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Fate's Path by Lumos Nox
Chapter 9 : Adjusting
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 9


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Adjusting

Hermione Granger, turned twenty–one yesterday, and she celebrated it with a birthday bash. And although reporters were banned from entering, we still have all the juicy details...

Seamus Finnigan, Dean Thomas, the Patil twins, Neville Longbottom, Hannah Abbot, George Weasley, Angelina Johnson, Blaise Zabini, Pansy Parkinson, Daphne Greengrass and Theodore Nott are a few of those who were invited.

Who Astoria Greengrass was going to arrive with, was a mystery to all; rumor has it that there was trouble in paradise. So imagine our surprise when she stepped out of a carriage with none other than Andrew Russo! The promising young Quidditch star! Astoria looked sexy, as always, in her one–shouldered scarlet gown, but what was she doing with Andrew Russo?

In case you don't know who Andrew Russo is. He’s the Chudley Canon's new seeker who was transferred from Italy. Sources tell us that Andrew was spotted with Hermione Granger just a few days before her birthday in the Hog's Head Pub. It seemed that they knew each other! Maybe they used to date.

Another carriage, and out stepped Luna Lovegood, the daughter of the editor of the magazine, ‘The Quibbler’, and her boyfriend, Rolf Scamander, the grandson of the famous Professor Newton Scamander who was the author of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.’ Luna looked wonderful (as always) in a short with dress, whereas Rolf was rocking the black tux. The couple are both Magizoologists, so it's no surprise that they've been together for this long!

Next came Ron Weasley hand in hand with a tall blonde haired beauty who just so happens to be the model and Witch Weekly's newest spokeswoman, Eva Dawn. She was dressed in a short tight black dress, which left little to the imagination, and killer heels. We couldn't help to think that Eva looked out of place with a man like Ronald. But who are we to say anything? They could be in love.

The saviour of the wizarding world, Harry Potter stepped out looking extremely smart in a dark blue suit, with his long term girlfriend, Ginny Weasley. Ginny looked beautiful in matching nude coloured blouse and skirt and Harry wore a black suit, looking as charming as always.

Now, there has many speculations and rumors about who the birthday girl would be arriving with. Would she arrive with someone we didn’t expect, or arrive by herself? Our question was soon answered.


A white carriage pulled up and Hermione Granger stepped out with none other than ex death eater, Draco Malfoy! Yes! Draco Malfoy! The birthday girl looked beautiful as she walked down the red carpet in a light pale nude, floor length evening dress. The dress was tight around the hips, before going down into a big frilly gown with ruffles. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that she was the best dressed.

The couple were kind enough to pose for pictures before entering the hall. Sadly, reporters were banned from entering the hall, but we still heard about what happened inside.

Friends and families gave toasts to the birthday girl, all except her ex boyfriend, Ronald Weasley. When it was time for the birthday girl speech, she thanked everyone for coming and was even sure to include her boyfriend in the speech. Yes, her boyfriend. Draco Malfoy. So we were right! The couple had been in fact dating, we should have figured! They made no effort to deny the rumors at all! It's said, that the couple danced together a lot before Draco gave Hermione a tender kiss in front of everyone.

So it's official! And you heard it first from Witch Weekly.

Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger are indeed dating! So where does that leave their exs?

Ronald Weasley and Astoria Greengrass?

In frustration, Hermione slammed the newspaper down on the table, making no attempt to hide her irritation with the article she had read.

“Relax, woman!” Harry said, lifting his feet from where she had slammed the article.

“Why so moody?” Ginny asked in a concerned tone.

Hermione sighed and rubbed her forehead. “I'm sorry guys... I'm just tired.”

The couple exchanged a knowing look. “Oh right…”

“How's the packing going?” Harry quickly asked to avoid suspicion.

Happy to have dodged a bullet if they had asked any further questions, she answered enthusiastically, “I'm nearly finished. I have so many books that I can't take them all; hence why I bought this box of books.”

Ginny cleared her throat and said in a sing song way, “I know a girl that might like them.”

Hermione rolled her eyes and decided to play dumb. “Oh, Luna?”

“Me, you idiot!” Ginny said, pretending to act hurt, as she threw her scarf at Hermione.

“Since when did you become so interested in books?” Hermione asked, ignoring the scarf.

“She's not. It's for her muggle collection.” Harry interrupted, dryly.

“Muggle collection?” Hermione laughed.

“It's not funny.” Ginny pouted, crossing her arms across her chest.

“She's collecting anything muggle. So that when she's older, she has something valuable in the wizarding world to pass down.”

“I didn’t know muggle things were valuable in the wizarding world.” Hermione said.

“They aren’t.” Harry answered wryly.

“Then it makes sense to collect them then.” she replied, sarcasm dripping from her tone.

“Don't encourage her!”

Hermione giggled and Ginny joined along. Ignoring the laughter, Harry checked his watch.

“I've got to go pick up, Teddy.” he said, standing up.

“Oh, where are you going?” Hermione asked, curious to see if it was some lame excuse to get out of helping her pack when she eventually asked.

“Quidditch match. The Chudley Cannons are playing! He's excited to see Andrew.” he answered, a grin on his face. “Which reminds me, Mione, where's my autograph?”

“Oh, that! I... will get that for you!”

Harry raised an eyebrow.

“I promise!”

“You forgot didn't you?” he asked, looking smug.

“I've been busy lately.” she said, in hope it was enough of an apology.

“With Malfoy no less…” Harry said quietly.

“No.” she answered, deadpanned. “I actually haven't seen him since my birthday.”

“And you're moving in with him?” Ginny asked, her eyebrows sinking into a disbelieving gaze.

“We have to keep things private; we don't want the press finding out too much about us.”

“I still can't believe you didn't tell us.” Ginny said.

Hermione received a lot of this lately, mostly from her parents, who had no idea that she even had another boyfriend, let alone a rich one. And she’d give them the same answer she’d been giving everyone lately.

 “It would have caused too much commotion.”

“Obviously.” Harry muttered.

She was quick to defend herself. “It's not that I didn't trust you guys enough to tell you. It's just that I didn't think you were going to take it well and–”

“Hermione, we're your friends! If you’re happy with Malfoy, then we're happy for you.” Ginny said kindheartedly.

“You don't have to hide anything from us.” Harry added, a little reluctantly.

Hermione felt guilty. She was hiding something from them. They thought she was in love with Draco, but she was only pretending. She couldn’t imagine how they would react if they found out that she had lied to them in the first place.

“I'm going to be late.” Harry said, dismissing himself as he laid quick peck on Ginny's cheek and gave Hermione a hug. “Bye ladies.”

“So, are the books mine?” Ginny asked hopefully, once Harry had shut the door behind.

Hermione playfully rolled her eyes. “Yes, they're yours!”

“Thanks!” she squealed, grinning madly. “More to the collection!”

“Poor Harry.” Hermione muttered jokingly.

“He'll thank me when our kids start taking interest in Mummy's books.”

“Kids?” Hermione asked, stunned at her statement. “You think about that stuff?”

“Of course!”

“And you think about having them… with Harry?” she prompted gently.

Ginny nodded. “I love Harry. I can't imagine it with someone else.”

Ginny was certainly the kind of person to have done so. She’d had a huge crush on him since they first met at King Cross Station when she was ten.

“How many kids do you want?” Hermione asked, curious for her answer.

“I don't know.” Ginny shrugged casually, not fazed by Hermione’s questions. “I want a lot! I think it’s because I have a big family.”

Hermione smiled at the thought of Harry and Ginny being the couple with a lot of children.

Ginny glared at Hermione oddly. “Why are you asking me these questions? Are you pregnant?”

“No no no Ginny! I'm not pregnant!” she answered quickly. “That's not even possible!”

“Not possible?” Ginny raised a curious brow. “Haven't you slept with Malfoy yet?”

Hermione blushed, surprised at such an intimate question. “It's none of your business!”

“You haven't, have you?” Ginny gasped. “Why not?”

“We're taking things slow!” she said, annoyed that her friend was taking too much an interest in her.

“But still! You’re moving in with him!” Ginny still spoke in a disbelieving tone.

“Ginny, I–”

“And you're going to be sharing the same bed with him! So something's bound to happen!”

Nothing was going to happen. Hermione knew that. They weren't even going to be sharing the same bed for something to happen. Granted, when you’re in the same space with someone for long, something could possibly happen, but she respected herself to know that nothing would happen. They were both respectable adults.

“Ginny why are you being so interested in my sex life all of a sudden?” she snapped impatiently.

“I'm just curious!” Ginny defended, shrugging innocently.

“Don't be! It's freaky!”

Ginny eyed Hermione up and down before coming to a conclusion.

“You're a strange creature Hermione Granger.”

“I'll take that as a compliment, so thank you.”

*

“Honey, I'm home!” Draco called as he opened the door to his flat to find a messy Hermione sprawled on the floor, surrounded by random boxes. “Um, what are you doing?” he asked.

“I'm arranging my stuff.” she replied with her back turned to him.

“Your stuff?” he asked, bending down to examine a box. “It looks like you were already planning to move.”

“I was.” she said, smiling up at him. “I was about to buy a flat.”

“Living alone?”

She nodded. “I'm old enough to live by myself.”

“I know that.” he said as he walked into another room.

“Oh and I went grocery shopping earlier today, so the fridge is stocked.”

“Impressive!” Draco called from the kitchen.

Hermione smiled to herself. At least someone appreciated her.

“You're a much better girlfriend than Astoria.”

Hermione looked up and glared at the former Slytherin, who had discarded his tie and jacket and now had an apple in his hand.

“Really?” she asked with mock gratitude.

“Yeah. Astoria would never go grocery shopping. She hired this girl that comes twice a month to do all the house duties.”

“Is she that lazy?” Hermione asked, looking up to see him with an apple.

“Pretty much. She doesn't do anything that requires...” he bit into his apple, as if contemplating a suitable word. “…working.”

“She sounds like a catch.”

“Oh, she's wonderful!” he said sarcastically.

Standing up to face Draco, she was surprised when he turned out taller than she had first thought. Granted, at the party she had been wearing heels and was still not as tall as him, but he really was tall.

“So are you going to help me with the boxes or what?” she asked, picking up a box.

He rolled his eyes. “If I choose not to help you'll hit me.”

Hermione smacked him lightly on his arm.

“So you were going to hit me either way then?” he remarked smugly.

“Malfoy, just pick a box and follow.”

Unwillingly, he did as he was told.

“You certainly had enough time on your hands!” he commented as he dropped the box on her bed.

Hermione looked around her bedroom, feeling proud of what she had done. “I had to make it look welcoming, unlike the god forsaken room it was before.”

“Don't blame me! I forgot this flat even came with an extra room.”

“Did you just buy it because it was big?”

“Well it was Astoria's idea at the time.”

Hermione looked up at the mention of Astoria. “I don't think you're fully over her.” she stated.

“What makes you think that?” he asked, his eyebrows raised.

“You mention her name a lot.”

“I've only mentioned her like twice!” he stated candidly.

“It's normal to still think about her. It's only been like four days, and it’s not expected of you to be over–”

“Where are you going with this, Granger?” he interrupted curtly.

Hermione chose not to reply but instead said, “I'm going to help you get over her!”

“Alright! Don't get all therapist on me.” Draco waved her away.

Hours later, she had finally finished unpacking the boxes and arranging them around the room. The bedroom alone was quite big. It had a big black and white four poster bed situated in the middle. Almost everything else was black and white, giving the room a modern look to it.

Hermione felt tired and hungry. All she wanted to do now was heat up some cold pizza and eat in. But Draco might not be up to it. She was just about to go and see where Draco was, but when she heard a female voice coming from the other side; she stopped dead in her tracks.

In that small moment, her mind was filled with questions. Was Draco cheating on her? They might not be truly dating, but that doesn't mean he was allowed to bring home other women, especially when his “girlfriend” just moved in.

Hermione moved closer to the door so she could hear what was being said on the other side. She was unable to hear them properly as the sound was distorted. She heard Draco say something and the female voice laughed. The high pitched laugh made her blood boil. Why was she laugMalfoy wasn’t that funny. After listening for a few more minutes and hearing absolutely nothing but muffled voices, Hermione couldn't take it anymore, she had to be careful however, she couldn't make it obvious that she had been eavesdropping on them.

“Draco, sweetheart," she put on a sickening tone as she entered the living room. "Have you seen my–” she stopped at the sight of the woman that was sitting next to Draco.

“Hello Hermione.”

“Pansy?”

Draco stood up and walked over to stand next to his girlfriend. “Hermione you remember Pansy Parkinson. Pansy, you know my girlfriend, Hermione.”

Pansy extended her hand.

Hermione shook it.

“I must say, I was really surprised when I heard your speech on Saturday. When Draco said it, I thought he just had a little too much to drink. But when you confirmed it, it was really unexpected.”

“To me too.” Hermione forced a smile through gritted teeth.

“Pansy just came over to invite us to a dinner party she's throwing tomorrow.” Draco informed her.

“My annual dinner party.” Pansy corrected. “I hope you two can come.”

It’s no secret that Hermione and Pansy never got along during Hogwarts, before the war and even after the war, when there was nothing to be afraid of. They had both made no effort to befriend one another; there was no reason to. Neither of them expected to somehow cross paths in four years time.

Pansy was an annoying woman who was used to dating movie stars and going out to nightclubs every night. The last thing Hermione wanted to do was to spend a night with her and her snooty pure blood friends.

“I assure you, we'll be there.” Draco smiled.

Hermione shot him a deathly look, which he noticed, but chose to ignore.

“Wonderful!” Pansy grinned. “Oh and I hope it’s okay but Astoria's going to be there.”

“I don't mind.” Draco shrugged.

“Great! Now I must dash. I’ve got others to invite.” Pansy stood up, grabbing her purse. She gave Draco a kiss on the cheek and Hermione, an awkward hug before apparating out.

“Malfoy! What the hell! I don't want to attend her dinner party!” Hermione barked.

“Why not?”

“I don't like her! Isn't it obvious?”

“Pansy's a lovely girl, there's no reason to dislike her.”

“Maybe for you! She's all cosy and nice to you!”

“If you don't like her then why did you invite her to your birthday?” he asked in a challenging tone.

“I didn't.” she sighed, infuriated, accepting defeat. “Ginny did. She invited everyone.”

“All but two people...” Draco muttered, but not silently enough.

“All for good reasons, of course!” Hermione defended; making it known that she had heard him.

“So she says.”

Hermione huffed before turning away from him. He was starting to act like a douche now. Why did he have to bring that up?

She went into the kitchen and pulled out a box of pizza from the fridge and heated it up. If he continued to behave like this, she would not hesitate to return back to her parents. She was doing him a favour, not the other way round. Frustrated, she cut the pizza with a sharp knife and was eating it when Draco decided to join her.

“Where's mine?” he asked as he entered the kitchen, raising an eyebrow.

“In the fridge.” she said, holding a greasy pizza.

He walked over to the fridge and bought out another box of cold pizza.

“What am I meant to do with this?” he asked, holding it up, a look of confusion across his face.

“You're meant to heat it up.”

“Heat it how?”

“Oh my god.” Hermione groaned as she covered her face. “Don't tell me you don't know what an oven is.”

“Of course I do.” Draco scowled. “I just don't know how to use it.”

“And here you are complaining about Astoria, when you're no better.” she laughed.

Draco shrugged. “I can cook a mean pasta.”

“So you can cook.”

“Probably better than you.” he joked, teasingly.

Hermione stopped eating and looked at him with mock hurt. “I'm offended.”

“Oh really?” Draco laughed.

“You can't cook and yet you’re insulting my cooking.”

“Well you haven't really cooked once, so I have no idea if your good or not.”

“I'm good.”

“Fine.” he said humorously. “I'll take your word for it.”

Draco looked lost as he began searching the cupboards for something edible that he could have in a matter of seconds.

“Here, you can have mine.” Hermione said standing up so that Draco could sit where she was.

“Thanks.” he smiled. “And I'm sorry about the dinner party. I'll be sure to involve you before I make any decision next time.”

*

Hermione woke up the next morning at the sound of tapping on her window. It was a large white owl, which she didn't recognize. She opened the window and it flew right in, dropping the package on her bed.

Taking the letter from the beautiful owl, she read.

Hermione,

I don't blame you for choosing to ignore my owls, since I ditched you at the last minute on your birthday. But you need to hear me out! I'm more likely the victim here.

And since you were actually dating Draco Malfoy, I did you a favor really.

–Andrew.

Hermione re–read the letter over and over again, her eyes scrutinizing to see if she was reading it correctly. Something did not make sense. He said that she was ignoring her owls. She did no such thing! None of his owls had been sent to her at all.

The more she thought about it, the more she realised that there was only one logical explanation: Malfoy!

Angry, she threw the letter onto her bed and stormed out of her bedroom straight into Malfoy’s, to find him sleeping peacefully in his bed. Shame she was going to change that.

“Malfoy! Wake up!”

He moved slightly but showed no sign that of hearing her. Sighing exasperatingly, she moved towards his bed and sat next to his sleeping form.

“MALFOY!” she yelled into his ears.

He immediately got up from his bed, his hands covering his ears.

“Damn it woman, what's do you want?” he groaned.

“You have some explaining to do!” Hermione said, standing up to point her fingers at him.

“What is so important that it couldn't possibly wait until noon or something?”

“Andrew.” she said simply.

“What about him?”

“I received an interesting letter from him this morning…”

“And?”

“He said I was ignoring his owls.”

“What's your point?” he asked impatiently.

“I don't remember ignoring his owls.”

He was staring at Hermione, looking a bit dazed.

“Are you saying that I intercepted with your owls?”

“It seems the only logical explanation.”

“Granger. I can't believe you don't trust me!” he said, raising a mocking hand to his chest.

Hermione rolled her eyes. “Just answer me Malfoy! Did you intercept my owls?”

“I might have.” he said sheepishly.

“You did?” she screeched.

“Okay, calm down Granger.” His voice was gentle and soothing, and for some reason, Hermione found it incredibly irritating. She sat down on the large bed with her arms folded across her chest as Draco stood in front of her.

“You received an owl yesterday when you were decorating your room. I thought it was for me, but when I opened it, I realized it wasn't. I was going to give you the letter but after I read it, I thought it was best not to.”

Hermione couldn't believe that he had read her letter. Her letters were private! Why was he reading it? She didn't go around reading his letters, now did she?

“So let me get this straight.” she said, a scornful tone to her voice. “You read my letter, refused to give it to me, then you–”

“I thought you were going to reply to him!” Draco interrupted loudly.

“Of course I would have!” Hermione defended.

“That would have been a mistake!”

“Well it would have been my mistake!”

“Are you actually mad at me for protecting you?” he asked, a hint of anger in his voice.

“I don't need protection! I'm twenty–one!” she snapped.

“Congratulations.” he muttered.

Hermione ignored him. “He sent other owls, didn't he?” she didn’t wait for his reply. “What did they say?”

“Nothing important.”

Yeah right. Hermione knew that there was probably something worth knowing in the owls that Andrew had sent. Draco was acting like a child.

“Okay then. You can go back to sleep now.” she said quietly, realising her defeat as she turned around to leave.

“Hermione...”

She turned around. “Yes?”

“I'm sorry, about reading your letter.” he said, scratching the back of his neck as if he felt completely out of character for apologising. “I won't do it again.”

Hermione just stared at him.

“You don't have to go.” he murmured quietly. “I'm fully awake now, so we can talk.”

“Talk?” she raised an eyebrow. “Are you that desperate for some company?”

He walked closer to her, the corner of his mouth twitching up. “You woke me up.”

“And for that, I apologize.” she said, moving away. “Besides, we should probably shower first.”

“Is that an invitation Granger?” he smirked.

“In your dreams, Malfoy.” she replied.

He laughed to himself before saying. “I'm going out after breakfast; I've got a meeting.”

“You better be back in time for Pansy's dinner party!” she said. “If you're not here, then I'm not going.”

“I don't think you know a lot about it, do you?”

Hermione shook her head.

“The dinner party isn't like any other dinner party.” he explained. “There will be wizard celebrities there, such as Quidditch Players, singers, veelas, and models. So you can bet your arse that your Andrew friend will be there. The dress code as always is smart and sexy. So wear something nice.”

*

Andrew was in the Chudley Cannon's changing room with his teammates. They were discussing team tactics for the game tomorrow but he was not paying attention. He was too busy thinking about Hermione and feeling guilty. He didn't realise it before, but it was obvious that he'd made a mistake by choosing Astoria over her. Maybe if he didn't, Hermione would be with him, instead of being with the spoilt heir who gets way too much pocket money.

Sure Astoria had that model veela beauty, and yes, she was without a doubt stunning, and yes, he should be lucky to have her. But Hermione was something else. All the times when he had shown up at her flat in Italy, to find her with her messy curls everywhere and her face free of makeup, he was always attracted to her. The thing about Hermione was that she didn't need to try; she always managed to look gorgeous. She was one of those rare beauties. She was just naturally beautiful.

“So Russo, do you know what you've got to do?” asked the Coach, and Andrew’s head jerked, pulling him out of his thoughts.

“Yes, coach.” he lied.

*

“Won–won, are you okay?”

Ron cringed at the familiar words. It just reminded him of Lavender and how much she had annoyed him. Hiding his annoyance, he looked up to see Eva looking worried.

“I'm okay.” Ron replied. “And please stop calling me that!”

“Sorry.” she smiled. “I've just received an invitation for Pansy's dinner party tonight. Would you like to come?”

“I can't let you go alone, can I?” he said. “Who else is going to be there?”

“Oh you know, the lot.” she grinned. “Celebrities; like Quidditch players, models, entrepreneurs–”

“So Malfoy will be there?” he asked sharply, interrupting her.

“Yes. He's always there.”

“Brilliant.”

*

“So how do I look?” Hermione asked, twirling to give Draco a good view.

“You look nice.”

“So do you.”

“I know.”

“Vainer and vainer.” she said, mimicking what she had said at her birthday.

“Not a word, Granger!” he said, once again.

Hermione was wearing a short red and black Alexander McQueen dress and a Christian Louboutin Pigalle Studded Pumps, completing the look with a Christian Louboutin Loubi Croissant Satin Clutch and a Vintage Butler & Wilson Red Heart. She was basically wearing everything designer; she might as well be going to some sort of premiere. But she couldn’t complain, she looked amazing in the outfit, and since Ginny – who had particularly enjoyed it as it was from muggle designers – had chosen it, it was no surprise.

“I've got something for you. Wait here.” Draco said, disappearing into his bedroom and returned a few minutes later, holding small black box.

“Open it.” he prompted, handing it to her.

Hermione stared at him confused, but nonetheless she opened the box.

Inside the small box was a ring; a diamond solitaire on a shiny green band. It looked beautiful. Hermione recognised the ring from a catalogue she had been reading earlier that day. The only thing different about the ring was that it had the Slytherin symbol around the band. The symbol was small and could only be noticed from up close.

“Draco... this... is–” she was speechless.

“It matches your dress, don't you think?”

“But how – how did you?”

“I saw you reading the article this morning. Obviously, it’s not enough to say thank you but I thought you might like the surprise. I had to make a few calls but…”

Hermione wasn’t listening anymore as she put the ring on. It fit perfectly. “Thank you.” she smiled up at him. Even though she was wearing heels, he was still taller than her.

“We look the part, don't we?” Draco commented, looking at the mirror that stood in front of them.

Hermione had to agree, they did look the part. The reflection showed a couple. A couple who looked like they were truly in love. They were even colour–coded. Hermione was wearing black and red, while Draco was wearing a dark grey suit. He looked handsome, especially since he had a little stubble on his face.

“So shall we go?”

“We shall.” Hermione said, grabbing her black jacket from the coffee table in front of the mirror. “So are we apparating?”

“Nope, I'm going to drive.” Draco answered without hesitation.

“Drive? You can drive?”

“Shockingly yes. I can. I learnt how to drive after I graduated. One of the many skills I needed.” he said, as he led Hermione out the front door, closing it behind.

*

Draco put the keys in the ignition, the car giving a soft purr before starting.

“Where’s Pansy's flat?” Hermione asked, as she sank down in the passenger seat.

“The dinner party's not at her flat. It's at her parents.”

“Parkinson Manor?” she nearly choked.

“Yeah. You can meet her parents.”

She groaned and glared at him. “You should have told me this before.”

“You're meeting Pansy's parents. Not mine.” he asserted, shrugging indifferently.

“A warning would still be good.”

“Next time you're meeting any more of my friend’s parents, I'll be sure to inform you first.”

“I hope you're joking.”

Draco gave a small laugh and stepped on the accelerator.

“Are we nearly there?” Hermione asked minutes later.

“Keep looking ahead. You'll see when we're nearly there.” he said, not taking his eyes off the road.

Hermione turned and stared out the window. It was dark at night and it looked like there wasn't another car for miles. The only light there was, was of the car headlights.

Hermione moved uneasily in her seat. She felt uncomfortable for some reason. Maybe it was because she was stuck in a car with Draco. The boy who had made her life hell for pretty much all of her Hogwarts years. He had called her a filthy mudblood, he had made snide comments at the trio, and worse of all, and he had stood there on that day and watched as his aunt, Bellatrix, tortured her.

Bellatrix had tortured Hermione with the Cruciatus Curse repeatedly, until she was unconscious. During the torture, she had left a 'mudblood' scar on her arm. Hermione was not proud of her scar; it was a constant reminder that to some people, blood purity was more important than anything else. And until this day she used a concealer charm to cover up the scar.

“Come on.” Draco said, parking the car and getting out.

Hermione had been so lost in her thoughts that she hadn't even realized that they had arrived. She unbuckled her seatbelt, and stepped out the car, gaping at the large mansion that set beyond the sidewalk, towering over her as if attempting to intimidate her. The cream coating of the paint shined as the streetlights above them beat down on it, causing Hermione to have to squint.

Uniquely twisted fencing kept the house enclosed; neatly trimmed hedges surrounded the house. The roof was peaked, slanting down at an angle. The windows had royal purple curtains hanging on the other side of them, drawn so that the streetlights couldn’t stream through.

“You ready?” Draco asked as he took Hermione's arm.

“I think so.”

“Don’t worry. Nothing to worry about.”

As they stepped away from the marble drive, Hermione noticed a marble fountain sitting towards the right side of the lawn. An angel holding a flower was perched on top, looking up towards the sky. Bushes trimmed into all sorts of animals and people littered the parts of the lawn that was not taken up by the fountain. They walked towards the extravagant house, down the little stone path to the large black door.

Draco stabbed the doorbell, which glowed with a yellow light surrounding the white button. In a matter of seconds, the door was open and they faced a grinning Pansy. She was wearing a green full length silk style satin gown, with crystal embellishment and pleated fabric.

“Draco, Hermione! I'm so glad you could make it!” she squealed loudly, pulling them both into hugs. “I nearly thought you weren't coming.” she said.

“Oh, are we late?” Draco asked when Pansy had released them from the bone crushing hug.

“No. You're right on time. Do come in!” she said, ushering them inside.

As Hermione entered the house, her heels clacking loudly on the marble floor, she saw the tallest ceiling ever, lovely crown molding, a table in the center of the room, and two flights of spiral staircases going up to the second floor. Draco led her to the room on their right.

There was a small fire burning on one side of the wall, surrounded by a huge brown couch and a rocking chair. To the left, there was a large dining table, with several chairs around it, a small closet with lots of dishes and glasses behind it and several mirrors on the sides of the sort–of–separate room.

Hermione looked over her shoulder and spotted several photo frames all over the wall. They were moving pictures of family and friends, along with various framed awards and certificates. She looked upward to see a huge glass chandelier with lit candles on their plate. 

“What a lovely house.” Hermione said, gushing at the marvelous trophies in their trophy case.

“Thank you! Mother spent a lot of time decorating it.” Pansy smiled at Hermione. “This house is her prized possession.”

“I can understand why. The interior design is amazing.” she stated, nodding approvingly.

From the corner of her eyes, she could see Draco holding up his thumbs as if to tell Hermione that she was playing her role well so far.

“Draco, Hermione!” Blaise greeted loudly, as he entered the room, followed by several other couples.

“Hey!” Draco said as he clapped the back of his friend.

“Hermione...” Blaise said, prolonging her name as he looked her down before giving her a hug.

“Um... Hi.” Hermione nervously pushed an imaginary strand of hair back behind her ear. She always forgot that she had short hair now.

“Wow.” he said, his eyes surveying her up and down. “You look amazing!”

Hermione turned a light shade of pink; she wasn't used to all the compliments she had been receiving lately.

“Put your tongue back in your mouth Zabini!” Draco muttered, pulling Hermione close to him.

“Sorry.” Blaise smirked.

“Don't worry, I'll deal with him!” Pansy said, suddenly appearing next to him. “Draco, why don't you guys go to the dining room; everyone’ll be there in a second.”

“Alright.” he smiled to the stunning brunette as her and Blaise left to go and talk to another couple.

“You're doing well so far.” Draco murmured to her, once they were out of earshot.

“I hope so.”

They walked to the dining table, which – like you’d expect from a house like this – was decorated with a large vase in the middle with three beautiful roses sticking out. Names were on the chairs, so guests knew where to sit. Luckily for Hermione, she was sat between Draco and Blaise, people that she already knew. They took their seats, and seconds later, several more couples had joined them. The men were all dressed in black and the women were also dressed in sexy black lace.

Well, she mostly fit in with the dress code. Thanks a lot, Draco.

Her eyes darted to the door as she heard a familiar voice. Ron Weasley entered the room hand in hand with his blonde date, Eva Dawn; he stopped dead in his tracks as he saw Hermione.

“Well well well,” he began. “If it isn't my ex... and her boyfriend.” he spat out the last part.

“Nice to see you too Weaselbee.” Draco said sardonically.

“Of all people to date, you choose him?” Ron spat, surveying Draco.

“We all know I’m billion times better than you!” Draco muttered as he stood up quickly.

“So you say!”

“Draco, leave it.” Hermione said, pulling Draco back down to seat.

“Listen to your girlfriend, Malfoy.” Ron retorted smugly.

Hermione glared at Ron. What did she see in him before? When they were in Hogwarts, he had been the perfect guy. He had been thoughtful, considerate and charming. Now, he just looked like a desperate guy. A desperate guy with a model girlfriend. Hermione noticed that even Eva had looked uncomfortable when Ron started to pick a fight. Poor girl; she almost pitied her.

“Ignore him.” Hermione whispered to Draco. “He's just trying to get you mad.”

“It worked.” he said.

“Just... don't do anything you'll regret.” she said to him, speaking softly. “Please.”

He turned to face her. “I'm sorry,” he said. “I didn't know he was going to be here.”

“It's okay. I know he's only here to–” Hermione was interrupted by a male voice.

“Hermione?”

She looked up to see a handsome looking Andrew entered the room, followed by a gorgeous Astoria. They were both dressed in black, like almost everyone else in the room. Astoria scowled at the sight of Hermione. Andrew however, smiled apologetically before walking over.

“Hermione, it's nice to see you again.” He said leaning down to kiss her on the cheek. “You look amazing!”

Hermione smiled up at him. “You remember Draco.” she said, gesturing to her annoyed boyfriend.

“Hard to forget.” Andrew said as he shook Draco's hand. “And you remember Astoria.”

Astoria had somehow suddenly appeared beside Andrew. “I don't think we've formally met. Hermione, is it?”

Hermione knew what she was doing. Astoria was acting as if they had never met before. As if the first time they met, she hadn't called her a mudblood. She decided to play along; after all, she didn't want to cause a scene.

Hermione shook Astoria's hand; she probably gripped it tighter than she was meant to. Oh well. Astoria let out a soft cry only they could hear. She glared at Hermione before turning around and walking to her seat, Andrew trailing behind.

“Welcome everyone!” Pansy said as her and Blaise decided to join her guests. She quickly had everyone’s attention. “Some of you haven't been properly introduced, so I'll do it.”

A house elf entered the room, carrying bottles of wines and glasses. Pansy took them and said thank you.

Hermione smiled to herself, happy that house elves weren't been treated badly anymore. She was glad that none of them had to live like Dobby did.

“Everyone this is Ronald Weasley.” Pansy said, and Ron stood up. “He is one third of the Golden Trio, and best friends with the saviour of the wizarding world.”

Not anymore, thought Hermione. Ever since Hermione had found out, Ron had not been in contact with Harry or Ginny. He might have thought that they wouldn't want to see him because of what he did to Hermione. But the truth was that they both missed Ron like hell. They may deny it, but she knew that they did. And she didn't blame them. You can't forget someone that's been a major part of your life, that easily– no matter what they did.

This is Andrew Russo.” Pansy continued and Andrew stood up, straightening his suit. “He's a Quidditch Player and… he's Italian.” she added dreamily.

Everyone – all the women, at least – seemed to swoon at the sight of Andrew. No surprise there, the man was beyond gorgeous.

“And last but not least, Hermione Granger.”

Hermione didn’t know whether she should stand up or not. The nudge from Draco, told her that she should. As she stood, all eyes were on her.

“She as well, is part of the golden trio and she is known as the brightest witch of her age.” Pansy finished off.

Hermione sat back down, just as another house elf came in, holding a letter. Pansy took the letter and opened it. Her expression didn't change as she read the letter.

“Mother and Father will not be able to make it today. They're stuck in France for some work reason.” she said. “They send their apologies.”

Hermione noticed that Draco's shoulders dropped as Pansy spoke; he looked relieved.

“That's not going to stop our fun.” Pansy continued, a little excitedly. “Let's eat.”

Food appeared in front of them; it was just like Hogwarts, when they were in the great hall. In front of Hermione, were pork chops. It was especially what she was craving! In front of Draco was salmon. It was no surprise; the man seemed to really liked sea food. Everyone else was already eating, so with no regard for elegance, she stabbed her food and began eating.

“Save some for everyone else.” Draco remarked.

“I'm sorry. Is it unattractive the way I eat?” she retorted rudely, her mouth full. “In case you haven't noticed, I'm starving.”

“Did you eat before we left?” he asked, concerned.

“I was saving room for this.” she motioned to the food in front of them.

“Next time, eat, Granger. It's unhealthy.”

“Stop acting like you care, Malfoy.” she mumbled, annoyed at his sudden concern.

“I do.” he muttered.

“Whatever.”

Hermione rolled her eyes childishly, before stabbing her food again. He was still angry that Ron and Andrew were here. Riskily, she took a quick glimpse of Ron. For someone who loved his food, he wasn’t eating. In fact, he was scowling at Draco, not noticing that Hermione was watching him. Andrew, on the other hand, was neatly eating. No stray bits on his dinner jacket, neither was there any disgusting bits on his chin; he ate so dignified.

Unlike Ronald.

Andrew looked up and caught her eye. Hermione quickly looked away, embarrassed that he had caught her staring at him. A small blush had crept onto her cheeks. Desperate for it not to be noticed, she quickly reached for her glass, in hopes that it would distract him from looking at her with that smug smile on his face.

“What the hell is that?”

Hermione looked up, her eyes searching for the all too familiar bitter voice. Astoria’s gaze was on Hermione's hand.

“Is that an engagement ring?” she asked slowly, starring at the ring on her Hermione's finger.

Hermione inwardly hit herself. She'd completely forgotten about the ring. She'd forgotten that she was even wearing it. Taken aback by the question from Astoria, she quickly retracted her hand away from her glass. Now, she was definitely blushing. Everyone seemed to be starring at her. Desperate to save face, she opened her mouth to say something, but Draco was quicker.

“It's none of your business Astoria.” He replied sharply. He was starring right at her, looking irritated and annoyed.

“You've known her for like three days and you're already engaged?” Astoria scorned harshly.

All eyes fell were now on Hermione’s hand. She felt too embarrassed to even look at anyone else other than Draco. When she heard someone scoff, she looked up to see Ron. He looked angry and a little… disappointed?

“Are you engaged to this ferret?” he spat bitterly.

Why did he seem mad? He had no right to be mad! He cheated on her! So he deserved it if she was engaged to someone else.

“Ronald, it's really none of your business either.” she found herself saying.

Ron gasped, slamming his hand on the table. “You're engaged to him?”

Hermione didn't reply. She didn't need to. Her silence alone was an answer.

“I'm sure they're not really engaged!” Andrew attempted as he stood up, trying to calm down the murderous exes.

“You can do so much better, Draco!” Astoria blurted, shaking her head at Hermione.

“Funny, I kept telling myself that when I was with you!” Draco muttered as a mocking smile took over his attractive features.

Astoria gasped, and so did most of the room, all except for Blaise who nearly choked on his drink.

“I doubt your parents will be happy to hear you're engaged to a mudblood.” Astoria hissed as the room fell silent.

“I don't really care about them.”

“Don't fool yourself.” Astoria spoke sharply, grabbing her glass of champagne.

“Slow down on that babe.” Draco drawled sneeringly. “We don't want your date to carry you home, now do we?”

“Oh, it's not for me.” Astoria laughed scathingly, her lips curving cynically., a cunning glint in her eye. “It's for her.”

Hermione gasped when she felt herself drenched in something cold and sticky.

“Astoria!” Andrew yelled, pulling her back down to her seat.

“Are you fucking mad?” Draco roared, his eyes getting darkening. He then took a lower, more concerned approach to speak to Hermione. “Are you okay?”

The chorus of concerned questions from everyone was too much for Hermione to take. She felt revolted, disgusting and embarrassed.

She was shaking from the coldness when she whispered back to Draco, “I think we should go.”

Her date just simply nodded.

“We're leaving.” he said as he helped Hermione up.

Pansy and Blaise followed them as they left the room.

“I'm so sorry for that, Hermione!” Pansy apologised.

“It's... okay.” she said, but she couldn’t even convince herself.

“We'll deal with her.” Blaise insisted, his face free of all emotion. Opening the passenger door for her, Draco helped Hermione get into the car before running to his side and getting in himself.

“That fucking bitch.” he muttered, annoyed and aggravated. It was obvious that he was mad. But there was no reason to have rushed out so fast. Hermione, however, was silently happy that he was mad. It showed that he cared.

“She just can't stand to see me happy!” he grumbled. “She left me!  Can't I be happy for once?”

From where Hermione was sat, she could see that Draco was seething in his seat and driving incredibly fast.

“Slow down Draco.” she warned him, her voice soft and composed.

Draco turned, his face softened as he did so. “Sorry.”

Hermione's bag started to vibrate. Bending down to pick it from beside her feet, she pulled out her phone. It was a text, from Harry.

“How's the dinner party going? Did you get a chance to talk to Andrew and get his autograph for Harry?

–         Ginny.”

Hermione quickly sent a reply.

“I was unable to. Draco and I had to leave in a hurry due to wardrobe malfunction. I'll tell you all the details later. Tell Harry I'm sorry.”

Hermione felt a pan of guilt. She had promised Harry that she was going to get him his autograph tonight. And here she was breaking her promise. Draco parked the car outside the building and ran to her side to help her get out.

“Are you still cold?” he asked, once they were in his flat.

“Yeah.” Hermione nodded.

“Go take a cold shower.” he said and Hermione gave him a confused look. “It'll help.”

Hermione got out of her wet dress and stepped into the shower. Draco was right; the coldness seemed to somehow make her warmer. She no longer felt sticky and clammy in her designer dress, she felt clean. She left her bathroom to find Draco sitting on her bed; he was changed to his pjs now.

“The ring.” he said, pointing to the ring that Hermione had discarded on her dressing table. “It does look like a wedding ring.”

“I know.” she said, nodding slowly.

“I'm sorry. I was unaware of that when I gave it to you.”

“Don't apologise anymore.” she said, raising a hand to stop him. “You need to stop apologising. I mean, every couple has its misunderstanding from time to time.”

“But we're not a couple.” he explained, walking over to stand in front of her.

“Then what are we?” Hermione asked.

“We're...” he looked up, debating the correct answer. “we're friends, helping each other out.”

She nodded uncertainly, secretly satisfied with the answer. “I guess so.”

“So how do you feel? Still cold?”

“Not anymore.”

“That’s good. And erm – I'm really sorry about Astoria.” Draco said, apologising yet again. “She gets jealous really quickly.”

“I figured that out.” Hermione rolled her eyes jokingly.

“You are a star, Hermione Granger.” he said before pulling her in a warm hug.

“So I've been told.” she joked once they had let go.

“Want to watch a movie or something?” he asked.

“Sure. But let me get changed first.” she said.

“Oh right!” Draco screeched – like the ever so manly man that he was –, leaping away from the girl in front of him, that was only clad in a towel.



Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or the brilliant character you recognize! They belong to the amazing JK Rowling!

So here's Chapter NINE! I had no idea that I hadn't updated since like May/June, so please forgive me. Hope you enjoyed this chapter and please leave a review. I might not have time to reply to all of the reviews but please know that I read and appreciate every single one.


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