AUTHOR'S NOTE: So yeah. Dramione fic. This is literally happening just because the Christmas present I ordered for my friend is taking far too long to get here, so this is a bit of a late present for her to make up for it. That being said I actually had a lot of fun writing it.
I'm not the biggest expert on the Harry Potter universe by any means so if I've gotten some facts or names wrong I'm really sorry. Please don't hate me. Also some people might be acting a bit out of character. Again, very sorry if that annoys you.
Hope you enjoy this! Especially you Steph!
DISCLAIMER: I am not JK Rowling. Therefore I do not own Harry Potter. This makes me sad because if I was JK Rowling I would have Hagrid's shack in my back garden.
There was not a witch, wizard or muggle in the history of the world who had ever looked as miserable as Draco Malfoy did sitting in Professor Snape's cleared out potions classroom. Or at least that was what Draco kept telling himself. Although actually Snape himself might look even more miserable than Draco did. Even Crabbe and Goyle would be able to tell that Snape wished nothing more in this moment in time to be as far away from this situation as possible. Sadly for him as the head of Slytherin House it was his job to prepare all Slytherin students for the Yule Ball. The pure annoyance at his situation was clearly evident on his face and it almost made Draco laugh. Almost.
The Yule Ball was a ridiculous tradition in Draco's opinion. He had no intention of going anyway so he didn't see why he had to attend the dance lessons. Unfortunately they were compulsory and if word got back to his father that he had skipped out on these classes…he shuddered to think of what Lucius would do to him should he get into trouble with Snape. He was still trying to block out the memory of his father's lecture after he'd been punished in first year and been sent into the Forbidden Forest with Potter, Weasley, Hagrid and…and Granger.
Draco held in a growl and shook his head violently, which alarmed both Crabbe and Goyle but a sharp look from the youngest Malfoy stopped either of them from asking questions. Why did he feel so strange when he thought about Granger? His palms got all clammy and his pulse sped up slightly. It must just be a coincidence. Some of that chicken he'd had for lunch had looked slightly questionable.
But…that then didn't explain why the same thing had happened when Granger had brushed past him in the hall the week before. He dropped his head down slightly as he thought. This had all just started this year. Hermione had changed a lot over the summer physically. She wasn't that little girl Draco took satisfaction in bullying and taunting for her blood status anymore. Not to mention she was the most powerful witch in their year, and possibly even more powerful than the older students too. No matter what Draco said about her, he could never deny Hermione's talent. Hang on…when did she start being Hermione instead of Granger?
Draco dropped his head down into his hands and rubbed his eyes hard just as Snape clapped his hands together to signal the boys were to choose a girl as a partner. Unwilling to get detention for something as silly as refusing to dance Draco quickly got up and marched over to the side of the room where the girls were sitting. He caught Pansy Parkinson's eye and headed in her direction since she was one of the few girls in his house he could stand to be around for more than a few seconds. Pansy kept her gaze locked with his as he walked over and held his hand out to her without a word.
"Is that any way to ask a lady to dance Draco?" Pansy smirked.
Draco's expression didn't change. "Unless you want to dance with Crabbe then take my hand," he replied shortly causing Pansy to huff before begrudgingly placing her hand in Draco's and allowing him to pull her to her feet.
Draco led Pansy to the middle of the room where other pairs of students were already in waltz hold. Draco and Pansy mirrored them before the music started, a slow and simple song with a 3 by 4 time signature so even Goyle was able to keep in time with Flora Carrow as his partner. A quick glance around saw that Crabbe was dancing with Millicent Bulstrode. Draco didn't envy him there.
Draco could tell that Pansy wasn't enjoying this anymore than he was; she wasn't exactly the dancing type. Neither of them were looking up as they mirrored the steps which Snape had made Hestia Carrow and Miles Bletchley demonstrate much to the amusement of the rest of the students. Instead they both looked down at their feet, doing their best not to tread on the other's toes.
The rhythm of the dance was a fairly simple one so Draco let his mind wander. All the other houses were having this very lesson right now in other parts of the castle. He found it both difficult and amusing to picture Professor Sprout teaching the Hufflepuffs to dance. Professor Flitwick…well he was the music teacher so that wasn't too hard to imagine. Professor McGonagall probably wouldn't find it too difficult either, but some of the students in Gryffindor would not be enjoying this. He couldn't help but chuckle at the thought of Weasley and Potter being forced to ballroom dance.
But of course that was only two out of the trio.
Draco wasn't sure how Hermione would take to dancing. She was, quite obviously, the more studious type but the young Slytherin didn't know if she had a secret girly side to her that he didn't know about. He tried to picture her in a ball gown, sweeping across the Great Hall with a man at her side. It worried Draco how easily that image came to mind, and it worried him even more so when he realised the man next to Hermione in his imagination was himself. Still, since he was doing nothing at that moment in time that required much concentration he allowed himself to get lost in his imaginings and have a rare moment of fantasy. Suddenly it wasn't Pansy he was dancing with anymore, it was Hermione in a beautiful pink dress while he wore his best dress robes. And they weren't in the potions classroom, they were in the Great Hall which had been decorated with enchanted snowflakes and mistletoe. Hermione was smiling at him with a smile that was somehow both shy and confident at the same time. She had never smiled at Draco like that, but the Slytherin would have given anything for her to look at him with that smile and that twinkle in her eye.
Draco was shaken out of his daydream rather violently by Pansy slapping him in the face. "Earth to Draco," she muttered. "The song finished like fifteen seconds ago but you were still dancing."
Draco's face turned bright red as he realised everyone was looking at him and that some were even laughing. He quickly stepped away from Pansy – who looked furious at being laughed at by her classmates – and backed up so he was next to Crabbe and Goyle again, knowing they were too scared of him to laugh. As his classmates quietened down, thanks in part to Draco calming down and glaring at them all, Professor Snape dismissed them and Draco headed straight for the Slytherin common room. He expected Crabbe and Goyle to come with him but they both had class; it seemed like Draco was the only one with a free period.
As he threw himself down on one of the couches in the empty common room he buried his face in a cushion. He had allowed himself to imagine something that, if anyone was ever to find out, would ruin his reputation at Hogwarts and cause his father to give him the lecture of his life. Absolutely everyone in this school from Dumbledore to Filch knew about Draco bullying Hermione and calling her a Mudblood. If he was to ask her to the Yule Ball now he would be a laughing stalk, and she would never say yes anyway.
Draco frowned at himself before sitting properly. What on earth was he thinking? Asking Granger to the Yule Ball? He didn't even want to go to the ball himself!
As he stood up he shook his head before walking towards his dorm room. He didn't like Hermione Granger. He didn't want to go to the Yule Ball. And he especially did not want to go to the Yule Ball with Hermione Granger. Whatever strange feelings he had going on had absolutely nothing to do with that. It had been the chicken. It must have been the chicken.
A week later and it was getting more and more difficult for Draco to keep telling himself it was the chicken that was making him feel weird. He hadn't seen Hermione since before the embarrassing dance lesson but every time he saw a poster advertising the ball or saw students helping to decorate the Great Hall he felt his stomach do a weird flip-flop.
And now here he was, standing in front of the mirror in his best dress robes. He couldn't help but sigh at himself. He was pathetic, he admitted it. He was dressed up all fancy just on the off chance that he ran into Hermione. And even if he did run into Hermione he would never have the courage to ask her to dance.
Draco was still really confused about why he even wanted to ask Hermione to dance in the first place, but he did. Ever since that day in Snape's classroom he had barely been able to stop picturing Hermione in that dress. He was actually a bit relieved that he hadn't seen Hermione the past few days because he wouldn't have known what to do. She would be expecting him to say something cruel and Draco honestly wasn't sure if he had it in him to do that anymore, not to her anyway.
Draco heard the door to his dorm room open and he looked round to see Crabbe sticking his head in.
"Come on Draco! It's about to start and Pansy's looking for you!"
Draco sighed but nodded and followed Crabbe down to the Great Hall. Pansy was there along with Flora, Goyle and Millicent. Not many of the Slytherins had wanted to go to the ball in the first place but some Draco, Crabbe and Goyle had been roped in by their respective dance partners from Snape's lesson. The girls impatiently shoved the boys into the hall and they stood with their classmates waiting for the champions of the Triwizard Tournament and their partners to walk in for the first dance, as was tradition. He had heard that Potter had asked one of the Patil twins to be his partner and her poor sister had been paired with Weasley. Draco was surprised that neither of them had asked Hermione so his first thought when he heard this was that maybe she wasn't going at all. Cedric Diggory would most likely be taking Cho Chang, and he had heard from Pansy that Fleur Delacour was going with Roger Davies from Ravenclaw. Viktor Krum's partner, however, was still a mystery.
As the music started up Draco craned his neck to get a view of the champions walking in. He could see Cedric and Cho easily, and he could also see Roger, presumably with Fleur. Potter must have been at the back. He could also see Viktor Krum, but not his partner.
As if suddenly the tall fifth year Hufflepuff who had been standing in front of him and blocking his view could read his thoughts, he moved away giving Draco a clear view of all four couples. That was when he spotted her, and he could have sworn his heart stopped.
It was Hermione next to Krum. It took Draco a few seconds to get over the surprise that she was even there before he was shocked a second time as he properly took in her appearance. That dress…it was exactly the same one he had pictured her wearing. That couldn't be coincidence, surely.
What Draco hadn't imagined was just how beautiful Hermione would look in that dress. It would have been impossible to imagine. Draco felt a breath catch in his throat as he watched the Gryffindor walk towards the middle of the hall and start to dance with Krum. In that moment Draco regretted every single horrible name he had ever called Hermione. He wished he could take them all back. He didn't care about her blood status; in that moment in time just watching her smile and dance she could have been a muggle for all he cared. She was beautiful.
He felt something pulling at his arm and glanced over to see Pansy attempting to pull him onto the dance floor. He grumbled and shook her off.
"Draco. I want to dance," she said angrily.
Draco shrugged, annoyed that his attention had been taken away from Hermione. "Go find someone else then. I don't want to dance."
Pansy huffed but she wasn't stupid. She could see that Draco wouldn't dance unless she used the Imperious Curse on him and with all these teachers around that wasn't even an option. So instead she whirled round and grabbed Goyle's wrist, quickly glancing up at Flora to make sure she wasn't too angry.
Flora wasn't; she was over the moon. She'd only agreed to come to the dance because her sister had wanted to go. "He's all yours," she assured Pansy before slipping off to find Hestia.
Crabbe and Millicent were already dancing so after Pansy and Goyle had left him Draco tried to find Hermione in the crowd again. Unable to do so due to the huge volume of students and staff who had now taken to the dance floor, Draco retreated to one of the sofas near the door to the hall. He vowed to stay there only until the food was served, get something to eat and then leave. He knew this had been a bad idea…
A few hours later and Draco had kept to his plan. The food had been served – and Draco had to admit that it was delicious – and he was just about to leave the Great Hall and head back to the Slytherin common room. The dance floor was almost empty now, most people having gone somewhere quieter with their dates (Fluer Delacour and Roger Davies included Draco had noticed) or having gone to bed since they had classes in the morning. Crabbe and Goyle had also already left, having been abandoned by their dance partners who had both decided that boys from Durmstrang were more suitable for them.
Draco stood from his seat, leaving his now empty plate, and headed for the door. He'd just left the room when he heard a strange noise to his left. It sounded like someone crying. Curious, he turned away from the direction he had intended on heading in and walked slowly towards the sound. As he rounded the corner he stopped in surprise. There, sitting on the staircase sobbing, was Hermione Granger.
Draco's first instinct was to comfort her but he stopped himself. He couldn't. For one thing she would most likely reject him since she hated him, and for another if word got around that he'd been nice to her then people would start to question the power he liked to think he held in this school, or at least over people like Crabbe and Goyle.
He clenched his fists and turned to walk away, determined to ignore her, when she let out another sob which stopped him in his tracks. He was going to regret this. He was so sure he was going to regret this. And yet a part of him knew that if he walked away then he'd regret that even more. So, taking a deep breath, he turned on his heel and walked over to Hermione.
Hermione was looking down at the floor so even though she presumably heard him approaching she didn't look up to see who it was. Since the stairs she was sitting on led up to both the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw dorms she probably thought someone was just going to walk past her. When he stopped walking and stood next to her she slowly looked up. At first there was a spark of hope in her eyes - presumably because she thought it might be Potter, Weasley or Krum - but when she saw it was Draco she just glared at him and looked away.
"Not tonight Malfoy, please," she said quietly, her voice hoarse from the crying. "You can say whatever you want tomorrow but just leave me alone right now."
Normally this would only encourage Draco to make fun of her. But not now. Instead he sat down next to her, with still a fair bit of distance between them. Hermione glanced up in surprise for a moment but then looked down again, not saying a word.
After a few minutes of awkward silence Draco spoke up. "What happened?" he asked quietly, looking over at her.
Hermione sighed but didn't look away from where she was playing with the skirt of her dress. "If you must know, Ronald was acting like a child and ruined the night for me. Viktor hasn't even come looking for me and I can't go back in now because I'll be embarrassed."
"Then…why don't you go back up to your room?" Draco asked.
"Because if I run into Harry or Ronald I'll be mortified," she explained, glancing over at him with tear-stained eyes.
"Stuck between a rock and a hard place," Draco muttered.
Hermione looked up at him properly with surprise. "How do you know that saying?"
Draco smiled ever so slightly at her. "I do pay attention in Muggle Studies occasionally."
Hermione let out a slight giggle at that which made Draco's heart skip a beat. He smiled properly at the Gryffindor without even realising what he was doing. Hermione started to smile back before she frowned and shook her head slightly, a look of confusion passing over her face.
"I have to go," she mumbled, standing up and starting to walk up the stairs.
Draco jumped up and started after her. "Granger, wait."
"No!" Hermione snapped, whirling round to face him again. "You're being nice to me and it's not right! You hate me! You're just trying to trick me but I'm not stupid!"
Hermione had just turned her back to Draco but she stopped suddenly. She turned back round slowly to face Draco who was a few steps below her, looking up at her in desperation. "Please," he said quietly.
"You…you just called me by my first name," she murmured, slowly descending down the steps towards him. "You never do that."
Draco could feel his face turning red but he forced himself to not get flustered. Instead he held his hand out to Hermione, ignoring every screaming voice in his head that was telling him his father would kill him if he found out about this.
"It…it would be a shame to waste that dress by not showing it off," Draco said quietly. "May I have this dance?"
Hermione's cheeks turned bright red which Draco couldn't help but think made her look even prettier. She quickly dried her eyes and nodded, cautiously placing her hand in his.
As Draco led Hermione back into the Great Hall he ignored the stares and gasps from the other students. Normally being stared at for something like this would infuriate him, but all of that went away as soon as Hermione's hand touched his. As they stood on the dance floor Draco tried not to seem too eager when he place his hand gently on her waist. Hermione looked down to hide a smile and placed her hand on his shoulder as they started to sway in time with the slow song the band was now playing.
The only other couple Draco recognised were Longbottom and Weasley's little sister. Any other people still dancing consisted of girls from Beauxbatons and boys from Durmstrang. Both Longbottom and the Weasley girl had spotted Hermione and Draco as they walked in and had looked confused but when they could plainly see that Hermione was there by choice and was smiling they both continued to dance without another look at their classmates.
The Gryffindor and the Slytherin continued to dance in a comfortable silence for a few minutes, during which time Hermione and some point began to rest her head on Draco's shoulder. He tensed up at first but soon relaxed, finding Hermione's presence to be somewhat calming.
"…Why are you doing this?" Hermione asked after a while, her voice so quiet that on Draco could hear her. "And don't say it's because of the dress."
Draco chuckled as they continued to dance while he thought of how to answer.
"…Because the dress wasn't the only beautiful thing that I thought should be shown off," he murmured in her ear.
Draco could feel Hermione's heart speed up slightly when he said that, and she hid her face in Draco's shoulder so he couldn't see how red her cheek and become. This made Draco laugh softly again and he tightened his hold on Hermione slightly, trying to show in his own way that he was there for her if she wanted him to be.
The two barely broke hold for the rest of the night until the clock struck midnight and the remaining students were asked to return to their bedrooms as the ball was over.
Draco walked with Hermione back to that stairwell where they had met that night, still hand in hand. They stared at each other for the longest time, unsure how to end this situation they were in.
"I…suppose I should go," Draco said eventually, slowly bringing Hermione's hand to his lips and kissing it softly as he'd seen his father to do his mother countless times at social events where they had to dance.
This caused Hermione's face to flare up once again. Draco smiled at her as he turned to leave.
Draco looked back round to see Hermione looking down at the floor, embarrassed. "Would you…walk me back to the common room?" she asked shyly.
Draco couldn't help but smile at her as he nodded. "Of course milady," he replied, offering his arm to Hermione. She smiled back and took it before the two of them walked up the stairs together.
The walk from the Great Hall to the Gryffindor common room really should have only taken a few minutes, but the unlikely pair were walking so slowly that it took them nearly fifteen minutes altogether. They found it unusually easy to talk to each other, and they both discovered that they actually had a lot in common. They both loved reading and it turned out they shared a lot of the same favourite authors. They also both agreed on how annoying Ron Weasley was, although Draco suspected Hermione only thought that tonight because of how he'd hurt her just a few hours ago.
When they eventually reached the painting of the Fat Lady, Draco felt his heart sink a little. Despite how this night had started he now didn't really want it to end, and from the look on her face it seemed like Hermione felt the same.
"I…I had a lot of fun tonight," Hermione smiled. "Thank you Draco."
Draco raised an eyebrow. "You called me by my first name. You never do that."
Hermione laughed and Draco honestly thought it was the most wonderful sound he had ever heard. Hermione then slowly leaned in and softly kissed Draco's cheek, and Draco once again swore his heart stopped.
Hermione seemed hesitant to lean back and Draco didn't want her to. Instead he brought his hand up to rest against the side of her face, gently holding her where she was. He then slowly brought his own face closer to hers. He just saw her eyes flicker shut when he gently pressed his lips to hers.
The kiss was soft, sweet, and far too short for Draco's liking, but both of them pulled back at the same time, knowing that they couldn't get caught and that the hallway was far too public a place for this. Hermione sighed softly before stepping away from Draco, her fingers still entwined with his. She turned to the painting and muttered the password, causing the secret door to the common room to swing open. Looking back at Draco she smiled somewhat sadly as their hands separated and she stepped past the painting.
"Goodnight Draco," she said.
"Goodnight Hermione," he replied, bowing slightly. Hermione giggled again as the painting closed back over and she was lost from his sight.
Draco sighed heavily as he leaned over the banister, watching the staircases move about below him. He couldn't believe what had just happened. And what's more he couldn't believe how happy he felt about what had just happened. He'd just kissed Hermione Granger and she'd kissed him back.
As he slowly started the walk back towards the Slytherin common room he realised something. He had imagined himself and Hermione dancing together at the Yule Ball in clothes very similar to those they had actually been wearing. He smirked to himself as he walked through the dark and empty halls. Maybe he should inform Professor Trelawney that he might have a gift for divination.
AN: I hope you enjoyed this one shot! Please review and let me know what you thought!