A/N: This is a new, collaboration story between myself and avdubs (who will be posting on ao3). The first chapter is written by me, and will be alternated between the two of us each chapter. Enjoy!
"Come on…" Hermione pleaded in a whisper as she stared down at her cauldron, stirring the purple liquid within counter-clockwise, just as her copy of Advanced Potion-Making said. She chewed her bottom lip, hoping that her potion would turn to the pale pink colour it was supposed to before class ended. She wanted — no, needed — the Felix Felicis to save until it came time for her to study for her exams. She would never use it for the actual exams as, one, she knew she could pass them without the aid of liquid luck, and two, it would be cheating; absolute, despicable, unfair cheating. If she had liquid luck during her preparation time, then maybe she would retain things that didn't quite stick in her mind as much as she wanted too. She needed to win.
"Time is up!" Slughorn's voice sounded through the room. "Everybody step back from your potions and I will come to check which one of you will have the honour of having your own dose of liquid luck!"
"No!" Hermione hissed and glared down at her potion which hadn't turned the pale colour it was supposed to according to her book. What had she done wrong?! Her knuckles went white as she picked up her textbook, gripping the pages tightly as she looked over the instructions once more. "Cut the valerian roots…Yes, I did that…" She muttered to herself, "Become a 'smooth, blackcurrant-coloured liquid', yes, mine did that…Stir counter-clockwise… What did I do wrong?" She furrowed her brows. Her grumbling hadn't been the only complaints in the class, as the majority of other students frowned and consulted their friends as to where they had gone wrong. Everyone except…
"Excellent work, Harry!" Slughorn praised Harry, patting him on the back causing the boy to jolt forward slightly from the force. "A perfectly brewed potion and well deserving of some Felix Felicis," the Professor smiled widely and removed his hand from his rounded stomach to grab the vial of liquid luck and hand it to Harry who grinned and looked at the golden liquid.
Hermione couldn't help but glare at the book that sat on Harry's workbench — the book that had barely legible scribbles which he insisted were the right instructions. Not to Hermione they weren't; if they were the right instructions, they would have been written by Libatius Borage in the first place, not jotted in by a student from years and years ago, judging by the state of the textbook. Of course she was happy for Harry, she wasn't that bitter that he had won the Felix Felicis… She was only bitter over the fact that if he had followed the same official instructions that she had, then she would have had a better chance at making the most perfect potion in the class.
She wasn't the only class member who seemed rather annoyed that they had missed out on the prize that would make twelve hours of their lives the luckiest and best they would experience. After everyone had cleaned their work stations, they left the classroom, Ernie saying a quick goodbye before heading to the Hufflepuff common room, and Hermione waved and gave him a small smile. When she looked back for Harry and Ron, Draco cut in front of her with brows pulled down to his eyes which flashed in anger as he looked at her for only a second, his lips turned into a sneer as his shoulder bumped against hers as he pushed past. "Do you mind?" Hermione snapped but the blonde ignored her and she watched him stalk down the dungeon hallway and around the corner.
"Did Malfoy do something?" Ron asked her as he came closer, watching Malfoy retreat too.
"Just being his usual self," Hermione brushed off and held her books tighter to her chest. "Ready to go?" She asked and then looked at Harry. "Congratulations, Harry," she told him, forcing her annoyance down. "I hope you wait to use it though, it isn't every day you get Felix Felicis," she sniffed.
"I know, Hermione," Harry rolled his eyes and pocketed the small vial. "Don't worry, I'll keep it safe until I truly need it."
Hermione nodded and walked in front of her best friends, wanting to get back to the common room to drop off her Potion books in exchange for her Ancient Runes homework which needed to be done sooner rather than later. "Mate, how did you make that potion so bloody brilliant?" She heard Ron ask Harry. "Mine looked like something you'd find at the bottom of the Black Lake…"
Hermione was fifty minutes into writing her fifteen inch essay for Ancient Runes when she sat up straight in her chair, wincing as her shoulders cracked uncomfortably from being in the same position for so long. She looked down at her writing, satisfied at what she'd managed to achieve, then stood up from her chair, needing to search the bookshelves for a copy of Spellman's Syllabary, the one book she hadn't brought with her to the library, not thinking she would need it. She walked to the stacks, straight to where various books on the Study of Ancient Runes were kept, and as she trailed her fingers over the bindings of the books, looking for the one she needed, she heard a muffled voice.
"—like Potter needs it. I needed it—"
Curiosity took over as she recognised the voice and heard Harry's name spoken, so she moved closer to the shelving and quietly moved a book from its space to see if it would help pass the sound through to her.
"Everyone said they needed that potion, Draco," a deeper voice, one she didn't recognised, answered, and Hermione really had to strain to hear through the shelf, but now she knew that it was Malfoy that was complaining — which didn't surprise her.
"You don't get it, Blaise," Draco snapped. Ah, she thought, he's talking to Zabini. She had never had much to do with Blaise although he had been in a few classes with her over the years and now they were in the Slug Club together. "I need that potion."
"Shut it!" Malfoy hissed and the boy's voices were muffled as they spoke quiet enough that Hermione could no longer hear.
"Fuck off, Malfoy," she heard Zabini snap and she wondered if Draco had said something to offend him.
"Whatever… Pansy will be waiting for us in the common room."
"Come find us when you lighten up a bit."
Hermione heard retreating footsteps — of Blaise, she assumed — and she quickly looked back to the books on the shelf, pretending to read the spines. She heard a low growl of annoyance from the other side of the shelf, then a few muttered words which she wasn't quite able to decipher, then silence. She wondered if Draco had left too, but she hadn't heard his footsteps leave.
"He doesn't bloody deserve it," Malfoy muttered, and Hermione heard. While she didn't think that Harry wasn't deserving of the Felix Felicis, she thought there were better ways — proper ways — that he should have won it. Hermione spotted the textbook she needed and took it from the shelf, making several others fall on their sides. The other side of the bookshelf was clear and her eyes widened when she saw Draco turn his head and glare at her. "What are you gaping at?"
"I'm not gaping at anything, Malfoy," Hermione responded quickly and narrowed her eyes.
"Then stop looking at me." He looked away from her and down at an open book in his hands.
Hermione first thought she should take her book back to her table and continue on with her essay, but all she could think about was the tiny vial of potion that had everyone in her class in desperate want. "I thought it was unfair too…" She spoke and saw the muscle in his cheek jump as he clenched his jaw.
"You thought what was unfair?" He asked sharply.
"Potions," Hermione said. "With Harry winning the liquid luck."
That got his attention, and he lifted his eyes from the book in his hands and glanced over at her. His hair almost hung over his eyes and it was the first time, she realised, that she'd seen him without buckets of gel plastering his hair to his head. "I never thought I'd hear you speak ill of your wonder boy," he snorted and looked away from her again.
"I followed the instructions perfectly," she ignored his jab. "Perfectly, Malfoy, I did nothing wrong at all and Harry still won."
It was a few seconds before Draco responded again. "I followed it word for word, too," he said, quieter, almost like he thought if he didn't look at her and didn't speak in a normal conversational tone, that he wasn't really speaking to her.
"See what I mean?!" Hermione sighed in exasperation. "And all my potion did was turn—"
"Purple." They both spoke at the same time.
Her eyes met his when he looked up. "It was completely corrupt."
"Potter's never been good at Potions compared to us," Draco said. "The both of us are top of the class, he doesn't deserve the prize."
Hermione's eyebrows raised after she heard what he had said. Although he hadn't explicitly said she was great at Potions, he had complimented her. "Y—"
He recognised his mistake and he glared at her. "Why are you talking to me, Granger, shouldn't you be pandering to Potter and Weasel? I'm sure they don't know how to breathe without you telling them how to do it," she snapped and shoved the book he was holding back into the shelf and stormed out of the aisle.
Hermione hadn't had time to react to his comment and merely blinked at where he had been standing a second ago. She hadn't been planning on calling him up on his accidental complimenting of her, but knew why he had disappeared so quickly. What would his cronies think if they knew he had been speaking to her. Hermione rolled her eyes and snorted, thinking of how easily swayed some people could be. When she looked back the shelf, she realised that Malfoy had shoved the book he was reading, back into the shelf the wrong way with the spine facing towards her. "Vanishment and Conjuration: A Study," she read aloud and furrowed her brows. Why in Merlin's name would Draco Malfoy be needing to read a book so complex in nature?
She shook her head and let out a breath; she had more important things to think about, like her Ancient Runes essay and translation homework, not what Malfoy was currently reading.