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Chapter 20 : Ladies day out
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The first thing she noticed when she woke up was that there was an interesting smell drifting through her flat and when she got up and opened her door to investigate she saw her kitchen door closed. Cautiously, she readied her wand and crept to the door to push it open quickly and train her wand into the small area. What she saw there made her drop her wand in shock.
“Draco?” Hermione gasped. Draco looked into Hermione’s shocked eyes.
“Well drat I was supposed to surprise you, you know with the loving boyfriend routine and all that, so I made you breakfast and I also brought you a paper, apparently the Ministry is looking for a reporter now Skeeter’s serving time and I thought you might want to have a look you know, since you were considering that option,” Draco rushed out quickly. Hermione stared wide eyed at her boyfriend who was currently standing in jogging bottoms and a tee-shirt wearing an apron as he rubbed one hand over his faint dark mark, a habit Hermione had noticed he did when he was uncomfortable, but decided to ignore it.
For a few minutes longer Draco stood there shifting foot to foot absolutely terrified of the outburst that might come from Hermione, until he suddenly felt her arms be flung around him and tighten to a death grip that left him airless.
“Mione,” Draco strained. “I need to breathe.” Hermione suddenly gasped and let go and she stood nervously wringing her hands as she watched him in the kitchen.
“Thank you… And I do notice a great improvement in your muggle cooking skills,” Hermione smiled but couldn’t help the cheeky little jibe. Draco elbowed her swiftly but she jumped out the way.
“Well I asked mother to teach me… She was willing to help, and Carlos supplied his word on how the way to capture the heart of a woman is to show her that you can cook and not just the house elves,” Draco chuckled. Hermione smiled as she wrapped her arms around him from behind as she rested her head on his back. “I take it you’re grateful then?”
“Yes, now I’m going to create a table in my front room, take a shower and sit down with you to eat. Then when we’ve looked at the jobs, do you want to come with me to get an owl from Diagon alley. And I should be expecting your mother’s owl around about the time when we’re eating breakfast,” Hermione said, partially to him and partially to herself. Draco chuckled as Hermione let go. Then he nodded as she looked at him.
“Oh wait, mother gave me your letter too, she laughed when I told her about Abraxas,” Draco smirked. Hermione rolled her eyes.
“Bloody pigeon,” Hermione murmured as she took the letter that Draco was holding in his hands. Hermione smiled and then walked out of the kitchen and stood in her living room as she opened the letter.
That would be delightful, it is high time Molly and I put aside our differences, and it would be ever so lovely to see your dresses. I shall see you all at 1 outside The Three Broomsticks. We’re picking up Pansy too, just remember to leave Draco.
Hermione smiled as she looked around for something to use as a table and eventually finding an old quill on her desk she placed it in the middle of the floor and waved her wand decisively. There was a flash and suddenly in the place of the wand stood a quaint wooden table with bleached white wood to match the bookcase. Hermione nodded to herself and then chose another quill which she transfigured into a comfortable wooden chair of the same colour wood.
“Duplo,” Hermione murmured as she pointed her wand at the chair and a second later a second chair stood inches away from the first. She turned back to her bedroom and with a casual flick sent the chairs under the table and the entire set to the corner of the room.
Once inside her bedroom she began to gather her things for a shower and once collected she headed out of her room to the bathroom. Only remembering once she was in the shower, that Draco was in the flat and she had no means of travelling back to her room in anything other than a towel once she was showered. So when she emerged from the shower she hoped Draco would still be in the kitchen as she wrapped the towel tightly around herself. Sods law; Draco was sitting on the sofa with a coffee and he looked around as the door opened and smirked.
“Is this how you spend your mornings Mi?” Draco chuckled as he raised one elegant blonde eyebrow. Hermione flicked a birdie his way and headed into her bedroom, making Draco chuckle darkly.
Fifteen minutes later Hermione emerged from her room in dark blue jeans with a low cut black top that showed just enough to make Draco interested, but not enough that every guy could see everything. Making his way up her slim body he noticed how her waist length hair was now brown once more and full of curls that spilled effortlessly over her shoulders and down her back. She was beautiful.
“Hey you, you look beautiful,” Draco smiled as she came over to sit with him.
“Thank you,” Hermione blushed. Draco grinned as he kissed her forehead.
“Starved, is breakfast ready?”
“Yup, it’s under the grill,” Draco said casually. Hermione’s mouth popped open as she listened to what Draco just said before he stood up.
“What did you just say…? Where is the food?”
“It’s under the grill… Did I say something wrong?” Draco asked warily.
“No… But since when did you ever opt to keeping something warm under the grill as opposed to a warming spell?”
“Oh, since mother showed me that food tastes better when kept warm under the grill rather than kept warm with a spell,” Draco grinned. Hermione shook her head as she moved to sit at the cosy little table which she had magically moved to the corner of the room opposite her desk. Draco came back into the room magically carrying two plates of a very beautiful breakfast of cheese croissant with eggs and bacon and fruit on the side. Hermione practically melted.
“You are just amazing Draco,” Hermione murmured as he placed the plate in front of her. Draco just chuckled as he sat down opposite her and began to eat.
Silence reigned over the couple until the food was mostly gone from both of their plates and they were lazily drinking chocolate milkshake while eating the fruit on their plates.
“So tell me, what state of drunkenness did you three boys make it home in?” Hermione asked with a knowing smirk. Draco shook his head as he rubbed his temple.
“Harry and Blaise make the worst drinking partners in the world. Needless to say, we were all pretty sloshed by the time we got home. We stayed at the inn but I feel sorry for Blaise. She took one look at us and sent us all to a three bed room, effectively telling Blaise he was sleeping alone for the night,” Draco said wearily.
“You seem pretty sober this morning though,” Hermione observed.
“Well you see, when I go out with the guys, I always make sure that I have at least one vial of sobering potion just for me the following morning. Once I’m sober enough I can make more. Once me and Harry were sober around half 9 this morning we scarpered because if looks could kill we would be dead on the floor of The Three Broomsticks. Pansy was not impressed and you do not piss off a pregnant woman, especially one that is beginning to show,” Draco explained. Hermione chuckled to herself as she thought of the looks that witch could give. Hermione and Ginny still swear that one of her looks scared off Mrs Norris the once.
Once breakfast was cleared away Hermione took up the paper Draco had brought, but she scanned the jobs area through in less than a minute and threw it in the trash with a snort.
“They’ve basically advertised for another Rita Skeeter,” Hermione said angrily as she grabbed her cloak off of the back of her desk chair. Draco smiled softly and shook his head as he stood up too and collected his own cloak.
“So it’s now eleven o’clock. I believe you want to get an owl, and probably head to flourish and blots and pick up a dozen more books for your library,” Draco drawled smoothly. Hermione felt a shiver run through her at the sound of his drawling, bored tone which was strange, since when was she ever turned on by that. Then the small voice awoke in the back of her head and told her she’d found it attractive from the moment she heard it.
“Yep that sounds about right,” Hermione smiled as she tried to modulate her voice and keep the tell-a-tale squeak out of it. She failed miserably and Draco smirked at her.
“You okay Mi?” Draco asked suspiciously. Hermione nodded her head and then pushed her wand into the belt loops of her jeans before slinging her darkest blue cloak over her shoulders and fastening the top two buttons. She then locked the door.
“Meet outside Eyelops?” Hermione asked. Draco nodded and then they both apparated.
Draco and Hermione appeared at the exact same moment outside of Eyelops Owl Emporium and Hermione smiled softly before heading inside to the dark shop. Blinking a few times in the dim light she looked all around her but ignored the side of the shop where cats were kept. At the end of their 6th year she’d let Crookshanks go; she didn’t want to spoil his memory with a new cat.
Making her way over to the owl side of the shop hand in hand with Draco she was met with the sound of hooting and ruffling as she seemed to step through a sound barrier.
“Well what are you looking for?” Draco asked softly.
“Not sure yet, I’ll know when I’ve looked,” Hermione murmured and she began to make her way through the shelves of cages, studying each owl individually, noting their colour, their sex and their demeanour until she stopped suddenly, which caused Draco to slam straight into her back.
“Damn, warn a guy next time Mi,” Draco hissed. Hermione shushed him with a flap of her hand and maintained eye contact with the bird she was facing. The owl was male eagle owl with a black body and wings and his eyes were an alluring amber shade. But he was magnificent, every few feathers seemed to be interlaced with the shiniest silver that caused the owl to look like it had stars on it. He was the bird. Slowly she opened the cage and the owl hopped down onto her outstretched arm and blinked one eye at Hermione, before leaning forwards and giving her an affectionate nibble on the hand that was raised to stroke its black head.
“Hello Loki,” Hermione murmured. Draco looked at Hermione strangely, thinking it was a crazy name to call an owl, but Hermione ignored him, the name slipped easily from her mouth, that was the name of that specific creature. The owl gave a low melodic hoot in acceptance and then hopped back inside its cage. Hermione reached out and shut the cage door before taking the top of the cage and heading to the counter.
“Hello there… Let’s see who you’ve got there then,” The woman behind the counter smiled. Hermione smiled softly as she placed the cage on the shelf.
“Ahh you’ve got a little fighter there,” The woman smiled.
“What do you mean?” Hermione asked.
“This bird is only a year old, but ever since he’s been here he’s been approached by all manner of witches and wizards and every single one he attacks, making only Merlin knows how much noise until I have to go over there and advise the choice of another bird. But he’s here quiet and happy as punch, he is a magnificent owl and since he looks so happy, I’d be pleased to give you to him for only half his normal price,” The woman smiled. Hermione grinned as she thanked the woman.
As Hermione paid for her owl Draco wandered around the shop looking around at all the little things and deciding he was going to buy Hermione some things for her owl, she couldn’t complain, they were practical.
“Dray? Are you coming?” Hermione asked as she stood by the window holding a cage that she had covered with a dark cloth.
“Yeah, how about I meet you in Flourish and Blotts, I want to get a few things,” Draco smiled. Hermione grinned and headed out of the shop as Draco turned back to the owl supplies.
“You’re very transparent you know,” The woman spoke up. Draco jumped and looked to the left where the woman was now standing.
“What do you mean?”
“Well anyone can tell you’re buying stuff for your girlfriend, so what are you looking for?” Draco stared at the woman for a second then recovered himself.
“I need some little things like owl treats and the harnesses for carrying letters which saves her having to tie anything to Loki’s leg,” Draco said softly.
“She named him Loki? Very good choice of name, that owl is always full of mischief if he’s not content,” The woman laughed as she picked up a few items off the shelves and beckoned Draco to follow her back to the counter.
“Should I be on my guard with Loki?” Draco asked.
“Yup, he’s a feisty one. If he sees you not impressed with his Hermione then you’re gonna get a nipped finger and a cuffed head,” The woman grinned. Draco gulped then scowled as he paid the woman for his purchases and then magically gift wrapped them before shrinking them down to a pocket size and walking from the shop to find Hermione in Flourish and Blotts.
At 5 to one, Draco was stood outside Flourish and Blotts with Hermione, holding Loki and with her dozen new books shrunk and in his pocket.
“Will I see you later?” Hermione asked as she tried to maintain her public image and not touch Draco.
“Well I was thinking maybe you’d like to come to dinner with me, on a date?” Draco asked softly. Hermione’s eyes grew wide . This would be a proper date, not a ruse to lure out a meddlesome reporter. A proper date with Draco Malfoy, her boyfriend.
“You do know, if we do that we’ll have every reporter from here to Hogwarts on our case begging for a story.
“And we’ll give them a few answers and leave them be, none of them can be as spiteful as Rita Skeeter,” Draco shrugged.
“Okay then, when are you going to pick me up?” Hermione asked Draco brushed a curly brown lock of hair behind her ear, his fingers lingering ever so slightly longer on her face and neck as he did so.
“How about I’ll pick you up at half 7, and dress up Mi,” Draco murmured and quickly without even considering the people around them he pulled Hermione forwards and planted a quick soft kiss on her mouth before apparating, leaving Hermione to apparate away as she heard the oncoming sound of reporters.
Hermione found herself standing right outside the Three Broomsticks, a second before Ginny and Mrs Weasley turned up. Pansy and Narcissa were already stood there waiting with smiles on their faces. Hermione turned to face the two older women who were staring at each other with tension in their shoulders, each one wondering whether they would need to defend themselves and Hermione saw that straight away.
“Narcissa Captonia, meet Molly Weasley, Molly Weasley, Narcissa Captonia,” Hermione said with a tentative smile as she introduced the two. Both women seemed to relax and then in an instant they were hugging each other, both talking extremely fast. Hermione was not shocked about Mrs Weasley’s behaviour, but Narcissa’s behaviour stunned her silent. Narcissa was almost sobbing and laughing and talking loudly at the same time as Molly, all the regal pretence gone from the woman who now appeared years younger. Hermione cut her eyes first to Pansy and then to Ginny and noticed the identical open mouths and wide eyes as they stared at the women they assumed to be enemies.
“So you two knew each other?” Ginny asked her mother as she pulled away from Narcissa and looked her up and down.
“Of course. Narcissa and I were close friends at Hogwarts, in secret of course…” Molly supplied and Narcissa jumped in with the remainder of the story.
“But when Bellatrix started asking questions we agreed to end our friendship. It was too risky, Bellatrix being who she was. Then when I left Hogwarts I was to marry Lucius Malfoy, and Merlin forbid I even be seen talking to a “blood traitor”,” Narcissa’s voice turned venomous at the mention of her former husband and her voice alone sketched quotation marks around the blood traitor title. Narcissa and Molly then looked between the three girls all now stood side by side wearing expressions of varying degrees of shock and then they started laughing.
“So lunch anyone?” Molly asked.
Half an hour later the five women were sat at a table all nursing a butterbeer, except for Pansy who had managed to get Blaise to make her a hot chocolate.
“You still pissed at him?” Hermione asked with a grim smile.
“Oh you bet. I told him not to get drunk last night, I told him and he went and did it anyway. So I told Draco not to give him any hangover potion and he’s suffering, plus he knows he’s sleeping in a different room tonight. I bloody well warned him,” Pansy snarled. Narcissa chuckled gently and laid her hand over Pansy’s fist disrupting the murderous gaze Pansy had directed towards her husband.
“Don’t forget that you need him at the minute Pansy,” Narcissa smiled carefully. “And don’t let the hormones take control. It’s been a hard battle for me not to snap at Carlos,” Narcissa said. Then she stopped herself. Hermione realised too late that Narcissa had just given her secret away, only when she looked at Narcissa she realised the woman had done it on purpose.
“Cissa you’re pregnant?” Pansy asked quietly. Narcissa nodded and withdrew a small picture from her pocket.
“13 weeks today, I had my scan this morning,” Narcissa smiled proudly as she slipped the picture to Pansy slyly. Hermione looked over Pansy’s shoulder and smiled widely at the little fuzzy image of the tiny little baby that was hidden inside Narcissa. Once they’d drunk their fill Hermione passed the tiny picture to Mrs Weasley and Ginny who ahhed and passed it back.
“So Mione… How’s life with Malfoy?” Ginny asked as she waggled her eyebrows. Hermione huffed and rolled her eyes.
“It’s fine Ginny, nothing scandalous I can assure you… Unless you count the fact that Draco kissing me is probably going to be all over every single magazine and newspaper in the wizarding world by tomorrow morning, probably accompanied by some slanderous title such as “Gryffindor Princess sleeping with the Slytherin Prince?” or “Hermione Granger not just ‘friends’ with Draco Malfoy” or quite possibly “Celebrated War Hero tainted by her relationship to Pureblood Death Eater”,” Hermione groaned, sketching air quotes around each one before resting her head in her hands. The other women chuckled at Hermione.
“Hey it could be worse Mione. I mean at least you’re not pregnant with him, the papers would have a field day with that especially as you’re not married,” Pansy smirked causing Hermione to glare at her with an expression akin to one Draco could pull.
“I wish he’d think occasionally,” Hermione groaned.
“Hey, Slytherins think through everything. It’s you Gryffindors who jump head first into a situation with no sense of self-preservation or a plan to get out,” Pansy protested. Ginny and Hermione opened their mouths to protest, but then remembering times when they had both done something extremely reckless and life threatening without so much as a thought about how to get out, they sobered, which caused Pansy and the two elder women to laugh.
“But when you’re best friends with Harry Potter you need to know how to move and move quickly without thinking. Thinking could cost you your life,” Hermione defended.
“But amazingly, so can not thinking,” Pansy pointed out with a smirk. Hermione rolled her eyes and took a sip of her butterbeer as Narcissa observed her.
I’ll tell you this Hermione. There is one good trait that Draco has gained from his father,” Narcissa started with a soft smile. The other women looked up, suddenly interested. “Lucius did nothing by halves. Whether it was the initial stages of our marriage,” Narcissa smiled slyly. “Conceiving Draco,” Narcissa said with a suggestive pause. “Or something nefarious, he did it to the best of his ability. Draco has inherited that… Only if he really doesn’t want to do it he refuses to put his all into it. The fact he revealed your relationship means he is serious and doesn’t want to have to hide. He’s giving it his all.” Hermione was blushing right to the roots of her hair, not just in pleased embarrassment, but in shocked mortification at the implication of Lucius’ skills in bed.
“Awh that’s sweet. No wonder Draco and Harry never used to get along. They’re both people who do everything to the best of their ability. So when it came to hating each other, they applied the same theory and hated each other,” Ginny smirked. Hermione nodded her head in agreement with a rueful smile.
“So what did you want to see me about today Cissa?” Hermione asked. Narcissa smiled as she unfolded her hands and placed one on her invisible baby bump.
“It no longer matters, we’re discussed it. However it’s 2pm, do you not need to get dresses Ginny?” Narcissa asked. Ginny gasped and nodded.
“Yes, yes of course,” Ginny said as she stood. Pansy called over a younger waitress and asked her to clean the table before walking out with everyone else.
Ginny and Molly side-along apparated Pansy and Hermione to one of two bridal shops in Diagon Alley while Narcissa who knew the place apparated alone. Once all the women were inside another woman in smart black robes walked up to them.
“Hello Ladies, I’m Mya, how may I be of assistance,” The woman smiled. Everyone in Hermione’s group turned to Ginny who then turned to the woman.
“I’m getting married, and I’m looking for a dress for my bridesmaid, a dress for my maid of honour and then a dress for me,” Ginny said, indicating Pansy and Hermione in turn. The woman smiled and nodded.
“Who would you like done first?” Mya asked.
“Um… Can I have Pansy done first please? Pansy and Hermione are to be dressed in emerald green as the colour scheme is ivory and emerald green. Pansy is also pregnant so we will need a dress suitable for her,” Ginny said assertively.
Mya nodded then pondered for a minute and lightly pulled Pansy forwards so she could inspect her figure, then she pursed her lips and turned to face the empty space in front of her. With a quick practised motion she moved her wand through the air elegantly and called forwards 5 dresses all in the most beautiful shade of emerald green. Ginny stepped forwards and looked at the five, but then her eyes and everyone else’s eyes focused on one specific dress.
The dress was strapless and fell to the floor from the bust in soft light sheets of emerald silk. Pansy reached out to touch the dress and the woman smiled.
“Here, do you wish to try it on?” Mya asked. Pansy nodded and she followed after her towards the back of the store. Minutes later Pansy appeared in front of them, the dress she was wearing complimented her eyes her hair and her cute little baby bump perfectly. She looked gorgeous. Hermione looked across at Ginny who was smiling as if she was fit to burst.
“You look gorgeous Pansy,” Ginny smiled. Hermione nodded in agreements and Pansy disappeared back into the changing room and appeared moments later with the dress on the hanger in a bag and handed it to Mya, who was scrutinising Hermione.
“Maid of Honour right?” Mya said to Ginny. Ginny nodded.
“Can I ask what exactly it is you’re looking for Miss Weasley,” The woman asked. Ginny didn’t say anything about having her maiden name used, it was too obvious who she was anyway and she pondered for a few minutes.
“I’m not particularly sure. But I have 2 styles I like. An A-line strapless type which is floor length, or a one shoulder, one sleeve, dress that is short in the front and long in the back,” Ginny said shyly. Hermione had the distinct feeling that this was the first time Ginny had actually mentioned her preferred styles in front of her mother.
“Okay then, would you mind if I find dresses for you first? I can style your maid based on your dress then,” Mya asked. Ginny nodded and stepped forwards. But Mya with a mysterious smile took Ginny’s hand and led her to the back of the shop so no one could see what was happening or see the dress.
Half an hour later Mya appeared, beaming, as she carried a dress in a bag out to Hermione and beckoned for her to follow. Hermione looked back at Pansy nervously as she followed after Mya. Pansy gave her an encouraging grin and Hermione quickly followed after Mya who led her to a cubicle opposite Ginny.
Mya unzipped the dress and hung it up as Hermione twiddled her thumbs then she stepped back so Hermione could see it and when she did, she gasped.
The dress was floor length and made of the same green silk as Pansy’s, but unlike Pansy’s Hermione’s dress was fitted to her waist and had one green sleeve made of net that shimmered in the light. Hermione was speechless as she ran her hand over the soft green pleats than spanned over the bust of the dress.
“It’s beautiful,” Hermione murmured.
“Try it on and meet us outside,” Mya smiled.
Hermione stripped her clothes off quickly and then she waved her wand at the dress watching as it appeared on her body in a perfect fit. Slowly she turned around and watched herself in the mirror. The dress made her look beautiful and elegant and she knew instinctively that her hair would need to be black for the wedding. Black goes best with the green. Taking a breath she turned around to walk out of the curtain and she saw Ginny standing opposite her standing in her dress.
“Sweet Merlin Ginny, you look, oh wow,” Hermione breathed.
Ginny was stood there in a dress that was short in the front and long in the back with a train about a metre long. On her feet were a pair of ivory court shoes, with the softest emerald patterns through them. The dress itself flared out at her hips and the bodice was simple ivory pleats and the sleeves of the dress were white net with ribbons of green through them. Over her long red hair sat a veil that covered her face to her chin and lengthened gradually until it rested around the centre of her back, imitating the fall of the dress perfectly. Mrs Weasley was staring at her only daughter openly crying, but keeping her distance as she didn’t want to ruin the dress.
“Mione you look gorgeous,” Ginny gasped.
“Nothing on you I assure you, you look gorgeous. Harry won’t know what hit him,” Hermione smiled.
“Nor will Draco,” Ginny smirked, making Hermione blush.
So how are you guys liking my girly day out. It’s not a filler, it does actually relate to the plot. And well done to SlightObsession for guessing the right animal ;) I’ll be revealing that animal soon. Pinky Promise :)
Now I’m gonna get to writing the next chapter, I hope you all review this one and let me know what you think of my choice of dress for the women.
~ eden xxx
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