I wrote this because I missed the Slytherin boys... All characters and canon situations belong to JK Rowling and Warner Brothers and I make no money from the writing or publishing of this story.

Pink Roses

"But he who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose." – Anne Bronte

1 – Everyday She Found a Pink Rose

Everyday she found a pink rose upon her desk. Everyday for the last month, she would come into work and there it would be, a single pink rose lying on the middle of her desk.

It didn't matter what time she came into work. It didn't matter if she was late or early. No matter what time she would appear, it was always there… pink and partly open, fragrant and sweet, and in the middle of her desk. It didn't matter if she warded her office door, it didn't matter how hard she tried to discover how it would appear, no matter what she did, (or didn't) do, every day a single pink rose would appear on her desk.

As if by magic.

There was a note attached to the rose the first day. It was a quote by Anne Bronte, and it said, "But he who dares grasp the thorn should never crave the rose." Hermione had to admit she had never heard that quote before, not that it mattered. And after the first day, no other notes or explanations appeared.

So it was today, a simple Tuesday that she was sitting at her desk in the Department of Muggle Affairs, quietly examining yet another pink rose. Standing, she picked up the fragile bloom and placed it in a vase on top of her bookshelf along with a dozen or so others. Then she went to another vase by the artificial windows, where several of the older flowers were starting to die, and she removed them, but she didn't put them in the rubbish bin… she never did. She placed them in a box in the bottom drawer of her file cabinet, closing the lid just as someone entered her office.

"You got another one?" her best friend in the world, Harry Potter, asked.

She turned to face him. "It would appear so. It's been exactly a month. Thirty pink roses in all so far. Must be some sort of record, huh?"

"I don't like it," he said with a frown. "I still think we need to discover how and why it's happening."

She smiled. "We've tried that, Mr. Auror, and if you and I together have yet to discover the 'how', 'why' or even the 'who in the hell', then I think we'll never discover it. At least we know, from Bill Weasley's examination, that there's no dark magic or danger associated with them." She walked over to the newest bloom, picked it back up from the vase where it was housed, and took a large sniff. "I've come to appreciate them, actually."

Harry shook his head. "I've never known you to give up on a mystery before."

"Sometimes a rose is just a rose," she said, still smiling. "Now, was there something you needed from me?"

"Oh, yes, there was," he seemed to just realize. "Would you mind very much representing me at a meeting this afternoon? I have to jaunt over to Scotland to question a suspect that has to do with my latest investigation."

She made a funny face at his choice of words. "Jaunt over to Scotland? Is Scotland so close to London that one simply jaunts over there?"

He shrugged. "When one has use of international Portkeys, yes, one does jaunt over there. Now, will you go to the meeting for me?"

"Ron's your partner. Can't he 'jaunt' over to the meeting while you're in Scotland?"

Shaking his head no, Harry said, "No, he's coming with me."

"What's this meeting about? It can't be that important, because no one informed my department of it." She started to straighten files on top of her desk, then she looked up and said, "Or were we not invited?"

Harry placed a finger beside his nose and then pointed the same finger at her. "Now you're thinking like Hermione Granger. That would be correct. You weren't invited, but if you go in my steed, you'll find out what it's about. I don't even know at this point, but I know the Minister said it's important that the head of the Aurors go. I can't. I told him I would send you instead, and he seemed fine with that."

"Hmm," she hummed, thinking. "The head of the Aurors – you – were invited, but the head of Muggle Affairs – me – was not. I don't know whether to feel slighted or grateful." Harry laughed. She stood. "Fine, I'll go, but not because I want to do you a favour, but because you're right, I'm curious. What time is this all important meeting?"

Harry looked at his watch and said, "Five minutes from now."

Hermione stomped her foot and crossed her arms under her breasts. "Harry James Potter, you're impossible! That barely gives me time to get ready! What if I had something important planned? What if I had to go to the bathroom? What if…"

She got no farther, for Harry placed his hand on her lips and said, "Four minutes now. You best hurry."

Grabbing her wand and a notebook and pen from her desk, she started out the door, only to turn around. "Where is this 'so called' important meeting, Mr. Potter?"

"It's in the ante-chamber of the office of the assistant deputy Minister." Harry pushed her through the door and added, "And now you have three minutes, and that's four floors down from here. You don't want to be late. It would look bad for me if you were late."

"Indeed," she barked, flying out the door.

She started toward the lifts, but saw that there was a crowd of people waiting there, so she decided to take the stairs. Pushing open the door to the stairwell, she began to run down them. At the next landing she saw Draco Malfoy and Marcus Flint standing by the door.

"Gentlemen," she said with a nod, passing them.

"Granger," they said in unison.

Soon, she noticed that they were following her. She didn't give it another thought until she saw that at the next landing, Adrian Pucey and Theodore Nott were standing there, just as Malfoy and Flint had been standing at the one above. She merely nodded her head toward these two. Pucey nodded back, Nott did not.

She didn't have to turn her head to know that these two men were soon following closely behind the other two, who were still closely behind her. Although she was curious as to their intent and destination, she was also late. She pushed through the door at the landing where she was heading. She didn't fail to realize that all four men, former Slytherins all, exited the stairwell at the same time, using the same door, and were still walking closely on her heels.

She was about to turn around to ask them what they were about, when Blaise Zabini ran down the hall toward them. "You're all late!" he said in a rush. "The Minister is a bit peeved, to say the least."

From behind her, Draco Malfoy said, "It's Granger's fault. We were waiting for her."

Hermione was about to turn around and ask Draco Malfoy how in the world he could blame her (especially as he couldn't even have possibly known she was coming to this meeting in Harry's place) when Blaise Zabini took her wrist in his hand, and started to pull her along. She gasped, but followed, as he towed her quickly toward a door.

Blaise said, "I might have known."

"What?" she managed to reply. She didn't get another word out, nor a response to her question of 'what', because apparently she and all five men were finally at their destination.

Adrian Pucey was the one who opened the door. "Lady's first," he murmured.

Hermione looked back at the men, confused, but then turned toward the open door and showed herself inside. The five men followed on her heels.

*A/N: This story is completed over on 'The Maple Bookshelf'. I'll be posting a chapter a week here, but if you want to read the entire thing, go over there. Don't be afraid to comment over there, either, but do remember to be kind. HA!