By the end of the week, Draco had managed to put twelve people in detention for trivial things such as coughing in a quiet corridor, tripping over and for accidentally knocking into him on a bad day. He was almost as bad as Filch. Draco didn’t care that he was abusing his power in the Squad. It just felt good to have people listen to him once in a while…
He had attended his Quidditch practice session on Monday, having being allocated as a Chaser for the first time. He was growing accustomed to the new position and finally appreciated how much work they actually had to do. By the end of it, his muscles were aching and he fell straight into bed after showering.
After his lessons on Tuesday, Draco attended Chess club, which was the single most boring thing he had ever done. He understood the logic behind it but the patience aspect of it was infuriating; it would take some students a total of twenty five minutes to make a move. Also, there would not be a minute where Ronald Weasley’s name did not pop up from a first year.
“I heard Ron Weasley played the best ever chess game at Hogwarts,” an Asian girl said to Draco.
“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said while taking out her rook with his pawn.
She moved her piece. “He’s in your year, I think,” she said. “Do you know him?”
“No,” Draco lied easily.
“Oh,” the girl said sadly.
Draco sighed and decided to let her win the game by purposely leaving his king unguarded.
On Wednesday, seeing as Remedial Potions was not up and running yet, Draco did yet more Quidditch practice on the pitch from four until six. Using a spell Hermione had taught him in second year, he bewitched the balls to whiz about the pitch, while he caught and scored vigorously for the whole session. He finally ceased when the Gryffindors arrived on the pitch.
“Get off the pitch!” a Weasley twin shouted at him.
Draco rolled his eyes and then slowly made his way down to the ground. “I’m sorry, are you meant to be practising now?”
“Yes, we are,” said Angelina Johnson. She was the captain.
“You girls are really doing it this year, aren’t you?” Draco said. “You, Ironcore, Chang…all captains. I see none of you are man enough for the job,” he said, referring to the boys on the team including the twins, Harry, Ron and Dean.
Angelina held her arm out to keep them all back as they all tried to advance on Draco.
“Good choice, Johnson,” Draco goaded. “We don’t want most of your team in the Hospital Wing during any of your practices, do we?”
“Just go,” she said.
“I think I’ll stay,” he tested.
Fred piped up this time. “She said to go.”
“Yeah, I’m not deaf, Weasley. I can hear what your girlfriend’s saying.”
Fred said nothing, until - “And where’s your girlfriend, Malfoy? Oh yes, I forgot, you’re too stupid to keep a great girl like Hermione interested. I have no idea why she even took a second look at you. We’ve all told her that you Malfoys are scum.”
In any other situation, on any other day, Draco would have went for him, punched him, kicked him, but all he could say this time was, “Detention.”
Quidditch practise on Wednesday went excellently, Celeste commending everybody on the session.
“We’re sure to beat Ravenclaw next week.” She entered the changing rooms and went into the boys’ area as she always did to give them a little pep talk. She checked the mirror and sighed at the mud in her gossamer hair. “Keep up the good work and if you do, we’ll have the Cup by the end of the year.” Draco came in behind her not listening to a word and began to unchange. He pulled off his cloak and the rest of his outfit until he was topless. He had wrapped his dark mark up with a bandage. “Wow…have you been doing extra training, Draco? You’re starting to get a six-pack.” Celeste noticed.
He turned quickly. “I didn’t realise you were in here.”
“I have been speaking for the last ten minutes,” she said, annoyed.
Draco sighed. He hadn’t really been paying attention to many things these days - people, at least. “Yeah, I’ve done a little extra.” He went over to the shower area and turned one on. He kicked off his dirty boots and sat on a bench. “Aren’t you going now, Celeste?”
“I want to shower.”
“Don’t let me stop you.”
The rest of the boys in the changing room laughed.
“Shall we leave you two alone?” the team’s Keeper asked, smirking.
Draco tilted his head to one side and frowned a little. Celeste tilted her head also and smiled, staring at him with her bright hazel eyes. “No. I was just leaving.”
Draco - along with every other boy - watched the captain leave. Several of his team mates slapped him on the back and then went back to changing or putting away their brooms. Draco made his way into the shower slowly, going over what had just transpired between himself and Celeste Ironcore. She liked him. The problem was he did not like her, but he could force himself to. This could be the perfect remedy to cure his lovesickness with Hermione…
On the morning of the Quidditch match, Hermione dragged herself out of bed. She had nothing to look forward to. From what she’d heard on the Gryffindor table, the Slytherins were on form this year and were bound to win this match. Also, she was supposed to attend her detention with Professor Umbridge that evening.
Hermione made her way down to the common room after pinning a ‘Go Ravenclaw’ badge to her chest and grabbing her raincoat; heavy showers were anticipated.
She saw Ginny sitting by the fire reading and then Ron by the portrait. She hurried past and joined the elder Weasley child.
“Where’s Harry?” she asked.
“Didn’t come back from his detention last night,” Ron grimaced.
“Are you worried?” Hermione said. She was.
“No, he should be fine. Maybe he went to see Dumbledore.”
From behind her, Hermione heard her name being called. It was George.
“You need to tell Malfoy to stop being an idiot, Hermione.”
“I’m not responsible for him,” she said quietly while they walked down the staircase.
“Yeah, well, somebody needs to be. He’s been handing out detentions like cauldron cakes. Fred had his last night and he hasn’t said a word to me about it. I’ve been hearing that they’re terrible.”
“What does she do?” Hermione asked in fear.
“Nobody knows,” George said. He told her about how his twin received the detention.
“So he was just sticking up for his girlfriend?” Hermione asked and George nodded. “I didn’t realise he and Angelina were dating.”
“Yeah…neither did I…” George said, his eyes drifting elsewhere. “Anyway, Hermione, see what you can do, eh?”
“I can’t -” George was already gone on the third floor corridor. She and Ron continued down and into the Great Hall. “He won’t listen to me,” she whispered to Ron.
Ron chose this as his opportunity to comfort her. As soon as they entered the hall and as soon as he had seen Draco look up at them, Ron put his arm over Hermione’s shoulder and sat her down at the end of the table.
“It’s alright Hermione.”
“How is it, Ron? I’ll be next, won’t I? I have my detention tonight.”
“Well, maybe she’ll go easy on you. You are a girl.”
“Yes, well, so is she. It won’t stop her.” Hermione swept her hair away from her face and looked down.
Ron moved from opposite her and sat by her side. The hall was quite empty aside from the Slytherin Quidditch team, other Slytherins and a few other Ravenclaws. Ron stared straight at Draco, who, as he thought he would, turned away, pretending that he was not looking.
“You’re a great witch, Hermione,” Ron said softly to her in a whisper.
She smiled a little and continued to look at her hands which were on her lap. This was a little different for Ron’s usual standard of conversation. He was being nice, she supposed that he just felt like -
Two fingers pushed her chin upwards and then that was it: Ronald Weasley was kissing her. The strangest thing was that she let him. Although her cheeks were turning a shocking red, she let it continue for about five seconds, then finally pulled away and scurried out of the hall, leaving him alone.
Draco was squeezing his spoon so tightly in his hand that he was shaking. He felt like he could not breathe and that was not an understatement. Why didn’t she pull away sooner? Why was she letting that weasel even touch her?
Beside him, Blaise nudged him. “Don’t,” he said quietly.
“Don’t?” he whispered back angrily. “How exactly are you going to stop me going over there and killing him?” He stood from his chair.
“Erm, where are you going?” Celeste called to Draco. “We’re going over our strategy here. And eat some breakfast. I don’t want you passing out on the field.”
He breathed slowly and took his seat while a bowl of cereal was pushed his way.
Ron stared over at him and smiled before he left the hall to find Hermione.
Draco was pissed. All he could think about was teaching Weasley a lesson he would never forget, not the match he was going to be playing in an hour. It was official: Hermione hated him. He never believed it before, but now he knew. She must hate him to mess with him like this. This was it, he was giving up. All he was trying to do was protect her from Voldemort and it was evident that that was not going to happen. If Hermione was going to go, he may as well go too…
“Draco are you listening to me?”
“Not really,” he muttered.
“Oy!” Celeste slammed her hand down on the table and he jumped. “I am not going to lose this game, okay? I don’t care what is going on in your life. My toad died last week, but I don’t let it get me down. All I care about right now is winning this match. So as I said, don’t forget the tricks I taught you, stay focused and for goodness sake, cheer up.” She took a bite of her toast and announced that she would be waiting for them outside in ten minutes.
Reluctantly, Draco arrived at the pitch to warm up for the game.
When the whistle blew, Hermione was sitting in the stands amongst the swarm of royal blue on one side of Neville, Ron on the other. On her other side was Seamus, Dean, Parvati and Padma cheering like their lives depended on it. The Ravenclaw team needed cheering up; they were already losing thirty points to none, all scored by Draco.
To be totally honest, Hermione was not entirely focused on the Quidditch; she was focused on Ron. His face had been dancing about in her head as soon as she left the hall that morning. Although she was angry at him for doing this, she was also sad. She could not help but think about what Draco would think of her. Would he think she was some kind of scarlet woman, kissing everybody she felt like even though she had him yearning for her? All of this was never meant to happen. How was she supposed to know that Ron had all of these feelings for her?
Hermione leaned forward through the rain to look at Ron. He was smiling and cheering, occasionally chatting to Lavender Brown, Katie Bell and Ginny. Hermione wished that she and Ginny were still friends but it would it be too awkward to speak to her now. She would think that Hermione had planned to be kissed by her brother. No, she would leave it for now…Hermione wished she knew where Harry was so she could speak to him…
The whistle blew: Slytherin had won three hundred to ten.
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