Hermione stared with growing anxiety at the list Draco had handed her. She’d had to miss the prefects meeting due to a last minute appointment with Professor Poffin regarding her special Head Girl End of the Year project. She and the Professor were still finalizing the details so that she could move forward with researching and she was determined to get everything absolutely perfect so the report could be used for her University applications, as well as any jobs she might wish to apply for straight out of Hogwarts. Unfortunately for Hermione, Professor Poffin was getting ready to go on maternity leave, so she had to take whatever time the Professor could give her.
She looked again at the list in her hand, elegantly written in Malfoy’s perfect handwriting. There has to be some mistake, she thought wildly. She rubbed her eyes with the tips of her fingers, but the words didn’t change.
Fortune Teller – Lavender, Finnegan, Daph
Ring Toss – Scarhead and Weaselette
Kissing Booth – Granger, Looney, Theo
Apple Bobbing – Draco and Blaise
Pumpkin Carving – Weasel and Pans
Face Painting – Twin 1 and Longbottom
Pumpkin Bowling – Boot and Twin 2
Hayride – Dean Thomas, Tracey, Michael Corner, Mandy Brocklehurst, Susan Bones, Hannah Abbot, and Ernie
The Kissing Booth? Seriously? “Malfoy!”
He poked his head around the doorframe to his room and looked over to the Common Room couch where Hermione was sitting. “You shrieked?”
She huffed. She shook the paper he’d given her and thrust it toward him. “What – how – I mean, this list… what happened?”
He smirked at her, “Ah, you’ve had a chance to look it over, I see. You know, if you want some practice for the kissing booth, just let me know.”
She growled at him.
He took pity on her and came out of his room, hands raised in front of him to try to placate her. “What do you want to know?”
“What happened at this meeting? Dumbledore mentioned to us that he wanted us to host a Halloween Festival, but how did we go from that, to this? I know I wasn’t there, but did you have to punish me for it? You said it was okay if I didn’t go,” she whined, voice rising with her ire and panic.
“Woah, Granger. Take a breath. I’m not punishing you with that list; we drew names from a jar. Trust me, a kissing booth isn’t my idea of punishment; if I was going to punish you, I’d spank your cute arse.”
She looked at him with eyes that had gone wide with surprise and cheeks stained with a blush that wasn't entirely from embarrassment. But before she could say anything, he continued. “Dumbledore stopped by the meeting at the beginning and mentioned his mandatory festival to everyone. But then, the Muggle Studies teacher, Professor Burbage, jumped in with her idea. She wants each booth to pick a different era from Muggle History, research it, and base our decorations around that era. She’s giving extra credit for the most accurate decorations. There’s also going to be a costume contest; the students will vote on their favorite costume and the winner will receive a prize of some kind.”
Hermione perked up a bit at the mention of extra credit – she didn’t really need it, but it was never too early in the year to start thinking about cementing her Valedictorian status. “How did you guys come up with this list? And the partners?”
“Oh. Well, we brainstormed the list as a group – the kissing booth was a special request from Dumbledore. Merlin only knows what’s rolling around in that crazy head of his.” He paused to rub his shoulder where she’d punched him for his snide comment. “Then I put all our names in a jar and pulled out two at a time. After each activity had two people assigned to it, everyone else was allowed to choose where to help out; most chose the hayride because it’s the biggest project.”
“I bet Ginny used magic to make sure she ended up with Harry!” she exclaimed. “And maybe you did, too.”
“I’m shocked and appalled that you would suggest such a thing, Granger. If I was going to use magic to pick a partner, obviously, I’d choose you. You’d do all the work and I could sit back and take half the credit.”
She hit him again, this time rolling her eyes in accompaniment. “Whatever, Malfoy. Your slacker routine doesn’t work with me. I see how much effort you put into your schoolwork. If we were partners, you’d never let me get away with doing all the work. Even if I could do it better than you!” She said the last part with a smirk that Draco found himself rather proud of. It seemed he was rubbing off on her more than he realized.
He chuckled at her, before checking his watch and noting he was running late. “Oh, shit, Granger. I’ve got to go meet Blaise. Your meeting with Luna and Theo isn’t until tomorrow evening. I’m sure you still have questions, so we can talk more about this tonight, if you want.” With that, he was out the door, before she could say anything else.
She was confused in the wake of his exit and decided to go to the library and take out some books on Muggle history; one could never be too prepared, right?
Returning from the library, arms laden with books, she realized she couldn’t avoid her mixed-up feelings forever; she always thought best while showering, so she decided to take one before meeting with Draco.
Shampooing her hair usually left her feeling peaceful; all of her thoughts just seemed to fall into place. This time it wasn't working, though. She found herself more confused than ever by Malfoy. They’d become sort-of friends when he had switched sides and spied for the Order of the Phoenix, during the war. He’d eventually come to live in Grimmauld Place with them when it got too dangerous to let him continue spying. She’d found him to have wit and intelligence to rival her own. She hadn’t trusted him at first, but they both suffered bouts of insomnia and had spent many long nights chatting about everything and nothing, and, of course fighting. But the fighting didn’t have harshness associated with it any longer, just (mostly) friendly bantering.
Once the Final Battle was fought, they hadn’t seen each other all Summer, but he’d acted just as friendly towards her when they found out they were both Heads; in fact, he’d seemed to amp up the friendship level in the past few weeks. He was constantly making suggestive remarks to her, but she was pretty sure he was just messing around. They had become much more comfortable around each other since they starting living together and he liked to see how far he could push her before she got angry with him. She didn’t think she’d mind if he wasn’t joking; even when he’d been a grade-A prat, he’d still been crazy attractive. And now that his personality was more on par with his looks, she decided she wouldn’t be totally averse to him liking her. In fact, it might be kind of fun to flirt with him.
True, she didn’t have a ton of experience with guys – she’d dated Krum back in 4th year, had one disastrous date with Cormac in 6th year, and gotten together with Ron at the end of the Final Battle. Their relationship had fizzled out quickly though, when things calmed down and their emotions weren’t running so high. They’d become essentially friends with benefits by midway through the summer, though she’d called an end to that aspect when he’d started dating Lavender, who had come to stay with the Weasleys for a couple of weeks before they all left for Hogwarts. After the werewolf attack, Lavender had wanted Bill’s help with her weird cravings and mood swings. Ron apparently really appreciated Lavender’s aggressive sex drive, or so he’d mentioned right before trying to get Hermione into bed the last time. She’d been mad at him briefly, and he’d been angry that she was mad at him, but they’d ending up settling it before coming back to school, though she had refused to sleep with him again.
Upon returning to school, she’d had a brief relationship with Terry Boot. There’d been some kissing and a date to Hogsmeade, but she’d ended it when it became apparent he was obsessed with Harry and utterly fascinated with her close relationship with him. There had also been one unwanted kiss with Theo Nott, when they had had a project together in one of their classes. They’d had to do research in the library for several days and he had sat progressively closer to her and peppered her with compliments. She hadn’t paid much attention to it, thinking it was harmless since he had a reputation as a womanizer; he’d cornered her in the stacks one evening, the last before completing their paper. He pushed her against one of the shelves and started snogging her.
While Hermione’s mind was racing a mile a minute trying to figure Draco out in the context of relationships she’d had, he was meeting with Blaise in the Room of Requirement.
Draco opened the door to the Room and found Blaise already sitting in front of a roaring fire. It felt more chummy to have a fire going, so they always lit one – the Room made sure it never got too hot inside. There were two huge brown leather chairs set in front of the fire, with a small side table between them, holding a bottle of firewhiskey and two glasses. Blaise was sitting in one of the chairs, head resting on his hand, staring into the fire, apparently deep in thought.
Draco sat down quietly, not wanting to disturb him. Blaise had called the meeting and Draco knew it had to be important; they usually met twice a week in the Room of Requirement to blow off steam and hang out, sometimes over a game of Wizard’s Chess. They had never met in the Room of Requirement outside of their routine days. This was not a regular meeting day for them, and that, plus the bottle of Firewhiskey, clued him in that something important was about to happen. He sat in the other chair and stretched his long legs out in front of him. He wasn’t sure how long he’d have to wait for Blaise to start talking, but he knew better than to rush his friend.
To his relief, Blaise started speaking soon after Draco sat down. “Draco, you need to tell Granger that you like her.”
Draco swiveled his head towards Blaise and gave him an incredulous look. They’d talked about his crush on Granger when they’d gotten drunk before, but never had they broached the subject sober. Draco took a moment to compose himself while opening the Firewhiskey and pouring them both generous amounts.
“Why would I need to do that?” Draco asked him. “You know I’m already trying to get her to like me. Granger’s different than other girls; I have to take my time with her. Besides, I can’t just come out and tell her I like her; only gits do that. I’m not going to write her poetry, or what have you; I’m not that kind of guy.”
“Hell, Draco, you don’t have to write her poetry,” he said, sneering. “But girls do love when you tell them how you feel about them. If you don’t move quickly, you might lose your chance.”
Draco cocked an eyebrow at Blaise, urging him to continue. “I’ve been hearing Theo bragging in our dorm room about wanting Granger. Apparently they have a class together and he’s become obsessed with her. She partnered with him on a project earlier this year and he tried to get her interested in him, and ended up snogging her in the stacks. She slapped him.” Draco could feel himself growling at this news; everything inside him felt like it was clenching. He also felt oddly proud of her for standing up for herself, but he wished he could have been there to protect her. She’d told him about it after the fact, but the thought of it still made his blood boil. He wasn’t sure he wanted to hear more, but Blaise continued, “He’s going to try again during this Halloween project; it’s part of why he wanted to join her group.”
Draco downed his glass of Firewhiskey and poured himself another. Blaise wasn’t through talking, though. “Draco, he’s at least partially doing it to get to you. I’m not sure how he found out about your thing for Granger, but he wants to beat you to her. He wants to make you pay for his father.”
His father? Draco wished he didn’t know what Blaise was referring to. My father killed his father to save my mother! Nott Sr. had her at wandpoint, for Merlin’s sake!
Blaise could see the intense anger on Draco’s face and tried to calm him, “Draco, just because he feels like it was your father’s fault, doesn’t mean anyone else agrees. I know if someone threatened my mother, I’d certainly Avada them first and ask questions later. Your father didn’t do anything wrong when he killed Nott’s father.”
Draco found himself slightly buoyed by those words, but he could also feel anger burning through his veins; Theo was lucky he didn’t share a dorm room with Draco anymore.
He had to find a way to reign in his temper, before going back to see Hermione. He was so fucking tired of people using other people to hurt him. Or using him to hurt other people. He just wanted someone to befriend him for himself, like Blaise. That was part of what had initially attracted him to Granger, after all. She hadn’t been impressed with his money, she hadn’t tried to impress him, had, in fact, hated him at first. But they’d grown to know each other outside of petty school rivalries and lies about blood. And he’d seen her for what she was: a beautiful person, inside and out. He hadn’t told her at first because he knew he wasn’t good enough for her; he’d had to make her see he was a changed person, that he could be different than he had been. He’d stepped back when he realized she was with Weasel, then had stepped up when they had returned to school and he realized she was no longer going out with him and that other people were seeing just how amazing she was.
“You know Theo also wants to show you up; he’s always felt like he was in your shadow, Draco. If he can have what you want, he feels like it will put him on top, for once.”
“Yeah, well, he can’t have her. And he’s not going to hurt her just to get to me.”
Hermione was just coming into the Common Room, fresh from her shower, when Draco entered, as well. She had dried her hair, and was wearing black leggings and an oversized bright blue t-shirt that read ‘Authors are my rockstars’. He thought she looked adorable. She noticed he looked a bit worse for wear, and knew something must have been off about his meeting. She knew better than to ask him, though; he would tell her when he was ready. Instead, she settled herself on one end of their couch, drawing her legs up underneath her. She scanned the parchment in her hand, detailing what she still had questions about regarding the festival, and waited in silence.
He sat down on the other side of the couch from her; he could still smell her freshly washed hair from that distance. He’d quite liked her scent since he’d started being in close proximity to her while at Grimmauld Place. Something about it seemed to calm him; he hadn’t known what it was at first, but had looked at her shampoo bottle to find out: blue figs and orange blossoms. It had rapidly become his favorite scent.
He noticed her looking at a list in her hand, and knew he should say something, but he just wasn’t quite calm enough, yet. He spent a few minutes just breathing in her scent and staring into their empty fireplace. He wasn’t mad at her, but he knew if he didn’t tightly rein in his anger, it might leak out on her and they’d never get anything accomplished.
Finally, he looked over at her and said, “Alright, Miss Know-it-all, I know you have questions; hit me with your best shot.” He looked at her oddly when she sang “Fire away” under her breath, while getting up and moving closer to him.
While he’d been sitting, staring into the non-existent fire, she’d been thinking about how she was tired of being confused by him, how she enjoyed what she thought was his flirting, and she had decided to do some flirting of her own. She wasn’t as skilled as him in that department – was anyone? – but she hoped he’d get the picture. So, when he opened up the conversation, she decided to move much closer to him. She noted his look of confusion when she sang under her breath. It was a weird habit she had; other people’s comment often made her think of Muggle songs or movies and she would end up finishing the quote or lyrics to herself. “It’s lyrics to a Muggle song, sorry.”
She sat down close enough that their entire legs touched, from knee to hip. She could feel her face heating up, and knew she was blushing. She cleared her throat and started talking, hoping to keep his attention off her red face. “You mentioned earlier that my meeting with Luna and Theo was tomorrow night. Do you know what time?” She was pretty sure she heard him growl when she said the name Theo, but then thought that was ridiculous and figured it must have just been wind down their chimney.
“Uh, yeah, I have it written down…” he leaned over and began shuffling through his schoolbag. He found his notes from the meeting and pulled them out, scanning them quickly. “You’re supposed to meet them in the library tomorrow night at 7.”
“Seven?” she queried.
“Yep,” he said, after double checking his notes.
“Bollocks!” she exclaimed, immediately covering her mouth with her hand; she didn’t often swear. She met Draco’s eyes and found that he was trying not to laugh at her. She punched him in the arm before groaning. “I have another meeting with Professor Poffin tomorrow night at 7:30! That leaves hardly any time to pick an era!” She panicked for another minute before taking a deep breath and declaring, “I guess I’ll just have to come up with some suitable options and let them choose while I go to my other meeting.” Before he could even blink his eye, she was onto her next question, “I think we should have the professors get involved; maybe they could help staff a food booth? We could sell food from each of the different eras. What do you think?”
“I think that could work; we’ll have to run it by the Headmaster, first, though.” He watched her make a note to herself to speak with Dumbledore. “Any other brilliant ideas, Granger?”
“I was wondering what you thought of the idea of using the festival as a fundraiser.”
“Yes. We could give the students a certain amount of tickets, with each booth requiring tickets to participate. Then we can charge them for more tickets if they want them?” She sat on the couch fidgeting, waiting for his opinion.
“I think it’s a great idea; did you know what you wanted to use the money for?” He glanced up at her and noticed her bottom lip was still tucked between her teeth; it was one of her many habits that drove him crazy. It made him want to be the one to nibble on her lip. He could feel lust starting to fog his brain, and he leaned forward to act upon his desire, when she sat up straight and the top of her head knocked him in the face. He leapt back, raising a hand to touch his mouth slowly. It was tender to the touch and there was a metallic taste on his tongue. He was bleeding!
She rubbed her sore head, before glancing over at him and noticing his pain. “Oh, Draco, I’m sorry!” He put his other hand out to ward her off before saying gingerly, “It’s okay. What were you going to say?”
She looked a bit sheepish, but said, “Well, I know you probably won’t agree, but I’d really like to give money to S.P.E.W. Now, before you say anything, I just want you to know that S.P.E.W. is no longer just about freeing house elves, as I know some of them, for whatever reason, do enjoy working. It’s about presenting the house elves with options, and for those that would like to remain working, making sure they are well-treated and taken care of.” She waited a beat before continuing, “Barring that, the money should go to the War Orphans fund.”
She watched him struggle not to wrinkle his nose at the mention of house elves, but found herself surprised at his response. “Granger. I know you’re passionate about house elves; however, I’m not sure the rest of the student body feels the same way.” He noticed she looked crestfallen and hated disappointing her. He hurried to add, “Why don’t we put those two options before the prefects and have them vote at our next meeting?”
She launched herself at him and threw her arms around his neck. She’d expected him to shoot her down right away. She still might not be able to help S.P.E.W. with the money they raised, but at least he had agreed to put it to a vote. She remembered her decision to flirt with him and held on to him longer than she would have otherwise. She also reached her lips up and kissed him on the cheek. Then, before he could say anything, she jumped up and headed towards her room. “Thanks, again! I’m going to go put together some ideas for which era my group should pick.”
“Granger!” he called after her. “Promise me one thing before you go.”
“Okay,” she said, and smiled back at him.
“Just watch your back around Theo.”
She looked at him quizzically. “Ooookay,” she said slowly. “I’m sure we’ll be fine. We’re meeting in public and Luna will be there. Besides, I can handle him; he hasn’t tried anything else since I slapped him.”
Hermione rushed into the library the next evening. She’d been up half the night picking eras that might be suitable for their kissing booth. She hoped Luna and Theo would understand that she couldn’t stay long. She scoured the library for them and, when she didn’t see them, settled at a table near the front so she could grab them as soon as they came in. She waited, checking her watch frequently; they were both late! Finally Theo arrived, ten minutes after their scheduled meeting time.
“Theo,” she replied, in a stony voice.
“Come on, Hermione, haven’t you forgiven me, yet?” he begged. She hadn’t spoken to him since she had slapped him in this very library.
“No, I haven’t forgiven you, and I don’t plan to. What you did was reprehensible. Not to mention that you never apologized.”
“That IS reprehensible of me. Well, then let me apologize now, Sweet Pea. I’m very sorry I misread your interest in me.”
She huffed at him. “Well, aren’t you going to apologize for kissing me, too?”
“I cannot apologize for something I’m not sorry for.”
She was saved from retorting by Luna’s appearance. “Sorry I’m late you two, some Pollywoggles managed to get into Ravenclaw tower; they made me lose track of time.” She looked over at the two of them and asked, “Oh, am I interrupting something?”
“No,” Hermione said angrily. “Well, you both were late, and I have to leave for my other project with Professor Poffin.” She slammed her folder full of ideas on the table. “I put together a list of ideas for our booth. I really have to go now, I’m sorry I can’t stay, Luna; can you two please choose one of the ideas in here?” With that, she pulled the strap of her bag over her head and hurried out of the library.
“Hey Looney, pick whichever idea of hers you want; I have to go, as well,” Theo said, before turning and following her out of the library.
Rounding the corner outside, he saw her only a little ways down the corridor. “Granger, hey, Hermione!” he called.
She turned to see who was calling her, saw it was Theo, rolled her eyes, and kept going. “I don’t have time to chat now, Theo; you need to be helping Luna, anyway!”
Luckily for him, his legs were much longer than hers, so he managed to catch up with her just after she rounded a corner in the hallway. He caught her arm and brought her to a halt.
When she returned to the Common Room after her meeting with Professor Poffin, her hand was throbbing. Sitting down on their couch, she cradled it carefully. Her hand had been getting steadily more painful, but she hadn't wanted to tell Professor Poffin what happened, so she'd been ignoring the pain. Now she was very concerned about the amount of pain she was in. She didn’t hear him come in, but all of a sudden Draco was kneeling at her side. “Granger, what happened?”
She didn’t mean to, but the gentleness in his voice made her start crying. She leaned her forehead on his shoulder and sobbed. She had been so frightened when Theo grabbed her and now her hand was killing her!
He was taken aback at first, but after a moment, he tentatively placed his arms around her. He let her cry for a few minutes and just rubbed her back with one hand while running the fingers of his other hand through her hair.
After several minutes, she pulled back from him and wiped her eyes with her uninjured hand. “Sorry,” she apologized shakily. “I don’t know what came over me.”
He could see she still needed a minute to collect herself, so he set about taking a look at her hand. She’d split the skin open over two of her knuckles and the way one of them was swollen, he was pretty sure she had a fracture. “Granger… Hermione…Can I heal this for you?”
She gave a small nod, but whimpered when he placed the tip of his wand against her split knuckles. “I know it hurts, Hermione. I’m sorry! It’s almost over, baby; just another minute.” He winced internally over the endearment that had slipped out, but she didn’t seem to notice. The healing was complete a minute later and he pressed her knuckles to his lips. “There, all done. Good as new.”
She smiled weakly at him and said quietly, “My mum used to do that. Kiss my hurts to make them better.”
He swallowed. He really wanted to kiss her, this time on the lips. The timing wasn’t right, though; he knew that. It didn’t make him want it any less. “Hermione, tell me what happened.”
“Then how did you split your knuckles?”
He could see her struggling with herself before responding, “If I tell you, will you promise me that you won’t tell anyone else?”
He thought for a minute before agreeing. He wasn’t prepared for what she had to say.
“When I left the library to go meet Professor Poffin, Theo followed me and grabbed my arm. He wouldn’t let go and pinned me to the wall. He told me he could make me feel good and tried to kiss me; I didn’t know what to do, so I started trying to kick him. I hit his shin and when he let go of one my arms to check on it, I punched him in the face and took off running for the Professor. Um, I’m not sure what happened to him, but he didn’t follow me any farther.”
Draco was so angry after hearing Hermione’s story that he couldn’t contain himself. “I told you to watch out for him!”
She was shocked that he was angry with her! “I did! Maybe you missed the fact that he didn’t actually hurt me? I hurt him!”
He growled as the image of Theo kissing Hermione, his Hermione, invaded his brain. “But he still managed to corner you in the corridors.”
“But I stopped him! Why are you angry at me?”
“Hermione! I’m not angry at you; I’m just angry.” He took several deep breaths to try to calm himself down. “Don’t worry, I’ll handle Theo.”
“Draco!” She stared at him incredulously. “I don’t need you to handle Theo. I think he knows not to touch me again. I can handle myself.”
“But he’s just trying to get to me! He wants to hurt me by hurting you!” he cried, frustrated.
“What? Draco, don’t be ridiculous!”
“It’s not ridiculous, Hermione! He’s trying to get revenge on me for his father’s death. My father killed his father, but since good ol’ dad is in Azkaban, I’m the next best target.”
“Are you crazy?” She was mortified by his accusations. “Let me get this straight, Malfoy. You think that the only way someone could be interested in me is because of some paranoid plot against you? Is that what you really think of me? Oh, no one could possibly like know-it-all Hermione Granger; it must be some stupid plot to get revenge on Draco Malfoy! ”
Before he could respond, she slapped him across the face and jumped off the sofa. He reached out his arm to grab her and she shoved it away. “Don’t. Touch. Me! I don’t want to be near you right now.” She stormed off to her room and slammed the door.
Hermione entered the prefect’s meeting just as it ended. For once in her life, she had scheduled a meeting with a professor at a time when she knew she had another obligation. She had chosen not to attend the prefect’s meeting; she was still upset with Draco, she didn’t want to see him, yet. She’d been avoiding him for a week, and she hadn’t even told him she wouldn’t be at the meeting. She just hadn’t shown up. She slipped in as several people were leaving and quickly scanned the room for Luna. Finding her, she sank down in the chair next to hers. Feeling safer now that she was sitting down, she glanced up at the board where a list of booths and eras was written down.
Fortune Teller – Lavender, Seamus, Daphne – 1880s American cowboys and Indians
Ring Toss – Harry and Ginny – 1850s, Victorian era British
Kissing Booth –Hermione, Luna, Theo – 1920s sheik’s harem
Apple Bobbing – Draco and Blaise – 1950s greasers
Pumpkin Carving – Pansy and Ron – late 1600s pirates
Face Painting – Padma and Neville – 1960s American hippies
Pumpkin Bowling – Terry and Parvati – 1980s American retro
Hayride – Dean Thomas, Tracey, Michael, Mandy, Susan, Hannah, Ernie – early 1800s Oregon Trail
“Luna? Why didn’t you pick one of the eras from my list?” Hermione was trying to remain calm, but Luna’s idea hadn’t been on her list and she didn’t understand.
“I did, Hermione!”
“Not really. I mean, the 1920s was certainly in my folder, but I never wrote anything about harems.”
Luna pulled the folder Hermione had given her out of the bag next to her chair. Opening it, she withdrew a brochure and pointed at it, saying, "I got the idea from here!"
Hermione recognized it as a brochure from a belly dancing class she had taken several times over the summer. It must have somehow gotten mixed in with her ideas for possible eras. “Luna, we can’t choose this! This wasn’t supposed to be in the folder!”
“I’m sorry, Hermione, we already chose it and we can’t choose another one, now. Besides, I think it will be really sexy, and besides, atmosphere is everything! We'll definitely win the extra credit; we'll just need to be on the look-out for flumdingers. They love silk!"
Hermione sighed, “Don’t worry about it, Luna; I’ll figure something out. Can we meet tomorrow to figure out our costumes and get started on the booth decorations?”
“Sure, Hermione. Should we meet at the Three Broomsticks? I’m sure we’ll need fabric and things and we can get all that in Hogsmeade.”
“I can’t meet tomorrow,” Theo broke in, coming over and sitting in a chair opposite them.
Hermione grimaced and glanced around to see if Draco was watching. He was nowhere to be seen, thankfully. “Well, we’ll just have to fill you in on what we decide.”
“But that’s not fair,” he argued.
“The festival is next week; we don’t have time to wait for you.” She didn’t wait for a response before turning back to Luna and agreeing to meet with her just before lunchtime.
Hermione arrived at the Three Broomsticks a little early. She'd needed to get out of the Heads’ Dorm. When she'd heard Draco leave she hadn't known when he would return, so she’d left shortly after him to ensure they wouldn’t cross paths. She’d killed some time at Flourish and Blotts, quite a bit of time, actually. And a fair few galleons, as well. The manager had been kind enough to agree to deliver her things directly to Hogwarts.
She sat down at a table near the back of the pub and waited for Luna to arrive. She didn’t have to wait long for her to come hurrying in, carting a sketchbook. Once they had ordered butterbeers and tea sandwiches, Luna placed her sketchbook on the table and announced, “I thought it would only be fair, since you put together a list of eras to choose from, that I spend some time sketching out possible costume and booth decoration ideas. Also, I heard you can’t draw.”
Luckily, Hermione hadn’t heard that last bit; she was slightly concerned about what Luna might have come up with, but if nothing else, it would serve as inspiration. Hermione had been thinking about the 1920s sheikh’s harem idea Luna had chosen; it had grown on her, mostly because she had very much enjoyed her belly-dancing classes. After the Final Battle, Hermione had been struggling to figure out how to live without life-threatening puzzles to solve and objects to find. She had come to the conclusion that she needed to do something entirely different, something unexpected. She’d joined the belly-dancing class after seeing a flyer for it in her local coffee shop one afternoon; it fit the bill perfectly. It had taken her a few classes before she could relax enough to enjoy it, but she found she kind of missed it, now.
Luna and Hermione spent an hour going over booth decorations and outfits for all the prefects. Hermione was confused at first why all of them would need 1920s costumes, until Luna told her that Draco had mandated that everyone take shifts at the Kissing Booth. Since the festival was a couple of hours long, it didn’t seem right for only three people to give out all those kisses. She found herself relieved to know she wouldn’t have to kiss EVERY person, and it was even kind of fun matching costumes to personalities.
“What else did I miss at the meeting yesterday, Luna?” Hermione asked the other girl, a bit hesitantly.
“Oh, well, Draco said you two had talked about turning this event into a fundraiser and we all loved that idea.”
“Really? Oh, that’s so great! Did you guys vote for which organization would get the money we raise?”
“Yes! There was some debate. Several prefects wanted to list additional possibilities, but Draco said no, he wanted to keep it simple and you two had agreed on S.P.E.W. and the War Orphans Fund. At first only a couple of people were willing to even consider S.P.E.W. – no offense – but then Draco made a very impassioned plea and managed to sway half the prefects. In the end, we thought it would just be easier to give money to both charities.”
“Did you say Draco fought for S.P.E.W. to receive money?”
“Yes. It was rather mysterious, since he’s never seemed that interested before.”
Hermione was speechless. They were mad at each other, and he was still sticking up for what she wanted, for what was important to her.
After paying their bill they wandered several fabric stores, picking out various materials: silks, laces, feathers, and sequins in a variety of colors, and lots of pearls to accent with. Hermione tried to keep her mind solely on the task at hand, but often found her mind wandering to Draco. She got butterflies in her tummy every time she thought about him arguing for S.P.E.W.
Hermione looked around her booth, while taking a short break and applying some more lip balm. Even if you weren’t making out, kissing several guys over an extended period of time tended to dry out your lips!
The booth looked amazing, even if she did say so herself. They had set it up as a sheikh’s tent. People who wished to purchase a kiss, entered the tent and made themselves comfortable on one of the many pillows littered along the floor. Violet and lilac silk lined the entire booth, alternating in stripes that draped down from the roof. The pillows were all silk in a variety of colors, some edged in lace in contrasting colors. Other pillows had sequins or pearls. Each person running the kissing booth, of which there were always three at any given time, had a different area of the tent. There was also a small area in the back, hidden behind a curtain, where people could take short breaks.
The air was perfumed with sandalwood incense. There were several incense sticks burning throughout the tent, as well as music being magically piped in. The music was mostly composed of low string instruments, with the occasional flute. Hermione was surprised how far these two elements went to enhancing the illusion that this was really a sheikh's harem's tent. The incense especially seemed to help set a lustful mood in the tent, and she'd seen more than one set of people get carried away and do more than just kiss each other.
She ran her hands down her costume; she didn’t often have a reason to wear silk and she loved the way it felt. She’d made herself a pair of harem pants out of deep red silk. They were tapered and fit similar to her Muggle jeans, but she had attached scarves diagonally to the front and back of the pants to make her outfit more flirty and fun. She had sewn the tips of her chosen scarves directly into the top hem of her pants, so they spread out in a large fabric diamond, covering her legs. The top part of the pants skimmed her hips perfectly and then the scarves started fanning out mid-thigh and tapered off again to reveal her slim ankles and bare feet. The scarves were the same deep red silk, but had been edged with black lace, so she’d trimmed her pants in lace, as well.
To make up for the volume of material on the bottom, she’d worn a top that contained considerably less fabric. She’d used the same red silk and created a shirt that mimicked a t-shirt, but ended just underneath her breasts. She’d matched her silk with a red gauzy material for sleeves, which ended above her bicep. She trimmed her shirt with lace, to match her pants. Her finishing touch had been a turban; she’d used black silk this time and topped it off with a large, fluffy, blood-red feather.
She put her lip balm away and moved to go back to her area; she’d seen someone come in and sit down not long ago. She popped a mint in her mouth and headed back over to see who she had to kiss now. She couldn’t believe her eyes; Draco was waiting for her. They hadn’t spoken since she’d stormed away from him, two weeks ago. She was no longer angry with him; she even thought she might have overreacted. She’d realized, after speaking with Luna at the Three Broomsticks, that she had been judging him as if he was the old Draco, always looking for ways to hurt her. But this new Draco, he was different. He’d shown that he was caring and smart and funny, and in this case, he had just been trying to look out for her. She missed him.
It had been a busy week, and though she'd tried to catch him a few times, their paths hadn't seemed to cross at all. She had thought about him a lot though; she still couldn’t believe he’d made a speech about S.P.E.W. for her. She’d been daydreaming about him off and on all eveing and had finally decided on cornering him on the hayride and making some sort of apology to him or maybe she would kiss him if all else failed. She wanted to be able to give him her undivided attention and she wanted it to be romantic, for there to be a grand gesture on her part; he deserved to know how she felt about him. He could decide what to do from there.
Draco had watched as what seemed to be the entire male populace of the student body had entered the Kissing Booth during Hermione's shift. He had visualized them kissing her over and over and finally, he couldn't take it anymore! He didn't care if she didn't want to talk to him; he wanted to talk to her. He wanted to apologize and clear the air between them and he wanted to tell her how he felt. That might make him a git, but if it caused him to get the girl, it would be worth it. Decision made, he had stalked over to the tent, not even telling Blaise he was leaving, and sat down on a pillow in her section. When she came back and he caught sight of her, he couldn't tear his eyes away; her outfit was stunning and so much of her skin was exposed to his eyes, he couldn't believe it. He wanted to kiss every inch of her, from her lovely, bushy hair, to the tips of her tiny, bare feet. He felt himself harden painfully and tried desperately to rally himself when she moved to sit on the pillow beside him.
She realized she had stopped short a few feet from him and had been staring into space recalling how much she’d wanted to see him the past week. She blushed before lowering herself onto a pillow beside his. She reached up to take her turban off; she couldn’t take herself seriously while wearing it and she knew this would be a serious conversation. She drank him in; since he wasn’t working the kissing booth, but frequenting it, he was still wearing his greaser costume. He was wearing Muggle jeans, a brown leather belt, a plain white t-shirt, and a black leather jacket. It was simple, but he looked good enough to eat. She was glad he hadn’t slicked back his hair, even if it would have gone better with his outfit; she preferred his hair au naturel. Before she could take a breath to blurt out how sexy she found his outfit, he was speaking.
“Hermione, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to imply what you thought I was implying that night. Of course, Theo could be attracted to you without it having anything at all to do with me. He would be stupid not to be attracted to you. You’re beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, and kind. You’re wonderful. You never fail to make me laugh; even when I’m infuriated with you, I want to be near you. I’ve been drawn to you since our first conversations in Grimmauld Place. I backed off our friendship when you started dating Weasley, because, let’s be honest, he and I will probably never be friends, and I didn’t want to make you choose. Though I knew you were probably hurting, I was so happy when I heard that you were no longer dating him, because it meant we could be friends again. But then I messed everything up because I was so jealous and angry with Theo that I hurt you without intending to. I just couldn’t stand the way he was treating you; I’d like to show you how a real man treats a lady, but I understand if that’s not how you want me in your life. I didn’t fully realize how much you meant to me until you didn’t talk to me these past two weeks. Please say we can at least be friends again; I miss you!” He was cupping her hands in his by the end of his speech and looking her right in the eye. She could feel how sincere he was and knew she needed to respond in kind.
“Oh, Draco. You don’t really have anything to apologize for; in your own way, you were looking out for me. I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate that at the time, and that I didn’t let you explain, when I misunderstood you. I really enjoyed getting to know you during the war; I’ve never met anyone like you. I admit I was puzzled when you stopped talking to me, and elated when we picked things back up when we returned to Hogwarts. I missed you this past week, as well. I missed our conversations and the look you get when you feel strongly about what we’re arguing over. I missed your laugh, and your infuriating, delicious smirk. I missed so many things about you, but Draco, I don’t want to be your friend.”
He felt like someone had punched him in the gut and the hope that had been growing in his eyes dimmed. He was about to get up and go when, in what was becoming her signature move, she launched herself at him, threw her arms around his neck, and attached her lips to his. She finally pulled back several minutes later, took his face in her hands, and said, “I want to be so much more than your friend.”
A warm glow grew in the pit of his stomach; she liked him back! His face broke into a huge grin.
She was stunned by the look on his face; she had never seen his smile so big. An answering grin grew on her face. She leaned forward to whisper in his ear, “Now, enough with the talking, my shift is officially over at the kissing booth; would you like to go on the hay ride with me? I know something I’d much rather have you doing with those lips!”
“You naughty minx,” he said, laughing. “I thought you’d never ask.”
He helped her to her feet and they walked hand in hand through the Great Hall toward the front steps, and the line for the hay ride. The Kissing Booth was located at the back of the Great Hall, so they had to pass the other booths as they were leaving. The booths were all closing up, there were only a few minutes left to catch the hay ride before the Halloween Feast, so there weren’t many students about.
As they walked they noticed Ron and Pansy snogging at their pumpkin carving booth. He had lifted her up on the counter and while she’d been throwing a fit for two weeks about how disgusting pumpkin guts were, she didn’t seem to notice that he’d placed her right in the middle of a large pile of them. Draco and Hermione looked at each other with surprise and then just laughed. She couldn’t wait to hear the story from Ron, as she hadn’t realized that he and Lavender were no longer together.
A little further on, they noticed Harry and Ginny in the back corner of their ring toss booth. Well, they saw Ginny sitting on a stool, leaning back with her arms on their counter. An undisclosed person, Hermione was sure it was Harry, was kneeling between her thighs. All that could be seen of him were his legs, as she had thrown the skirt of her dress over the upper half of his body. Hermione would have sworn she heard slurping when they passed; she gripped Draco’s hand tighter and pulled him along faster, as she felt heat pulst between her thighs.
The next booth they passed had Lavender, dressed as an Indian princess sitting in Seamus’ lap. He was dressed as a cowboy, complete with cowboy hat and riding spurs. Hermione couldn’t tear her eyes away, and as she watched, Lavender ground herself against Seamus eliciting groans from both of them that she could hear even from this distance. She hadn’t realized Draco was watching as well, until he tugged on her hand and said tightly, “Get a move on, Granger; we have places to be.” Apparently he was as turned on as she was.
They finally arrived at the hay ride line after passing several more student couples and even a pair of professors snogging in the food stand they had helped run. Hermione was grateful they had agreed to help with the event; however, she didn’t think she’d ever look at turkey legs or her professors the same way, again.
As they huddled in line, waiting for an empty wagon, Draco noticed Hermione shivering in the cool October air. Lust was thick in the air. The sexual tension that had grown between them since the start of the school year, the prolonged absence from each other, the sight of the other randy students, and the lingering scent of sandalwood that had filled the Great Hall and seemed to linger around them, all combined to create a headiness that saturated the distance between them and drew them closer together. Draco hurriedly took off his leather jacket and slung it around her shoulders while saying, “While I am thoroughly enjoying your very scrumptious outfit, I can’t have you freezing before the ride even starts.”
“And why is that?” Hermione teased, while slipping her arms into the jacket sleeves and snuggling into Draco’s scent.
“Oh, I have big plans for us, starting with this hay ride and me showing you just how much I appreciate your costume and just how much I’ve missed you.”
“I can’t wait.”
Finally their carriage arrived; the regular Hogwarts carriages had been transfigured into miniature Conestoga wagons, with the boxes being filled with a bale of hay to sit on. They were only large enough for two, which was perfect for Draco and Hermione. He climbed in first and then helped her up, but instead of sitting beside him, she snuggled up against him and threw her legs over his lap. He bent his head down to nuzzle his nose into her hair. “Merlin, I love the way you smell.” She lifted her head slowly and kissed the underside of his jaw.
Once they were out of view of the front steps, he tugged her more firmly against him and said, “Now, I believe it’s time for me to show you just how you affect me.”
She purred in agreement and pleasure and moved to straddle his hips with her thighs, rubbing against him. “Please tell me this will include that spanking you threatened me with weeks ago.”