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Searching with the Enemy by Oppugno
Chapter 13 : Masquerading Mayhem
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 10

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Sun filtered in through the tent’s open flap and slowly roused Hermione from her sleep.  She pushed herself up and stretched her aching muscles. She clambered down from her bunk and began preparing tea.

She looked over and saw that Malfoy was still asleep. She decided against waking him and took her freshly brewed tea over to he favourite armchair. She sank deep into the cushions as she pulled Professor Noires’ biography from her beaded bag. They needed to find more Horcruxes. Especially now that they realized how truly dangerous this project was.

Hermione flipped through the pages on his early childhood and came to the beginning of his schooling. She figured that, like Voldemort, Professor Noires would have hidden one of his Horcruxes at his school. Her mistake was in assuming that, like most witches and wizards she knew, he had gone to Hogwarts.  Her eyes scanned along the page quickly, soaking up the information.

Jason’s time in school is possibly the biggest contributor to the wizard he is today. He often remarks that he can’t imagine his life without his times at Durmstrang Academy. The pure and powerful atmosphere induced a learning environment that Jason took full advantage of.  He spent most of his time studying, except on holidays went he fully partook in the excitement and activities. He often remarks that Christmas time was the best time at Durmstrang perhaps because of the incredible star that sat on top of the gigantic Christmas tree in the entrance hall. It’s powerful glow always made Jason feel at home and it is a memory that greets him every Christmas season.

She groaned. It was obvious. Professor Noires had hidden a Horcrux at Durmstrang. I thought he’d said only around the country she thought agitated. Suddenly she remembered. No one really knew where Durmstrang was. There wasn’t a book anywhere that mentioned. So it could very well be in the country. The Northern part at least she decided.

She praised herself for identifying the location of another Horcrux. It’s so easy! Everything I need is here in this book she thought gladly. She wondered whether Professor Noires had intended to make it this simple or whether it was her practiced hand at Horcrux hunting and extracting information that made figuring out the Horcruxes fairly easy.

She frowned when she thought of something else. She had no idea where Durmstrang actually was. Despite that she doubted she’d be allowed to walk right through the door. Security would be insane.

Viktor! She thought suddenly, He’ll be able to help!

She considered writing him a letter but decided against it. It had been a while since she’d spoken to him and his schedule was much more demanding than Oliver’s. She needed to find out where he was.

She rushed over to her beaded bag and dug through its contents. Finally, she pulled out the small gold coin, her connection to the outside world.

“Ginny? Are you there?” Hermione sent through the coin.

There was silence for a few minutes before Ginny’s voice rang back through the coin, “Hermione! It’s been forever! What’s going on? Is everything okay?”

“Everything is fine! How are you? How are things back at Hogwarts?” Hermione’s voice struggled to keep up with the onset excitement that hearing Ginny’s voice brought.

“Things here are good. I breaking my bloody back studying for these NEWTs. I’m guessing you probably relish the idea of NEWTs over living what you’re doing now. How are you holding up with the prat anyway?” Ginny’s voice held a sharp note of contempt as she finished her sentence.

Hermione held the coin silently for a moment. She couldn’t bring herself to believe that she still hated Malfoy. Not after everything last night. In fact, truth be told, she felt sorry for him. Hermione brought the coin back up to her lips.

“Fine, actually. Things have been getting better with Malfoy. He’s really not as bad as we think. I think we’ve misunderstood him a bit, Ginny.” Hermione held her breath, trying the anticipate Ginny’s reaction.

The coin stayed silent for several minutes. Hermione rolled it anxiously between her fingers. When the voice finally spoke, it was much calmer than Hermione had predicted.

“Only you, Hermione” Ginny said, her voice wistful.

Hermione face contorted in confusion. “Only me what?”

The response this time was much. “Only you would have the decency to give him a second chance.” Ginny’s voice wasn’t accusatory, in fact, she almost seemed glad. Almost.

“I think he deserves one,” Hermione responded confidently.

“Malfoy’s a lucky prat,” Ginny responded chuckling.

Hermione laughed, “Anyway Ginny, I really ‘called’ to ask you for a favour…”

Hermione could hear the curiosity in Ginny’s response, “Ok, what is it….?”

“I need you to look up Viktor Krum’s Quiddich Schedule. Find out where he is right now. It’ll probably be in Quiddich weekly or something.” Hermione’s tone was urgent. The faster she found Viktor, the faster she could get into Durmstrang.

“Hang on! I just got this weeks Quiddich weekly! It’s in my room, I’ll go get it!” Ginny responded enthusiastically.

Hermione waited, desperate for information. Finally, Ginny’s voice came back out of the coin.

“Here it is, okay it says Bulgaria is taking a week off for rest until their next game against the Harpies…” Hermione’s heart sank, “But wait,” Ginny said excitedly; “It says here that Viktor Krum is signing autographs at Flourish and Blotts this Wednesday for their annual ‘Quiddich Through the Ages’ day!”

Hermione almost jumped for joy. Tomorrow it would be Wednesday and she could finally make some more progress. “Thanks, Ginny!” she said gratefully. She was about the throw the coin back into he purse when Ginny’s voice emanated once more.

“But, be careful Hermione. Professor Noires is getting more and more antsy. It seems like he’s ready to up the ante. If you’ve already been to Diagon Alley undetected, I doubt it will be so easy to do it again. I know it’s just a project but I can’t help feeling worried…so promise me, be careful”

“I will, don’t worry Ginny,” Hermione replied earnestly. The coin fell silent and Hermione tossed it back into her bag.

She heard Malfoy begin to wake. She sat down and waited patiently for him to get up. Finally, with a last stretch of his arms, he clambered out of bed. He squinted his eyes, adjusting to the sunlight.

“Granger,” he said somewhat groggily when he noticed her, “Did you have a good sleep or were you too busy watching me?”

Hermione scoffed but couldn’t help smiling just a bit, “Actually Malfoy, we need to talk. I think I know where to find another ‘Horcrux’. It’s not going to be easy and we’re going to need a lot of help.”

Malfoy raised an eyebrow, “Where on earth is it?”

Hermione looked at him seriously, “Durmstrang”

Malfoy’s face fell, “Well, that’s it, we fail. That school is the most heavily guarded school in the world. Even I don’t know where it is, let alone how to get past al of the security…” Malfoy trailed off.

Hermione nodded, “I know, that’s why we need inside help.”

A look of confusion passed over Malfoy’s face, “And where are we going to find someone willing to help us with a high enough security clearance that they not only know where Durmstrang is but will be able to get us inside without an issue?” Malfoy asked sarcastically.

Hermione smiled, “In Flourish and Blotts, tomorrow.”

“And who may I ask are we meeting there?” Malfoy asked, still not convinced.

“Viktor Krum,” Hermione replied simply.

Malfoy’s eyebrows were now raised so high that they disappeared in his hairline. “Viktor Krum!? You can’t be serious…”

“Dead serious. I’m sure he’ll help us,” She noticed Malfoy’s disbelieving look, “Well, me at least” she conceded.

“Are you sure Diagon Alley is safe? I mean we were barely there for five minutes last time and people were noticing us. And you can bet Professor Noires is going to start beefing up security…”

Hermione nodded in agreement, “You’re right. We’ll have to use the cloak again.”

Malfoy’s faced relaxed slightly, “Ah yes! The cloak! How could I have forgotten Potter’s marvelous gift,” he said sarcastically.

“Be grateful,” Hermione chastised, “If it weren’t for this you’d have to do a whole lot more thinking and we wouldn’t want you to get a headache, now would we?”

“Oh ha ha, Granger. Very funny,” Malfoy replied before heading towards the kitchen for breakfast.

Hermione smiled slightly before sitting down to read Hogwarts: A History. Anxiety stirred in the pit of her stomach as the hours ticked away until the search began for Horcrux number three.

Diagon Alley was bustling, with Christmas only three days away. Desperate moms searching for that last gift, and teenagers wondering what on earth to get their parents. No one noticed the two pairs of feet that occasionally appeared in the crowd.

The line up in Flourish and Blotts was out the door. Quiddich enthusiasts of all ages pushed and shoved with excitement to see the world’s best Seeker. Hermione struggled to find a way through the crowd and decided instead to just wait in line, much to Malfoy’s dismay.

After about an hour, Hermione finally made her way across the threshold, tugging along an annoyed Malfoy.

Viktor Krum sat at a long, wooden desk at the back of the store. A stack of photos was directly to his left, ready to be signed and given away. He looked almost exactly the same as the last time Hermione had seen him. His dark features, hooked nose, and thick muscles all stood out against the backdrop of ordinary witches and wizards.

“Follow my lead,” Hermione whispered to Malfoy as she began to make her way over to the desk. She hugged the bookshelves as she crept silently behind the desk. Viktor sat on a large, intricate oak chair. His back was hunched over the desk as he feverishly scribbled autograph after autograph. Hermione moved silently towards the chair, careful not to make a sound. She leaned in close to Viktor’s ear hoping to not scare him to badly.

“Viktor,” Hermione whispered in a gentle voice.

Viktor practically jumped off of his chair, surprising a young boy who stood at the front of the line.

“Vhat…” he started to say before Hermione cut in off in a sharp whisper.

“Shhh, it’s me Hermione. You can’t see me but we need to talk. Not here, it’s not safe for me. Can you meet later?” she asked her mouth almost touching his ear.

Viktor grabbed another photo from the pile. Two, Hermione noticed suddenly. He scribbled on the photos before handing the first to the young boy, who thanked him graciously. The second, he crumpled up and threw on the floor.

“I ruined it,” he told a questioning publicist in his thick accent. Hermione knew that it must be for her and she slowly bent down to pick it up. Checking to see that no one was watching, she snatched it up and pulled it under the cloak.

“What does it say?” Malfoy asked I a whisper.

Hermione scanned the note quickly.

I am staying at the Leaky Cauldron, room 301. Meet me in there at 5:30. There is a key in my coat pocket. Take it, I will get another.

Hermione saw Viktor’s coat hanging on the back of the chair. She tiptoed up to it and slowly slid her hand into the pocket. It closed around a heavy key. She removed her hand slowly and then, with incredible speed, she and Malfoy left the store.

Hermione’s watch read 5:33. Her eyes lingered on the door willing it to open. She and Malfoy had had no issue getting into Viktor’s room, thanks to the cloak, but the waiting was driving her mad. The questionable future that lay ahead haunted her thoughts and she and Malfoy sat in silence. Just when Hermione thought she could bear another moment, the lock on the door began to turn. She quickly jumped off of the bed and sped into the bathroom, Malfoy on her heels. The conversation from the hall drifted through the room.

“Here you go Mr. Krum. Let me know if you find your key.” Hermione heard Tom, the barman, say.

“Thank you very much. I vas so vorried I vouldn’t have a room!” Viktor laughed. Hermione heard Tom join in with his throaty cackle.

“Have a good evening, Mr. Krum,” Tom said in parting.

“Thank you” Viktor replied before entering the room. He quickly shut the door behind him.

“Her-my-o-ninny?” He called scanning the room.

“Hermyoninny? Is that what he calls you?” Malfoy chuckled.

Hermione shushed him before stepping out into the room.

"Viktor!” she said greeting him with a smile, “How are you?”

“Good,” he replied with a note of confusion in his voice, “Vhat is going on?” His eyes rested on Malfoy standing behind her, “Vhat is he doing here?”

“Look Viktor I’m going to give you the short version,” Hermione said quickly, intensity n her eyes, “I went back to Hogwarts to finish my last year of school. However, instead of a normal school year I was assigned this project where I have to run around the country and search for objects of special value to a certain individual,” Hermione finished catching her breath, “Oh and Malfoy and I are partners,” she added.

Viktor still looked confused, “So, vhat do you need me for?”

“The next object that we need to find is located inside of Durmstrang,” Hermione said causing Viktor’s eyebrows to rise in shock,  “we need to get inside without drawing any attention”.

Viktor looked wary, “So, you need me to help you vith getting inside? It vill be very difficult, Durmstrang is very secretive,”

“I know,” Hermione said nodding, “but we really need to get inside, is there any way you can help us?” she pleaded.

“Vell,” Viktor said, “Durmstrang is having its annual alumni Christmas Masquerade Ball, and I think this vould be our only chance to get in undetected I am allowed to bring three guests. I usually bring my parents and a date but perhaps this year my parents can stay home, they never really liked the ball anyway...”

Hermione cringed slightly. She had absolutely no desire to go to a Masquerade Ball. But she weighed her options and decided it would be the only way.

“Alright,” Hermione said, “You will take us to the Ball, from there we’ll need a distraction in order to look for the star” she directed the last part of the conversation at Malfoy.

“Vell, I am giving a speech. Vould that be a good distraction?” Viktor added helpfully.

“I think that would be perfect!” Hermione said gratefully.

“Ok, meet me here on Christmas Eve,” Viktor replied, “From here ve can Apparate to Durmstrang...”

“Viktor, I can’t tell you how much we appreciate this!” Hermione said earnestly, she nudged Malfoy who also grumbled his thanks.

Viktor smiled at Hermione, “No problem. I vill see you soon,”

Hermione waved goodbye a final time before disappearing under the Invisibility Cloak, Malfoy at her side. They exited into Diagon Alley meeting the frosty air. The streets were still crowded with bustling witches and wizards. Conversations mixed I heavily n the air, so much so, that no one noticed the two voices that seemed to have no bodies.

“You didn’t happen to pack any dress robes did you?” Hermione asked Malfoy, though she already knew the answer.

“No, I didn’t think this project would include any black tie events,” Malfoy replied sarcastically.

Hermione groaned. She knew security would be too high to go under the invisibility cloak but that didn’t quell her annoyance. She now needed to find suitable attire.

“Great, so now we both need something to wear and no place to go without being recognized. You have to bet that Noires has spies all around Diagon Alley,” Hermione said, agitated.

“I know a place,” Malfoy said lazily, taking the lead. He led her through the thick crowd and outside of Diagon Alley. Hermione hesitated slightly when she read the large letters stating she was about to enter Knockturn Alley.

Malfoy walked ahead without a second glance. They hurried along the deserted road. Suddenly Malfoy stopped in front of a small storefront named ‘Madame Tournier’s Dress shop”. Malfoy started towards the door.

“Is it safe?” Hermione asked nervously.

“This place serves only the oldest and purest of wizarding families. Why on earth would Noires have informants here? No one here will say anything,” Malfoy said a tad arrogantly.

With that, he removed the cloak and tossed it to Hermione, who shoved it in the beaded bag. She cautiously followed Malfoy into the tiny shop.

The shop was empty, save a short, old lady with thick glasses and dressed head to toe in bottle green robes. She wore a massive emerald around her neck. Her eyes snapped up from her book as she heard them enter.

“Mr. Malfoy,” she said in a hollow voice, “what a pleasant surprise!”

“Madame Tournier,” Malfoy nodded in greeting, “This is --“

“Hermione Granger,” Madame Tournier interrupted with a snarl, “I recognize her from the newspaper. If I may ask Mr. Malfoy, why are you associating with such a person?” Her eyes were filled with disgust at Hermione.

“It is by necessity only, Madame, trust me. However, she and I both do need to look stunning by Christmas Eve and I could greatly use your help in that endeavor,” Malfoy replied politely. Hermione held back a grimace.

“Very well, Mr. Malfoy. Follow me.” She began walking towards the back of the store. Hermione and Malfoy followed in haste, desperate to remain on her good side. She placed Malfoy in a dressing room at one end of the store. She handed him several sets of dress robes before rushing Hermione off to the opposite side of the store. Madame Tournier handed six ball gowns to Hermione ranging in colour, style, everything. Hermione stepped behind the thick black curtain of the dressing room. She felt oddly self-conscious in this ‘pureblood’ store.

She took a breath and got dressed into the first ball gown. It was awful. The iridescent and heavy gold fabric clung to her body in an uncomfortably. The overall look was unflattering.  She quickly stepped out of it and moved on. The next dress was equally as bad. It was plain black with a neckline that went all the way up under her chin. It was the quintessential piece to any evil queen’s wardrobe. She ripped it off in distaste. She tried on the next dress, which was a bold red. The dress wasn’t bad save the plunging neckline that would make even the sluttiest of girls cringe. The next three dresses did nothing for her either. As she examined her appearance in a dull and lifeless brown dress, she figured she’d better ask for some more options. She peeled back the curtain and stepped outside, her eyes scanning for Madame Tournier.

“My God, I hope that’s not the dress you picked,” Hermione spun around to see Malfoy leaning on a nearby wall, examining her dress.

“Hardly,” Hermione responded, “But I’m out of dresses. None of these work,” she said motioning to the discarded dresses behind her.

Malfoy paused a moment and looked Hermione up and down. Then without a word, he left, disappearing into the store.

Not five minutes later, he returned, carrying a dress.

“Try this one, Granger,” he said, thrusting the dress towards her.

Hermione looked at him skeptically but returned to the dressing room. She slipped on the dress Malfoy had picked. She gasped at her reflection.

The dress not only fit perfectly, but also complimented Hermione’s every curve. It was a deep plum colour that looked radiant against Hermione’s skin. The back was completely open, making it just a touch sexy. It was simple and elegant and Hermione loved it. She stepped out of the dressing room meeting Malfoy’s appreciative glance.

“That’s better,” he said confidently, “You almost look good, Granger,” he remarked.

Hermione smiled slightly at his comment. She then retreated to her dressing room and changed back into her clothes.

After grabbing a pair of matching shoes off a nearby shelf, Hermione headed up to the counter where Malfoy waited with his new dress robes.

Madame Tournier packages up both new outfits and handed them to Malfoy.

“I’ll just charge these to your bill, Mr. Malfoy,” she said politely.

“Thank you, Madame,” Malfoy responded and he and Hermione left the store.

After they ensured no one was around, they apparated back to the forest.

Their normal silence took over as night fell. Hermione’s heart pounded. In two days she would be entering one of the most well guarded places of all time. It was going to be dangerous, and it was going to be hard. These thoughts infected her mind and anxiety gripped her stomach before she finally drifted off to sleep.

Hermione checked her reflection on last time. She had pulled her hair into a sleek and shiny bun with a few loose strands to frame her face. Her face glowed with the freshly applied make-up, and her new dress flowed down her body with ease.

She took a deep breath. She could do this. She could infiltrate one of the most heavily secured buildings in the entire world. Sure, no problem.

She walked outside to where Malfoy was sitting on a nearby rock. He stood up when he saw her approaching figure.

Hermione couldn’t help but take in his appearance. He was good looking. Really good looking. His blonde hair was lightly gelled and the dark dress robes brought out his steel grey eyes. It didn’t hurt that he walked with an incredible confidence.

“We better get going,” Hermione said as he reached her.

“What exactly is the plan once we get there?” Malfoy asked, his voice a mixture of sarcasm and genuine interest.

“I figured we’ll just play it by ear,” Hermione shrugged.

Malfoy didn’t look too thrilled, “Great plan. Lucky you’re smart or you’d be captured in an instant”

Hermione looked up at him in surprise, “Did you just say I was smart? Be careful Malfoy, that sounded dangerously like a compliment,”

Malfoy looked at her seriously, “Oh come on, Granger! You know you’re smart. I’m pretty sure the whole damn world knows. What is it they call you? Ah yes, ‘the brightest witch of her age’” Malfoy said with a dry laugh.

“I didn’t realize you were such a fan,” Hermione mocked.

“Yes, I’m the president of your fan club, didn’t you know?” Malfoy responded.

At this, Hermione laughed outright. When she collected herself, she swore she could see Malfoy smiling a bit too.

“Well, let’s go,” Hermione said finally, holding out her hand. Malfoy grabbed it and they apparated to Diagon Alley.

When Hermione opened her eyes, she saw a fairly deserted Diagon Alley. Most families were enjoying a Christmas Eve supper. The store windows were black and empty, the only light coming from the street lamps.

As Hermione approached the Leaky Cauldron, she saw the shadow of a tall man, standing in the doorway.

“Viktor,” Hermione said, alerting the man of her presence.

“Hermioninny,” he said a little somberly, “you look lovely”

“Thank you,” Hermione nodded, a bit awkwardly.

“Here, you vill need to vear these at all times,” Viktor said handing a mask to each Hermione and Malfoy.

Hermione examined the work of art in her hands. The mask was in the shape of a butterfly. It had silver wings that sparkled and shone, with flecks of deep purple and blue. It ties behind her head in a soft ribbon, and concealed most of her face.

Malfoy’s mask was equally as breathtaking. It was an emerald green dragon that was sleek and shiny. There were hints of orange and red detailed in throughout the mask. It was bold and mysterious and suited Malfoy to a tee.

“Once ve are in the room, ve vill not be able to tell vho is vho,” Viktor said, securing on his coyote shaped mask, “there is a spell that disguises your identity. The only thing that stays the same is your mask”

Hermione studied the two men’s masks, etching them into her memory She saw Malfoy doing the same. The last thing they needed was to get lost in the crowd.

“Once ve get there, you vill have to mingle vith the other guests until I give my speech. Then you can sneak off and…” he trailed off, leaving Hermione and Malfoy to finish the sentence.

“Alright,” Hermione said, “let’s go”

They all joined hands and in an instant Viktor transported them where they needed to go.

The first thing that struck Hermione about her new surrounding was the unbearable cold. It stabbed her bare skin with ferocity. She shivered against her will, gritting her teeth against the wind. Her dress wasn’t exactly built for this weather.

The Durmstrang castle was just as cold. Its façade was dark and foreboding. It was smaller that Hogwarts and its bricks were worn and grey. It was hardly a place one could call home.

Hermione kept her head forward as Viktor led them inside. A harsh man, dressed in security robes, greeted them at the door.

“Names,” he grunted in an accent lighter than Viktor’s.

“Viktor Krum plus three,” Viktor said motioning to Hermione and Malfoy.

The man stepped aside letting them enter. Hermione walked a few steps behind Viktor, Malfoy at her side. They made their way through the Entrance Hall and towards the Great Hall. The Entrance Hall was huge. It was long and wide and held a glistening marble staircase that led down to the Great Hall. However, it was what sat at the top of the staircase, in the middle of the Hall that interested Hermione. A Christmas tree, at least 30 feet tall, sat sparkling for the guests to enjoy. And at the top of the tree was the most beautiful star Hermione had every seen. It was rather large, comprised of braided strands of silver and gold. The magic practically seeped out of it, for it sparkled and danced in the light. It had a visible glow and engulfed the tree. It was magnificent. She looked over to Malfoy who was also awestruck. He finally met her eyes and gave her a nod of understanding. This was what had to be destroyed.

The descended down the grand staircase. Hermione stepped lightly to avoid treading on her dress. They all hesitated once they reached the doors to the Great Hall. Viktor suddenly spotted his date across the room. He whispered a faint ‘Good Luck’ to the pair before disappearing into the crowd.

“It’ll look suspicious if we spend the night together, people will wonder who we are. We should split up,” Hermione said to Malfoy, “When Viktor takes the stage, we’ll meet behind that statue,” Hermione pointed to a large statue, of a famous wizard she couldn’t name, that sat at the left side of the grand staircase. It was well enough concealed to plan their Horcrux attainment without drawing attention.

He nodded in agreement, “I’ll see you when Krum does his speech or whatever,” Malfoy said before entering the room. Hermione followed him, crossing the threshold.

The second she was in the Great Hall, she felt a change. She looked down at her body. No longer did it appear she was wearing the spectacular purple dress. She now appeared to be wearing a shiny silver one that puffed out in a princess style skirt. Her skin was a shade darker, and her hair, she noticed annoyed, was blonde. Everything felt different. She touched her mask cautiously. Relieved, she felt the familiar shape of the butterfly wing. She noticed a dragon mask weaving further into the crowd.

Hermione headed over to the bar, and ordered herself a Butterbeer. She drank it slowly, taking in the scene around her. Hundreds of people with all sorts of masks crowded in the room. They talked in multiple different languages. The room itself was much warmer than the rest of the building. The walls and ceiling were covered with silver drapes. The large chandelier was covered in fake snow. Multiple snow-covered trees lined the walls. A few glass tables were set out but the majority of the space was a large dance floor. A floating glass stage hovered at the back of the room where a band played soft music. Few people were dancing, however, most where mingling.

Hermione took at deep breath, figuring she should probably do the same. She walked out into the thick crowd looking for someone to talk to. Suddenly, a loud bang filled the air and Hermione’s mask was flung from her face along with everyone else’s. There were a few cries and shouts from the confused crowd. 

Suddenly, a young boy who obviously attended the school came running through the crowd laughing.

“Merry Christmas!” he yelled waving his wand. The masks suddenly became airborne and began attaching themselves to the guests. Hermione stumbled from the impact of her mask as it smacked against her face. She moved her hands to hands up to readjust it and with horror noticed that this mask lacked the familiar shape of butterfly wings. She ripped it off of her face and saw that it was definitely not a butterfly. It was a unicorn. It held the same silver colour and the same shimmering quality yet it looked nothing like her previous mask. She desperately searched the crowd for her mask, taking in every face. But it was no use her mask was gone.

Defeated, she fastened the unicorn mask onto her face. She again began to try and mingle. She held a few short conversations with various people, which consisted of barley more than the niceties. She was just excusing herself out of an equally boring conversation when she backed right into someone, causing them to spill their drink.

“Oh my! I’m terribly sorry!” She cried touching the person on the shoulder. It was a man. He wore dark dress robes that fitted to his tall and muscular figure. A black panther mask concealed his face, but she noticed his piercing green eyes through the eyeholes. He had curly, dark brown hair and dark, tanned skin. He was stunningly handsome and Hermione could only stare.

“No worries,” he replied in a light Italian accent. They stared at each other for a few minutes and Hermione felt herself blush.

“Let me get you another drink,” Hermione, said motioning to the bar.

“Absolutely not,” he said shaking his head, “I would be honoured to get you a drink”

“But I spilled your drink, I should get you a new one,” Hermione pressed walking over to the bar.

“And thanks to you we now have an excuse to talk, so drinks are on me,” he finished simply.

Hermione shrugged her shoulders and accepted his drink.

“So what do they call you?” He asked playfully, sipping his drink.

Hermione thought quickly, “Rose,” she said, “Rose Brown”

“Pretty,” he said smiling.

“And do you have a name?” Hermione said with a touch of sarcasm, surprised how easy this stranger was to talk to.

“Angelo,” he said with a small laugh, “Angelo Fierri”

“It’s nice to meet you, Angelo” Hermione said politely, extending her hand.

“You too, Rose” he replied taking her hand and kissing it.

“So, what are you doing here tonight?” Hermione asked, prodding on the conversation.

“I just recently graduated,” he said, “I really wanted to see that tree one more time. What about you?”

“My brother went here,” Hermione said, deciding that a brother was a much safer bet seeing as she knew next to nothing about the school.

“Oh, what was his name? Perhaps I met him,” Angelo asked with interest.

“Umm...Hugo, Hugo Brown” Hermione said, creating the name on the spot, “He’s my older brother. He graduated a few years ago.”

“Hmm...The name doesn’t sound familiar.” Angelo said, thinking.

“Oh,” Hermione said, a bit anxious that Angelo would ask her more questions about ‘Hugo’.

Suddenly, the music stopped and a man dressed in a silver suit with a cat mask came up to the microphone.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time for the traditional Christmas in Love dance! So grab that special someone and make your way to the dance floor and we’ll see which couple is the most in love this Christmas!”

The music began to play again, this time much more sensual, but with tones of soft tones of sweetness.

Angelo bowed to Hermione. “Rose, would you do me the honour of sharing this dance?”

Hermione hesitated ever so slightly, before taking his hand and following him to the dance floor.

He led her all the way to the middle before spinning her dramatically and catching her close to his body. Hermione silently thanked her mother for dragging her to all those ballroom dance lessons. She responded to his move with a drawn out arms extension that ended when she snapped her arm and locked it with Angelo’s. His eyebrows rose when he noticed that she wasn’t an amateur when it came to dance. He smiled slightly and then led her in a powerful step combination. He and she both added flourishes and spins where they thought it worked. The dance ended up looking like a combination between an innocent waltz and a sensual tango. The read each other’s every move and flowed perfectly. The music finally ended and Angelo and Hermione finished in a powerful embrace. Hermione looked into Angelo’s green eyes. They were filled with the same intensity as hers were. She looked away and noticed that they were the only ones on the dance floor. The others had formed a circle and were now clapping at their performance. Hermione moved her gaze to the floor, rather embarrassed.

“Well, well ladies and gentlemen, it looks like we have a winner!” The silver suited man said from the microphone, “Now, let’s seal that dance with a kiss!”

Hermione looked wide-eyed at the crowd, who looked back at her expectantly. She shifted her eyes to meet Angelo’s.

“Well, we better give them what they want,” he said, with a hint of sheepishness.

Hermione swallowed her anxiety and smiled, “And we best not keep them waiting,”

He smirked slightly at her comment before lifting his mask, revealing his full and supple lips. He then did the same to Hermione’s mask and slowly leaned in. Hermione ignored the rapid pounding in her chest and tilted her head upwards, slowly closing her eyes.

His lips touched down softly on hers. Suddenly, sparks of passion flew throughout her body. It shocked and enticed her at the same time. Electricity pounded through her veins and pleasure filled her body. She melted into the kiss, completely lost in its sting and in its bliss. She felt more connection to this stranger than she had ever felt before. She responded with more ferocity and he gladly accepted it. In their fast and deep kiss, Hermione remembered the crowd. Unwillingly, she pulled back and met his eyes. They were filled with shock and with enjoyment. The crowd erupted into applause and they both released each other.

“My, my, that was sure a kiss! And now for the main event, would you all please welcome one of Durmstrang most esteemed alumni, Viktor Krum!” The man at the microphone said, drawing everyone’s attention to the stage. Viktor took the microphone and thanked the crowd. This was Hermione’s cue to leave.

“Excuse me, Angelo, but I must go powder my nose and I don’t want to miss much of Mr. Krum’s speech so…” she trailed off, eying the door.

He grabbed her hand and kissed it once more. “I hope we meet again, Rose. And thank you for the wonderful dance.”

Hermione smiled before rushing out of the Great Hall. She ripped off her mask and stashed it in her beaded bag. She then hurried as inconspicuously as possible to their meeting spot behind the statue.

She waited for what seemed like an eternity. If Malfoy didn’t hurry, they would miss their opportunity.

She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw a figure emerge from the Great Hall.

“Where were you?” Hermione asked with annoyance, “We’re running out of time!”

“Sorry,” Malfoy said, not really sounding sorry at all, “I needed to find a good moment to leave. Here, put this in your bag. I don’t have a big enough pocket,” he said, handing her his mask.

Hermione almost dropped the mask when she noticed that animal Malfoy had been wearing.

A black panther. 




A/N: Hey everybody!

Sorry for the wait! I hope you enjoyed the longer chapter this time!!!!!!! And I hope you like where this Dramione is going! Let me know what you think in a review!!!!! The more reviews I get, the sooner I update! It's a motivation thing, you know!!! Anyways, until next time!!!


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