“Did you have any luck in finding them?” Harry asked the two as he slipped his cloak off of him, fixing his glasses.
The two exchanged looks and shook their heads. “No, I didn’t see them at all. It’s like they disappeared or left.” Blaise said with a sigh.
“Yeah, I didn’t see them either.” Harry responded and licked his dry lips. “Why don’t we head back, then? I’m sure they’ll come back soon.”
“Yeah, let’s just go.” Ginny said as she hooked her arm with her boyfriend’s. “But you know, I think we should have a date of our own, soon.”
“I think so, too.” Harry replied with a grin.
“But back at Hogwarts, coming here is too much of a drag and especially because you’re Harry Potter.” She said and giggled.
“Don’t make me puke.” Blaise warned the couple as he rolled his eyes out of annoyance.
“Don’t make us leave you here.” Ginny retorted back with a glare.
“I know my own way back.” Blaise growled at her and kicked the snow out of anger. “I really need to get myself a girlfriend, too.” He said and immediately looked up. “And don’t you dare say anything right now.”
Ginny pressed her lips into a thin line and nodded. “I won’t.” She said and looked at Harry. “Zabini has a girlfriend.”
“You and your big mouth!”
Harry looked over at Zabini and smiled. “Who is she?”
“No, I refuse to have a heart-to-heart conversation with you two. I do not have a girlfriend, Potter. Your girlfriend misunderstood the situation.” He told Harry and quickly walked off. “Hurry up!”
“I think he has a girlfriend.” Ginny said and Harry nodded in agreement as they walked behind Blaise, purposely walking slower than needed.
. . . . . .
Hermione checked the clock above the counter and nodded. “I think we can go now. We’ve been sitting here for half an hour.” She said as she stood up, stretching her arms and legs.
“We can stay here for another half an hour.” Draco responded as he pulled Hermione back down in her seat. They were still in Flourish and Blotts, sitting on the love seats in the back corner. “Shopping takes a lot of energy out of you.” Draco said and soon yawned as he stretched.
Hermione scoffed but started yawning as well. “I suppose we could just stay here and relax for a little bit and then head back to Hogsmeade.” She reasoned as she shrugged, getting comfortable on the couch.
“Let’s play a game.” He suggested with a grin as he looked at her.
“Are you talking about your ridiculous ‘let’s get to know each other better’ game?” She asked as she smiled at him.
“The one and only.” He said as he laughed with her. “And it’s ridiculously amazing.”
“Okay, fine. You start.” Hermione said as she looked at him.
“Hmm . . . let’s see, I’m thinking.” He said as he put his legs up on the coffee table in front of them.
“Think fast, I’m getting bored.” She said as she, too, lifted her legs up and rested them next to Draco’s feet on the coffee table. “Come on, hurry up.” She teased him as she slightly tapped his foot with her own.
Draco looked over at her and then their feet. He lightly bumped his foot with hers. “Don’t rush me.”
Hermione felt a warm grin play on her lips as she let out a small laugh. “I can’t help it if I’m bored.”
“Okay, I got one!” He announced and looked over at Hermione. “Are you ticklish? Is so, where?”
Hermione slightly glared at him and pressed her lips into a thin line. “I am ticklish . . . but I’m not going to tell you whe—ahhh!” She let out a scream when she felt Draco start to tickle her sides. “Draco, stop it!” She demanded as she let small giggles escape from her lips.
“So you are ticklish.” Draco laughed as he continued to tickle her sides, practically now on top of her on the loveseat, straddling her.
She tried to catch her breath and remain calm. “Draco—stop it!” She pleaded in between giggles and finally snapped. “I bet you’re ticklish, too!” She yelled as she started to tickle Draco’s sides but saw that he just looked at her. “You’re not ticklish?” She asked in disbelief.
“Is that your question for me?” He asked and looked down at her. “I am ticklish, but not there unlike somebody.” He said as he tickled her again.
Hermione laughed and quickly grabbed his hands. “That’s enough.” She said and pushed him off of her as she quickly straightened out her clothes and hair. “You’re ticklish but not on your sides, huh?” She asked and immediately her eyes went down to his feet. She looked back up at him and quickly grabbed one of his legs. Draco’s eyes widened as he quickly tried to escape from her grasp. “So you’re ticklish on your feet?” She asked and laughed as she set his leg down. “I just had to clarify something.” She told him with a smirk. “Ask away.” She shrugged as she leaned back into the seat.
“Okay, what did you get me for Christmas?” He asked as he slightly leaned in towards her.
“I can’t tell you that.” She said as she waved him off. “Another question.”
“I’ll tell you what I got you.” He said, trying to reason with her.
“I don’t want to know.” She lied and quickly cleared her throat. “Another question.”
“What’s your favorite . . . animal?” He asked randomly and looked at her. “I hope it’s not a monkey.” He teased her with a small wink.
“Now, that, I can answer.” She responded with a grin and took a deep breath. “It’s not a monkey, either.” She told him with a small laugh. “I would have to say . . . a cat?” She smiled and nodded. “I love my cat, Crookshanks, what’s yours?”
“Believe it or not, I really like dogs.” He replied shortly after. “Ooh, I guess we wouldn’t be able to live together if we had pets. I would have a dog and you would have a cat.” He said and suddenly frowned. “Wait, where is your cat? It’s not in school, is it?”
“No, Crookshanks is with . . . my parents. I stopped brining him over because of the war.” She responded hesitantly.
“Why do you do that?” He asked curiously as he looked right into her caramel orbs.
“You start to get hesitant and insecure when it comes to talking about your parents, almost like it hurts to talk about them.” He said quietly.
Hermione looked away from his sharp stare and instead, looked down at her fingers. She sighed and licked her dry lips. “Do you remember when we first played this game?”
“Yeah, of course.” He said with a crooked grin.
“And you asked me if there was a dark secret that I’ve never told anyone before, right?” She asked as she looked up at him with sad eyes.
“You refused to tell me because it was too personal, that you’d tell me some other day.” He told her with a nod, telling her that he understood.
“Well, that ‘some other day’ is today, I guess.” She said slowly and drew in a shaky breath. “You have to promise not to tell or I’ll have to hex you to the next century.” She said with a nervous laugh.
“Before the war began, I worried about my parent’s safety. I’m a muggleborn and reading the Daily Prophet about poor, innocent muggle families getting murdered . . . it scared me.” She started and paused before she could tell the rest. “I obliviated my parents.” She whispered through her teeth. “I made sure they didn’t know who I was, I changed their identities, their occupations, and everything. I sent them to Australia to hide them from Voldermort and the death-eaters.” She told him and looked up at him with wet eyes. “After the war, I went to Australia to look for them to reverse the spell . . . but I found out that they’d died in a car accident a few days before I got there.” Her voice cracked at the last part but she cleared her throat and remained strong. She looked over at Draco and forced a grin. “If I had only been a bit faster, maybe I could have parents right now. But because of my stupid spell—I ended up killing my own parents.” She said quietly and took a deep breath after a while. “Well, here is Hermione Granger’s sob story. Thank you for listening.” She tried to joke as she faked a grin.
“Don’t do that.” He said in a serious tone.
“Act like you’re okay. You’re scared to look vulnerable; you don’t always have to smile.” He told her as he shook his head. “Just this once, you don’t have to act brave. Get rid of your stupid house pride, forget the whole bravery act, and just be what you feel like for once.” He said as he looked into her sad eyes.
Hermione sighed and pressed her lips into a thin line. “You caught me.” She quietly whispered to him and felt tears well up in her eyes. “Thank you, Draco.” She suddenly told him as she sniffled, staring at him with a real, sincere smile. “It’s nice to know that I have someone I can lean on.”
Draco nodded and hesitantly reached for her face but quickly put his hand down when she turned to face him. “Well, remember when I said that I had someone to protect? You wanted to know and I said later since it was personal?”
“Of course.” She said as she gazed up at him.
“Well, you told me yours so I’ll share mine with you, too.” He said and sighed. “The truth is . . . my mother isn’t dead.” He revealed and waited for Hermione to gasp or scream. Nothing. He looked over at Hermione to see her wide eyes staring at him but nothing. He only saw encouragement written on her face, for him to continue talking. “My father is already dead, but not my mother. After the war, it was hard for my mother and me, with her husband gone because of Voldermort.” He said and sighed. “She was sick of the reporters always outside our house, she was broken, you know?” He asked and locked his lips. “She developed a drinking habit, she wasn’t herself, she-she was—is a dead soul. I admitted her to the hospital without anyone knowing and she’s still there in great hands. I went back to the house and made up a story that my mother left and possibly committed suicide due to her broken heart and depression. I just needed a solid story that would keep the reporters away from the manor. I didn’t think my mother needed anymore stress from them. I stayed with her the whole time during the summer but now, during school, I can only owl the doctor and ask how she is.”
“That’s exceedingly courageous and generous of you to do that for your mother.” Hermione finally said as she placed a hand on his. “I’m sure that she loves you with all her heart and that she appreciates what you did for her. She’s recovering now and I hope that you get to go back home to her soon.” She told him with a grin. “I promise not to tell because I know you’ll have to hex me to oblivion.” She whispered to him with a laugh.
Draco exchanged the laugh with Hermione and he nodded. “Thank you for listening.”
“Thank you for telling. And you know, if someone didn’t know any better, they’d think you were a Gryffindor. Watch out, Slytherin, I think I may be rubbing off on you.” She warned him mockingly as she winked at him. Draco could only stare at her and smile in content.
“It’s not kind to stare, Draco.” She teased him once more and sighed. “You should smile more often, you’re very charming when you do.” Hermione commented as she smiled at him. “Well, I guess we’re both really messed up people with dark secrets, huh?”
“I say, we should drink to that.” Draco said as he got up from the loveseat, lending a hand for Hermione to grab.
“And I agree.” She said with a grin as she took his warm hand. “What time is it?”
“Surprisingly, it’s . . . seven o’clock.” He said as he pulled her up to him.
“I suppose we could go have a drink right now.” She said with a giggle as they walked out of the store together. “Remember what Ginny said! Don’t apparate us out of here in the open.” She said and dragged him over to a random alley. “Let’s go.”
“Let’s.” He agreed and wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her in and smiled at her before he apparated them out of the place.
. . . . . .
The couple arrived in an abandoned alley but they were back in Hogsmeade. Hermione escaped from Draco’s grip and pulled him by his jacket. “Let’s not waste time.” She said as she walked towards the Three Broomsticks Inn.
“You seem to be a bit eager, don’t you think?” Draco teased her as he walked beside her.
“I just thought I could loosen up a bit, be fun.” She retorted back with a small laugh.
“Okay.” He said mockingly and entered the pub and quickly led her to an empty table. He quickly sat down and looked at her. “What do you want to order?”
“I’m not the expert on drinks, so why don’t you do the ordering.” She told him and raised an eyebrow.
“Fine, I’ll go get the drink, then.” Draco sighed and walked off.
Hermione looked around and sighed. She blew a raspberry as she waited for Draco to come back. A few seconds later, Draco came back with two glasses of firewhiskey in his hand. He set it down on the table and sat down. “Well, here it is.” He said as he looked at her.
Hermione stared at the drink uneasily but grabbed it anyways. “Does it taste bad?”
“Find out for yourself.” Draco said as he took a sip of his drink, nodding in approval after.
Hermione looked down at it and looked back up at Draco. She let out a deep breath and took a sip of it. The liquid substance burned as it ran down her throat but the sensation was over. She expected herself to spit it out and never drink it again but . . . it was actually quite satisfying. She looked at the drink and then at Draco, raising her eyebrows. “It’s actually not that bad.”
“But do you really think you can drink that whole thing?” He challenged her as he took another sip of his drink.
“Do you doubt my drinking abilities?” She asked, offended by his question.
“I mean, you were the one who said you got a tad bit drunk from drinking butterbeer.” He said with a smirk as he continued to tease her.
“I bet I can drink more than you.” She quickly said as she stared him down.
“Really?” He asked, a bit taken back. “I’ve been drinking this for a while now, but you—you started today.” He stated and looked at her. “And besides, Firewhiskey gives confidence to those who drink it . . . I think you’re a victim already.”
“Awh, are you scared I’m going to beat you?” Hermione challenged him as she smirked at him, completely disregarding his last sentence.
“Okay, fine. It’s on.” Draco stated as he looked at her.
“Let’s see who can drink the most cups and the loser has to give the winner . . .” She said and pondered for a bit. “The loser has to give the winner a piggy-back ride.” She said with a grin.
“Sure.” He said and scoffed. “You better get ready to give me a piggy-back ride.” He said as he took off his jacket.
“You should worry about yourself.” She told him as she took off her jacket and scarf. They looked at each other, gripping onto their cups.
“One the count of three, we chug this whole thing down.” Draco stated and received a nod from her. “One . . .”
“Two, three!” Hermione yelled and quickly started to drink the Firewhiskey.
“Hey! You cheated!” Draco yelled in protest but realized she wasn’t listening. “Shit.” He said as he quickly started to chug his down as fast as he could, trying to beat Hermione.
Hermione looked over at Draco out of the corner of her eye and saw that she was winning. She quickly drank the alcohol down and slammed it down on the table, wiping her mouth. She simply stared at Draco with a smug grin.
Draco frowned as he finished up his drink, setting it down on the table. “You cheated.”
“What’s done is done.” She shrugged him off and felt herself get a bit lightheaded. She brushed off the feeling and stared at him. “Another one?”
Draco lightly laughed as he looked at her. “If you can handle it.”
“Round 2, then.” He said as he got up to get another.
Hermione looked at her empty cup and lightly hiccupped. “Damn . . .” She said as she tried to stop her hiccupping before Draco came back.
. . . . . .
Ginny walked out of her bedroom and saw Blaise sitting on the couch. “What do you think they’re doing right now? It’s been three hours since we left them.”
“On a date, what else?” Blaise asked with a scoff.
“Oh really? I did not know that! Thank you for stating the obvious, you arse!” Ginny yelled at him as she walked over, smacking his head with a pillow. “Seriously?”
“Ouch.” Blaise groaned as he rubbed the back of his head. “They’re probably out drinking.”
“Drinking?” Ginny asked as she put on her earrings. “Drinking what?”
“How do you know?” She asked as she sat down next to him, holding a necklace up.
“Draco always and only drinks Firewhiskey.” Blaise said as he rolled his eyes.
“Hey, put this on for me.” She said, nudging Blaise and handing him her necklace. She quickly reached behind her and gathered up all her hair in her hands and lifted it up for Blaise to put the necklace on for her. “But Hermione can’t drink at all. She once got drunk off of butterbeer. I say the least she can drink is about two cups. That’s how low her alcohol tolerance is.” She said as she lightly laughed.
Blaise awkwardly put the necklace on Ginny and cleared his throat, telling her he did it. He felt his cheeks burn bright red and looked away from Ginny.
“Thanks, Zabini.” Ginny said as she got up. She was wearing casual jeans and nice shirt. “I’m going out.”
“Like that?” Blaise asked, slowly quirking up an eyebrow as he stared at her thin clothing.
“It’s cold outside.”
“I’ll put a heating charm on, mum. Don’t worry.”
“I, I was just saying, I didn’t want you to get a cold when we have to help our friends.” Blaise said and got up, clearing his throat again.
“You’ve been clearing your throat an awful lot, Zabini. You should watch out for yourself. You might’ve caught a cold.” She said and cracked a grin at him. “I’ll be back before eleven, mother.” She teased him as she rolled her eyes playfully. “’Night, Zabini.” She waved and walked out of the room.
Blaise let out a deep breath and shook his head. “Wow, it’s hot in here.” He said as he lifted up his shirt up and down, trying to get some air through his body. “Merlin, this is not good.” He said and sighed. “I just need some sleep. It’s been a long day.” He told himself and checked the time. “Damn, it’s only seven o’clock.” He said and his eyes suddenly widened. “Damn, it’s seven. I need to go meet her!” He yelled and quickly ran out of the room.
. . . . . .
“Are you sure you can drink anymore?” Draco asked with a nervous chuckle as he looked at Hermione.
Hermione’s cheeks were bright red but she showed no other signs of being drunk. She remained calm and lightly scoffed. “I’m not drunk so of course I can drink more.” She said and lightly laughed at her own statement, but quickly covering it up with a cough. “Bring us another one.” She demanded as she took a deep breath.
“We still haven’t finished this one.” He said as he raised a new glass of Firewhiskey.
Hermione stared at Draco with a confused look and then looked at his full drink then at hers. She cracked a grin and nodded. “Oh, I understand now.” She said and lightly shook her head. “Yeah, another glass.” She said with a frown as she held in her hiccup.
“Why don’t we pause for a bit?” He asked as he quickly reached over, snatching the drink away from Hermione. He looked at their table and saw eight empty glasses beside them. They had each consumed four glasses of Firewhiskey and he was okay but Hermione seemed . . . frazzled. “Why don’t we stop? You seem to be drunk.”
“I, I’m not drunk!” Hermione yelled and then hiccupped as she leaned back in her chair. “I am simply not myself right now.” She told him reassuringly as she casually leaned over, trying to grab the glass of Firewhiskey.
He kept it out of her reach and stood up. “Okay, that’s it. We’re done drinking.” He stated as he looked at a very tenacious, but clearly drunk Hermione.
Hermione looked up at him with her red cheeks as she hiccupped. “But—“
“You win. I can’t drink anymore. You win the bet, alright?” Draco said as he smiled at her.
“I did?” She asked as she broke out into a grin, hiccupping.
“Yes, you did.” He said as he set the two glasses of Firewhiskey down on the table. “Let’s go.” He suggested as he quickly grabbed his jacket, putting it on and handing Hermione her clothes. He looked over at Madam Rosmerta and lifted up the money to know he would pay for everything and placed the money on the table. “Let’s go, Hermione.” He said as he helped her up.
Hermione giggled and immediately fell over into his arm. “I’m tired.” She told him and looked up at him. “You have to give me a piggy-back ride.” She wasn’t slurring her words but she was still clearly drunk.
“Okay, I will.” He said as he crouched down, allowing Hermione to get on his back. “This woman’s got a very weird drinking habit.” He mumbled under his breath.
“Thank you.” She said as she got on his back, wrapping her arms around his neck.
He quickly walked out of the pub and sighed as he felt the cold air breeze through them. He started to walk towards Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop to help sober Hermione up. “You okay back there?” He asked with a small grin.
“Yes.” She said and let out a sigh. “Your back is really comfortable . . .” She told him quietly. “Just like my dad’s. His back was always so warm, big, and safe.” She said and slightly sniffled. “Just like this . . .” Her voice trailed off as she rested her chin on his shoulder. “Draco.”
Draco stopped dead in his tracks and slightly turned his head towards Hermione. “What is it?”
“I’m not drunk . . . anymore. I’m a bit sobered up now, probably because of the cold air. You can let me down. I’m probably really heavy right now.” She whispered into his ear with a small shy laugh.
“Alright, let’s go have some nice tea for you.” He said as he gently let her get off.
“Tea?” She asked and looked ahead to see Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop. “Over there?” Draco nodded as he stared at her. “Sure, tea sounds nice.” She told him with a grin but then grin soon turned into a frown. “Sorry, I think I . . . drooled on your jacket.” She told him quietly as she lightly tapped his back.
Draco looked at her and frowned. “You’re buying the tea this time, then.” He said and they walked towards the shop. “You know, you seem to have an awful lot of control when you’re drunk.” He commented as he smirked. “Your cheeks were bloody red but you seemed to be calm . . . that’s not normal.”
“I hiccup a lot when I’m drunk so I-I guess I was trying to stay calm and swallow back the hiccups.” She told him, a blush spreading throughout her cheeks evenly.
Draco laughed lightly as they into the shop. They found a spot next to the window and ordered two cups of tea and a plate of cookies just so they wouldn’t get glared at by the owner for only ordering tea.
The two of them looked around the shop to see couples everything in every corner and side kissing and holding hands. They cleared their throats and took a sip of their tea. “Wow, so you wanted to come here?” Hermione asked, now completely sobered up as she took a bite of the cookie.
“Hey, I was trying to help you. You were drunk back there, you should’ve seen yourself.” He defended himself as he took another sip of his tea and eating a cookie. “Wow, the cookies here are good.” He nodded in approval.
Hermione lightly scoffed and smiled. “Well, it’s not like I meant to get drunk and besides, I’m fine now.”
“Thanks to me, I think you owe me a ‘thank you’.”
Hermione frowned and looked at him. “Thank you.” She finally said after a while. “Happy?”
“Very.” He smirked at her and looked around. “I’ve never been in here before and I now know that I should never come back.”
“I remember Harry came here with Cho before he started dating Ginny. He said it was quite a nightmare especially well, look around. Doesn’t it remind you of Umbridge?” She asked with a shiver. “She was horrible.”
“Right.” Draco said awkwardly as he nodded.
Hermione realized her mistake and cleared her throat again, looking out the window. “It’s snowing . . . again.”
“Yeah.” He said awkwardly.
Hermione sighed and started chugging the tea down and grabbing a few napkins and taking the remainder of the cookies that were left on the plate. “Let’s get out of here.” She told him as she stood up.
“What? O, okay.” He said as he stood up, drinking the last bit of his tea.
Hermione quickly placed her money on the table and grabbed Draco’s hand, pulling him out of the shop. “Sorry, I just couldn’t take the whole . . . place.” She said, blushing.
“I felt like that, too, so you’re forgiven.” He said and he looked down at their hands as he smirked. “If you wanted to hold my hand, you could’ve just asked. But, that was smooth, Granger.”
“I, I didn’t do it on purpose.” She protested as she tried to pull away when Draco grabbed her hand, interlacing them together. She immediately turned crimson red and gasped lightly, looking over at Draco.
“I like it like this.” He said as he started to walk.
Hermione couldn’t help but smile as she looked at their hands. It felt perfect, like they belonged together, as if they were a puzzle piece. She looked up and pressed her lips together, trying to hide her grin which wasn’t very successful. “Cookie?” She asked as she lifted one up with her other hand.
“Sure.” He said as he bit the cookie from her hand, surprising Hermione. “It seems to be a lot better when someone’s feeding it to you.” He exclaimed as he smiled at her.
“Really?” She asked and raised an eyebrow at him.
“Yes.” He said as he took a cookie from her hand and held it up in front of her face. “Try it.”
Hermione hesitantly ate the cookie from his hand and slightly grinned. “I guess it is.” She said and lifted the last cookie up and looked at him.
Draco stopped walking as he looked at her. They stood in front of the many stores with beautiful Christmas lights hung around the place. He wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her towards him, making Hermione drop the last cookie on the floor. “To be honest, when you told me today was a special day, I was thinking of something completely different.”
“W, what’s that?” She asked as her eyes locked onto his stormy grey eyes.
“I lost the bet, didn’t I?” He asked as he smiled.
Hermione realized what he was saying and her eyes widened. “Oh . . .” She said and bit her bottom lip.
Suddenly, above them, mistletoe appeared from the ceiling, falling right above their heads.
Draco and Hermione looked up and smiled. “I guess they’re encouraging this.” Draco said as he started to lean in.
Hermione waited for him to kiss her as she shut her eyes but nothing came. She opened her eyes back up to see Draco pausing right in front of her face. She groaned and rolled her chocolate brown eyes. “Oh, just hurry up and kiss me already.” She whispered to him and went on her tippy-toes, closing the gap between them and capturing his lips with her own. She wrapped an arm around his neck, her fingers running through his blonde locks. Draco smiled through the kiss and his grip on her waist tightened while he placed his free hand on her cheek.
Hermione smiled and pulled away as she looked at him. “Wow . . . I think I can get used to this.” She stated as her clear brown eyes stayed locked with his arctic ones.
“Most certainly.” He nodded in agreement and crashed their lips together once again.
Updates and reminders:
Helloo, lovely people. <3 How did you like this chapter? You got some of them Dramione action that we all want. xD I really do hope you all enjoyed this chapter. It was a sweet, ‘heart-to-heart’ moment for the couple. I’m warning you now; it won’t be so fluffy in the next following chapters even if Christmas is coming around the corner for them. I’m not really sure how long this story will be, but my best guess it that it might end on chapter 30+? Maybe, I’m not really sure. We’ll just have to see about this. After this story, my ‘Friendly Neighbors’ will continue and I’d appreciate it if you guys will check that out soon J Please go check out my author’s page because you can really ask me anything and I will be seriously, like . . . I will jump up and down and praise you if you left me a few questions to answer. I’m sort of a loser/dweeb like that so I’m going to be the happiest person on earth. LOL. It’s a win-win. You guys get answers to questions and I get to interact with you all charming people. <3