Disclaimer: JKR owns anything that is obviously hers. I own the rest. I do not make any money off this.
Characters: Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger, Theodore Nott, Others
Genres: Angst, Drama, Humour, Romance
Story Warnings: Epilogue? What Epilogue?, Profanity, Smut
Overall Rating: NC-17
Summary: Hermione needs to get rid of her pesky virginity for her very own reasons. The solution to that is, of course, to make a list of the boys at Hogwarts to find out which one will suit her purpose best! Draco Malfoy is at first left off her list, but when he finds out and teases her about it, she realises that maybe he has a point--after all, who would be better to take her virginity than the most gossiped about skirt chaser at Hogwarts? He's not quite as willing as she thought he'd be, though. Written to fit a prompt.
Extra Note: Thank you to mazvn and cklls for the beta and dollfaced for the banner. :)
Chapter Length: 5,137
“Wait!” Hermione said, turning her head away. “Rules!”
Draco nuzzled her ear and regrettably removed his hand from under her shirt. Completely. “Tease.”
“No, I’m not. You are. Hence, rules.”
“All right,” he whispered, still very close to her ear. “What rules do you want?” Then he nibbled at it before she could reply.
She swallowed. He was so playful today. It was odd in a strangely nice way. “You don’t blame me for whatever happens.”
“All right. But you don’t blame me either when we don’t have sex.”
She looked at him. “Then you redefine sex to vaginal intercourse.”
His head shot back and he looked at her for a long time before finally asking, “As in... you want a repeat of last time?”
She slowly shook her head. “No.”
“I want to touch you," she whispered.
“Like last time?”
She shook her head more forcefully. “I already said no to that. Besides, I already sort of am touching you like that...”
“It could just be a little bit.”
“I’m not certain I’m comfortable with that.”
She let out a long breath. Why did she keep doing this to herself? “Of course not. Never mind.”
“Wouldn’t you rather that I touched you?”
She shook her head. No, she didn’t want that. She didn’t want to be the only one who seemed to get anything from these meetings. She didn’t want to feel weak and vulnerable whilst he blamed her for his own weakness and ran off.
“I would, you know,” he continued. “If you asked me to.”
“Because you’ve been nice to me and have pretty eyes and sexy legs,” he replied with a small grin.
She wasn’t in the mood to be charmed, though. "Hmh."
"Although your pout isn't that sexy," he teased.
"If it doesn't give me what I want, why bother being sexy?"
He sighed and rolled onto his back, putting his hands behind his head. "You're impossible, you know that?"
His grin returned. "Impossible, but funny. I like that about you."
"Doesn't it go against some sort of secret code of yours to acknowledge you like anything but my legs?"
"Not really. I've always appreciated any kind of humour that's not at my expense."
"Tell me, Malfoy. Is it because I'm too aggressive?"
He didn't bother to feign that he didn't follow. "Not really."
"I know I can be very determined and it puts some people off. But life's too short to sit around and wait for it to happen."
"Wait for what to happen?"
"You're not a very patient person, are you?"
"I suppose not."
"That's funny. I thought you'd be. But then again, I thought a lot of things about you that were wrong."
"Yeah?" He perked up, giving her his full attention. "Where were you wrong about me?"
"I thought you'd sleep with me."
"Oh. That again." He actually seemed disappointed.
"And I thought you'd attempt to use it to your own advantage, either by ridiculing me to boost your reputation or blackmailing me to have things your way."
"Then why start anything in the first place?"
"Because I decided you wouldn't be able to successfully ridicule or blackmail me without serious repercussions to yourself and I meant to remind you of that after the deed was done."
"You have a plan for everything, don't you?"
"Yep. Except for you saying no. That one stumped me. I didn't figure I was off-putting enough to warrant that."
He didn't reply for a bit, but that was all right. She much preferred silence than some insincere reassurance that she wasn't off-putting at all. All evidence pointed to the contrary, after all.
“How many girls do you think I’ve slept with?” he suddenly asked.
“A rough estimate from all these rumours you’re going by.”
She shrugged and scrunched up her nose. “I don’t know. Ten. Maybe twenty?”
He nodded. “All right. Ten to twenty girls. Bear in mind that I only broke up with Pansy in the beginning of the school year and never cheated on her, so I have had less than six months to get that done.”
Hermione shrugged. “Ten girls in six months is approximately a new one every eighteen days. It’s doable.”
He snorted. “Not around these parts, it isn’t. It’s impossible to find that many girls who'd be willing so fast. Also, twenty girls in six months is a new one every nine days. I’m certainly busy.”
“So what are you getting at?”
“Most of these girls are liars.”
“Oh, I figured that much.”
He propped himself up on an elbow to look down at her. “You did?”
She nodded. “Of course. There are several inconsistencies in their stories, after all. I always thought it was more likely that you’d only been with a handful of girls and the rest exaggerated a snog or two, if even that.”
“I still don’t see your point.”
“My point is that I’ve simply never slept around as indiscriminately as you seemed to think. I admit I’ve kissed quite a few, but everything else is vastly exaggerated.”
She tilted her head and looked at him long and hard. “Are you saying you're reserving it for a witch you really like?"
He pursed his lips. "Now, now, Granger. Don't be so nosey."
"Oh, come on!"
"Maybe I'm simply reserving it for a witch who isn't doing it to get even with her boyfriend."
"I don't have a boyfriend," she insisted.
"Yes, you do."
"No, I don't."
"So you're saying you don't plan on getting back together with him after?"
She didn't reply.
"I thought so. He's your boyfriend."
"Even if I did have a boyfriend—which I don't—I'm not doing it to get even with him."
"Then what will you call this?"
"Levelling the field?"
"Also called getting even."
"No! I'm not doing it to punish him. I'm doing it because I want to and because I need our statuses to be the same before I can make a final decision."
"You mean, you want your statuses to be even?"
"Ugh, now you're impossible!"
"You know I'm right."
"So what if you are? I don't care. I'm not thinking of him when we snog."
He snorted. "That's always something."
“Besides, I thought you said we weren’t exclusive.”
“We aren’t. But the two of you are.”
“All evidence to the contrary.” She narrowed her eyes at the ceiling, wondering if that crack in the painting had always been there.
“Hey...” he said, nudging her shoulder with his own. “Being apart from someone can be hard. You start feeling like you don’t know them any more. You can work it out if you both want to.”
She turned her head to look at him. “You were apart from Pansy, weren’t you?”
The corner of his mouth drew up in what wasn’t quite a smile. “Would you have brought someone you cared about to visit at a place like Malfoy Manor during the war?”
“But you eventually broke up.”
“Because we didn’t both want to work it out. In fact, neither of us did. She’d found someone new and I simply felt like she was a complete stranger and wondered what we’d been doing.”
“Yet you seem bitter.”
“When you talk to her. You’re always so curt and rude. It’s either like you never cared about her at all or like you still care about her very much.”
“It’s ok if you do, you know.”
He shook his head. “No, that’s over... She just annoys me a lot. Her guilty conscience makes her smother me with well-meaning ‘help’ that I have absolutely no use for. All she does is complicate everything and I wish she’d stop.”
“Maybe you should say you forgive her so she doesn't feel guilty any longer?”
“That’s what she’s looking for, right?”
He stared at her. “That has to be too simple...”
“You won’t know until you try it. Just try to sound sincere so she’ll believe you.”
He laughed out loud. “I never thought we’d have a conversation like this.”
“I know, it’s oddly normal.”
“We should stop. It’s scary.”
“I’m not scared," she immediately said.
“Of course not. Nothing scares you.”
“Or maybe I don’t fear things merely because they are new, strange or I don’t understand them.”
“That’s a nice way of calling me a bigot again, isn’t it?”
“I suppose you’re right.”
Now it was his turn to stare at the ceiling. He pursed his lips as if mulling it over. “The truth is that I’m not really passionate about any of it either way. I only ever wanted to make my family proud and be a worthy successor to the Malfoy name. I failed at being able to do much all through the war, and now there isn’t even much of a name to succeed to, so...” He shrugged.
“So you’re saying that you only ever picked on me to make your daddy proud?”
“Yes. And because Potter really annoyed me. Come to think of it, so did you, what with your swotty ways. Would it have killed you not to always know everything?”
“I never knew everything!”
“Uh-huh, in class you did. And if your advice with Pansy works, I’m going to have to punish you.”
“Oh, that’s gratitude!”
He gravely nodded. “Come to think of it, I’m actually glad you don’t know about sex. That means there’s a gap in your knowledge where millions of other people actually do know.”
“I’ll know soon enough.”
“Millions of people, Granger. Imagine that. In fact, at this very school—”
“You’re just trying to annoy me, aren’t you?” she cut him off.
He grinned. “Is it working?”
“That’s no way to treat a witch whose bed you’re currently sharing!” she whinged, even though she was actually having an odd kind of fun right now.
“Mm, you’re right. I should probably go find my own bed.”
“Why don’t you?”
“Because my bed is eight floors down and in a room with several other beds filled with boys that snore and, frankly, smell rather badly most of the time. You smell nice and your room is quiet. I’ll go in a minute.” His reluctance wasn't exactly subtle.
She considered it for a second. “You don’t have to.”
“You could stay.”
“Did this conversation just go full circle?”
She laughed. “No, not quite. You can stay and sleep on only one condition.”
“And that would be?”
“Take off your clothes.”
“Ah. Should’ve known.”
“No. You keep your underwear on, silly. But everything else—off.”
“And you promise not to try to get into my underwear?”
“That’s a big promise...”
“All right, all right. I solemnly sw—eh, I mean, I promise I won’t try to tamper with your underwear.”
He shot her a look. “And what about you?”
“I have sleepwear if my underwear is too revealing for you.”
“You really have no modesty, do you? What if someone finds out?”
“Why would anyone find out? Nobody ever comes here and even if they did come early and saw you leaving, we could just say you had to see me about something.”
Draco glanced at Hermione. She seemed perfectly serious.
“All right, then,” he said, getting up and hesitantly removing his shirt.
She bit her lip and he felt his cheeks heat. It was both gratifying and embarrassing to have her appreciate his bare skin like this.
“Now the trousers,” she impatiently said. “Come on, Draco. We don’t have all night!”
He raised an eyebrow. “And here I thought we did.” But he still opened his trousers and stepped out of them.
She’d sat up, her eyes big and round, staring at one place in particular.
“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t stare like that at my crotch,” he muttered, scowling. He was reacting and knew she could see it.
She grinned at him. “Just trying to gauge size here.”
“Oh, so now size matters too?”
“Of course it does.”
“That’s... reassuring. What any bloke wants to hear, really.”
“Why is it so wrong that I don’t want the first one to be too large?”
He stared at her and then laughed. “Oh, Granger... Never change.”
She pursed her lips and then shook her head. “You’re still wearing socks!” she said, getting out of bed and casually undressing.
He couldn’t help but look. He really enjoyed looking at her body. She had really nice legs—probably from constantly climbing up and down those damn stairs—a nice perky bottom, well-rounded breasts and a cute little soft belly. He liked that. He enjoyed curves and softness on girls.
“Now who’s looking?” she asked, going to her chest to rummage around a bit for her nightwear.
The view from where he was standing was exquisite and he soon realised that he’d best get into bed before she got any ideas. He ducked under the covers right as she straightened and pulled on a pair of baggy pyjama trousers and a sleeveless T-shirt.
“Now I’ll be hot as hell,” she grumbled as she went for the bed.
“I can keep my distance,” he offered.
“Not on your life.”
She got in on the other side of the bed. “Well, since you’re here, I want a goodnight kiss. Is that too much to ask?”
Yes. Far, far too much. “Of course not,” he said, shifting closer to her. “How do you want it, Madam All-Knowing?”
She smiled. “Lengthy.”
When Hermione woke the next morning, she was alone again. Feeling disoriented, she sat up and looked around, but there was no sign of Draco whatsoever. His clothes, bag and self were all gone. And so was her cat, come to think of it. Crookshanks had decided to come out from under the bed and make his presence known at some point during the night to Draco’s great annoyance. He hadn’t appreciated the cat attempting to take over the pillow by nudging, kneading and purring a lot, so he’d probably kicked it out.
Oh, well. It was a weekday and she should get up and ready for her classes. That was probably why Draco had left as well, so he could have time to change and get ready for school.
It had been surprisingly nice to sleep next to him, even though he never caved and had sex with her, even when he was all but gasping for air and trembling.
Still, it had been nice to be allowed to make him gasp for air and tremble. And then they’d wound it down and gone to sleep.
She’d never slept with anyone like this before. She’d slept in the same room as Ron a few times, but not under the same covers, snuggling. It was nice. She approved. She needed to do that again soon.
Maybe if Draco hated his dorm so much, he could be persuaded to come spend his nights here in spite of her cat? It wasn’t like people didn’t expect him to stay out all night anyway. They could sleep and snog and maybe eventually... She grinned. Oh, yes. She definitely had to propose this plan to him. Today. Later. After she’d had a shower to make sure she still smelled fresh.
Soft lips against lips. Moist, hot breath against skin. Hands seeking out anywhere they could reach. Round, perky breasts begging to be tasted. Lovely, shapely legs, opening, inviting him in. Damp knickers being moved to the side, allowing him to feel with just a couple of fingers the heated centre he was so desperate to explore in so many ways. Squirming, moaning, whimpering. She made that sound and he looked up to see her thoughtful, brown eyes looking almost startled as she climaxed under him.
Draco braced his arms against the cool tiles on the wall, allowing the hot water to wash over him. He never got any further than this before he had to give in to his own climax. He tried not to fantasise about her, but half the time it was just so damn impossible.
Something had to change. Soon. He knew what the obvious change would be, but he couldn’t do it. He simply couldn’t. It wouldn’t be what she wanted and he didn’t want it all to end up being one big hot mess, not when he was already so self-conscious about his own lack of experience. The lack of any real experience. Of course, he could tell her about his dilemma, but then she’d stop wanting him and there’d be no more snogging sessions. She wanted the skilled sex god experience, not the fumbling virgin experience.
He could only give her the latter. Every time he thought he had it down and could fake it through, something happened to either bring him too close too soon or quite frankly scare him.
It was impossible.
Damn Pansy for spreading that false rumour and damn every single girl who’d decided to play along without actually sleeping with him. He’d never wanted to go this long without actually having sex, but he simply wasn’t that much of a natural charmer. Most of the time their shallowness disgusted him and he was perhaps a tiny bit cruel if they decided to be coy.
He needed to lose it and fast. Could he learn to at least hold it back a little longer in one night? He had to. He needed this chance to be with Granger before she either found someone better suited or decided it wasn't worth the effort. He needed to fulfil this fantasy.
Maybe if he went for someone known to be rather... fickle, and turned on all his most insincere charm, he could get this done in a matter of days. Hell, he wasn’t opposed to getting the witch expensive gifts if only she would help him with this aggravating dilemma.
It was time to take some action.
Hermione pouted down at the parchment in her hand. She’d sent Draco a note, suggesting he come to her room later, but he’d sent this back, declining.
“I can’t tonight. Something’s come up. I’ll let you know when I have time.”
What was that supposed to mean? Something had come up? What? Something preventing him from sleeping?
Why, oh, why was he always running away, no matter how well he liked what they did? It was annoying and a pointless waste of time. She’d even been very good about not pressuring him too hard about having sex last night, at least if she had to say so herself.
She supposed that meant she had to go hunt him down and seduce him again.
Hunting him down would be easy enough. She’d merely play the stalker and follow him after dinner to confront him about his silliness.
She rolled up the note and went down to the Great Hall to do just that.
It turned out she barely had time to eat before he decided to leave. She raised an eyebrow at that. Maybe he truly did have something he needed to do. Nevertheless, she followed him out at a moderate distance. This happened to be a good thing, because it gave her time to duck behind a suit of armour when someone called out to him.
“Oy, Draco! Where are you off to now?”
It was a Slytherin boy unknown to Hermione. Probably a regular seventh-year.
“Homework,” Draco said, patting the bag that Hermione had somehow missed he was wearing. “I have several assignments to do.”
“Ah, good luck with that,” the other boy said, disappearing into the Great Hall.
Huh. Homework. So he was going to the library? And that was an obstacle to seeing her... how?
This became sillier by the second.
She decided to follow him to his destination and then scold him well.
Besides, it was kind of fun to follow him without him knowing about it. Fun, but also slightly troublesome. She fell behind on several long stairs and hallways where she didn’t dare to enter until he’d turned a corner and thus almost lost him twice.
It took her longer than it should have to realise he wasn’t even going near the library. In fact, he continued up a few more floors and went the complete opposite direction. Hermione began getting a really bad feeling about where he was going and why. She should probably turn around and let him go about his business, but now that she knew something was off, she couldn’t let it go.
Even when she realised what office he was going to.
He could use that office for other things, really. It had a desk. Maybe he merely liked being undisturbed. He went in, leaving the door open, and she ducked into the room on the other side of the hallway.
It turned out it wasn’t so much a room as a cupboard with cleaning supplies that looked like they could use a fair bit of cleaning themselves.
Now what? What was she doing? This was stupid.
She’d almost decided to go out and announce her presence when she peeked through some cracks in the boards that made up the door and saw that Draco had come back out into the hallway. Seeing him made her hesitate. Maybe it was simply better to slip off once he couldn’t see her. It would certainly be less embarrassing.
He checked his watch and impatiently sighed and looked down the hallway. “You’re late.”
Who was he talking to?
“I’m sorry,” a female voice responded, making Hermione stiffen. “It’s quite new for you to take me up on my invitations.”
“Better late than never, right?” Draco said, but there was a marked change in him. He didn’t look or sound impatient any longer, instead he looked... flirty? Hermione felt like she was going to be sick.
“Mm... Before we go any further, I heard some rumours...”
He reached out to tuck a lock of the girl’s hair behind her ear. “What about?”
“You and the Head Girl.”
He shook his head. “Nothing there.”
“Really?” the girl asked. “You’re talking to the expert in sneaking around here.”
He laughed. “All right. I need better marks and she needs... well, let’s just say it’s a mutually satisfactory arrangement. And non-exclusive.”
Hermione realised she was hurting herself with how hard she was grabbing onto the door frame and made an effort to relax. He wasn’t lying. Apart from him not actually being willing to go the last step, she supposed that was exactly the kind of arrangement they had.
There was no need to feel this hurt about his dismissal. He was something temporary before she finally made up her mind about Ron, that was it. What did she care if he scoffed at last night and tried to kiss this girl?
The girl cocked her head. “Why did you ask me up here, Draco?”
He bestowed that charming half-smile of his on her. “Because I realised you had the most stunning eyes I’ve ever seen.”
“Yes...” he said. “I’ve always been partial to blue eyes.”
Every word was a punch to Hermione’s gut. She’d known the thing with the eyes had been a line. She’d known all along. But why had he needed to lie to her like that? Didn’t the boy have a heart?
“Just my eyes, then, huh?” the girl teased, but she’d gone closer to Draco and didn’t seem to mind his antics at all.
“No, not just,” he said in what was little more than a whisper. “You’re very pretty. Did you know that?”
“Why don’t you tell me more about it?” she replied.
He smiled and whispered, “Why don’t you enter my office and I’ll tell you exactly how pretty you are?”
The girl smiled. “That’s what I hoped you’d say.”
“And I hoped we could stop talking,” he said and then he kissed her.
Hermione squeezed her eyes shut and covered her ears, not wanting to hear anything else. Her stomach was in a violent uproar and she felt a telling pressure behind her nose and eyes that she didn’t want to acknowledge. This was Draco Malfoy. This was why she was trying to get into bed with him in the first place. This was what she’d signed up for.
Slightly shaking, she opened her eyes and peeked out again to see that they were gone and the office door was closed.
Without further ado, she hurriedly opened the cupboard door and fled the area, heading blindly for somewhere she’d be guaranteed to neither see nor hear Draco Malfoy for as long as it took her to get rid of these irrational feelings of hurt and betrayal.
Draco softly closed the door behind them and looked at the girl of the day. Her name was Jenny something-or-other and he’d always thought she was pretty, but something about her had annoyed him enough that he hadn’t wanted to get involved with her. Tonight she would do. Tonight was all about getting this over with, so he could sate his burning lust for Hermione Granger without being completely humiliated or pissing her off.
“Charming place,” Jenny said after inspecting the room. “You bring all your girls here?”
“Only the ones that turn me on,” he said, taking a few steps closer to her.
“So, that’s a yes?”
“Want to go somewhere else?” he asked, cupping her chin. “Because we could. Where do you want to go? How can I make you be with me?”
He was making himself nauseous with all these lines.
She put her hands on his shoulders. “Silly boy. I’ve wanted to be with you for months.”
He smiled, certain that the insincerity of his expression was seeping through his eyes, but still attempting to keep up appearances. “You should’ve let me know, then.”
“It’s not my fault you can’t take a subtle hint.” She pouted.
Then stop being so damn subtle and go for what you want!
He maintained his smile. “It doesn’t matter. We’re here now.”
“That we are,” she whispered and drew down his head for another kiss.
He waited for all his pent-up lust to surface. Nothing.
All he felt was warm lips against his own. Lips that he was completely uninterested in.
Frowning, he attempted to deepen the kiss, to see if that helped, but even though she willingly opened up to him... still nothing. He was as sexually aroused as he had ever been during a History of Magic lesson on an early Monday morning.
Maybe he’d picked the wrong girl? Or maybe it was simply this whole idea of forcing himself through an encounter he didn’t care about in order to have one he did want that left him cold?
Either way, it seemed that he couldn’t do this.
Sighing, he broke the kiss. “Right. I have to go.”
“What?” She stared at him. “Now?”
He considered giving her the blunt truth but then decided it was hardly her fault that he was suddenly feeling impotent. “There was something I forgot to do, I guess.”
“And it can’t wait?”
“All right, but when—”
“I don’t blame you for being angry at me,” he cut her off, edging back towards the door. “What, really, with me leading you on like this and then simply walking off again. In fact, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t want to see me again.”
“Don’t worry, I understand. I’m quite certain you can do better. Best of luck!” Then he hurriedly let himself out and strode down the hall with big steps, hoping she wouldn’t pursue him.
Damn. What now? He’d really thought he could do this, so he didn’t even have a backup plan.
He supposed he could still try to fake it, but all his experience with snogging Hermione at length told him that it wouldn’t be a success. No matter how much he tried to see to matters beforehand, she always knew exactly how to turn him upside down and inside out and make him burn with need. He wouldn’t last two minutes like that.
That left one last undesirable option: Honesty.
Chances were that she’d completely reject sleeping with him once he told her that he wasn’t able to live up to the reason she was pursuing him.
But then again, she already knew he hadn’t slept with a lot of girls and didn’t seem to mind. Maybe she’d let him have a few goes until he got it right?
No, she probably wouldn’t. She was only interested in doing it once. She wanted to get rid of her virginity so she could get back with her precious Weasley.
Why should it even matter to her if it was any good when that was all she wanted?
Apart from a normal desire to enjoy the sex, of course.
He hardly even knew what he was on about any longer. He was confused as hell about why he hadn’t wanted Jenny and why he was feeling so bitter about Hermione only wanting to do it once and only wanting to do it with someone experienced.
He’d better simply tell her and get it over with. Maybe then he could remember how to lust for someone else again.
He took a detour, aiming for her room and knocked without hesitation as soon as he reached it. There was no answer, so he tried again.
“Hermione?” he called. “It’s me. Could you perhaps open up?”
Still no answer.
He knocked once more. “Hermione, if you’re there, I’d really like to talk to you! About... about us. Could you come to the door, please?”
He tried the handle, but wasn’t surprised in the least to find it locked. She must be out, then. She’d never ignored him before, so why would she start now?
Because he couldn’t think of anywhere else to check, he went to check the library, only to find it completely abandoned.
Resigning himself to having to wait to resolve this, he decided to call it a day and seek her out in the morning instead.
Hermione sat blindly staring at Gryffindor common room’s fireplace. Some younger students were noisily playing wizard chess to her left and Ginny was sitting in a chair, looking at her, to her right.
She supposed she should come up with some kind of excuse to be here.
“What happened?” Ginny finally asked.
Hermione shook her head. “Why did anything have to happen?”
“Because this is the first time you’ve been here without an actual reason.”
“Oh.” She hesitated. “We’re still friends, right?”
“Do you know any boys that might want to go out with me?”
Ginny blinked, taken aback. “I assume you mean beside my brother.”
“Yes. Someone here, at this school.”
“I don’t think anyone mentioned you specifically, but I don’t see why anyone would be opposed to going out with you.”
“I do. Because I’m the Head Girl. Because I’m older than everyone else. Because I have a reputation for being a dull swot with no sense of fun.”
“Considering that you’ve recently decided to drink at parties rather than break them up and report them, I’d say you’ve successfully countered the ‘dull swot with no sense of fun’ bit. I don’t see why age should be a problem either, or your Head Girl status for that matter.”
“So you think you can find me a date?”
“Um, certainly. Why do you need one?”
Hermione looked down at her hands. “Just do.”
“This wouldn’t have anything to do with whoever messed up your clothes that night?”
Oh, crap. Hermione had forgotten that Ginny had seen her come back one time. “Yes and no. He’s out of the picture.”
“But I don’t want him to think that I’m sitting around, missing him. I’ve had enough of that.”
“Ah. So, that kind of date.”
“No, it would be a real date. I’m open for anything to happen. Anything.”
“Out of curiosity, what did this mystery boy do?”
“Nothing, really...” Because he hadn’t. He’d made a point of stressing that they were non-exclusive from the start. She’d merely made stupid assumptions since she hadn’t seen him with anyone else before that. “He simply wanted someone else more than me.” That was also the truth. Based on what she’d heard, it seemed fairly obvious that he was having sex right now, even though he kept refusing to have sex with her.
“Did he cheat on you?” Ginny quietly asked.
Hermione gave a half-hearted snort. “You have to be together for someone to cheat. You can’t cheat on someone you’re only having a bit of fun with. Or someone you’re technically broken up with, for that matter.” She realised her bitterness was beginning to show and quickly amended. “I was getting tired of him anyway.”
Ginny looked as if she had a hard time forming her next question. “Did Ron cheat on you?”
“No. We weren’t together.”
“But he did have someone else?”
Hermione sighed. She didn't want to turn Ginny against her brother. “It doesn’t matter.”
“But it does, doesn’t it? That’s why you can’t forgive him. That’s why you got involved with another cheater.”
“Then why did you?”
“Because I was stupid. I thought I wouldn’t care if he saw other witches. Turns out that I do, and it’s my own bloody fault.”
“Maybe if you told him that?”
Hermione laughed without humour. “What? Tell him that he was right that I can’t handle that kind of relationship without becoming jealous? No, thank you. It would be humiliating and it would still be over. Neither of us ever meant to get involved and I don’t even want to be involved with him.”
Ginny slowly nodded. “So... you want a date.”
“Yes. As fast as possible. Oh, and if he’s cute, it’s a plus.”
“And it’s not at all designed to make Mystery Boy jealous?”
Hermione snorted, this time with a bit of humour. “I may be stupid, but I’m not that stupid. He’ll shrug and go bonk someone else.”
“I see,” Ginny muttered. “Well, it may be doable. I know of someone else who could use a nice rebound fling. I suppose you don't care that he's a little younger?”
“Ginny, everyone at this school is younger than me.”
"Oh. Right. Not a problem, then!"