The sound of footsteps echoed along the hollow, dimly lit corridors as Draco dashed into the Potions classroom, late again. He slowed his stride at the door, met with a collection of sharp, judging looks, each of which slowly tapered into whispers. His pale, blond hair was stringy and damp, his eyes were bloodshot, and his robes were askew, wrinkled as though he had dug them out of his trunk in a frantic, half-conscious panic just a moment ago.
"Ah, Mr. Malfoy. So pleased you could join us," Slughorn heartily announced, directing a look of warning upon the Gryffindor lot as they snickered. "Now, now, settle down."
There was a flicker of embarrassment in the grey of Draco's eyes but he quickly blinked it away. "My sincerest apologies, Professor. I must have slept through my alar —"
"You may save your sincerest apologies for detention, Mr. Malfoy. Now, do find a seat." The Gryffindors all looked to one another, suppressing their laughter as Slughorn turned around. "As I was saying, the restorative properties of Dittany are the most powerful of all the healing plants. The herb itself can be used to cure werewolf bites, open wounds, scarred issue as well as …"
Draco panned a look to the far right, looking over at the Slytherins to find that his friends hadn't actually saved him in a seat. They were all paired off, jotting notes while avoiding his attempts at eye contact. Twats. He turned around, the inside of his mouth drying out as he slowly came to realize there was just one vacancy in the entire classroom.
Naturally, the know-it-all bitch paid no mind; far too engrossed in the medical properties of Dittany to even notice the Slytherin boy was looking at her. The lesson itself had just barely started and she already had a great big ink smudge along the bridge of her nose. Other than that, the bushy-haired nuisance looked her usual over-achieving self. Curls pinned back, shoes clunky, robes pressed.
Perfect, Draco dryly thought. Now I get to bathe in her Mudblood stink for the next hour.
The surrounding students safely observed, nudging to alert one another as Draco made his way across the classroom, towards Granger. His approach was heavy, reluctant. He waited for his friends to clear up a seat for him but they didn't. It was only as he slipped his bookbag off, the weight of it slamming down between their chairs, that Granger even bothered to even glance away from her notes.
She lifted her gaze up and to the left, startled to find Draco less than two feet away.
Without saying a word, he plopped onto the empty chair beside her and opened his bag to grab a Quill and some parchment. All the while, he felt Granger's big brown eyes burn holes through his temple.
"What do you think you're doing?" she quietly demanded.
Draco dipped his Quill into a pot of jet black ink and proceeded to scribble his first line of notes. "Enjoy it while you can," he stated while on the edge of a smirk.
Her mouth fell agape. "Why you insufferable, little —"
"Quiet over there," Slughorn interjected, fixing a look on their table.
Granger froze, dropping her head down within seconds. As if to compensate, she began copying her notes erratically and at twice her usual speed.
"Careful you don't sprain something," Draco lowly inserted.
She squeezed the stem of her Quill, lips pursed. "Are you physically capable of shutting your slimy mouth, or shall I do it for you?"
"Well, that's an interesting chat-up line."
"You've got to be — that was not a —"
"Quiet," Slughorn warned them a second time.
Granger tensed up, sparing a moment before muttering the rest. "Believe me, Malfoy. I'd rather chat-up the likes of Argus Filch than you." The last word was spoken coldly, with a great amount of disgust as though she actually meant it.
"You wouldn't know what to do with yourself," he uttered, slowly creeping under her skin.
The nerve of him to be so, so …
She swallowed the lump of anger in her throat and refocused, dipping the tip of her Quill into a pot of ink only to knock it over by mistake. To her fortune the pot was spill-proof — or Hermione-proof as her friends loved to say — but nowhere on the label did the pot of true black state that it was ferret-proof.
It fell over and rolled off the edge of the table, landing directly on Malfoy's lap.
For a second Hermione just stared, doing nothing but meet the ferret's look of complete and utter outrage, before unthinkingly grabbing it. In hindsight, she could have used her wand to summon the ink bottle into her grasp, a simple wave of magic, but her thoughts were muddled, distracted by the incessant bickering that had gone on before. She went the fastest, most natural route and retrieved the ink bottle by hand, wrapping her fingers around the smooth glass surface whilst mistakenly grazing something else.
Her eyes widened and she yanked her arm back, cheeks burning as she glanced away. The bottle of ink slipped a couple of inches through her grasp before she set it carefully on the table, heart racing.
To the left of her, Malfoy neglected to look away for even a second. His features relaxed and he leaned somewhat closer. "Tell me, Granger," he began, speaking quietly so only she could hear him. "Do you normally just grab it like that?"
The fine hairs along her arms and the back of her neck, slowly prickled upright. "Sod off. You know I didn't mean to — to touch you," she uttered at once.
"I spy a virgin."
She snapped a look at him. "Whatever it is you're trying to do, it's not going to work."
There was a moment of silence after wherein he lifted an eyebrow at her, questioningly. "What exactly do you think I'm trying to do?" he asked in no particular way.
The brunette opened her mouth, sputtering out a string of words. "I — it — you're — this is absurd," she uttered as the knot in her stomach slowly tightened.
Malfoy smirked, leaning an inch or two closer as he whispered the rest. "If I wanted you even in the slightest, I would have you."
She opened her mouth to retort but he cut her off, forcing her only to listen.
"Make no mistake, Granger, I've thought about it," he furthered. "In the reference section of the library, usually. You do love to spend hours there, don't you? On the topmost step of the ladder, reaching for some dusty, old book no one cares to read but you, fingertips grazing the spine as you reach just a little higher, standing on your toes now, the front of your blouse lifting up maybe an inch or two before you stop to fix it, throwing a look over your shoulder to make sure no one saw. I think about it then," Malfoy admitted to her, freely. "I think about turning you around, pressing your body against that bookshelf, and watching your eyes fill with shock before I make you forget why you ever hated me."
There was a hitch in Hermione's chest but she didn't show it, nor did she care to dive any deeper into this topic. Without a word, she retreated to her work, the scratch of her Quill filling in every gap of silence that remained.
After a few moments of waiting, the Slytherin boy followed suit; a knowing glimmer in his eyes.