Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, creatures or places in this story. They all belong to J.K. Rowling. I do however own the plot.
A Few Llamas and a Git
It was a particularly lazy day in late September, and everyone was sitting around the Gryffindor common room, finding various ways to amuse themselves. Ginny Weasley had just sat down in a squashy armchair by the fire, watching some first years make a foil farm, when her best girlfriend, sixth-year Hermione Granger, crashed through the Fat Lady's portrait hole, positively seething with anger.
"Why? Why?! FOR THE LOVE OF LLAMAS, WHY?!?!" Hermione screamed as she sank into the chair by Ginny.
Ginny, not used to such outbursts from the usually quiet brunette, asked, "Er…something bothering you, Hermione?"
"Oh, no. I'm fine. Just peachy!" Hermione said, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
Ginny looked slightly taken aback but said, "Oh, ok then. Well if you're…"
But her response was cut short by Hermione, who seemed to change her mind about her sarcastic ways, and decided to speak up. "I have to work with…with the most foul…the most!! ERGH! Grrr…"
Slightly scared but highly interested, Ginny asked, "Who do you have to work with?"
"I have to work with…with the one person I truly hate!" Hermione struggled to spit out, her face flushed from having to think about it.
Ginny, trying to contain her frustration at Hermione's vagueness, asked in a quiet voice, "And who would that be?"
"Please, kill me now. Seriously! I'd rather be murdered with a spoon then work with…that slimy, little GIT!" The prefect shouted with a wild look in her eyes. By this time, the whole common room had looked up from their business, and seemed to be waiting silently, holding their breath.
Ginny sat very still, as if afraid any sudden movement may provoke Hermione further. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Ginny, choosing her words carefully, said, "Look, Hermione, just tell me who it is," Then after a moment's contemplation, she added, "If you tell me who it is, then we can start making plans to make his life hell. Fred and George are my brothers after all. I'm sure they can help us think of something brilliant." Hermione looked up to see a malicious glint in the redhead's eye. She reveled in the thought of this for a few seconds before she finally spit out one word,
Ginny seemed to be horrified at the very thought of this because she stood up rather quickly and shouted, "No!"
Hermione simply nodded, looking as if she was now emotionally drained. However, after a few minutes of silence, she finally spoke up and began her story. "Ok, well this whole nightmare started in Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures class…"
"All righ' everyone, se'tle down," Hagrid said once all of the Gryffindors and, much to the trio's dismay, Slytherins had arrived. "Today we're goin' ter be startin' a little project." He gestured toward a small paddock behind them that held about twenty creatures that looked like a cross between a monkey and a frog.
"Ugh, what the bloody hell are those things?" Ron hissed under his breath.
"They're Clabberts, Ron, and very interesting creatures actually," Hermione whispered back to her redheaded boyfriend. "And don't swear." At this lighthearted chastisement, Ron tried and failed miserably to look sulky, while Harry just stood nearby and sniggered.
Hermione allowed herself to let her mind stray for a few moments. Immediately, all of her thoughts collected on Ron. Well naturally, she was a sixteen-year-old girl, after all. She had just started thinking about the way Ron would absentmindedly toss the loose strands of hair from his face when he wasn't paying attention, much like he was doing now, when Hagrid's booming voice broke her reverie.
"Now, who can tell me summat abou' Clabberts?" To no one's surprise, Hermione's hand shot into the air. "'Ermione."
"Clabberts are tree-dwelling creatures that feed mostly on small lizards and birds. Their most distinctive feature is the large pustule in the middle of their forehead, which glows scarlet and flashes when it senses danger," Hermione answered promptly, looking more than slightly pleased with herself.
"Righ'! Ten points ter Gryffindor," Hagrid said, positively beaming at Hermione. "Ok, so back ter the project. Yeh'll be workin' with partners ter take care o' one o' 'em for four months!" At these words, a collective groan erupted from the class and they started to pair off for partners. "O an' I'll be assignin' yeh yer partners," Hagrid added as an afterthought.
"Righ', so we're gonna be mixin' things up a bit. Yeh'll be with opposite houses and genders. Partners are: Brown and Goyle, Patil and Zabini, Potter and Parkinson, Weasley and Bulstrode…" Hagrid went on until he finally got to the last pairing, "Granger and Malfoy."
At this, Ron loudly and very angrily said, "WHAT?! Hagrid! You can't let her work with him!" He put a protective arm around his girlfriend's shoulders, "I won't allow it."
Hermione, who had been slightly dazed, snapped to attention at his words. "Excuse me? You won't allow it? I'll have you know, Ronald Weasley, that you are not the boss of me and I can work with anyone I want to," she said acidly. Ron, taken aback, simply said, "But 'Mione, it's not just anyone. It's Malfoy."
"I'm perfectly aware of who it is, Ron, I don't need you to point it out for me," Hermione retorted. "And besides, I'm sure Hagrid has a completely logical explanation to all of this. Don't you?" She directed these last words at the large man beside her.
"O' course I do," Hagrid replied quickly. "Dumbledore's orders, see, wanted me ter pair yeh up with opposite houses. Summat about interhouse unity." Ron, still not satisfied, said, "But Hagrid, why Malfoy and Hermione?"
Sighing, Hagrid stated, "'Cause I knew outta all the girls, 'Ermione would be the one who could handle herself aroun' him. Won't let him take advantage o' her, see?" He seemed to have thought this adequately finished the discussion, because he walked off to hand out Clabberts to the other groups. Hermione gave Ron a look that said, Can you argue with that?
Ron, knowing Malfoy's reputation quite well, begrudgingly admitted defeat and let Hermione walk off towards Malfoy, while he stomped off to find Millicent. "He better not try anything funny, or I swear I'll bloody belt him," Ron thought to himself with an angry expression on his freckled face.
Hermione approached Malfoy with impending dread. "What have I gotten myself into? What if he's absolutely horrible to me?" She thought to herself, with some apprehension. "Wait, what do I mean if? Of course he will be absolutely horrible to me," the brunette thought morosely. Then, she muttered to herself, "Oh, bugger it."
"Well, well, well. Look at this, the Mudblood talking to herself. How classic. I know everyone thinks you're brilliant or something, but I know better. Father always said there was a fine line between genius and insanity. It's obvious you have leapt over it." Hermione turned to meet Malfoy's drawl and the sneer on his face.
Hermione gave Malfoy a cold look that held the utmost contempt. "Ah, Malfoy, always the witty one," She retorted sarcastically. "You know after six years, I would have thought you'd be able to come up with a better comeback than 'Mudblood'. It really loses its, shall we say, charm, after the billionth time you use it."
Malfoy looked as if he was going to retort, but was cut off upon seeing Hagrid advance towards them. "What an oaf," he sneered under his breath, only to have a Death Glare from Hermione promptly meet him.
"Hagrid," Hermione spoke up with a confused look on her face. "There aren't any Clabberts left for us. What are we going to work with?"
"Well, I have a bit o' a special project for yeh two," the large man replied as he gestured for them to follow him. They stopped before a large basket on the ground. With a flourish, Hagrid lifted off the lid and enthusiastically said, "Yeh'll be workin' with a kneazle! And wha's special is: this one is pregnant!" At these last words, Hermione gasped while Malfoy involuntarily shuddered and said, "Ew."
"But Hagrid," Hermione piped up. "Won't this be really hard to take care of? I mean they need a completely different diet when they're pregnant. Not to mention they're really moody! What if we get hurt? What if the kneazle gets hurt? What if…"
"'Ermione, calm down!" Hagrid cut in when she was bordering on slightly hysterical. "Yes, it will be hard, but yeh won't get hurt. And I knew yeh two would be able ter handle it, 'cause yer the smartest I got in my class." At these last words, Hermione looked no longer hysterical, but pleased with herself, and Malfoy looked like his old smug self. "So will yeh do it? Please?" Hagrid asked, a pleading look in his eyes. Upon seeing this, the brunette could do nothing but acquiesce.
"Oh, alright Hagrid. What's her name?"
"Betty! Isn't she a be'uty?" Hagrid supplied, a misty expression on his face. Then he walked away towards the rest of the class, leaving Hermione and Malfoy alone. Once Hagrid was out of earshot, the latter rounded on Hermione.
"Listen, Mudblood. We're going to get a few things straight. I'm calling all the shots in this project, so you have to do whatever you say. Since I, naturally, will be supervising, you're going have to manage to do all the manual work yourself. I wouldn't want to get my perfect hands dirty now would I? Oh, and speaking of hands, do try and keep yours off me, I know it will be hard. I most certainly want your Mudblood filth all over me."
During this discourse, the prefect became increasingly angry. She pulled out her wand at pointed it at the blonde boy's throat, her eyes flashing dangerously. "I will not take your crap anymore, Malfoy," Hermione said in a low voice. "Next time I swear to all that is holy, you will not be so lucky, you arrogant piece of dung." With these parting words, she lowered her wand, picked up Betty, and stalked off towards an equally angry Ron.
Malfoy, who seemed to have stopped breathing, whispered, "Bloody hell."