Title: Travel Companions

Author: pari

Pairing: Draco/Hermione

Code: Crossover: HP and BtVS

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: neither the Harry Potter nor the BtVS characters and/or situations belong to me.

A/N: This was begun in response to the Cauldron Chronicles "Life's Little Destruction Book." I'd planned to work all of the challenges issued so far into the fic somewhere. But...it never happened. And just as well as Jennifer has recently been posting chapters of the series she began with "A Woman of Action." AMAZING! Many kudos to her for writing such a wonderful, fun set of fics (which I hope to see more of soon, by the way!) and thanks, Jenn, for encouraging me to got ahead and post this already.

Now, onto my fic - which isn't on the level with Jenn's work, let me just be honest, but hey, it's Draco/Hermione ( or pre-Draco/Hermione anyhow ) and there's just not enough of that around.

(I suppose you could consider this a PWP then. Just a lot of Draco-irritating-Hermione-and-vice-versa goodness. It could develop into a fic if I had the talent, the time, and the inclination to do that :p Or if someone would like to take the story up where this short fic leaves off? I wouldn't mind that. Just let me know.)

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Draco Malfoy had never much liked the Americas, the States in particular. They were much too modern and Muggle for his tastes. No respected pureblooded family ever went there unless they were on vacation or hiding from someone, and Draco was very proud of his respectable, pureblooded roots. He had no reason to hide from anyone (if you didn't take into account that whole, used-to-be-a-Death-Eater-turned-spy problem). Draco also never vacationed anywhere that didn't involve lavish guest accommodations, little need to venture outdoors, and scantily clad females speaking languages he'd never even heard of. And by the time he was twenty-two, Draco had only visited the US twice.

Both trips had been a disaster.

The first had been taken when Draco was only a child. His powers had just started to manifest themselves and were quite beyond his control (or so he liked to claim whenever his mother referred to The Incident that had occurred during their ill-fated American holiday). The second trip had been on business, and Draco had had to suffer the company of his fellow Auror, Ronald Weasley.

"Enough said," Draco concluded, looking suspiciously close to beginning a pout.

Hermione Granger repressed a shudder. She had seen a lot of terrible and dangerous things in her life...what, with The War and all. But The Malfoy Pout had to be the worst of all. There was just nothing like it - and nothing more irritating, seeing as the wizard sprawled across the bench in front of her had so little to pout about. He was young, and rich, and unsettlingly good-looking. He was a highly-decorated war hero (surprise, surprise), and famous for the work he'd done for the Ministry, post-war. Only one of Draco's contemporaries had garnered as much celebrity as he during battle, and that was The Boy Who'd Killed Voldemort himself.

Draco had fared rather well, considering the fact that he'd once fought for the other side. And had nearly become The Boy Who'd Killed the Boy Who Would Have Killed Voldemort. Twice.

But what's more - he never pouted about that. Oh, no. It was always something silly and mundane. Or something that had something to do with Ron. Or Muggles. Or Ron and Muggles...

"Well, you know what they say," Hermione muttered, not even looking up from the day's addition of The Daily Prophet. "Third time's a charm." 'Maybe the insufferable git will anger some American wildlife and get himself bit. Or worse.'

Hermione wasn't sure what bothered her more. The fact that Malfoy so routinely pushed her to the point of wishing pain on a coworker. Or the fact that she only ever half meant it when she did. The thought that Malfoy - Draco Malfoy - could be growing on her, even endearing himself to her, was not one that Hermione happily entertained. Nor was it one Ron was likely to approve of. It had taken him long enough to accept the fact that Harry, their Harry, had actually begun to consider Draco a friend. If Hermione learned to tolerate him, as well, Ron's world would just crumble like so much stale pumpkin pastry.

Come to think of it, Ron rather had a tendency to pout when discussing the mission he and Draco had had to conduct in America together, as well. And he'd probably rather splinch himself than admit that he and the other man had even that much in common.

"There's nothing charming about California," Malfoy whined, pulling Hermione out of her meandering thoughts on their fellow Auror. Hermione rolled her eyes. "It's hot. And sandy. And sunny." He spoke as if the word itself were vile, and Hermione's sympathy for him existed not at all. "I can't believe we're on our way to a place that actually uses sunny as a part of it's name," Malfoy continued. "Sunnydale. Bloody hell. I bet you there's a Girl Scout selling cookies on every corner, and one of those tacky "Welcome" mats on every doorstep."

Hermione sighed and finally put down her paper. "Only you would consider sunshine and good will negative travel experiences," she muttered. "And I doubt we'll find many Girl Scouts on the Hellmouth, Malfoy. That is why we're going there, after all. The place is overrun by demons and vampires."

Hermione picked her paper back up and hid a smile behind it.

"You'll fit right in," she mumbled under her breath.

"Hey!"

Hermione's smile became a grin.

****

It wasn't that Malfoy whined often, really. Or pouted with any regularity. It was just that he got such notice when he did. And for a man who'd been spoiled past rotten as a boy (albeit at a price, admittedly) when Draco slipped into self-pity mode, the term "pity party" became an all-out, no-holds-barred "pity extravaganza".

Twenty minutes into their flight out of the UK, Hermione was desperately trying to get comfortable in her cramped airplane seat. She'd asked the flight attendants repeatedly for a pillow, to no avail. Draco had asked once and had been given a pillow, two blankets, and all the flight-attendant-generated sympathy and attention Hermione could stand.

The Malfoy Pout was indeed a disturbing and dangerous thing to behold in action.

"Oh, cut it out, Malfoy!" Hermione nearly screeched by the time Draco had the stewardesses making routine checks to see that his pillows (yes, in the plural, despite the fact that Hermione had yet to receive even one) were properly fluffed.

Draco merely raised a brow while the nearby flight attendant was present, his face its usual mask of cool indifference and bemused superiority. Then he flashed the perky blonde serving him a drink a set of puppy-dog-eyes Hermione would never have imagined him capable of producing. (Draco's aristocratic features and steel-gray eyes were not at all conducive to affecting the puppy-dog look.) The blonde threw Hermione a harsh glare and bounced away, whereupon Draco favored his frustrated companion with a large, and what Hermione would call evil, grin.

Hermione would call it evil. Except that she'd seen Draco do evil. I-want-to-rid-the-world-of-your-kind, it's-Saturday-let's-go-pillage-and-plunder evil. This was more of the I'm-driving-you-mad-aren't-I-? variety of Malfoy no-good-ness. Hermione had to concentrate really hard not to smack him.

"What's the matter, Granger? We're not getting jealous, are we?

"You are going to drive me mad, Malfoy. I swear that you will if you don't stop messing about with the flight attendants. Can't you just sit still and quiet for one hour?"

The Malfoy Pout threatened to make a sudden reappearance before being shot down by Granger's Deadly Glare.

Draco often wondered how something so small - and rather pretty, actually, when being brutally honest with himself - could produce a look of such frightening displeasure. He was very nearly impressed. With a look any more intimidating than the one she currently wore, Hermione could have followed Professor Snape into Potions mastery, Draco mused.

Which is not to say that he was happy with being intimidated by a 5'5, half-human witch wearing a pink cardigan, mind you.

"You're the one who insisted we "fly" on this bloody contraption of theirs," Draco reminded Hermione with a scowl, leaving no doubt as to who he meant by theirs. "We could have apparated, or come by brooms."

"I am never flying tandem with you on a broom again, Malfoy! And thanks to someone I haven't got my own broom at the moment," was Hermione's immediate response.

Her glare intensified and Draco shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

"That whole broom thing was entirely not my fault," Draco insisted with something like wounded dignity. Except that it was difficult for him to fake wounded dignity, when the "broom thing" had been entirely his fault. And both of them knew it. "And I'm sure the Ministry could have found it in their budget to provide you with another just for this one mission."

"They might have! If my last broom hadn't ended up..."

At just that moment the blonde stewardess from before came sashaying past, on her way to a passenger in one of the lower compartments. She smiled prettily at Draco as she did, and pointedly ignored Hermione altogether. Hermione flushed bright red, and stopped what she was saying mid-sentence.

Draco beamed.

"You were saying?" he asked, blinking innocent eyes at his companion, once the flight attendant was out of earshot.

Hermione collected herself, chin tilted upwards in that proud way she held herself whenever she'd been affronted and was trying to be mature about dealing with it. The corner of Draco's lips twitched persistently at the sight, and he nearly scowled again with the effort it took not to smile.

"And apparation is forbidden anywhere near the Hellmouth," Hermione went on, as if the broom argument hadn't even occurred. "You know that. Even if we apparated in somewhere outside the no-apparation zone, we'd still have to make our way into Sunnydale. It's just easier this way."

Draco shrugged, seeing that Hermione was taking up her magazine again, signaling the end of their discussion. For now.

Then Hermione threw him a look over the top of the issue of The Quibbler she was holding upside-down in her hands.

"And someone simply refuses to travel by floo, so Muggle transportation is our only choice."

Draco sniffed.

"I'm allergic to ash," he deadpanned.

Hermione made a sound behind her Quibbler that sounded suspiciously like a snort.

"And soot does dreadful things to cashmere, you know," Draco went on. When he received no reaction, he sank down into his pillows with a little smirk. "But then, I don't suppose you do," he commented, almost to himself, eying her simple and inexpensive attire.

Hermione didn't even turn her eyes from her page.

But she did, very purposefully, uncross her legs and stomp on Draco's foot.

"Ow! Granger, are you bloody barmy? That hurt like hell!"

Hermione chuckled softly to herself.

In the meantime, Draco's startled outcry had brought a number of stewardesses back to his side, but Hermione decided their presence was completely worth it. Draco sulked quietly to himself for the rest of the flight.

(the end, such as it is.)