~The Curse That Went Awry~

~Chapter One: Stupidity~

"So...wait...how'd you get to be Head Boy?"

Draco sighed at Crabbe's pitifully slow thought process. "I just told you."

"I know, but I didn't get it."

"Remember all those times when I was studying while you were running into walls?"

"Uh...no..."

"Okay, let's put this more simply. Remember all those times when you were running into walls?"

"Uh..."

"Remember those times when you were busy pigging out?"

"Oh yeah!"

"I was studying."

"So?"

"So that's how I got to be Head Boy."

"What?"

"Don't make me go over this again..."

Goyle held up a hand to stop the conversation. "I don't get it."

_Why do I hang around with these two? Oh, yeah. No, wait, I don't know,_ Draco thought, rolling his eyes and sighing once again. _Oh my God, I sound like them. I have to get out of here..._ "I'm going for a walk," he announced.

"Oh. Can we come?"

"No! No. You stay here," he said reassuringly. "I'll be right back."

"Okay. Maybe the snack cart will come around," said Goyle, though it had just been there fifteen minutes before.

"Yeah!" agreed Crabbe. "We could get some Chocolate Frogs!"

Letting them continue their inane conversation, Draco shook his head in disgust and stalked out of the train car. Supposing he'd head to the Prefects' car, he veered to the left, and, just as the train hit a small bump in the tracks, two people walked out of the compartment before him.

Unfortunately for him, it was Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. Or as they were better known, Granger and the Weasel.

Catching an evil glare from the Weasel, Draco narrowed his eyes, putting on his best Not-You-Again look. His attention was diverted however, by Granger saying,

"Have you been patrolling?" It was a reprimanding tone. "As Head Boy, you really should start to take your responsibilities more seriously, you know, not just letting your friends get off punishment."

Draco nearly sagged in disappointment. They hadn't been able to perform the usual exchange of cold greetings. "No, Granger, I haven't been patrolling. I was--"

"Ignoring responsibilities again, Malfoy?" said Weasley. "You're gonna have your work cut out for you this year, Hermione."

"So it seems, Ron."

Draco resisted the urge to rub his temples. He could feel a headache coming on--he definitely did not need this much annoyance this early in the year. Truth be told, he got enough of that from the two stooges back in his car. "Look, I don't--"

"Hey, Draco!" came from behind him, and he jumped (not much, of course, more of a flinch than a jump, really). He recognized the voice.

"I thought I told you two to stay there?"

"You did? Hey..." They'd apparently spotted the Gryffindors he'd been in conversation with. As Draco turned his eyes skywards, behind him, Goyle turned to Crabbe. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"Thinking?" Ron snorted, and Draco couldn't help but mentally agree.

"Yeah..." said Crabbe. Wands were suddenly removed from pockets, and the two said together:

"Petricifus Totalinarianus!"

Everything happened very quickly after that. Before Draco was quite sure what they were trying to say, the world began to rush strangely around him.

*********

The first thing Draco was aware of when he woke up was a great number of cold pointy objects poking into his face. Slowly he opened his eyes, and he became aware of something else-- hair. Lots of bushy hair. He groaned. As though in response, the hair stirred, brushing his left cheek. The next thing he became aware of was a dull weight sprawled across his back. There was a feminine-sounding groan next to his ear, and his head shot up.

The second they spotted each other, they sprang apart to an impressive distance of five feet.

"What the-?" Granger began to ask, cutting herself off.

Slowly, Draco turned to see the empty train tracks winding off into the distance above them. "Bloody Gorillas!" he shouted after the vanished train. He then proceeded to string together many of the curse words he was familiar with. At last noticing Granger's paralytic stare, he turned back to her. "What?"

"Um..." she said faintly, as if realizing exactly what had happened.

"Yeah. They're idiots." He clapped his hands to the sides of his face in utter disgust at the company he kept. Given the fact that they were now in the middle of nowhere, he asked himself, "Now what?"

"Well, when Harry and Ron got stuck back at Platform 9 and 3/4, they followed the train tracks in Mr. Weasley's flying car," Hermione answered.

"Do you see a car anywhere, Granger?"

Placing her hands on her hips, she fixed him with an exasperated look. "If you'll let me finish, I was trying to say that we could follow the train tracks-"

"We're miles from nowhere!" Draco exclaimed.

"It's better than sitting here forever," Hermione said. She gazed up at the train tracks, then looked back at Draco. "Do you have your wand?"

Reaching into his pocket, he said, "Uh-oh...no, it's okay, I have it." Then he smiled at the look of panic he'd brought to her face.

"Do you know how to Apparate?"

"No..."

"Right. We'll have to walk."

"Wait a minute! Why are you suddenly making all the decisions?!"

"I don't see you coming up with any useful ideas."

"That's because you won't let me think!"

"I'm sorry, I forgot that was a skill you actually possessed."

There was a pause.

"Any ideas?"

"Rassafriggamfraggam..."

"No?"

"Rrrrr...."

"Then we'll walk."

"Okay, fine. We'll walk, then."

"Yes, we will."

"I just said that!"

"I know! I'm just agreeing with you!"

"So we'll walk!"

"We'll walk."

"Fine."

"Fine."

They walked. After a few minutes, Hermione turned to him, and, enraged, exclaimed, "Will you stop walking that way?!"

"Walking what way?"

"Like you're in your stupid Manor. No one is here to be impressed."

"Yes, I know." There was a pause. Then she caught the meaning.

"Hey!"

"Would you prefer if I walked like this?" Draco slumped over and walked as if he were dragging his legs through very heavy mud.

"Yes, if you would just stop acting like a stupid git."

"Really?"

"No."

"Oh, well..." When he realized that he was attempting to adjust his walk, he said, "Waitasecond, what am I doing?"

"I don't know. What are you doing?" snapped Granger.

"Never mind, Granger," he said disdainfully. "I was talking to myself."

"What, and that's better than talking to me, is that what you're saying?!"

"What if I were saying that, Granger?!" Not that he was...

"Ugh!"

"Ah. Grunting noises. Good to go back to what you're good at."

Granger stopped walking and glared at him. He had no choice but to halt. "What's that supposed to mean?!"

"Nothing, Granger. Nothing at all."

"No, you're not getting out of this one! TELL me what you mean!"

"Really. Nothing. I was just trying to get the last word."

"Oh, you have to have the last word, do you?!"

"Yes. I just told you that." I seem to say that a lot...

"Are you implying that I'm stupid?!"

"Well, you are," he said with false coolness, "but I wasn't implying it."

"WHAT?! I have more brain cells than all your friends combined!"

"Well, can't argue there," Draco muttered.

But Hermione refused to be placated. "AND I'm Head Girl, need I remind you, AND I'm at the top of the class, AND...AND...!"

"And you're incredibly long-winded?"

"Ugh!"

"Back to the grunting, I see."

"UGH!" She started walking again, her muscles stiffly jerking with every movement. Draco followed, satisfied that he had caused Granger's temper to heat to hellish proportions.

A half an hour later, Granger's temper had cooled sufficiently to relax the silence. A half an hour after that, the sun proceeded to set. "I'm hungry," Granger stated.

"What do you expect me to do about it?"

"Well, do you have any food?"

Draco reached into his pocket, pulling out a half-eaten Cauldron Cake. He quickly hid it from view, just before Granger turned to look at him. "No," he told her.

Responding with nothing more than a sigh, Granger turned again and resumed walking.

_That's it? No shrieking? No grunting? No verbose exclamations about her many accomplishments? Or comments about how house-elves are mistreated? Wow. She must really be hungry..._ Draco caught up with her, thinking to himself, _I can't believe I'm about to do this._ "Here," he said, handing her half of the half of the Cauldron Cake. "Forgot I had this," he said grudgingly.

"Thanks," Hermione said, surprised. She took the Cauldron Cake. Resolutely turning back to their path, to avoid looking at her, Draco said,

"Don't mention--" Suddenly, the ground shook violently.

"What was that?" they chorused.

Straightening, Draco told her, "I'm not worried."

Then the ground opened up beneath them, and they fell.

*********

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