To All The Wizards: The Library

To All The Wizards: The Library

Everything was a lot messier than Hermione had ever intended. The contract was meant to keep everything orderly and transactional. Now, everything was barreling along out of control like a Knight Bus express to Birmingham.

Following the fight, she had stormed back up to the castle, locking herself in her dormitory. She attempted to calm herself down by reading but only tossed books aside in frustration as the events of the evening replayed in her mind. Crookshanks sat with her, dozing at the foot of her bed. Later in the evening, Lavender and Parvati joined. They didn’t say anything regarding the fight in which they had undoubtedly heard about. Instead, Lavender offered to twist Hermione’s hair for the night and Parvati picked up her scattered books.

It was just enough comfort so that when she woke up the next morning, she no longer felt the need to hex both Ron and Dean into oblivion, not that they didn’t each deserve as much. Instead, she settled on a more rational approach.

Ron’s punishment was nothing out of the norm for him: she wasn’t speaking to him. Thankfully, he made this easy for her by avoiding her altogether. Like a Crup with its forked tail between its legs, he moped past her in the Great Hall and to his seat in Charms. In Herbology, he even had the sense to prune his Wiggentree sapling at a station with the Hufflepuffs far away from her.

As for Dean, it was less a punishment than a necessary precaution. She knew it was time to end things. Their boundaries had long since blurred along the way. If she had been more diligent in maintaining them, maybe they would have never gotten here. But the point was, she hadn’t and he had gone too far. They only had a couple of days left of pretending to date anyway, and she felt they might as well get it over with.

Her plan was to speak with him during their break before Defense Against the Dark Arts. Dean, while looking less morose than Ron, still seemed annoyed with the whole ordeal. Instead of moving to avoid her, he sat at his usual seat, diagonal from her, chatting with Seamus, almost daring her to say the words that he seemed to sense were coming. Seamus was loyal to Dean and hadn’t spoken to Hermione either, but he kept glancing between the two of them worriedly.

At the end of class, before she could gather her things and catch up with them, Harry tugged on her arm.

“Walk with me?”

Reluctantly she nodded. She supposed it could wait until lunch.

It was a cloudy day, but the humid air made it warm. Most students had ditched their robes completely in an effort to keep cool. Hermione shrugged hers off and folded it over her arm. Harry looked up at the sky, his eyes closed, taking in the warmth. She knew what he was thinking; it was a good flying day, and he was wondering if the weather would hold up until tomorrow.

“So are we going to talk about what all of that was about yesterday?” he asked, finally looking at her.

“I’d really rather not,” she said, shrugging.

“Fair enough, we don’t have to talk about that bit then,” he said before pressing on. “Are you planning on giving them the silent treatment until—“

“Forever? No. Just until up is down, and the centaurs welcome us into their forest.”

“C’mon Hermione, can’t you cut them a break? Ron feels really badly.”

She cut him with a glare. “Yes, he looks pathetic, but if he’s so sorry he’d tell me himself not send you to do it for him.”

“He didn’t send me! I mean Dean, too! I’m not sure why you’re mad at him. From what I could tell, it looked like he was just defending you. But alright, not my business!” he said, raising his hands in defense.

Of course he didn’t understand why she was upset. It was the overstepping of boundaries, it was the confusion Dean made her feel, it was the kiss—it was all frustrating! And worst of all, he wasn’t even aware he was doing half of it. As far as he knew, she was looking forward to the end of the contract with indifference just like he was.

“Hear me out, Hermione. I’m not saying they don’t deserve a good jinx, they probably do. Can you please just let them off until after the match?”

Hermione looked at him in astonishment. “The match? You’re worried about the match.”

“I know. I’m a prat for asking. But we can’t lose because of my screw up. Can you please give them a reprieve til after it’s over? I’m asking you as a friend.”

She couldn’t help but gape at him. His voice was pleading and in his green eyes she could see a wild desperation. “Harry, I can’t just—”

“OK, forget about Ron. He’s a bigger prat than me. I’ll make sure he’s ready for the match, but we’re already down one Chaser. Ginny’ll be playing Seeker.”

“So you want me to just forgive Dean so he’ll be on his best game?”

“Not forgive! Just a stay of execution. I’ll even beat him up for you after the match, you just say the word!” He had grabbed her free hand in his, clutching it in a dramatic show of sincerity.

“For Merlin’s sake, Potter,” she said, pulling her hand out of his grasp. “Fine! But only because I can’t have you walking around looking as pitiful as Ron does.”

He pulled her into a bear hug, showering her with compliments as a way of showing his gratitude. She tried to push him off and he only squeezed tighter. They wrestled for a few seconds before she was finally able to free herself. She huffed, mussing her hair back into place. “If Gryffindor doesn’t win the cup, you owe me.”

“Deal!”

Agreeing to Harry’s request meant that she couldn’t end the contract with Dean that day. Still, that didn’t mean she was going to immediately seek him out like everything was fine, either. She knew Dean wasn’t like Ron. He knew he had gone too far, and wasn’t one to run from his mistakes. He’d apologize.

It wasn’t until Ancient Runes that he finally attempted to talk to her, or rather, pass her a note. The folded piece of paper floated down neatly on her desk, right on top of her translations. A few desks away, Dean was nodding at her to open it up. Rolling her eyes and ignoring the thrill that went up her spine, she unfolded the paper.

Hey.

Scoffing to herself, she sat back in her seat and looked at him, eyebrows raised. He mimed writing and then pointed to himself, intent on her writing back.

What?

Discreetly as she could, she folded the paper and looked around. Professor Blathers was bent over his desk, eye pressed to a magnifying glass, his beak-like nose nearly pressed into a book of runes. With a flick of her wand, she sent the note in a graceful arc onto Dean’s desk.

He read her response and pursed his lips, scribbling something quickly and sending the note back to her.

What do you mean what? We haven’t talked all day.

Well are you writing to apologize?

No.

She looked up to stare at him in disbelief, only to find him staring defiantly back, all pretense of doing school work gone. She glanced at Blathers once more, seeing that he was flipping through a second large tome for translation comparison. She almost had half a mind to not write him back, but she could see, even from this distance, the challenging glint in Dean’s eye.

How can you say no? You were completely out of line yesterday.

I wouldn’t say completely.

He had to be kidding.

You and I are just friends. You’re not actually my boyfriend. You had no right to tell Ron any of that! He’s one of my best friends, it’s not up to you what happens with our relationship.

Dean’s back tensed as he read. Maybe she had been too harsh, but it was the truth. Even though the lines had gotten so confusingly muddied within their relationship, it was important to remember that none of it was real. He had no right to that part of her life, just like she had no right to keep him from talking to Ginny. It took him a moment to respond. When he flicked his wand to pass the note back he didn’t look back at her.

I’m sorry if I put you in a difficult position. I’m not sorry for what I said, though. And you shouldn’t be sorry that he feels badly.

Did this count as an apology? Hermione tapped her quill on her chin, trying to decide if this was sufficient. His back was still to her and she couldn’t tell from that alone if he was truly being sincere.

The bell rang, causing Professor Blathers to jump up from his book.

“Oh my, so soon! Just finish your translations before next class then,” he said, waving them on before sticking his nose back into his book.

As she finished gathering her things, Dean ambled over to her.

“So do you accept my apology?” He stared down at her with intense and expectant eyes.

“I don’t know,” she said.

“I really didn’t mean to overstep any boundaries. I just care about you,” then he added awkwardly, “—as a friend. I don’t think I was wrong in being concerned about how he treats you.”

Standing up from her desk she looked down at her bag, trying to muster up the courage to say what she knew she had to. Finally, she took a deep breath and looked up.

“You know, I was so upset I was going to say we should just end it here,” she said. He looked startled at this piece of information. “I accept your apology. I do think we should use this to our advantage, though. I’ll go to the match tomorrow as agreed. Then we can ‘break up’ afterwards. Everyone saw the fight, so it won’t seem odd, coming so soon after the match.”

He nodded and held his hand out for her book bag. “I suppose you’re right,” he said with a sigh. “But if we lose can we wait a few days? I don’t think I can handle dealing with people’s disappointment over both things.”

With a sad smile, she nodded at him, and led the way out of the classroom. She did understand what he meant, because she didn’t think she’d be able to handle even her own disappointment when the time came, much less everyone else’s.

The sun shone brightly down on Hogwarts Castle the next day. Most students were abuzz with excitement for the match that afternoon. The entire castle was decked out in paraphernalia to show support for their team. Students made hats and scarves, some carried around enchanted pennants. It should have been impossible not to feel the festive atmosphere roaming around through the sea of navy and bronze and red and gold.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione, however, were finding it difficult to feel excitement for the day. As everyone headed to the pitch, Harry looked very sorry to not be able to continue onto the grounds with everyone else, instead having to head towards the dungeons for his detention with Snape.

“We’ll see you soon!” Hermione said with enthusiasm that she didn’t truly feel, in an attempt to cheer him up. She knew he deserved the punishment, but she also knew how hard it was for him to not be able to join his team.

Ron meanwhile had looked peaky all morning. He looked so ill that both Demelza and Dean had taken it upon themselves to help escort him to the changing rooms. Hermione was sure there was some sort of sport saying dictating something about leaving your personal issues off the pitch. Nonetheless, she was impressed that Dean was mature enough to set aside their differences and help Ron in Harry’s place.

It was thoughts like these that made her feel miserable. Today was the last day she was contractually obligated to be in a fake relationship with Dean. Logically, Hermione knew this was for the best. It didn’t change that she was disappointed to no longer have an excuse to hold his hand, or spend time with him. And thinking of what a great guy he was certainly wasn’t helping.

On her walk down to the pitch, Hermione was joined by Seamus, who had painted his face half red and half gold. He was disappointed that Padma wouldn’t be joining them in the Gryffindor stands; he had insisted they sit on the Gryffindor side, while she refused to sit with the enemy.

“Her sister is a Gryffindor! We’re favored to win, anyway.”

“Are we still? Or was that before Harry got in trouble?” Hermione asked absentmindedly.

Seamus looked a little flustered. “I mean, the alternates present a few challenges but the statistical advantage is still on our side.”

He continued to talk about odds and stats all the way down to the pitch. As hard as she tried, she couldn’t focus on his conversation, because her mind kept wandering to Dean. Since their conversation yesterday, Dean had been different, more distant. In between classes they still held hands, and they still spent time together, but that was it. There was nothing that was overtly romantic, everything was mostly platonic. Hermione sighed. This was the right move, to keep the appearance of distance so that their break-up was that much more believable. Considering how much thought she had given to wishing they had built stronger boundaries, now that they had been pushed well past them she didn’t like introducing them back into the relationship.

As they neared the pitch, Dean was sauntering up the path towards them. He was already in his Quidditch gear, his broom slung over his shoulder. He was staring right at her as he approached.

“Good luck today, mate,” Seamus said, clapping Dean on the shoulder once they met.

“Thanks,” he said, not looking away from Hermione.

After a moment passed, Seamus said, “I’m going to go grab us a seat Hermione. See you up there?”

She nodded, waving him on.

Once Seamus had walked a few yards off, Dean smiled down at her and said, “One last sketch then?” He rummaged through his pocket before pulling out the last sketch. As she began to unfold it he stopped her. “Open it later. I worked on this one for ages. It’d be weird to see you open it.”

Smiling slightly, she nodded and slid the sketch in her back pocket. “Are you excited for the match?” She tried to sound casual, as if she wasn’t dreading it because of the end it would bring between them.

Dean shrugged. “I’m not as nervous as everyone else. Chambers and Bradley are tough Chasers but I can out fly them.” He smirked down at her and her stomach flipped, betraying any resolve she had to resist his charms, not that she had much to begin with.

“What about the rest of the team? Is Ginny nervous to be going up against Cho?” Hermione asked nonchalantly. She glanced over to the changing rooms, from which Ginny was now exiting. Ginny, to her astonishment, waved at them. Dean smiled and waved back.

“Nah, she’s excited I reckon. Haven’t seen her like this in a while. I think she’s out for blood!”

There was a fondness in his voice that made Hermione’s stomach sink. Had the trials of the past week brought the two of them closer during Quidditch practice?

Dean turned back to her with a grin that exuded the excitement he felt for the match. “In honor of our last day as a couple, I’m going to make sure we win the Cup!”

She chuckled at his confident bravado. As he walked away to the pitch, she couldn’t help but silently wish that they would lose. Then, at least, she’d have a few more days of this.

The match was unlike any she had seen since the Quidditch World Cup. The Gryffindor Chasers were unstoppable. They zoomed up and down the field at impressive speeds, scoring again and again. Dean was flying better than every single one of the Ravenclaws. They couldn’t keep up or out maneuver him. Hermione did her best to not let this remind her of his sleeveless practice kit, or how it accentuated his muscles, particularly when he had been tensed, yelling at Ron on her behalf.

“Oh poor Chambers, he’s lost the Quaffle again.” Luna’s dreamy voice was a contrast to the intense atmosphere in the stands. “That’s alright Bellamy! You’ll get it next time. Did you know his full name is Bellamy Barnaby Chambers? I think that’s a lovely name.”

When Dean said that Ginny was out for blood, he had not done her justice. She circled the field, her gaze intense on any slight sudden movement on the pitch. Cho would move and Ginny would suddenly appear, as if by Apparition, right on her tail.

It wasn’t long until Gryffindor had a substantial lead on Ravenclaw, but it wasn’t enough to calm the stands. They continued to watch with anxieties high. Ravenclaw had scored 140 points while Gryffindor had 300.

“If they score one more goal and Cho manages to catch the Snitch before Ginny, we’ll be tied!” Seamus said with a groan, pulling at his hair. He had been giving his own running stress commentary, pulling at his hair and throwing down his lion pennant in moments of desperation.

Hermione watched as Cho weaved across the pitch high above them, figure tense, apparently aware of the importance of finding the Snitch at the exact right moment. And then she was diving, a blue blur hurtling towards the ground.

The Ravenclaw stands erupted into cheers, seemingly unaware that if she caught the Snitch now they would still lose. Gryffindors groaned. Ginny was lower and on the opposite side. She was too far to ever catch up to Cho.

“That’s a dangerous maneuver. I hope she’s being careful,” Luna said. “Oh but wait! It looks like Ginny Weasley is speeding in the opposite direction.”

The crowd cried out in shock. Instead of darting after Cho, Ginny had flown straight up in the opposite direction. There was a flash of gold floating where Cho had previously been hovering, the Snitch. It had been a failed fake-out attempt by Cho. The Ravenclaw Beaters pelted towards Ginny, swinging their bats at Bludgers, desperately trying to send her off course. But it was too late. She leveled her broom, hand held high in the air, the Snitch in her hand.

The roar of the Gryffindor stands was unmatched. Seamus threw his arms around Hermione, jumping up and down.

“WE WON!”

Everyone began pouring out of the stands to go meet the team on the field as they were presented with the Cup. Hermione fell back, her heart feeling too heavy to pretend with the rest of them. This signaled the end of the contract as they had agreed upon it. It felt anticlimactic and mostly it just felt sad. This time tomorrow everyone would be hearing that she and Dean had broken up, and even though it had all been fake, there was still a lump in her throat.

Instead of joining the celebrators, she made her way back up to the castle, deciding that taking the time to mentally prepare herself for the evening ahead was more important. Besides, she reminded herself, she was free to do as she pleased now.

The common room celebration was chaotic and loud. There were red and gold streamers hanging from the ceiling and matching lanterns enchanted to float throughout the room. A student had passed out some contraband Weasleys’ Wizards Wheezes Party Poppers that released not only confetti, but metallic smoke that dissipated into floating glitter. Hermione’s inner prefect told her she should reinstate order in the common room and confiscate the smuggled firewhisky she knew Cormac had brought in, but she fought against this urge, wanting everyone to enjoy themselves, even if she herself didn’t feel festive.

Everyone was waiting for their captain to arrive from his detention to fully celebrate. Ron, who was reveling in resounding praise for the sheer amount of attempted goals he stopped, clutched the Cup, explaining to anyone that asked that no one else would get to hold it until Harry had done so.

Hermione sat by herself in the corner. This was supposed to be the night she and Dean “broke up” and she wasn’t sure what that should look like. It was easier to just watch the festivities and not be expected to take part.

The din of sound began to die down. There was movement in the portrait hole. Whispers of “Harry’s coming” rippled through the common room. He rushed in, eyes searching the crowd expectantly, his breath held.

Ron moved forward waving the silver Cup in the air, “We won! We won! Four hundred and fifty to a hundred and forty! We won!”

Everyone broke out in renewed cheers. Ginny ran up to Harry, her red hair, wavy from the braids she had worn to the match, flying behind her. She threw her arms around him, face alight with pride and excitement. Instead of whooping, or joining in their cheers like Hermione expected, Harry bent down and kissed Ginny full on the lips.

The cheering stopped, but that shock was quickly replaced by hooting and some wolf whistles. They broke apart, and Hermione’s eyes followed Harry’s as he looked around. Ron looked annoyed, as she expected, but gave a jerk of his head in approval. That was enough for Harry, who picked Ginny up and spun her around.

A bit of happiness glowed in her chest for her friend. Ginny had made her own choice in the end, after all. How could she have thought that Ginny had feelings for Dean? The way Ginny looked at Harry now was the exact same way she would look at him when she was a first year navigating her first school-girl crush. They walked around the room, their fingers interlaced, as people gave Harry various recounts of the match. Hermione had been so wrapped up in her own lie that she had completely missed the glances, shy smiles, and shared laughter shared between the pair of them.

Then her heart sank. That meant their plan hadn’t worked. Ginny hadn’t been swayed at all. It was probably for the better, but she didn’t know how Dean would take it. He wasn’t anywhere to be found in the common room. He must not have returned from the match, which meant he still didn’t know. Not only was it over for them, but she could now have to possibly watch him deal with his own heartbreak.

Harry spotted her tucked away in the corner and broke away from Ginny and the rest of the Quidditch team. “Here,” he said, handing her a butterbeer.

She took it gratefully and brought it to her lips, the crisp sweetness chasing away a bit of the bitterness in her heart. Smiling at him she said, “Congratulations.”

His eyes followed hers to Ginny, who was laughing with Katie and Demelza as they gushed over Ginny’s cleverness in spotting Cho’s feint.

“Really? Did you know?” he asked, looking at her in surprise.

“I had my suspicions,” she said with a smirk. The memory of him being completely overcome with Ginny’s beauty at Slughorn’s Christmas Party came to mind, one memory out of many. She chuckled, but then her smirk slipped away as she remembered the other boy at that party who was also taken back by Ginny that night. It felt disloyal to revel in her friend’s success knowing how hurt Dean would be by it.

“What’s wrong?” Harry asked, leaning forward to get a better look at her face from over his glasses.

Hermione leaned back. “Nothing.”

“Bullshit,” he said, after finishing his assessment. He took a swig of his butterbeer, looking at her expectantly.

She laughed. Suddenly, everything felt so ruddy ridiculous. Here she was, a girl who had fake-dated a guy to help him win back his ex, and they both had gotten played in the end. After he watched her over his glasses for a moment, she shrugged. “You’re right, it’s bullshit.”

The contract was fulfilled, so she wasn’t required to keep it a secret anymore. So, she told him all of it, start to finish. Once the stopper had been removed, everything flooded out, forced by the pressure built up under her stress. She went back to her notes, her frustration with Ron, the inciting incident in the common room, the deal she and Dean had struck, all the way through the Quidditch match.

“I’m sorry for lying to you,” she said at the conclusion of her story. He was deep in thought, expression unreadable from behind his glasses. “I knew how you felt about Ginny, but thought this wouldn’t do any harm really. I knew it would be best for Ginny to choose for herself and I figured this wouldn’t keep her from doing that.”

Harry pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and looked at her incredulously. “Are you sure there wasn’t some sort of miscommunication, Hermione? Because I’m fairly certain Dean is crazy about you.”

She scoffed. “Yes I’m sure, Harry. We signed a contract.”

“Right, I’ve got that part, but I know what I’ve seen. Every night he’s working on those sketches for you before bed. Seamus teases him and he always looks really embarrassed.”

Shaking her head, she drained the remainder of her butterbeer. “That’s just how he and Seamus are.”

Harry set down his butterbeer. “Would you listen? I’m telling you you’re wrong. He’s always rushing from practice to go meet you in the library or wherever. He was never like that with Ginny.“

She looked at him skeptically. “I hear what you’re saying but it can’t be—“

“Hermione! Stop being so thick. I don’t care how you both started dating. I’m telling you he fancies you. Just last night, even though I told him to get some rest for the match, he stayed up late finishing some sketch to give to you.”

Her heart leapt in her chest. The sketch. He had said it, hadn’t he? “I worked on this one for ages.“ Quickly, she pulled it out of her back pocket and unfolded it, her hands shaking in anticipation.

Whatever she had expected to find, it wasn’t this. It was a sketch of her. Of course he’d drawn cartoons of her in the past and realistic sketches of their friends, but never one of her. It was as realistic as the one he had given her of Ron and Harry. She was sitting at her favorite table in the library, bent over a book with a quill tucked behind her ear, her curls frizzy from stress fidgeting. She could see the rows of books behind her, the section in particular that she knew was Biographies and Autobiographies. Books and parchment were scattered across the table in front of her.

She gasped, causing Harry to lean over to see the picture for himself. It was sketched using the enchanted pencils she had bought Dean for Christmas. Periodically, the sketch version of Hermione would flip the page of her book and bite her lip, deep in thought. The enchantment was so seamless it appeared as if the sketch version of her was continuously turning pages in the book. This was the first time he’d used those pencils on anything besides cartoons. The effect was stunning.

“He was looking for you after the match,” Harry said quietly, pulling her attention from the sketch. “You should go find him.” He pulled the Marauder’s Map from his robes and handed it to her. With a grin he patted her encouragingly on the shoulder and stood up, leaving her in shock.

She must be mad. After a moment of sitting in a daze, she shot up and bolted out of the portrait hole. Frantically, she unfolded the map.

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

Lighting the tip of her wand, unable to see the writing in the dim light from the setting sun, she scanned the map. Where would he have gone? He wasn’t by the pitch or in the Great Hall. She checked near the kitchens and didn’t see him. Was he mad she hadn’t gone to see him after their win? If he was, why was he mad and why hadn’t he told her? She flipped the map over, scanning desperately. The library!

“Mischief managed!” she said, folding the map, and shoving it into her back pocket.

She sprinted to the library, not caring who she roused. Not even Peeves could stop her. It would be closing soon, and Pince was known to cut people off from entering as much as an hour before closing.

She reached the library entrance and took a moment to catch her breath. Peeking in, she didn’t see any signs of the hook-nosed librarian, or anyone else for that matter. She slipped in and kept to the wall, not daring to pull the map out again, fearing even the rustling of the parchment might stir Madam Pince from wherever she was and prevent her from entering.

Once amongst the stacks, her feet knew the way. She walked towards shelving units tucked in the back of the library that were rarely visited by average Hogwarts students. She turned down the row of “Magical Art History” books. There weren’t many places of solitude for an artist in Hogwarts, but this was one of the few.

Dean was standing with his back was to her, shoulders hunched as he poured over the book in his hands. He was wearing Muggle clothes, a light blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and black corduroy pants. Muggle clothes suited him so well.

“I heard you were looking for me after the match.”

Dean started for a second, but didn’t turn around. Casually he asked, “Did you?”

“I-I didn’t mean to make you wait. I assumed...” she trailed off. Her legs were shaking where she stood. She took a step forward.

Dean snorted and flipped a page from his book.

She kept moving forward until she was right next to him. He refused to look at her, so she leaned against the shelves beside him.

“You sketched me.”

“Mmm.”

“Why?”

He paused, his eyes frozen on the page. He clenched his jaw and took a deep breath. He turned to her. “Why did I draw any of them?” His eyes looked at her expectantly, another challenge.

“I don’t know,” she said quietly, averting her eyes.

“Liar.” He snapped his book shut and put it back on the shelf. “I drew it for you. They were all for you.” At the last sentence he looked down at her, his eyes staring deeply into hers.

Butterflies circled hopefully in her stomach. She pushed herself off the shelves and turned to the books, suddenly intrigued by The Portrait Anthology of Edgar Artiste. She clasped her hands together, scanning the shelves, looking anywhere but back at him.

“Erm. Ginny and Harry seem to be together now.”

“Good for them,” he said sarcastically.

She turned to him, watching and waiting. He wasn’t bothered at all. At worst, he was starting to look slightly annoyed with her. Or maybe he was amused? Her heart thrummed in her chest.

“I don’t like Ron anymore.”

“I know that.”

“And you...” she began slowly, “you don’t like Ginny anymore.”

He chuckled, taking a step forward and tucking a curl behind her ear. She felt her mouth go dry. “Aren’t you supposed to be the brightest witch of your age?”

His voice was annoyed but his eyes were patient and kind. The meaning of it all hung between them heavy and warm. She took a step toward him, scared he might pull back, but he stood there waiting for her.

She couldn’t think, her heart was pounding in her ears and her hands were shaking. She looked up into his eyes as they searched hers. Before he could say anything else, she reached out, her hands clutching his shirt, pulling his mouth to hers.

Dean’s surprise quickly faded as he began to kiss her back, his lips soft but eager against hers. One hand found its way into her curls while the other gripped her waist, pulling her closer into him. It was a slow meandering kiss. Hermione sighed, ignoring her heart, which was pounding in her throat. She clutched his shirt tighter, not wanting him to know how badly her hands were shaking.

His teeth grazed her bottom lip and she gasped. He angled her face, deepening the kiss, pressing into her until her back hit the shelves. A pleasurable shudder ran through her body as he placed one hand on the shelves next to her, pinning her in, as if she would ever run away from this.

His other hand fell away from her face and grabbed her hands on his chest. Gently, he pulled away, much to Hermione’s disappointment. She was embarrassed to realize that her breathing was heavy. She bit her lip, heat flooding her cheeks. Her eyes fluttered open to see that his were still shut. He rested his forehead on hers.

“Was that—“

“Shh.” He was smiling as his thumb grazed the back of her hands still clutched to his chest.

Dean had kissed her back just to kiss her—with no contract and nobody watching. He had just kissed her because he had wanted to. A giggle bubbled past her lips. His eyes flew open, brown and bright.

“Don’t do that,” he said in a warning tone, his voice low and husky.

Another giggle slipped past her lips, only for them to be captured by his.

Between kisses he spoke. “We should go. Before Pince starts. Making rounds—“

Disappointed, Hermione groaned. Dean chuckled against her lips, before pulling away. “Madam Prefect, I don’t think it’d be appropriate for you to get caught with a boy past curfew.”

With a gasp in mock concern, Hermione pushed him away. “You’re right! I am a prefect. I can’t be caught past curfew with a boy.”

“Am I just a boy, then?” Dean asked, grinning mischievously at her.

She grinned playfully at him. “I don’t know, are you?”

He grabbed her around the waist, pulling her firmly against him. His dimples accented his devilish smirk, making her stomach do a somersault. “I better not be.”

Her cheeks warmed happily as he leaned down to kiss her once more. Before his lips could brush against hers, a voice called out to them.

“This is a library and we are closed! How dare you come and make such a ruckus! Wait until I find you and report you to Mr. Filch.”

Hermione’s eyes widened and she clamped a hand over her mouth. Dean’s body shook with silent laughter.

Come on,” he mouthed silently to her.

With hands intertwined they took off running through the rows of books, silent laughter racking them along the way.

Part 15

To All The Wizards: The Greenhouse

To All The Wizards: The Greenhouse

Summer Magic Cookout Playlist

Summer Magic Cookout Playlist