Title: Cashmere and Terrycloth

Author: KissThis (Katzy)

Author's eMail: thetasteofstrawberries@hotmail.com

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Hermione and Draco, after getting in trouble for a scene on the Quidditch Pitch, must stay out of trouble to keep their jobs as Head Boy and Girl.  But in order to keep themselves from becoming suspect of a prank they didn't commit, they find themselves stuck in a small enclosed space together for the rest of the night.  Shall romance ensue?

Warning: British cursing, lol.

Author's Note: A little long, I know.  Can you believe I wrote it in less than 48 hours?  Anyway, this was writing for a Valentine's Day Challenge project.  There were, I think, 128 submissions which were then paired up randomly until everyone had a different challenge to write.  Anyway, these were the specifics for mine:

RATING(S) OF THE FIC REQUESTED:  G - R

3-5 Things to Include in the Fic:
1. Humor/fluff
2. Bastard yet charming Draco of course
3. Set in 7th year
4. Hermione has a past relationship with Ron
5. Hermione as Head girl, Draco as Head Boy

What Not to Include in the Fic:
1. Slashness
2. Dark fic
3. Abusive parent(s)
4. Pregnancy
5. Mary-Sues

* * * * *

♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦

            Hermione's vice-like grip on her scarf tightened as a Bludger nearly collided with Harry's head.

            "Come on, Seamus." She whispered just as the Irish beater came whizzing by the Gryffindor stands and knocked the Bludger safely away from his seeker.

            "Calm down, Hermione.  It's just Quidditch," Lavender insisted patting the Head Girl's shoulder.

            Hermione smiled weakly at her housemate, but kept her eyes on the game.  She couldn't help it – Quidditch had always made her nervous.  Her mind drifted back to the incident with the rogue Bludger and she shuddered involuntarily, fingers digging deeper into wool.  Her eyes flitted reflexively up to Harry as if checking that nothing of the sort was happening again.  He was flying calmly above the pitch, his head moving every so often as he scanned the stadium for the Golden Snitch.

            She turned her attention to her other main focus and found him to be hovering passively in between the hoops to her left.  She sighed in relief and settled back on the bench.

            "You worry too much," Lavender cooed from beside her.  "Just sit back and enjoy the game.  It's going to be a good one."  She tossed her hair over her shoulder with an annoyingly high-pitched giggle, to which Hermione had to refrain from rolling her eyes.  While she'd never really gotten into the whole "girlfriend" enthusiasm, she had managed to maintain politely friendly relations with her dorm mates and it would make her life so much easier just to keep it that way.

            Spitting out the long blonde hairs that had been flung into her face, she forced a smile.  "You're right, Lavender." She conceded.  "I'll try and restrain myself from having a heart attack while my friends fly around hundreds of feet above the ground with nothing to cushion their potential fall but freshly trimmed grass."

            "Great, Hermione!" She exclaimed in a falsely cheery voice, confirming Hermione's suspicion that Lavender was indeed not paying attention, and that her interest in a conversation barely lasted to the end of her own sentence.  Shaking her head, Hermione turned back to scanning the game with anxious amber eyes.

            Moments later she was cheering along with the crowd as Gryffindor scored another 10 points.  Ginny waved down at her as she swooped over the Gryffindor stands and executed a victory flip that made Hermione's teeth clench and her hands strangle the poor scarf twisted in her grasp.  Cursing the red-head's flair for acrobatics, she turned back to the game as the Slytherin Chasers raced the Quaffle towards Gryffindor's hoops.

            Colin Creevey's animated commentary was drowned out by the booing of the crowd as Blaise Zabini sent Victoria Frobisher crashing into one of the teachers' towers.  Hermione's nervous gnawing on her lower-lip ceased when the Gryffindor Chaser finally emerged from beneath the stands shaking dirt off her bright red Quidditch robes.

            Hearing Lavender's dramatic gasp, Hermione's eyes swiveled back to the Chasers closing in on Ron.  The last line of defense he inched forward ready to lunge for either hoop.  Three against one were never good odds.

            One of the Chasers shot over his head, but his eyes remained fixed on the Quaffle, not letting such a rudimentary tactic distract him.  The Chaser with the ball swerved suddenly left and Ron rolled to match his maneuver, but it was only a feint and the Quaffle was thrown back to Blaise, waiting in front of the far hoop.  Ron grabbed the edge of the center hoop as he whizzed by and swung himself around, whipping back towards Blaise.  Hermione was on her feet fretfully clinging to the guardrail.

            Trying to intercept the Quaffle in mid-throw, Ginny raced back from mid-field to help, but was intercepted by a surprisingly well-aimed Bludger from Goyle.  She was forced into an upwards spin to dodge the hurtling ball of metal.  It whizzed past her and collided with the Quaffle.  As the leather-stitched ball plummeted down to the pitch, the waiting Chaser quickly dove for it.  That was all the time Ron needed to get into position as the Quaffle was thrown back up by Blaise in a vain attempt at the now-blocked hoop.

            It was an easy catch for Ron, accompanied by the booing of green bedecked stands, and he handed it off to Ginny as she swooped back down, unharmed.

            "Hermione!" Lavender's voice was impatient.  Hermione had the impression the blonde girl had been calling her name for some time.  "Hermione, I can't see!"

            Hermione gave a soft growl of annoyance, but apologized politely and sat down again so Lavender could go back to devoutly ogling at her boyfriend as he mercilessly batted Bludgers at the green-robed players.  Her amber eyes made their rounds again; Harry, then Ron, then Ginny, and as the game picked up speed again she found herself without an outlet for her anxiety.  Her scarf was gone.

           She patted her robes absently looking around for her wayward accessory, but found it, regretfully, not on her person.  She figured she must have dropped it when she jumped up.  Scowling at the inconvenience her obsessive compulsive anxiety had created she slid off the bench, trying her best not to disrupt her housemates on either side.  Now on her knees, she peered around the warped floorboards of the stands searching for the tell-tale burgundy cloth.  While she was surrounded by the bright and boisterous crimson and gold house colors of Gryffindor, her scarf was naught to be seen.  Falling back on her heels she sighed in annoyance, her fingers drumming against the oak boards.

            Then she saw it.

            Peeking unobtrusively out from beneath her seat was a tiny square of woolen burgundy.  Grinning in triumph she stuck her head beneath the bench and reached for it.  But luck was not on her side this morning for when her fingers grazed the protruding corner whatever had been keeping the scarf from slipping gave out and she watched it fall through the gap between the bench and the floor.

            Trying not to think of how ridiculous she looked, she inched forward and tried her best to see her scarf in the gloom beneath the stands.  Her hand slipped into her pocket and she fingered her wand deciding that a summoning spell would do the trick.  Unable to locate her scarf in the darkness, however, made her think better of it.  No telling what would happen if she tried a summoning spell blindly in the middle of a Quidditch stadium.

            "OH MY GOD!"

            Hermione shot up, banging her head on the underside of the seat.  She cursed loudly, but her pain filled profanity went unheard over Lavender's screeching.  Scrambling quickly backward, Hermione stood up, rubbing her head ruefully.  Lavender's animated gestures and incoherent babble directed Hermione's gaze to the far end of the pitch, near the Slytherin hoops.

            High above the sand pit, Harry and Draco were fighting.

            From such a distance the small figures were hardly discernable, but their intents were obvious.  Harry's hands yanked at Draco's robes trying to topple the blonde.  Draco was kicking out at Harry, trying to fend him off, while his hand on Harry's broom made blatant his attempts to pull the flying object out from underneath the other Seeker.  Madame Hooch's insistent blowing of her whistle did nothing to stay their display of fisticuffs.

            The students roared and cheered, chanting for the fight to go on; Hermione's desperate shouts were just part of the noise.  Hooch raced up to the two boys, frantically whistling.  Hermione's hands flew to her mouth as Draco's arm drew back and his fist connected with Harry's face.  She watched Harry reel backwards and lose control of his broom, toppling downwards.

            Suddenly he froze in his downward spiral, only feet from becoming a new lawn ornament, and began to rise again – three wands pointed straight at him.  Professor McGonagall smiled and nodded at Hermione from her high seat in the west teachers' tower and her wand disappeared back up her sleeve.  Hermione put her own wand back in her pocket and struggled to keep herself from having a heart attack at her best friend's near-death-experience.  Her future children would never play Quidditch. Ever.

            Leaving Hooch, whose wand remained out, to settle the matter, Hermione gathered her robes about her and hurried down the stand stairs.  She heard Hooch declare a penalty shot for both teams and, by the disappointed sounds of the crowd, both teams were unsuccessful.  Sidestepping piles of dirt, she grabbed hold of the stand's frame and slid in between the support beams.

            She shuffled through the maze-work of wooden beams stirring up a cloud of dirt and dust around her no longer immaculately polished Mary-Janes, finding her way to the spot where she'd been sitting by Lavender's falsetto squeals of excitement.  Paper thin beams of light from the cracks in the floorboards cut through the gloom and glared in her eyes.  Shielding them with a hand, she stepped over a cross beam and pushed aside the large Gryffindor banner to peer down into the trench that encircled the pitch.

            She glanced up.  The game had resumed, and she noticed Madame Hooch keeping a firm eye on the rebellious Seekers.  Her eyes moved to the scoreboard.  Gryffindor was soundly trouncing Slytherin, 170 to 30.  If Harry could just catch the Snitch they could end this sorry excuse for a game and Hermione could return to breathing normally.

            She took a deep breath and, praying that she wouldn't get in trouble, jumped down into the trench.  The short leap was ended quickly, but in a less dignified manner than Hermione had intended.  Landing unevenly on her feet, her knees gave out and she fell back onto her bum sending up a giant cloud of dirt around her.

            She coughed into her fist, clearing out the impureness in her lungs, and waved her free hand in front of her face to dispel the billowing cloud.  "Merlin's beard," She muttered, letting out one last, small cough.

            She cleared her throat and pushed herself up off the ground, grabbing a hold of one of the crossbeams to pull herself the rest of the way to her feet.  Quickly, she began beating off the thin layer of dirt that had accumulated on her robes creating, unfortunately, yet another cloud to envelop her.  Closing her eyes against the sharp grains that assailed them, she relented to the dryness in her throat and dissolved into another series of coughing.

            "I'm definitely done with this now," She grumbled to herself.  And all this trouble over some silly little scarf...well, it was a rather nice scarf – cashmere – and despite the fact that it had been Ron's separation gift to her, she was rather fond of it.  At any rate, whether or not it merited the trouble it had caused her, since she was already down there and covered in dirt she might as well find the cursed thing.

           Deeming it was now safe to open her eyes, she did so and peered around her.  She spotted her scarf almost instantly, a bright maroon swatch against the fading pine steps of one of the islands that divided the trench.  As she walked quickly towards it, trying not to kick up quite so much dust, she reached up a tentative hand to her hair.

            With a growl she tugged on a sepia lock in annoyance and gave it up for a lost cause.  She had tried fixing her bushy hair this morning with some "miracle" conditioner Parvati had given her for her birthday and, needless to say, the concoction had failed miserably.  Running late for the match and unable to take another shower and perform the necessary spells to give her hair the mere semblance of normality, she'd been forced to pull it back into a messy bun atop her head and rush out the door.  Now, due to her recent "adventure" several strands were loose and hanging against her neck and beside her face; not to mention the dirt and grim she'd felt that had settled into her knotted excuses for curls.

            Looking up into the stands to her right, she took a deep breath and dashed up the first couple steps to reach her scarf.  She prayed that the spectators were too busy, well, spectating to pay attention to her and her adventure-seeking scarf, much less get her into any trouble. 

At that tense moment she couldn't quit remember if there were any rules that prohibited spectators from walking onto the pitch.  For one thing, she mused to herself, since the game is played in the air, there should be no qualms about the proceedings on the actual field itself, logically.  And even if there were rules of that nature, would a surrounding trench such as this actually constitute as part of the field?

Shaking her head slightly – a light stream of dirt tumbled down her neck – she made a note to reread Hogwarts: The Official Guide to Every Rule You Ever Thought of Breaking

She could feel the wind more strongly as she emerged cautiously from the trench, no longer surround by walls to block out the weather, and she shivered illustrating the real and intended purpose of a scarf.  Resting a knee against the highest step she dared climb to, she leaned up and reached for her scarf.  Her bare hand wrapped around the soft material and she gave a sigh of relief, scooping it up.

...except that it didn't 'scoop'.

Looking up, she found, to her growing horror, that her scarf – now with an apparent death wish – was fastened tightly to the board step, part of its fringe wrapped securely around a jutting nail.

Hermione was forced to bite down on her lip to keep from screaming.  A nail...just sticking out – what were the odds of that.  Feeling the weight of her Head Girl badge pinned over her left breast she made another mental note to report such an obvious safety hazard at the next Prefect meeting.

"That's just sodding poor craftsmanship," She griped, moving back down the stairs slightly.

A part of her was sorely tempted to just yank the damn thing and make a run back for the stands – she'd been in this sand trench far too long as it was.  However, the logical part of her told her to ignore the other part and come to her senses.  That was a cashmere scarf; you don't 'yank' cashmere, whatever the situation.  Doing so would most certainly rip said article, which was by far the worst possible fate for such an artwork.

Hermione grinded her teeth and made yet another mental note to see Madame Pomfrey that weekend to do something about the bickering voices in her head.  Steeling herself for the potential trouble that might ensue, she clambered quickly up the stairs and hunched down beside her scarf – her fingers working quickly to undo the knot the wind had twisted the cashmere threads into around the nail.

A loud 'wooshing' sound filled her ears as the wind picked up its speed, momentarily.  It subsided quickly, and her robes settled back down around her as did her hair.  Only a few more threads...

There was another 'woosh' just as she finished disentangling her scarf.  She wrapped it around her neck for safe keeping and turned to hurry back to the stands.  The tip of a broomstick was only inches from her nose.

"Bloody hell!" She exclaimed, stumbling back up a step.  "What are you doing, Malfoy?!"

Draco Malfoy, the pinnacle of every female student's sexual fantasy and the epitome of all things Slytherin, matched her gaze with intensely staring blue-gray eyes.

"Oh, come now, Granger.  As Head Boy and Girl we're practically living together – shouldn't we be past such pleasantries by now?" He asked coyly.

Hermione scowled, met by an annoyingly cocky smirk.

"The game is still going on, is it not?" She snapped, her patience for Draco's secretive actions slipping as the game-goers began to notice the scene going on beneath the Gryffindor stands.  Her forehead turned pink.

Draco shrugged and replied confidently; "Not for very long."

His swaggering attitude, ever a nuisance to the Gryffindor, was causing her extreme anxiety as their trite little exchange began to draw viewers.  Her fingers flexed reflexively in response to her rising apprehension.  "Found the Snitch then, have you?" She mocked.

His wounded expression made her fingers itch to see how her scarf would look wrapped around his neck.  "You sound surprised, Granger.  I'm hurt."

"I'm sure," She replied in a condescending manner.

"Have I ever given you reason to doubt me?" He asked spreading his arms wide.

"On more than one occasion," She reminded him. "Besides, it would be logical for you to go after the Snitch immediately, given your current standings, rather than banter."

His smirk was back, "Logic has nothing to do with it.  I simply thought I'd give Harry a chance to find it first before I snatched it out from under his nose."

"Going for the dramatic finish, I see." She commented.  Finally tiring, whether from their clashing of insults or from resisting the urge to strangle him she could not say, she moved to walk around him.  He guided his broom sideways, blocking her path.  She tried back the other way, and found herself opposing the same obstacle.

She scowled, fists on hops, and grabbing the end of his broom, pushed him back at least a foot.  "I don't have time for your childish games, Malfoy." She practically shouted.  "Your sorry excuse for a team could probably use every miserable failure on the team to attempt any sort of comeback to the severe trouncing you're receiving.  So, get out of my face and go play some Quidditch!"

"You know what, Granger.  I think you're a little testy this morning.  I don't know if I want to talk to such a rude and impolite person." He taunted.  Hermione flushed as he talked down to her as he would a small child.

"That works out splendidly for me," She forced out.

"I know it does," He told her in a soft voice.  "Which leads me to the assumption that you're quite uncomfortable with all these people staring at us." He lifted his head and gazed around the stands. "Which has to be at least half the stadium by now."

She gave him a petulant smile, "You can't get to me, Malfoy."

His eyes flashed, accepting her silent challenge.  "Though it's probably not nervousness, so much as a great swell of jealousy," He went on, as if she'd never interrupted him.  "You're not even trying to hid it, and I must say, Hermione, it's quite unbecoming."

"That's terrible, Malfoy, because I want so badly to be attractive to you." She replied scornfully.

After several failed attempts at retreating the way she came, she turned primly on her heel and strode up onto the top of the island.  She had only descended two steps on the other side when she was face to face with Draco once again.

"You have stalking issues that need to be professionally attended to." She insisted.

"You're immensely jealous of me.  It's because you know that all these people aren't staring at you...but at me."

"Add narcissism to the list," She said. "And the only reason they're staring at you is because you look like a complete idiot – hovering over here while you're team is losing."

"Immensely jealous." Draco drew out in a long breath.

She stared at him, dumbfounded.  "Are you physically unable to follow a conversation."

"Is that what this is?" He asked, feigning innocence.

"This thing that you're not following? Yes, this would be a conversation."  She accompanied her explanation with wide hand gestures so his simple mind could understand.

He nudged his broom forward, forcing Hermione to move back a step, "I didn't like your change of topic, it was boring.  Besides, it's all just a wordy façade to cover up your deep unbridled jealousy of me."

She just wanted to reach out and shake him so hard his head fell off.  Her fingers flexed at her sides.  "Get out of my way, Ferret." She demanded.  Or I'll hex you senseless, she added to herself.

"Resorting to name-calling, Granger?  We haven't regressed to our pre-pubescent years, have we?"

Murder Weapon: Cashmere scarf...

"Move!"

His mouth quirked slightly as he rolled her proposal around in his mind.  Then he shook his head, "Sorry, but I can't do that."

"Why the bloody hell not?!" She exclaimed.  The hum of voices above her rose.

He shook his head slightly and looked down at her with a sigh, giving her the feeling that it was something so utterly obvious she should have known it.  Now she understood what Ron had been trying to describe to her. 

"I told you, Hermione." His condescending tone was back, "I need the Snitch."

"So go get your bloody Snitch already and leave me alone!" She must have said something she would regret later on because his lips twisted into a smirk that turned her annoyance into unease and caused her to think quickly back on the words she had just said.

"Maybe I should cut Potter a break, flying all around looking for the Snitch when I know where it's been all this time." He chuckled, "He's never going to find it."

Half her mind too busy formulating theories on what was going on in his Slytherin infested brain, she could barely form a reply. "Whatever, Malfoy."

The next thing she knew, he'd grabbed her chest.

Her brain froze in absolute shock.  Acting on reflex, one hand shot up to protect herself, the other lashed out.  She stumbled backwards abnormally disoriented.  Her neck burned and pain was shooting up one of her arms as she wrapped them protectively around her chest.  Eyes squeezed shut, she felt her back connect with the wall of the stadium.

"What the bloody hell was that, Malfoy?" She shouted, before realizing the entire stadium had gone silent.  The heat rising in her cheeks, her eyes snapped open.

It was if time had stopped.  The Quidditch players were frozen in mid-flight, unmoving.  The stands were eerily silent.  Draco Malfoy was sprawled out on his back in the grass; staring up at the sky in shock, a nasty bruise already forming around his left eyes.

Her own eyes darted down to her hand and she found the skin across her knuckles had split she'd punched Draco so hard.  Blood beaded across the bony joints; one had succumbed to gravity and left a crimson trail down her palm.

"Bloody hell," Draco groaned, finally pulling himself into a sitting position.  He touched the pads of his fingers to his face and scowled at her.  "What did you think you were doing – punching me like that?  You'll get us both suspended."

Hermione's heart thundered painfully against her chest at the thought of being separated from her beloved Hogwarts.  "What about you?!" She exclaimed, not willing to take all the blame for their current situation.  "What the hell were you doing, Malfoy."

"Damnit," He cursed and got to his feet. "The Snitch—"

Hermione thought she was going to scream.  "Enough about the bloody Snitch already!" She hissed angrily.  The crowd of students and teachers alike were murmuring amongst each other, the conversations growing steadily louder.

"Hey! That's my scarf!" Hermione exclaimed suddenly.  The cashmere scarf she was so fond was wrapped around his right hand.  "Why in Merlin's name did you steal my scarf?"

He opened his mouth, but Hermione interjected once more.  "And don't you dare say 'the Snitch'."

He smirked and picked up his broom, "Whatever you say, Granger."

Instantly suspicious, Hermione watched as he unwrapped the tangled scarf and moved to throw it to her.  He tossed it just out of her reach and laughed as it fluttered back down into the dirt.  She stared at his turned back in shock as he walked away from her, the crowds roaring to life.

"DRACO MALFOY HAS CAUGHT THE SNITCH! SLYTHERIN WINS!" Colin Creevey shouted.

Hermione glanced quickly towards the teachers' tower and wasn't surprised to find Snape and McGonagall hurrying down to the field.  A sinking feeling in her stomach at the thought of the trouble she was in, she turned back around.  A swarm of green surrounded Draco, and he lifted the Golden Snitch proudly into the air.  Her eyes moved from the winged, saffron ball to her burgundy scarf lying in the dirt and then back up to Draco...feeling immensely foolish.

»»»»»»-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------►

            "You can relax, Miss Granger." McGonagall assured.  "Neither of you will be penalized for the scene on the Quidditch pitch."

            Snape scowled behind Gryffindor's Head of House, showing his obvious disapproval of Dumbledore's decision.  Hermione's hands fidgeted nervously with the hem of her skirt and she tried her best to relax.  A small part of her was put to ease knowing that Snape wasn't the one in charge of her future.

            "The Headmaster recognized the legitimacy of both your actions and believes you should not be held accountable for the less savory outcome of said actions.  Mr. Malfoy needed the Snitch to win the game; Miss Granger believed she was being...assaulted."

            Hermione fought down the heat rising to her cheeks and turned to stare pointedly at Draco, seated beside her.  He rolled his eyes and turned away.

            "While there will be no consequences for your actions I must stress the fact that nothing of this sort should happen again.  I suggest the two of you put this incident behind you, because if I find either of you in my office again this week I will be having a serious talk with the Headmaster.  I'm sure the same goes for Professor Snape."

            "Indeed," The Potion's Master sneered.  He looked specifically at Hermione.  She replaced her preferred dark look with a sincere smile and directed her attention back to McGonagall.

            "Thank you, Professor.  I can assure you it won't come to that." She insisted sincerely.  She heard Draco snort in contempt, and her fingers flexed.

            McGonagall smiled warmly back at her, "You're a smart young girl, Miss Granger.  That is why you were chosen as Head Girl.  I trust your word.  I hope that I won't have to rethink my decision."

            Hermione swallowed slowly and smiled – no doubt in her mind as to what 'decision' McGonagall was referring.  If she couldn't stay out of trouble for the rest of the week she would be removed from her position as Head Girl.

            "You are both dismissed." Snape barked.  The two students quickly fled the office and away from the intense gaze of their professors.

»»»»»»-------------------►♥ ◄-------------------««««««

            "We lost by ten points," Ron whispered – still in complete shock.  "Ten points..."

            "Don't take it too seriously, Ron.  The season hasn't even started yet."  Harry pointed out.  Scratching his chin with the end of his quill, he heaved a sigh and tried to find his spot in his reading.

            "But still!" Ron exclaimed. "It was Slytherin...and we lost..."

            Harry rolled his eyes.

            "It's not like I let Malfoy take the Snitch, you know." Came Hermione's voice as she entered  the common room.  Harry's face instantly brightened and he welcomed the interruption, setting his book aside.  He gestured her over to the couch.

            "Aw, don't mind him, 'Mione.  He's not blaming – he's just gotten used to winning."

            Hermione's eyebrow lifted, but rather than argue with the statement, she settled herself primly upon the arm of the couch, in between the two boys.  Noting Harry's eagerness for conversation she glanced down at the open book he'd banished to the coffee table.  She leaned forward and lifted up the cover to read the title.  Advanced Charms.  It was flipped open to Chapter Six.

            Harry was fidgeting beside her and she turned to look at him, inquiringly.  "Harry..." She said slowly. "This essay was due yesterday."

            "I know," He griped. "Professor Flitwick extended the due-date 'til today, on account of the Order meeting Thursday night."

            She sniffed lightly and tucked a wisp of hair behind her ear giving Harry her patented look of disapproval.  "If you remember, I was at the meeting as well.  Yet, I found the time to write mine."

            Harry rolled his eyes, "Writing you're a week in advance doesn't count, Hermione."

            She scowled and dropped the book's cover.  "That's your problem, not mine."  She glanced over at Ron, as he walked dumbly up to the dormitories, and shook her head.  "Well," she sighed, standing up.  "You have two hours to finish that, before it's counted late.  I'm going to take a bath."

            "Aw, Hermione!" he whined.  He grabbed her robes to keep her from leaving.  With an annoyed look, she slapped his hand away.

            "You got yourself into this mess."

            "But it's so boring and hard.  You're the smart one, 'Mione."

            The compliment didn't faze her, "You should have set more time aside to work on it; talked to Flitwick; worked on it this morning." She scolded.

            "But I had Quidditch!" He replied defensively.

            "At noon.  I didn't see you roll out of bed until a half hour before then."

            "Please, Hermione!" He pleaded. "I need to do well on this assignment in order to stay on the team." He told her sincerely.

            Hermione sighed and sat back down.  With her arms crossed over her chest she shot him an annoyed look, attempting to look as if he'd inconvenienced her as much as possible.

            "You're the best, 'Mione!" He exclaimed, grabbing his quill.

            Hermione smiled, amused, but when he turned back to her she'd assumed an expression of weary exasperation.  Picking up his textbook, she flipped back to the beginning of the chapter, eyes quickly scanning the printed lines.

            "You owe me an extra-big Christmas present this year." She murmured, turning up her nose and settling back on the couch.

            »»»»»»-------------------►♥ ◄-------------------««««««

            Nearly two hours later, Hermione was waving Harry off as he sprinted down the hallway, his three foot essay clutched in his hand, the ink still wet.  Chuckling softly to herself, she turned back to the common room, closing the portrait door shut behind her.  Surveying the plates of half-eaten food partnered with crumpled scraps of parchment, she set about cleaning up the mess around the couch.

            Sweeping the used parchment into the trashcan, she salvaged what clean pieces she could find and tucked them back inside their protective folder.  She wiped the tip of Harry's eagle quill and set it back in her bag along with his book and re-stoppered inkwell.  Pausing in the stacking of plates, she licked her thumb and swiped up a few tiny droplets of ink that had dripped onto the surface of the coffee table.  Rubbing her ink-stained thumb on a stray napkin she finished up her tidying.

           When she was done she headed for her dorm entrance on the west wall of the Gryffindor common room.  An ornate, Italian tapestry hung beside the bookshelves that lined the wall.  Hermione was straight up to the woven artwork and pressed her palm against the blossoming, white flower that was the tapestry's focal point.  A smiled tugged at the corner of her lips as she felt the hard, plastered wall behind it; reassuring her that she had indeed remembered to lock the entrance in her rush to the Quidditch field earlier that morning.

            "Pumpernickel."

            The hard surface beneath her palm melted away and she pulled her hand away.  The remarkably light tapestry fluttered slightly as the gateway to her dorm opened behind it in a gust of wind.  Trailing her fingers fondly across the beautiful piece she grabbed the edge and pulled it back just far enough for her to slip inside, dropping the cloth behind her.

            Climbing the small, three step staircase the led up to the main floor of her room, she repeated her password and the tiny alcove, with its tiny stairs, disappeared. 

She quickly slipped off her dirty shoes and set them beside her dresser to clean when she came back from her long-withheld bath.  A quick charm banished most of the dirt from her clothes – enough so that she wasn't shedding it everywhere – and as she took them off, she folded them neatly in a pile beside her Mary-Janes for a deeper cleaning once she returned.

            Wrapping herself in a fluffy, ivory bathrobe she grabbed a book off her desk and hurried down to the Heads' common room and towards the large bathroom shared by the Heads and Prefects.

»»»»»»-------------------►♥ ◄-------------------««««««

            Hermione had just finished the chapter in her book, when a soft noise outside the bathroom made her look up.  Already finished with her bath, Hermione decided it would be in her best interests as Head Girl to investigate.  Setting her book a safe distance past the enormous bath's rim, she quickly sloshed up the large marble steps and onto cold tile; pink bubbles still clinging to her wet skin.

            She grabbed a soft, maroon towel and dried off before slipping back into her terrycloth robe.  Dropping the towel into the golden basket marked 'Used', she walked back along the bath's pool-like side, pressing a button to drain the lukewarm water and scooping up her book.  She tucked her novel into the waist-pocket of her robe and, after making sure everything was properly tied, she padded out into the hallway.

            The ancient hallway, whose stones hummed with magic and held steadfast through the passages of time was a testament to all wizard kind...and in complete pandemonium.

            Hermione ducked as a small red object with rather lopsided wings launched itself at her and impacted with the unforgiving stones.  Sparks of all colors were raining down from the ceiling, some sizzling out half-way down, the others hitting the floor and bouncing across it.  Finding it difficult to dodge flying red things and avoid stepping on sparks, which she highly doubted were safe due to the situation they were found in, at the same time, she pressed herself to the wall avoiding most of the perils.

            That was only the beginning of the chaos.

            A little farther down the hall, the torches were flickering a sickly green color;  On her other side, a distorted warbling sound seemed to be coming from the portraits and she feared what wayward spell had connected with the poor portraits' patrons.  An object jutting suddenly into her back made her gasp in shock, and she whirled around as she stumbled away.

            Creeping out of the cracks in the walls, giant tendrils of ivy reached out.  Within seconds the emerald arms had spread along the wall from floor to ceiling and down the corridor on either side.  Flowers began rapidly bursting out along the vines, each sending out a foul smelling poof of pollen. 

Hermione made the mistake of breathing through her nose and as the microscopic particles of pollen reached her she began sneezing.  Another batty red thing swooped down on her and she stumbled and ducked away, finding it hard to see her wildly corkscrewing attacker when her eyes closed every time she sneezed. 

Her hand finally managed to connect with it and she slapped it away from her face.  Sparks snapped at her bum and popped against her arms and face.  She cried out in distress just before a vine slithered away from the wall and twisted around her wrist.

"Bloody hell!" She shouted, clawing at the vine.  Tears leaked from the corners of her eyes from sneezing, and her skin was tingling from the sharp pricks of rainbow colored sparks.

"Granger?"

Hermione looked up in shock and, with mild embarrassment as to her situation, managed a: "Malfoy?!" She sneezed.

"What the hell are you doing?!"

She sneezed again.  The thick green vine, apparently disgusted by her constant sneezing, released its death grip and uncoiled itself from her arm, returning to its grooved stone home in the wall.  She wiped at her eyes with the sleeve of her robe, and covered her mouth and nose with it as well, her wet hair hanging over her shoulders.

"I was taking a bath," She mumbled through terrycloth.  "I don't know what the hell's going on, either."

Another red thing flew at her and she swatted it away.  Draco's eyebrows shot up, but he made no move to venture further into the chaos.  She eyed his baggy, charcoal sweats and emerald silk robe suspiciously, sniffing to clear her sinuses.  "What are you doing here."

He pointed to the door she'd vacated, "Bath; it's your night to patrol."

Her jaw dropped open in shock, "You're not just going to leave me to deal with this on my own, are you?"

"It's probably just some stunt a guy did to impress his girlfriend.  It shouldn't be too hard to clean up," He smirked.  "Unless you don't think you can handle such a trivial task."

She shot him a haughty look, "You're under just as much obligation as I am to take care of this.  So, do something for once, damnit!" She cursed, stomping a bare foot.

The sound didn't stop.

Draco paused; Hermione's head shot up.  Footsteps were echoing up from the east end of the hallway.  Over the warbling portraits, they heard the sound of hissing.  Draco's composed eyes met hers, "That's Filch's cat."

"What do we have here, my pet?"

The sound echoed off the empty corridor.  Hermione's fear-widened eyes darted to the east where Filch's shadow was slowly rising up onto the wall.  Her gaze darted to Draco, then to the mess in the hallway and she saw her beautiful Head Girl rooms melting away.

She strangled back a cry making Draco give her a look of surprise.  On a split-second decision she lunged forward, grabbed Draco's wrist, and dragged them both down the hallway in the opposite direction.

"What do you think you're doing, Granger?" He demanded, rather loudly.

She shot him a silencing look.  "Oh, do shut up Malfoy." She spat softly. "I'm saving both our skins."

She stopped suddenly and dropped his arm so that she could properly inspect the wall they had stopped at.  She glanced over her shoulder, but Draco was where she'd left him.  They'd only moved a few feet from their previous location and she could feel the anxiety welling up in her throat as the footsteps got louder.

"You don't seriously think we'll get blamed for this, do you Granger?" He mocked.  "I think you may have stayed in the bath a little too long."

She scowled at the wall, but didn't waste time turning around to reprimand her.  "Of course no," She scoffed. "What I know is that we're at the 'scene of the crime', as it were, and since, by being so, we are the likeliest suspects, the first thing Filch is going to do when he catches us is take us to the 'authorities'."

Draco seemed to finally understand the assumption she was hinting at and he cursed under his breath, "And we can't get sent back to McGonagall's."

Hermione murmured her agreement.  "That's why it's probably in our best interest to get out of Filch's sight.  Our current attire probably won't help our case any either."

Draco gave a bitter chuckle, "They really need to fix the system."

Hermione smiled, though he couldn't see it.  "Tell me about it."  Her slender fingers trailed rapidly across faded stones, desperately searching for what it was she sought.  The cold wall turned suddenly hot and she let out a triumphant noise, alerting Draco to her discovery.

Pressing down forcefully upon a tiny decal in the stone, she watched it sink inwards.  When nothing happened, Hermione's anxiety leaped and Draco's impatience began to rise.  "Nice escape plan, Houdini." He commented dryly, but Hermione could sense his anxiety as well as her own.

"I think there's a password..." She replied helplessly, wringing her hands.

"Well what is it?" He inquired.

"I don't remember." She admitted.

"You can't hide..." Filch's voice rebounded loudly off the stone, and the light of his lantern was beginning to eek into Hermione's vision.

"Fizzing Whizzbees?" She ventured.  Nothing.

"Acid Pops"

"Chocolate Frogs"

"Cockroach Clusters"

"Licorice Wands"

"Pepper Imps"

Still nothing.

"Candy's not working." Draco interjected – stating the obvious. "Try something else."

"I don't know what else to try," she hissed.

Draco sighed and ran a hand through his slightly tousled hair. "What is this place anyway?"

"It's a small alcove, Harry, Ron, and I use." She answered shortly.

"Use for what?" He smirked.

"For different things," she said flatly.

Draco contemplated several different reactions, but the rapidly approaching caretaker made him abandon all of them.  He was rather fond of the advantages associated with being a Head; his own spacious bedroom being one of many, and he didn't fancy losing all that now on account of a misunderstanding on the Quidditch pitch and a power-crazed old coot.

"Well," he peered over her shoulder. "What kind of password would they choose?"

"Quidditch?" Nothing.

"You're a man – help me!"

"Snitch."

"Keeper."

"Quaffle"

"Seeker"

"Slytherin sucks"

Draco stepped back and made a face, "What?"

Hermione shrugged, "I was just thinking of what their password might be."

"Granger! Hurry up!"

She was wringing her hands desperately; Filch was just around the corner.

"Quidditch World Cup"

"Magical Games and Sports"

"Ludo Bagman"

"Chudley Cannons!"

The stony segment of wall fazed away, and Hermione yanked Draco in behind her as she went tumbling in, the wall reappearing after them.  They both struggled to disentangle themselves from the awkward positions they'd fallen in, but froze as the footsteps cease – like deer frozen in headlights.

"What do you smell, my sweet?" Filch rasped.  He was so close.

Draco glanced over at Hermione.  Her lips were moving but no audible sound came out to alert Filch of their whereabouts.  The door they'd entered through began to flicker, and Draco's immediate thought was that they'd been discovered.  It would certainly be awkward, explaining why they'd both been vacant from dinner, why they were together in equal states of undress, and ultimately: why they were wedged in a less-than-desirable hole in the wall.

His initial belief proved to be incorrect when a grainy image of the outer hallway appeared upon the wall and Filch made no move of acknowledgement towards their hiding place.  Now it was Hermione's turn to smirk.

"Keep looking, Ms. Norris." Filch cooed thickly.  His lantern light faded away as he shuffled past them and down around the corridor's bend.

"He's gone." Draco whispered, untangling himself.

Hermione grabbed a hold of his robe and pulled him forcefully down again.  A loose stone clattered across the floor as his hand hit it and they both froze.  When Hermione was certain Filch wasn't about to come barging back up the hallway, she turned to Draco.  Leaning close to speak as softly as possible, she refused to let him up – her strength belying her bookwormish tendencies.

"He'll come back." She breathed. "You make a run for it now and you might as well send house elves to start packing your things."

His eyes narrowed.  "I don't think so, Granger.  Why would you help me – we're still "enemies" unless I missed a memo."

She scowled at him, partly to cover up her own bafflement at her actions.  Why would she care what happened to Draco if she let him go out there.  Of course, she did know that Filch would never just leave, and any knowledge she could hoard over Draco was a pleasure, but was that a real reason.  Recovering quickly, she spared a glance at the one-sided window image.  "If you get caught there's nothing to stop you from ratting me out, leaving us both worse of than if we'd never run at all."

He looked down at her from their cramped position, and flashed a dashing smile. "Sure it's not jealousy?" He prodded.

Hermione chuckled. "I'm sure."

"Denial."

"Ssh!" Filch was back.

"Come and have a sit, my sweet." He murmured, lowering himself onto the cobblestone.  "We'll wait for our hiding sneak.  Even if they've slipped through, they'll be back to the scene."

Hermione's despairing face turned skyward, pleading as the grisly man gurgled to his aging feline.

"Yes, my pet...the guilty always come back..."

Sighing, ever so slowly the two silently uncoiled and moved to sit across from one another.  The tiny alcove had once been a tunnel, but a cave-in blocked the remainder of the narrow path.  Stuck in a cell barely three feet wide, for an unforeseen amount of time, the pair tried their best to find a comfortable spot upon the un-resilient stone and settled in for what appeared to be a long wait.  Filch was known to be remarkably stubborn and resolute at times.  Hermione prayed that tonight was not one of those times.

»»»»»»-------------------►♥ ◄-------------------««««««

            Hermione didn't know how long she'd been sitting in the tiny hollow, but both her feet had fallen asleep.  She tried to shift her position to ease her aching back, but the sharp tingling sensation that shot up her calves put a stop to any future movement.

            She sighed.  Of course the relief would only have been momentary, but it was often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place.  She looked up at Draco, sitting motionless across from her.  They'd barely spoken to one another, neither one willing to risk discovery by the caretaker.

            A sound outside diverted her attention, and she watched the scene on the other side of the wall play out in the magical window.  Filch was getting clumsily to his feet, Ms. Norris watching him intently from her seat at his feet.  Picking up the long burning lantern, he slid the shield across the glass surface blocking out all but a tiny sliver of light.

            "Let's take a walk, my sweet." He slurred, "No telling what we'll find."  Ms. Norris mewed and followed loyally after her master, garnet eyes scanning the entire hallway.

            She glanced over at Draco; his eyes were on her. "Do you think he's gone?" he whispered.

            Hermione brushed the damp hair from her eyes, "I'm not sure.  Do you have your wand?"  He nodded and the thin piece of wood appeared from his robe pocket.

            "Cast a sound-proofing charm."

            "It's not as if we're going to sit here and chat," He muttered, but performed the spell anyway.  A thin amber bubble appeared at the tip of his wand and spread out to encompass the entire hollow casting them in a pale light.

            She snorted disdainfully, "Of course not, but at least now we can move around without worrying about noise."

            Draco didn't reply.  He did, however pull himself to his feet to stretch, though he needed to stoop in order to avoid banging his head on the low-rise ceiling.  As he stood, rather than looking into his face Hermione found herself staring at his cotton covered knees.  This brought her mind back to the reason that had brought Draco into the whole mess.

            "So much for your bath, eh?" She mentioned, trying to make the best out of being wedged in a small confined space with your long-time enemy.  Draco didn't see it as such.

            "What? And looked like some drowned cat for the whole ordeal?" He scoffed, waving in her general direction.  Self-consciously, Hermione dragged her fingers quickly through her knotted and wetly tangled hair attempting to create an appearance of neatness.  "I'm grateful not to have given you such material with which to format weak and petty insults at my expense."

            She bristled, having to crane her neck upwards at a painful angle to give him a look, "Doesn't seem to be stopping you."

            He chuckled and rubbed the kinks out of his neck.  Hermione sighed, resting her chin in her hand.

            "Just my luck to get stuck in here with you." She glanced at the wall image as Filch paced past.

            "And what's so wrong with that?" He smirked. "There's plenty of girls in this school who'd kill to be in your shoes."

            Hermione's face was impassive, "I'm not wearing any shoes." She wiggled her bare toes for emphasis.

            "Ah, you're changing the subject." He said. "Don't tell me you've fallen prey to my charms, Granger; I'll have no one left to spar with."

            Hermione gave him a withering and disgusted look, "Hardly, Malfoy.  I have no desire for you whatsoever."

            She stood up as well, keeping her body pressed against the wall, and stretched.  Draco's next words almost made her fall over again.

            "Well that's too bad." He drawled.

            Hermione, jaw dropped, eyes wide, stared at the boy standing barely a foot from her in dumb shock. "What?!" She hissed.

            He winked, "Oh, come now, Granger.  Don't tell me the thought hasn't crossed your mind."

            "I can't believe this," She gaped. "We're hiding in a dark, dank, dirty, small enclosed space from a crime we didn't commit, while Filch and his bloody cat refuse to stop prowling the hallway – all of this amounting to our positions being on the line; which, by the way, is entirely your fault!" She added, ending her speech that had grown progressively louder with each word.

            He looked down at her, a smirk growing on his face, his height advantage making Hermione feel suddenly very small.  "What else is there to do?" He prompted.

            There was no escape for Hermione in the narrow hollow, "Um...recite passages from Hogwarts: A History?"

            Draco laughed; a warm burst of breath across her cheeks, making her realize just how close they really were.  The golden light of the silencing spell played shadows across his face, sharply accenting his features, and his bold gray-blue eyes glittered in the half-light.

She wanted him to kiss her, Hermione realized suddenly, and she wanted it bad. Her blood boiled and thundered in her ears and Draco's shallow breathing against her face made the hairs on the back of her neck rise. Her eyes locked with his and as she leaned forward her chin tilted upwards and her eyelids fluttered shut.

Kiss me...

A footsteps sounded loudly in the hallway and Hermione's head snapped back up, banging it against the wall. Her breathing was low and uneven, her head pounded, and she turned her face away from his to curse her clumsiness. Draco chuckled, slipping his hands into his pocket.

"Sexual tension, much?" he taunted.

"As if, Malfoy!" Hermione shouted back hotly.

He leaned back against the wall, crossing his ankles.  "So you weren't puckering up for a kiss, then?" He asked smoothly.

Hermione's face went hot.  "Certainly not! I was trying to get away from your acrid stench – why couldn't I have gotten stuck with you after your bath?"

"You never take a break do you..." he snorted. "We're trapped in here, probably for the rest of the night – a perfectly good situation that you refuse to take advantage of." He made a face, "It's not morals is it?"


            "While they may be completely foreign to you, yes, morals do exist.  And no, it's not my morals that keep me from throwing myself at you, it's my standards."

Draco's eyes flashed and he stepped menacingly towards her, "Excuse me?  You're hardly above house elf status." He spat. "Almost any other girl would be preferable to you, not to mention you're unbelievably uptight--"

Draco's tirade was cut off as Hermione's lips covered his.  He jumped back in surprise, colliding with the wall, Hermione's sudden momentum into him making him stumble back to keep from toppling over.  She pulled away, falling back on her heels and steadying herself with her hands on his shoulders.  "Are you quite finished?" She murmured breathlessly.

He glanced over her shoulder as Filch paced by again, "Filch is right outside."

Hermione's nose crinkled up, "I'm trying not to think of it." She admitted, "Besides, there's better things to occupy me?" She ventured.

Draco laughed -- a loud and boisterous sound that bounced off the glowing stone walls.  "A momentary truce then?" He proposed.

She shivered, her nerves dancing on the edges of her mind. "We don't have a white flag..." she murmured.

Draco's fingers threaded through her damp hair, stepping closer as his hands trailed down her neck.  A sinister smile curled his lips, "I'm sure we could find some sort of substitute."

His hands slid down her shoulders, pushing aside thick terrycloth, and her bathrobe began slipping down her arms.  "No need to wave it..."

Hermione laughed wisply, her breathing shallow. "There wouldn't be any point..."

He kissed her, less gently than she'd expected, and this time they did fall back, tumbling into the collapsed rubble in a tangle of limbs.  Her hands fought with the silk ties of his robe.  She couldn't explain her sudden loss of rational thought.  All Hermione knew was that, at that pivotal moment, she wanted nothing else than to be kissing Draco Malfoy.

"Granger."

"Hmm?" She looked up, but everything was dark.  She couldn't even see her own hand before her face.

"Granger!" Draco hissed – quietly, yet closer this time.

She finally realized the impenetrable darkness to be her own eyelids and she opened them quickly.  Draco's face was only inches in front of hers, the darkness blocking out all his features, leaving only a vague outline of his body. 

What had happened to the silencing spell?

"He's gone – how the hell do we get out of here?"

Hermione leapt to her feet, knocking Draco back and banging her head against the low ceiling.  "Bloody hell!" She cursed.  "What happened?"

He gave her a confused look, "You fell asleep."

Hermione swore inwardly.  Had it all been just a dream?

"Don't know how you managed that feat, I could barely get comfortable in this pile of rubble.  Didn't give me any warning either, just keeled over and started snoring..."

"I don't snore!" Hermione interjected defensively.

"My insulting talent gone to complete waste," He told her grudgingly.

Hermione's fingers flexed, rational thought definitely settling back into her mind.  She wanted to throttle him.  "You poor, unfortunate soul.  I'm glad I was asleep for the whole ordeal.  I probably would have gone mad having to spend such an eternity with you."

"Hey now!" Draco shot back, "The same goes for yours truly.  Though I could have done without the snoring..."

The grinding of Hermione's teeth was audible.

Turning to the door she pressed the engraved symbol and the wall fazed away revealing a hallway now devoid of any magical mishaps gone awry.  She stumbled out into the hallway, quickly followed by Draco, her now-dry hair already bushy again.

"Fresh air!" Draco exclaimed.  The hidden door closing again behind him.

"How late is it?" Hermione asked trying to get a feel for how long they'd been hiding.

"Way past dinner," Draco replied. "Around midnight I'm guessing."

Hermione sighed starting in the direction of her dorm. "Our positions are safe – let us never speak of this again."

Draco snorted, opening the bathroom door for his long anticipated bath, "Suits me just fine.  I have a reputation.  Wouldn't do me any good for rumors to go around about me hiding in some hole with Hermione Granger."

"Whatever, Malfoy." She waved him away, starting up the stairs.

"Happy Valentine's Day, Granger." He called after her sarcastically, and disappeared into the bathroom.

♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦♠♣♥♦

Yay! Hope you like it! I know there wasn't much romance and super mushy stuff, but I thought Hermione and Draco were cute.  You may come and beat me if you wish.

Katzy