Author: scarlettcat PM
Hermione and Draco get caught up in a battle of the sexes but not everybody is playing fair.Rated: Fiction M - English - Humor - Hermione G. & Draco M. - Words: 4,853 - Reviews: 27 - Favs: 102 - Follows: 15 - Published: 05-08-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8099049
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Written for Otter & Ferret Forever 2012 using Eilonwy's fabulous battle of the sexes prompt.
"I made a bet with Draco."
Not used to having a Slytherin speak to her unless they were insulting her, Hermione turned and looked behind her to see if Pansy was speaking to someone else. But there were only a few others waiting in line for Potions, and they were immersed in their own conversations. "Are... are you talking to me?"
"Don't look at me!" Pansy hissed.
"Sorry," Hermione muttered. "I thought you were talking to me."
"I am, but I don't need everyone to know I'm talking to you. Like I need that embarrassment."
Hermione scowled. "If you don't like embarrassment, then perhaps you should refrain from pawing your disinterested boyfriend in the Great Hall when the rest of us are trying to eat. I'm sure the whole school would appreciate you putting an end to your public displays of annoying."
Pansy glared at her. "Draco is not my boyfriend," she replied icily. "Not that it's any of your concern."
Hermione rolled her eyes and stuck her nose back in her Potion's book. She had gotten there early so she could study before class in case there was a pop quiz or Professor Snape actually decided to call on her for once.
"So, this bet I made with Draco..."
"I'm sure it's none of my concern," Hermione cut her off, not even bothering to look up from her book.
"I"d say it very much concerns you since it's about you."
"You made a bet about me?" Hermione asked incredulously.
"It just kind of happened. It's not like we waste our time talking about you all of the time," Pansy huffed a little too defensively. "We were hanging out in the common room, and Draco was bragging about how wonderful he was and how no other wizard could beat him at anything. He was so full of himself and all of the silly fifth year girls were hanging on his every word. It was disgusting. And since none of his stupid toadies were going to challenge him, I said what about a witch. Could a witch beat you? He laughed and made a crude joke about how a witch could beat him off. His dismissive and degrading attitude toward witches made me mad. I couldn't help myself; it just happened. I said what about Granger."
"You said what about Granger?" Hermione echoed in disbelief.
Pansy nodded. "I did."
"But you don't like me."
"But you pretty much said I was better than him."
"But why would you do that?"
Pansy shrugged. "To piss him off. To embarrass him. You should have seen his face. I didn't know it could turn any paler." She smiled fondly in remembrance. "And then I had to take it too far. I bet him that you could beat him at any contest he could think of. He just told me this morning what he came up with."
"I still don't see how this is any of my concern. It's not like I'm actually going to be participating in this contest. Whatever it is."
"But you have to!" Pansy exclaimed.
"I don't have to do any thing. This is your bet, not mine."
"But it has to be you. If you don't do this, you will be letting down witches everywhere."
"I think you're being a little over dramatic. It's just a stupid bet. I'm sorry if you're going to lose your allowance and won't be able to afford that new set of dress robes that you've had your heart set on, but it's your bet, and you are the one who has to deal with the consequences. This bet has nothing to do with me."
"It has everything to do with you. And if you don't think you'll suffer from the consequences of us losing, you are stupider than I thought. This isn't about money; it's about witches versus wizards. Ever since we made this bet, he's been spouting off nonsense about the superiority of wizards. You should hear the things he's saying."
"Just ignore him. That's what I do."
"You just can't ignore a problem and hope it will go away. You need to take action. Otherwise change will never happen. And change needs to happen. Because it's not just what he's saying. It's what they're ALL saying. They think they're better than us. Even Crabbe and Goyle. Crabbe and fucking Goyle."
Hermione looked at Pansy and let out a sigh. "What type of contest is it? Potions? Transfiguration? Arithmancy?"
Pansy shook her head. "He could barely tell me he was smirking so hard."
"Divination?" Hermione squeaked.
Again, Pansy shook her head.
Hermione didn't raise her hand once during Potions. She couldn't stop thinking about the bet. She hadn't committed to going through with it exactly, but she couldn't help but consider it. She liked to think of herself as a feminist, and the plight of witches did concern her. From what she could tell, the Wizarding World was even farther behind than the Muggles. The thought of idiots like Malfoy saying they were better than her just because they happened to have an extra wand, which was probably very small and ineffective anyway, made her blood boil. And it didn't help matters that Malfoy kept sending origami chickens to peck at her head. While she was waiting the required seven and a half minutes for her potion to simmer and doing some simmering of her own, she finally broke down and told Harry and Ron about the bet. They laughed. Until they found out she didn't think it was very funny.
"You're on frack if you're seriously considering this, Hermione. He'll kill you."
"It's crack, Ron," Hermione snapped. "Stop trying to talk Muggle. It's so annoying."
"Frack aside, Ron's right, Hermione. You can't do this," Harry pleaded. "They're setting you up. This is a fight you can't win."
"Why can't I win? Because I'm a witch?"
Ron and Harry shifted uncomfortably in their seats, neither wanting to answer. They looked at one another and then in silent agreement turned back to her and said, "Yes."
Hermione turned her back on them and angrily threw the rest of the ingredients into her potion. When Professor Snape vanished it for being a "dreadful" shade of pink instead of the correct midnight blue color it was supposed to be, Hermione sent Malfoy her reply with an angry flock of canaries. The commotion and resulting battle of sexes that it ignited earned both of them detention for a week.
Two days later...
"Remember, Granger, you are representing all of us here. Don't fuck it up."
"Thanks for that truly inspiring pep talk, Parkinson," Hermione replied sarcastically, her eyes sweeping across the crowded room. The usually deserted Hog's Head was already filled past capacity, and there were still more students making their way in. It seemed like the entire seventh year was in attendance. Even several younger students had forgone their usual trips to Zonko's and Honeydukes in favor of Hogsmeade's least desirable destination, no doubt because they had heard about the ridiculous bet involving the Head Boy and Head Girl and didn't want to miss the chance to see her make a complete and utter fool of herself. She swallowed hard. "Remind me again why I am doing this?"
Pansy rolled her eyes unsympathetically. "You are doing this because despite the fact that we are strong, independent, intelligent, beautiful..." Pansy paused for a moment and looked Hermione up and down. "Well, I suppose I can't really speak for you on that count. Merlin, did you even brush your hair today? Anyway, it doesn't matter. Despite all of our attributes and accomplishments, we are still witches living in a wizard's world. There may no longer be actual witch trials going on, but witches are still being judged, still suffering from unfair treatment at the hands of the less competent. But now instead of getting burned at a phallic stake, we're getting fucked in the ass with it. Over and over again. Witches on average make twelve Sickles for every Galleon earned by wizards. Witches have fewer opportunities and hold far less high-ranking positions in the Ministry than wizards do. No matter how hard we work, no matter how hard we want it and no matter how much we deserve it, witches are still on the bottom. I don't want to waste my time stuck underneath some clueless wizard, lying back and thinking about the pathetic state of England and knowing that I'm powerless to do anything about it. I want to be the one in control. I want to be on the fucking top. What about you, Granger? Don't you want to be on top?"
Hermione wasn't quite sure how to respond to that. She did want to be on top, of course, but it sounded kind of dirty the way Pansy put it, and she didn't want to accidentally admit to something embarrassing. "I... want equality for witches if that's what you mean."
"Well, you can't just sit there then, can you? Someone has to stand up for witches when sexist snakes like Draco Malfoy make delusional comments about the superiority of wizards. Someone has to put him in his place."
"But why does it have to be me exactly? Aren't there other more qualified witches for this particular task?" Hermione's gaze automatically drifted to the imposing solid frame of Millicent Bullstrode.
Pansy sighed. "Look, I love Millie like a sister, but let's face it, she's as dumb as a Blast-Ended Skrewt. I don't like to admit it, because I don't like you, but you're clever. You're annoying, socially deficient and positively frumpy, but there is no denying your cleverness. If there is anyone who can outwit Malfoy, it's you."
Hermione knew how difficult it was for Pansy to give her that compliment, piss poor as it was, so she decided to let the rest go. She had more pressing matters at hand anyway. "And how exactly is my being clever going to help me in a drinking contest with Malfoy? Cleverness and drinking yourself silly seems like a bit of a contradiction to me."
"Precisely. That is exactly why this will work," said Pansy confidently.
"I don't know," said Hermione hesitantly. She wasn't much of a drinker. It seemed like a losing battle. And the thought of losing to Malfoy at anything, even a stupid drinking contest, made her positively ill. Maybe she should have listened to Harry and Ron and not gotten involved in this bet.
"What do you mean you don't know?" asked Pansy, starting to lose patience with her. "Are you clever, or aren't you?"
"If I was really clever, I probably wouldn't have let you rope me into this," Hermione grumbled. It had crossed her mind that perhaps Pansy was setting her up to fall quite literally on her face.
"By all outward appearances, this may seem like just some stupid drinking contest, but you know what it really is, don't you?"
Hermione nodded slowly. "You're right. It really does seem like just some stupid drinking contest."
Pansy pursed her lips in annoyance. "This stupid drinking contest is an opportunity."
"An opportunity to humiliate myself?"
"No. It's an opportunity to show them that we can do anything they can do. It's an opportunity to make Draco eat his fucking words. You heard how patronizing he was being. How they were ALL being."
Hermione nodded again but this time in agreement. She knew exactly what Pansy was talking about. Even her two best friends didn't think she could win against a wizard, even a "wuss" like Malfoy. They had been trying to convince her to call off the bet ever since she first accepted Malfoy's challenge. They said Pansy was tricking her into going through with it by feeding her a bunch of nonsense. That was, of course, the wrong thing to say and only made her more determined, because as she rather haughtily informed them, there was nothing nonsensical about witch's rights. Looking around, Hermione took note of the invisible line that divided the Hog's Head. Witches, wearing hopeful expressions, filled up one side and wizards, looking decidedly cocky, the other. She noticed that Harry and Ron had very diplomatically, or perhaps strategically, set themselves right on the line. Hermione took a deep breath in. "I'm going to win this," she said as much to herself as to Pansy. Then she let her breath out and deflated slightly. "Oh, my God. How am I going to win this?"
Pansy shrugged. "Fuck if I know, but you'd better think of something fast, I have fifty galleons riding on this."
Hermione glared. "Is this only about money to you? I thought this was supposed to be about improving the plight of witches."
"It is. Witches stick together and first and foremost I am a witch. But I'm also a Slytherin, and Slytherins always have ulterior motives." Pansy smiled a little evilly. "There are numerous reasons I'd like to see you bring Draco Malfoy to his knees. And I'm sure you have a few reasons of your own as well."
"Granger. Get your ass over here. We don't have all day."
Hermione gritted her teeth. "Yes, I suppose I do I have a few reasons."
"Then get out there," Pansy ordered, pushing her toward Malfoy and causing her to stumble into the table and practically fall at Malfoy's feet.
"I have that effect on girls," Malfoy said cockily, giving her a wink.
Closing her eyes, Hermione took some deep calming breaths. She couldn't win by Avada-ing her opponent. At least she didn't think so anyway. She would have to listen very carefully to the rules.
"What's the matter, Granger," Malfoy taunted. "Afraid the best man is going to win?"
"Best man?" Hermione shot back. "Isn't that an oxymoron?"
"You should know. You hang out with the two biggest morons."
"Do you really want to go there?" Hermione questioned, glancing over at Crabbe and Goyle. She primly sat down and eyed the two bottles of firewhisky on the table suspiciously. One was placed in front of her and the other in front of Malfoy. "Why are there two different bottles?"
"Well, we can't very well drink from the same bottle. I might catch something. Like your Gryffindor cooties."
"Don't worry. I don't think courage is contagious. Either you have it or you don't. Of course, we could always use glasses. Like civilized people."
"Funny how often you Gryffindors confuse stupidity for courage. However, if you're 'courageous' enough to drink out of one of the glasses from here, be my guest." He snapped his fingers and Crabbe immediately brought him a glass. Malfoy slid the glass over to her with a smirk.
Hermione took one look at the dirty glass and immediately pushed it to the side. Wiping her grimy fingers on her skirt, she said, "Fine. I'll drink it from the bottle. But how do I know you didn't poison mine?"
Malfoy replied by switching their bottles.
Hermione narrowed her eyes. "Please. Do you really think I'm going to fall for that? Obviously, you knew I was too smart to drink from the bottle in front of me, so anticipating that, you put the poison in yours. Well, it's not going to work. I'm too smart for you."
Malfoy rolled his eyes and switched the bottles back again.
"You knew I was going to make you switch them back again, didn't you? So, what you really did was put the poison in front of me in an attempt to throw me off. You knew that I knew you would know."
"I know that you knew that I would know what you knew that I... know." Hmm. She kind of confused herself that time.
"Have you been drinking already?"
"Or, perhaps, you poisoned both of them."
"You are fucking paranoid."
"You probably have the antidote hidden somewhere on your person, don't you?"
Malfoy held his arms out. "Care to check my... person?" He raised his eyebrows up and down suggestively.
"No!" Hermione sputtered in embarrassment.
"Then pick your poison, and let's get on with it."
"Ha! You did poison both of them."
"Granger, you have no sense of humor whatsoever. I didn't poison either of them. I think you're stalling. If you don't believe me, use your bloody wand and check for yourself. You are a witch, aren't you? Perform whatever spells you deem necessary to ensure that it is palatable. Just hurry up. We don't have all bloody day."
After a slight hesitation, Hermione took the bottle closest to her and waved her wand over it murmuring several spells. When she was finally satisfied that it was safe to drink, she said, "I am ready to begin now."
"About bloody time. Alright, the rules are simple. We drink from our bottles until one of us drops. And you have to really drink it. No dainty little girl sips," Malfoy said condescendingly. "The last one standing wins. Are you sure you want to go through with this? It would be less embarrassing for you to just admit defeat now."
"Why would I want to admit defeat? I have every intention of winning this silly little contest," Hermione said as confidently as she could under the circumstances. "Perhaps you haven't noticed, but I have never ever lost to you at anything."
"That's not how I remember it," Malfoy muttered bitterly.
"Denial or botched memory charm?"
Malfoy scowled. "There is no way you are winning this time. You've probably never even had a drink before," he scoffed.
"I have," she said indignantly, "at my cousin's wedding."
Malfoy laughed along with every male in the room. She noticed that even Harry and Ron snickered a bit.
"Glad to hear I have a worthy opponent," he said mockingly.
"Let's just get this over with," she huffed.
"Ladies first." He smirked.
Hermione scowled and angrily took a swig from the bottle, which was a mistake because it went down the wrong way, and she immediately started choking on it.
Malfoy smirked, raised his bottle in salute and took a large gulp. They drank in silence, never taking their eyes off one another. After several minutes of this, Hermione couldn't help but notice the color of Draco's eyes. They were a very attractive shade of gray, almost silver. She had never had the opportunity to stare at him like this before, probably because she was always so busy trying to ignore him. As she continued to stare at him, she was dismayed to see that the rest of him was attractive as well. Crap. She was starting to feel all warm and tingly inside.
"Like what you see?"
Hermione started choking again. She hoped he wasn't using Legilimency on her.
"You know," said Malfoy, smiling at her funny, "if you drink enough, you can see two of me and double your pleasure."
"One of you is quite enough, thank you," she retorted.
"I must have had more to drink than you because I can already see two of you," Malfoy slightly slurred. "That one over there is still kind of annoying, but this one is kind of pretty," he said, poking her hard in the chest.
Hermione's mouth dropped open. The Hog's Head went deadly silent. You could hear a pin drop. And you could definitely hear a Crabbe drop. He made quite a thud when he fainted. Hermione looked around the room and took in all of the shocked faces. They were all identical except for one. Pansy's mouth was tightly closed due to the fact that she was smirking so hard. Hermione shook her head to clear it. "Maybe you should pace yourself," she suggested.
"Why? Then it will just take me longer to work up the courage to kiss you which is the whole reason I came up with this bet in the first place."
"It was?" she squeaked.
Malfoy nodded. "I've been thinking about kissing you all year, but Pansy said you'd have to be drunk to want to kiss me. So, what do you say? Have you had enough to drink that you want to kiss me yet?"
"I... I..." Hermione took another drink and then another. "Maybe."
Locking eyes, they both slowly leaned forward. Their lips were just about to meet when they both suddenly stopped, causing their audience to gasp. There were whispers that maybe Hermione had hexed his balls off or that perhaps the Imperius had worn off. But they hadn't stopped because they had thought better of it or had suddenly come to their senses. They just couldn't quite reach one another across the table. Being the resourceful witch that she was, Hermione quickly whipped out her wand and rectified the situation with a Shrinking Spell on the table. As the table shrank, so did the space between them, and they met in a kiss that for one small moment bridged the gap between witch and wizard. It was sweet and perfect, and while not the happy feminist ending she had expected, a happy ending none the less. When they finally broke out of the kiss, Draco slid out of his chair and dropped to the floor in a drunken puddle of defeat but with a smile on his face.
Half of the Hog's Head erupted into joyful cheering and the other half groaned in grudging acceptance. Hermione had proven that a witch could do anything a wizard could do. And all it took was winning a stupid little drinking contest. Of all her accomplishments, this is the one that would gain her the most respect. Men were such idiots.
"You did it," Pansy congratulated her. "And everyone thought a witch couldn't win."
"Well, I think we can say for sure that a witch did win. The thing I'm not sure about is whether or not it was me."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Pansy replied, trying to look innocent but failing.
"You knew didn't you?" Hermione accused.
"That he liked you? I may have had an inkling," Pansy replied, smirking slightly.
"Woman's intuition?" asked Hermione dryly.
"No. Veritaserum. I slipped it to him one night after he rejected my advances."
"That's completely unethical."
"But effective. Should I have wasted even more of my time on Draco?"
Hermione thought about all of the time she had wasted on Ron and couldn't help thinking that maybe Pansy had a point. "So, this wasn't about advancing the position of witches at all, was it?
"Of course it was. You came out on top, didn't you?"
"I suppose I did," said Hermione hesitantly.
"You won the bet, and you got the guy. I'd say it all worked out according to plan."
"That's what I don't get."
"What's not to get? Draco gets his courage from a bottle, you're a sucker for a cause, and I'm a genius. Easy peasy."
"But why would you want to set us up? It doesn't make sense."
"I'm a Slytherin. We're complex. Not simple-minded like you Gryffindors. Sure I was mad when Draco rejected me for you, but he's my friend, and I want him to be happy. I'll admit my natural desire for revenge hoped that there would be a little more drunken humiliation on both your parts, or at the very least some puking involved. But, somehow, you managed to keep your top on and your lunch down. And that kiss. Definitely, not the drunken groping or dirty shag I was expecting. It was so sickeningly sweet that I thought I was going to be the one to puke. You are definitely more clever than I gave you credit for."
"Hermione!" Harry and Ron gave her a big hug and nearly knocked her over.
"How'd you do it? I can't believe you're still standing after drinking all of that firewhisky."
"Well, I wasn't really drinking firewhisky," Hermione admitted. "Malfoy said I could do whatever I wanted to make it more palatable. I don't really care for the taste of firewhisky, so I transfigured it into Butterbeer."
They all laughed but then Ron stopped and said, "So, you were kissing him completely sober?"
Hermione had the decency to blush. She was a Gryffindor after all. "Well, I, um..."
Ron gave her a disgusted look and said, "That's it. We're breaking up."
Hermione scowled. "We would have to actually have been going out for you to break up with me, and last I checked, you never asked!"
"And I won't now, will I?" he shot back, stalking off to the bar.
"Perhaps, I should go check on Weasel," Pansy offered. "He might need some comforting."
Hermione looked at her suspiciously. "Wait a minute. You like Weasel? I mean Ron."
Pansy shrugged. "I might have a thing for red-headed dimwits. Not that it's any of your concern."
"Of course it's my concern. Ron is my friend."
"But you have Draco now," Pansy persisted.
"We kissed one time. And he was drunk."
"But you weren't, were you?" Pansy smiled triumphantly. "And Weasel knows it."
"This was your ulterior motive all along, wasn't it? To get me out of the way."
"So, what if it was?" Pansy said defensively. "You don't want him. Anyone with any brains at all can see that you belong with Draco."
"I'm pretty sure you're the only one that can see that."
"Exactly. So much for being the smartest witch of your age, huh?"
Hermione glared but all she could think to say was, "Well, good luck with Ron. Even if he does like you back, you'll never know."
"Oh, I think I'll have a pretty good idea," Pansy said, holding up a flask.
"So much for witches sticking together," Hermione muttered.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"This whole thing was supposed to be about standing up for witches, and you had to go and make it about a guy. The reason it's still a wizard's world is because of witches like you."
"No. You're wrong. It's because of witches like you. If it's ever going to be a witch's world, we have to stop sitting around and waiting for things to change. We have to take what we want. That's what I did, and that's what you should be doing. What do you want, Granger?"
Hermione's eyes automatically drifted to the floor where Malfoy was still laying unconscious on the floor. Pansy none to subtly gave her a shove in the right direction. She hesitated for a moment and then just as she was about to step over Malfoy to run for the door, he opened his eyes and said, "Heeeeeyyy. Who won?"
Hermione sighed. "I'm not sure, but I think Pansy did," she said a tad bitterly. She was still sore about being outsmarted.
"Yeah, she's a bitch like that."
"Well, at least one good thing came out of this. I proved once and for all that that age old saying was true."
"And what is that?"
"That witches rule and wizard's drool." Hermione smirked as she wiped the corner of his mouth with her thumb.
Malfoy grabbed her hand and said, "You're cute. Where'd the annoying one go?"
"I don't know. She's around here somewhere."
Malfoy's gray eyes twinkled. "Let's find her, and we can have a threesome."
Hermione pursed her lips and pulled her hand out of his grasp. "Sorry. I have other plans tonight," she replied tartly. "Hopefully with someone who has taken a Sobriety Potion."
"Devilishly handsome bloke?"
"Devilish for sure. And... handsome in a ferrety sort of way, I suppose."
Malfoy smirked. "See you in detention, Granger."
Biting her lip, she replied, "It's a date."
It was time she finally stopped waiting and went after what she wanted. Maybe it could be a witch's world after all.