Title: Examinations

Author: luckdragon

Rating: oh, PG again I suppose

Summary: Life is full of tests. There's nothing that says they can't be fun.

Disclaimer: I don't own them, but I have invited them out to play.

Author's Note: Well, I'm still working on a longer, angstier D/Hr fic, but my brain still likes to take breaks from that by writing some fluffiness now and again. (I promise I am capable of writing more than fluff, really.) So, keeping in mind that this is just a bit of stream-of-consciousness amusement without a great amount of deeper meaning, have fun!

Hermione Granger looked guardedly at Draco Malfoy.  He had leaned forward just a bit in his chair and was looking at her with an expression that she could only call evil.  Well, and amused.

So, after all that had transpired in the last few weeks, this was it. 

It had really all started a week and a half ago, with the announcement of the next Arithmancy exam.  While the rest of the class was duly dismayed, Hermione reveled in the chance to again prove her worth with a top exam score.  That is, until she noticed Draco Malfoy shooting her a sour look.  Her mood soured, and she scowled right back.  Naturally, this led him to corner her after class.

"You know, Granger, most normal people don't get all sparkly at the concept of a grueling exam," he jeered.  "What an exciting life you must lead."

"You know, Malfoy," she shot back, "most normal people don't spend so much time worrying about someone else's study habits – unless, of course, they're jealous."

"Jealous of what?  Your compulsive need to turn to books since you can't maintain any meaningful human interaction?"

"Jealous of the fact that I've beaten you on every Arithmancy exam this year, perhaps."

He scowled.

"Only because there's more to my life than burying my nose in a book," he retorted.

"Yes," she said sarcastically, "I'm sure that's the reason.  I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that you have the intellect of… well, a ferret comes to mind," she finished with a scornful twist of her lips.

His eyes narrowed, but his tone of voice was dismissive as he responded, "I could easily score higher than you if I wanted."

"I'd like to see you try," she scoffed.

"Is that a bet?"

She pursed her lips.  "What are we betting with?"

"It's your bet – you decide," he said, sounding a bit livelier.  His posture had even improved.  This interested him somehow.

"Not money," she said thoughtfully.  "We both know that that's not quite enough of an incentive for someone… such as yourself."  Her last words were saturated with contempt.

"Not to mention it's boring," he added before leaning forward a bit.  "Let's see you use your imagination."

Hermione was at somewhat of a loss.  She was certain that what was interesting to her was something entirely different to what was interesting to Draco Malfoy.  "I – I don't know," she stuttered.  "Candy?"

"Candy?" he replied incredulously.  "You wouldn't know an interesting bet if it walked up and bit you in the arse, Granger!"

She gave him a miffed glare.  "Fine. You come up with something better."

Which led her to the three words that she was very much not expecting:

"Loser. Kisses. Winner."

"What?" Hermione gasped, shocked.

"You heard me."

"No way.  If that's the bet, then we both lose."

"You wouldn't," he smirked conceitedly.

Hermione glared at him derisively in response, then went on, "Why would you want to make that bet anyway?  Certainly you don't want to kiss me."

He didn't answer to that.

Instead, he said, "It's a great motivator, is it not?"

"But I still have to… if I beat you…"

He rolled his eyes.  "Or you could just sit there and endure it and delight in my misery.  And, of course, consider yourself lucky that you ever got such an opportunity."

"I'm trying to have a discussion with you, not your over-inflated ego," she snapped.

"Good one, Granger," he said sarcastically. 

They both lapsed into a brief silence.

"So," he started up again, "I notice you haven't said no."

"Neither have you."

"Then we have a deal?" he questioned, holding out a hand.

"It's a bet," she responded, shaking it and wondering if she had gone crazy.

Naturally, there was no way she was going to lose.  Although her friends and classmates might have thought that there was no way that she could study any more, she did.  Whenever she felt like taking any sort of break, she found something to egg her on – his mocking glance in the hallways, the night he saw her pouring over her text in the library and had the audacity to laugh, his certainty despite the fact that she had yet to see him crack a book. 

The exam came and went.  Unfortunately, it did happen to be on a chapter that Hermione found particularly complicated… but she wouldn't allow herself to worry.  She had studied, and she knew the material, and she was confident… if only she could remember the pneumonic device she'd invented to help her solve problems like number 15…

After the exam papers were returned, she walked smugly to the library.  She had only lost two points on the entire test, and it had been a difficult test – there was no way that Malfoy had managed any better.

It didn't take him long to find her.  He looked at her self-satisfied face and raised his eyebrows.  "I win," he said simply.

She held up her test paper. "Not likely – I only had two points marked off."

He nodded and dropped his on the table before her. 

He had only lost one point.

One lousy point.

He dropped into the chair beside her with a superior look splashed across his face. 

The bastard.  She had lost… and she wasn't one to prolong her own suffering.

So this was it.

She bravely tilted over in her chair.  He closed his eyes; hers drifted shut, and then –

"I can't do it," she sputtered, halting her forward progress and even listing back a bit.

His eyes snapped back open as a spurned, irritated expression covered his features.  "You have to," he snapped arrogantly.

"I don't have to do anything," she pointed out.

"You've made your bed, Granger," he whispered saucily, "now lie in it."

Hermione briefly wondered whether she would have believed anyone who knew ahead of time that she would one day soon be hovering intimately near Draco Malfoy and listening to him murmur about lying in beds.

No, she would not have.

"It's just a ridiculous bet, Malfoy."

"Well, if you're too afraid to go through with it –"

"I am not afraid," she snapped.  Her expression suddenly became much more determined.  Seeing that he'd struck the proper nerve, Draco drew his lips into his mouth for moisture, then quickly released them.  Hermione watched this motion, startled, her countenance softening as she was rather taken aback by how sensual she found it to be.  She began leaning forward without express permission from her brain to do so.  Her reaction made him begin to grin, start to speak.

Whatever it was, she didn't want to hear it.

So she slanted over and pressed a gentle kiss onto his mouth before he could let any words escape.

With her eyes closed, she didn't see his eyebrows arch in surprise, but she was still perfectly able to hear that he tried to mask a slight gasp when she pulled back – although that was only after a minute or two.

She hadn't planned on that part, really.

He cleared his throat.

"I told you I could beat you," he said, the miniscule catch in his voice and his slightly widened eyes betraying his arrogant words.

"Not on the Potions exam next week," she said with a wink.

Author's Note part deux: Not a one-shot. More forthcoming.