Draco had literally only been in her presence for ten minutes and was already sick of her. Her voice, the way her claws clutched his arm, her stupid frilly pink dress. He glanced down at the dress again, almost gagging. There were so many frills it looks like an explosion, and combined with the hideous ‘perfume’ that was completely intolerable when within less than six inches of her, she resembled some kind of tragically mangled, reeking flower.
Pansy was grinning as she leaned towards Draco and said ‘Oooh, look at what Weaselby’s wearing!’ She gave a snicker and clutched Draco harder and closer to her, digging her talons further into his arm.
Draco only just stopped himself from taking a step away by some miracle of will, but didn’t even look in Weasley’s direction; he knew nothing Weasley was wearing could ever make him laugh when he was standing next to Pansy. Her scent brought tears to his eyes, and he coughed and leaned away, although trying to be discreet; at least he had a partner, unlike the gloomy pair behind him.
Crabbe and Goyle were oblivious to his pain, but Draco decided to take light of it, as he always did, and used Pansy’s uselessness to his advantage. He walked into the Entrance hall, pretending he was with the hottest girl in the school, and began to smirk at some of the people he saw. Eloise Midgeon looked like a plumb, and her acne was worse than ever. Pansy was, if nothing else, extremely good at noticing people’s faults, and soon pointed this out to Draco, accompanied by a squeal of laughter and her practically wrenching his arm off.
Draco saw Potter glance in his direction before turning to Weasley and the Patil twins.
Wait, the Patil twins?
He did a double take; surely one of them must have asked Granger? But her bush of hair was nowhere to be seen, and Draco assumed that she must not have been asked. This thought gave him two feelings; a feeling of great satisfaction at the thought that no boy had wanted Granger, but also a hollow feeling in his stomach, as if someone had taken a giant scoop to his insides. He couldn’t quite place this emotion, but decided to go with the fact that he could not insult her if she wasn’t here.
He was momentarily distracted by the opening of the oak front doors as the Durmstrang students entered with Professor Karkaroff. Pansy craned her neck, probably to get a look at Krum, as she had so many times before. This made Draco a little irritated, but he also went up on his tiptoes to see who Krum’s partner could be. And his jaw dropped so far he was surprised it didn’t hit the ground. His shock was coupled by Pansy’s shriek of ‘Granger?!’
She was wearing robes made of a floaty, periwinkle-blue material which swirled with each movement she took. She looked as if she were weightless, and was simply floating along in Krum’s grasp. Her hair was no longer a bush of frizzy disaster, but sleek and shiny, and it was tied up in a weird but beautiful knot at the back of her head. Her front teeth were smaller, and her nervous smile shined in the light of the Entrance Hall. Pansy gaped as they passed, and Draco was utterly speechless; who could not find a single fault to pick with her. She looked . . . beautiful.
Draco mentally kicked himself. This was Granger, the filthy, know-it-all, Muggle-loving Mudblood. Never, ever, could she look beautiful to him; she was miles below his level of dignity. She was a Mudblood.
But he couldn’t help looking at her. Well, staring. And he wasn’t the only one. It seemed the entire hall was centered on her. A large group of girls standing nearby looked utterly horror struck, and gave Hermione looks that matched Draco’s when he looked upon the Weasley family; pure and unmatchable loathing. Harry looked stunned, and when Hermione said a cheery ‘Hello!’ to him, he merely blinked. Draco couldn’t blame him, she was just perfect.
This time, he physically stamped his foot to wake himself up to what he was thinking.
She’s a Mudblood, she’s a Mudblood, she’s a Mudblood! He shouted in his head as he dragged Pansy furiously as he tried to keep up with the procession, and didn’t even notice the sparkling silver frost and mistletoe that laced the walls and starry ceiling as they entered the Great Hall.
He tried with all his might to get another glance at Hermione, but couldn’t see her for all the people now crowding around the Champions. Everyone was sitting at the little round tables that had replaced the House tables, and Draco suddenly saw a flash of blue, and narrowly managed to snatch the table next to Granger and Krum by tripping up Longbottom before he could reach it. Longbottom swore as he stumbled, dragging Ginny down with him, giving Draco just enough time to dart into the seat just behind Krum. Pansy sat down with a thump on his left, wearing a sour expression on her face. Crabbe took the seat on his other side and Goyle sat next to him.
Draco let out a sigh of relief and took a quick glance over his shoulder. Krum’s pumpkin of a head blocked his view, but he could just see Granger’s shoulder. He turned back to look at his table, and saw that Nott had joined them with his partner, Daphne Greengrass. Daphne looked up at Nott with a sickly, sappy expression on her face, which Nott returned halfheartedly. He then looked at Draco and rolled his eyes, and the pale blonde boy gave him a smirk.
His smile was wiped from his face however when Pansy pulled her chair closer to him, and took his hand in hers. This time, it was Nott’s turn to smirk, and Draco glowered at him. Pansy and Daphne shared a giggle across the table and Crabbe grunted loudly, looking thoroughly displeased.
Draco looked around. There were not plates upon plates of food, but each person had an empty plate and a menu. Goyle picked up the latter between his finger and thumb and sniffed it. Crabbe stared down at the words, trying to decipher their meaning and Pansy just looked down contemptuously and said ‘What? I don’t get it!’
Draco fought back an urge to snort with laughter, and instead said ‘I know, me neither.’
It didn’t take long though, as everything went quiet when Dumbledore picked up his menu and said clearly ‘Pork Chops.’ Pork chops suddenly appeared on his plate, and he gave a satisfied smile. Crabbe picked up his menu and seemed to change his mind half way through ordering, and said ‘Umm, Turk . . . chicken pie. His plate squeaked and a sloppy mixture of roast turkey, chicken, mushrooms and pastry was suddenly oozing on the platter. Crabbe picked up a mushroom, sniffed it, gagged, and hastily threw it over his shoulder. Neville turned round angrily, a mushroom stuck in his hair, but whimpered upon realizing who was sat behind him. Crabbe gave a growl and Neville shuffled his seat away quickly, causing Ginny to shout out in pain as his chair leg landed on her foot.
Draco took the chance as everyone was looking at Neville to inspect the rest of the table. Krum was bending down to help Neville with the shoelace which was now tied around Ginny’s heel, and Draco could now fully see Granger. He drank her in, noting her curves now that her frumpy school uniform was gone. He felt himself getting hot as he moved his eyes down her body . . . down her neck . . . right down to that swelling chest of hers . . . She suddenly looked up at him and scowled. He was momentarily shocked, and turned around quickly to see Pansy glaring at him.
‘Why were you staring at the Mudblood? ‘She hissed. He winced at the last word, and shrugged nonchalantly. Pansy raised an eyebrow and he said hastily ‘I was just, looking . . .’ he leaned closer to Pansy and gave a little smile, ‘she doesn’t even look half as hot as you.’ And he kissed her lightly on the lips because she still looked skeptical. It was like the smell of a dead animal, but ten times worse. He managed to open his stinging eyes as he leaned away, and Pansy was now giggling maniacally as she shifted closer to him, her hand a vice on his.
Draco chanced a glance at Granger, but it seemed Neville’s shoelace was normal now, for Krum was blocking his view. He quickly turned to his menu and ordered pheasant. Pansy ordered the same and gave him a sickly smile which he returned, whilst mentally assuring himself his face would never look that way again.
Across the table, Daphne was practically sitting on Nott, and the two boys exchanged a desperate glance; it was going to be a long night.
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