A/N – I thought I would publish a short, fun story to run alongside Wicked Game on a Wednesday. The Bet has five chapters and will be published every Wednesday. It's set in a universe with no war, and not too much tension between the Gryffindors and Slytherins. It's just a fun and light-hearted story, and I hope people enjoy it.
Following a very thorough three hour training session, a very satisfied Slytherin quidditch captain, Draco Malfoy, called an end to proceedings. It was just over a week before the final game of the year, between Slytherin and Gryffindor, and Draco felt the team were in a very good position to beat their long-time rivals. He was quietly confident that come the end of the year Slytherin would win the quidditch cup and be crowned champions in his final year at Hogwarts.
Draco had actually won the quidditch cup during his second year, which was his first year on the team. However, since then Gryffindor had dominated the competition and for the last couple of years, not only had the lions won the cup, but they'd done so by squashing all opposition, Slytherin included. Although Draco was determined that the same thing wouldn't be happening this year, and the Slytherins had worked harder than ever before on their game. They'd already thrashed both Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, now all they had to do was beat Gryffindor and the cup was theirs.
"So what do you think?" Blaise Zabini, Draco's best friend, asked as the team made their way towards the changing rooms. "Are we ready?"
"If we're not ready now, we'll never be," Draco replied. "I'm confident we can beat Gryffindor. This is the best team we've had for years."
"Although heaven help Slytherin next year," Theo Nott chuckled. "They'll be losing five players all in one go."
Of the seven players on the team, five of them were seventh years. Draco had been the first to join the team way back in his second year, and he'd been joined on the team in third year by his oldest friends, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. Blaise had then joined the team in sixth year, the year Draco had taken over as captain, and after narrowly missing out on a slot in sixth year, Theo had joined the team this year.
"But at least we'll be leaving on a high," Draco replied.
"If we win the cup," Blaise cautioned.
"Have some faith Blaise, we're going to win," Draco chuckled as he carefully placed his brand new Firebolt Extreme in the corner of the room before he started shedding his uniform in order to take a shower.
By the time Draco and his friends had showered and changed into their everyday clothes, the two fifth years who played chaser alongside Theo had already headed back to the castle. Vince and Greg then quickly said their goodbyes and headed off to the kitchens to try and grab a snack before dinner time.
"Do you fancy coming up to the head dorms?" Draco asked Blaise and Theo as they entered the castle.
"Yeah, let us just drop our brooms off in our room," Blaise replied.
Draco headed down to the dungeons with his friends as they dropped off their broomsticks, before they all headed up to the head dorms which were situated on the third floor. Draco shared the spacious dorms with the Head Girl, Hermione Granger, and when the boys entered they found she was already settled in the common room with her two best friends, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley.
"Being practising for when we beat you next week?" Harry asked with a chuckle when the three Slytherins entered the room and he saw Draco carrying his expensive new broomstick.
"In your dreams, Potter," Draco retorted. "We're going to thrash you this year."
"That's what you say every year," Harry laughed. "Tell me Malfoy, have you ever beaten me?"
"There's a first time for everything," Draco muttered.
"Boys, don't argue," Hermione scolded. Although truth be told things had improved a great deal between her friends and the Slytherins over the course of the year and instead of the old hateful sniping that used to occur, it was merely light banter the boys were indulging in.
"Yes Miss," Blaise replied cheekily as he threw himself into an empty chair. "Have I ever told you Granger that I love a bossy witch? I get off on being ordered around."
"It must be why you're best friends with Malfoy," Hermione retorted.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Draco asked with a frown as both his friends and Hermione's laughed before restarting their bickering over who was going to win the upcoming quidditch match.
"I'm just pointing out that you're always ordering people around," Hermione said. "You're very bossy."
"That's rich coming from you," Draco snorted. "Even though I'm Head Boy and hold the same position as you, you still try and boss me around."
"That reminds me, the patrol rota has gone missing from the prefects lounge. One of us needs to go and sort it."
"I'll flip you for it," Draco said, producing a galleon from his pocket.
"Heads," Hermione called as Draco spun the coin in the air.
Catching the coin on his hand, Draco smirked and held it out for Hermione to see. "Tails. You lose, Granger."
"I swear you cheat at that," Hermione muttered. "I haven't won a toss all year."
"Some people are just luckier than others," Draco retorted with a smirk. "Off you go Granger. We wouldn't want the prefects getting confused over whose turn it was to patrol the castle."
Shaking her head and vowing never to take part in another coin toss with the Head Boy, Hermione told her friends she wouldn't be long before heading off to sort the patrols. Propping his broomstick in the corner of the room, Draco collapsed onto one of the sofas next to Theo and quickly got involved with the debate on who had the better quidditch team.
"You can't win every year," Draco pointed out. "Sooner or later someone is going to come along who is better than you, and this year, that's us. We are going to kill you next week."
"You're such a cocky git," Ron grumbled. "You'll be eating your words this time next week."
"No this time next week, we'll be celebrating winning the quidditch cup," Draco retorted.
"I wouldn't bet on it," Ron snorted.
"I would," Draco replied.
"Seriously?" Ron questioned in surprise. "You would bet on Slytherin winning the match next week?"
"I would," Draco answered with a nod. "Why? Are you offering me a bet, Weasley?"
"He can't afford a bet," Blaise laughed.
"It doesn't have to be money," Draco replied with a shrug.
"But to make it worthwhile it would have to be something of value," Theo pointed out. "Weasley doesn't have anything of value."
"They do have a point, Weasley," Draco said. "I'd enter into a wager with you, but what could you bet that I would want?"
"Hermione," Ron answered, much to everyone's surprise.
"You're betting Granger?" Draco asked with a chuckle.
"I've seen the way you look at her," Ron replied. "You fancy her."
"So what if I do?" Draco retorted with a shrug, not bothering to deny what he knew was very obvious to anyone with eyes. "What does it have to do with anything?"
"My bet is a date with Hermione," Ron declared.
"Ron, you can't do that," Harry hissed. "You can't bet Hermione like a piece of property."
"Don't worry Harry, she needs never have to know," Ron assured his best friend. "We're going to win, so it's not like Malfoy will get his date."
"Even so, this isn't right," Harry muttered.
"Lighten up Potter, it's a bit of fun," Blaise cackled. "Unless of course you're scared that your precious team is going to lose."
"Yeah, if you're so sure you're going to win, what's the problem?" Theo asked.
"We are going to win," Harry declared confidently. He was well aware that Slytherin were a good team this year and a very real threat, but he still had every confidence that his team would prevail and win the cup yet again.
"Which means we won't lose Hermione," Ron declared. "So what do you say Malfoy? Would a date with Hermione be a good enough bet?"
"It would," Draco replied with a sly smirk. "I would expect a date in Hogsmeade. Lunch and then the whole afternoon spent together."
"Done," Ron said.
"And what would you want in return?" Draco questioned. "I'm feeling generous, Weasley, so name your price. Just what do you think a date with Granger is worth?"
Instead of answering straight away, Ron took a few moments to think of the best thing to ask for in return. As he was thinking his eyes fell to Draco's broomstick in the corner. It was a Firebolt Extreme, the newest brand of broomstick which had only been released over the summer. It was also the most expensive broomstick on the market and Ron knew he would never be able to afford one in his lifetime.
"Your Firebolt," he announced.
"You mean my brand new Firebolt which cost a small fortune?" Draco asked.
"If you're too scared, and think you're going to lose," Ron taunted with a smirk.
"Fine, the Firebolt it is then," Draco said, holding his hand out for Ron to shake.
"What happens if one of you defaults on the payment?" Theo asked as Draco and Ron shook hands, each of them wearing a look of steely determination.
"I won't," Draco replied with confidence. "My Father has always told me that you honour your debts. He also advised me to never bet something I wasn't willing to lose, and never ever bet more than I could afford to lose. I don't think I'll have a problem here. Even if I do lose, which I won't, all I have to do is hand over a broomstick."
"A very expensive broomstick," Harry pointed out.
"Still, a broomstick is easier to part with than the bet Weasley's put up," Draco pointed out. "When he loses, he'll have to produce a date with Granger. Can he even do that?"
"Firstly, I won't lose," Ron argued. "And secondly, I can deliver on my bet."
"Even so, I think some sort of arrangement should be reached," Theo said. "How about a forfeit if someone fails to deliver on their bet? We can pick Weasley's forfeit if he doesn't deliver Granger, and if Draco fails to hand over the broomstick, you two can pick a one for him."
"That sounds fair to me," Blaise said with a nod. "And sealed with an unbreakable vow, I think."
"Unbreakable vows are not to be messed with," Ron pointed out with a slight frown.
"Who's messing?" Draco retorted. "I take betting very seriously. You can still back out Weasley. But if you're doing this, we take the vow. Either the loser pays up following the match, or else they undergo a forfeit picked by the winner."
"Ron, maybe you should walk away with dignity," Harry whispered to his best friend. "Maybe you both should," he amended, speaking louder so that Draco could hear. "Hermione won't approve of being put up as a bet."
"Weasley was the one who put her on the table," Draco pointed out. "I've given him an out if he wants to take it."
"I don't," Ron declared. "Let's do this. I'll agree to the vow and to the forfeit if the loser fails to pay."
Even though Harry was decidedly uncomfortable with the entire thing, he watched as Draco and Ron exchanged promises and sealed it with an unbreakable vow. Now whoever lost the bet would have to pay up or else face a forfeit, and Harry could only imagine how embarrassing the forfeit would be for the loser if it ever came to that.
"Nice doing business with you, Weasley," Draco said as he rose to his feet. "I'll look forward to my date with Granger."
"And I'll look forward to getting my hands on your broomstick, Malfoy," Ron retorted. "Enjoy it while you can. Soon it will be mine."
"If you say so Weasley," Draco replied with a smirk as he flicked his wand to banish his broomstick into his bedroom. "Come on boys, let's head back down to the dungeons. I've got a date to plan."
When the Slytherins had exited the room, laughing and joking, Harry turned to Ron and shook his head. "I can't believe you've just done that."
"Nor can I," Ron admitted as he paled and look at his best friend in horror. To be honest he'd been caught up in the moment and hadn't wanted to back down in front of the Slytherins. "Hermione is going to kill me, isn't she?"
"She is," Harry confirmed with a nod. "Unless she doesn't find out."
"We need to win more than ever," Ron said. "I can't lose, Harry. If I do, I'm a dead man."
"Luckily, we're not going to lose. So unless Malfoy opens his big mouth, Hermione needs never have to know that you bet her against a broomstick." Harry said confidently, hoping that he was right and Ron wasn't about to land himself in trouble with their feisty best friend.