Hermione Granger smiled and stifled a yawn as she grasped the slipping pile of books in her arms. Dinner had been over for about an hour or so, and they were now part of the straggling group of students that were making their way back to their dormitories.
She listened to Ron as he cursed and swore where in Potions earlier before dinner, Snape had once again threatened to get them expelled before very sinisterly taking away forty points from Gryfinndor when they had turned up late for the third time in a row.
"I'll bet Snape has never tried to make it from the Greenhouse to the dungeons within the short span of five minutes!" Ron said heatedly.
"Calm down Ron," Harry cut in, alarmed at the way his face was growing redder at an abnormal rate.
"Calm down? CALM DOWN?!" Ron nearly spluttered, "Calm down, when each time we walk into the classroom, our points neck to neck with Slytherin, we walk out with nearly all of the day's earned points lost?"
"Just-" Harry started, but Ron steamrollered ahead.
"If that git tries to take anymore of our points, and mind you they're well-deserved ones, unlike that house of his, I'll, I'll…." He paused, thinking hard.
"Crucio, stun and hex him till he begs for mercy?" Harry quipped.
"Brilliant idea, Harry." Ron approved, nodding his head fervently, while Harry gave an apologetic glance to Hermione.
They arrived in front of the Fat Lady's portrait and after a few moments pause in their chatter to let themselves in, flopped onto the couches near the fireplace. Ron stared into the fire for a moment, a very thoughtful look on his face, before he turned to them and spoke.
"You know, I've honestly got a good mind to burn the whole lot of my Potions assignments," he said, gazing dreamily into the fire.
"Ron! You know you can't do that! What will Snape say? Either ways Ron, pray tell then what are you going to revise with for the N.E.W.T.'s?"
Ron rolled his eyes at Hermione before pulling out a large, unsightly crumpled mess of parchment from his bag and stuffing it in her face.
"Would you really call this proper revision material, Hermione dear?"
The parchments were full of slashes and strokes, with near paragraphs circled pointedly with red ink, and a running commentary on the margins. It was quite impossible to even tell it had formerly been homework, much less read what had originally been written under the dark red ink.
She snorted rudely."It would help if you actually tried to write something that came from up there," gesturing to his brain, "or at least try re-phrasing something from the text, instead of just lifting whole chunks out of books."
"Which, I am fairly positive, Ron Weasley, was picked out without much use of the eyes." She added with another derisive snort.
Harry laughed loudly before quickly stifling it as a cough when Ron turned to glare at him. Harry and Hermione burst out in laughter. He glared at them before snatching the pile of parchment from Hermione.
"Can we talk about something else now? Because in case you two haven't noticed, it's rather annoying to watch you laugh over the state of my potions essays." Ron demanded, looking defiant.
"What about a game of wizard's chess then Ron?" Harry asked, taking his miniature set from his bag.
She sighed, glancing at the clock on the mantelpiece. Nearly an hour had passed since they had left the Great Hall.
"I would love to, but I've got to go back to the Head dorm. Malfoy's waiting, patrol time for the First Years." She replied, a slight grimace on her face. Going back to see his sneering face was not what she was looking forward to.
Just as she swung open the heavy door and was about to walk out, she heard Harry holler.
"Just one word Hermione,"
"And he'll be blasted into bloody smithereens so fast he won't even know it!" Ron finished cheerily.
Hermione glanced surreptitiously at her watch. She was ten minutes late for their patrol. She loved being Head Girl and most of the duties and respect that came with it, but patrolling duties with Malfoy most certainly did not top her list.
By the time she ran over to where the portrait entrance to the Head dorm was, her heart sank a little when she saw Malfoy leaning against the wall, his arms crossed. She knew what he would do, knew what his intention was by so specially waiting outside because under normal circumstances he would've never even bothered himself with her.
Ignoring him completely, she muttered the password and pulled open the door, cursing openly as her books slipped and smacked on the floor. She bent down quickly to snatch them up, feeling an embarrassed flush on her face that only annoyed her further.
"Well Granger, would you mind explaining why you are late for the…let's see…fourth time this week?" She heard Malfoy drawl behind her, clearly enjoying himself immensely. She hated him for it.
It was the rule that both Heads were not allowed to turn up late for their personal duties without permissible excuses from a professor and it was either one's duty to report it to Professor Mcgonagall if their partner had made a slip-up.
Turning around slowly to face him, she looked at him squarely in the eye. "For your information Malfoy, it's none of your business. Secondly, I have a proper excuse of this."
Hermione glared at him. It really was none of his business, and on second thought, why did he even care?
She opened her mouth to ask him even as he began on a sentence, silencing him.
"Why do you even bother Malfoy? Since when, in the past seven years, have you taken the time to acquaint yourself with my personal affairs? And if I recall correctly, we," she gestured pointedly at herself and him, "did not make any recent agreements to do so."
He stared at her for a moment before regaining the contemptuous sneer on his face and waved away the question with a fluid move of his hand.
"Back to the original question Granger. You answer it. Not unless you want to have detention, I suggest you answer it." He repeated smoothly.
Not for the first time, she wished she could just go up there and slap the arrogance out of his face.
"Fine. The answer, to your question Malfoy, is that I was held up by Professor Mcgonagall herself, to discuss certain matters concerning Gryfinndor, which all the more does not have anything to do with you."
She felt slightly squirmish inside, as she always did whenever she told a lie, or a half-truth. Professor Mcgonagall had indeed held her up for such matters, but that was in the late afternoon.
Malfoy didn't need to know that.
Giving her a disgusted look, he made to leave, shutting the door loudly behind him.
If Malfoy had a talent, and it was a very big if, it was most certainly the remarkable way he nearly always managed to ruin her day or mood.
I hope you like this. Everything will come to place in the next chapter. Review!