Hermione sighed. Some people were just plain cruel, and that was that.

She'd been telling herself this for the past half hour, but it had yet to make her feel any better. It was the truth, for certain, but why did they have to lash out at her? Because she was a bookworm? Or was it jealousy of her close friendship with the Boy Who Lived? Perhaps they simply had no reasoning other than that she was there and vulnerable to their practical jokes. The last one was the most likely, sadly; she could almost forgive them if they had a reason, yet how could someone who was just recklessly rude be worthy of her forgiveness? That just didn't seem right.

And why did they always have to direct their taunting at her? There were over a thousand other kids at Hogwarts. . . surely, one of them could serve as the butt of a joke every once in a while? A selfish thought, yes, but a true one as well.

Sighing again, and then standing, Hermione scanned the room once. She was in the Room of Requirement, which was decorated to fit her needs. It was somewhat plain, but organized and displayed many banners with "S.P.E.W." writer in bold lettering. Moving her things off the desk, which had popped up and into her bag, she glanced about wistfully.

It just wasn't very nice, to send a note saying that there was a group of people interested in joining her elf-labor crusade, and then not show up. Oh, yes, she was sure they felt quite clever. Yet she felt strangely robbed; she'd been so hopeful when she'd received the small note that morning. She had felt so happy that someone was interested in her cause, so. . . so. . .


Hermione had never been one of those that easily met new friends. She had an unapproachable air about her that made people regard her from afar instead of introducing themselves. In fact, she was nearly positive that she'd have no friends at all, had Harry and Ron not come to her rescue back in first year. It wasn't that she wasn't a likeable person, she just didn't know how to fit in.

And for once, someone had expressed an interest in something she liked and was passionate about. She'd been so excited, like there was someone out there that would completely understand her. Like she belonged. Yet once again, she'd proved to be just an overly-trusting gullible old ninny.

Packing up the S.P.E.W. badges she'd brought along, she cast her eyes downward and began to walk, disappointed, out of the room. Her hand reached for the knob, yet grabbed only air. Confused, she looked up, only to find the hard gray eyes of Draco Malfoy staring back at her. Her hand, which had been suspended in the air, waiting patiently for a doorknob to turn, fell to her side.

"Malfoy?" she asked, quite confused. Then she understood. Malfoy was here because he wanted to use the room for-well-honestly, she didn't want to know. "Sorry, I'll be out of your way in a moment."

She attempted to move around him but had to stop when he grabbed her arm and held her firmly in place. "You're leaving? But what about the SPOT meeting?"

"Spot?" She looked surprised, then frustrated, "Look, you even got me to say it! S-P-E-W. Not "spot". Not "spew"." Then, realizing the implication of his statement, her eyebrows raised, "You sent the note?"

"Yes," he admitted, "I'm late, I realize-"

"Not funny, Malfoy." Rolling her eyes, she attempted to remove her arm from his grip.

He glared at her as she struggled to get away from him. "What do you mean? I'm passionately interested in the subject of house elves!"

"Don't make a fool of yourself. Look, you got me up here. Good job. You've had your laugh. Now let me go." She demanded, yanking her arm so hard she could feel pain in her joints.

"No! I mean it!"

She stopped struggling long enough to give an exasperated sigh. "Then how do you explain all the house elves that are employed in your household that are treated like slaves?"

Caught off guard, his grip loosened and she moved away from him. She was halfway through the door when he caught her again. "I. . .um. . . let them go."

"You did not!" she cried, turning to face him. "Will you just let me be? You've had your laugh, now shove o-"

She couldn't really finish her sentence, seeing as how it took her a second to realize his lips were on hers. It took another two seconds for her to realize that she really rather liked the sensation, and four more for her to catch on that she was kissing him back. Unfortunately, it was entirely too few seconds before the kiss was over, and as she pulled away, she stared at him in shock.

He let go of her, and walked out the doorway and down the hall. She leaned out of the frame to catch a glimpse of him as he left, and was surprised to see him stop and turn. "I didn't come for the house elves," he said, "I hope you'll forgive me." With that, he turned into a different corridor and was gone.

She leaned against the doorframe, eyes wide. Her mind reeled, and suddenly she wasn't as disappointed as to how the night turned out. In fact, she was quite glad he hadn't come for the house elves.

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, yadda yadda yadda.

A/N: I don't write fluffy fics. I don't write fluffy fics. I don't write fluffy fics.

Blargh. I've turned incredibly fluffy with my last couple of fics. *clings to her crown of Unfluffiness*

Dedicated to Michael Ball. Because he has the most beautiful voice in the world and his version of "Maria" from West Side Story inspired this! Definitely NOT dedicated to Aria, who's been teasing my relentlessly.

Haha. Just kidding Aria.

Oh, yeah. Please review. :D