Hermione beamed at the piece of parchment in front of her. ‘O.’ She had got an ‘O’ on her potions homework. She had won! She had beat him. She flashed a smile at Draco who was looking at her laughing to himself and shaking his head. She knew she had won. The day before she had gained a point in defence and he had got two points in transfiguration and arthimancy making it 9:10 in his favour.
But today was different. She had got full marks on Flitwick’s homework though Draco had mastered the spell first and Slughorn had just awarded her another twenty points for her potion. She was 12:10 in the lead. She had proved him wrong. Harry kicked her slightly and passed her a note. She undid it and read Malfoy’s writing.
From the look on your face I’m guessing you got an O? I only managed an E. Guess that means that we will be celebrating your class domination.
Hermione quickly scribbled one back.
I told you that you shouldn’t get too comfortable at the top. Yes I did get an O. I think Malfoy that makes it 12:10 which means yes I win and yes I am the best student in the class but then again I knew that all along.
She had Harry pass it back and watched Draco’s smirk. He didn’t return the message but started talking to Blaise from what Hermione could make out it was about later that night. She was kind of excited if she was honest. She knew they were only doing it to see if the leak was one of the two girls. They knew that it couldn’t have been any of the Griffindor boys because nothing had turned up in the paper and she knew it would have done by now.
Yesterday Pansy had told Daphne for them and Ginny and Hermione had ‘let it slip’ when they were in a room alone with Lavender. If it wasn’t one of these two then they would have to start from the beginning and try and figure out someone new.
Hermione felt a slight burn in her pocket as she left the classroom and pulled out her D.A gallon. There was a small message from Ginny engraved in the metal. She placed it back in her pocket and went to meet her in the empty classroom where Harry had confronted Hermione about Draco.
Harry had turned out to come in handy when it came to her and Draco. He had said that she could use his cloak when she wanted and he was the one that had suggested the gallons. Ginny had asked to borrow Ron’s and they had got Seamus’s and Dean’s and had given them to Draco, Bliase and Pansy. They were using it to communicate with each other and it had come in handy. Only the six of them new about the relationship and they were all in on trying to find the leak quickly.
Hermione had charmed the coins for a second time so that when you specified a name you coin would only send it to that particular coin. It became a useful way for Ginny and Hermione to hold private conversations without Harry or any of the others knowing. It meant that the plans for tonight were going to go off without a hitch.
Harry and Ginny are going to hide underneath the invisibility cloak and wait in the bushes to see if anyone came. Draco and Hermione are going to make sure that they placed a spell on the gazebo so that no one could hear them and then they were going to have a brilliant date and if it ended up in the papers then it ended up in the papers. There was no harm done seeing as Draco would once again be disguised.
Hermione walked into the classroom to see an overexcited Ginny sitting on one of the tables.
“Everything is ready and set up for dinner,” she said.
“Ok, thanks,” Hermione said, “but I don’t know why you had to drag me off here to tell me that.”
“Well I wanted to know of you have decided what to wear yet?”
“Erm, well I was just going to wear this?” she indicated to the tatty blue jeans and the plain white T-shirt she wore under her robes.
“Yeah I thought so,” Ginny laughed, “which is why I’m lending you my clothes.” Hermione looked Ginny up and down a couple of times.
“Gin, I don’t think I’m going to fit in any of your clothes, you’re an eight I’m a ten and you’re at least two inches shorter than me!”
“Hermione are you forgetting that we are witches. I’ve charmed the clothes so that they fit anyone no matter what size. You remember those cute dark blue jeans you bought me for Christmas, well your borrowing those, but don’t ruin them I would like to wear them again. And you can wear your heels from the dance because they go with this top and jumper. She pulled out a pink lace strap top and a thick beige knitted cardigan that fell to just above her knees and was tied around the middle.
“Gin, I’m not sure if-”
“Mione trust me, you have to wear something nice and you are going to wear these.”
“Were did you get this top from?” Hermione asked as she examined it.
“Oh I made it,” she shrugged.
“You made it?”
“Yes, magic is a wonderful thing,” she sighed with a smile, “I’m thinking of going into fashion.”
“Gin your meant to be going into quidditch.”
“So, it doesn’t mean I can’t do both. Just because I am going to become an international superstar and play for England and get us to a world cup final doesn’t mean that I can’t be fashionable too. Plus if I have you to wear all my clothes…” she trailed off with a wink.
“So basically you are going to use my celebrity status to get big?”
“Exactly,” she said taking the clothes back and putting them in a bag. “Now, you are going to meet me in your room at seven and we are going to do your hair and stuff and then you are going to go down to the courtyard and you are going to enjoy your date whether there be reporters there or not.” Hermione rolled her eyes at her friend but nodded and they left to go to lunch. She was sure that Ginny was using this as an excuse to have some fun herself but she wasn’t going to stop her. Ginny did have a good eye for fashion and she wasn’t going to say no to her dressing her. It would actually probably help her. Especially since she was the girlfriend of Draco Malfoy. She had certain standard to maintain. The girlfriend of Draco Malfoy. Just the sentence sent shivers down her spine. She was with Draco Malfoy.
“You do realise you can change your mind,” Harry said for the millionth time as Hermione twisted her hair around and secured it tightly with a hair clip.
“Yes Harry,” she replied, “I can but I don’t want to.”
“Even though you are about to go on a date with…Draco Malfoy.” He shuddered at the name.
“Harry Potter I didn’t moan at you when you dated Cho Chang though I thought she was a ditzy emotional wreck who was taking advantage of you because she was still in love with Cedric. So don’t you moan because I am now with Draco.”
“But its Malfoy… have you forgotten what he used to say to you?”
“No I haven’t but believe it or not he has changed and you are just going to have to get used to that. Now have you both got your coins?”
“Yep,” Ginny said, “and so have Bliase and Pansy. Pansy is watching Daphne and Blaise is tailing Lavender. We will message you if we see or hear anything. You don’t have to worry about a thing, just enjoy yourself.” Hermione smiled and hugged Ginny quickly.
“Thanks Gin. I’ll talk to you later.” She hugged Harry quickly and left the room, making her way down to the courtyard.
She couldn’t help but smile when she stepped into it. The gazebo was hung with red and white fairy lights and white calla lilies were entwined around it. There was a large blanket stretched out over the floor and a wicker basket sitting on top of it. Jars full of blue fire sat around the edges of the gazebo and hung from the ceiling, obviously there to keep the place warm.
Draco stood in the centre, complete with dark hair and this time a plain black mask, holding a pink calla lily in his hands. She walked into the gazebo and he took her into his arms kissing her passionately. She broke away and closed her eyes taking in everything about this moment.
“This is beautiful,” she whispered.
“Thank you,” Draco replied, “and there is no need to whisper no one can here us, I already set up all the spells we need.”
“Well Mr Malfoy you have definitely outdone yourself this time,” she smiled.
“Do you really think this is going to work?” he asked as he pulled her closer to him.
“I hope so, I can’t think who else it could be, none of the others have said anything.”
Draco pushed a curl behind her ear and pulled her in for a kiss. He broke away after only a few seconds but lent his forehead against hers.
“I love you Hermione Granger, part of me wishes I didn’t, wishes that I didn’t have to put you in this situation, that I didn’t have to put you in danger but I can’t escape it.” His eyes were closed so he didn’t see Hermione smile and move in to kiss him gently.
“Draco Malfoy, you are the last person on this earth I thought I could fall in love with but I think I have, and it’s only now I realise it.”
Draco led her over to the picnic and sat her down on the blanket. He pulled out a flask of what smelt like butter beer and two glasses. He poured both of them a drink and handed one of them to Hermione. She drank it gratefully and glanced up at Draco through her lashes. She couldn’t quite get over the fact that he was her boyfriend. It was strange to think that just a year ago they had been mortal enemies.
Hermione reached over and took his hand. Draco smiled down at it and then looked up at her.
“Do you want to know something?” he asked as he rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb.
“Yes,” Hermione replied curious as to what he had to say.
“Do you remember the first time we met after the war?”
“In flourish and blotts? In the muggle section?”
“Yes, I remember smelling this really strange smell. And it was of old books and flowers and I kind of glanced over and you were there, Hermione I can honestly say I fell in love with you right at that moment…” Hermione went to open her mouth and speak but Draco stopped her with a quick shake of his head, “let me finish. I don’t know what it was but when you sent me that letter back about Ron and about…well me being a death eater, I felt lost and I felt, well I felt as if I had to change. I knew I had to be a new Draco if I had any chance of ever being with you. I hated the fact that I might have ruined your happiness. When I called you…that word…I was angry and I felt awful after. Hermione I hated seeing you with Weasly and I know it sounds bad but it was such a relief to punch him like that, after everything he did to you, it was like, it’s my turn now.”
He stopped talking and Hermione took it as her turn to speak.
“I’m glad he did that to me when I look back on it, if he hadn’t then I wouldn’t be with you.” She leaned in and kissed him gently, knowing that even if this appeared in the paper the next day then she still had the most amazing night she could have wished for.
Hermione sat at the breakfast table the next morning smiling into her food. Draco sat just across from her and she could feel his foot rubbing up and down her leg. Ginny was just as smiley as her friend but her eyes were on Hermione and not her porridge. Harry looked a little annoyed and was shooting glares across the table at Malfoy at every opportune moment. Blaise was eating and not really paying much attention to any of the others. Ron wasn’t as unobservant.
“What on earth has got into you all today?” he asked speaking to the other five people at the table. Ginny didn’t looked away from Hermione and Hermione didn’t look up from her breakfast. Harry’s eyes however snapped away from Draco who had looked up at Ron. Blaise still wasn’t paying attention. No one said anything, which didn’t help.
“Look guys I get that you are all occupied with yourself but you are keeping things from me.”
“Ron mate, no one is keeping things from you,” Harry said, “we just happen to be in good moods this morning.”
“Good moods? On a Wednesday morning?”
“Yes Ronald,” Ginny said with an exasperated tone, “we are happy on a Wednesday morning.” Ron looked at her incredulously and then got up and walked further down the table to sit with the rest of the seventh years.
Hermione looked up and her eyes followed Ron.
“I feel awful,” she said.
“You’re not the only one,” Harry mumbled.
“Why?” Ginny asked.
“Gin, I don’t really like lying to my best friend,” Harry said shooting another glare at Draco.
“And I feel guilty for keeping it from him.”
“One,” Ginny said, “you have no need to feel guilty especially after what he did to you Hermione. And Two, Harry James Potter, he might be your best friend but you know exactly how he is going to react if he found out, and if he does we will all tell him that you never knew anything. Won’t we guys?”
“Yep, course we will Harry mate,” Blaise said, finally pulling himself away from his food. Harry didn’t seem too enthused about the idea but they were all interrupted by the post.
Errol swooped down with a letter for Ginny from Mrs Weasly and Hettie dropped off a letter for Harry from Mrs Tonks updating him on Teddy. Then the daily prophet owl swooped down and dropped a rolled up edition right in front of Hermione. Both she and Draco looked up at each other before the girl grabbed it, unrolled it and lifted it in front of her eyes.
Draco looked at her expectantly and after a few minutes she laid it across the table for everyone to see. A large picture of her and Draco in mid kiss sat on the paper with the headline ‘Prince charming returns.’
She didn’t even need to read the article, she knew that the ‘reliable source’ would be mentioned. Now the question was Daphne or Lavender?
“Harry and I didn’t even see anyone there,” Ginny said astounded as she turned to the suggested page and started to read.
“Everyone’s looking at us,” Harry groaned, “look I’m sorry guys but this…situation is just, it’s just weird. I just, I can’t get used to it.” He leaned over and kissed Hermione lightly on the head, before whispering to her, “look I love you and everything but I can’t get used to him, I’m not going to leave you or anything but please don’t expect me to be happy about this.”
“I understand,” Hermione said getting up and hugging him tightly, “I know it’s strange. Go and sit with Ron, I know you want to.” Harry smiled, kissed Ginny quickly and then went to sit with the others. Ginny glared after him.
“He’s going to be having a stern telling off from me.”
“It’s ok,” Draco said, “I get why it’s weird, I mean this time last year he was ready to kill me and I him, it’s hard to come back from that.”
“I did,” Hermione said, “but I get why he’s weird with it. Anyway what do we do now?” She motioned to the paper.
“Confront them I guess,” Ginny said looking at Blaise, “I know she’s your girlfriend and all-”
“Actually she’s not,” Blaise shrugged.
“What?” Hermione, Draco and Ginny all said at the same time, snapping their heads towards him.
“She’s not my girlfriend anymore.”
“When did this happen?” Draco asked his best friend.
“Last week, I’m surprised you didn’t notice, she has been crying all over the place. Pansy’s been with her, hence why she’s gone back to the Slytherin table,” he said, pointing over to them. Hermione waved at Pansy who waved back and got up to walk over.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Ginny asked. Blaise just shrugged.
“You had bigger things to worry about.” Ginny rolled her eyes just as Pansy sat in between her and Hermione.
“Sorry to burst your bubble guys but it’s not Daphne.” Hermione let out a small sigh.
“How do you know?”
“I was with her all night and she was too upset to do anything. She wasn’t bothered when I told her about the meeting and when I showed her the paper she asked if I knew who it was and said that she felt sorry for you because someone’s obviously leaking. I know my best friend and she’s not lying.” Hermione nodded and looked at Gin.
“I guess its Lavender then,” she said.
“But Lavender was in a full body binding curse when Malfoy attacked Ron,” Ginny said, “how she would be able to tell the papers about that I don’t know.”
“You can still hear when you’re in a body binding curse,” Hermione reminded, “and I bet Privati told her.”
“But she was in love with Ron,” Pansy said, “why would she tell them something that damaged his reputation and improved yours.”
“I bet she gets paid for it,” Draco said, “if she’s the prophet’s official leak then they would pay her for it. Plus it would create a bigger wedge between you and Ron so she could get closer to him.” Hermione nodded and looked over to where Ron sat reading the paper. He looked rather angry.
“We’ll corner her after dinner tonight,” Hermione said grabbing her bag and motioning to Draco, “let’s go to Arithmancy.” He nodded and got up to follow her out the room but as they were walking up the staircase Draco pulled her into a small alcove behind a tapestry.
“Draco!” she hissed.
“We still have five minutes,” he whispered before kissing her hard. Hermione pulled away first.
“And that was for?”
“For being with me,” he replied with a smile. He kissed her again and held her tightly in his arms, “When we have all this sorted out we can relax a little ok?” Hermione said.
“For the time being, but we still need to be careful, what with him
on my back.”
“I thought he had laid off?”
“He had but I got a letter last night asking me if I would join when I left school, I wrote back and told him my plans about laying low for two years and becoming an auror. I’m waiting for a reply.”
“Draco, you have to tell someone,” Hermione said earnestly.
“I can’t you know why I can’t.”
“If the ministry get wind of this then you will get sent to Azkaban!”
“I know, don’t worry I’m fixing it.” Hermione shook her head but Draco brought it up to face him, “I am I promise, ok?”
“Lavender?” Ginny said, putting on her sickly sweet voice and breaking into a large smile. Lavender turned around, looking more than slightly confused.
“Ginny?” she asked.
“Yeah,” she said, walking towards her, Hermione just behind. “We wondered if we could talk to you?”
“Erm yeah sure,” Lavender said. They all walked over to the common room chairs and sat down. Hermione’s stomach was fluttering as Ginny pulled the paper out of her bag and dropped it onto Lavenders lap. Hermione wasn’t looking at the paper, she was looking at Lavenders face and as soon as her eyes clocked onto the picture her face paled and she tried to hide a gulp. Ginny’s face had lost the beaming smile and was now as hard as rock.
“Let’s cut to the chase,” she said, “we know you are the leak and if you don’t stop we will go to McGonagall and she will kick you out of school.”
Lavender opened and closed her mouth a few times in silence, as if she had no idea what to say. Ginny took this as a chance to continue.
“We know that you alerted the paper to Hermione’s meeting with her guy and we know that it has been you that has been tipping everyone off…are you going to say anything? You ruined everything for Hermione when she was with Ron and now you’re trying to do it again!”
“I haven’t…” she trailed off her weak attempt at denying it and the righted herself and fixed Hermione with a sharp glare, “she had everything ok, she is the one who gets all the press and had Ron and all she did was disappear from school for a year chasing stupid cups and stuff. I got with Ron because he didn’t feel wanted in his relationship with her and I wanted him. I tell the press what happens because I need the money and they pay well. Plus I guessed she wanted to keep this new man a secret and it would hurt her more if he was outed.”
The two girls stared at Lavender.
She helped kill Voldemort!”
“I was attacked by a werewolf!”
“Yes, not while he was transformed and Hermione saved you from him in case you forgot!” Ginny’s face had turned red and she was clutching her wand in her hand a little too tightly.
“Why should she get all the recognition? I helped people too; I fought in that battle too!”
“That is not the point Lavender! If you leak to the prophet again we will tell McGonagall!” Ginny stood up sharply and Hermione followed. The two girls left the common room and made their way to Hermione’s bedroom, where they found, Draco, Harry and Blaise waiting.
“We did it, hopefully she won’t leak again, if she does we will tell McGonagall and she will be expelled.”
“Yeah, Gin kind of had a go at her,” Hermione said as she walked up to Draco and laced her arms around his waist.
“I’m not surprised,” Harry said, obviously trying to avoid looking at the pair.
“Hopefully that’s that all sorted and now things can kind of go back to normal,” Gin sighed.
“Hopefully,” Draco replied.