“Oi! Mudblood! Are you awake?!” Hermione groaned and rolled over as she heard the knocking on her door.
“No, I’m sleeping,” Hermione mumbled into her pillow.
“Well I’m coming in!” the voice called and the next thing she knew Pansy was walking into her room.
“What happened to being nice to me?” Hermione questioned.
“Oh sorry! I don’t mean mudblood in an offensive way it’s just a nickname that kind of sticks,” the girl smiled.
“I don’t know whether to be offended by the nickname you chose or pleased that you are speaking of nicknames in a friendly way,” Hermione mumbled into her pillow still face down.
“I would go with pleased. I just thought you would probably want to know that Professor McGonagall wants to see you in your free period tomorrow,” Pansy informed her whilst looking through the things on Hermione’s desk. The Gryffindor bolted upright.
“What?! Why?! I haven’t done anything wrong!” Hermione began to worry.
“I don’t know, she seemed pretty mad with you though,” Pansy smirked. Hermione’s face paled at the news before the Slytherin began laughing.”Don’t worry she just wanted to discuss fundraising ideas or something like that,” she said still laughing at her reaction before Hermione threw her pillow at her smug face. She pushed Pansy out of her room before getting herself ready for her day. After showering and attempting to tame her hair before pulling it into a pony tail she grabbed her books and headed out of the room to join the other seventh years.
Draco added the water to his mug containing many heaped spoonfuls of coffee granules with a heavy sigh, he hadn’t slept well again. Every hour he woke from a recurring nightmare involving what he assumed was memories from the war. He had woken in a cold sweat and was surprised that none of the other boys were awake seeing as he usually spoke in his sleep. He remembered his first nightmare; he must have been four at the time. It was a childish dream, he had dreamt that he was running through Malfoy Manor when he ended up in the dungeons trapped with a giant snake. His mother always told him that he screamed the house down that night. It was one of the reasons he was uneasy around Hermione’s snake Medusa. She obeyed everything she said as if they had some form of bond and that was just insane in Draco’s mind.
Hermione absent mindedly added spoon fulls of sugar to her coffee cup whilst stirring every now and again. She was rattling through her brain for memories or any mention of her mother’s parents, biological or adoptive. She had double Genealogy first and so far her family tree was far from impressive. She could have sworn her mum had mentioned which orphanage she lived at but she couldn’t remember for the life of her.
“Hermione, you do know that is the twelfth spoonful of sugar you’ve put in your coffee,” she heard Harry say making her jump.
“It’s probably cold now anyway,” she sighed and poured the dark liquid down the sink.
“If there’s something wrong you can tell us,” Harry reassured whilst Ron gave a brief nod in agreement.
“It’s just this Genealogy. I don’t have a clue who my mum’s biological or adoptive parents are so that side looks so weak,” she shrugged.
“Oh,” the tone Harry used made Hermione think that he thought it would be something more important but to her it was something she had always wanted to know. “I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” he smiled before exiting through the portrait with a silent Ron. He was still acting oddly around her; he only gave one word answers or if he could; avoided speaking to her at all. He had been fine when they broke up but this past month she couldn’t help but wonder if he thought it was a mistake. The more likely option was that he was still sulking over seeing Hermione and Draco laughing by the fire the previous night.
“Draco,” Pansy hissed at the blond sipping his coffee. “Draco!” she tried again but was still unsuccessful. “Draco don’t move there is a snake on the back of the sofa!” she whispered urgently which got her desired reaction as he shrieked and jumped from the sofa only to face a smirking Pansy.
“What do you want?” he muttered before sitting down again.
“Well I was wandering if your could pretty please do me a favour?” she asked sweetly, too sweetly for Draco’s liking.
“That depends....what is it?” he asked cautiously, last time her favour had been for him to retrieve her wand from the lake resulting in him falling in head first.
“Well...I need you to get the boys on corridor duty this evening from about nine so that none of you are in here,” she smiled. He didn’t like where this was going.
“Why? What are you planning?” he asked looking at her suspiciously.
“Oh for Merlins sake Draco, I’m not doing anything wrong! I simply want to spend an evening without you lot so that Hannah, Padma and I can try and cheer Hermione up,” she told him.
“Why would she need cheering up? And since when are you two...friends?” he was slightly shocked.
“Since we called a truce. Are you blind Draco? Harry and Ron completely ignore her and it is obvious Ron still has feelings for her so she needs to have a night just with girls so that I can find out what kind of guy she would like,” Pansy smiled. Of course he had noticed Hermione being pushed away from the two but he wasn't about to tell Pansy that he had watched them intently in Diagonal Alley. As for Ron, Draco didn't know anything about their relationship but he made a note in his mind to ask her.
“Somehow I don’t think Hermione is someone that is interested in the topic of boys but fine, what do I have to do?” he sighed. She hugged him briefly before he flinched away.
“You just need to tell Longbottom what I told you. He can change the rota so that you are all on corridor duty I’m sure he wants Hermione to be happy too,”
“Okay, Okay I’ll try speak to him,” he sighed before draining his cup of coffee. Pansy grinned before going to find Padma and Hannah to tell them of the plan; they would definitely be up for it.
Draco soon found Neville and quickly briefed him on Pansy’s plan. He was sceptical to begin with but when he told him that it was to find Hermione a new boy he agreed saying that she needed someone new. So Pansy hadn’t exactly said that but she mentioned talking about guys didn’t she? He thought. Well it was too late now so he headed to the great hall for breakfast.
“You have another pile of letters,” Hermione told him whilst she pushed her food around her plate as Draco sat down.
“I can’t bear to look at them,” he mumbled. Before he knew it Hermione had taken the letters and was opening them.
“What I am curious though!" she remarked "Only two bills this time, a letter from your gardener and you have to be at your house on Saturday for the ministry to inspect it,” she finished placing the letters in a neat pile.
“Well the first two shouldn’t be difficult but how am I supposed to get home?” he asked with his eyebrows furrowed.
“Well I could ask Miss McGonagall? I’m sure she could make an acceptance,” Hermione suggested.
“Really? Thanks,” he said before tucking into some cornflakes. He noticed that once again Hermione wasn’t eating, she pushed the melon around her bowl before sipping on her orange juice.
“Why don’t you ever eat?” he blurted out. Her head snapped up and her body went stiff.
“I do eat,” She snapped. He looked slightly taken aback by the tone of her voice but narrowed his eyes challengingly.
“Eat some of your melon then,” he said simply watching.
"I don't want to, I'm full," she said through gritted teeth.
"You haven't eaten anything this morning so how can you be full?"
"I was here long before you okay! I ate some toast before you came down!" she told him as if trying to stay calm, he had really hit a nerve here that he just couldn't resist.
"pffft, no you just can't admit I'm right about the fact that you don't eat," he said stabbing a piece of the melon with his fork and putting it in his mouth."Go on then prove me wrong," he dared. It must have been the thought of proving him wrong that changed her mind as she forced a smile and put a piece of melon in her mouth and chewed on it slowly. By her pained expression you would have thought she was eating owl droppings. “Nice?” he asked.
“Lovely,” she nodded enthusiastically but she didn’t eat anything else for the rest of the time they were at the breakfast table. He would have to get to the bottom of that problem; it seemed to him that she was still keeping many secrets from everyone.
Hermione was still ignoring Draco by the time the other years cleared out of the great hall and Professor Periwinkle walked in. Her mood seemed to lighten slightly when she heard what the "Get to know each other" task was today. How exactly it would help to get to know her through it he didn't know, unless he could read her mind whilst they danced. Some of the boys groaned when the Professor said the word "dance" but there was no way she was letting them get out of it.
"Now then we will spend the first half of this period on this exercise to get to know your partner before we get back to genealogy next period. Let me see...Miss Granger and Mister Longbottom would you please take centre stage," she asked in her sickly sweet voice. They both stood to face each other, Hermione looked confident whilst Neville looked embarrassed.
"Now, you are seventh years so I expect you to know a lot of dances so I will start the music and announce the name of the dance for you to do, I will regularly change them," Hermione and Neville nodded as the music started.
"Viennese Waltz!" the professor called as they took their positions and began. Hermione was finally thankful for all the dance lessons her mum had taken her to when she was younger.
"Paso Doble!" they kept dancing but Malfoy just laughed to himself silently until Professor Periwinkle noticed.
"Mister Malfoy is there a problem?" she asked as Neville and Hermione stopped to look at him along with every other member of the classroom. He hesitated before speaking.
"Well it’s just that Hermione isn't doing it quite right," he smirked at the look of outrage on her face.
"And how so Mister Malfoy?"
"Well she is leading Neville whereas it is the man who should lead the woman otherwise it begins to look clumsy," he finished, glancing at Hermione's now red face.
"Very well, Mister Malfoy replace Mister Longbottom if you are such an expert," she smiled not expecting him to accept but he was soon on his feet. Draco stood in front of Hermione and waited for the music to play.
"Foxtrot!" and before Hermione knew what was happening Draco had started to pull her into the steps, she was no longer leading but she kept up with him perfectly, determined to dance just as well as him.
"Tango!" the closeness changed as Hermione was pulled towards Draco, their cheeks touching gently.
"Waltz!" the steps slowed as they stepped in time with each other, Draco's hand softly pressing on the small of her back.
"Samba!" they were back to the quicker steps, Hermione's hair had fallen out of its tie and was now falling down her back, the odd strand hitting her face.
"You'll have to do better than that," she whispered challenging him to outdo her in the dance.
"Rumba!" She was taken unaware as he pulled her hips towards him, shortening the distance, Rumba was not the sort of dance with little physical contact. She ran her hands up his chest and tried to slyly push him away to break his rhythm but he caught on and gripped her tighter whilst quickening their feet and hip movements.
"Still a little disappointing Mister Malfoy," Hermione whispered again, he glared back at her and spun her quickly on the ball of her feet before pulling her close.
"I never disappoint'" he glared before catching her in a dip as the music stopped. They both stared at each other, both disappointed the other had not broken their rhythm; they stayed like that breathing heavily until Neville began to clap. The others soon followed cheering them all except Ron who was a very dark shade of pink although Harry looked thoroughly surprised that she could dance that well.
"Well done Miss Granger, Mister Malfoy. You may both rest whilst the others practise," she smiled. They both glared at each other again before Draco pulled her to her feet and they walked over to their bean bags.
"So where did you learn to dance like that?" Hermione asked, still slightly out of breath.
"If I tell you will you tell me why you don't eat," he bargained, doubtful that she would accept but she paused for a moment.
"Okay, but you first," she sighed.
"My mum made me take lessons from the age of five until twelve," he mumbled, embarrassed that he was even admitting it let alone to a girl. To his surprise she didn't laugh, just nodded. "So...your turn," he said. She closed her eyes as she spoke.
" I overheard Ron telling Harry that I was starting to look a bit fat whilst we were together so since then I rarely eat because everybody probably agrees with Ron. They probably all think I'm huge and unattractive. If I eat I feel like I put on five pounds, don't get me wrong I do eat just very little, usually a piece of fruit or two a day. I've successfully lost three stone since I heard him say that and look where it got me, single and no self esteem," she finished ranting. To say Draco was shocked was an understatement. The thought that anyone could call her fat disturbed him because when he looked at her all he saw was skin and bone lately. What made it worse was the fact that it was her boyfriend that had said it.
"Hermione...you are definitely not fat, in fact I would be worried that you are too underweight. I'm surprised you didn't ditch the weasel earlier if he was saying things like that to you, I may have a reputation with girls but I wouldn't say a girl was fat if they really weren't. I was raised to be polite unlike Weasley by the sounds of it," he finished looking sadly at the girl sat with her knees drawn to her chest.
"Thank you Draco," was all she could manage.
"You better bloody enjoy yourself tonight now after the hassle Pansy's going to," he said and then quickly covered his mouth with his hand.
"What's she planning?!" she asked now very interested.
"Nothing! Hey you're a good dancer you know. I've never had a dance partner that could keep up,"
"Thank you, you were pretty good yourself," she smiled.
"I hold you Hermione, I do not disappoint," he told her and couldn't help but notice the very slight blush on her cheeks.
Professor Periwinkle didn't give them, any homework that day instead she just collected in their family trees to look over. Infact very few teachers actually did hand out homework and it wasn't long before Hermione was back in the common room. She heard all the boys leave for the corridor duty Neville had planned whilst she headed up to her room, planning to read some more of Salazar Slytherins journal. It wasn't long after nine when she was lying in bed in her pyjamas that she began to read.
7th September 1031
Castle Black is beginning to get colder. I rarely venture from this hall. I’ve transfigured the table into a large bed by the fire and one of the arm chairs into a small table to eat from. The two house elves are getting older now but they still cook for me each day as well as cleaning the castle. Why they bother, it’s not as if anybody else will ever live in the castle. The last person I saw alive near the castle was probably some muggle that was trekking through the rocks with a dog before they turned and left. Each day that passes makes me wonder what would have happened if everybody knew I am still alive.
Pansy burst through the door demanded she come downstairs. Hermione didn't know what she had been expecting but it wasn't this. In front of the fire were what seemed like hundreds of pillows along with bean bags, duvets and blankets. On the coffee table stood packs of butter beer and fire whiskey along with several sweet treats.
"Now Hermione no complaining! We want to have a girly evening and to cheer you up so you are going to sit down with a fire whiskey and enjoy yourself!" Padma demanded but she grinned anyway. Hermione rolled her eyes before sitting down with the others. It wasn't long before Hannah had pulled out a book of hair spells finally finding one that tamed her mane. It smoothed the frizz into silky ringlets and at the same time brightened the honey tones in it. Eight fire whiskeys later the boys returned to find the girls all dancing on the sofa to muggle music. Hannah stood singing into a hairbrush whilst Padma mimicked air guitar and Hermione and Pansy danced like they were in their own little world. The boys didn't quite know what to make of it. Hermione noticed them and jumped down with her fire whiskey still in her hand.
"Neville! My partner in crime! Come and dance with me!" she grinned pulling him forward.
"Merlins beard, how much as she had to drink?" he asked pansy who just held up eight fingers and began dancing her way over to Harry.
"Hermione I don't think you should be dancing," he told her softly whilst trying to pry the bottle from her grasp.
" Fine! Draco will dance with me though won't you Draco?" she asked pulling him out of his day dream. He looked at her still trying to figure out if he was in an alternative universe. Hermione Granger was stood in front of him, drunk, her hair cascading down her back in a pair of silk shorts and a tank top, and was asking him to dance, what was wrong with the world?. Padma threw him a fire whiskey along with the other boys and he drank it quickly trying to decide how he was going to get Hermione to sit down safely. That plan was blown out the window though as she pulled his waist towards her and started to dance the rumba they had been doing in front of the class.
"Emm, Hermione " he began
"Shhh Draco you said you don't disappoint," she smirked and began to dance again. Did she just smirk? he thought to himself and was reminded of the first day back in the train. He was still no where closer to figuring out the many questions in his head that he had. Partners was a good first step, he was waiting to see how long it would take for them to become friends but right now she was acting friendly enough for the both of them. He copied her actions and was soon dancing with her on the sofa, the rumba was taking the energy out of him but Hermione seemed to keep on going. It wasn't until Draco threw her over his shoulder as she giggled that he got her to sit down.
" Hermione! I dare you to kiss someone in this room!" Pansy shouted, giggling into her pillow, so much for finding out who she liked first pansy he thought.
"I don't like anyone like that!" she complained but Pansy just tutted indicating fpr her to hurry up. This was not going to end well especially if she went for Weasley or Potter. Weasley would assume it was more than a drunken kiss and Potter would be too shocked and embarrassed. Then no doubt all hell would break loose seeing as Potter was with the female Weasley. Hermione sighed before her eyes landed on Neville and she pulled him in by the front of his shirt. Nobody had been expecting that but Blaise let out a wolf whistle whilst the girls cheered and Draco laughed. Harry seemed to be disguising his laughter whilst Anthony and Ron looked uncomfortable. It didn't last long but Neville still remained in shock for the rest of the evening. They were all up way past midnight but the antics stopped soon after Draco refused to kiss Blaise which had been Pansy's idea.
They all went to bed apart from Hermione who seemed to be curled up on the sofa watching the flames. Draco came down to get a drink half an hour later and saw that she was still there. Her eyelids were closed and her chest was slowly rising and falling whilst she slept. Her hair was covering her face as she let out a soft sigh in her sleep. He could n't help but stare at her, she looked so vulnerable and innocent , no doubt she wouldn't even remember half of the night. He pulled the nearest blanket from the floor and laid it over her.
"Night Hermione," he whispered as he brushed the hair from her face.
Hey all! So I'm back from Portugal and whilst I was there I managed to write down then next ten chapters so they should be uploaded quite consistently from now. Thank you for those who have been reading and have waited two weeks for this next chapter! I wanted to show a more fun side to Hermione in this with the inclusion of the dancing which, take note, will come in useful for a later chapter! As well as the "girls night in that Pansy planned. So Hermione and Neville?! more than just a drunken kiss or not ? you will all have to keep reading to find out more. Also there is a key point in this chapter that reflects on A LOT of a later story line so I hope you all read through thouroughly ;)
Thank you again for reading this, it means so much to me.
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