"Alexa, hey!" Hermione greeted from Gryffindor table as the athletically built brunette (who had just smugly gotten a hug from an insanely good-looking Slytherin) strolled into the Hall. Alexa grinned as she spotted her friends. Ron and Harry were already working a dent into the plate of food in front of them, and Hermione had a partly eaten pastry in her hand.

"Oh, hi! You're back," Alexa said, aware she was stating the obvious.

Harry swallowed whatever it was that he was chewing on and beamed. "Almost fifteen minutes ago, actually. Where were you?"

"I do have other friends, you know." It might have come off as a bit defensive, so she threw in a playful nudge to his shoulder as she plunked down between Harry and Hermione. "How was Hogsmeade?"

"Forge showed us a few new inventions, and they had a nice blow out at Honeydukes." Ron told her.

"And I think Zonko's is going to merge with the Wheezes sometime soon. It's either that or risk having to shut down completely. A lot of their business is gone." Hermione said thoughtfully.

"We brought you some souvenirs," Harry piped up, handing over a bag.

"Oh, thanks guys, you really didn't have to." Alexa was delighted as she sifted through the sizable amount of candy and interesting-looking objects (probably from the joke shop).

"It was really too bad that you couldn't come." Harry shook his head.

"Oh, yeah. Harry's been ranting about how bad he felt for leaving you by yourself." Ron teased.

Harry laughed, though it was a bit forced. He shot Ron a look and hit him jokingly. "Shut up. It's not like she's been around here for very long. And she's never been there."

"So what did you end up doing all day? Done all that homework, I trust?" Hermione asked, taking a sip of pumpkin juice.

"You didn't have to worry about me. I found things to do." She smiled.

They moved on to other topics, but as Alexa ate, she snuck a glance at the Slytherin table. Draco was laughing with some person beside him. She noticed that his grin didn't stretch to his eyes, which still looked rather unemotional. Damn, he was nice to look at. If only he'd be less cold.

"…dating Cho?" Alexa finally tore her eyes away from the blonde and caught the tail end of something Hermione was saying to Harry.

"That's dead." He sighed, giving a beautiful Ravenclaw girl (Cho, she supposed) a weary look. "And let's not go into an in-depth discussion of what went wrong there. I can't approach girls. I get it, 'Mione."

"Better than me, still. At least your dream date didn't look disgusted when you asked her out last year." Ron shuddered.

"I'd say you have the best record, Hermione. A champion asking you out?" Harry teased.

"Viktor was sweet. But we're just friends." She answered. "What about you, do you have a boyfriend?"

"Me?" Alexa whipped her head up, sensing the short silence that had fallen after the question. "Not at the moment. And since I know you'll ask this next, my last boyfriend was a jerk who dumped me for another girl, and my first true boyfriend was the sweetest guy I'd ever met- but he moved away." She had just finished stuffing the last of her cake in her mouth, and joined the others as they began to get up from the table.

Ron suddenly developed a mischievous gleam in his eyes that she was certain she didn't like, "And are you looking to rectify the single situation?"

"If my Prince comes and pins me against the wall to ravage me, who knows if I'll push him away?" Alexa smirked lightly. Hermione looked shocked at the comment but burst out with laughter. Harry, upon hearing the word 'ravage', minutely stumbled on his robe but recovered quickly. "Oh, loosen up boys, just because I'm a girl doesn't mean I don't think about it."

"It?" Ron was finding this highly amusing.

"You have your picture of Fleur Delacour from the Daily Prophet, I have my imagination." She wriggled her eyebrows mock-suggestively.

"Though I'm sure your brother will have an issue with sharing his girlfriend with the sexual fantasies of a hormonal teen." Hermione couldn't help but add. Harry snorted, though Ron was looking less and less amused by the minute and his ears turned red.

The next morning, Alexa woke up early and couldn't fall back asleep. Hermione was still soundly curled up in bed and the sun was just rising. She stretched and surrendered to the fact that she wouldn't be sleeping in this Sunday.

Her stomach was rumbling. Breakfast. Alexa quietly slipped out of the dorm and padded down the corridors into the Great Hall. It was completely empty, but there were the beginnings of breakfast food appearing on the tables. She was still partially asleep but a little bit of hash browns would at least make her stomach shut up.

"Hungry?" An amused voice broke her trance. The voice wasn't loud but in the silence of the empty room, it sounded painful. She spun around and spotted Draco standing right behind her.

"Don't pop up on me like that, God!" she swallowed, quickly pounding at her chest to make sure the hash browns went down properly.

"You look tired." He commented, sliding down beside her and snaking a piece of toast.

"Not all of us can look as composed as you do all the time." She rolled her eyes. It was true. He already had a cloak and handsome robes up underneath, his hair neat. He probably looked a hell of a lot better than she did at the current moment.

He smirked at the remark and took another bite of toast. "I wasn't saying anything bad about your appearance. I think you look cute."

"Bite me, Malfoy. I haven't even had a shower yet and I've barely touched breakfast, it's the crack of dawn, and you're expecting me to look like-" She ranted.

"Rough night?" he cocked an eyebrow.

"Couldn't sleep well." Alexa shrugged. "How the hell can you look like that first thing in the morning!"

"It's a gift." Draco grinned. He finished the toast and promptly stood up.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"For a walk," he called over his shoulder.

"I've barely had a bite!" she protested.

"Was I asking you to come with me?" he responded. But she scrambled up and sprinted to catch up to his long strides.

"It's a bit spooky sitting by yourself in such a large room." She muttered, uncomfortable with the humoured look on his face.

"Right." Draco nodded, opening the door for her. They were five feet out when he stopped dead.

"What?" she frowned, looking back at the Slytherin.

"You aren't wearing any shoes." Draco pointed out with an incredulous frown.

"We're walking on grass." Alexa shrugged.

"Wet grass." He said. On her look of indifference, he added, "Do you often walk around barefoot?"

"I don't really care." Alexa shrugged again and started walking.

He jogged a bit and appeared at her side. "Fruit."

"Says the one who smoothes, combs, and styles his hair at dawn." She snorted.

"We can't all look as naturally gorgeous as you, angel." Draco answered with a small smile. A small frown over took his features again. "You aren't cold, are you?" She had goose bumps.

"Fine." She brushed off.

"You're out here wearing a tank top." Draco said flatly. "What were you thinking?"

"You were the one who jumped out here." She said reproachfully. "And I'm fine."

"You're right. What was I thinking? Leading you out here barefoot with a tank top. If you die of pneumonia, it's going to be pinned on me." He was sounding self-absorbed but she could tell he was concerned. Without hesitating, he shrugged off his dark cloak and swung it around her bare shoulders.

"I said-" the sharp tone of her voice cut through the air like a knife.

"I know, you're fine. It'd make me feel better knowing you don't turn blue. I'm not carrying you to the Hospital Wing if you turn to ice." He said.

"Must you turn every thing that can be interpreted as an act of kindness into a selfish act?" she exclaimed in exasperation.

"Yes." He answered, just to piss her off.

"You are such a git." She grumbled.

"That stroke of imaginative cleverness just swept me away." He said sarcastically. "You wound me, really."

"Why am I talking to you?" she rolled her eyes.

"You followed me here, stalker." He said calmly.

"You are a complete dick weed." She blurted out.

"Well, at least you're getting more creative. I mean, honestly, git is so over used." Draco drawled. "Weasley usually calls me that. Dimwitted wanker, that one is. There was this one time in second year where he tried to curse me and it backfired on himself. He was throwing up slugs for the rest of the afternoon. I think that's one of my all time favourite Weasel moments. He gets so flustered so easily. That wouldn't necessarily be a problem if he could at least back that up with a bit of good sense, like Granger, or a bit of actual courage, like Potty. But no, I've often thought that he's the comic relief, the useless one in the Golden Trio."

Torn between laughing at Ron and defending him, an odd snigger blurted from her mouth. "Ron's…" her mouth twitched. "He's a good guy."

"He's a brainless, gutless-" He started.

"Annoyingly twitchy person who couldn't get an O if he did nothing but study all day for the rest of his life." She finished. Gasping at what she had let slip, she turned red.

"Well, I thought you were friends with him?" Malfoy raised an amused eyebrow.

"I am. I mean, that is…" she struggled to explain herself. "All right, so we don't get along very well. But I didn't mean to insult him."

"And here I was thinking you were all close with the trio." He actually looked somewhat impressed.

"Hermione is amazing, and Harry is the best, but…" she paused. "Why am I explaining myself to you?"

"I have that effect on people," he smirked. "You should probably go inside before you freeze. You're going to get my cloak all dirty…"

"Excuse me?" she gaped.

"You did say you hadn't showered yet," he pointed out.

"Ass hole!" she snapped.

"Temper, temper." Draco commented.

"You know, a thought has just entered my mind… why do Harry and Ron call you a Ferret?" she suddenly brought up.

Draco actually winced. His eyes darkened and he shook his head. "It was the doing of a crazy teacher."

"What happened?" she pressed.

"Never you mind." He snapped.

"Sensitive, Draco?" she asked innocently.

"I was turned into a ferret and threw against the wall in year five." He mumbled.

"Oh my God." She wasn't laughing, rather she was looking at him with concern, "Were you all right?"

"Yeah, yeah I was fine." He looked at her oddly. "No one's asked me that after hearing that story."

She merely shrugged. "Are you ever going to tell me about what happened with you dad?"

"How did this topic come up?" he muttered reproachfully. "I said I didn't want to talk about it and I meant it."

"Sorry." Mallory sighed.

"He was a Death Eater, killed some people, now he's locked up. Not much to say, now is there?" he grumbled.

"What about you?" she asked.

"What about me?" he knew where this was going and he didn't like it. "Am I a Death Eater, you ask? Being raised by one must mean I'm instantly a murderer, doesn't it? The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. If you think I'm a Death Eater, I'd think you shouldn't be too close to me, after all, maybe it's contagious. I'll kill you as soon as look at you-" he was rambling angrily.

"Shut up, you idiot." She rolled her eyes.

"Stop interrupting me, woman!" he snapped.

"Whatever." She shook her head. "be the stereotypical Slytherin if you must." They had re-entered the school and she handed him back his cloak. "I was going to ask you if he had ever done anything to you, and if you were all right. After all, having a Death Eater for a father probably was painful for a person, and I was also wondering how you were feeling about the fact that your father got locked away. Stop trying to assume things, because I'll tell you now, you'll be wrong."

"You weren't-?" he started.

"No." she answered.

"Seriously? You haven't even wondered? Most people here think I'm a Death Eater." He said.

"First of all, no evil all powerful wizard is going to Dark Mark you when you're in Hogwarts. Second of all, just because your dad is one isn't grounds for shit, my dad was a cross-dressing doctor but I can't stand the sight of blood. Third of all, I don't know you well enough to have any grasp on who you are and what you are. Of course, you seem to think you know me well enough to go spouting crap you think I'm about to say. You don't me and I don't know you, so stop judging me!" Mallory hissed.

He looked taken aback. "And I thought you thought I was an ass hole?"

"You are one, undeniably. But 'selfish bastard' and 'evil, murdering follower of a sadistic psycho' aren't exactly synonymous." Mallory pointed out sardonically.

"You're more open minded than most others I've met." He said.

"Since a lot of your relatives are in the second category I mentioned, excuse me if I'm not surprised." She stated drolly. "I hate people who are prejudiced, and I like to think I'm not a total hypocrite."

"Scar face is prejudiced." He mentioned.

"From what I've heard, Harry doesn't like you because you've been horrible to him through the years. That's not prejudice." She rolled her eyes.

"Did you know I had originally offered him my friendship? He pretty much spat in my face and walked off Weasley. Why? Because I said I hoped to get into Slytherin house. Cue the oohing. Just because 'there wasn't a wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin' doesn't mean all wizards from my house are evil, of course I don't think Gryffindors know the difference between that!" he ranted.

"You're using a generalization, now. I happen to be a Gryffindor, and I happen to know the difference." She was looking rather peeved.

"Ah, but you don't like me much either, Mallory. And you yourself just said you didn't know me well enough to judge me. So where does that judgement come from? Stories you've heard from your Gryffindor friends?" Draco sneered.

"Almost everything you say is rude." She complained.

"That goes for you to. It isn't like Potty and Weasel are polite to me, either." Draco frowned. "They start things up against me as often as I do. It's not just self-defence for them."

"Maybe Ron does things to you, but I'm sure Harry isn't that much of an ass." Mallory defended.

"He's not some saint, you know." Malfoy glared.

"I know that! He's just got more civility to him. I don't feel like punching him every time I talk to him!" she exclaimed.

"That's because there's no passion between you two." He grinned.

"Excuse me? Are you saying that's what we have?" she raised her eyebrows.

"What would you call it?" Malfoy asked lazily.

"All we do is argue, that's not passion, it's dislike, it's animosity, enmity, hostility-" she listed. Draco's smirk grew. In her angry rush to list all the words she could think of, she hadn't noticed the glint that had appeared in his eyes. He cut off her ramble with a compelling kiss that caused her to topple back wards in surprise. His hand automatically slipped to her back to catch her from her fall and he stepped forward a few steps so that she was against the wall. "What the hell did you just do, you perverted little creep?"

This was a really bad time for her to notice how stunningly gorgeous he was. The smirk was still playing on his lips but suddenly it made him look desirable in her eyes, instead of invoking disgust. She was not going to give in to her attraction to him. "Why the hell did you just kiss me?" His smirk developed into a smile and he leaned his head forward just an inch. His fingers found her chin and tilted her face upwards to him as he kissed her again, this time much softer. She managed to stop herself from kissing him back, instead placing her hands up and pushing him back from her.

"Stop it." She said tersely. "You really are sick, aren't you? We just spend our entire time together bickering, and you were pissed at me a moment ago, and now you're trying to make out with me. I have no idea what's going on in your head!"

"I'm attracted to you." He said simply.

"I don't like you!" she exclaimed.

"I don't like you much, either. I said I was attracted to you. There's a difference. And besides, it's often simpler when we don't actually like each other." He said thoughtfully.

"You're disgusting." She glared, crossing her arms as she took a few steps away from him.

"Deny it all you want, Mallory. You want me." His eyes were dancing with amusement.

"You're so bigoted," Alexa spat. "And I'm still talking to you. What is wrong with me? I have friends to meet."

"And I thought we were friends, Rachel." He was smirking. Referencing her little compliment fishing from yesterday.

"Don't call me that." Alexa said.

"What, a friend, or Rachel?" he raised his eyebrows.

"You're having too much fun at my expense." She clenched her teeth.

"Go meet your Gryffindor friends, wouldn't want to keep the heroes waiting now, would we, honey?" Draco toyed with the hem of his cloak that he had slipped back on. He said the last word with a little bit of sarcasm, enough bite to be noticeable but not enough for her to make a comment back. "I'll be seeing you."

She rolled her eyes, remaining silent as she walked back into the Great Hall. Harry was the only one of the trio there. He was joking with Seamus. Alexa grabbed a bun and plastered it with butter.

"Hi, where were you?" Harry asked.

"Outside." She answered off handily. "I'm going to go shower. I'll see you later."

Harry watched her go, noting the slight flush of her skin from cold, and the stiff way she was carrying herself. "You went outside in that?"

"I've already been lectured, save it." Alexa replied, slightly snippily. She walked away from the table leaving behind a confused Harry and a still amused Draco who had just sat down at his table.

Oh yes, this was going to get intresting.