“Have you been noticing Hermione lately?” Pansy asked from across the bed.
“Which one?” Replied Draco, stepping out of the steam filled bathroom of the Head Boy room.
“Granger, dumbass. Not one of the slutty whores you sleep with during the summer.”
“Thanks for that vote of confidence, Pansy. And, for the record, I don’t sleep with any of them.” He said, coming to lie on the bed beside her. “What about Hermione?”
“She’s not been eating much lately. She’s lost a lot of weight already.”
“She’s been eating,” Draco defended. “Just not in the Great Hall, she prefers to use the kitchen here.”
Pansy rolled her eyes. “Oh Draco, if you weren’t so cute, I’d kill you.” He flashed her a corny smile. “She’s had that kitchen all of what? Two days? That’s not the amount of time it takes to lose as much weight as she has.”
“She hasn’t lost that much.” Draco said. “It’s barely noticeable.”
“No, she has Draco.” Pansy replied back rather harshly. “Let me tell you about weight loss: The more you weigh when you start the less noticeable one or two pounds is. It’s only when you’re really tiny you start noticing the pounds dropping.”
“So are you saying Hermione was fat when she started whatever diet she’s on?”
“Not fat, per se. Just not skinny.”
“She’s really stressed,” he pointed out. “Like, drop-out-of-a-couple-of-classes stressed. Maybe it’s just a symptom, you know, like losing sleep over something you’re worried about.”
“Maybe, but I doubt it.” She said. “Hermione strikes me as someone who doesn’t only go half way when she does something. And Draco?”
“Hmm?” He said, eyes closed.
She rolled on top of him. “Do you know what the full way of a diet is?” She didn’t even give him a chance to reply. “Anorexia.”
“Draco, do you have any shampoo I could barrow?” Hermione asked; knocking on his door threw the bathroom. “There doesn’t seem to be any in the shower.” She heard sheets moving on the other side of the door and what sounded horrifically like skin striking skin. Finally, after some cursing, Draco came to her aid.
“What did you say?” He asked. His blond hair was rumpled and his pajama pants were twisted slightly to the right.
“Um, sorry.” She said. “Good morning. It doesn’t look like you had a very good sleep, though.”
He turned back to her and grinned toothily. “I had a very good sleep.” Draco scoured the shower with his grey-blue eyes. “Did you say something about soap?”
“Uh, yes. Shampoo. I can’t find any.”
“Another perk being Heads.” He said, heading over to under the sink. He pulled out a laminated card. “Choose wisely, Granger.” He gave it to her and went back to his own room. That’s when Hermione saw one pale arm and some very dark hair pull Draco back to the bed. She shut the door separating the rooms very quickly.
She looked down at the card he had handed her. It was set up like a menu from Madam Pudifoot’s. Delicious sounding mixtures of smells and specialty combinations were conquering the left while simple spells were connected to each concoction on the right. Hermione got the idea and hopped in the shower. She noticed on the bottom were variations for both shampoo and conditioner and hoped when she was done she would smell like vanilla and green pea honeysuckle with cinnamon.
“What do I smell like?” She asked Ginny, jumping to her side. She handed the redhead a lock of brown hair and had the other girl assess her scent choices.
“Cinnamon,” she said. “And vanilla? And something else that smells like a flower.”
“Wow.” Hermione congratulated. “That was amazing. I don’t think I would’ve gotten that, and I was there.”
Ginny laughed. “Where?”
“The Head shower.” She replied dreamily, stretching her hands out luxuriously. “The most magnificent place in the entire world. I’m never going back to muggle showers.”
Ginny chuckled again. “Cool, can I come?” She asked jokingly.
“Of course!” Hermione nearly shouted. “And bring me too, I don’t want to miss a second of that nirvana.”
They walked into the Great Hall giddy and ready to start the day.
Draco walked up to Harry as smoothly as he could. “So ah…how’s Hermione?” Harry whipped around when he heard his voice and stared tautly at the Slytherin.
“Pansy has voiced some of her opinions to me lately and I was wondering if I could get more…solid…information.” Harry continued to eye Draco like he was putting poison into the air as they spoke.
“What did Pansy say?”
“She was just questioning to intentions behind Hermione’s eating patterns.” Draco said nonchalantly.
“And I’m sure Pansy can’t stand that Hermione trying to eat healthier, and is losing a bit of weight because of it.” Harry retorted sharply; Draco could tell the other boy was running thin on patience.
“She can’t, actually. But she was more alluding, implying, the fact that Hermione doesn’t seem to be eating…anything more than lunch, and maybe something at dinner.”
“Pansy’s implying,” Harry started furiously. “That Hermione, Hermione, is anorexic.”
Draco scratched his jaw. “Well, yeah. She said that.”
“Hermione is not anorexic, she’s not even dieting.” Harry spat. “And you can take you stupid girlfriend and tell her to suck it because Hermione is perfectly healthy.”
“Right,” Draco replied quietly, “I’ll tell my girlfriend to suck it.”
Hermione looked at the wall sullenly in Potions, wishing there were a window stamped into the brick to let in a little natural light. She squeezed her right wrist with her left hand, going through all her fingers to feel how much of a gap there was between her fingers and the flesh on her wrist. Draco’s eyes scorched into the back of her head and she resisted the impulse to turn around and evil eye him. She tried to concentrate on Slughorn more but found the lesson to be ridiculously mundane. Hermione distracted herself with counting the calories she had eaten at her breakfast with Ginny. A motion caught her attention from her peripheral vision and Hermione turned to see Pansy making weird hand gestures to Malfoy, who was sitting on the other side of the room, two rows behind her. Pansy immediately noticed Hermione’s staring and stopped trying to ‘talk’ to Malfoy while being scrutinized.
Ron leaned over to her. “Whatcha doin’.” He asked curiously.
“Just number crunching.” Hermione replied, trying to hide her work from him.
“Where’s the new kid?” Ron asked.
“I don’t know.” She answered. “I haven’t seen him around in a while.”
“I know, two while days.” Ron said apathetically. “Maybe they put him in Hufflepuff and he’s sulking around the dorms, totally depressed with his bad luck.”
“Shut up, Ron.” She said irritably. Her stomach was starting to hurt from all the food she stuffed her face with that morning, almost too many calories to count.
“It’s possible.” Ron said. Finally the bell rang.
“Granger,” Draco said, striding up to her. “Mandatory meeting at lunch. Food will be provided in the meeting hall.” He didn’t leave, opting to raise his eyebrows at her until she answered instead.
“Okay,” came her small voice. He intimidated her in that moment; all of a sudden he seemed to be so much bigger than she was.
“Alright,” he said brusquely. “Don’t be late, Granger.”
“Did you do it?” Pansy asked.
“Do what?” Draco said, annoyed with his girlfriend.
“Tell her that meeting thing, that the food will be served, that—”
“Yes,” he sighed. “I told her, she knows. I still don’t know what to talk about in this little experiment you concocted though.”
Pansy stared at him like his mother sometimes did when he said something really stupid. “I’m sure you’ll think of something.” Again, the tone reminded him of his mother.
“I have an idea,” he said, knowing full well what the consequence of voicing this particular comment would be. “I was thinking on training the Prefects on how to get a girlfriend that isn’t demanding and controlling and makes them do ridiculous things that don’t matter to anyone but her.”
“Draco,” she said warningly.
“Yes?” He whipped back.
She got up abruptly. “I’m through with this charade, Draco. I’m through with putting up with your snarky comments and dumbass remarks. If you want to date me you can be nice to me, for a start. And then you can apologize when you want me back.”
He swallowed and stared. Clenching his jaw, Draco watched her leave in a flurry of leg and miniskirt, remembering when his mother had told him anyone with more skin than brains wasn’t worth his time anyway.
“I feel bad,” he said, standing in a room full of people. “I told you to all come to this mandatory meeting with the promise of food, which will arrive shortly, to tell you something that was really important.”
“And then he forgot.” Hermione piped up beside him. Causing laughter to resonate around the room.
“I didn’t forget.” Draco defended dryly. Hermione felt as though he had worn out slightly between Potions and now, maybe only a time span of ten minutes. “It was just deemed unimportant and unnecessary that anyone should now because it doesn’t apply anymore. So,” he said with an air of exuberance. “Does anyone have anything they would like to report? Any ideas or things that have caught your eye that needs to be discussed. We have an hour people.”
One girl from Hufflepuff spoke. “There has been a rumor going around that the new boy will be transferred already? I don’t know; that’s just what I heard.”
“Well,” Draco said, happy to clear something up. “The new boy, Nathan, will only be transferred from his current hospitable bed to his new Slytherin dorm within the next few days with a renowned fear of the revolving staircases. It’s nothing to worry about, just a few cracked ribs from taking quite the spill his first day at school.” He looked around the room. “Anything else?”
“Yeah, when’s the food going to get here?” Someone shouted from the shadows.
“When it gets here.” Hermione answered back quickly. “Patience is a virtue.”
“And I’m a Slytherin.” The voice called back. Hermione smirked when she saw one of the younger Ravenclaw Prefects flip him the bird.
“’Kay, moving on.” Draco butted in.
“I want to know if there will be a Christmas dance.” A bulky looking girl from Slytherin said.
“I don’t know; why don’t we vote on it.” Draco raised his hand and Hermione raised her own. Almost everybody in the room followed suit until it was full of yes votes. “It’s decided then, there’s going to be a Christmas dance.”
“Do you think the Prefects should be in charge or that we should make a committee?” Hermione questioned, she really could not think of anything worst to do at that very second than plan and decorate the Christmas dance.
“Committee, definitely.” Draco said; it seemed he did not want to vote on that, and somebody called him out on it. “If you want to organize the Christmas dance, join the committee. If there aren’t enough people who want to do it, we’ll do it ourselves. That way we can have excited people working on it and not a bunch of half-enthusiastic misfits.” That seemed to quiet everyone.
The food arrived and Draco snatched two of the sandwiches up first. “Dig in.” He said, dismissing the elf in charge of the cart. He handed Hermione one of the sandwiches. “Hope you like ham.” Was all he said before taking a seat beside her.
“You know, you don’t have to do that.” She said with a smile. He gave her a quizzical look. “Dismiss the elves like that, they know what to do.”
He shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. “Force of habit, I guess.”
Hermione bit into the sandwich and made a face, tasting the mustard on her tongue. She took the top piece of bread off the sandwich and the following layers of lettuce where the mustard had been spread and folded the rest of the sandwich in half. Draco was looking at her strangely with one eyebrow raised and his lips quirked together. “I don’t like mustard.” She explained, feeling the need to defend herself. But what she said was only half true. No, if she got to make her own sandwich she wouldn’t have put mustard on it, but seeing as it was already there she normally would’ve eaten it. Hermione had put forth a new decree in her mind proclaiming the abolishment of all condiments, including salad dressing. She mentally cursed herself every time she thought of her next dull salad.
Draco continued looking at her with one eyebrow raised, flaunting the fact that he could do it. That particular talent was not on Hermione’s list. “You are an enigma to me.”
Hermione took another bite into the sandwich and tried to talk gracefully around the mouthful. “Why?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know; you just have his way about you. It’s hard to explain. Sometimes I feel like you’re really—for lack of a better word—depressed. And sometimes I feel like you’re just normal. I don’t know, like I said, it’s hard to explain.”
“Well, I’m not depressed.” Hermione said quietly, lost in thought. “I’m just not as happy as I used to be.”
“What did she do?” Pansy snarled, tugging Draco out of the main flow hallway and into a more private classroom. “Did she eat?”
It took Draco a couple seconds to remember the huge fiasco at lunch that Pansy had concocted. He also remembered the ‘break-up’. “Why are you talking to me?” He asked viciously. “You normally give it a whole day before you’re on you knees, begging forgiveness.”
She smacked him lightly on the arm. “I’m not normally on my knees.”
Draco put on what he hoped was a very good ‘thinking’ look. “Oh, but you are.”
“Draco,” she growled and he couldn’t help but laugh. “Just tell me: Did. She. Eat?”
He considered lying, but didn’t see the point. “Yes,” he said. “You were wrong, Hermione’s not as messed up as you wished she was.” She glared at him some more, but all in all, he walked out of that room unscathed.
Pansy lay in bed, seething. How could he do this to her? After years of unrequited devotion and love, years of following that stupid boy around and being his lap dog and booty call whenever the hell he wanted it, it just wasn’t fair. And Hermione? Fuck that motherfucker. Of course she ate. That fat ass always eats, everything that is put in front of that stupid, fat, gaping mouth is gobbled up without a second thought.
Tears streamed down her face and she turned onto her stomach to cry into her pillow. Normally she would be up in Draco’s bed, telling him all about the shit that had gone on that day, but with the way he had been treating her through out the last couple of days she never wanted to see the inside of his room again. During sometime of her internal rant the tears had stopped, only to be replaced by a sudden rage that consumed her chest. She had to get up. She had to go outside and run down the halls screaming her agony to the world. That would be the only way to sate her now. Pansy scrambled out of bed and dragged her feet to the staircase where she had to climb op into the common room, only she wasn’t alone.
Someone she didn’t recognize sat on one of the couches and gazed at the fire. He was tall and well built and hadn’t noticed her yet. She sauntered up behind him and spoke in her best bitchy voice. “You’re supposed to be in bed.”
“So are you,” he replied sullenly. Pansy thought she heard an accent in his voice, but wasn’t quite sure because he was mumbling.
She wasn’t about to back down. “Who the hell do you think you are?”
“Nathan Amerage.” The boy said. “And I would assume you think you’re just as important? You don’t strike me as someone who holds any serious position in authority, so if I were you, I’d shut up.”
“Oh,” Pansy said stupidly. “You’re the new boy.”
“That would be me.” He moved over on the couch and patted the seat beside him. “Wanna sit and spew all your woes while I’m still awake?”
Just as she was to shake her head no and tell him to fuck off, she caught herself. Sitting, she opened her mouth and talked. On and on she went, and Nathan just sat there and listened. Not once did he fall asleep or tell her to shut up, and by the time she was done she no longer felt like doing all those rash things she had pictured doing in her head coming up the stairs. She told him about what happened with Draco and her suspicions about Hermione.
“I met her.” He said when she was done. “Se seemed nice, smart too. She doesn’t strike me as the kind to go off starving herself. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I do think you’re blowing this Hermione thing out off proportion.
“I am not!”
“What do you mean by ‘anorexic’ then?”
“Like, you know,” Pansy tried to grope the words she wanted to say next, but couldn’t find anything. “Like she’s still eating, but hardly anything. She’s working out a lot too.”
“That’s not sufficient evidence. Maybe she’s just stressed?” He suggested.
“Draco did say she dropped out of some classes.” Pansy pondered aloud. “But if she did that, why would she still be stressed?” Pansy moaned into her knees from the frustration of it all. “I hate that girl.”
When she looked back up, Pansy saw that Nathan was smiling viciously. “I think I know what will make you feel better.” He said. Standing up, Nathan held out his hand and led her from the common room.
Sorry about the author’s note in the last chappy guys. I get distracted easily and thought that chapter was done. No such luck. Anyway, I’m very excited for the next chapter you peeps. Nathan and Pansy are up to no good and it’s going to be very, very awesome (depending on how you look at it.) Furthermore, REVIEW!