Disclaimer: I own none of these characters here. I merely borrow them from JK Rowling and company for my own amusement, and hopefully yours too. Please don't sue. I have nothing of value anyway.

Reversal of Fortune

Summary: Draco has been disowned by his family and must make due in the real world. Will he be able to do it? And how will he handle the fact that his new neighbor is none other than Hermione Granger? Can they get along or is this a match made in hell? Dramione

Draco's work week was uneventful for the most part. People kept coming in and demanding ice cream, and he unhappily obliged them. He hated the job now more than ever, because he saw just how little money he was making. He was worried he wouldn't be able to afford to pay his rent. He didn't understand how common people did such things. Not on this paltry salary. He was already broke again almost, except for the small amount of money left that his mum gave him. Part of him just wanted to go home and have his mummy take care of him again. But he was too proud to go asking for money, lest they try and rope him into sticking around and marrying him off. He wanted to prove he could do this. Except it was really hard. Harder than anything he'd ever done. At the end of the day, his feet were still killing him and he had no money left to buy proper shoes for work. Or rather, if he spent the money on shoes, he really wouldn't make his rent. So he just tried to get by with what he had. But when he made his way home today, he was in a foul mood. Some kid had dropped their sundae on the floor and Draco had to clean it up, which really got on his nerves. It was a mess and he had ice cream in his hair when all was said and done. He was ready to just take a shower and drink himself senseless with the bottle of whiskey he splurged on.

Hermione had just gotten home herself when she heard Draco at his door. She smiled and opened up her door to greet him. She was met with a scowl and she made a sad face at him.

"What's wrong Draco?" she asked curiously. "You look like someone died."

He sighed loudly.

"The only person who died was the old Draco. Man I miss him. The old Draco wouldn't have ice cream in his hair right now."

"Aww, tough day at work?" she said, patting him on the back.

"The worst. I'm just not cut out for this whole working for a living thing. How do you do it?" he wondered unhappily.

"I don't know. I just do it. But I suppose my job is a lot different than yours. Do you want to come inside and drink that whiskey or would you rather be alone?" she asked him.

"I don't want to be alone. But I'm terrible company tonight, I'm afraid. I just want to drink this and mourn my old life. But first, a shower. Join me?" he asked trying to find a glimmer of goodness in his bad day.

"If I join you, will that put a smile on your face?" she inquired with a small smile of her own.

"It might. Can I use your shower? You have better shampoo than I do. Mine is cheap and makes my hair frizzy. Plus I like the way your soap smells. It's like coconuts on an island," he said dreamily.

"Oh alright. You can shower at my place. Why don't you go get some new clothes and I'll get the shower going. Just come on in when you're ready," she told him as she gave him a quick kiss.

"I won't be long," he told her, trying to smile.

Then he went inside and put his bottle down and his bag so he could grab some extra clothes to wear. Then he went back over to Hermione's and heard the shower going. He smiled and thanked his lucky stars that he had an amazing girlfriend at least. It was the only thing good he had in this life. He threw the clothes on her bed and ripped off his present clothing and threw it in a pile. Then he went to the bathroom and found an already naked Hermione waiting for him. She smiled and went over to kiss him and he wrapped his arms around her tightly.

"I love you. You know exactly what I need after a shit day," he whispered into her hair.

"I love you too, Draco. And I do my best for you. I know life is hard right now, but I know it'll get better. I actually have some fun news to share," she said as she opened the shower curtain and stepped inside. He followed after her and shut the curtain behind him.

"What's the fun news? Are we going on a holiday? Because I could use one right about now," he told her as he let the spray of the water rain down over his ice cream filled hair.

"No, I'm afraid it's not that fun. But I have tickets to see a Quidditch match this Sunday. And it's your day off too! Doesn't that sound like a good time?" she said happily, as she put her arms around his slippery body and pressed herself up against him.

"A Quidditch match? Really? Who's playing?" he asked with his interest piqued.

"The Holyhead Harpies and the Montrose Magpies."

"Oh so no Chudley Cannons eh?" he asked as he started washing his hair.

"Afraid not. You see, Ginny plays for the Holyhead Harpies and she got us free tickets," she explained as she scrubbed Draco's back with her loofah sponge.

"Ginny? You mean Weasley? Am I gonna have to see the rest of your mates at this match too?" he complained.

"Well, yeah. Everyone will be there. But we don't have to sit with them if you don't want to," she offered.

"No, I don't want to sit with them. And they'd probably rather die than sit with me too. This sounds like an awful time, honestly," he said shaking his head.

"Oh come on. It'll be fun. I reckon you haven't been to a match in quite some time. I thought you'd be more pleased," she pouted.

"I'm sorry. I would be pleased except I can't stand your mates. And you know what they're like to me. It's a nightmare," he explained.

"I realize that, but like I said, we can sit by ourselves. I'll even let you root for the other team if you want to?" she tried to entice him.

"Really?"

"Yes, really."

"Okay, then I'll go. But if your mates want us to sit with them, I'm going home," he told her firmly.

"Check. I'll make sure we aren't sitting with them. Though they will wonder why. But I haven't told anyone we're together yet. I can already hear the chorus of complaints in my head and I don't want to deal with it," she remarked.

"They don't know about us?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"No."

"Think they'll disown you too if you tell them?"

"Maybe. It's not that I'm scared exactly, but I just know it'll be a headache. And it's not really their business. I guess that's why I've not said anything yet. I don't want to make a huge deal out of it," she shrugged.

"Well I for one think it'll be funny as fuck to see their reactions. Especially the Weasel. He hates me more than anyone for some reason. Of course I hate him too," he noted.

"We'll just try and keep to ourselves, okay? I don't want some sort of brawl at this match. I want to enjoy seeing Ginny play," she admonished him.

"I don't give two shits about Ginny, honestly. I'll be rooting for the Magpies," he stuck his tongue out at her.

"Traitor. But fine. Just don't go looking for trouble, and hopefully it won't find us. I don't know if I'm ready yet to tell the world we're dating," she admitted.

"What? Why? Do you honestly care what your mates think that much?" he asked, feeling put out by her statement.

"I do care. A little. They'd never understand. Obviously it didn't stop me from falling for you, but sharing the news with them will only make things difficult. Why ruin a good thing?" she asked, trying to appease him.

"Screw that though. I mean, my mum caught us making out in my bean bag chair. I didn't try to tell her you were just my platonic friend. And I lost everything because of it. Remember that one?" he said, beginning to get insulted.

"Calm down, Draco. It's not like I'm never telling them. It's just Ginny's game might not be the best place to go public. I don't want to mess things up with anyone," she told him.

"Oh I see. I'm the dirty little secret eh? Fine. Be that way. If I still had friends, I'd tell them about us. And I wouldn't care what they thought because I love you," he said adamantly, as he pulled the shower curtain open and hopped out.

"Draco, stop. Come on. Don't be like that. You didn't even take advantage of me when I'm all wet and soapy!" she called out after him.

"I'm not in the mood!" he called back to her as he grabbed a towel and dried himself off.

He heard the shower shut off and Hermione stepped out and grabbed her own towel.

"Look, if it means that much to you, I'll tell everyone about us, okay? But you're the one who said you didn't want to sit with them or see them. I thought I was doing you a favor!" she said getting annoyed with his angry huff.

"I don't wanna sit with them, but I'm irritated you won't tell them we're together. Not because I want to fight, but because I don't want to be a secret. I didn't keep you secret, so why should I be relegated to that?" he said trying to get through to her.

"Alright, point taken. I get it. I need to tell them. And I will. It's just, does it have to be tonight? Can't I just bring you to the match and introduce you as my boyfriend before we scurry off to our own seats?" she sighed as she dried her hair off.

"Fine. As long as they know. It really shouldn't be so hard. I mean, what's wrong with me?"

"Nothing is wrong with you. It's just you know how my friends are. I had no idea you cared if they knew about us or not," she said in her defense.

Draco just wrapped his towel around his waist and sighed.

"I don't know why I care, but I do. I guess because I think it's stupid to hide our relationship from people. Eventually they're gonna have to know. Right?"

"Right. I know that. I guess it's just been nice having you all to myself."

"I like having you all to myself too, but I still think they should know. I don't want to hide what we have," he told her seriously.

"I get it. I know. We'll tell them. But we're still not sitting with them because I know it'll be a nightmare. And you know that too," she pointed out to him.

"I know, they all hate me. We all hate each other. But they at least should know the truth," he explained.

"Alright. Duly noted. We will go to the match and I'll tell them. Then we can run off to our own seats," she said with a small smile.

"Sounds good to me. I'm still not rooting for Ginny's team though. It'll be more fun if we're rooting for different sides anyway," he smiled back at her.

"You're awful, but I understand. Why root for someone you don't like? I just thought the Quidditch would be fun for you. I know how you love it."

"I do love it. And it will be fun. Thanks for inviting me."

"Don't thank me for that. Of course I'd invite you. There's no one else I'd rather spend the day with," she said, giving him a kiss.

"Me neither. You're the one I want to do everything with now. I feel all lost without you. Is that what love is like?" he wondered, kissing her back.

"Yes, that's what it's like. Have you never been in love before?" she asked.

He shook his head.

"No, I haven't. Not really. I mean, part of me thought I loved Pansy back at Hogwarts, but she was really insufferable to be honest. I was only with her because she was there. It wasn't love. Plus I was fifteen. Things are different now. I'm different now. I don't even recognize myself most days."

"I think you've made some vast improvements, if you want my opinion," she said, holding him close to her.

"Yeah? Well I suppose being poor and losing everything can humble a person, that's for sure," he admitted.

"It does humble a person. And I think you're better for it, no matter how hard life might seem right now," she assured him with a kiss.

"What do you say we skip getting dressed and fall into your comfy bed instead? After all, I did miss out on taking advantage of a naked, wet and soapy you," he said with a smoldering look.

"You've talked me into it. Maybe it'll put you in a better mood?" she offered as she took his hand and led them into her bedroom.

He scooped her up and discarded their towels and tossed her on the bed. He swooped down and kissed her hungrily, while letting his hands run all over her naked body. He could feel her nipples stiffen under his touch and he quickly pinched them slightly before taking one into his mouth. She arched her back and moaned and he just sucked harder, while playing with the other nipple between his nimble fingers. He kissed his way up her neck and began sucking the flesh under her ear, while gently nipping her with his teeth. He wanted to mark her as his own so that when the time came for her friends to know, they'd see the evidence of their love on her. And Hermione wasn't stopping him, so he bit her neck harder as he reached between her legs and felt her warmth engulf his fingertips. He dipped two of his fingers inside her and worked them in and out, causing her to grab his hair and press his face into her neck even harder.

He managed to break free of her grasp and made his way down to her breasts again. He began sucking her nipples, alternating back and forth, while his fingers continued their ministrations between her legs. She gasped out when she felt his thumb playing over her clit and she wanted so badly to have him inside her.

"Hmm, I want you to fuck me, Draco," she uttered in the throes of lust.

"Really now? You want me inside you?" he teased her breathlessly.

"Yes," she moaned.

"Mmm, not until you come for me first," he told her, as he slipped a third finger inside her and rubbed her clit harder.

She gasped out in pleasure at the full feeling of his fingers and she began writhing underneath him. All she could think in her head was, 'more, more!' because it felt so good, but she couldn't get the words out. Instead she made little moans and a stifled scream as he pushed his fingers into her faster and harder. As he sucked and licked her nipples, he felt her walls beginning to clench around his fingers. He rubbed her clit even more enthusiastically and he saw her grip the sheets tightly as her head lolled back.

"I'm gonna come, Draco! Yes! Keep going!" she cried out and it made him work even harder on her.

Then all at once, he felt he tumble over that edge and he could feel the delightful spasms of her orgasm on his fingers, before he pulled them out and rubbed them over her clit again which sent her into another wave of orgasm. She lay there spent and out of breath, but Draco wasn't done yet. He kissed her greedily before grabbed her legs and putting them over his shoulders. He guided himself into her and thrust deeply, letting out his own low moan. She felt so tight and wet and hot that he almost lost it immediately, but he recovered himself and kept fucking her, propelled along by her urgent pleas to do it harder and faster. He obliged her and pushed her legs back so he could go deeper. They were both in utter bliss as he pounded away before flipping her over onto her knees where he re-entered her from behind. He grabbed her damp hair and pushed himself into her until neither one of them could contain themselves any longer. With one final thrust he emptied himself into her and collapsed his weight onto her back, where in her knees gave way and they both lay on the bed together, breathing heavily. All their work in the shower was for naught because now they were both a sweaty mess, but neither of them cared. Not when they both experienced such ecstasy.

Draco finally rolled off of her, so he wasn't crushing her under his weight and she rolled over off her stomach and put her arm around Draco.

"Mmm, I love you," she uttered with hooded eyes, still filled with lust.

"I love you too," he whispered back as he kissed her forehead and brushed her wayward hair out of her eyes.

"Suddenly I feel like telling the whole world about us," she admitted with a small giggle.

"Really now? You gonna tell your mates about our amazing shag fest?" he laughed slightly.

"If I did, it'd be a surefire way to see the gang puke on my shoes," she laughed and shook her head.

"I think it'd be funny, aside from your shoes getting ruined," he chuckled.

"Perhaps I'm not going to tell them about all the shagging we do, but I will tell them you're in my heart," she said, reaching over to touch his face.

"You're in my heart too. You own real estate there. Like a big mansion. Right in my heart," he smiled at her.

"You have a mansion in my heart too," she kissed his lips softly.

"It's moments like this when I forget my life and just focus on how amazing you make me feel. Right now, I feel very rich and lucky. Even if I'm poor and disadvantaged. You make me feel like a king again," he told her sincerely.

"You were never a king," she pointed out as she nipped his shoulder with her teeth.

"I thought I was. Same difference. And you bring it all back to me," he admitted.

"With you, I feel like a queen, so I guess we're royalty."

"We are. The king and queen of West Main Street. This is our building and we rule over it," he said envisioning the dream.

She just giggled at him and pulled him closer to her. They knew they didn't have much, especially Draco. But they did have each other. And that was something that was far more important than riches or material things. They found a love that neither of them knew existed, and they found it in the last place they'd ever think to look. Hermione was nervous to go public with this relationship, but Draco was right. He told his mum so why shouldn't she tell her friends? No one was ever going to approve or like it, but that didn't mean they needed to hide it. So she braced herself for impact on Sunday, but with Draco by her side, she felt like she could conquer anything. No matter how scary. He made her feel safe.

When Sunday rolled around, they headed to the Quidditch match and they were both nervous as hell. They knew without a doubt that no one expected Hermione to bring Draco at all, much less announce they were a couple. But they both wanted to get it over with, so they stood there holding hands, while dozens and dozens of eager fans pushed past them. They were trying to get up enough courage to actually enter the stands where her friends presumably already were waiting. They were expecting Hermione to sit with them, but that wasn't going to happen. But she still knew she had to see them and tell them her secret. So she steeled herself and pulled Draco through the crowd and up the stairs to the seating area.

They looked around and found Ron and Harry sitting right in front on the balcony. Along with George and his wife Angelina. Draco saw them and bristled immediately, but he forced himself to regain his composure to try and be the better man. If they insulted him, he'd try his hardest not to insult them back. But he wasn't sure how it was going to go. But just then, Harry saw Hermione and he jumped up and waved her over. She took Draco's hand and pulled him reluctantly with her and they made their way over to them.

"Just smile," Hermione said through clenched teeth.

"I'm trying to," he said with a fake smile plastered on his face.

"Hermione!" Harry yelled as he waved her over. But then his expression fell when he saw who she had on her arm. Malfoy. What the hell was he doing here? Harry wondered to himself. But he attempted to smile as they now stood in front of him.

"Hello Harry. And everyone else," Hermione waved at them all.

"What's he doing here? And why are you holding his hand?" Ron asked with confusion and distaste.

"Yeah, what gives, Hermione? Aren't you taking this whole charity case thing a little too far?" Harry wondered.

"For your information, Draco is not a charity case. He's my boyfriend," Hermione announced with more confidence than she really felt.

"Your boyfriend?" Everyone in the group asked in unison, with enormous shock.

"Yes. What of it? Hermione sees through my rough side and into my good side and loves me for who I am," Draco told them all proudly as he held her hand tighter.

"What? Loves you? You love him?" Harry asked with a confused expression.

"I think I'm going to be sick," Ron said, holding his stomach dramatically.

Hermione was about to say something else, when George just burst out laughing. He didn't have anything rude to say apparently, but he found the whole thing highly entertaining.

"What's so funny?" Draco asked George with irritation.

"What's funny? This is funny! You and Hermione together? Now who woulda thunk that eh?" George said between bursts of laughter.

"It's not funny, George. Nor is it nauseating," Hermione said, looking at Ron. "It just is. And I hope you lot can accept my choice and not give me a hard time."

"Accept your choice? Are you crazy, Hermione? What's gotten into you? We all hated Malfoy. You punched him in the face! And now you're saying you're in love with him? Did he hit you over the head and give you brain damage?" Harry wondered, feeling very overprotective of Hermione.

"Harry, I don't have brain damage!"

"Could have fooled me," Ron chimed in.

"Look, I don't care what any of you think. Draco is my boyfriend. So if you don't accept that, we're going to sit elsewhere. I just wanted you all to know what was happening in my life. And now you know. So we'll be heading elsewhere," Hermione told them, just wanting to run away from the uncomfortable situation.

"No, don't leave!" George piped up. "There's room enough here for you two to sit. Just because you have weird taste in men is no reason to sit elsewhere. We'll be nice."

"We will be?" Ron asked his brother with confusion.

"Yes, we will be. Hermione is a good friend. She's part of this group. And if you shun her because she's boning someone you don't like, then that's just wrong," George informed his younger brother.

"Um, can we not say boning please?" Harry piped up, making a face.

"Yeah, I second that," Hermione squeaked out. Then she looked at George. "You're really not upset at my choice?"

"Me? No. I don't care. You're a big girl. And Malfoy here looks like he's been knocked down a few pegs. I heard all about his Scoopy's job. Which might I add, you could find a better place to work," George said directly to Draco.

"And just where should I be working? No one would hire me," Draco informed him.

"You didn't come to my store. I would have hired you," George shrugged.

"You would have?" Ron and Draco both asked at the same time.

"Yes."

"George, have you lost your mind too? I understand why Hermione is crazy now, because Draco is a good looking bloke. Even if he is a dickwad. But you? Are you mesmerized by his eyes too or what?" Ron asked befuddled.

"Look, I say let bygones be bygones. And if I could be Draco's boss? Well that would be hilarious! You gotta admit it would be a riot," George said to his brother.

"It would be kind of funny," Ron admitted with a small grin.

"Look, I'm not gonna work for you two buffoons just because you think it's funny. I'm different now! You don't even know me. Hermione is the only one who knows me," Draco informed them.

"That's because none of us want to know you," Harry said giving Hermione a concerned look.

"Fine. Don't even put the effort in. We're going to sit elsewhere. The match will be starting soon and we need to sit down," Draco told them as he took Hermione's hand again and attempted to pull her away from her friends.

"Wait! George is right. Don't go. Just sit with us. We'll try and be nice and wrap our heads around this strange development," Harry said, not willing to let Hermione out of his sight right now. He felt like she needed him and his guidance to curb the huge mistake she was making.

"We'll only stay if everyone plays nicely," she informed them all.

"I won't say a word, even if I really want to," Ron said with a sigh.

"I promise I'll keep my lips zipped," Harry held up his hand.

"I'm the one who originally said you could sit here," George shrugged.

"I have no opinion really," Angelina chimed in after being totally silent the entire time.

"I'm afraid I don't even know you. What's your name?" Draco asked Angelina.

"It's Angelina. I was in your potions class for two years," she said making a face at him.

"Really? Guess I didn't notice you. Sorry. My circle was very small in school. But I never wronged you, did I?" Draco asked curiously.

"No. I didn't even really know you. I just saw you around. And let's face it, everyone knew your name. Kind of like Harry," Angelina pointed out.

"Yeah, I guess I used to be somebody. But now I'm just a guy. And I work at a fucking ice cream shop. So I don't need anyone's grief about what a git I used to be. I'm obviously not like that anymore or Hermione wouldn't be with me," Draco explained.

"That's right you know. He's different. Otherwise I wouldn't have fallen for him. I'm not crazy! So everyone stop looking at me like I am crazy," she chided them all.

"Fine, we'll be quiet," Harry said, feeling uncomfortable with the whole thing.

"I'll do my best, but I make no promises," Ron said shaking his head.

"I'll be nice. In fact, me and Angelina will be like Switzerland. We're neutral. I'm just here to watch my sister play and kick ass," George chimed in.

"Okay, we'll sit here then. Or do you really want to go elsewhere?" Hermione asked Draco.

"It doesn't matter to me, love. You know I wanted to sit alone, but if your mates are really going to be nice, then it's fine," Draco sighed as he ran his hand through his hair.

"Okay. It's settled then. We'll sit. But if you lot can't keep your mouths shut, we're moving," Hermione said, as she scooted Ron and Harry over and pulled Draco down next to her.

It was silent in their group for a long time, until Draco decided to speak up.

"So Ginny eh? She's pretty good at this game?" he asked George, because he was the safest person to ask.

"Ginny is spectacular. Just wait and see," George smiled.

"Yeah, Ginny is amazing at this," Harry agreed.

"Good on her then. But I'll be rooting for the Magpies," Draco announced.

"What? Why?" Ron wanted to know.

"Because I can," Draco shrugged.

"Ugh. You really want this prat sitting with us? He's not even gonna root for the right team!" Ron said, looking at everyone else.

"Just think of it as a friendly competition. Anyone wanna place some bets as to who will win?" Draco asked with a raised eyebrow, trying to make it interesting.

"I'll take that bet," George said with a grin.

"Me too," Harry chimed in.

"Me three," Ron raised his hand.

"Draco, you can't gamble your money away!" Hermione scolded him.

"Relax, I'm not putting much on the line. How about five galleons says the Magpies win. That means I get twenty galleons if I win. Twenty! Unless Angelina isn't up for the bet?" Draco looked at her.

"Oh alright. I'll bet five galleons too. You've never seen Ginny play really. You're going to lose," Angelina informed him.

"She's right, Draco. You've never seen her play. You can't afford to lose all your money!" Hermione was upset with him.

"Just relax. I'm not gonna lose. I have a good feeling about this," Draco smiled.

Hermione just gave up and wondered if Draco even had the money he put on the line. She knew if he did have it, it was likely all he had. But she kept her mouth shut and let him do what he was gonna do. At least no one was fighting actively at this point.

Soon the game started and the players were in the air. Everyone but Draco was rooting for the Harpies to win, but it was a rough start. Their keeper got hit in the face with a bludger and fell off their broom. A penalty was called, but their keeper was too disoriented to continue, so they threw in a second string. But not before the Magpies scored several points. Ginny was doing remarkably well for her part, but it didn't help when the rest of the team was tanking badly. She was only one person. And no matter how hard they cheered for her, the Magpies kept getting points. And then it was a battle to see who could catch the snitch first. It was looking like a very big long shot that the Harpies would win, and Draco was beside himself with happiness. When the Magpies made another goal, he stood up and shouted and clapped his little heart out. Then he looked at the group.

"Suck it, losers! My team is wiping the floor with your team!" he announced proudly.

"There's still a chance! If the Harpies catch the snitch, it could be all over," Harry said, never taking his eyes off the game.

"Fat chance. They still need more points. I'm gonna win this bitch!" Draco said happily.

And before anyone had a chance to call him obnoxious or say anything rude, the Magpies caught the snitch, effectively ending the game. Ginny's team lost. And it was a big loss. Everyone groaned in disappointment, except Draco. He held out his hands and did a little victory dance.

"Show me the money!" he chanted, after having just seen Jerry Maguire the other night. It was one of his chick flicks he'd purchased and now he was chanting to the group, much to their annoyance.

"Ugh, I can't believe Malfoy won the bet!" Ron complained as he reached into his pockets and pulled out the galleons he owed.

Everyone else handed over their money too, and Draco sat back smugly and counted it.

"That's twenty galleons for Draco, and none for you!" he laughed maniacally.

"Calm down, honey. You're making an ass of yourself," Hermione sighed, but was really relived he won. If he hadn't, she'd likely be feeding him for the next two weeks.

"I told you I would win!" he told her happily.

"Did you do something to make the Harpies lose? Did you curse them?" Harry asked suspiciously.

"No. Of course not! I just had a feeling the other team was better. And I was right. You lot are just sore you had to cough up money to me, of all people," Draco pointed out.

"You're not wrong there," Ron admitted with a sigh.

"This was the most fun I've had in a while," Draco said dreamily.

"Come on, Mr. Big Shot. The game is over. We should go," Hermione said, grabbing his arm.

"Really? Already?"

People were all filing out of the stadium but Draco didn't notice right away because he was basking in his glory. But he reluctantly agreed to get up and leave, and the rest of the group followed suit. They ended up outside the stadium, and Harry wanted to wait for Ginny to come out. She was the only one who had no idea about Malfoy and Hermione, although she may have seen them in the crowd. But Harry wanted to tell her and to comfort her from the loss, but Draco didn't want to stick around.

"I don't need to see Ginny. You can tell her our good news for us. And mention how I whipped your asses with the bet. Hermione and I are leaving now," Draco said taking her hand.

"Tell Ginny I thought she was great. And that I'm sorry she lost. But Draco is right. We should go," Hermione told them all.

"Not so fast. I want to speak to Draco for a minute," Harry said seriously.

"Ugh, what for, Potter?" Draco groaned.

"We need to have a little chat," Harry said with his serious face on.

"Fine."

They walked over to the side and Harry stared Draco down.

"Look, I don't know what kind of spell Hermione is under, but I swear if you hurt her, I will kill you," Harry informed him.

"She's not under a spell. Do you really think I'd do that?" Draco scoffed.

"I don't know what you're capable of, honestly. So yeah, I kinda think you might have her under a spell. A love spell. Or something!" Harry said frantically.

"It's not a love spell. What would I really have to gain? I want someone to love me for me. Not because of a spell. And I'd never hurt her. I love her," Draco explained to a confused and angry Harry.

"Blech. I don't need to hear that. It's just if you so much as make her cry even once, I will end you. And Ron will help me. We love her a lot more than you do and we're just looking out for her," Harry explained.

"You don't love her more than me. Trust me. But fine. If it makes you happy to threaten me, then go ahead. I'm not going to hurt her or make her cry. She's the best thing that ever happened to me," Draco told him.

"She's pretty damn special, you got that right. She has a soft spot for the underdog, which would be you this time. So don't break her heart," Harry said firmly.

"I won't! God, you people are so annoying. Can't you let Hermione live her own life without you guys butting in?" Draco wondered with irritation.

"I do let her live her own life, but I get worried when I see her making a huge mistake."

"You really think I'm a huge mistake? I make her happy," Draco said vehemently.

"Yeah, right," Harry scoffed.

"You don't think she's happy? Why don't you ask her yourself?" Draco challenged him. "Hey Hermione! Do I make you happy?" he called out to her.

She just turned around and looked at him for a moment, then she realized Harry was still interrogating him. She decided to go over there.

"What's this all about? Of course you make me happy," she said, putting her arm around Draco.

"Harry here doesn't think I do. He thinks I'm a big mistake," Draco informed her.

She gave Harry a disapproving look.

"Harry, I love you, but please stay out of my business. You don't know how I feel or what I want because you never asked me! And I'm telling you all right now that Draco makes me happy, so I don't much care if you approve or not," she said heatedly.

Harry held up his hands.

"I'm sorry! I didn't mean to make you mad. I just don't trust Malfoy at all. And there was a time when you didn't either. He could just be playing with you," Harry pointed out.

"Playing with me? Do you think I've fallen for some long con wherein Draco will steal all my money and leave me penniless and broken hearted?" she wanted to know.

"I don't know! Maybe? All I know is what he used to be like. And you both say he's changed, but I haven't seen it yet. He was placing bets against Ginny's team!"

"So? It made it interesting didn't it?" Draco chimed in. "Besides, I just like to get under your skin. I already knew you hated me, so why not annoy the fuck out you while I'm at it?"

"Interesting to you means annoying, then I take it?" Harry asked.

"God, would you have liked me more if I was cheering for your girlfriend instead? I didn't much think you really gave a shit who I rooted for. Are we really arguing about this?" Draco wondered.

"Okay, that's enough! Both of you! I've seen enough of your testosterone poisoning to last a lifetime," Hermione interjected. "Harry, I appreciate your concern, but I'm a big girl and don't need your protection. And Draco? You need to stop purposely trying to annoy people. Got it?"

She had chastised them both and neither one of them knew what to say. So they just hung their heads down and Harry decided to go back to his other friends and leave Hermione and Draco alone. He looked at her.

"Am I in trouble? Did I do a bad thing?" he asked quietly.

"No, you're not in trouble. But really? A bet against Ginny's team? What would you have done if you lost? You don't have the money to waste!" she scolded him.

"I know, but I got caught in the moment. And the bonus is, I didn't lose! I'm twenty galleons richer now. That makes up for the money I lost due to my work shirt and those blasted sprinkles I tossed on Ron."

"Look, I'm not going to get on your case, but you really need to manage your money better now. Maybe you could make frivolous bets before, but you can't now. And also, I just wanted to say sorry," she added, hanging her head down.

"Sorry for what?"

"Sorry that Harry is being such a pain in the ass. He's very overprotective of me," she explained.

"Oh that. Well, it's okay. If I were him, I might be the same way. I know I don't have a glowing history with you and your mates. But all I really want is a chance," Draco admitted.

"I know. Maybe you should meet Ginny properly instead of us running away? She might be more forgiving of my choice?" she offered.

"I highly doubt that. But if you wanna say hi to her, then we'll stick around. Otherwise, I'm ready to leave."

She took his hand and pulled him back towards the small group and he was intent on keeping his mouth shut. That way if any shit started, he couldn't be blamed. It seemed to be taking forever for Ginny to emerge, and everyone just stood around not talking to anyone. It was highly uncomfortable, and George decided to break the silence. He looked at Draco.

"So Draco, do you want to move up in the world at Diagon Alley? Because I really need a sales associate at the joke shop and I think you'd be good at it," George told him.

Draco and Ron both looked at him oddly and said, "Huh?" in unison.

"I said I think Draco would be perfect, don't you think so Ron?" George reiterated.

"Uh, no. I think he'd be horrible at it. You have to be nice to work in sales," Ron pointed out.

"I am nice! Sometimes. Look, when I'm paid to be nice, I can be nice. Do you know how hard it is to be courteous to hordes of needy people who want ice cream on a hot day? I manage to do that," Draco said defensively.

"See, now the joke shop is much better than scooping ice cream. Plus you get to wear a suit and not that hideous polka dot shirt and the pink hat," George informed him.

"I didn't know you knew about the outfit," Draco said with confusion.

"I have been in there before. Just not since you started. But I see the dead expression on the workers faces. That's no place to be. Join us at our shop," George smiled at him.

"Why are you giving him a job? Didn't we all agree we couldn't stand the guy?" Ron asked getting irritated.

"I say bygones. And honestly, it would feel very good to have Malfoy call me his boss. I'd have to control my laughter every time I heard him refer to me as such. A Malfoy working for a Weasley! Even our folks will get a kick out of that one," George explained with a jovial laugh.

"Look, I'm not some joke that you and your family can laugh at! I have some pride. I don't want your stupid job if it means I have to be subjected to laughter at my expense. Plus, no telling what you'll make me do there. Clean the toilets? No way," Draco said shaking his head.

"Yeah, no way," Ron agreed, with a nod.

"I'll pay you time and half what you're making now," George dangled the carrot in front of his face.

This got Draco's attention.

"Time and a half? Are you serious?" he asked eagerly.

"Yep. And you can burn your old uniform if you want. What do you say?" George inquired.

Draco looked at Hermione and she just shrugged. She wasn't sure why George was doing this, but she was grateful someone in her circle was actually trying to help Draco. Even if it was for the sake of having something to lord over his head. But the extra money would be incredibly worth it. And Draco had to concur. He nodded his head.

"Alright. When do I start then?" Draco asked.

"How about tomorrow?"

"I have to give some sort of notice to Mr. Cox. I don't want to be rude," he said frowning slightly.

"Well you can give him notice if you want, but does he really deserve it?" George asked, knowing that Mr. Cox was notoriously unpleasant to his employees. Everyone in Diagon Alley knew how stingy he was.

"You do make a point. He doesn't deserve my notice. I'll just go in and quit. He can't stop me," Draco said, getting in the spirit of his new job.

"Nope he can't stop you. So I'll see you tomorrow around eleven then?" George said.

"Eleven. And I get to wear a suit?"

"Yeah. Pinstripes are preferable, but if you don't have that, then a regular suit works. I like my employees to look sharp. Ron hates me for it. He doesn't like dressing up," George ribbed his brother.

"I hate it, honestly. And I hate this entire idea too. I have to work with Malfoy now? Are you shitting me? First Hermione has brain damage, and now it's contagious? I don't understand," Ron complained.

"You get to tell Draco what to do, Ronnie. Lighten up. It's going to be fun," George laughed slightly.

"Don't call me Ronnie. I hate that too. And I suppose you do have a point that it'll be fun to order him around. But still," Ron pouted.

"Look you two can order me around all you want and I promise it'll be better than scooping ice cream. I don't care. I just want the money. And frankly, it's too good of an offer for me to turn down, even if it's a joke to you guys," Draco said, feeling his pride fly out the window.

Normally he'd never stoop so low as to work for a Weasley, especially when they openly said they were hiring him for the sheer pleasure of ordering him around. But the money was too enticing. There's no way he could live on Scoopy's salary. No matter how frugal he was. So he couldn't pass this opportunity up.

"Then it's settled. Draco starts tomorrow. And Ron? You'll get used to it," George said with a grin.

"I for one am thankful you offered Draco this job. He really needs it. But please don't get carried away with the insults. Just give him a real chance," Hermione pleaded with George and Ron.

"I will give him every chance to prove himself. Promise," George held up his hand.

"I guess I can try and keep my mouth shut. But I can't promise," Ron admitted.

"I think everyone here is a crazy person," Harry said throwing his hands in the air. He was outnumbered with his distaste for Malfoy. George and Ron were giving him a job and Hermione was dating him. It felt like the earth fell off its axis and was slowly hurtling towards the sun.

Just then, Ginny emerged from the locker room and had her broom over her shoulder. She looked tired and pissed off. Then she saw Draco standing there and gave him a dirty look.

"What's he doing here?" she asked unhappily.

"He came with Hermione," Harry explained. "You did good, Gin. You played your best." Harry gave his girlfriend a kiss in support.

"We sucked. It was awful. But I saw blondie there in the crowd with you all and it threw me off. He kept cheering when the other team made a point," Ginny said, with nothing getting past her.

"So sue me. I was rooting for the Magpies. It's not like I'm your friend," he shrugged.

"No, you're not. Which leads me to ask again, why are you here?" Ginny gave him another dirty look.

"I'm with Hermione. As in, she's my girlfriend. Got a problem?" Draco challenged her.

Ginny just looked at the two of them standing there, now holding hands and she started laughing.

"Oh that's priceless. Hermione and Malfoy. Now I've really seen everything. Can this day get worse?" Ginny lamented.

"George just gave Draco a job at the joke shop," Ron piped up.

"What? Okay, obviously everyone has some sort of ailment. George! What the hell?" Ginny smacked her older brother on the arm.

"Ouch! So what if I gave him a job? The bugger needed one. And I need help at the shop! All Ron does is chat up birds who are twice his age because he can't get a proper date! Which means, I have to do everything!" George ranted.

"I do not chat up birds twice my age!" Ron disagreed.

"Yes, you do! You're chatting up the mum's of the kids who frequent the shop. It's hilarious to watch, actually," George laughed.

"I'm trying to make sales! I'm not looking for a date," Ron protested.

"Please, you went out with that one woman who was thirty four. She had a twelve year old!" George reminded him.

"Everyone just stop!" Hermione cried, unable to handle all the bickering. "Look Ginny, Draco is with me now. Like it or leave it. And your brother offered him a job. Deal with it. All of you need to deal with it. And if this turns into some sort of game where you mock Draco endlessly and treat him like shit, then you'll have my wrath to deal with. And I don't think anyone wants that, do they?" she asked the crowd.

Everyone was silent for a moment and then Ron spoke up.

"I've seen your wrath, and it's not pretty."

"No, it's not," she agreed. "Look, today was fun. And Ginny, you played a great game, even if you lost. And George? Thanks for giving Draco a chance. Now if you all don't mind, we're leaving. I've had enough of this. But just know, I will be keeping tabs on this situation, so don't piss me off."

Everyone just held up their hands and relented their verbal sparring and kept their mouths shut. No one wanted to get on Hermione's bad side. Least of all Draco, who hoped she wasn't that mad about his gambling endeavor. But they marched away from everyone and went to the port key in order to head home. Once they got to it, Draco looked at Hermione.

"You're not mad at me too, are you? About the gambling?"

"No. I mean, sort of. But it's fine. I just couldn't handle everyone's bickering and their opinions of my life. It's not like when they date someone new or make a mistake, that I call them out on it! Why can't I live my life the way I want to without getting grief?" she complained.

"I reckon it's just because they care a lot. Doesn't make it less annoying, but I think that's why," Draco admitted softly.

"Yeah? Well I'm a grown woman. If I'm fucking up, it's my choice. I'm the one who has to live with my choices, not them. I'm just tired of being treated like I don't know what I'm doing."

"If you ask me, you handled yourself beautifully. I actually did have fun out here today. Despite the drama. It was great. So what do you say we get a nice supper with the money I won, eh?" Draco asked, trying to lighten her mood.

She smiled at him.

"Can we get Italian food? I'm in desperate need of spaghetti and meatballs right now."

"Done. We can get whatever you want," he smiled back.

"I love you, Draco," she leaned up and kissed him.

"I love you too," he held her close to him.

And with that, they both grabbed the port key and were transported back to regular life. A life that perhaps would be getting easier for Draco, now that he had a new job that paid a lot more. The only question was, was George actually serious about giving him a chance? Or was it just some game of his? Only time would tell, but Draco was actually eager to start. He just hoped it didn't blow up in his face. There was a time when he'd never trust a Weasley, but now, that was all he could do. He just hoped it was going to be worth it.

To be continued….

Thank you to all my loyal readers and followers! I appreciate the comments so much. I would love to hear what you think of this latest installment of my story! Comments feed my muse… Thanks again!