Chapter 1

It was a cool Saturday at the start of March during Hermione Granger's sixth year. "I'm just coming," Hermione yelled from the sixth year girls' dormitories, as she hastily tied a scarf round her neck. This weekend was a Hogsmeade one and Hermione wanted to pick up a new book she had ordered from the "flourish and Blotts" branch in Hogsmeade. "The Fine Art of Potions," had been recommended by Snape, or rather,

"And if you dunderheads wish to pass advanced potions, may I suggest you start reading." Well, not in so many words perhaps. She dashed down the stairs into the Gryffindor common room to find Harry and Ron waiting for her.

"Finally," Ron sighed, with a roll of his eyes, Hermione merely tutted, as Harry lead the way out of the Gryffindor common room. She was quite excited and chatted away happily to Ron and Harry about the potions book which she was eager to get; their eyes had long since glazed over, as they walked down the hill from the castle into Hogsmeade- but Hermione didn't mind, she was too excited.

"If this is what books do to you, I'm giving up reading," Ron seemed to have come awake.

"You read?" asked Hermione, Ron opened his mouth to retort. Harry coughed,

"Er, this isn't really the place to start guys," Harry gestured around, "public place and all. Hermione looked around, he was right; plenty of other Hogwarts' students were approaching the village, just like them. It would be unwise to start a scene. Hermione continued walking in silence with Harry and Ron, when she realised that they had entered Hogsmeade. She'd been so wrapped up in thinking about her book, that she hadn't realised they had arrived. She smiled happily, as she headed for the book shop.

"I'll meet you two in "The Three Broomsticks" in 15 minuets, alright?" Hermione called, not really listening for an answer, though she did catch a grunt from Ron. She entered the shop and stood behind a person in the queue. She admired many of the books which lined the walls as she waited, mentally making a list of one's she wanted. As the queue shortened and the person in front of Hermione went to be served, Hermione caught a snatch of conversation.

"There you go, Mr Zabini, the last copy of "The Fine Art of Potions," you are a lucky man.

Her mouth fell open. No, no, no! Her mind screamed; that's mine!

"Excuse me, madam. I think you're mistaken, I reserved a copy of that book," said Hermione to the assistant, trying to be courteous. It was, after all a mistake.

The woman frowned slightly, as she checked below the counter and the man in front of Hermione rummaged around in his coin pouch. The assistant emerged a few seconds later and said apologetically,

"I'm sorry dear, that's the last one." Hermione's mouth dropped open in horror. No, no this isn't happening; she'd been waiting for this for weeks! Did this woman really just deny Hermione Granger a book? Hermione made a decision as the man handed over his money to the cashier, she tapped him on the shoulder and he turned round. She gasped,

"Zabini! What are you? Wait, you have my book!"

Blaise raised an eyebrow at her in a horribly Slytherin way, but Hermione refused to be intimidated, even though he was nearly a foot taller than her.

"I can't see you're name on it." Blaise replied smugly, looking the book over. Hermione sighed in an annoyed way,

"Zabini, it is only polite to give me, as a lady, the book, after all, I did reserve a copy!" she was starting to get a bit worked up and Blaise looked to be thoroughly enjoying it.

"As did I, Granger. It's just as much mine as it is yours." Hermione ground her teeth together, he was right, but that wasn't what mattered, after all it was a book, how dare he?

"But, I've been waiting for this for weeks and it's not fair that you go and-"

"I hardly think it's my fault the book shop buggered it up, now," he directed at the shop owner, "you have a very unhappy customer madam. Since it was your shop who mucked this all up, may I suggest you sort it all out?"

The shop attendant looked highly affronted,

"Young man, it is not I who am in charge of order, it is not my concern,"

"Well make it your concern," snapped Blaise irritably, "this lady has paid you a service by coming to your business, the least you could do is give her what has been promised to her."

Hermione, throughout this was gaping at Blaise like he'd lost his marbles. Was Blaise Zabini, smarmy Slytherin extraordinaire shouting at a shopkeeper for her rights? See the pigs flying, thought Hermione, but she looked out of the window, just in case. No, no pigs. Clearly something had addled his brain.

As Blaise paused to draw breath Hermione addressed him,

"Um, Zabini, are you feeling all that right in the head?" Blaise looked at her like she was a total moron.

"I'm perfectly fine, Granger. What caused you to think otherwise?" he replied, eyebrow raised, yet again.

"Er, maybe the fact you're defending my rights to someone you don't know?" Blaise again looked at her like she was mad.

"You don't like me," Hermione clarified.

"Look, Granger, I am, if nothing else, a proper gentleman. That bloody shop assistant has scuttled off into the back of the shop to find you a copy of the book," and sure enough now he said it, the assistant was no longer there. "And I never said I didn't like you." he looked her dead in the eye in a very intimidating way. Hermione retreated slightly; it was kind of creepy having his blue eyes boring into her. "Now, if you'll excuse me Granger, I have other business to attend too." And with that he swept out of the door, leaving Hermione gaping. She turned around to find the shop assistant emerging from a shelf, duster in hand.

"Did you find another copy?" Hermione asked. The assistant looked highly confused.

"I only went to dust off some shelves dear," Hermione gaped.

That filthy Slytherin! He, he, had said and, he'd ran off with her book! Hermione growled. No one got in the way of her and her books.

Hermione walked with a purposeful stride towards the Three Broomsticks, she was red with anger and without a book. How dare he? He thinks he can charm me with all that moral, stand up for women, proper gentleman rubbish! I hope he realises this means war! Hermione pushed open the door of the three Broomsticks with such force that she hit the person on the other side on the nose.

"Oh, fuck Granger, what the hell are you playing at?" Draco Malfoy, voice muffled and one hand over his nose looked fuming beyond recognition. Hermione gasped.

"Oh, God, I was in a world of my own, I didn't-"

"Crap, Granger, you bloody well did," moaned Malfoy. Hermione made a move forward, "don't touch me you bloody harpy." And with that, he stormed out of the door.

Hermione sighed; he wasn't going to let her forget that. He was going to throw it back in her face. A lot. Trying to forget about it she walked over to a table in the corner, where Harry and Ron were drinking butterbeers'. They seemed to have not seen anything, as they're backs were to the door.

"Hi Hermione, you're a bit late, er, where's your book?" Harry looked rather confused.

Hermione sank down onto the chair beside Ron and took a swig of his butterbeer.

"Don't ask."