry. We’re decently well off now, plus the twins pitch in for their little sister every once in awhile. They’ve got more money than they know what to do with.” Ginny answered, and that was that.
Hermione was back in her room, hanging up her dress in her wardrobe and storing her shoes when she heard a blood-curdling scream reach her room. She nearly dropped her shoes when the cry rang out. Hermione whirled around, searching her room before realizing that the owner of the scream was nowhere near her. In fact, the scream sounded as if it came from outside of the Head’s chambers. Grabbing her wand, Hermione quickly descended the stairs leading to the common room to find what the trouble was.
Draco and Pansy were walking back to the Head’s quarters before curfew; Draco had been spending a bit of his time in the Slytherin common room sine Hermione had said she would be gone this evening. She had not told him where she was going, but said it was a secret. Rather than sulk in their shared common room, to keep up his image Draco had wasted away a few hours in the Slytherin common room with his old friends. Blaise, of course, he had fun with, but Pansy grew more annoying with every minute. Crabbe and Goyle were pretty much rocks, and Theodore Nott wasn’t speaking to him now that Quidditch was over and Draco had kicked him out of the laste game.
When curfew drew near, Draco excused himself. Much to his chagrin, Pansy had insisted on walking him back and refused to take no for an answer. Of course, she talked most of the time on their way to the Head’s dorm, giving Draco a few minutes to think.
Now was a good a time as any…
“Pansy,” he interrupted her. For once, she instantly stopped talking, taking note of the serious tone of his voice. Pansy looked at him expectantly. Draco took a deep breath. “As you know, we’re graduating soon.” Pansy nodded. “Well, I know we’ve been dating a long time and that people have certain expectations of our relationship after graduation. Rather than dragging this out until then, I’ve decided to take care of things now.”
Pansy’s eyes lit up. Oh my MERLIN! she thought, Draco’s going to propose!!
“I don’t see us together, Pansy. Quite frankly, I only dated you in the first place because it was what my parents wanted. Now that they’re out of the picture, I realize that I actually can’t stand you and have no intentions of marrying you. I just thought you should know and not get your expectations up as Graduation draws near.” The pair was now standing directly in front of the painting of Paris and Helen, though Pansy had stopped dead in her tracks.
“You mean… you don’t love me?” she asked with large eyes.
Draco laughed bitterly. “Of course not. Don’t give me that, you don’t love me either. You love my money. You love my name, but you don’t love me. I’d marry Astoria Greengrass before I’d marry you, in fact. Go drown your sorrows with Theodore. He’s got a decent amount of money, doesn’t he now?” Draco mocked her; he’d never felt so free in his whole life.
That was when Pansy opened her mouth and let out the most horrendous screech Draco had ever heard. “Why, you bastard!” she shrieked and whipped out her wand. “How dare you dump me! This ruins everything!”
“Now, Pansy, don’t overreact…”
“Overreact!? Are you out of your bloody mind!? Just wait till my parents hear about this!”
Draco laughed again, despite the fact that Pansy was pointing her wand in his direction and looked about to hex him. “Your parents? I don’t care about you’re parents. They’re as arrogant and annoying as you are. What can they possibly do? They’ll just be disappointed that they won’t be rid of you as soon as they thought. Leave now, Pansy. Don’t cause a scene.” Draco had subtly drawn out his wand, just in case.
Unfortunately, Draco wasn't quite fast enough.
“Petrificus Totalus!” A female voice called from behind Pansy. Hermione had burst into the hallway just in time to see Pansy throw a spell she'd never seen before at Draco. Pansy froze and fell to the floor. “Thirty points from Slytherin,” Hermione stated in a dutiful voice. She would have taken more points, but that was all she was allowed. “for attacking a Head, and you’ll be serving detention for a month. I’ll be sure to tell Professor Snape about this, Miss Parkinson. You’ll be lucky if you’re not expelled.” Hermione might have sounded authoritative, but in all truths she was worried out of her mind. Stepping around Pansy, she quickly moved to Draco’s side and knelt beside him. He was groaning in pain. “Draco… Draco, are you alright?” she asked in a panicked voice as she saw the burn on his arm. It looked quite severe.
“I’m not fatally wounded,” he ground out, “but I certainly have felt better.” He clenched his hand into a fist. “She shot me with a lightning spell after she disarmed me. I don’t even know where she learned that!”
“Shhh…” Hermione urged him. “I’m going to try to fix it, alright? I think I know a good healing charm…” Hermione held her wand over the burn and flicked it. “Consenesco.”
A pale blue light emitted from Hermione’s wand and moved like a fog over Draco’s wound, enveloping it. His breath hitched as the blue, misty light soaked into the burn, and then his breathing evened. A red, angry mark remained on his arm where the open wound had been, but that was all. The pain, the burning, was gone. “I’ll have to remember that one…” Draco mused and then smiled at Hermione. “Thanks.”
“Not a problem.” Hermione’s gaze turned to Pansy. “Dear Merlin. What did you do to her to make her throw curses at you?”
Draco shrugged as he stood up. “I dumped her.”
Hermione’s mouth opened to say something, but she found that she had no words. She was utterly astounded. She shut her mouth and stood, looking at Pansy. After another moment, she merely said, “oh…” She looked over at Draco to see him grinning at her. Not smiling back proved impossible. “I need to take care of the Pansy situation…” Hermione reminded him, going to collect Pansy’s wand. “Should I take her down to Snape myself? Or have him come collect her here?”
“I think we should both take her down, that way Snape knows he’s getting the real story. I’m tempted to take her to Dumbledore…” Draco thought aloud.
Hermione shook her head, “No. If Snape thinks she should go to Dumbledore then he’ll take her. It’s not our place.” Draco nodded his consent. “Alright, let’s go.” Hermione said, probably far too cheerily for the situation…
“You dumped her? Just like that?” Hermione asked as she unceremoniously plopped onto the couch in the common room after handing Pansy over to a very angry Professor Snape. Pansy would be lucky if she was allowed to stay at Hogwarts. Snape had taken another hundred points away from Slytherin, completely decimating their chances of winning the House Cup. It looked like Gryffindor would once again claim that victory this year.
“Right. Just like that.” Draco nodded, sitting next to her, though a modest distance away.
“But… why?” Hermione inquired. Without Draco faking his relationship with Pansy, their relationship became a lot less protected. Since Draco had been with Pansy for so long, no one even suspected him of being with someone else. Now… well, suspicions would be at an all time high regarding the love life of Draco Malfoy.
“Because I couldn’t take it anymore!” Draco exclaimed. “She was talking about marriage all the time. I think she already had the blasted ceremony planned! And she talked about engagement right after graduation and she was bloody annoying as hell…” Draco sighed, “And I didn’t want to be with anyone else but you anymore. For the past three and a half months I’ve had to pretend to like Pansy, which has heavily decimated the amount of time I’d get to spend with you. Now I have no reason to go to the Slytherin common room. I can get more work done this way, and I get to see you more. It was just time. And I couldn’t string her on all the way until Graduation. She’d surely be expecting a proposal then, and it would have made the ordeal even bigger.”
“I see…” she replied quietly.
“I’m glad you did it.” Hermione mumbled, staring at her hands. “I was jealous. I wouldn’t tell you, of course, but I couldn’t stand it when you had to spend time with her. When I could taste her lipgloss on your lips, I wanted to gag. I knew it was only a show but…”
“I understand.” Draco comforted her, reaching over and taking her hand. “I didn’t like it either. But it doesn’t matter. It’s over….” He decided to change the subject. “So what does your dress look like for the ball next week? Can I see it?”
Hermione gaped at him. “Draco! You know better than to think that I’m actually going to show you, much less tell you.”
He smirked impishly. “It was worth a shot.”
Hermione shook her head. “You’re incorrigible. Come on, let’s go to bed.”
“My bed?” he asked hopefully.
“Of course. You have to get over the heartbreak of Pansy somehow…” Hermione smiled wickedly. “I’d be a horrid girlfriend to let you go through it alone.”
“I’m so glad we decided to do this!” Ginny sighed as she and Hermione dressed and primped for the Ball in Hermione’s room. “Even I have my Lavender limit. She’s been insufferable all day.” Ginny explained in a tired voice. Saturday April 15th was finally upon them and everyone had been buzzing all day about the dance. Everyone in fourth year and up, at least. The hottest topic, of course, was Draco’s breakup and whether or not he and Hermione would end up in a duel by the end of the night.
Hermione and Draco had reviewed their dance and felt decently prepared to open the Celebration Ball. Hermione thought Harry should be the one to open it up, considering he had defeated Voldemort and not her, but what Dumbledore said went. Draco continued to ask for clues as to Hermione’s dress, all of which had been laughed off.
“I completely agree.” Hermione nodded at Ginny’s declaration. “I wonder what everyone else’s dress robes will look like…”
“Who cares?” Ginny asked, pulling out her shoes and jewelry from the bag she had brought along. “We’re going to be the best looking people there, so it’s doesn’t matter.”
“If you say so…” Hermione answered skeptically. She looked in the floor length mirror that stood in her room. “Ugh. What am I going to do with my hair?”
“Hmmm….” Ginny mused and studied Hermione’s frizzy curls. “Oh! I know! Sit down.” Hermione did as she was commanded and Ginny pulled out her wand and a magical smoothing hair serum. She coated Hermione’s hair with the serum and began wrapping pieces of Hermione’s hair around her wand, muttering a quick “curlio” to make it stay.
“Wow…” Hermione breathed when Ginny had loosely curled all of her hair. “That’s one spell I’m going to have to remember…”
“Oh, I’m not done yet.” Ginny hushed her. She began weaving her wand in an intricate pattern and stayed very focused. Hermione’s hair quickly went from being down to being styled in a side ponytail of sorts, the curls spilling effortlessly over her shoulder while her bangs swooped off to the side and then joined the looping curls.
“Ginny, you’re brilliant! It’s beautiful!” exclaimed Hermione.
“I know.” Ginny grinned. “I think I’m just going to straighten mine. Curls don’t become me.”
“Whatever you say,” Hermione muttered in awe, “You’re the genius here.”
By the time the girls were done, they both looked breathtaking. True to her word, Ginny’s hair hung straight and silky down her bare back while Hermione’s curls showed no signs of falling. With their dresses on, jewelry glimmering, and shoes strapped firmly in place, Hermione and Ginny finally made their way down to the Head’s common room around 7:00. The Ball would start around 7:30 and dinner was included with the Ball. “Alright, Hermione. I need to get to Harry. Merlin knows he can’t tie his own bow tie…” Ginny’s voice faded as they descended the steps and one Draco Abraxas Malfoy came into view. Even Ginny couldn’t keep back the whispered “wow” that left her lips.
There stood Draco, waiting expectantly at the bottom of the stairs, his black dress robes perfectly tailored to his lean body, his hair perfectly combed to the side (thank Merlin he had abandoned the slicked back look of his first and second year!), his lips curving into a slight frown, and his eyes full of impatience. He looked beautiful in every sense of the word, and both Hermione and Ginny noticed. However, he smiled when the girls came down the stairs, causing Hermione to lose her breath due to his perfection. “Ah, finally.” He said when he heard them. He looked relaxed until he saw Hermione. “Ginny, I think you might need to leave.” He looked meaningfully at the readhead. “Quickly.”
Ginny grinned, understanding his meaning. “See you later, Hermione! Looking good, Draco.” She left with the quick compliment before Hermione could wring her neck.
Draco let his eyes sweep Hermione’s form appreciatively the second Ginny was out the door. Hermione thought she might have even heard him growl. She blushed under his intense scrutiny. “You look beautiful…” he complimented, stepping towards her. “Ravishing, really. Actually, I don’t think there are words.”
“You don’t look particularly unattractive either, you know.” Hermione took a step toward him as well so that she was nearly in his arms. She looked up at him flirtatiously beneath her dark eyelashes and he pulled her to him.
“Don’t tempt me, will you? It’d be a shame for us to never make an appearance at the ball.” Draco warned her.
Hermione laughed and took his hand, “Alright. Let’s just go. And I can’t kiss you, for fear that it’ll ruin my lipstick.”
“And now, our Head Boy and Girl will open the dance. Please feel free to join them after a few moments.” Dumbledore announced after dinner had been served. Hermione and Draco had done a wonderful job so far of looking perfectly indifferent towards each other on the exterior. They never held each other’s eye contact for too long and always appeared to be talking about nothing but business. While they didn’t look like they were having a miserable time, it was obvious to anyone who took notice that they weren’t having fun…. At least, that’s what it looked like. Under the table a heavy game of footsie was being played. It took everything the couple had to keep their indifferent straight faces on while they battled beneath the long tablecloth.
A stage had been set up in the front of the Great Hall where the band would be performing. The Hex Girls set up while Draco stood from his seat and pulled Hermione’s seat out for her in an unprecedented act of chivalry. He held out his hand coldly, which she took and allowed him to lead her to the dance floor. They stood in the middle until the Hex Girls began playing the classic opening song. Draco and Hermione smoothly moved into the dance that they had learned as fourth years… but it was different. No longer were they the gawky fourteen year olds they had been. Both now moved with a grace that was unprecedented by their peers. As the pair whirled around the floor, Draco lifting Hermione at the appropriate times, no one dared join them (not even Pansy with her partner, Theodore. After much crying, many detentions, and a lot of money donated to the school from the Parkinson family, Pansy was allowed to stay). The students stood awestruck as they watched fire and ice battle on the dance floor.
Draco’s pale hair provided a stark contrast to Hermione’s honey-brown locks, while his intense blue-gray eyes focused on her soft golden-flecked brown eyes. The deep purple of her dress stood out against the sharp black and white of Draco’s dress robes and the way it flowed around them made them look like they were nearly floating. With Hermione’s jewelry sparkling in the hanging lights, no one could deny the fact that she looked like royalty, like someone suited for a Malfoy. The sudden revelation shocked everyone into solidity. Once or twice, Hermione glimpsed Ron staring moodily at her beside his date, Demelza.
“No one’s joining us…” Hermione whispered worriedly to Draco.
“We’re so stunning everyone else knows that they can’t compete,” whispered Draco back. She shot him a skeptic look for a quick moment. “Really, Hermione. Look at their faces. They’re dumbstruck.” He watched Hermione glance subtly glance around and murmur the word “wow.”
“We’re drawing too much attention.” Hermione whispered frantically, but her fears were soon allayed as Ginny dragged an obviously protesting Harry onto the dance floor. This got everyone laughing and soon a few more couples secure in their dance skills twirled around the floor. The song soon ended and Draco escorted Hermione off of the dance floor and they took their seats again towards the back of the Great Hall as the Hex Girls started their set. Students quickly flooded the dance floor to get as close to the stage as possible except for a few couples.
You’re gonna do what I want you to
Mix it up here in my little bowl
Say a few words and you lose control
The Hex Girls top hit rang out over the students and shrieking ensued. “You know, no one is watching us now.” Draco pointed out. Hermione looked at him questioningly. “We could probably slip into the crowd seamlessly and still enjoy ourselves….”
“You think so?” Hermione questioned. She wouldn’t admit it, but the Hex Girls were one of her favorite bands. A gleam of excitement lit in her eyes and Draco nodded.
“Yeah, it shouldn’t be too hard.” Draco shrugged and looked around. “Oh… wait…Pansy and Theodore aren’t dancing, and Pansy keeps looking over here every few seconds. Sorry.”
“It’s alright.” Hermione offered. “Maybe… it would look good if I left you and went dancing by myself? You know, throw off suspicion…”
Draco nodded, “Yeah. Sure. Go raise hell, kid.” Hermione laughed as Draco teased her and stood. He watched her leave him and slide effortlessly into the raging crowd.
After a few more songs, the Hex Girls played one of their softer songs, and couples paired off on the dance floor to slow dance. Draco sighed, wishing that he and Hermione could dance together, but knew it was impossible. He looked out over the dance floor and saw her dancing with Blaise. How chivalrous, Draco scoffed. Oh well, better her dance with Blaise than anyone else. Blaise’s date however, Daphne Greengrass, looked rather revolted. Ah well, she’d get over it eventually.
“Draco, come dance with me,” a female voice lilted to his left. He hadn’t even noticed Pansy approach as he had been too focused on vicariously dancing with his girlfriend.
“Aw, come on, Draco. I know we had a fight, but that’s what lovers do. I forgive your momentary lapse of judgment.” Pansy’s voice was sticky sweet. It made him want to gag.
“Pansy, that was not a fight. That was me dumping you. It’s over.” Draco watched Pansy’s eyes darken with rage. She opened her mouth to speak but before she could do so another voice rang out next to him.
“Miss Parkinson, I do believe you were given strict orders to stay away from Draco, is that not correct? I’d hate to have to take more points away from Slytherin on your account, especially at such a celebration.” Hermione’s authoritative voice would have been enough to make even Draco cower. Pansy merely cast her an exceedingly dark look and stalked away.
“I owe you.” Draco sighed in relief. Hermione shrugged enigmatically. “Sick of dancing?”
“It’s no fun knowing that you’re stuck back here. Let’s just look miserable together. We’ll both be happier that way.”
Draco held back laughter and agreed with her. They both spent the next hour and a half or so looking positively distraught. After the Hex Girls’ third encore, Dumbledore finally declared the Ball over and told everyone to return to his or her dorms for the evening. Breakfast would be served from eight to eleven the next day to accommodate the late risers. Draco once more pulled Hermione’s chair out for her and she rose, taking the hand that he offered. She stiffly looped her arm through the one Draco proffered to her and, after quickly waving at Ginny, allowed him to escort her out of the Great Hall. When they were a safe distance away from everyone, Hermione burst into laughter.
“Did you see the look on Pansy’s face!?” she gasped.
Draco too gave a chuckle. “If looks could kill…”
“Most of Snape’s students would be dead,” Hermione finished for him and they both laughed. After a few more minutes they arrived in front of their painting, spoke the password, and Draco continued to escort her into the common room. As they walked in, Hermione spotted Pansy’s portrait propped up against the corner of the room. “You know, it’s been sitting there for over a month now,” she said, gesturing to the painting. “You could probably get rid of it, considering you two are over now.”
“You’re right. I completely forgot it was there. Painting Pansy is a lot quieter than actual Pansy…” Draco observed. He walked over to the painting and picked it up. “I should probably give this back to her… or Theodore…” Hermione laughed and Draco leaned the painting against the wall again, this time in plain sight and facing the front so that he’d remember to get rid of it.
“Hey, Draco?” Hermione called to him tentatively. Draco turned away from the portrait on the floor and looked at Hermione expectantly. “We uhm… never really got to dance tonight. I mean, without the pressure of everyone watching us…” Hermione blushed and looked at her feet.
“Asking me to dance, Granger?” Draco asked with a hint of the haughtiness that had coated his tone for the majority of his life. “Lucky for you, you look beautiful tonight, so I suppose I’ll accept.” Hermione glared at him as he walked over to the radio and turned it on. The wails of Celestina Warbeck wafted across the room, and Draco walked over to Hermione, who was still glaring at him.
“Loveable prat,” corrected Draco and held out his hand to her. Rolling her eyes, Hermione placed her hand in his and let him draw her close. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer, burying his nose in her hair as she proceeded to wrap her arms around his neck and nuzzle her face into the crook of his neck. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered into her hair.
She chuckled against his neck. “It’s the dress.”
“No.” Draco argued. “It’s the girl.”
And neither of them noticed that portrait Pansy was gone.
A/N: The Hex Girls and their lyrics are not mine! They belong to the movie Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost (Which is the best scooby-doo movie ever. Just saying).
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