A/N: Re-upload! Wrote this ages ago.
"Three," interjected the fair-haired wizard, causing the attention in the classroom to shift. "Our precious Head Girl is incorrect. The answer is three."
A satisfied smirk tugged at the ends of Draco's lips. He had done it again. He had succeeded in wiping that supercilious grin off Granger's unsightly face. So what if she revised twice as much as anyone in their year? It was no reflection of her intelligence, just her overwhelming strive for perfection. In any case, he had news for her. She was far from perfect, what with that hair and those teeth. She may as well have been a living, breathing Moaning Myrtle. Always bitching about something or other.
"Incorrect?" repeated Granger, horror-struck. There was commotion in the classroom. At last. The Muggle-born know-it-all of the century had answered falsely inMuggle Studies of all subjects. It was brilliant.
Professor Burbage, kind as she was, offered the Head Girl a consolatory smile. "I'm afraid so, Miss Granger. The first edition of Home Life and Social Habits of British Muggles had indeed been banned in three major areas of Great Britain - not four."
Granger flipped through the pages of her textbook like a madwoman, eyes laced with disbelief. Leave it to Moaning Mudblood to question a professor like that. Draco could hardly understand the general consensus surrounding her. She wasn't the kind-hearted, inclusive young woman everyone thought her out to be. Not at all. In his experience she was just as cutthroat as the rest of them. Her and her friends lived in their own universe, failing to take notice of anything or anybody that wasn't directly involved in their melodrama.
Granger was the worst. She was presumptuous, inconsiderate of any opinions that weren't her own, and very, very domineering.
"This can't be." Granger set down her textbook, exasperated. "I...I'm wrong."
"That you are," added Draco. "I say we revoke her Head Girl status."
"You're just jealous they gave Head Boy to Zabini instead of you," retorted the bushy-haired Gryffindor.
Draco rolled his eyes. If he wanted to be Head Boy, he would be Head Boy. Being prefect in his fifth and sixth year had been an eye-opening experience, during which he discovered one very crucial piece of information. With power and responsibility comes no social life, and he would be damned if he spent his last year docking points off Hufflepuff and telling off first years. Besides, the perks of having a close friend as Head Boy were endless.
"Speaking of, he told me about your proposal. What's it called?" Draco pretended to think, placing a finger on his chin. "Ah - right. Legitimizing spew as an official extracurricular organization."
Granger narrowed her eyes. "First of all, it's not spew," she countered, over exaggerating the pronunciation. "It's SPEW, which stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare and I'll have you know it's a fair cause for people who aren't as bigoted as you seem to be. Second of all, Zabini should be sharing no such information with someone who is neither a prefect nor faculty member. I shall report his misdemeanor at once."
Draco yawned. "The only misdemeanor is that Hippogriff nest resting atop your fat head."
A dozen or so students broke out in laughter, causing Granger to turn a deep shade of scarlet. She may have been overbearing and arrogant when it came to studies, but she was still a girl, and girls were nothing if not sensitive about their appearance. Draco loved every minute of it. Too much time had passed since he last humiliated the girl. They were already six months into the seventh year and he'd only made her cry twice. Unacceptable. He made a mental note to kick his insults into overdrive. The last thing he wanted was for her to get comfortable.
"Did she cry?" asked Blaise, indifferent.
The Great Hall was abuzz with all the chaos surrounding the Gryffindor/Slytherin Quidditch Match that would commence the following morning. Draco and the rest of the team had been practicing for months on end, using their Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff matches as preparation for the real thing. Because, really, it was a battle between the two power houses that people truly desired.
He took a large serving of mashed potatoes. "Don't know," answered the fair-haired wizard, having paid little attention to Granger after their back-and-forth earlier in the day. "But she will cry soon enough."
"Honestly, I don't know why you bother with that Mudblood," rung in Pansy, touching up her makeup at the Slytherin table. "She's just common riff raff. It was fine when we were younger, but people are starting to think you might fancy her."
This much was expected. It was the typical playground gossip. Boy teases girl. Boy fancies girl. That, however, was as far from the truth as humanly possible. He would sooner engage in a sultry love affair with Neville Longbottom than with the likes of Hermione Granger. She was…decent looking…ish…but blood status combined with her inherent need to be the best at everything was more than he could ever tolerate.
Besides, it was incredibly easy to get under her skin. She might have been sharp-tongued and respectable on the battlefield, but the girl had zero self-confidence, which made for an excellent pastime. He would never relinquish the right to torment her. She made it far too enjoyable to surrender.
"Oh!" blurted Pansy, startling their small group of people. "I forgot to tell you. Guess what I heard in the girls loo today!"
Draco remained silent, having no interest in her petty gossip. She was nice to look at, Pureblood, and willing to do anything he asked – or rather, demanded – but she was still a girl and he had yet to meet one that knew when to shut up.
"What?" Blaise finally asked, equally disinterested but polite enough to respond.
Their indifference seemed to fly right over Pansy's head because she leaned in closer to the boys and whispered. "Granger and Weasel broke it off last night."
Hmm. That was interesting. Draco was wondering when Potter's minions would split. Still, it wasn't enough to garner a response.
"Well – he broke it off with her. Nobody really knows what happened but rumours are flying around that she cheated on him with that Viktor Krum bloke. The famous Seeker."
Blaise rolled his eyes. "You care too much."
Pansy ignored him and turned to Draco. "Just a little something you can use the next time you tease her."
This was true. His insults were getting far too repetitive as of late. He needed some new material, and Granger parting with the love of her life seemed to fit the bill. Perhaps Pansy wasn't so useless after all. The young man finished piling a mountain of mashed potatoes on his plate and set it aside.
"That looks suspicious," said Blaise, flashing his friend a knowing look. "There are professors everywhere."
"I know," smirked the fair-haired wizard. "Guess you'll just have to turn a blind eye on this one."
It took a few moments before Pansy caught on. "You're already under probation!"
Draco ignored his friends as they gave each other knowing looks. They really should have had more faith in him. He had a plan. He always had a plan. The young man sat idly by, waiting for several moments until he spotted his target at the door. She was alone, carrying a stack of books that towered over a foot above her head, and she was heading straight for the Gryffindor Table.
He shifted his gaze elsewhere and summoned a sixth year Ravenclaw who had already been looking his direction. The younger boy hurriedly shot up from his seat and made his way over, stopping in front of their spot at the Slytherin Table.
Draco smiled in an all but kind way. "Wait for my cue, Chris."
Chris nodded and took hold of the plate, pale as a ghost, rushing off to the other side of the Great Hall. Blaise and Pansy exchanged another look, whilst Draco remained beside himself with delight.
Hermione strolled into the Great Hall with as many books as Madam Pince would allow her to sign out from the Hogwarts library. She had six essays due by the end of the week, only one of which was even close to completion. It was unlike her to fall behind, or rather, fall to everyone else's pace, but there was a lot on her mind.
The Head Girl found her spot beside Ginny and sighed.
"Long day?" asked the redhead.
Hermione buried her face in her hands. "Agonizing," she mumbled.
"I heard about what happened in Muggle Studies," offered Ginny, rubbing her friend on the shoulder. "Malfoy's a right git. I'll get him back on the Quidditch Pitch tomorrow. Don't you worry."
Ah. She hadn't even thought about that. The source of Hermione's distress wasn't Malfoy – not entirely. Though it made sense for Ginny to skip past the actual problem, given the fact that it was her own brother. It had only been a day since the breakup, less than, and Hermione was already fed up with all the gossip and whispers behind her back. Nobody knew the truth, and yet, they felt it their right to stick their noses in her personal matters. To be perfectly honest, she wouldn't have cared had they managed to get their facts straight. But, alas, gossip didn't have to be accurate in order for it to matter.
She sighed, thoughts drifting to the incident in Muggle Studies. "I hope he takes a Bludger to the gut," she frowned, pouring herself a glass of Pumpkin Juice.
"I can arrange that."
Hermione eyed her best friend. "And get kicked off the Gryffindor Quidditch Team?"
"That's only if I'm caught," winked Ginny.
This made the Head Girl smile. She missed their banter. Schoolwork and Head Girl duties had kept her ridiculously busy. It felt nice to just sit back and chat about trivial matters.
Ginny sighed. "I hope we do win, for Harry's sake. I've never seen him work so hard for anything, besides his life or whatever."
It was true. Harry had been drilling the team on new strategies and stretching their practices for ages, and it was all down to this match. It was their final match against Slytherin and his final chance to drag Malfoy's arse around the Quidditch Pitch.
"I'm sure he'll catch the Snitch in no time," Hermione said truthfully, having full faith in her spectacled best friend. "Speaking of Harry, how are you two?"
It was brief, but Ginny blushed. "We're…good," she said quietly. "Really good."
Hermione arched an eyebrow. "Really, really good?"
Her best friend uncharacteristically giggled. "Yes."
"When?" asked the Head Girl, suddenly intrigued.
"Last week…in the library…"
Hermione gasped. "In my domain, no less! Why didn't you tell me sooner?"
"You've been so busy lately! I – I didn't think you would care," explained Ginny, shrinking in her seat as a few people turned in their direction.
It was true. Hermione had neglected her friends on more than one occasion. Her eyes were drenched with apology until the obvious question surfaced. "How was it?"
Ginny's blushed deepened. "Brilliant. A little uncomfortable…but brilliant." A small smile tugged at the ends of her lips.
"I'm surprised you weren't caught," said Hermione, dumb struck. "The library has been packed this month because of mid-terms."
"Well…we were in the Restricted Section."
The Head Girl gaped. "You had sex in the Restricted Section?"
Ginny made motion for her to keep it down. "Tell the whole world, why don't you?"
"Sorry," Hermione said, flinching. "But at least that would mean they'd stop talking about me for once."
Ginny gave her a knowing look. "I've been meaning to ask you about that…"
"You don't have to. I know it's an uncomfortable situation since he's your brother and all."
"Nonsense. I know him better than anyone. If you need someone to talk to…I'm your girl."
Hermione gave her a look of thanks. "It's been so stressful," she said. "I know it's largely my fault but…but he didn't have to react in such a way, you know? I thought we were closer than that."
"He's a boy and boys are insecure creatures," Ginny said matter-of-factly. "Give him some time and he'll get over it. Harry did."
"Harry is sensible. Ron is…"
"Ron," finished the redhead. "But he still loves you and because of that, he'll learn to look past this. Just be patient and it'll pass. I promise."
Hermione knew Ginny was right, but part of her felt as though it didn't matter. The way he had reacted to her news proved something to her. He wasn't ready. He wasn't even close to being ready. Yes, he loved her and cared for her, but Ron would always let his little insecurities get in the way of having a proper relationship. Thatwas why they had broken up; that was why he had taken everything the wrong way; and that was why he had practically turned the entire school against her.
"Something tells me that's not all that's on your mind," Ginny clued in.
"It's just that…I want to be with him…but…"
"This entire situation is making you second guess everything."
Hermione rapidly nodded. "Yes. Exactly."
"Well, maybe it's time to consider other prospects," suggested the redhead. "You've been pining for each other since fourth year. It's been a long time, don't you think?"
All true. Hermione had never considered dating anyone but Ron. Dating in general seemed a foreign concept. "I wouldn't know where to begin," she admitted. "I feel as though I've missed out on years of practice."
"If you like someone enough, it'll come naturally," Ginny explained. "And speaking of practice…I see some headed this way."
The Head Girl followed her best friend's line of vision and felt her cheeks burn with embarrassment. A sixth year Ravenclaw by the name of Christopher Rooney was approaching the Gryffindor table – fast – and his baby blue eyes were firmly planted on her. She had seen him before. He was a prefect and to her knowledge, he was something of a hot commodity in Ginny's year. She had never considered dating a younger guy, but the idea of it suddenly sparked an unexpected amount of interest within her.
"Hey," he said, giving her a quick nod.
Hermione swallowed, catching Ginny's encouraging glances through her peripheral vision. "Hello."
"Can – Can we talk for a sec?" asked Christopher.
"Sure," she squeaked, already feeling stupid. It felt as though the entire world was watching her, which for all she knew they were. Hermione got up from the Gryffindor Table, catching her best friend's thumbs up as she followed Christopher to a more secluded part of the Great Hall.
"I heard you're single now," he said, nonchalant. "Can't say I'm disappointed."
She arched an eyebrow. "Erm…"
"Sorry," sighed the Ravenclaw, rubbing the back of his head. "I'm not very good at this sort of thing."
Hermione felt it coming on. "What sort of thing?"
"Telling a girl I like her," he said quietly, meeting eyes with her in a way that made her insides jumble together in one teenaged mess.
She didn't know what to say, forming an O with her lips.
"I've probably ruined my chances already, talking about this a day after your breakup with Weasley."
Hermione gave him a comforting look. "It's all right," she said honestly. "I'd say your chances are looking quite promising."
He glanced at her, something unreadable in his expression. "I…I…Erm…"
She waited for him to continue, expecting something along the lines of "I was wondering if you'd like to accompany me to Hogsmeade this weekend" or perhaps "I would like it if we patrolled the corridors together from now on" but what escaped Christopher's trembling lips was something she would never have anticipated.
"I'm sorry," he said, completely guilt-ridden.
"Sorry?" she repeated. "For what?"
He was looking away from her now. "You seem like a really nice girl, Hermione, and I hope you don't take this personally. I really do think you're something."
"What are you talking about?" she was going to ask, but the Head Girl found herself frozen with shock as Christopher slammed a full plate of mashed potatoes straight onto her face. After that it all happened in slow-motion. He whispered one final apology before storming off, and before Hermione could make sense of what had just happened, the entire Great Hall was alive with raucous laughter.
She had just enough time to scrape away the bits that were blocking her vision to spot a certain blond-haired demon zeroing in on her with a venomous look in his pale grey eyes. Somehow she knew he was involved, and in that moment Hermione made it her personal goal to get back at him. Whatever the cost.
"That insufferable Douchebag!" cried Ginny, shoving past the crowd that was forming around her best friend and whisking her away from all the chaos. "I'll kill him. I swear I will."
"It's not him you should kill," Hermione wanted to say, knowing her best friend was referring to Christopher, but she remained silent.
Revenge would come.
And it would taste sweeter than the entire inventory at Honeyduke's.