After the day was almost over and Draco had eaten dinner, he had painfully realized that he only had one class with the mudblood. He had never cared about Granger’s daily habits, and therefore didn’t know what she did in between classes. Going to the library was a good inference, but he needed more, much more. He needed to know what else she did to occupy her time, where she went, who she hung out with other than Potter and Weasley, and the sort of things she liked.
“I need a spy.” Draco said aloud as he lay stretched out on the sofa in the Slytherin lounge. He needed to do his research before doing anything further. He figured that all he had done that morning was make Granger suspicious of him. That surely wouldn’t do, so when he saw Peeves the Poltergeist floating around the common room –more than likely coming from the girls’ dormitories –Draco smirked and flagged the see-through pest down.
“I’ve got a job for you, Peeves.”
“And what might that be?”
“Well, you know Granger –Hermione Granger –and I want you to tail her for me. I need to know everything about her. What classes she has, what she does in between those classes, when she goes to the library, who she hangs out with other than those two git friends of hers, and anything else that might be useful.”
“What would I get for this little favor of yours?”
“What do you want?”
“Money..?” Draco asked with his brow cocked. “You’re a ghost, what the hell do you need money for?”
“I don’t, but I have to charge some sort of fee, don’t I?” Peeves answered with a mischievous grin on his face. Draco rolled his eyes and nodded after a moment or two.
“Fine, but you’ll get it only after I get what I’ve asked of you.”
Peeves nodded and then floated off through a wall. That ghost is a devious one… Draco thought to himself, but he knew that he’d get it all done. Once he had what he needed, Draco could finally follow through with his new conquest. It would take a while for Peeves to collect all the information that Draco asked for, three days tops, so, to pass the time, he decided that he’d work on adding a fifth year, Samantha James, to his list. She, just like all the other girls, was pathetically dying to shag him, so why deny her?
In two days Draco was grinning maliciously as he wrote Samantha James’ name into his journal. He hadn’t doubted himself for a second that he wouldn’t be able to get it done. Half a day spent finding her, the rest of it buttering the poor girl up, and the next day being an absolute perfect gentleman as they were on their “date,” and finally screwing her before midnight. A job well done in his mind… And the next day as predicted Peeves came into the Slytherin common room with everything that Draco had asked for. To his surprise the mangy ghost had done well, worthy of the twenty galleons that he wanted, though he had no use for them.
Apparently Granger woke up at six-thirty every morning (why, Draco wondered intensely), went to breakfast anywhere between seven and seven-thirty, –whenever Potter and Weasley were ready –went to Advanced Transfiguration fifteen minutes before the class actually started (of which he had already known), and had four other classes after that, –all Advanced of course. Aside from wasting her time in the library, she spent time in the Gryffindor common room, but most of it outside near the lake. And when she wasn’t with Potter or Weasley, –not much to Draco’s surprise –Granger was pretty much alone.
“Struck out with Granger already?” Blaise asked with a smirk as he went to sit across from his friend in the Slytherin lounge. Draco coked his brow and tossed a notepad at him.
“What is it?”
“A list of Granger’s daily habits,” Draco told him as he reached out for the notepad back. “I was too eager before. I keep forgetting that she’s not like all the other ditzy girls around here, and I’ve got to be smart. I’ll study the list tonight and make my move tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow, you say?” Blaise chuckled, clapped his hands and rubbed them together. “Can’t wait to hear how you strike out this time around.”
“What, no faith in your friend?”
“Oh, no I have faith in you, but I know damn sure that by the end of tomorrow, there’s going to be one hell of a funny story.”
Against what he was accustomed to doing, Draco got up from the Slytherin table in the Great Hall a minute after Granger did. Blaise shot him a coy look as he rose from the table and snickered, while Pansy was staring at him confused since he never left so early. She asked Draco why, but Blaise beat her to the punch and said that he was working on his next endeavor, which made Pansy want to vomit a little.
Draco didn’t want to look too suspicious, so he slowed his walk, and only got to the classroom after Granger had been waiting for a full five minutes already. By then the door had already been unlocked, and as he casually strolled in, he noted that she was sitting in her usual seat with her Advanced Transfiguration text book and reading over some notes that she had apparently taken.
He smirked and occupied his spot which was two seats back and across from her. As he took out his book and placed it on the table, Draco saw from the corner of his eye that Granger was looking at him. Perfect opportunity…he mused, and acted on it.
“Enjoying the view, Granger?” Draco asked her. She huffed, and irately flipped a page of her book.
“I’m just surprised is all,” Hermione murmured, not bothering to look at him. “It’s February, almost March, and not once have you ever showed up to class on time, much less early.”
“Sounds like someone’s been stalking me,”
“Get a hold of yourself.”
Draco slight smirk turned into a sneer at her comment and for the moment he despised her. Granger was so bloody difficult. She acted like as if he had said a bad thing. If he had said that to any of the girls he had shagged and was bound to shag, they would’ve giggled, given a shy yet teasing look, and prompted more conversation. But no, Granger was the odd one; the one who Draco had to twist all of his tactics around for if her name was to appear in his journal before the year ended.
“…You’re reading Andres McCarthy.” Draco said quietly. He opened his book and fingered through a few pages. The room was silent for a few minutes, and he began to think that Granger hadn’t heard him, or was at the very least ignoring him, but then she finally spoke.
“Magical Theory and its Relevance to Contemporary Society,” She replied, still staring into her text book rather than at him. “How did you know that I was reading it?”
“I saw it when fell out of your rucksack yesterday.”
“You’ve read it?” Hermione asked him as she shifted herself in her seat to actually look at him.
“At least twice,” Draco admitted. It gnawed at him a bit on the inside. He was a reader, most definitely, and had read everything that Andres McCarthy had written which included five lengthy essays, two books on the history of magic, and five on magical theory of which the book Granger was reading was the first in a volume of three. No one knew about his secret penchant for reading, but if he wanted to get into Granger’s circle, some things he had rather kept hidden would have to be divulged.
“Humph, you don’t look like much of a reader. And not McCarthy of all authors,”
“Appearances can be deceiving,”
Draco grew the audacity to produce a small smirk, one that would make most of the girls around Hogwarts shy away and then look back at him with curious eyes. It made Granger shy away alright, but she didn’t turn back around, nor did he expect her to. It didn’t matter anyway. The seeds were sown and that was all that mattered. For the first time since their being at school together, they had had a conversation. Sure, it was a bit hesitant and short, but it was a conversation none the less. And though Draco had to put a bit of himself out there, by doing so he had found what could possibly break the tension enough to get under Granger’s skin: her love of reading.
After thinking long and hard, Draco decided that he was going to take a hiatus from women. It was a thought that he was hoping would never going to cross his mind, but after realizing that Granger was going to be a lot of work and required constant attention, it was deemed necessary. So, once his homework assignments were finished and everyone in Slytherin House was asleep or in their dorms, Draco lay stretched out on the sofa with his journal open to where Samantha James was the most recent entry. He drew a steady line under the girl’s name and made a note in the margin that said, “On hiatus.” On the next page and on the first line he wrote in large cursive letters “Hermione Granger,” and in smaller letters in between parenthesis, “An Ultimate Victory.”
Draco smirked to himself and began to write what had transpired so far; about how he wanted a challenge and had chosen the mudblood as his ultimate prize. He took down how he had made his first mistake by trying to rush into Granger’s territory too quickly, and how he had gotten Peeves to do some investigation for him so that he couldn’t make another costly error. With a subtle fascination, Draco eagerly described what had happened earlier that day in the Advanced Transfiguration classroom. “It was a brilliant first step,” he scribbled and recalled with a chuckle how Granger was prompted to talk to him because she was so surprised that he had read something by Andres McCarthy.
While thinking about that, Draco paused, twirled his quill between his fingers and frowned. He began to wonder why she was so surprised. What, he couldn’t read something as philosophical and sophisticated as Magical Theory and its Relevance to Contemporary Society? Was he supposed to be some simpleton that only she would know of such an amazing author? Draco angrily closed his journal and tucked away his quill, grumbling about how snobby she had truly been that day.
“Things with the mudblood not going so well..?” a voice sounded from behind him. Draco craned his neck and then repositioned himself after realizing that it was just Pansy. She was in her PJs and looked like as if she needed rest (when didn’t she?).
“You look like you had a rough day.”
“Actually it’s quite the opposite.” He told her. “Things went rather well today. Not so sure about tomorrow since I’ve an issue to pick with her, but otherwise, I see a glorious end in the future.”
“…I don’t know whether to happy for you or repulsed.”
“Happy…repulsed…doesn’t matter really since I hardly care what you feel about the situation.”
“For Merlin’s sake, Draco, I just wish it wasn’t Granger you’re trying to shag.” Pansy said with a look of disgust in her face and eyes. “If you want to screw a mudblood for your journal there’re plenty more.”
“Aside from the fact that I’ve probably done all of them, none of the others are as close to Potter and Weasley as Granger is.”
“So this is what this is about? Because of the Golden Boy and the red-haired twit..?”
“No, Pansy,” Draco said as he got up from his reclining position, finally becoming fed up with her. “This is about putting a name in my journal that’s a bigger challenge…. Someone who’ll make me work for it. And who’s better than Goody-Goody Granger who’s probably a virgin anyway? No one,”
Draco got up from his seat with his journal in his hand and began to leave. Pansy stood up also but didn’t follow. She had a frown on her face and crossed her arms.
“….And so I wasn’t a challenge?” She asked him softly. Draco looked back at her with somewhat of a surprised look. Yes, like all the other girls around Hogwarts, he had done her too, but they never talked about it. He supposed it was because with Pansy it was different. He had actually become friends with her. She on the other hand supposed it was because Draco had slept with her among the first, before he had gotten the brilliant idea to sexually know every female who walked the castle grounds. Of course what had amused Draco the most was knowing the fact that her name was written quite a few pages into the journal, and definitely not among the first.
“Answer my question, Draco.” Pansy said with agitation. “Was I challenge or not?”
Pansy’s bottom lip quivered, like as if the answer he was going to give was going to hurt her. In fact it did, because, without much sympathy, Draco replied, “No, you weren’t…” and casually walked up the stairs to his dormitory.
author's note: okay, here's chapter number 2!! it seems a tad short, but it was a pretty good place to end :) hope you liked it and please leave a review and give me your thoughts!