[edit 061203] I'm tempted to write a fairy tale. Yes. Really. But not just yet. At any rate, this is the chapter where everything changes and no longer follows the original storyline. For those of you that liked the original storyline ... I apologise but I simply wasn't feeling' it. [/edit 061003]

Midsummer Nights

overture ii
Why, if it isn't Gryffindor's very own personal dictionary.

The previous night came and went, and almost every student who was fascinated with the idea of prancing around behind masks had forgotten everything enchanting about the celebration. They forgot about the muggy atmosphere, the clear indigo skies and its blanket of stars. They forgot about the bright silver moon and the dancing pyreflies, and they had dismissed their dancing partners as figments of their imagination and continued to live their lives at Hogwarts. Everything magical of the autumn season had died away with the leaves, leaving the rest to Nature and its quest for winter.

Of the few who remembered, Pansy Parkinson was one person. She stared out her window and looked out below to the lush green. It seemed inviting. Every day she would look out and contemplate this life she led of unhappiness and gloom. Every day she would wonder what it was about her that made her seem so imperfect in the eyes of many. She would wonder what it was that made her so desirable and yet that feeling to be desired left nothing but remnants of ugliness. Perhaps it was because she was only an item to be glorified by her fellow Slytherins, an item that would be used and tossed away the minute something better came along.

The worst part of her life was that she paid no mind to it, let everyone control and abuse her like they did. Of course, she would retaliate back when necessary; that was the life she was born to lead. Yet, she allowed these things to happen, continuously, because somewhere deep inside her lingered a kind of hope, a hope which called for the attention of a particular Slytherin. She had received that attention several times before, but she felt his weariness and his lack of enthusiasm whenever he was with her.

She was hated by the one person she held deep affections for.

And it hurt.

Pansy looked beside her to the softly snoring, Marcus Flint. Yet again, in this miserable life that was her own, she was another dirty trophy to put on his list of triumphs.

And she didn't mind one bit.

He was sitting in the library, admiring a particular portrait that was veiled in the shadowed section of the room. He assumed it was dusty, very much ancient, as he had studied Madame Pince polish the countless portraits on more than one occasion, yet had left this hidden one alone.

It was an elegant and miserably haunting picture of an unknown Utopia. It was in the midst of a clearing, where a large lake rippled under an ominous full moon. A waterfall fell in a delicate stream into the lake, the sound of water on water faintly heard. The occasional animal would scamper off in the darkness of the surrounding forest and all that was left of the painting were the two ill-fated lovers who floated on the water's surface, lifeless but still amazingly beautiful. Their hands were linked, yet the light current were trying to rip them apart. Several times throughout the day he would see the two lovers on opposite sides of the lake, and then he would see them back together again.

He turned his head when he saw the library door open. He grinned, recognising the bushy, albeit slightly tamed, hair and the figure that hunched itself over piles of books, carefully trying to balance them.

Why, if it isn't Gryffindor's very own personal dictionary. He smirked.

She yelped and dropped her books.

Bugger off, Malf- Zabini?

chapter iii
I'm just here to grace you with my presence.

Oh for Merlin's sake, Seamus! Ron sighed, dramatically, Sit your arse down on a chair or something and keep it there; otherwise, I'll nail you down. I'm trying to concentrate here.

Harry leaned back against the very comfortable chair in the Gryffindor common room, looking at the wonderful chess board in triumph. Six years had gone by and not once had he beaten Ron in a chess game. In fact, in in his sixth year, he was about to give up. He wondered if Merlin was taking pity upon him now because he saw no way Ron could get out of his dilemma. While Ron pondered his next move, his eyes fell on Seamus who had landed on one of the couches and was now staring at the ceiling. Something was obviously bothering him.

Bishop to C-7. Checkmate.

Harry snapped his head to the chess board. He glared. This game was truly malicious. The chair felt rough beneath his body and Ron's chess pieces seemed to be taunting him.

I want a re-match. Harry declared, hotly.

If you're so adamant in losing, then bring it on.

Do you often think of Malfoy to assume that he would be sitting here right now?

Hermione glared and kneeled down to pick up the large tomes.

Fortunately, no. He just has a twisted way of lounging about so he has reason to pester me while I'm studying. She snapped.

Blaise sunk deeper into the chair and snickered, as Hermione struggled to stand up on her feet with the books threatening to topple over every which way.

All you Slytherins are pompous gits. She muttered, angrily. No decency whatsoever.

Blaise sat up and stared after her retreating back that was walking towards the restricted section. And after tonight, I'll have no choice but to think all you Slytherins as pompous gits.'

He called from his seat.

Why don't you leave me alone and smite some first-years instead! She exclaimed from where she was.

He quirked an eyebrow. That actually wasn't a bad idea. He would have to add that to his agenda for the day. For now, however, he jumped off of his chair and proceeded to follow the same path Hermione took. Day or night, the restricted section was kept awfully dark so he had no choice but to squint and search for a petite silhouette.

Have you sunk so low that you've resorted to stalking? Her voice said from behind him. He wasn't sure if he jumped in surprise but if he did, she was good at pretending nothing had happened.

On the contrary, Miss Granger. Blaise replied. Actually, I was going to ask you if you attended yesterday's celebration?

She stiffened. Had she let something slip?

She cleared her throat. No, actually. I rested up for the night.

Blaise studied her. Maybe his eyes were deceiving him since it was so dark, but if he was right he could see her nibbling her bottom lip and tucking a strand behind her ear, occasionally fiddling with the sleeves of her robes. Well, there was only one way to confirm her nervousness.

You were there. He said matter-of-factly.

Hermione snorted. You sound sure of yourself.

Of course. Has no one told you that you are a dreadful liar?

Actually, yes, but in this case I try to refrain from lying.

Are you really?

Hermione ignored him and walked the way to the exit of the library. Sensing his close footsteps, she increased her pace. Slytherins and their determined streak. It was absolutely irritating and tiring and ooh! she wished he would just trip over his robes and laces to get him off her back. She knew she was afraid of letting her identity make itself known. In all honesty, she was one of the many that wanted to forget - and was on the verge of forgetting - last night's events. It was a disturbing night because one, she danced with two Slytherins; two, she kissed Draco Malfoy; and three, she was bloody dressed up as a girlish faery who showed too much skin for her liking. She didn't know what part of that night was the worst. Oh, and she still had yet to find out who her first dance partner was. Well, not that it really mattered. Or maybe ...

She spun around and faced him.

No, I wasn't there. You were probably dancing with some other person. Really, I never had to speak with you since first year and I'd like to keep our acquaintances with each other as such. She said, curtly, and proceeded towards the Gryffindor tower.

Blaise grinned.

Hermione Granger really was a terrible liar.

Draco studied the mask he held in his hand. There was something about its designs and its shape that he recognised. It was a small mask with exquisite, glittered swirls and rare jewels embedded into the smooth, glass ivory. He threw the mask on his bed and stared at it, his thoughts straying from the topic at hand to one of more significance - to him, at least. The girl he had had danced the night before had haunted his dreams overnight. She looked nothing like an ordinary girl. In fact, he couldn't even detect whether she was a pureblood or not and even then he decided that at that very moment he didn't really care.

Well ... that was then.

He did care now.

What he did care about was not pursuing her.

Draco looked towards one of the inner doors, the one that connected itself to the bathroom and right across to the Head Girl's room. Unfortunately, the Head Girl just happened to be the bane of his existence. What surprised him was that he hadn't insulted her in two days - a feat by his standards. He grinned, evilly. He would have to do something about that.

So, with one last glance of the mask (he made a mental note that he would search for the girl later), he slipped into his school robes and sauntered out of his tower.

Hermione Granger was settled on a rock, which overlooked the lake. As always, her head was buried in some book and absorbing all its information it could provide. And, as always, whenever she was really into her studies, she would absently run a finger over her lips. Draco smirked. For a mudblood, she wasn't at all quite bad-looking. She didn't bear the same exotic features as the Patil sisters or the beauty and sensuality as Lavender Brown and Fleur Delacour. In fact, she would have paled in comparison. But Hermione Granger was different. She was like an unfinished, vintage portrait who would become ever more lovlier with age. Oh, and she had such an intellectual beauty, which made her all the more lovlier.

She had beauty and brains that he had learned to admire and respect over his growing years. Would he admit to feeling an inkling of something for her? No, of course not, because he didn't feel anything. Admiration and affection were two different things and he would never place those two words together when thinking about the god-awful muggleborn. Still, he couldn't help but admit that she was an intrigue that needed to be discovered. To discover the multi-layered person that she was, he did it the only way a Malfoy could: he mocked and taunted her with cruel words, watched emotions control her features, observed, silently, in the shadows. He had learned her quirkiest habits from observation. Living in the same tower with her had its benefits, although he wished she was a bit more interesting than curt nods and sharp replies. Her wit and sarcasm made up for it whenever she rose to the occasion, surprisingly.

Yes, she was definitely an intrigue.

He acknowledged.

Hermione lifted her eyes from her book and risked a side-glance, already knowing who it was that had greeted her.

She said in return and resumed to reading.

After making Head Boy and Girl, they had made a silent truce. Alone, they were free from differences that bound them - no longer were they Slytherin and Gryffindor. Alone, they were just Draco and Hermione. Nevertheless, that wasn't an open invitation to like one another. In addition, they weren't allowed to provoke each other and, if so, every thing would be open to harsh banters and the impersonal boundaries that they made would be erased. Of course, that hadn't refrained Draco from hounding her whenever the chance presented itself. It seemed his life duty was to annoy her to the ends of the world.

Anything I can help you with, Malfoy? She asked, dully.

Not particularly, he responded. I'm just here to grace you with my presence.

Hermione snorted. Your graces would be appreciated elsewhere.

He crossed his arms and leaned against the rock.

You wound me, woman. Normal people would want me around.

Normal people don't have big heads like you do.

Hermione resisted the urge to laugh at this curious situation she was in. They had been decent to each other since the beginning of the year, minus the frequent incidents that occurred in the library that she had soon branded as their room', but having a decent conversation to match went far beyond her understanding. It was as if hell had frozen over and would gladly freeze over again and again. Really, Malfoy never ceased to impress her, even if it was for miniscule things.

Well, despite that, she still had to rid herself of him.

What is it that you want? Honestly, Malfoy, two conversational Slytherins two days in a row is enough to drive someone - particularly me - over the edge.

Draco looked at her; she bit her lip and cursed herself.

You, my dear, she thought, have a very big mouth.

Come again?

She answered, rapidly. I have to go. I'll see you in Arithmancy.

His eyes were unreadable as she climbed down the rock and walked away from him. There was something she had said - something quite disturbing all on its own.

The girl from yesterday spoke with two Slytherins, including him. It would be a ridiculous coincidence if it was her and Merlin, would it be a disappointment.

He weighed the possibilities.

Surprisingly, he wasn't sure if he would be disappointed at all.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
end chapter iii, 081203

Well, that would be the chapter. So for the original readers, you can see the very, very drastic changes that are taking place. I apologise if you liked the light-hearted fairy tale version, but I wanted something more complicated. Huh. And every time I work on an [AU] Pansy, my likeness for her grows ever more. Blaise's character is hard to define so whether he's out-of-character or not seems hard to tell. For informational purposes, I tend to characterize him as someone smarmy like Draco, an intelligent youth who keeps to himself most of the time, or a mixture of both. It really depends what story I'm writing.

The next chapter should come out sooner. Cat and Mouse is undergoing its own revision and No Bed of Roses is teetering between being updated or being revised as well. I haven't decided. From here hence, if I sporadically disappear from this alias I am most likely to be found under paradoxical.

Replies to your very much appreciated and wonderful reviews can be found in an entry of my fic journal.