Chapter 2 :  An Interesting Encounter
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An Interesting Encounter
She was just, Hermione. That was like a Prince going out with a pig. It just, didn't work even if it was possible, which it wasn't. Just the thought that he was going to have to be, Draco took a moment to let the thought shiver through is body. He was going to have to be nice. The blonde sneered slightly, holding back a gag as he leaned on the wall of the corner in the fourth floor hallway, where he had been waiting for near twenty minutes then.
Why did Blaise torture him so? What on earth went on in the other boy's head that made him think this sort of game was a respectable idea? Draco almost laughed. Like they ever did anything respectable anyway. Their games always included playing with other people's emotions without their knowledge or agreement. That was the fun of their games. Anyone could play wizard chess or truth or dare; it took mastered manipulation to play the games that Blaise and Draco did.
It's not even that Hermione was, ghastly or anything. She was actually rather good looking. If she was anyone other then Hermione Granger he would probably be after her by now, he liked a bit spirit in his woman, but it was just that one fact. She was Hermione. She was a Muggle-born, she was a smart ass, and she was a friend of the Golden Boy himself. Draco would have thought that it would go without saying that such a girl was completely off limits as a part of any of their sport, but apparently Blaise didn't think the same way Draco did.
Or, Blaise was just being a git and doing it to make Draco squirm, either way, the blonde was not going to give his friend that satisfaction. Something in him was determined to show Blaise exactly who he was messing with.
What Blaise did not understand is exactly how hard it was going to be, for both of them. At least Draco had the upper edge in knowing Hermione a bit, knowing what pushed her buttons and knowing how to work the two dim wits she had for friends. Blaise was walking into the situation practically blind. This would all be a challenge, and would have to be approached with a well though out plan.
Draco always liked a challenge though, and for some reason he was sure that was why Blaise had picked her. Out of all the girls in the school, she was the only one who didn't sigh utter contentment at the mention of his name. Actually, on the contrary, Draco was sure she probably retched whenever he was mentioned. He would have to change that, after all, Draco Malfoy did get whatever it wanted, and as strange as it sounded, and even though he never thought he was ever say it, he wanted Hermione Granger.
The boy let himself lean slightly to peek around the corner of the wall he was waiting on. Finally seeing the brown hair of the girl, arms wrapped tight around a bundle of books as always. He pulled back quickly again, letting a smirk crawl over his features as he listened to her heeled steps make their way closer and closer to the turn that he stood on the opposite side of.
Draco pushed off from the wall gracefully when her footsteps were mere feet away, and then, when she turned the corner he moved as if he was just walking as well, purposely running right into her, causing the many books she was carrying to fall all over the floor as she stumbled to keep her balance from suddenly being hit by another human being.
Her voice yelped slightly as she started falling backward, but Draco was, as always, one step ahead, and caught around her waist to save her from falling to the floor. In result of the catch, she ended up against his body, one of her hands falling on his chest delicately as she let out a breath and a bit of a laugh.
"Well I almost made a fool of myself." She said, not even realizing who was holding her for a moment. She pushed vision obscuring brown strands of hair that had managed to escape from the tie that was wrapped around the rest of her unmanageable locks and holding them together at the base of her neck. Finally her eyes turned up to see her savor, and almost instantaneously they narrowed with that familiar hateful glare that Draco knew so well.
"Malfoy." She said, trying her best to put the normal spite in her voice, although this time it was tainted with the smallest bit of confusion, no doubt wondering why on earth he had caught her instead of letting her fall to the floor like he normal would have. Or perhaps maybe wondering why he still had his arms around her waist firmly even though she had caught her balance, or maybe even just pondering why he was touching her all together.
She cleared her throat and pushed away from him, straightening her skirt and blouse, and then she lowered herself to the floor to pick up the books that had been dropped, stacking them one on top of another. Draco smirked slightly, letting his tongue run over his lower lip for a moment. He found himself surprisingly annoyed that she had pushed him away, but concluding it was only because it had been rather roughly, then let himself follow her down to the floor, picking up the last book that was just slightly out of her reach and handing it to her.
She lifted her brown eyes so that they fell on the book that was held by his slender fingers, then brought them up to his silver gaze again. That confusion once again shined in her eyes for a moment before she turned it to a vile look as she snatched the book from his fingers and placed it on top of her pile, picking the books up and standing.
Draco smirked slightly, feeling a tinge of wickedness spark in the back of his head as he decided to let his gaze follow up the line of her slender legs that she had so plainly put before him. To admire her figure was a lot easier then usual, because she had discarded the black robes that Draco tended to despise very much for the fact that they weren't exactly flattering to the feminine form most times. This was one of those times, because, as Draco let his eyes rove, not exactly trying to be discreet about it, he had to say he was almost drawn by the thin waist and gentle curve of hip that had obviously been hidden from his view under her robes the many times he had been in her company before. Perhaps if she had dressed like this more often, he would have eased up a little.
He lifted himself from the floor when she had cleared he throat, catching the smallest bit of a blush falling over her cheeks, as she had no doubt caught his 'inspection'. He once again caught her gaze, letting his lips tug into another smirk, one that held a but of a coy undertone, decided it would be best if he moved this along.
"It's good to see that you have my last name down, but I'd really like if you started calling me Draco." He said, trying his best to smile and not a smirk, although he wasn't exactly managing it, leading to Hermione narrowing her eyes yet again, defensively.
"And when would I ever call you by your first name? Maybe when I finally have my wand to your heart, but other then that I can't figure a reason to do so. Dirty Snake suites you fine." She replied, her voice sharp, but Draco merely listened as if very interested in what she was saying as he leaned slightly on the wall. She tilted her head ever so slightly after she finished, revealing a bit of her slender neck to Draco's vision unintentionally as well as signaling the end of her retort, then moved to leave, feet stomping strongly on the floor as she went.
"That's too bad, I was hoping you would be easier." Draco said slightly louder then he ever would speak normally, implying that she was supposes to hear the comment, and she did, consider she stopped in her tracks. He smirked again as he saw her turn around and come back.
"I'd be easier? You trying to get something out of me Malfoy?" Hermione asked, receiving a small smirk from Draco, but before he could reply she had put her hand up to stop his words.
"Ah no, this is one of your stupid little mind games isn't it? Well guess what ferret. I'm not playing." Draco faked a frown, letting a hand touch his chest, were his heart would be, if he had one.
"I have to say that a take offence to that Hermione. I wouldn't do that to you." Draco said, getting a sarcastic laugh in reply from the girl's pout lips.
"Please. Don't trying and charm your way out of this Malfoy. I would have thought that you'd know by now that you're allure doesn't work on me. You are, and will always be a bloody sneak to me." She said, her voice turning sugary sweet before she lowered her head to mock spit at his feet, even though no saliva left her mouth. Hermione Granger would never defile school property in such a way. Draco raised an eyebrow and watched her leave, her lose tangled bun of hair bouncing slightly as she stomped off, then he turned himself around the corner.
As he walked away casually he counted. Not up from one like the average person counted, but down from five, because that was how long it was going to take her to realize.
Five, four, three, two, one.
"Malfoy!" her voice echoed down the empty hall and Draco stopped, letting a smirk crawl over his lips before glancing over his shoulder.
"You called me Hermione." She said, her shoulders falling after saying the words, as if defeated for a moment, no doubt confounded by what she had just realized.
"That's your name isn't it?" Draco asked, turning to walk backwards a few steps and letting his hand give a casual wave before starting down the hall again, a very achieved smirk playing over his features. His father always told him not to rush things. Rushing can cause a sloppy outcome. But so far, Draco was ahead of schedule. Blaise was going to have to do sometime very special to the lead in this competition.
Anyone would be able to tell there was something wrong with Hermione Granger when she walked into the great hall that day. Usually the girl was well natured when she walked into the hall. She would have a friendly smile on her face and a hop in her step, a welcoming aura around her. But today was different. Firstly, she was not carrying a book, which was a rare occasion in itself, but secondly, she had her eyebrows brought together roughly, showing she was very distracted by something that was causing her much anger. Because of this, everyone that she was walking by was glancing at her with a bit of confusion, as if wondering what on earth had gotten so deep under the skin of the bookish Gryffindor girl.
Of course, none of them dare to ask, because, even though Hermione was usually well-natured, everyone had seen her livid at one point, and everyone knew that once someone had pushed her buttons, you had to be careful for your own well-being.
She sat down with Ron and Harry, not even greeting them, but instead just looked at the plate in front of her, her lips moving every now and then as if having a verbal conversation with herself in her head, trying her best to sort out whatever was going on. She finished off the silent conversation by letting out a very frustrated huff, shaking her head slightly then let it rest in the palm of her hand as she stared off at nothing in particular, eyes still clouded with whatever it was she was thinking about.
Ron narrowed his eyes slightly before turning a glace towards Harry, looking at his friend to perhaps see if he had any further idea as to what on earth was bothing the girl. When he gave the same confused reaction, Ron turned his attention back to the girl, touching her shoulder tentatively to get her attention.
"Mione. You alright?" he asked, pulling his hand away quickly when she had turned her head his way suddenly, as if afraid that she might bite his fingers off or something of the sort.
She opened her mouth as if to say something, but she stopped, and instead let out that frustrated sound again, folding her arms childishly as her eyes narrowed even more in hate.
"What do we do?" Harry asked quietly after a moment of silence, were both the boys exchanged unsure glances from across the table. Ron shrugged in reply to the question, only to have the girl sigh again, and both boys flinched slightly.
"He called me Hermione." She said after the sigh, her voice quick and sharp, slightly louder then usual, and completely baffled at what she was saying. Ron and Harry were sure that this made prefect sense in her mind, but considering neither boy knew who she was talking about, this just ended up confusing them even more.
"Sorry, I didn't know you didn't want to be called that anymore." Ron said after a moment, having the girl sigh again in reply.
"Not you. Malfoy." She corrected, folding her arms again after she had swatted Ron on the arm for his idiocy.
"Malfoy?" Harry asked after a moment, suddenly understanding.
"Where is the git? Do you want us to go zap him to figure out what he's up to?" He asked, Ron nodding in agreement, but Hermione simply rolled her eyes and shook her head.
"Don't be stupid. You'll just get in trouble. Let's just stop talking about it." She replied, watching as the boys both frowned slightly, as if she had shot down their one dream, which she probably just had. They all sat in quiet for a few minutes, but after a while Harry and Ron sparked up into a casual conversation about the upcoming Quidditch season, debating who they wanted new on the teams and things of the sort. Hermione had found herself tuning out after about the fourth time that Ron had said Hufflepuff was going to lose.
Of course, it didn't help to make Hermione seem any less insane that Draco had walked into the Great Hall when his usual bigheaded strut, sitting with anomalous elegance next to Tracey Davis, a pale, dark haired deity who seemed to link herself to his arm with abnormal speed. Someone had apparently cracked a joke during that short time he was there, because he had let a wide grin fall over his features, his straight, white teeth peeking out from behind thin lips.
Hermione pursed her lips slightly as she watched the boy run those same slender fingers that had been holding onto her volume of 'Salem Witch History' moments before through the platinum blonde that was his hair. A movement disguised as a casual gesture, but Hermione knew just by the look of it that he had the motion down to a science after doing it all these years. That movement had been mastered to make all the girls melt when he did it. All of them, but her.
Somehow, the dark eyes of the Gryffindor found even more hate for the boy then they ever had as he watched Tracey take notice to him, playing with a bit of his hair that was hanging in front of his eyes, then suddenly having his lips on hers.
"Look at him. He thinks he's all that. Sitting around with his posse and his slutty girlfriend, acting as if nothing happened." She said aloud, catching her two friends attention and causing their conversation to come to a halt as both boys took a moment to figure out who she was talking about again.
Harry followed Hermione's glare to the Slytherin table, then turned back to the girl, another puzzled look coming over him.
"What did he do anyway Hermione?" He asked, taking a glance at Ron, who let his shoulder shrug ever so slightly.
"Nothing! He didn't do anything all right? Why do you keep bringing it up?" She said in a livid tone, both boys replying to the burst of anger with very perplexed looks. She huffed in annoyance again before lifting herself from her seat and turning to leave, not in the mood to deal with the boys complete cluelessness. Sometimes it was horrible to have boys as best friends. They just didn't understand.
And it wasn't like she was going to explain to them what went on, because then she was going to have to explain the details about the blonde saving her from certainly harming herself, his attempt at helping her pick up her books, his strange words, and let us not forget his long assessment of her bodice. Doing this could risk having Ron take off in a burst of envy and kill the boy called Draco Malfoy, and frankly, no matter how much Hermione despised the boy, she really couldn't handle having his death on her conscience.
Of course, Hermione didn't want to talk about it for many other reasons, which were far more confusing and harder to explain then all these reasons. For example, the surprising comfort she felt with his arms around her, or perhaps the red heat that had fallen over her features when his eyes and wandered over her, and not to mention the confusion that followed his lips muttering her first name. She honestly wasn't sure whether she should be offended by him calling her by Hermione, or thankful that he hadn't called her by his other favorite names.
Most of all, she had to wonder what on earth was possessing Draco Malfoy to speak to her in the way he had, not even flinching or showing a sign of retorting as she shot harsh words at him. It was almost like he was trying to, behave himself.
Hermione stopped for a moment in her hard steps to let that thought sink in, then shivered ever so slightly, realizing how absurd the idea had actually been. Draco always had a reason behind his actions, and whatever the outcome was; it was always for his favor.
So, what was in it for him if he was acting this way to her?
Unfortunately, as Hermione walked, she knew exactly whom she had to go to if she wanted to know. It would have to be someone who knew Draco Malfoy as well, if not better then anyone else. Someone who could be swayed in either direction if given the right leverage, and someone who would actually give the girl the time of day.
This was unfortunate, because whom she had to go to was Blaise Zabini.
Now, the thing about Blaise Zabini, was that he never drew enough attention to himself for people to really know a lot about the boy. He was the shadow of Slytherin, and consequently, was not exactly a very hot topic on the Hogwarts' grape vine. This made it rather difficult for Hermione to simply go to someone and ask them if they knew anything about the boy, because not a lot of people knew thing about him like they did about Draco Malfoy.
Therefore, the Gryffindor had to make her own assumptions about the friend of Draco, which could be a good thing, or a bad thing. You never really knew with a Slytherin.
Not that Blaise came off like any other mocking, name-calling, sex enthralled Slytherin. On the contrary, Hermione found it hard to believe that he was in the same house as Draco Malfoy.
Hermione had the chance to see him in the library a lot, usually by himself, just sitting around and reading random novels or working on homework. His favorite reading tended to be that of famous muggles, which she would be lying about if she said she wasn't impressed by it. Every now and then he would rival her for answering the Professors' questions, and he had high honors in all the classes he was taking, leading Hermione to believe that he was either a suck up, or a truly brilliant boy.
He kept his love life on the low. Hermione had seen him with girls every now and then, but he didnít seem to work it up like his blonde haired counterpart. He was also a nicer Slytherin. He seemed to care about more important things then torturing other students, unlike the average green and silver crest bearer, such as Draco, who seemed to only care about making life hell for anyone not of pure blood.
Actually, now that Hermione went over it, the two boys seemed almost completely opposite. Even in their appearance.
While Draco was slender and fair skinned, Blaise Zabini was slightly more filled out, had broader shoulders and what seemed to be a prefect, slightly tanned tone to his skin, a color Hermione had to spend hours in the sun to achieve, and for her it would only last until mid fall. While The Slytherin Prince had locks of pure white blonde, Blaise Zabini had hair dark as midnight, the bangs in the front being grown out slightly longer then the rest, and because of the length it curled ever so slightly in a very appealing way.
He seemed acutely aware of his surroundings at all times, like Draco, but in a different way. While Draco conformed himself to look good at all times, it was almost as if Zabini made everything around shape in a way that complimented him, not the other way around.
He had a wide, real smile, something that Draco could never manage even if he tried, while at the same time pulling off the Malfoy smirk as if he had created it himself.
But perhaps the most intriguing thing about Blaise Zabini was something Hermione hadn't even mentioned yet. That was the fact that the boy had eyes so blue that they could be compared to that of the sky on the clearest of days, but even that would not compare, or even come close to explaining the concentration of the color. When you were fortunate enough to get a gaze from these eyes, you knew it, because they tended to cause chills because of their intensity. Framed by thickly lashed lids, the blues of his vision was so striking that it was probably the one major reason why Hermione avoided the Slytherin boy as much as possible.
If he was ever to talk to her face to face, it would be painfully obvious that she was completely attracted to him, only because every time those eye stared at her through the dark curtain that was his bangs, she had to work overly hard to keep her words from stumbling over themselves.
Being the control freak that she was, Hermione always hated not having power over a situation, which was probably one of the contributing factors to why she hated Draco so much. Draco could swing the control over to himself because he tended to make her so furious with him that she just lost all management. Blaise did the complete opposite. All Blaise had to do was be part of the conversation for Hermione to lose her cool.
And this was why it was so unfortunate that he was the only one she could possibly think of going to if she wanted to figure out what Draco was getting at.
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