Description: This is a bit of fluffy, pointless nonsense inspired by some fast and loose Astrology and my love of Geminis.
Message: Happy Birthday to In Dreams. I'm a day early, but I thought maybe you could use this today.
Subsequent Warning: This was a hastily written birthday surprise and, as such, is unalpha'd and unbeta'd and barely edited.
Disclaimer: I own a Gemini husband, but not Harry Potter.
Hermione snorts, "Well, that explains it."
Draco Malfoy glances over and wrinkles his brow at the witch. "Explains what?"
"Why I don't like you much," she replies haughtily, nose in the air. "You're a Gemini."
Draco is back at Hogwarts for his eighth year and currently sitting next to an infuriating little witch in Muggle Studies. He is under obligation from the Ministry to study the subject, his freedom partially pending on it. Why the world's most famous muggleborn decided to take it is beyond him. All he knows, is that their professor demanded on day one that they partner based on muggle versus magical knowledge to "broaden their perspectives". Being one of a very few purebloods in the class, he was quickly partnered up with the only full-on muggleborn. It's been a trial of patience ever since.
"Maybe now you'll learn something," she had sniped at him on the first day.
"Maybe, if you'd not been so busy being a bigoted little zealot, you'd already know this," she'd snapped on another.
Draco, for his part, has been as polite as he possibly can, nearly biting his tongue in two on more than one occasion.
Alright, so maybe not the very first day. He might have sneered at her when they were partnered and sat, unmoving, forcing her to move her material to his table rather than go to her. He, maybe, commented that he couldn't imagine why she needed the class other than to feed her own sense of intellectual superiority...
But that was all before he realized how awful his year would be, and he was trying to go on the offensive early against the hatred he expected her to spew.
Whether or not she'd have met him with the same vitriol had he been nicer that day is, unfortunately, a mystery for the ages.
Two months. It's only been two months, and it's all he can do to make it through the day in general. Hogwarts is much harder than he remembers, now that he's got a bit of a black mark on his record. Attempted murder has been pretty bad for his social calendar.
Granger, thankfully, had calmed a bit after the first couple of weeks. She seemed to get out what she needed to say, and Draco hadn't fought back. Now, she mostly keeps to herself, but today it appears, they are back to being at odds.
Class is about to start, and Hermione is looking over her materials that awaited them on their desks.
He tries to respond to her commentary, "I don't see what that has to do wi-"
"I'm a Virgo, obviously," she interrupts, eyes rolling while she's even still talking. Merlin, the girl is such a fright.
"And that means...?" He rolls his wrist, gesturing her to continue, and drawls the question, not particularly caring but mildly curious.
"Virgos and Gemini; we're like oil and water."
"Wait, wait..." Draco turns his body to face her fully, furrowing his brow. He's barely spoken to her beyond what is necessary for assignments, but he can't let this one go without a comment. "You mean to tell me, you spent years bemoaning the fraudulent nature of Divination, a branch of magic based on fucking real magic, but you believe what the muggles have to say about the bleeding stars?!"
He watches as she shrugs... she shrugs like what he's just said isn't a completely valid fucking point... and tips her snotty little nose in the air.
"All I know, Malfoy, is I've yet to meet a Gemini I particularly care for." She punctuates the comment with a little sniff, and Draco feels his hackles rise.
"Now just a minute-!"
"Good afternoon, class." Whatever he was about to say is cut off when Penelope Clearwater enters. A half-blood herself, she was recruited by Hogwarts for her "fair and balanced view" on the two cultures. Draco doesn't really think there is such a thing as a fair perspective. Perspective, by its very nature, can never be equivalent from different points of view.
Regardless, she has so far treated him more fairly than any other professor in this cursed castle. McGonagall peers down her nose at him. Slughorn looks afraid of him. Filch literally follows him between classes. At least Clearwater ignores him politely. Given the options, he'll take it.
"Today, as you might have guessed, we are starting a week long look at what muggles consider to be magic. The week will include Astrology, performance magic on both a large and small scale, and fortune telling. Beginning with the stars, what can any of you tell me about Astrology?
"It's a load of bullocks, the way muggles do it," a seventh year Hufflepuff snarks, and the room titters.
"That is, of course, a matter of opinion and debate," their instructor answers back diplomatically. "What makes you say that?"
"You can't divine just by using the stars," the boy snickers back at her. "Everyone knows that." A half-blood, Draco notes, but one who has always been more proud of his magical heritage. "Only a proper seer can divine anything, and they're really rare."
"The centaurs disagree with you," Hermione blurts out haughtily, and Draco looks at her askance. Isn't this the same witch who had nothing positive to say about Divination, centaurs, and any other form of the future based magics?
Clearwater nods, "Indeed they do. If you'll take a look at the parchment, you'll find a basic horoscope for your date of birth. Everything we are using today comes from Muggle sources, so let's see how they line up with what you already might know of your sign. I'll give you a moment to take a look at yours. Feel free to chat about your profile with your partner. Compare your findings based on how you view yourself and any prior knowledge you had and ask them to do the same."
Draco has never put much effort into Astrology. He's fully aware of all the aspects of Divination, and did well enough in the course. It just hadn't interested him on a personal level. He looks down and reads to himself. "Expressive and quick-witted, Gemini represents two different personalities in one and you will never be sure which one you will face. They are sociable, communicative, and ready for fun, with a tendency to suddenly get serious, thoughtful, and restless."
"Huh," he mutters aloud. Yes, he thinks, that sounds about right. He looks at Granger to find she is studying him. "Maybe muggles know what they're doing on this one thing," he comments. "I am terribly fun and sociable, after all."
The witch snorts at him, and he scowls in return. "Please. What you're sugar coating is that you're inconsistent, superficial, and you lack direction. Which is exactly why we can't even speak to each other civilly."
"Oh, yes?" he asks sarcastically. "And what about you then? What fantastic personality do you supposedly have?"
How she can look down to read with her pert little nose still up in the air is beyond him. "Virgo," she recites. "A Virgo personality is a mix of intelligence, attention to detail, common sense, and commitment. People born under this sign are quick-thinking, observant, and analytical.
She looks back at him smugly, and he answers the expression right back. "So what I'm hearing, is you are a bunch of fussy, judgmental, anal-retentive little swots. No wonder, I can't stand to speak to you."
"Figures. Just like you to turn intelligence and organization into something negative."
"Much as you look down your nose at someone who likes to have fun?"
"Well? The professor address the class. "What do you think?" Draco looks back up at Clearwater, seeing Granger do the same out of the corner of his eye. "Do you feel it has you pegged?"
He glances around, and there are no smart comments this time. Feeling uncharacteristically bold, Draco speaks. "It seems as though their descriptions are vague enough, safe, that nearly anyone could find themselves at least in part."
Clearwater nods, not quite meeting his eye, but acknowledging him. "Indeed, they often are. And in the muggle world, you'll find a lot of contention on the topic. The interesting thing about the way muggles view magic, is their disagreements. To us, magic is a fact. To muggles, so many stories and witnesses over the years, some muggles believe there is an entire world they just can't see. Some however, only trust in their own first-hand knowledge."
Draco snorts and he can't help but quip, "Probably the Virgos."
From his right, a witch lets a giggle escape her lips before covering her mouth in surprise. Eyes wide, Hermione glances at him to see if he noticed her slip.
A slow grin swims across his face. So she thinks he's clever, does she? For all her protests, she looks very much like she just told a secret. He's awash in renewed confidence as he settles in to listen to the rest of Clearwater's lecture.
Draco is very surprised at himself to find that he's still thinking about muggle pseudo Astrology for the rest of that day and into the following. After an odd lesson about performance magic (Why on earth would one need to pull a rabbit from a hat at a birthday party?), he makes his way to the library to see what Hogwarts has on Astrology.
What he finds is more in depth than he'd imagined; far more than they touched on in Divination. Elements and rising signs and even an entirely different zodiac from the east. Draco finds that he is a Gemini, but also a Monkey of all things. The signs seem somewhat compatible, both involving a fun-loving nature, but what the fuck, there's a dragon!? He should, by all rights, be a dragon.
"What are you reading?"
Looking up, Hermione Granger is standing over him trying to get a look at his book. "Just a bit of independent study."
"Is that…" She looks at him with wide shocked eyes. "Are you looking in to the zodiac?"
"It is part of a class, isn't it, Granger?" He sneers a little, feeling defensive and trying to drive her away. He's sure it will work. It always has. In his mind, she's already flouncing out the door in a huff, curls bouncing.
So he really doesn't anticipate it when she plops down beside him. "I've not researched as deeply into the Chinese zodiac. I know I'm a goat of course, but not much else."
He hadn't thought to look for her sign… Why would he? But now he's curious. Draco scoffs when he finds it listed. "Gentle and kind? That's complete rubbish obviously."
"Loyal, also," she bites back. "Plus, I'm very kind to those I'm loyal to. Anyway, it's more complex than that. You have to consider my element."
Without asking, she reaches over and grabs the book, pulling it toward her.
Somewhere across the library, Madam Pince shout-whispers a hush. Granger just ignores the protests of those around her, flipping through his book.
Draco lowers his voice somewhat, but whispers harshly, very close to her face, "I was using that!"
She looks over just long enough to give him an incredulous look. Like she doesn't believe he really was.
Her finger skimming over the page as her eyes dart the words, she finally stops and says, "Here. Earth people tend to be introverted and generous and they are tolerant, honest, trustworthy, diligent and steadfast by nature."
"You're absolutely right, then," he deadpans. "A complete swot who doesn't like fun. Congratulations, you proved muggle fake magic by being the most predictable, boring person who ever lived."
"Well what about you then? What's your element?" she challenges.
Sliding the book back in front of him and opening it to the guide that lists years and how they align to the animals and elements, Draco finds his year coordinates with metal. Skimming, he picks out a lot of words that sound exactly right. "Vigorous and strong…political leaders…ambitious, motivated-"
Again, she has snatched the book back, and she reads the same passage he was just highlighting. "Seems you missed a few. Extremely conceited…cunning… they like to pick holes and tell lies... So, your entire Hogwarts house is obviously made of metal stock, Malfoy," she quips.
He shrugs but then jerks the book back. "Did you want something, Granger? I don't recall asking you to join me."
She blushes, and Draco is irritated with himself to find it undeniably adorable. She covers it quickly, however, when she stands to leave. "Right. Just curious. I was… nevermind. See you in class."
Cue the flouncing away, curls and skirt tail bouncing. Draco is a little disappointed to see her go (but enjoys watching her leave!)
Wait, what? He looks back down to the book, his own flush creeping up his neck.
"So, what are your thoughts on fortune telling, then?" Draco finds he is honestly curious about this one. The class yesterday, full of the aforementioned rabbits in hats and pretending to cut people in half (muggles have a very odd sense of entertainment) and some nobody named David Copperfield, had been somewhat engaging, but he hadn't realized before this class that muggles had interests so close to Divination. Muggles even read tea leaves. He can't wait to see Granger rail against her own heritage for once.
"Oh, it's an industry," she says, not even looking up from the notes she's writing on her parchment.
Draco is a bit confused and waits for clarification. When none comes, he nudges her foot with the toe of his shoe. It seems to startle her, and her head turns quickly in his direction.
He simply raises his brow, indicating she could be less fucking vague, thanks.
"What? Oh. Fortune telling? It's a muggle industry. Business."
His eyes roll so far into his head, Granger herself must be proud. "I know what an industry is, I just don't see how it works since they can't really divine."
"Well, people claim to be able to read the future, and other muggles pay them money to find out more about their lives or ask for advice on how to go forward.
Draco wrinkles his brow, confused. "But… muggles don't believe in magic."
"But they pay other muggles to do magic for them… which is fake."
"Granger… that's the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard!"
She laughs freely, her face lighting up. It occurs to him that this week marked a new turn in their interactions. She hasn't sniped at him or belittled him in at least a couple of days. In turn, he has allowed himself to merely interact with her. It's oddly pleasant, as is her smile just now. Salazar save him, is she….pretty? Fuck a duck, he's in trouble.
"Muggles have… a very strange relationship with magic. They don't believe in it logically, because they are told it's impossible. Especially the most intelligent muggles. Highly educated and logical people think believing in what can't be scene or proven by science is a fanciful waste of time. But…" she looks a little wistful for a moment, then continues. "But, they also have a bit of a love affair with fantastic things. Muggles want to believe a world they can't see, even the ones who steadfastly do not. The feeling of wonder... it's enchanting. I remember the first time I held a wand. It was like nothing I could have dreamed possible."
Oh, holy fuck, she's opening up to him. How's he supposed to remain indifferent when she's being so… real? It's just going to hurt when she devolves into Death Eater quips and pointed remarks about his evil tendencies. Brushing her harsh opinions aside are easy when she's just some mean witch he has to sit next to.
"So, as for the fortune tellers," she is continuing to the original point, "Muggles visit them, and they want to let themselves believe. There's a psychology to the practice, of course, as with all muggle magic. Like the rabbit in the hat. It seems like there's no way he got the rabbit in there. You don't think about false bottoms or sleight of hand, because you see it appear, magically, with your own eyes. It's fun to believe, so they choose to do so."
"Very well said, Hermione."
Draco and his partner both snap their eyes to the front of the room where Penelope Clearwater was waiting patiently to begin her lesson. Not only that, but every eye in the room is on the pair.
"I… sorry, Professor."
The young woman waves the apology away, and picks up where Granger left off.
"What Hermione is saying is quite true for some muggles. By and large, muggles do not honestly believe in magic, but amongst those, some like to play pretend on occasion. There is a small contingent who do claim it to exist, but of course they can't prove it since… we don't let them."
The class chuckles with her, Granger included.
"Now, let's discuss the history of fortune telling and how technology has affected the practice in recent years."
Draco listens, but not as closely as he should. Instead, he's lost in a bit of reverie, his gaze steady on the witch at his side. Head down, his eyes are peering at her from through the platinum fringe of his hair. It wouldn't do to be caught looking, after all.
It's not like it was three years ago when Granger showed up after the summer a bit taller, a bit filled out, and a lot attractive. There was no choice, then, as to how he could react. He couldn't possibly allow himself to notice her. To be civil with her. Not with the… political climate at the time. Now, it's simply a matter of inconvenience.
It would be inconvenient to have to go toe to toe with Potter and Weasley if he ever saw her socially.
It would be inconvenient to enter any type of relationship, friendship or otherwise, with a witch who has a history of bleeding on the floor in his house.
It would be inconvenient to invite a muggleborn to dinner with his neutered but loud and uncomfortable family. Lucius couldn't do anything to her. He doesn't even have a wand… But he does maintain a very smart mouth.
It would be inconvenient to develop an attraction to a witch that at least mildly hates him.
Too fucking late.
"Over the weekend, I'd like you and your partner to create a fake fortune for one another. Based on the general trajectory of their lives, their social circumstances, future plans… Try to divine a believable scenario. I encourage you to interview each other so that you can make it as believable as possible. See you Monday." With that curt farewell, Professor Clearwater opens the door to the corridor and gives them all a smile, gesturing for them to be on their way.
"Well, I certainly don't have time for this in the morning," Hermione says with her usual haughty and stressed demeanor. "I already have a project for Slughorn, and the brew times are very particular."
"You might recall," he drawls, bemused, "I have the same class and will be brewing that as well."
"Yes…right." she agrees, seeming a little embarrassed to have forgotten. "Be that as it may, I just don't see when would be best. I'm sure you have something else planned for tomorrow night."
"No," he says, quickly. "That is," he tries to sound smooth, "this is important. I don't have any plans I can't change."
Alright so Draco has no bloody plans. Witches aren't exactly lined up around the block for a broody ex-villain, no matter what Witch Weekly might pedal to its readers. The truth is, Blaise is in Italy, Theo has his lips wrapped around Daphne Greengrass, Goyle is hiding at Durmstrang, Pansy at Ilvermorny, and Vince is…
Well, suffice it to say, his Draco's options are low.
She's eyeing him curiously. "So… would you like to meet tomorrow night then? After dinner?"
He shrugs, going for casual but maybe not quite hitting the mark. "Sure. I'll meet you in the library. At our table," he tosses on at the end, infusing a little levity into the exchange.
It seems to work and she looks less distrustful, more amused. "Alright then. It's a date."
He watches her pick up her parchments and quills and prance out the door, a smile stretching his lips.
When Granger finds him at the same table in the library, she looks down at him, amused. "What's this?"
With a gesture of his palm over the contents of the table, he answers with his most impish grin, "A date."
Chuckling softly under her breath, she starts to sit in the chair across the table. Jumping up quickly, Draco tuts at her. "Ah, ah. Allow me." He pulls out her chair and waits expectantly.
The looks she gives him is dubious, mistrustful, but with a hint of enjoyment. "Thank you," she murmurs, and he smiles back.
"So, really, what is this? It doesn't look like a date I've ever seen."
Draco takes stock of what's before him, and explains. "This represents everything I knew about muggles before I came to Hogwarts. I thought it might be useful to start a conversation."
On display, Draco laid out a box of muggle chocolates that Honeydukes imports, a book called 'Slaughterhouse Five' that Draco tried to read when he was ten, but it had made no sense, and folded muggle denims he loves to wear but was never allowed growing up.
"Where on earth did you find all this? Not the Toffee Crisp… I'm sure you picked that up at Honeydukes or something. But the others…?"
"Contraband," he mock whispers, leaning forward like they are sharing a great conspiracy. "Little known fact about pureblood children: we love sneaking around with muggle artifacts."
"Well that makes complete sense, actually," she tells him. "A bunch of entitled little heirs sneaking mummy and daddy's liquor and reading subversive counter-culture literature? I think that's every society on earth." She points at the book. "What did you think of that?"
"It makes no sense," he answers. "It's like there's a time turner? Sort of? But it's broken."
She offers a smile. "You should give it another try. I could help you… with the muggle aspects…I mean, if you like. I'm sure you wouldn't of course." She's quick to backtrack, and Draco sees a blush once again stain her cheeks.
"Do you have a copy," he asks, gesturing to the cover.
"Alright. We'll start one of those… what do you call them… 'book clubs' then," he confirms. "Read the first three chapters tomorrow. We can discuss it Monday."
"I… " A smile, slow but bright,, forms on her face, and she agrees. "You have a deal, Malfoy. Monday then."
"So for our assignment today? Do you have a fortune for me, Granger?"
"I'm working on it," she says. "You certainly gave me good material here."
Draco smirks, pleased by her praise. "So what about my half of this partnership? How do I learn about you?"
She rolls her eyes, but it seems much more good-natured than it had only five days before. "You could try asking me something, you know. Merlin, I don't even know what you do know about me, much less what you would be interested in."
He thinks for a moment, recognizing this as an opportunity. She's leaving the door wide open for him to ask anything. Where to begin?
Well, there's the very obvious since he has apparently lost his faculties and has started flirting with the witch. "What about romance, Granger? What kind of wizard catches the eye of the Brightest Witch in the Golden Trio?"
"Ugh. Stop. Do not ever use any of those ridiculous titles again. If I were reading the story of my life right now, I'd burn the damn book. I hate those stupid labels."
Draco is pretty sure his eyes are twinkling right now. For all her protesting, she's growing much more lively and engaged in their conversation. He laughs and holds up his hands in surrender. "Never again, I swear. But you still have to answer the question. How can I make a believable prediction if I don't know about your current love life?"
Her answering blush is deep and obvious, and Draco wonders if he had actually even seen one before. Compared to this, she might have just been feeling a little warm in instances past.
"I don't… that is to say, I do not currently have a love life… in which I am participating. Right now. Currently."
She's unattached. Draco gives himself a mental high-five. He hasn't seen her with anyone since she and the Weasel King called it quits, but rumours have been many and varied. She might be secretly married to an Auror, or having it off with one of the Professors, or in an illicit affair with Luna Lovegood… if one listens to the talk circulating Hogwarts.
"I have it on good authority," he says with a grin, "that you are quite the sought after witch these days. None of your prospects light your cauldron, as it were."
She wrinkles her nose. "Are you just trying to be unappealing?" He laughs as she finishes, "Because you are doing a bang-up job, I must say."
"Fine then. How about this: any wizards you fancy at the moment?" He wriggles her eyebrows at her.
"I, uhm… I think I'd like a different line of questioning, please."
Draco starts to press the issue, but she's looking down at her hands in her lap, and looks like she is tipping the scales of a little embarrassed into something else. Mortified? Ashamed?
An unrequited crush, perhaps? That's slightly problematic for a Draco, who is becoming more interested, but not insurmountable.
Sitting back, offering his most boyish and disarming smile, he throws her a proverbial bone. "As my lady wishes. Tell me about this apprenticeship I hear you are up for with Snape."
Her smile is back to being sunny, and she tells him all about how his Godfather is looking for a Hogwarts alum to assist in his potion research. Draco listens as if he had no idea, watching her face light up with excitement.
Draco is exhausted on Monday. He stayed up far too late finishing that stupid amazing book and now he's completely beat. On the brightside, he is very much looking forward to seeing Hermione today. They had stayed in the library until curfew on Saturday night. On Sunday, when he passed her in the corridor, she had offered a pleasant, "Good morning, Draco," that made his chest flutter like a sodding girl. Where did this come from? Fuck, he's got it bad.
"Today, if you recall, we are going to share our predictions with our partners. This is merely a participation grade, but expect I will actually read them to see if what you've done qualifies as participating. I expect personal details to be evident in the fortunes."
Feeling a bit nervous, Draco looks over to find Hermione chewing on her lip. He clears his throat to get her attention. "Well, I suppose I could start then?"
She nods. Draco thinks it looks like she might be sick.
With a little fanfare, Draco begins. "I see great things in your future," he says with a touch of drama, laying it on thick, as they say. "Though you will begin a career in potions, your efforts will lead you back to your true love of research. A position in the Ministry assisting the Aurors will be open upon the retirement of a senior analyst, and you'll be groomed to take his place. You'll marry later in life, only once your position at the Ministry is secure. Your one child, because one makes sense to your organized Virgo brain, will have a pretentious name that no one can pronounce when they see it written. You'll be Minister of Magic before the child reaches Hogwarts."
He folds his paper and looks expectantly. He thought it was pretty good.
"Minister, huh?" She looks a little intrigued by that, though still a bit green. "You have a lot of faith in me, apparently."
"Well, you kept Potter alive for years, and he's hopeless. I think you can work miracles, truthfully." She laughs at that, and he had said it with a bit of sarcasm, but he's also pretty serious. Potter was an unmitigated disaster…
"Would you like to hear yours?"
"Obviously," he drawls, channeling a little Snape into his tone.
"Right… well… so, you'll finish Hogwarts with excellent marks-"
"That's not a fortune," he interrupts with a good-natured smirk. "There's no doubt of my… intellectual prowess." How he manages to make that sound provocative, he isn't sure, but her blush lets him know he was successful.
"Yes. Of course." She's not going to snark back?
"So, you finish here and you spend some time just being free. It's that Gemini Monkey in you," she says with a nervous smile. "You want to make up for all those years of obligations and experience some things. Muggles have more than one candy bar, you realize. And books. Your family wants you to marry young, but you decide to go your own way. By the time you settle down to your estate obligations, you've seen so much of the world, but are happy to finally be home."
There is a long pause, at the end of which, Draco asks, "That's it? No grand love affair? No stellar career?"
"Yes, well," she says primly, folding the parchment, "I guess I just don't have much of an imagination."
Their conversation stalls, and Draco turns his attention back to the front of the room. Soon, the rest of their classmates seem to be finished, and the professor takes charge of the lesson.
As he listens, he notices Grange shuffling about in what she probably thinks is a subtle and sneaky manner with some of her papers.
"Remember, you still owe me twenty inches on muggle performance magic by Wednesday. And leave your fortunes here on my desk for your participation marks. Have a good afternoon."
Draco notices that Granger can't seem to pack up fast enough. "Are we still on for after dinner," he asks.
She looks confused, and he clarifies, "For our book club, Granger." He tries to sound playful, but he's a little concerned.
"Oh… you really wanted to do that?"
He falters, unsure if he will appear too eager if he goes with his gut reaction of "what the fuck, Granger, of course I still wanted to do that and, as an aside, I read the whole fucking book for you!"
Instead, he says casually, "Sure. I mean, if you want. I managed the first couple of chapters."
"Alright then… I suppose. See you later."
She grabs her things and heads toward the front of the room, laying her parchment down on the desk.
Except, wait, that wasn't the paper she read. He clearly saw the way she folded it in half. This was perfectly uncreased and flat.
Shoving his own work in his back and flinging his assignment on the desk, he bolts out after her. "Granger! Hey, Granger, wait!"
When she stops and turns, she looks a bit terrified. Usually more subtle, Draco goes with a bold approach. "Why did you switch your prediction?"
"I didn't," she argues too quickly. Merlin, she's a terrible liar.
With a raised brow and cocky grin, he points to her bag. "Granger, I can see the corner still sticking out of your bag."
She looks down and her eyes go wide. He was only mildly interested before, but her facial expression looks like he caught her doing something naughty. Making a snap decision, he plucks the paper from the corner of her bag and pulls it out of her reach.
"Hey! Malfoy, give that back!"
"Ah, ah," he chastises. "See? Isn't it frustrating when someone comes along and snags what you are working on?"
"Malfoy… please," she says through gritted teeth. "Please, may I have my paper? It's not… it was just a first draft. The other was a nicer copy."
"Oh?" He asks with faux innocence? "What was it I was going to do after Hogwarts again? I just wanted to check your prediction…"
He unfolds it and holds the paper open just above his line of sight, tilting it down. Petite thing that she is, Granger can't seem to take it back. He chuckles, but it dies in his throat as he reads.
"Draco Malfoy finishes the top of his class at Hogwarts. He has mostly taken second in marks over his educational career, but the top spot is traditionally held by a witch who finds she is distracted this year, her grades suffering in favour of a particular romantic pursuit. Draco doesn't follow his family's wishes to marry a pureblood heiress, choosing instead to follow the signs to a more unconventional dalliance. The odds are hardly in their favour, poorly matched as they are, but she assures him Astrology and Divination is a bunch of nonsense, and we make our own destiny. She hopes very much he might agree, lest her decline in performance, and this bold prediction, be all for naught."
"What…" There's probably a question that should be asked here, but Draco can't for the life of him figure out what it would be. When he looks back at her, tearing his eyes away from the page, she is eyeing the ground and kicking her foot like a soon to be scolded child.
It seems her bravery, the courage that drafted this unconventional flirtation, failed her, so Draco clears his throat and steels his resolve, ready to pick up the mantle.
She looks up at the sound of her name. She's probably never heard him say it before. He's not entirely sure he ever has, but he rather likes it and thinks he might use it again. Trying to soothe her with a smile, he asks, "I thought you were pretty fond of Astrology. Are you discounting it on my behalf? Surely you don't actually believe it's nonsense…"
"I… no. That is, I actually enjoy Astrology over other aspects of Divination. It… it reads things pretty right for me sometimes."
"Well, that's very inconvenient," he says. "I'm pretty fond of the idea that we make our own destiny… with whomever we choose."
"We do… she agrees. But the stars can give us clues sometimes."
Draco frowns, unsure what she is trying to say. "I'm not fond of what the stars think about Geminis with Virgos."
"Oh, right. Well, you have to look closely sometimes. The stars are a bit finicky, you see. I happen to be a unique Virgo that sits on the cusp of Libra. And Libras… well, they are very compatible with Gemini." Her voice has gown softer as she speaks, obviously nervous.
Draco is nervous too, just trying very hard not to admit it. Or show it. He takes a step closer, trying to seem confident.
"If I didn't know better," he says, "I'd say you were trying to chat me up. In your own unique and swotty way that is."
Her face screwing up, she huffs, "There's no reason to make fun of me."
"Oh, Granger..." Draco laughs, finding her suddenly adorable. "I'm certainly doing no such thing. Or, am I wrong? Was there another intention to this?" He waves the parchment in reference, keeping his eyes trained on her.
"Nevermind, Malfoy. It was stupid, obviously," she says, and finally manages to snag the paper from his fingers.
"On the contrary, this might be the smartest thing you've ever done. Or at least, the most intuitive. How did you know I was waiting for an opening?"
She looks at him, studying him, and he watches her throat pulse as she swallows. Absently, he reaches and sweeps a curl back that is tickling her cheek.
"Is this an opening then?" she asks, cautious and unsure. Draco nods at her, so she continues, "And what will you do with it?"
Well that's an invitation if he ever heard one. His smile broadens into something entirely sincere. "Will you still meet me tonight?"
"I... I had planned on it. You still... you just want to talk about books?"
"Oh, no, no," he assures her, still slightly amused by the usually bossy little lion being so obviously nervous. "Not just books. I want to know more about our Gemini, Libra compatibility. Let's say we test that theory, shall we? You know, as the muggles say, for science."
She swallows again, increasingly ill at ease. "How would we test it?"
Draco looks around and finds they are alone, most students probably already at their next class. If they aren't careful, they will be late, but right now, his heart hammering and his blood pulsing, he really doesn't care.
Stepping into her space, he looks down at her and brushes his fingertips across her jaw. "Well," he says quietly, "we could keep discussing literature."
She nods, just barely, keeping her eyes trained on his and seeming to lean forward into his touch.
"We could do some research on Astrology, of course," he mentions, licking his lips and leaning closer.
Her lips part, but she doesn't react.
"Or we could experiment," he whispers, hand now splayed against her neck, his thumb still settled against the bone of her jaw. "Like this," he adds, noting she isn't pulling away. "I could just kiss you."
So he does. Her lips are immediately responsive to his, though not aggressive. It is a teasing, unsure, experimental kiss. It's divine as well... no pun intended.
When he pulls back, his eyes open before hers. He has just a split second to gaze down at the apparent rapture on her face. "Merlin, you're lovely."
Her eyes open, and she promptly flushes once again. Neither of them seem to be moving away from the other, just standing close, his hand still on her neck and the other laid softly at her waist. "Tonight then?" she says, voice affected and rough.
He nods, grinning. "Tonight. Though..." he pauses, thinking. "Not the library. I don't think we need more books for our research, do you?"
She shakes her head in agreement and pulls away, much to his disappointment. "I have to... get to class," she says as she backs further down the corridor. "The Room of Requirement," she says. "At seven. I'll meet you in the hall just outside."
He nods in agreement, very much looking forward to it.
"Hermione," he calls, as she's just about to disappear. "By the way, I looked, and earth and metal...? Very compatible. Maybe there's something to all this after all?"
He winks at her before turning the other direction, whistling to himself as he looks forward to learning all the ways they might fit together.
Thanks for reading :)