Author's Note: A Harry Potter drabble. Take note that this happens during fifth year when the Inquisitorial Squad catches Harry and the DA – remember when Malfoy runs off to look for more members of the DA when Harry goes with Umbridge? Yeah, that's the one. My imagination got worked up again… wondering what would happen if he saw Hermione. Read on…

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Go On

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Draco Malfoy was positively skipping when he jinxed Harry Potter and literally left him in the hands of Dolores Umbridge to be reprimanded. As he rounded the corner to investigate, his mind briefly drifted off, wondering what sorts of consequences that dratted Potter might be up against.

I hope it hurts, Draco thought hopefully. He would want nothing more than have his nemesis badly hurt. After all, he deserved it, having accused his father Lucius of being a heavy supporter of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named… which, Draco considered spitefully, was actually true. In fact, his father was one of the Dark Lord's prized and loyal Death Eaters.

Of course, Draco wasn't at all proud about that. Who would gloat about a man who relished in murdering people and torturing them for the fun of it? Draco felt sickened – he was still all for the Purebloods and Mudbloods subject, but to actually resort to killing those unworthy of life? Even to one who had grown up under the influence of Dark Arts, that was too much.

Draco suddenly was shaken out of his thoughts when he realized that someone was muttering incoherently in the darkened Hall. He drew his wand out, peering through the shadows to see who it was, and to his utmost delight, he saw someone rather familiar – brown, bushy hair and bright, alert amber eyes darting here and there, apparently worried if someone might spot her.

It was the renowned third member of the Golden Trio – Hermione Granger. And to his pleasure, she was alone.

She was still muttering words under her breath, unaware that she had been caught by Draco Malfoy no less – the leader of Umbridge's Inquisitorial Squad. He grimaced at the little silver I which was pinned under his prefect badge; despite the power given him, he despised the woman as much as everyone else. Defense Against the Dark Arts was now as boring as History of Magic and Umbridge's face was enough to make him sick.

Draco, feeling a bit patient and enthused, decided to stay hidden in the shadows of the hall. How would Hermione Granger react when she realized she had been caught? What would her expression be?

Examining the Gryffindor with his gray eyes, Draco frowned. He remembered how many countless times he had already watched her like this before. Across the Great Hall, during classes he had with her (which included Potions, Care of Magical Creatures and Ancient Runes), in the library, during Prefect meetings… actually, he thought bitterly, he watched her everywhere he saw her.

It wasn't as if he wanted to. As if he wanted to stare at some Mudblood. Please. He could name a dozen witches much prettier than Granger… yet, no one like her very presence commanded attention. She was annoying, yes – everyone, even her own housemates, admitted such a trait – but she too exuded such self confidence that was worth respecting, and that concept, unfortunately, applied to him.

He hated her for such confidence – it was as if she stood on her own feet, perfectly capable of going on her own way without help from anyone else. Draco, however, always had to seek support from his father, for he walked in his shadow. His life's plans had been laid out and Draco sometimes considered himself fortunate that he wouldn't have to worry about his future anymore; he found himself wondering, sometimes, what it would be like, though, if he had to think for himself without the advice of Lucius. Would he still follow the path made for him? Or would he choose another road?

Looking intently at the girl before him, his lips curled. Surely she would do just fine on her own. She didn't care what others said, and that was why she would do just fine. He, however, was insecure. Vulnerable. He would find himself lost and weak if he were alone. How perfect indeed was she in Gryffindor. He envied her courage. Her self-assurance.

His silver eyes averted their attention to her face, which now was wearing a terribly anxious face. He had had to admit, she was awfully appealing when she wore such an expression. His cheeks flushed when he noticed how her face was marred sweet red, how cute her nose was, how her lips were colored rose, and how he was itching to touch her face and run his hands in her wild hair. He had dreamt of her at times, unwillingly, and felt sickened that he always looked forward to his dreams.

Before his thoughts could go on any further, he shook his head, drew his wand out and stepped out of the shadows.

"You've been caught, Granger," he drawled out lazily, as Hermione Granger spun her head around sharply to come face to face with him. "Don't make any effort to run away, Mudblood, because I can assure you that my fellow Squad members are just around the corner."

"I wasn't going to try anyway, Malfoy," she spat defiantly. "I was just planning to hex you."

"And I suppose you wouldn't dare in fear that your House may further lose points?" He smugly grinned when she didn't answer, knowing that he was right.

"Well?" she snapped. "Come on then; just haul me off to where Umbridge is so I can get this over with."

"I'm going to let that wait for later." He twirled his wand and looked at her. "I was actually just wondering why on earth you'd make Dumbledore's Army. The idea's ludicrous and besides, what's the point?"

"For one thing, you have to admit that that horrible woman has taught us nothing relevant in her class! How are we to defend ourselves when the War comes? How are we to fight off Death Eaters… like your father?"

He pursed his lips and angrily pointed his wand at her. "My father would never do such a thing to you," he hissed, "Because I will personally make sure that I'll fight you lot off myself."

Hermione too had drawn out her wand and was pointing at him threateningly. How dare this Mudblood stand up to him! This was why he hated her all the more – she was one of the select few who were brave enough to do so. He hated how he had come to respect her; he hated how he was forced to hate himself when he compared his position to hers; he hated how, for years, he had wanted to trace his fingers on her face and have her smile the way she did to Potter and Weasley. Was he not deserving enough of her soft looks? Was he not allowed to dream that he could ever have her?

Of course not, a voice in his mind whispered, because you are too good for her. She is inferior. She is a mere Mudblood.

There they stood in the dim hallway, in silence, in defiance of each other, gazing at each other with nothing but hatred towards each other. Before too long, voices from the other hallway came and reached Draco's ears. He noticed Hermione's expression change from loathing to anxiety as she knew they belonged to more of the Inquisitorial Squad.

He didn't know what he was doing when he did it. He lowered his wand and looked away. "Go on, Granger," he muttered wearily, "No one's in the corridor from where I came. You'll be safe."

She gaped at him. "What?"

"You heard me. Take the corridor I came from and no one will be there. I won't report you or anything, even if you are a suspect already."

"Why…."

"Go!" He hissed and without a second thought Hermione nodded and she ran past him, disappearing round the corner just as the rest of the Slytherins arrived in the hallway where Draco was.

Pansy looked absolutely spiffy. "I caught Cho Chang and that younger Weasley girl," she gloated, and her pug face contorted into a scowl, "But I wasn't able to find Hermione Granger. Too bad, though – did any of you catch her?"

Draco shook his head and glanced back to where Hermione Granger had vanished. What had possessed him to do that? She had not even thanked him when he saved her from being caught. His lips curled and he gripped his wand tightly.

How he hated her.

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Author's Note: See, it was absolutely senseless. Blame it on the fact that I reread Order of the Phoenix. Hope you review, though!