Hermione managed to steer clear of Harry. She was so desperate to get out of his way that she snuck past him out of the common room and met Ginny in the Griffindor common room. It was nice to be back in the place she had spent six years in. it felt like home. The Fat lady was very welcoming and when she said the password (Dobby) smiled at her and told her to visit more often. Ginny was shocked to see her best friend but they managed to get a good seat in front of the fire for the night.
“He knows,” Hermione moaned, her head on her knees.
“I think your right, oh Mione I’m so sorry it’s my fault I shouldn’t have said that. Harry’s not like Ron I should have remembered that he was listening.”
“No Gin its ok, he would have figured it out anyway, having him know could be useful actually. Let’s just hope he doesn’t tell Ron he would go ballistic.”
“Harry could be useful? So are you two definitely…?”
“Yes,” Hermione nodded a smile creeping onto her face. Ginny beamed.
“That is so amazing! I always want you to be with Ron so you could be my sister in law but you seem more happy now than you ever did with Ron.”
“I am, there is something about him that I didn’t have with Ron and its strange to think that its Malfoy but its good. He makes me feel safe.”
“I’d rather you be with him and be happy than be with Ron and not. I’m not sure if he will see it that way though,” the red head laughed, “let just hope this doesn’t reach the leak.”
“Well we might have a way of flushing them out…”
Hermione explained everything to Ginny about how they were going to do it and came up with three brilliant ideas. They were going to get Harry and Ron to tell Dean, Seamus and Neville that the guy was a rich muggle who she had snuck into the castle and she was engaged to him secretly. They were going to let the other three boys overhear that it was indeed Victor Krum and she was going to visit him in the summer.
Then they had a problem with the girls. No one was talking to Lavender and so it was hard to tell her anything. They decided to enlist the help of Pansy to get Daphne. They decided in the end that they were going get Pansy to tell Daphne that the prince charming was going to visit Hermione soon and give her a date. Then they were going to let it slip when near Lavender and if either of the two girls was the leak there would be reporters in the ‘meeting place.’ Both girls decided that they were excellent ideas and congratulated themselves on their story making skills. Now all they had to do was put them into action.
They started with the first story the next day. They had decided to leave a few days between each to give them time. The first thing they did was, when they had managed to get them in a room alone, loudly giggle about how no one knew that it was really Victor Krum. Once they ‘realised’ that the boys had overheard they begged them not to tell anyone and they seemed to keep to their words. There wasn’t one whisper of it around the castle over the next few days and nothing appeared in the paper.
“Well that’s them off the list then,” Ginny said as they sat with Harry and Ron, who they had explained the whole plan too, in the Griffindor common room on the Friday morning. Ron had wanted to know why Malfoy and Blaise weren’t being scrutinised by Hermione just told him that she had very good reasons to believe that it wasn’t them.
Harry hadn’t said anything but had instead shot Hermione a worried look. She knew he knew but she didn’t know why he hadn’t said anything. Instead he just kept looking at her worriedly and falling silent whenever the topic was brought up.
It was now Harry and Ron’s turn to dish the dirt on her muggle fiancée and they had done it that morning before breakfast. They had been told to keep silent or Hermione would kill them and apparently they had all agree readily not to say a word. Hermione highly doubted that any of them was the leak but it had to be done. Just in case.
The morning went quickly and Hermione managed to get through Charms and Defence easily and quickly. Her and Draco, though now together, were still in the midst of their competition. The score was 7:6 in favour of Draco and Hermione wasn’t happy. It was only because he had got full marks on his runes essay and had managed to master the spell in transfiguration before she could. He also managed to gain another point when he performed a perfect unbreakable binding curse on a door lock before Hermione in Charms making it 8:6.
However Defence was different. They had asked to be paired for their duel so they could see who was better and Professor Anderson had obliged. Now she knew why Professor Anderson was actually teaching he had lost some of his charm towards Hermione and though he was acting as suave as ever she actually started to find him irritating. She won one back by beating Draco in the duel and even considered keeping him with boils on his face. He managed to get her to take them away but Professor Anderson had declared her the winner.
“8:7,” she whispered as she walked past him and out the door, “I’m getting closer.” She was counting on her polyjuice potion to win the other point back and make it even.
That was fairly easily done and Slughorn declared that she was one of the best students he had ever seen. She beamed as she winked at Draco across the classroom. Now she had all weekend to practice the spell they had been told to learn for Transfiguration and Charms and she would have it in the bag.
There was one thing harder than learning the spells that was to be done that weekend. Draco was going to break up with Astoria. They had spoken about it and they had both decided to do it after dinner that evening. He was dreading it but he knew he had to do it. Hermione was glad that he would finally be free and they could be together properly. She sat at the table through dinner and played with her food as her stomach did summersaults. She couldn’t eat, she had no idea how Astoria was going to react.
They found out as Harry, Gin, Ron and Hermione left the great hall to go back up to the common room. Astoria stood in the centre of the entrance hall, her wand out and pointing at Draco. Angry tears ran down her face and Hermione thought it looked as though she was about slap someone. She had never seen the girl so angry.
“Oh don’t worry Draco he will hear about this!” she cried. They had obviously walked in halfway through. People were started to crowd around them at the back of Hermione and the others wanted to find out why they had stopped.
“Astoria come on you don’t have to be like this,” Draco said.
“I am perfect for you Draco Malfoy, your parents say so, my parents say so. They have wanted this since we were born! What is it Draco? Am I not beautiful enough? Am I not rich enough for you? Have you found someone else?” Hermione’s breath caught in her throat and Ginny’s hand found her quickly and squeezed it tight. Harry looked across at her and saw the worried look on her face. If he hadn’t known before then he definitely did now.
“No Astoria, its none of those things, I just don’t love you.”
“Who said anything about love? Where on earth does love come into anything? This is about keeping purebloods pure!"
“Draco Malfoy you will regret this!” She turned on her heel angrily and stormed away down towards the Slytherin common room.
The crowd started to filter away and Hermione glanced at Draco. He looked relived that she hadn’t cursed him. He walked past her back into the hall to find Blaise.
“I’ll talk to you later,” he whispered as he passed. Hermione let out the breath she had been holding in. at least Astoria hadn’t worked out the real reason Draco was breaking up with her. She turned to Ginny and gave her friend a weak smile. Then she looked at Harry, his expression thunderous. He waited until Ron had gone off with Dean to have a broom race before bed before he turned to Hermione.
“We need to talk he hissed,” dragging both girls off towards and empty classroom.
Once in the room the two girls pulled themselves up onto a table but Harry stayed standing.
“Please tell me that what I’m thinking isn’t true,” he said, obviously trying to control his temper.
“That depends on what you are thinking,” Hermione squeaked trying not to let him realise that he was right, though she knew it was pointless. He looked at his girlfriend and narrowed his eyes.
“I know that you know about this Gin,” he said. Ginny just smiled and shrugged.
“It might help if you actually told us what you were going on about.”
“You know what I’m going on about!” Harry cried, “your so called ‘prince charming’ is Draco Malfoy!” Hermione cringed back. Great. “Hermione tell me its not true, tell me that the guy you kissed isn’t Malfoy.” He was almost pleading with her and pang of guilt hit her stomach.
“Harry,” she said quietly, “there is no need to get worked up over this…”
“So it is Malfoy? The reason you won’t get back with Ron is because you want Malfoy!”
“No!” Hermione cried standing up, “the reason I won’t get back with Ron is because he cheated on me! It has nothing to do with him!” Hermione knew it was a lie but Harry had no right to be acting this way.
“So Malfoy, he’s just broke up with Astoria…for you?”
“Kind of,” Hermione replied slowly, “it’s a little more complicated than that.”
“So you two are together now?” Harry asked.
“Sort of, well we are but we aren’t telling anyone. It’s why we are trying to find the leak. So we don’t accidentally tell them and have them print it.”
“Do you realise what this is going to do to you if this gets out? Hermione he was a death eater, he has the mark.”
“I know, I’ve seen it,” she replied simply.
“What?” Ginny asked twisting towards her friend, “you failed to tell me that!”
“I didn’t think it was important, just like the fact that he used
to be a death eater isn’t important, not to me.”
“Hermione you can’t do this!” Harry said earnestly.
“Because he’s a liar and nothing good can come out of being with him.”
“How exactly is he a liar?” Hermione asked.
“Remember he said that the ministry aren’t watching him? Well they are. And he has two years Hermione, he only has two years to prove himself. Why do you think Professor Anderson is here? He’s been put here by Kingsley so Malfoy can be watched!”
“How do you know this?” Hermione asked. Malfoy hadn’t known that Harry had known or he would have said.
“Ron, Neville and I are going straight into the ministry when we leave. We don’t need to go through training. Kingsley keeps us all updated on everything that’s going on and he asked us all to help watch Malfoy. Hermione he’s bad news. Did you realise he has been disappearing off to Italy recently and no one knows why?”
“Harry Potter do you really think for one second that I do not know exactly what you have just told me. Yes I know that he is being watched and i know why Professor Andersons here and yes I realise he has been going to Italy and yes I know why. He’s been visiting his mother Harry! His mother has moved to Italy! The fact that the minister has you Ron and Neville on him no I didn’t know because you don’t talk to me about those things anymore! Draco is a good guy and he’s trying to turn over a new leaf and I am helping him do that!”
Harry looked at her nonplussed. He hadn’t expected her to know about Professor Anderson at all. No one was supposed to know.
“He told you all of this?” Harry asked.
“Yes of course he told me, you think we are just going to start a relationship without knowing everything first. He has told me that he only has two years and you know what Harry he is scared! I have never seen him so scared. He is scared that the ministry will use any excuse to send him away and that’s why we have to keep it a secret. He is protecting me!”
Harry just looked at her and then ran his hand through his already messed up hair and sighed.
“I just want you to be careful Mione, I really don’t think this is a good idea and I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I’m not going to get hurt, he loves me more than Ron ever could Harry.”
“He loves you.”
“That’s what he said.” Harry raised his eyebrows and nodded his head slowly.
“Ok then,” he said pulling her into a hug, “but if he does anything to hurt you then he will have me to answer to.” He let go with a smile and turned to Ginny. “I suppose your ok with this?”
“Of course,” Ginny said, “I saw the way he was with her when she broke her ankle and when they were dancing. I trust him more than you do.”
By the looks of it Harry wasn’t completely convinced but Hermione was just glad he hadn’t kicked off. She said a swift goodbye to the others and went straight back to the common room.
She didn’t manage to speak to Draco that night because she couldn’t find him and she knew that Saturday morning he had Quidditch practice for the game the next weekend. She went out to the pitch near the end of their training session with Harry, Ron, Ginny and Dean and sat in the stands while they went to get changed. Harry had decided that they would skip lunch and practice through it but Hermione had Summer on standby for food when they took a break.
Hermione settled herself down in the stands with a plate of sandwiches and a bottle of water and took out her cream notebook. She was so nearly finished. She was just about to end the part about Dumbledore’s death and then she could move on to the previous year. She knew that would be the one that took the most time and space. She was there for nearly all of it and so she could remember in detail.
She couldn’t concentrate on her writing though and had to keep looking back on the notes she had made with Harry a couple of days before. He eyes kept being drawn to the Slytherin team. Draco was seeker, Blaise was keeper and Astoria and Daphne were chasers. She didn’t know any of the others. Astoria seemed to be playing very aggressively and Hermione hoped that next Saturday Ginny would be ok playing against her.
Draco seemed to be trying to avoid Astoria at all costs and Blaise, who was captain, was trying to call order to the game. Eventually he gave up and they all landed and went off to the changing rooms. Seconds later the Griffindors team emerged and kicked off. The chasers took turns in shooting hoops against Ron. He saved nearly all of Deans, most of Demelza’s and a few of Ginny’s Ron never took missing Ginny’s to heart though. She was too good for him. It was a mark of improvement that he even saved a few.
“The weasel has improved then,” a slow seductive voice sounded from beside her. She looked up and smiled at Draco. He leaned down and kissed her gently before sitting next to her.
“I couldn’t find you last night,” she said putting her book back in her bag.
“I had some things I had to take care of. Writing to mother about Astoria mainly.”
“She didn’t seem to take it well at all,” Hermione commented as she watched Ginny dodge a bludger and pass the ball to Dean.
“No she didn’t, and now she will tell her brother.”
“You mean the brother that is in this organisation.”
“That would be the one. At least they don’t know about you,” he said looking at her and smiling. He laced his fingers in with hers and stroked the back of her hand.
“Yes unlike some people,” she muttered. He looked at her bemused so she explained, “Harry did find out, he confronted me last night. Did you know that the Minister has him Neville and Ron watching you?”
“No I didn’t,” Draco said darkly, “though I’m not surprised. I’m going to have to go through all that training and they get straight into the department.”
“Training?” Hermione asked confused.
“To become an Auror yes. Did I not tell you?” he asked.
“No. You want to become an Auror?” he smirked slightly.
“That is the future plan. I’m hoping that if I do the ministry will leave me alone and I can sort out this group that is on my tail.”
“Draco,” Hermione said starting to voice the question that had been playing on her mind, “why don’t you just tell someone about them? Why can’t we tell Harry or Kingsley or the head of the Auror office or someone like that.”
“Hermione if I tell then they will know it was me and then they will hurt my mother and my father and you.”
“You mean the father that should be in Azkaban?”
“I’m not pretending that I think its good he is out. I wish he was back inside. It would do me a lot of good and my mother too. But he’s not he’s out and in Italy and I am going to find a way of sorting this out myself.”
“But when they find out that you want to become an Auror…”
“I know what I will say if they ask me. I’ll say that I’m working my way up on the inside. Hermione I have got to all covered. They won’t know that I actually just really want to be an Auror.”
“I still think you should tell someone.”
“I can’t do that. It was a risk telling you. The brains of the golden trio. I’m surprised you haven’t told Potter already.”
“Of course I haven’t told him. I’m not stupid Draco.” He smiled at her and squeezed her hand tightly.
“I know your not.”
Hermione smiled but turned away when he leaned in for a kiss.
“Draco, we are in broad daylight in front of my ex boyfriend who doesn’t know about us, I would like it to stay that way.” She fished her book and quill back out and started to write. She looked up seconds later to see Malfoy’s grey eyes staring at her intently. “Yes?” she sighed.
“I was wondering what you were writing about, you never seem to put those books down.” Hermione smiled to herself.
“I am writing a book,” she said simply, “and you happen to be distracting me.”
“A book?” he asked interested.
“Yes a book.”
“What is this book about?”
“About how Harry defeated Voldemort.”
“Oh, am I in this book?”
“Yes you are,” she looked up at him and pulled an apologetic face. “I couldn’t really
write about it without you in the tower because you were the reason Harry was able to take control of the Elder wand.”
“Yes, its strange how I could have had it all that time and I never knew.”
“It’s a good thing you didn’t or you would be dead,” Hermione said.
They sat in silence for about half an hour while Hermione wrote. Draco watched the players intently, sometimes commenting on Ginny’s good performance or weaknesses in the team. It was only when the team broke for something to eat that Hermione remembered something she was meant to ask him.
“Draco,” she said.
“I need you to do something for me.”
“Anything,” he replied.
“Next Tuesday I need you to turn your hair back brown and put on your mask and join me for a picnic in the little courtyard we were in last time.”
“Ok,” Draco said bemused, “on like a date?”
“I guess you could call it that,” she laughed, “but no we are leaking the time and place to Daphne and Lavender and if reporters show up then we will know if one of them is the leak.”
“Sounds good,” Draco said with a wink, “we can use it to celebrate the fact that I am a better student than you.”
“On the contrary Malfoy, I think you will find that by Tuesday I will have more points than you and it will be me that we are celebrating.”
“Whatever you think Granger.”