Jack 'o Lantern Delight

Hermione glared across the table strewn with innards at the blonde haired boy, grinding her teeth as she stared at the knife he held.

"What part of 'cut off the top' can you NOT understand?" she bit out, jerking the knife out of his hand and brandishing it furiously. "First you take the knife. Then, you cut off the very top." She bit off, pantomiming a sawing motion dangerously close to Draco's nose "Not cut it in half" she raged. "This is the fourth pumpkin. The FOURTH! How hard could it possibly be?" she continued.

She shoved the two halves of the pumpkin off the table and onto the marble floor of the great hall. The shouts and laughter of the other students echoing in the cavernous room. The long tables that were normally placed in the center of the room had been vanished and in their place were hundreds of tiny tables with name cards sitting on the wood surface. Hermione pushed her bushy brown hair away from her face and glared menacingly at Draco. "You're doing this just to get on my nerves aren't you?" she asked, her voice dangerously soft.

"What was your first clue?" Draco sneered, his long, pale fingers drumming a tattoo on the table, his grey eyes were staring at the pile of pumpkins forming on the floor next to his feet in disgust. "I don't understand why we can't do this with magic. Or why I have to do it with you." His nostrils flared dramatically with the last word, the look on his face was the one Ron wore when he found something particularly nasty on the bottom on his shoe.

"One, Dumbledore is trying to do this in the traditional way, the founding four carved their pumpkins by hand, increasing the natural magic and better protecting us from evil spirits, and two, he's trying to promote interhouse relationships by pairing up members of different houses. Now stop complaining and cut the top off of the bloody pumpkin." Hermione growled, handing the knife to him, handle first.

Draco stared at the proffered instrument for a moment and then leaned back in his chair, a nasty look painted across his pale features. "Why don't you?" Draco sneered

Hermione stared at him, her jaw working furiously. "Because" she said slowly "this is your job. I'm not doing your work for you." She continued to hold the knife out towards him.

"Well I'm not doing it." Draco said defiantly

Hermione blinked, her brown eyes enraged "Fine" she said sharply, then she readjusted her grip on the knife, holding the handle once more, and stabbed it deep into the center of the pumpkin that had appeared on their table the moment she had shoved the last one off "fine" she repeated sitting down heavily in the spindly chair "we'll just sit here until you decide to do your job." Then she leaned back, her arms crossed sullenly over her chest.

"Fine by me." Draco said, just as crossly, slinging an arm over the back of his chair, his chin jutting out defiantly.

"Fine" Hermione repeated

"Fine" Draco glowered

And there they sat. Seconds turned into minuets, minuets into hours. Neither of them moving. Hermione didn't so much as twitch, not even when loud popping sounds followed by snickers signaled that Fred and George had begun passing out Canary Cremes to unsuspecting first years, despite the fact Hermione had given them a very stern talking to several hours before. The enchanted ceiling of the great hall showed the passing of the time more effectively then the grandfather clock behind Draco's left shoulder,due to the fact that the hour hand had wandered off to join the minuet hand on the clock on the third floor. Then the minuet hand on grandfather clock had become fed up with doing twice the work and had stubbornly refused to move, despite the insistent third year who was prodding it with a wand.

The summer blue sky was obscured by violent orange fingers that creeped across the sky as the sun set, and was painted soft pearly pink as the sun dipped below the horizon, gradually the sky faded to a soft purple gray and then as the first stars began to wink mischievously in the velvety night sky, Dumbledore strutted past wearing a horrible ensemble of black and yellow clothing. It wasn't until he drew closer that Hermione realized he was dressed as a bumblebee, complete with a stinger, which on closer inspection, appeared to be his wand, protruding from his backside. Stiffiling a moan of embarrassment for her headmaster, she covered her brown eyes with the heels of her hand. The sound of Draco's scoff told her that he had also noticed Dumbledore's head start on Halloween which wasn't for three more days.

Groaning, Hermione leaned forward and pillowed her head in her hands. She couldn't take this, in moments she was asleep. Sighing, Draco his head back and stared up at the enchanted ceiling, his eyes reflecting the silver gleam of the moon. Giving another sigh he cast a glance at Hermione. Her hair was spread across her shoulders and spilled onto table like some horrible bushy tablecloth. Was she asleep? "Pst! Granger!" he hissed poking her with his wand. "Granger!" she stirred, and then giving a small moan she settled back down. Sitting back down he glared at her, and then at the pumpkin that sat between them and the knife that protruded from it's top. How hard could it possibly be? If a muggle could do it, he could do it. Pulling the knife from the top of the pumpkin he leaned back and considered the orange orb that sat on the tiny table. Narrowing his eyes he set to work, and the only one there to witness it was the insolent minuet hand which was still giving off the occasional red spark, the result of the third year's wayward wand.

Hermione awoke to the pale predawn light that streamed in from the ceiling of the great hall. Moaning she sat up, rubbing her neck. Her eyes fell on the empty chair. Draco was gone. And on the table in front of her was a pumpkin, the eyes perfect triangles and the smile a medley of crooked orange teeth. A perfectly carved pumpkin.