~Chapter 1 – The Problem with Straight Hair~

I hate you, Hermione.

I poured the Nova Dust into the cauldron. The shimmering dust sank to the bottom of the large cauldron. I pulled out my wand and mumbled the Ultra Lumos charm into the nearly completed potion. The newly added wisps of light swept the Nova Dust into its swirls, and they turned pink and blue.

I frowned as I watched a year's worth of work turn into what looked more like a love potion than the serious potion we were supposed to be making. I snatched the age-old scroll out of my partner's hands, nearly ripping it. I glared down at it trying to see where we might have gone wrong.

We had all the ingredients and added them in the right order. Somehow, I had just supposed the legendary LAWFIES Potion to look differently. More spectacular than a few wisps of pastel light in cloudy water... less like a love potion.

The LAWFIES Potion was an extremely advanced potion for discovering one's element (Light, Air, Water, Fire, Ice, Earth, or Space). Its difficulty resided not so much in the proper mixing, but in the collecting of ingredients. The Silver Water, for instance could only be obtained on Waterfall Island the day after Halloween. We had to camp there overnight. And that was only one of the difficult ingredients. I remember quite well being woken up on one of the coldest nights in December, standing out in damn near freezing weather, and lifting my partner in the air in order to gain the Nova Dust.

"Where's the unicorn horn, Mudblood?" I asked, turning to look at my partner

Her name was Hermione Granger. She glared angrily at me, but I only smirked at her. It was incredible how easily I could piss her off. One little word could do it… Mudblood.

Mudblood was the name for muggle born witches and wizards. They were wretched pieces of filth that the magical world would do much better without. I had been told that since I was six years old. The beginning of the miserable existence I now lived…

Granger glared at me once again and dropped the unicorn horn into the still cauldron. We put our hands over the potion and echoed, "Release."

The unicorn horn rose precariously wobbling as it went. It spun seven times before pointing right at Granger. Sparkles that looked very much like leaves shot out at her. She was Earth. In the green light, I could tell she was crying. Those who had studied the potion would know that it was a very common occurrence. She looked lovely. That was another common thing, but it wasn't out of any book.

I hate your bushy brown hair when it falls into your chestnut brown eyes.

Granger turned her attention to me and smiled. Her brown hair fell into her soft chestnut eyes. I had to dig my nails into my palms to keep from reaching up and brushing it away for her.

"We did it," Granger breathed.

I smiled back at her. It wasn't because I cared… It wasn't because she looked like a goddess in that light. No, no. I was just relieved. A year of Hell working with Granger had produced something good.

The horn spun around seven more times before stopping in front of me. I held my breath. My light was silvery, and my sparkles were small crystals. I let out my breath. I was Ice.

My father had been worried for the entire year that this potion would have betrayed me. Lucius Malfoy was an extremely powerful dark wizard who currently resided in Azkaban Prison, after all. Or so people thought… Peter Pettigrew was currently playing the part of my father using Polyjuice Potion.

My father had put my training on hiatus in fear that it would affect my results. Too much training in the Dark Arts kills the element within you, replacing it with 8th element. Darkness. I was sure that as soon as I arrived home in two days I would begin again. Somehow, though, the icy light comforted me. It told me my life wasn't set in stone.

Granger seemed to be staring at me as though she was entranced. I figured she was just as surprised as I was that the horn had not exploded. In the quiet stillness of the room, I saw two other surprised faces: Ron Weasley and none other than Harry Potter.

Potter was famous for 'defeating' Voldemort, the Dark Lord whose shoes my father kissed on a regular basis. Weasley and Granger were his friends. They were so close it made me feel… sickened. Granger was most definitely the brains of the outfit. She must have explained it to them. As much as I hated to admit it, Granger was nearly as smart as me.

But her book-smarts only get her so far. That's where I top her.

Something brushed against my leg from behind. I automatically knew what it was. Or who it was, I should say-Pansy Parkinson, better known as my sex slave.

I turned to face her, and she batted her eyelashes at me.

"What do you have planned after the party, Draco?" Pansy purred, seductively.

The 6th years were getting a formal party to celebrate the completion of this insanely difficult potion. However, it seemed that Granger and I were the only ones to finish it. Would everyone else have to redo the potion in 7th year?

"You'll see," I said, smiling at her.

For some reason, my eyes caught Granger's. I wasn't surprised to see her mouth wide open and looking shocked and repulsed. Pansy noticed as well.

"Jealous, Mudblood?" she asked.

Granger's eyes snapped shut for a few seconds. When they reopened, I saw nothing but pure calm in them.

I don't know why, but I wanted to make Granger jealous. I wanted her to be secretly passionately in love with me. I wanted her to have to dig her nails into her palms to keep from grabbing her wand and cursing Pansy to bits and grabbing onto me… and…

Wait.

Where the Hell had that come from?

"Freak," Pansy spat as Granger rolled her eyes.

Weasley glared at her. He was Pansy's potion partner and therefore, unfortunately, had to sit behind Granger and me. I always had suspicions that Weasley and Granger were dating. Now, I was almost sure of it. I had to suppress the urge to gag just thinking about it.

Pansy was now trailing lip-gloss over her lips and licking it off suggestively. I was repulsed. There is no worse taste in the world than that wretched stuff, I swear.

Granger was staring at Pansy's inane attempts to turn me on as well-only she seemed rather amused. I looked back and realized why. I vaguely heard Granger mumble something in the background as Pansy shrieked and jumped up. No damage seemed to have been done to her, but her precious lip-gloss had fallen into the cauldron causing it to explode forward onto Granger and me.

I stood at once trying to shake the potion off of me. Although I was covered in sticky sick-smelling goop, I smiled. At least I was finally rid of that nasty tasting shit… unless that bitch stockpiled the stuff. She probably did… damn…

"PARKINSON, WEASLEY!" Snape bellowed. "DENTENTION! TONIGHT!"

I saw a doused Granger mouth, 'I'm sorry, Ron' to Weasley.

It occurred to me then that Granger had said some kind of spell that had caused the mishap. I wanted to thank her and kill her at the same time. She might have rid me of the wretched lip-gloss for the time being, but she had completely ruined my plans for the night. I clenched my fists so hard they began to turn... green. In fact, my arms were turning green… and my legs and…

"What the Hell?" I screamed.

The class was laughing hysterically. I looked up to silence them with a glare but found myself looking into Granger's face instead. She was blood red… And, no, I didn't mean she was blushing. Just as I had turned green, she had turned red.

"A little late for Christmas," said some Ravenclaw in between loud annoying snorts of laughter. "Where's the mistletoe when you need it?"

"SILENCE!" Snape roared.

You could have heard a feather fall to the ground after that. Snape dismissed the rest of the class with a few waves of his hand. Weasley didn't move.

"Are you all right, Hermione?"

"I'm fine, Ron," she said, quickly. "But you best go before you get into more trouble."

"Yeah, Weasley," I said, smirking. "Your little Mudblood girlfriend is right for once. Or perhaps I should just call her a rodent considering that she looks like a wet rat."

"Oh, and you look much better, Kermit the frog."

Potter had worked his way up to us at this point. I didn't understand his 'joke', and from the look on Weasley's face, neither did he. Her-Granger, however, emitted an uncharacteristically loud laugh. All I knew was he had called me a frog, and I was not going to let him get away with it.

"At least I'm good enough to be wearing Slytherin's colours, unlike you and your Mudblood friend here."

Potter and Weasley both went for their wands, but Snape had already taken notice of the scene at the Mudblood's obnoxious laugh.

"Weasley, get out of here before you're sentenced to detention for the entirety of your 7th year!" Snape spat.

Weasley gathered his things, but Potter didn't move.

"Would you like to join your friend in detention, Potter?"

"I want to make sure Hermione is all right," Potter said, unflinchingly.

"I will take care of it as soon as you leave," Snape hissed.

Potter stared at him for a few minutes, but then did head for Weasley who was already at the door.

Once they were gone, Snape told us to follow him and brought us into his storage room where we were given potions that tasted worse then Pansy's lip-shit. Snape assured us that the colour would wear off in a few hours, and we went to fetch our things.

"Thanks, Mudblood," I growled at Granger as soon as Snape was out of earshot.

She picked up her bag and left humming nonchalantly. I watched her leave with my mouth hanging open. Granger hadn't said or done anything. Nothing at all… not even the slightest of glares. And I had just realized that I not only looked like a frog, but smelled like one too.

I was way beyond pissed by the time the party started. I had heard every frog joke from Potter and Weasley that there could possibly be. My skin was still tinted green but it was barely noticeable now, especially in the dim lighting of the Great Hall.

I hate how you only straightened it for Scarhead and that Krum bastard, and never for me.

For some reason, my eyes scanned the room looking for Granger. I just wanted one glimpse before I left. The fun of seducing Pansy in front of Granger was gone now. I was about to leave, but then I saw her and my breath caught.

Arm in arm with Potter, she strode in with more grace and dignity than Pansy could ever muster. Her skin was a bit on the pink side and it made me wonder whether it was because of the potion or the many guys that were now staring at her with open mouths. I realized with a jolt that I was one of them.

'Remember, Draco, it's only the Mudblood,' I scolded myself.

But no matter how many times I thought it, my eyes would not tear away from her and her lovely… straight hair. I felt my stomach clench. This was not the first time that this had happened to me, but it was the first time I didn't have Pansy to take out my longing and frustration on later.

It was the hair… something about it being straight was intoxicating. Last time she had done it was two years ago for Viktor Krum. But neither he nor Weasley was present. It was only then that I saw Granger pass a longing look over at Potter.

I had to repress a scream that threatened to take over my whole being. I needed to kill something… now. I whipped around and stormed out of the Great Hall kicking at a table as I went. No one noticed… except her.

I avoided her gaze as I began running back towards the dungeons, straight through some blundering ghost. There was no way a Mudblood was going to get the best of a Malfoy… even if she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

I hate how you're obsessed with books and Potter, but not with more important things… people.

A/N: This is the first chapter to the story behind I Hate You, Hermione. You do not need to read it to understand the rest of the story.