By Maryum Imran
Word Count: 2337
Summary: Hermione had hated Valentine’s Day ever since she understood what it meant, especially because she had never been anyone’s special valentine, and she has resigned herself to believe that she will never be special to anyone. What she doesn’t know is that she has an admirer who is none other than…DRACO MALFOY!
Author’s note: This is a one-shot that gives Hermione the moment she deserves. It takes place in Hermione’s fifth year.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my own imagination. All these amazing characters are purely JK Rowling’s creation.
Urgh…. Rose Day!
In Hermione Granger’s opinion, the worst day of the year.
Hermione had hated Valentine’s Day ever since she understood what it meant—the lovesick looks, cliché gestures, and superficial confessions of love which would be forgotten by March, along with the name of your special valentine. She considered the overrated muggle event a distraction, one that she was happy to leave behind upon her entry into the wizarding world. However, to her dismay, she discovered that Valentine’s Day was recognised in the wizarding world as Rose Day and Hogwarts enthusiastically supported the spirit of Valentine’s Day by cancelling all classes, lifting the curfew on February 14 and handing each male student a single magical red rose to give to their special valentine to encourage inter-gender socialisation. How nauseous!
Each male student of Hogwarts was presented with a magical red rose on the morning of February 14 with instructions to give it to someone special by midnight. The rose would begin to glow, once given to its recipient from the owner of that particular rose. This meant that nobody could get away with giving ordinary roses to other girls, as it would be considered an insult, as if such girls were the second priority after the girl who had been given the magical rose. Furthermore, if one gave away a stolen magical rose, it wouldn’t glow, making it just as insulting. Therefore, each boy could give a rose to only one girl. But that didn’t stop Ron.
Last year, Ron had given his rose to Parvati Patil at noon by the giant lake. However, when he realised that Lavender Brown, a girl who had refused to accept any roses from her admirers the previous year, had accepted a rose from both Seamus and Dean, Ron had rushed to find Parvati. Upon locating her with a group of six friends, including her sister, Ron had simply walked up to her shamelessly.
“Hey Parvati,” he had said.
“Oh! Hi Ron,” Parvati had replied,, a faint blush rising up her cheeks, indicating her newly-developed crush on him after receiving the rose.
Instead of talking to her privately like Hermione had suggested after giving up on trying to convince him of the error of his ways, Ron had boldly said, in front of ALL the onlookers as well as her giggling friends, all expecting Ron to ask Parvati out, “Okay, so listen, can you give me the rose back…cuz I….”
“Wh… what?” Parvati had mumbled in confusion, hurt creeping into her tone.
“Yeah…you see, I wanna give it to Lavender and I guess I shouldn’t have given it to you. Probably should have waited till dinner to see if Lavender would have…you know…. But I just didn’t want to be rejected again…so…” Ron had droned on, completely unaware of the shocked looks plastered on the faces of Parvati’s friends, as well as the crowd that his scene had attracted.
“Wh… why you little…Urgh… I can’t believe I was into a jerk like you!” Parvati had shrieked, interrupting Ron’s lousy explanation. “You want your rose? Fine!”
And with that, she had thrown the rose onto the marble floor and crushed it with the sole of her shoe, running off immediately, followed closely by her sister and friends.
Oh, and Ron, that idiot, had the audacity to give Lavender the damaged rose which she threw in his face with disgust since she had heard, along with the rest of Hogwarts, about Ron’s treatment of Parvati. The boys didn’t make much of it, after all they were guys, a species that could understand and keep up with all the Quidditch World Cup statistics but thought that female emotions were complicated! The story, however, spread like wildfire amongst all female students and as a result, Ron was shunned by the entire Hogwarts female occupants for the next two weeks. Even Professor McGonagall seemed cold to him for the next few lessons, and the usually friendly Professor Sprout had snapped at Ron and handed him a detention for not answering a question correctly. Hopefully Ron learnt his lesson and would not be repeating it this year.
The worst part was that Ron wasn’t the only insensitive oaf in the school. Cormac McLaggen and Marcus Flint had torn their roses and given each girl of their liking a single petal. The really sad part is that most girls not only accepted but shrieked with delight upon receiving it. Blaise Zabini had tried to duplicate the rose using magic, as he wanted to give it to both Padma Patil, a Ravenclaw he had feelings for, and Millicent Bulstrode, a pureblood Slytherin to whom he was expected to give the rose. However, his attempts backfired as the rose withered when the spell was performed, leaving him with nothing to give to either girl.
And then there was Draco Malfoy, perhaps the worst of them all. When presented with a rose during his first year, Malfoy had decided that he was superior to such nonsense and had chosen to discard the rose by throwing it behind him. However, as fate would have it, Pancy Parkinson, a Slytherin in Hermione’s year who practically worshipped Malfoy, happened to be standing behind him along with a small group of Slytherin girls. She had squealed with delight once she realised where the rose came from, or more importantly, from whom. And from then on, a tradition was born. Every year, on the 14th of February, Malfoy would stand near the quidditch field at exactly three in the afternoon. He would then kiss the rose and toss it behind his shoulder, where a group of girls would be waiting eagerly to catch it. As the years went on, the group of girls expanded, soon including girls from all houses. Hermione, however, never joined them. It was just sick!
Hermione couldn’t understand what was so special about Malfoy. Sure, he has the most mesmerising pair of silver eyes that I have seen, and the dimple under his nose is kind of adorable, and then there is the fact that he actually looks kind of…decent, that is, when he is not sneering or boasting about his superiority, which is hardly ever. Not to mention his intellect, which is second only to myself…..but other than all that, there isn’t really anything…special about him!
However, despite the outward appearance of disapproval and her nonchalant façade, Hermione could not help but feel slightly depressed as each year girls in her dorm would flaunt the bouquets of flowers collected from numerous admirers whilst Hermione had only one—given from Harry. Why Harry, you might wonder?
Well, every year, on this day, Harry would try to avoid the flirty looks and wistful sighs that almost every girl would throw at him as well as the question on everyone’s mind: who will the Chosen One choose to be his Valentine?
Near the end of Rose Day on the first year, Harry had still not given his rose to anyone since he didn’t have an interest in any particular girl and did not want to gather any more attention with rumours of his alleged secret dating life. Thus, Harry had retreated to the common room at around eleven at night to find an upset Hermione cuddled on a comfy armchair by the fire, reading Shakespeare’s poetry. Upon closer inspection, he had realised that Hermione’s eyes were red, and tears were silently streaking down her face as she released an occasional sniffle. He had suspected that despite Hermione’s claim of indifference at not receiving a single rose, and protests of Rose Day being demeaning to women, she would have wanted to receive at least one. Being used to feeling inferior and left out at the Dursleys, and feeling sorry for his friend, Harry had approached Hermione and handed his rose over to her. Like many others, this had become an unspoken custom, as well. On the fourteenth of February every year, Harry would give his rose to Hermione. However, both of them understood that this gesture was one of friendship, not romance. The yearly ritual did not arouse feelings of intimacy between the two friends—quite the opposite, actually. As the years went by, Harry’s gesture was routinely met with appreciation from Hermione, and a sibling-like bond formed between the two, which continued to strengthen over time.
Harry’s gesture ensured that Hermione was not made fun of or mocked for her inability to attract a single guy. Everyone saw the rose on Hermione’s dresser the next day and assumed that she had an admirer whose identity she did not want to disclose. Still, Hermione wished that someone would one day consider her to be beautiful enough to present her with the magic rose, that she would be given a rose with feelings of passion, not pity. Four years had passed, four Rose Days had passed, and all Hermione had to show for it were the ones given to her by Harry. Even Victor Krum hadn’t given her a rose, though she had desperately hoped that he would. He had told her that Drumstrang did not celebrate the ritual, thus he didn’t, either. Of course, Hermione had plastered on a fake smile and politely accepted his explanation, but try as she might, she couldn’t suppress the disappointment his words had aroused.
Perhaps there was something wrong with her?
Every other female student at Hogwarts had at least received one genuine rose over the span of four years. In fact, most of her batch mates had received at least four.
Despite desiring so much more, Hermione had resigned herself to believe that perhaps no one would ever see her for who she was. After her transformation from an ugly duckling to a graceful swan at the Yule ball, she had noticed many male batch mates observing her, but all she saw in their eyes was lust, not love. Furthermore, when she changed back to the ugly duckling appearance with her bushy hair and know-it-all attitude, she had noticed looks of disappointment on the faces of a lot of boys, including Ron. No matter how much she secretly coveted receiving the magical rose, she refused to turn into a brainless girl capable of only giggling and squealing!
Snapping out of her reverie, Hermione glanced at her watch and realised that it was 2:45 pm. Harry must have finished his quidditch practice by now. And so she strolled out of the library and headed to the Quidditch pitch. Upon arriving there, she realised that Ron was still hunting down Hannah Abbott to present his flower, and Harry, along with the rest of the Quidditch team, was in the changing room. Instead of heading to the bleachers to wait for the boys as she usually did, Hermione stayed rooted to the spot, looking towards Malfoy surrounded by his goons and the group of girls whispering wistfully behind him. Even though Hermione refused to be a part of that ridiculous group of girls, she couldn’t help but watch the Malfoy Ritual, as it was now termed, every year. However, this year something seemed different. Malfoy wasn’t wearing his annoying, habitual smirk, and there was no air of smugness and superiority radiating from his stance. In fact, if anything, he seemed slightly nervous, though he hid it well.
As Hermione stood there scrutinising Malfoy, she realised with a start that he wasn’t wearing Slytherin colours or a black robe. She had always secretly observed Malfoy since first year, though she would deny it till her last breath—his dazzling silver eyes, handsomely styled blond hair, the grace and poise with which he carried himself, his cologne that smelled of fresh-cut grass and new parchment, and his clothes that were always in Slytherin colours or black. But not today…
Today he wore a midnight blue sweater with a crimson scarf. What are you up to Malfoy? He couldn’t have run out of Slytherin colours, could he? Impossible! Maybe he lost a bet or someone hid his clothes or he could be trying something new, maybe to impress a girl? Malfoy must really like her if he was willing to leave behind Slytherin colours. Hmmm… blue really does look good on him, it really makes his eyes pop…STOP IT HERMIONE! Malfoy is the enemy. He has been teasing you for four years. He calls you a mudblood. He is a spoilt rich brat. He is….walking over here now!
“Hey Granger,” Malfoy said, and for the first time in his life he was not sneering at her. It was actually a decent greeting with a tinge of anxiety in his tone.
“Hello, Malfoy,” she replied cautiously.
Wordlessly, Malfoy brought out his right hand from behind his back, the rose clutched in his fist. “For you. Happy Rose Day.”
And with that, he gently slid the rose behind her left ear, and his lips gently brushed against her cheek before he casually strolled away, leaving behind a perplexed and faintly blushing Hermione with a warm smile on her lips and a sparkle in her eyes.
“Hey! Sorry I’m late. Mione, who gave you the rose?” asked a surprised Harry.
“Oh! No one. Let’s go find Ron. Shall we, Harry?”
“Sure, let’s go,” Harry replied suspiciously, but thankfully dropped the topic for the time being.
Later that night, as Hermione lay on her bed, she softly whispered “Thanks M…Draco, for being my special valentine.”