Slowly, Hermione ripped her letter open and shut her eyes tight. Finally, she opened them and read the small paragraph within.
"Dear Ms. Granger,
You and your future husband scored high with nearly 100% compatibility--the highest score of any of your fellow Hogwarts classmates. Based on your description of your desired partner, we have decided that it is fitting that you be paired with...Draco Malfoy.
the Ministry of Magic"
No, this couldn't be! Hermione burst into tears. Her life was officially ruined.
Ginny was the first to notice Hermione's quiet sobs. "Oh no, Hermione!" she crooned, switching seats with Harry to comfort her best friend. "It's okay, you're okay."
"No, Ginny! I'm not!" Hermione wailed. "I--I got--" She stopped to catch her breath. "D--Draco Malfoy."
"WHAT!" Ron had overheard. "THERE IS NO WAY IN THIS WORLD--"
"Ron, shut up!" Ginny hissed.
"There is no way in this world that you are marrying that Death Eater!" he whisper-screamed.
"Ex-Death Eater," Ginny reminded him.
"It makes no difference. Okay, it makes some difference, but he'll probably still treat me like the mudblood I am!" Hermione cried.
"Don't call yourself that, 'Mione," Harry scolded gently.
"Why not? It's the truth!"
"It's not and you know it!" Ginny said firmly. "Now stop crying." Hermione obeyed reluctantly, knowing that she'd have time to cry later.
Meanwhile, at the Slytherin table, Malfoy was opening his letter. He had just watched as Blaise had gotten landed with Pansy. (He was secretly happy, for he'd never fancied the pug-faced git.) But he felt for his best friend.
He quickly opened his letter, wasting no time, and read,
"Dear Mr. Malfoy,
You and your future wife scored high with nearly 100% compatibility--the highest score of any of your fellow Hogwarts classmates." Well, that had to be good, he thought. He assumed that he'd been paired with someone respectable and smart, like Astoria Greengrass, who he had liked for a little while during his fifth year. He kept reading.
"Based on your description of your desired partner, we have decided that it is fitting that you be paired with...Hermione Granger."
What? No. Malfoy actually laughed to himself. The Ministry had to be joking. This was a mistake! But then he glanced over at the Gryffindor table and saw Hermione Granger sobbing--actually sobbing! Oh no! Wait till his father heard about this!
"Screw the Ministry," he growled. Blaise heard him.
"What is it, Draco?" he asked concernedly. Blaise had become quite pleasant since the war.
"I got paired with the mud--Granger."
"Oh. Well, if you think about it, it's not too bad. She is quite hot." Pansy slapped him when he said this. Draco had forgotten that Blaise was still a player. He loved the girls.
"Looks aside, she's a Gryffindor, she's a bookworm, and I bet she's never snogged anyone in her life!" he complained. "And she's crying! Am I really that bad?" He combed a hand through his slick, platinum-blond hair.
"To her," was Blaise's helpful answer. This was going to be a fun rest of his life.
"Excuse me!" Professor McGonagall had stood up again to finish her speech. "I know that many of you are unhappy with your pairings, but in time, I'm sure you will come to realize that the Ministry was--right." She said this in a slightly doubtful tone.
"Fat chance!" Hermione and Malfoy whispered simultaneously.
"Now, two extra towers were added onto the castle. These will be where you are staying. There is a common room in each, much like your current dormitories, and four rooms where you will stay. To be clear, there are two separate beds, so you will not have to sleep together until you are married. In your common rooms, you will find a booklet on when you will be married and such." She procured a scroll seemingly from nowhere. "Now, in Room 1 we have Ms. Greengrass and Mr. Nott..." She read the next three couples. Hermione and Malfoy weren't in this room. "Now for Room 2. Ms. Granger and Mr. Malfoy--
Hermione grimaced. "--, Ms. Weasley and Mr. Potter, Ms. Brown and Mr. Weasley--" Hermione stole a glance at Ron...he looked very unhappy. Lavender, on the other hand, looked quite cheerful. "--, and finally Ms. Parkinson and Mr. Zabini. Each room will have a password that must be agreed on by you and your partner. You may decorate your room as you wish..." But no one cared. "Now, follow me. I'll be leading you to your dormitories."
Everyone stood up and followed McGonagall out of the Great Hall. Hermione tried desperately to avoid eye contact with Malfoy. She was still very distressed. Professor McGonagall led them down a corridor that Hermione had never seen before in all her seven years of Hogwarts education. Then she realized that it must have been added on.
After McGonagall showed the first four couples into their tower, she led the next four into their tower. "Now, enjoy your stay. I have things to attend to. Oh and no fighting," she finished, glaring at Hermione and Malfoy especially.
"So..." Hermione heard the drawling voice and jumped. "Sorry, did I scare you?" Malfoy said mockingly.
"No!" Hermione snapped proudly. Then she turned on her heel to enter the door that said "the Malfoys." Hermione didn't even want to think about that name.
"Password?" the door spoke, which didn't surprise anyone. By now they were used to this kind of thing.
"Ferret," Hermione said coldly.
"Hey! I thought McGonagall said we had to agree!" Malfoy almost-whined.
"Since when do you care about the rules?" Hermione scoffed and stormed up the winding stairs to *chokes* their room. She had to admit...it was breathtaking. The room was large with two queen beds, one with green bedding and the other red. There was a comfortable-looking couch, two armchairs, a bookshelf, and a huge walk-in closet. Past both the beds was a hallway that Hermione guessed led to the bathroom. She walked down it, turned on the light in the bathroom, and gasped. It was beautiful, white and shiny, and it smelled like...mint and vanilla. There was a vanity with plenty of cupboards to store toiletries and such in.
"Eh. This isn't too bad," Malfoy said, scaring Hermione again.
"Will you STOP sneaking up on me?" she demanded.
"I thought you said it didn't scare you." Malfoy gave her his trademark smirk. Hermione's heart skipped a beat. He really was quite handsome, even sexy...especially when he smirked like that...HERMIONE JEAN GRANGER, she inwardly shouted at herself. Since when had she thought such things about DRACO STINKING PUREBLOOD MALFOY! She shook her head.
"And by the way, I do care about the rules!" he called as Hermione walked back to the bedroom. "Yeah, right," she mumbled.
Hermione guessed that the red bed was hers, and sure enough, her suitcase was parked next to the night table, which had a red lamp.
"Oh, Merlin," she sighed as she sat down on the bed, which was very comfortable.
"What are you 'oh, Merlin'-ing?" Malfoy had entered the room.
"Are you following me?" Hermione groaned.
"No, it's just--I live here now, too." Hermione didn't answer. He was right, anyway.
Malfoy sat down on his bed, facing her, but her back was turned toward him. "Just so you know, Granger, I'm not as evil as you think anymore," he said calmly, and Hermione could hear the honesty and meaning in his words.
"I never said you were evil," she said haughtily.
"Well, cruel, anyway," he corrected himself.
"How--how do I know that?" Hermione stammered.
"You don't. You're just going to have to believe me." This was where she lost it.
"What did you say? WHAT DID YOU SAY! ANSWER ME, DRACO BLOODY MALFOY!"
"I said you're going to have to believe me," Malfoy answered calmly.
"BELIEVE YOU! HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE SOMEONE LIKE YOU! SOMEONE WHO LIED TO ALL OF US, CALLED ME A MUDBLOOD, EVEN WORKED FOR VOLDEMORT! AND YOU ASK ME TO BELIEVE YOU!" Hermione's face was on fire, as was her tongue.
Malfoy cringed. "First of all, I don't work for the Dark Lord anymore. Second, I didn't know you were one to swear," he sneered.
"Oh, so THAT'S bad. Swearing is bad, but BLOODY WORKING FOR VOLDEMORT ISN'T!"
"I know I was wrong, you don't have to point it out!" Malfoy said, voice rising.
"You called me a MUDBLOOD, one of the worst insults possible, and you expect me to just forget that! Forget the last SEVEN years of the foul way you treated me!" Malfoy was speechless. Suddenly, he stood up, turned around and headed for the door. Ten seconds later, Hermione heard the door to their dormitory slam. And she burst into tears for the second time that day. What a bloody mess this was.