Chapter 4 : I Can Be Your Hero
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Hello Everyone!! Here's chapter 4 of the latest story! I hope you like it! Plus, special brownie points to whoever identifies the bold italicized quotations (which do not belong to me; I will reveal the author at the end of this chapter) J.K. Rowling owns the wizarding world of Harry Potter, I own the plot and new characters! Enjoy!
Hermione stared blankly at the creamy invitation before her. It was made of the stiffest card paper, decorated with gold and black, and scared the living Chocolate Frogs out of her. It was from McGonagall.
Dear Ms. Granger,
Welcome back! I’d like to extend an invitation to the 8th Anniversary Ball of the Battle at Hogwarts. Partially due to your reappearance, the ministry would like to have the Golden Trio once united. They would like you to each give a speech to commemorate the ‘glorious dead’. While it would be a nice gesture, I understand you have had so much Ministry interference in your life as it is, and I told them that you should make the decision individually.
As Mr. Potter is bringing his wife, and Mr. Weasley is bringing his as well, we also extend an invitation for a date of yours. Do not feel obligated to bring one.
Again, welcome back to London, and I hope to see you at the Ball.
She’d received this invitation nearly three weeks ago. The ball was tomorrow night, she still didn’t have a dress nor did she have a date.
Ginny had laughed at her about this:
“She said you don’t need to bring one!”
“Yes, but Harry and you are going together. And Ron’s bringing that Pygmy Puff. I’ll be the odd one out. I must have a date!” Hermione declared, continuing in incoherent mumblings. Ginny swore she heard the words “must beat useless git” and “stupid red head man”. Her grin widened.
Hermione was determined. Today would be the day she found a date to the ball. But first, a dress!
After a light meal, Hermione Apparated to Flourish and Blotts- their Floo grate was always the least congested out of the hoard of shops at Diagon Alley. Exiting her beloved bookshop, she wandered towards Madame Malkin’s. As she was browsing, the door opened.
“May I help you?”
“Yes. I need a dress. A beautiful dress. I’m going to an exclusive gala, you see, and my husband is one of the guests of honor,” the woman boasted.
It was Lavender.
Swearing, Hermione hid beneath a rack of robes. The door opened several more times, and other attendants ran to assist, but Lavender and Madame Malkin were nearing her rack.
“There is a lovely robe here somewhere…a dusty rose, which should set your eyes and hair off marvelously…now where is that dratted thing…”
As Madame Malkin inched closer and closer to her, a hand pulled her out of the rack.
“Hiding isn’t your forte, Granger,” a strong voice laughed.
“What are you doing here, Dra…Malfoy!” Hermione hissed.
“Accompanying Blaise, who is accompanying Pansy. She roped him into taking her to that ball at Hogwarts tomorrow and she realized she needed a few more robes to choose from,” Draco dismissed.
“Well, in Merlin’s name, help me escape from this place! She’s here!”
If Draco hadn’t delayed her, it wouldn’t have happened. If Draco hadn’t explained he was here with Blaise and Pansy, Hermione probably could have escaped unscathed. Instead, just as she was about to leave, a hand caught her robes.
“Well look who’s alive. My, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes…Hermione Granger…” Lavender smirked.
“It’s great to see you too.”
“Can’t you tame that hair of yours? You can always see my salon, you know, if you need the help,” Lavender smiled with dripping condescension.
“That’s sweet of you. Oh, Lavender, when’s the baby due?! It must be triplets!” Hermione nodded knowingly.
The blonde looked down at her post-pregnancy belly. She’d had several appointments already to erase the left over pounds. Ron had sworn she looked amazing…when all along she looked like a cow! Well, she wouldn’t let the frizzy-haired bookworm get away with that remark.
“I heard you couldn’t find a date. Such a pity,” she flashed a winning smile. This war was over. She’d won the guy, and Hermione could do nothing about it.
“Actually, you’re wrong. Hermione is going with me,” Draco said pleasantly, before Hermione could stop him.
“Have you…are you two together?” Lavender raised an eyebrow, licked her lips, and opened her ears eagerly for fresh gossip. Ron never told her anything these days.
“Should we tell her, ‘Mi?” Draco laughed. Lavender’s eyes widened as she heard the intimate nickname.
‘Mi? Since when did he even address her as anything other than ‘Granger’? Hermione wondered.
Not trusting herself to speak, she nodded feebly.
“We’ve been dating for almost a year. That’ s why she came back, you know. She just missed me so much,” Draco whispered.
“Oh! Oh my! How…wonderful…” Lavender laughed weakly, all the while thinking of how her and Ron would be displaced by Dramione as the latest fashionable couple.
“Thank you. We think so too,” Draco smiled, putting his arm around Hermione’s shoulder lightly.
Lavender’s eyes were on the verge of popping out.
“Erm, well I must be off. Ron’s making dinner tonight and I need to make sure he didn’t burn anything.”
“Why not come join me and Hermione? We’re trying out that new place down the street that just opened,” Draco suggested casually.
“No…not ‘Piccoletta’?! How? Reservations have been made for years already!”
“Let’s just say I have a few connections. I take it you and Weasel-y,” Draco caught himself, “are coming?”
Lavender nodded. “Absolutely.”
“Great, well we’ll see you there then.”
Draco and Hermione exited Madame Malkin’s, empty handed. She didn’t yell at him until they were once again in Muggle London.
“Are you mad?! We’re what?! Dinner with that?! Tonight?!”
“Relax, Granger. I’ll address each one individually. Firstly, no I’m not mad. They ran a check on that at St. Mungo’s already. Secondly, we are now dating. Did you see that witch’s face? She was trying to humiliate you, pulling the weasel card. Instead, you’ll be humiliating the both of them over the course of a week with this. Thirdly, we are going to dinner and you are going to look amazing tonight. Show that arse what he’s missing. And you could never do this without me. I’m possibly the only guy in the world that could piss Weasel off any time of the day,” Draco smiled smugly, as if proud of that last statement.
“Merlin, I have nothing to wear for tonight or tomorrow!” Hermione wailed.
“That’s fixed easily. Fancy a trip to California?”
Without waiting for a response, Draco Apparated them to a small Apparition point.
“Where are we?!”
“Walk outside, Granger.”
The sun was shining. Women with perfect hair walked by the dozens, holding glossy bags in their hands. Shades were blazoned across every face. Palm trees swayed.
It was Rodeo drive.
“No. No, no, no!” Hermione cried.
“Just smile and pretend to like it,” Draco replied, amused, as they entered Mikimoto. Already, she had too many bags to hold. And all of that was paid for on Draco’s little black card.
“I can’t let you do all this.”
“Oh yes you can. One, you saved my life, no questions needed. Two, in order for people to buy that we’re dating, we need to act as if we are. And three, the pearls are necessary for tonight’s ensemble.”
“Since when are you the fashionista,” Hermione mumbled.
“I’ve always been one, thank you. Mother always thought I had impeccable taste in clothing,” Draco sniffed as he examined the various pearls.
“I still don’t understand why we had to come to Rodeo Drive…why couldn’t we have just stuck to Diagon Alley?”
“Because,” Draco sighed dramatically, “Lavender and those girls know fashion, even Muggle fashion, and they will be swimming with envy when they see your new wardrobe. And secondly, because no one else will be clever enough to have shopped for Muggle dresses. You’ll be the belle of the ball. Now stop complaining so that I can examine the quality of this jewelry!”
Draco managed to shut Hermione up. For the rest of the afternoon, he chose the clothing, the jewelry, the accessories and all, while she followed quietly. Shop attendants stared at the odd couple, wondering how that girl could’ve ended up with a guy like him. He treated different pearls according to their value. She thought ‘a pearl was a pearl, and why could they not just choose the closest one to the door?’
After what seemed like days, although Draco assured her it had only been four hours (a short trip for most girls of his acquaintance), Hermione Apparated them back to her flat.
“Freshen up. I’ll be back in an hour with the manicurist and the hairdresser,” Draco mock-threatened.
Hermione visibly blanched before fleeing to the sanctuary of her bathroom.
True to his word, Draco returned an hour later to find Hermione lying on the couch, reading “Hogwarts, a History.” Typical bookworm.
Rolling his eyes, he instructed the manicurist to give her a French tip mani/pedi. She endured it as if someone had thrust wooden splinters up in her fingernails. The hairdresser was instructed to fashion effortless waves. It seemed as if he and Draco were arguing in rapid French. Even Hermione had a hard time keeping up, until she finally understood:
“Hey! My hair is not that horrid!”
Rene, the hairdresser, lifted his eyebrow, while Draco snorted as if she’d just told the funniest joke.
Once the hair was done, a makeup artist was brought in.
“It’s not like I’m going to a fashion show, Malfoy!”
Then Draco and the makeup artist got in a small argument:
“But the red would look lovely…it would make those eyes POP!”
“No! I already told you, NO red lipstick!”
“She has no color, though!”
“We don’t want her to look a like a hooker now, do we? We just want her to look elegant.”
The makeup artist looked temporarily offended, but did as she was told. She didn’t want to loose the big tip.
Finally, she was done. Or so she thought.
“Nope. You still need to change, Granger,” Draco reminded drily.
Five minutes later, Hermione returned. She wore a black Chanel mini dress, with nude Prada pumps. Draco sighed with relief: he had been right, the pale pink on her lips suggested refinement. Better than the trampy-colored red! Her earrings, necklace, and ring were all part of a matching set: black pearls and diamonds by Mikimoto. All in all, she screamed beauty, thousands of dollars lavished upon her, and hours of patiently endured, torturous beauty techniques.
She made sure to tell Draco those exact words.
“It will all be worth it when you see Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Dumber tonight.”
Visibly, Hermione sighed with excessive dramatics. Internally, she was excited. Draco was right: he would no doubt have Ron steaming from ear-to-ear by the end of the night!
“What about you?” Hermione asked. “Aren’t you going to dress up?”
“It’ll take me about five minutes, Granger. Now, stay still and be a good girl. Don’t mess yourself up while I’m gone.”
Good girl! That was too much! He was the same age as she, give or take a few months. Besides, he couldn’t lecture about being good! Just as Hermione was ready to start ranting, Draco cleared his throat.
She was shocked. He was wearing a black suit, as per usual, but the 8 years since they’d seen each other had been good to him- at least, in terms of physical maturation.
“Granger, I know I look amazing, but you really need to keep your mouth closed sometimes. Otherwise the flies will buzz down your throat.”
“That’s what’s wrong. They’ll never believe you if you call me Granger throughout the entire dinner. That’s not the way to treat your girlfriend.”
“Whatever, Granger. I have no problems calling you other things, if you insist,” Draco winked suggestively.
Hermione just rolled her eyes.
“Hurry up, Granger! We have a reservation!”
“Try walking in six inch heels. Then tell me to hurry up,” Hermione grumbled.
“Merlin, are you helpless or what?!” Draco muttered a small charm. Hermione suddenly felt as if she was walking on air.
“I can’t have you tottering over while you’re trying to look like a modern Audrey Hepburn. Then you’ll just look like Marilyn Manson once you hit the ground and the makeup smears,” Draco smirked.
“Aren’t you clever.”
“No. That’s your role, Granger.”
“Whatever. How are we getting to this place? Do we have to Apparate?”
“No, no, no! Granger! I am appalled; did you not research Piccoletta?! It’s a fancy Muggle restaurant. No. We will be arriving in style, I can assure you. Unlike Weasel…he probably drives some beat-up Dodge.”
There was the Malfoy Hermione knew. The cocky, arrogant blonde boy with the pointed chin that she saw on the train at the start of term, First year.
He disappeared when Draco opened the door for Hermione. He didn’t have to, this she knew, but he chose to. She had to admit, Draco drove a nice car. Cars had always befuddled Hermione: they were nice or they weren’t. Draco was almost insulted when he heard that she did not know what it was.
“Is it a Ferrari? Oh, or a Land Rover? I know those,” Hermione replied, wrinkling her brow.
“Is it a Ferrari?! Woman, where have you been living for the past decade?! It’s the Reventon!”
“Is that a new brand?”
“It’s not like a new book publisher! It’s a Lamborghini,” Draco sighed.
“But you just said it’s the…”
“It’s one type of Lamborghini,” Draco explained patiently, “It’s one of 20 cars produced.”
“It’s very nice, Draco.”
Was she mocking him? Very nice?! What she was riding in to dinner tonight was what some men would pay just to have a picture next to! He contemplated whether or not to tell her more about it, but he decided not to for three reasons: they would be late, she probably wouldn’t understand, and she’d probably start taking notes.
Hermione snuggled into the luxurious leather seats as Draco broke several laws to get to the restaurant in time. A nervous valet took the keys to Draco’s car after he threatened the man that he’d kill him if it came back with even a smidgeon of water on it.
The maître d’ took Hermione’s black Cavalli trench coat before showing the pseudo couple their table.
“Perhaps something more private?” Draco suggested.
Nodding, the maître d walked through several rooms before entering a secluded dining room. A sign labeled “RESERVED” sat on the sturdy oak table, but the sign was simply removed and taken back to Draco’s old table. Hermione watched this interaction with growing incredulity. Was there anything Draco couldn’t do?!
They only had to wait a few minutes. Lavender entered first. She wore a long, strapless red dress and black heels. She had bright red lipstick.
“I told the woman red would look trampy, didn’t I?” Draco whispered at Hermione. She’d just taken a sip of water and almost spilled it on her dress, convulsed with laughter.
“You look nice, Lavender,” Hermione said quietly. Lavender’s mouth gaped as she took in Hermione’s ensemble.
“Are those Prada’s real?”
“Yes,” Draco answered.
“And the pearls…?”
Lavender had just opened her mouth to speak again when Ron entered. While Draco may have agreed that Lavender was decently dressed for Piccoletta, Ron most certainly wasn’t. He was wearing a suit, it was true. But what a suit! It must have been black originally, but it was browning. His tie was a lovely green, but it clashed horribly with his hair. He looked like a Christmas card. There was a horrid splotch on one leg. His hair was disheveled.
“Sorry we’re late,” he muttered.
“It’s no problem, Ronald.”
Hermione stood up to greet Ron. Then he saw her for the first time. His eyes widened.
“Wow…you look great!”
“She does, doesn’t she?” Draco agreed before planting a large (and rather great) kiss on Hermione’s pale pink lips.
That’s when Ron looked like a rainbow threw up on him. His face was purple.
Draco smirked and looked directly at Ron.
“I took the liberty of ordering ahead. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Not at all. I’m sure you chose something wonderful,” Lavender interjected as her husband stole murderous glances at the blonde man.
“How is life as a parent?” Hermione asked conversationally.
“The babies are great. Basil is a dear, and Iris is just adorable,” Lavender replied, while Ron said:
“The baby cries every bloody night. I’ve not slept a wink! At least Basil doesn’t wet the bed too much.”
“You must not be able to get out much now with two children,” Hermione remarked.
“Oh, you’d be surprised,” Lavender replied airly.
Ron, on the other hand, said glumly, “I feel as if I’ve Mum actually put those bars on my window like she threatened.”
That was how the dinner continued. Hermione and Draco would make some distant remark. Lavender and Ron would answer with complete opposites.
“So will you two be at the ball tomorrow?” Ron asked grudgingly.
“We wouldn’t miss it for the world. All ‘Mi has talked about was having you three get together forever. I’m sure Ginny, Lavender and I will be quite out of the loop,” Draco replied casually. He draped his arm over Hermione’s shoulder protectively. All Ron noticed was the ‘Mi’ part.
“Lovely. Do you both have a new house now? Wasn’t that the reason why Hermione moved back? To live with you?” Lavender asked innocently.
“Actually, we have an extra-large flat. You both must come over sometime. With Harry and Ginny there, it should be fabulous,” Draco smiled.
Harry? Ginny? Ron wanted to scream. Since when had the ferret taken over his life, his friends, and his ex-girlfriend?!
“A house party?! How nice would that be, Won-Won!” Lavender squealed.
“We haven’t been to many parties in a while…the babies and all,” Ron explained weakly.
The evening drew to a close. The party exited together, and the minute Lavender saw Draco’s car, her face paled. She may have been a dumb blonde, but she knew brands like her right hand, and the Lamborghini insignia would have been hard to miss.
“It was great to get together again, Ronald, Lavender,” Hermione stated.
“Yes, it was great,” Ron echoed.
“We’ll see each other tomorrow, I fancy.”
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,” Ron replied glumly.
“And then the house party!” Lavender exclaimed.
“We wouldn’t dream of forgetting it,” Draco winked.
“It seems as if we’ll see each other plenty then!” Lavender was happy.
“For ever and a day,” Ron griped.
“I’m so glad that we had dinner together. It’s great to see another couple as happy as me and my Ronniekins!”
“How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes,” Ron muttered. Lavender and Draco didn’t hear, but Hermione did.
“We must go. I’m afraid ‘Mi and I had a long day, but we’ll see each other tomorrow,” Draco smiled. He opened the door for Hermione, got into the car himself, and drove away, the smug smile plastered to his face.
When the Weasleys arrived home, Lavender went to her babies. They started crying, and she fled, leaving Ron to take care of them.
He was tired. He was cranky. But it wasn’t Basil or Iris’ fault. It was the ferret’s! Cursing, he rocked his children gently, crying himself to sleep.
Questions? Comments? Please review!
If you guessed correctly, you'd know that the author of the italicized quotations in bold is none other than William Shakespeare! I thought he was a fitting choice for the end of this chapter.
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