Title: Yes or No (A Sequel to Twenty Questions)
An idle smile played along the contours of Draco's lips as he watched Hermione from the other side of the room talking animatedly with her friends.
She certainly was getting prettier by the day, if he had any say about the matter. She no longer was the bushy-haired, beaver-toothed know-it-all that she had been in their first years in Hogwarts.
Hermione raised her eyes, as if feeling him watching her; he winked at her audaciously and sent her a smile that he knew sent women swooning.
As expected, Hermione did not swoon. That didn't bother him one bit. In fact, it gratified him that he liked someone not ordinary and not predictable.
Instead, she raised a brow at him, frowned, and returned to talking to Ron and Harry, hands gesticulating wildly as the other two looked dumbfounded and amazed at the same time (it was a miracle what being Super Potter and Weasel Wonder can do).
That fateful day that they gave the Gryffindors their consequence for losing the bet—twenty questions—Draco's realized a lot of things he had purposely ignored before.
The Gryffindors weren't all that bad a lot especially if they were with him in making Hermione yield to his will. Sure, they were still the do-gooders that made him sick to the pit of his stomach, but somehow, they were more acceptable now.
Secondly, he really liked Hermione—a lot, in fact. His thoughts about her during Voldemort's back to power were more along the lines of "She's a filthy Mudblood, cavorting with the little quasi-hero and his none-too-good a sidekick. What to like about her?" And when he was already thinking of switching sides, there wasn't much time to spend thinking about the current status of his love life.
"So, Draco," Blaise said from beside him, taking a sip from his cup. "What are you planning to do now? We'll be off Hogwarts a couple of days from now," he reminded.
"I think I'd be an Auror," he replied, not taking his eyes off Hermione.
Blaise smirked. "How apropos. The collector becoming the confiscator."
Draco knew Zabini was talking about the Dark Items so he asked, "Well, what are you planning on doing then?"
"I'd rather work at St. Mungo's as one of the personnel. They are in need for more staff after the war, I hear."
Malfoy looked away from Hermione and sent Blaise a knowing look.
"Shut it, Malfoy."
"Not saying anything at all."
They fell silent after that.
"I say," said Goyle in a rather pompous voice. "Aren't those the Gryffindors that we asked twenty questions to? They're coming our way."
Sometimes, Goyle did have his off days from his stupidity.
Malfoy looked up just in time to see Harry, Ron, Hermione, Parvati and Neville striding towards the Slytherin table despite the stares that they were receiving from the other students.
"What do you want?" Blaise asked automatically to them when they stopped right in front of the table.
"Toast?" Crabbe asked at the same time, kindly. He probably thought they were friends with the Gryffindors.
"Don't mind if I do," said Goyle, taking the bread from his friend.
Harry Potter, Boy Who Lived, looked dumbfounded for a moment, watching Crabbe and Goyle.
"What do you want, Potter?" Malfoy repeated. "Oh, and pleasant morning, Hermione."
Hermione acknowledged his greeting by quirking a brow at him but not without a small frown.
"I was wondering if you'd reconsider—"
"We'd like to have a rematch," said Potter, coughing slightly to get his attention.
Draco and Blaise looked at each other. "A rematch?" they said together.
"Yes," replied Longbottom. "We'd like to challenge you to another game."
"What sort of game?" asked Pansy, ears perking up.
"It's called 'Yes or No'," said Ron.
"What?" Blaise asked, blank.
"We'll explain the details if you agree," said Parvati.
"We haven't even heard of the game much less know how to play it. How do you expect us to agree?"
"It's rather complicated."
"Then take our rather complicated answer." Blaise paused for effect. "No."
"Alright, alright," Harry said with a resigned sigh. "It's a game of charades of some sort. But instead of acting out, we ask questions."
"And why should we agree?" Pansy asked.
Harry and Ron looked at each other; Draco saw Weasley nudge Longbottom and nod his big, obnoxious head at him.
"Er, it will be… fun," Longbottom finally managed to say.
"I think that's a great idea," said Goyle a tad bit too happily.
They ignored his comment, as Harry added, "Dunno, really I was thinking it'll be a good way to ease the boredom while waiting for tomorrow. I mean, with Voldemort—" the eavesdroppers listening in to the conversation gasped—"all gone, we don't have much to do anyway. Plus, if we lose, Malfoy can take Hermione out to Hogsmeade day after the Leaving Feast, which is tomorrow."
Hermione shook her head and frowned at Potter.
The last bit sparked Draco's interest. "Tell me more about it."
"We've thought of the consequence for losing the game, and if you'll agree—" Ron let his sentence hang to see the Slytherins' reaction.
"Oh, do continue, Weasel. You don't want us waiting, on you. Honestly," Draco said wryly.
"The losing team will have to treat the winning one to Hogsmeade. We will spend the entire day there and all the expenses that the winning team will acquire will be paid by the losers and the winners can make the losing team do whatever they want."
"To make things easier, we will all go to Hogsmeade together but we'll have to separate into partners," Patil added. "Choosing their favored partner is given to the losing team as some sort of appeasement for their loss."
"I like it," said Draco firmly. "Count us in."
"What?" cried Pansy, sounding outraged. "How dare you say that !"
"Well, don't you?" Malfoy countered. "I know that you like it. Spending all of their money and getting all that you want and making them do whatever you want."
That silenced Pansy but made Ron seething, "How sure are you that your lot will win? We'll take this one."
"Yeah," added Harry. "Gryffindor will win this time 'round."
"Make sure, Potty," said Draco in a low growl. "Or else we'd think you less of a hero. Imagine the great Harry Potter losing such a childish game."
Harry reddened at the jibe.
"When are we going to play?" Blaise wanted to know.
"After the Leaving Feast. Same place"
"So, Hermione, do you want to meet up earlier so we can—"
"Malfoy, no." And she left.
"Toast?" Crabbe offered once more before the Gryffindors left their table.
The Slytherins lost another House Cup to Gryffindor for the seventh year in a row. Surprisingly, though, they received as much points as Potter for fighting in the war but they still lost. Draco attributed it to the fact that Hermione received more points than anyone else for topping the exams again.
And now they had the nerve to be late. They probably were doing something illegal in their bloody tower—partying because of their victory; going wild…
The idea of Hermione going wild appealed to him and he tried to imagine Hermione as such. But the very sound of Hermione going wild was just too inappropriate that Draco figured he lacked the imagination to picture it. "Hermione" and "wild" just didn't go together in a sentence (unless the sentence went something along the lines of "Hermione just isn't wild."). He grinned outwardly despite himself.
Zabini frowned at him. "What the bloody hell is so amusing, Malfoy? Gone nutters, have you?"
He rolled his eyes. "I happen to be quite skilled in amusing myself and all other endeavors, thank you very much. I won't be admitted to St. Mungo's just yet."
"Malfoy, you do know that you are at fault here, right?" said Pansy. "If you hadn't agreed to this, I should be packing by now and soon off to an exotic beach somewhere East instead of waiting here. You are so immature!" she huffed.
"And it was rather mature of you to have thought of asking the Gryffindors twenty questions that started this whole thing, isn't it?" Malfoy retorted.
Again, Pansy found that Malfoy still had the last word on the argument.
"Where are the Gryffindors? They're late."
"In a hurry, Zabini?" Harry asked as he entered the tower, a small box in his hand.
"If only to get away from you, yes."
"How touching," said Ron from behind Harry. "But you know, we share the same sentiments. Does that make me a bit like you?"
"I'd kill myself before that happens," replied Blaise with a snort.
They fell silent once more as the rest of the Gryffindors entered the tower. They sat cross-legged on the cold floor in a circle when they were complete.
"Hermione, do you mind if I sit over there?" Draco asked.
"I do," said Hermione, smiling. "I would very much mind if you were sitting here. So, if you please, stay right there."
Malfoy groaned. "Why wouldn't she just agree?" he asked Blaise.
But Blaise had other pressing matters in mind to reply to Malfoy. "How do we play?"
"We'll basically be playing a game called 'Yes or No'," Hermione started. "A representative from one group will pick one subject from this box and the members from the other competing group will ask questions answerable by only yes or no."
"So, we'll have to guess what you've picked by asking questions, is that it?" Blaise asked.
"How are we to know that you are not cheating us? You could've looked at the topics already," Pansy said suspiciously.
"I think you're mistaking our lot for yours," replied Ron with a smirk that sent Pansy glowering at him.
"We're going to limit the number of questions that we are to ask to save time." Neville spoke up finally. "It's no more than fifteen to a group. Once you finish all of your fifteen questions, the group will be given one more chance to guess the answer. If the group still could not come up with the right answer by then, the point goes to the other group. The first team to get six points will win."
"Hmmm…" murmured Draco thoughtfully. "Simple enough. I should've guessed, what with your simple minds. Alright, who's going to start?"
"We will," said Ron firmly and popped a hand inside the box. Ron read the writing on the piece of paper and frowned.
"Why?" Harry asked and learned forward to look at Ron's paper. It read Professor Severus Snape. He choked on his laughter.
"Go," said Ron, disheartened.
"Is it funny?" Goyle asked, sending a curious and slightly baffled look at Harry's direction.
It took Ron a few moments to mull this over. "No—not really."
"Is it a thing?" Blaise asked.
"Is it a place?" Draco.
"No." And Ron thought, Welcome to Professor Severus Snape. No. Definitely not a place, that one.
"Is it an animal?" Pansy.
If that had been the case, he'd be the only two-legged animal who snarled and made potions as well. "No."
"It's a person isn't it?" Crabbe asked.
Like he had any other choice left for him, thought Ron, not impressed by Crabbe's display of intelligence. "Yes."
"Is it someone we all know?" Blaise asked.
"Is it someone in close distance with us now?" Pansy asked.
Like here in the tower, you mean? Ron thought and looked at Pansy's expression. Probably not. But— "Er—I guess."
"What kind of answer is that?" Draco protested. "I thought the answer would only be 'yes' or 'no'."
"If you want to get technical, then it's a yes!" Ron snapped at Draco.
"Let's see… if it's someone we know and is in close proximity with us then it must be someone here in Hogwarts, right?"
"Brilliant deduction, Watson. But I could still do better," muttered Harry under his breath.
Hermione gave Harry a startled glance when she heard this; Harry caught her eyes and grinned sheepishly. "He is a rather pompous bastard, isn't he?" Harry asked, pertaining to Sherlock Holmes.
Hermione stifled a giggle at the inopportune time of his observation.
Ron shook his head, and replied, "Yes," to Pansy's question.
Malfoy was, then, glaring at Harry. How dare he make Hermione laugh at something I don't understand, he thought, seething. "Did Potter say anything funny at all?"
Pansy gasped. "Not again," she said. "Please take that back. We've used eight questions already."
"I won't take it back," he said adamantly, refusing to admit to himself that Potty might be clever enough to tell an intelligent joke. "So, Weasel, I'm waiting for your answer."
"Yes—at least if you know Watson and Holmes."
Draco opened his mouth to ask who they were but decided against it when he saw Pansy glowering at him. Not that he'd let something as trifle as that stop him, of course.
"Is it a student?" Pansy asked,
"A professor, then?" Blaise.
"Male or female?" Crabbe.
Silence met his question as Ron forced his mind to think of an answer. But sadly, he couldn't figure it out if the answer was yes or otherwise.
"Smart friend," said Parvati with a slight smirk. "You do know that that just ate up question number twelve, right?"
Blaise shook his head in frustration. "Male?"
"Professor Dumbledore?" Pansy.
"Yes," said Ron quietly if not a bit sadly. He was actually hoping to have the first point of the game.
"Finally," said Malfoy. "Zabini's up next."
Blaise frowned at Malfoy. "What?"
"Come on, you know you want the first try at the game."
He rolled his eyes at him even as he moved to pick from the box.
Malfoy peered curiously over his paper which read: Draco Malfoy. He frowned over the paper and met Malfoy's eyes. As expected the latter was looking smug.
"Alright. Go and ask away."
"Is he famous?" Ron.
In a very twisted way, he thought when Malfoy quirked his brows at him. "Yes."
"Is he famous because he's a good wizard?" Parvati.
Define 'good,' Blaise wanted to say. He shrugged, instead.
"Zabini, you have to give us a decent answer," Potter reminded,
"Yes," he replied through gritted teeth as he watched Malfoy look smugger even though he thought that that was no longer possible.
"He's male, famous and good," Patil mused loudly. "Gilderoy Lockheart?" she tried.
Blaise snorted as he tried to contain his laughter, but found himself shaking and failing with his effort. He only stopped shaking when Malfoy looked he was readying to throw him an Unforgivable Curse if he didn't.
"Close enough," he managed to say as he regained his composure.
Malfoy did not look all to pleased with his answer. "Zabini, you will be forfeiting our game if you keep answering like that," said he in an arrogant voice.
In reply, Blaise raised a brow at him, "Really, Draco?"
"If it's not Lockheart," said Hermione. "Then, is he someone who is well-known here in school?"
"Is he well-known outside school?" she tried again.
She is getting close. "Not really."
"Is he affiliated with someone who is known by a lot of people outside Hogwarts?" Hermione again, looking intently at Malfoy.
"It's Draco Malfoy, isn't it?" she said.
"I just knew that you'd be the only one to get that," said Malfoy to Hermione, sending her a devastating smile. "Now, how about that trip to—"
Hermione ignored him and turned to Harry. "It's your turn now."
Harry placed a hand inside the box and groped for a piece of paper.
Harry took a deep breath, closed his eyes (either to brace himself or to settle his stomach, he couldn't figure out which) only open them to read what was written on the tiny piece of paper.
Who? He frowned.
He nodded at the group of Slytherins to start asking him questions.
With a name like 'Newt Scamander?' "Yes."
"Professor?" Goyle tried.
Once upon a time, he certainly was. "No."
"Yes." Although, admittedly, I don't know him.
At this point, Harry started to doubt the Slytherins' capability to win the game what with them not asking the right questions to him.
"Quidditch player?" Draco Malfoy.
"Singer?" Pansy again.
Yeah… I imagine he sings during his free time. "Yes."
"Group?" Goyle with his amazing coherence.
What was he supposed to make of that?
"No." Is that even the right answer? Wait—on second thought, was that even coherent enough?
Before Harry could make out another thought, Crabbe asked, "Female?"
"No." Hmm…not that I'd know, really.
Malfoy then frowned at him. "Are you playing with us, Potter?"
Harry knew what Malfoy meant but he opted to say, "Yes."
"Oi, you're not going to pass that as one of our questions, are you?" Blaise demanded.
Harry mulled this over. "Yes." Ha! Take that, you Slytherins, you!
Blaise looked indignant and ready to pounce at Harry.
"Should Harry be doing that?" Neville asked softly from behind him.
He looked to see Hermione smiling at him, and he returned her smile. Since that game of twenty questions, Harry's thought of how distant their best friend actually was to them.
Both he and Ron were male, no questions asked but somehow they hadn't noticed that Hermione was a girl.
For them she was just Hermione.
But her revelation of having liked (and still liking) Malfoy came as a big shock to him. Hermione hadn't told him that. Alright, given that he hadn't exactly told her about Cho Chang back then, too, but that was all through out too obvious to begin with anyway.
And so he made his move to close that gap that has grown between them when they reached their adolescence.
At first, he thought of how reluctant Hermione seemed to open up to him. But he gave the situation a lot of thought and realized the awkwardness of a girl talking to a guy—albeit her best friend— about crushes and things alike.
But he persevered and now he knew that Hermione used to have a crush on him, which flattered him just about too much until she told him that she also had a crush on Ron a while back, too.
Not too much boy exposure, she rationalized.
"Potter," he heard Zabini growl, startling him, "I do believe that we are playing here. Will you pay attention?"
He shrugged in response. "You've used up ten questions, by the way," he put in casually.
"Five more and you lose this turn," Ron said smugly.
"Alright. If he's famous and he sings, then…" Pansy paused to think this over.
"Is he very smart?" Goyle asked as if the question flowed straight from the analogy.
"Yes." It really is just too bad that I could not say the same thing for you.
"Has he penned his own book?" Goyle once more.
"Goyle, will you quit asking such nonsensical questions?" Pansy snapped at him, not paying attention to Harry's affirmative replies. "Thanks to you we only have three questions left! Malfoy, you ask the question."
"Has Hermione liked someone else other than Weasley?" Malfoy asked.
Harry saw Pansy's jaw drop—literally—as he replied, "Yes," eyes fixed carefully on Hermione's panicking eyes.
"I don't believe you," she very nearly screamed at Malfoy. "Stop him!" she turned to Blaise.
Blaise shrugged and decided that a point against the Gryffindors was not worth getting into another squabble with Draco. "So, Potter, is Patil going out with someone right at the moment?"
Harry took a moment to think about the question. Giving up, he looked over at Parvati who shook her head.
"No," he told Zabini.
"I know who it is," said Goyle in a spark of brilliance. "Is he the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?"
"Frog Lizard!" Crabbe.
Pansy looked like she was about to say something when Ron said, "Sorry. That was your last try for the answer. Better luck next time." And he grinned at them.
You just don't know how close he had been, Harry thought.
Pansy looked like she was about to breathe fire. "It's Newt Scamander, you great ninny."
Crabbe stared at her blankly. "Who?"
Harry and Ron exchanged looks and grinned at each other.
"Potter," said Zabini in a dark tone. "You told us he sings."
"Everyone sings, Zabini," Harry pointed out. "In his case, just not professionally."
"This only proves to show how amazingly twisted the great Harry Potter really is," said Malfoy, reaching over the box and handing it to Goyle. "You do the honors, Gregory."
"Alright, Malfoy," he said and put his large, beefy hand into the box.
They watched him struggle for some time as he tried to get his hand out of the small box. Finally, he unfolded the piece of paper in his hand, which read broomstick.
"Er… alright. I'm ready."
"Person?" Harry tried.
Ron asked, "Is it a thing used in school?"
Goyle thought about this. They did have broom-flying lessons before. "Yes."
"Is it a book?" Hermione.
"Is it a quill?" Ron.
"Is it a… piece of parchment?" Neville tried.
"Is it something we wear?" Parvati asked exasperatedly as Goyle was showing no indication whether they were getting close or not.
"Is it something that we have with us right now?" Hermione cautiously asked.
"No," he replied once again. "Boy, you Gryffindors sure are stupid," Goyle added all of a sudden. "I'll give you a clue," he offered kindly.
Blaise and Draco exchanged looks of confusion.
"It starts with a 'B'—"
"Stop him!" Pansy cried again.
Zabini stood up and made a move to clamp a hand over Goyle's mouth before he divulged any more that could make them lose.
"Something that starts with a 'b' that we have here at school" mused Harry loudly, grinning triumphantly over the seething Slytherin team. "Thank you, Gregory."
Blaise sorely removed his hand over Goyle's mouth and cursed crisply.
Goyle gave Harry a toothy grin; completely ignorant of the dark looks his housemates were sending him. "You're welcome. Let's continue the game, shall we?"
"Well, it's not a book; is it a bag?" Neville asked.
"The next letter that comes after 'b' is—" Goyle offered.
"Goyle, you would want to come home safe, don't you?" Malfoy drawled. "I suggest that you stop giving them clues if you fear for your welfare."
Goyle gave Malfoy a blank look but surmised from his cold glare that he had done something to displease his friend.
"Is it a type of herb?" Parvati asked, rigging her brain for herbs that started with 'b'.
"Is it a blue—"
"No," Goyle immediately cut in. "It isn't anything blue."
Blaise stood up abruptly, walked over to the wall and bumped his head to it three times, muttering, "Why, why, why," in a very distressed voice.
"It's a broomstick," said Harry softly. "It's a broomstick," he repeated loudly.
"You got it." Goyle looked genuinely happy.
"Goyle, that is not good. Stop looking so deliriously glad. We're going to lose if they keep getting the right answers," Pansy told Goyle. "We don't want to lose, do we?"
"We don't," she confirmed.
"My turn," said Parvati, reaching forward to get the box. "We've three points to our group now. Three more and we win the game."
"Gloat now, Patil," said Pansy. "We will win."
"Whatever you say, Parkinson. Whatever you say," Parvati replied, giving Pansy a saccharine smile. She read: wand.
Fairly easy, she thought. "I'm ready," she told the other group.
"Is it a centaur?" said Crabbe immediately, then added, "I've been wanting to ask that one but nobody ever gave me the chance."
"No," Parvati answered, frowning slightly.
"What sort of thing is it?" Crabbe.
"Sometimes, I'm amazed at your amazing capability to be absolutely blank sometimes," Harry told Crabbe casually which was met by an even blanker look.
"Could we wear it?" Pansy.
"You could try," said Parvati. "But I wager it wouldn't look good on anyone."
Pansy huffed at her. "I'll take that as a 'no,' then."
"Would we be able to buy it in, say, Hogsmeade?" asked Malfoy.
"No, at least I don't think so."
"In Diagon Alley, then?"
"Do we use it here in school?" Blaise.
"School robes?" Goyle tried.
"School bag?" Goyle once more.
"School—" Goyle found out that it was hard to talk coherently when someone's hand was clamped over your mouth. He was certainly going to keep that in mind for the future.
"I'd appreciate it if you will just shut your mouth, Goyle," said Blaise menacingly, eyes meeting Goyle's. "And I'm pretty certain that your mum will appreciate it as well," the underlying meaning of Blaise's statement was not lost to Goyle, so he bid as he was told.
"Can we buy it on the Hogwarts Express?" Pansy.
"Can we buy it at Ollivander's?" Malfoy.
"Is it a wand?" Blaise.
"Finally," said Malfoy. "I thought we'll lose that one as well. We've two points now. If we get this one, we'll tie up with these bloody cheating Gryffindors."
"Cheating?" Ron echoed. "We are not cheating!"
"Well, what do you call making sure Hermione is on your team when we're playing a logic game of some sorts?"
"It's called 'It's-None-Of-Your-Business-You-Prat", you prat," said Ron hotly.
"Is incoherence hereditary as well as poverty?" Malfoy asked Blaise, who shrugged his shoulders.
"Alright, I'm up next," volunteered Pansy as she reached over the box. She quirked her brows when she was ready.
Malfoy peered over at her paper that read: potions.
"Make sure we'll get this one, Pansy," said Malfoy.
She gave him a smile. "Of course, I will."
"Do we have it here with us?" Harry.
"Is it something general?" Hermione.
"Yes." And she mentally cursed the Gryffindor witch for being very astute, and therefore a great hindrance to their winning.
"Is it a person?" Longbottom.
"Is it a thing, then?" Patil.
"How very smart, Patil," said Pansy. "Yes, it is indeed a thing."
Parvati stuck her tongue out at her, which she ignored. She was beyond such immaturity.
"Is it edible?" asked Weasley.
Pansy thought of how edible some potions were. There were poisons, and there were healing serums but both could be ingested by the body. She opted to say, "Yes."
"Is it here in school?" said Hermione.
"Could it also be bought outside school?"
"Yes." How she really hated that Mudblood's guts.
"What is edible that could be bought outside of Hogwarts and is available here, too?" Harry asked aloud.
"Is it a food that they served at the Leaving Feast?"
"Is it any type of food served at any time during this year?"
Trust Longbottom to be very cautious. "No."
"Is there any chance of you saying 'yes' to any of our questions?" Potter asked helplessly.
"No," she replied, smiling at the defeated expression on Harry's face.
"Is it related to any subject here in Hogwarts?" the Mudblood once more.
Pansy narrowed her eyes at Hermione and let her lip curl. "Yes," she said in a low voice through gritted teeth.
Harry sneered at Pansy. "I see…"
"What do you see, you four-eyed Gryffindor?" she snarled.
"Is it a cauldron?" Potter replied instead.
How she really hated Granger. "No."
"Is it related to Potions?" Longbottom.
Pansy had to think if Longbottom was on the Gryffindor's side or theirs—not that she wasn't grateful for his blunder. "Yes."
"Is it weighing scales?" Weasley.
"No. Fourteen questions up," she reminded. "One more to go."
"Is it herbs?" Patil.
"We're going to lose aren't we?" said Potter.
"Yes. The answer's potions, by the way."
Neville's eyes widened. "Potions?" he whispered.
"Thank you so much, Longbottom for your help to our group," said Blaise. "We appreciate it, we do." He smiled.
Neville looked like he wanted to hit himself.
"The score is now three to both teams," said Malfoy, sending Pansy a you-did-well look. "Hermione, don't worry about the terms. I'm going to pay for our expenses tomorrow. Weasley, on the other hand, will have a lot of problem."
"Sod off, Malfoy," Ron snarled at him. "Neville, you're next," Ron said sharply, thrusting the box towards the flustered boy.
"W-w-what?" Neville stuttered.
"Well, you do have to take your turn some time," Ron said.
Neville put a hand in the box to pick his subject. He got: electricity.
He wanted to cry that instant. What was electricity? Was it some sort of Muggle delicacy? Or maybe a Muggle pastime like football or handball or headball (was there even such a thing?) and all sorts of body-part - ball type of games?
Hermione must have noticed his distress for she leaned towards him and said, "Hey, take it easy, all right? I know you'd be able to do this." She smiled at him.
Reassured, he smiled back, forgetting about Malfoy's presence.
"Longbottom, are you scared of death?" Malfoy asked, making Neville remember of his forgotten presence.
Neville wasn't sure if this was already part of the game. "Yes," he replied with a gulp. There was a certain menace in Malfoy's voice that told him he was in big trouble.
"Then I suggest that you stop flirting with Hermione," Malfoy said.
Neville gulped once more.
"Malfoy," Pansy called. "I wish you'd stop that. Don't you wish that he'd stop that?"
"Yes," said Neville.
"Great," said Blaise. "Just great. That was question number two, Pansy."
Pansy's eyes widened. "He wouldn't dare…"
"Actually, he would. Dare, that is," said Potter, an evil smile on his lips.
Suddenly she hated Potter more than she hated Granger.
"I-I-I will?" Longbottom gulped again.
"So, do you like Avada Kedavra as your cause of death?" Malfoy asked.
Neville paled. "No."
"How about the Cruciatus Curse, then?"
"Should we be letting him do that?" Pansy demanded of Blaise.
"What can we do? We've tried to stop him during twenty questions, remember? Didn't do any good at all."
"How about by poisoning?" Malfoy.
"Is it a thing?" Pansy asked hurriedly.
"Yes…" Neville let his statement hang because he really had no idea what electricity was.
"Is it a wizard thing?" Goyle.
"Then it's a Muggle thing," said Blaise, not bothering to confirm. "Is it something that Muggles have made?"
Neville frowned; he wanted to cry. It must've showed in his expression because Hermione leaned forward and whispered to his ear, "No. It's more of 'discovered' than 'made'."
"No," he said to Blaise.
"Does death by a duel appeal to you, Longbottom?" Malfoy again, this time more terrifying.
Harry grinned at the Slytherins, not bothering to contain his amusement. "I'm getting the feeling that Malfoy's in a rather murderous mood."
"You're very perceptive, Potter," Zabini told him blandly. "Maybe that's the reason why you're a hero."
Not letting himself be goaded, he agreed. "Maybe that's it."
"Is it something that Muggles have use for everyday?" Blaise.
I don't know, Neville wanted to tell them but doing so would be forfeiting their game. "Yes… I think." He sent Harry a helpless look, who just nodded.
"Is it something that could kill?" Pansy.
"How about an accidental fall from a high cliff?" Malfoy.
Those two questions were asked at the same time that Neville had trouble answering. "No. Yes. Er, yes. Is it yes, then no or no, then yes?" he asked, completely befuddled.
"You don't know what it is, do you?" Blaise asked imperiously.
"No." He sighed.
"How about the Imperious Curse, then?" Malfoy once more.
"Dare we say that we just quit?" Blaise asked.
"Yes," Neville's tone was hopeful.
"Is it something that can be drunk?" Crabbe.
"Is it very special?" Goyle looked absolutely wistful.
Neville frowned. Now he really wanted to cry. Maybe Malfoy's suggestions weren't all that bad. "No."
"Is it an occasion?" Crabbe.
Neville thought of how Hermione told him that it was a Muggle thing that they had discovered. Somehow, it seemed logical that it wasn't an occasion. "No."
"Why aren't you doing anything?" Pansy demanded of Blaise.
"What am I supposed to do? All the questions have already been used up by our beloved Draco," he reasoned.
"All right. Who's up next?" Harry asked, handing the box over to the Slytherins. "Oh, and Gryffindor is in the lead, by the way," he added, not being able to help but gloat.
"Crabbe is," said Malfoy. "And your lead is by one measly point. We'll take this game."
As with Goyle, it took Crabbe some time to acquire a piece of folded paper due to his large hands.
After which, Crabbe said, "Do you know who Edgar Allan Poe is, Draco?"
Draco Malfoy, Slytherin prince, cold, calculating and sophisticated, turned around to face the wall behind him and connected his head to the wall several times in a rocking motion.
"Why am I surrounded by idiots?" he asked.
"Can we ask now?" Harry asked Crabbe, grinning at his friends.
Bemused at Malfoy's behavior, Crabbe nodded distractedly.
"Is it Edgar Allan Poe?"
"That's right. You're very brilliant, Potter," said Crabbe with a hint of awe. "How'd you know?"
"Oh, wild guess," he said with a snicker.
"It seems like it is up to me to save this sorry lot that I have," said Malfoy in his I-am-superior voice.
"Just one more point, Malfoy," said Harry tauntingly.
"Yes, but if we get these last two points, we'll win," said Malfoy with confidence.
"Sure but it's Hermione's turn after yours."
That distracted Malfoy.
"Which reminds me, do you have anything formal with you right now? I was thinking of a very private—"
"Malfoy!" hissed Pansy beside him. "You're digressing here."
"Right," said Malfoy, and reached over to the box to get his subject.
A bright idea sparked in his mind, and he knew his eyes glimmered when Zabini said, "Oh, god, Malfoy, whatever it is that you're thinking, don't do it."
He smirked. "Who are you to tell me what to do? Oh, and Gryffindorks, I'll let you know that I won't answer anything that isn't related to Hermione."
Potter and Weasley looked about to protest so Draco added, "Of course if you're too stupid to think some more, it's alright, I guess."
That hit a sensitive spot.
"Malfoy," Hermione started. "Is it a person?"
"Hermione, I won't answer that. The question hasn't got anything to do with you. But that's question number one, already. Fourteen more."
"That's cheating, you know," said Ron.
"Didn't see it written in fine print, so it's not," Malfoy said.
"Malfoy, is it someone that I would like?" Hermione repeated her question.
That brought Malfoy's brows up. "I surely do hope that you're not thinking of anything romantic. But no. It's not a someone."
"Is it a something?" Weasel.
"Where's Hermione's affiliation with that question?" Malfoy queried, a supercilious brow raised. "I should've known that your poor Gryffindor are not vast grasslands of information. Pity, really."
Ron's ears reddened visibly. "Is it something that Hermione has?"
"Is it a form of expression?" Harry.
Malfoy stared at him pointedly.
Harry, not entirely thick, cleared his throat and rephrased the question. "Is it something that Hermione would say as an expression?"
Malfoy tried to picture Hermione dropping her books and muttering 'Oh, Hogsmeade' under her breath in an irritated tone. He grinned. "No," he repeated.
"Is there any way that the question is actually related to me?" Hermione asked him impatiently.
Draco thought of their forthcoming date. Just as long as Hermione was going to Hogsmeade with the rest of them, he was on a win-win situation—there was completely nothing to lose except for a few coins.
"How many questions have we used up?" Paravati wanted to know.
"Is it a place that Hermione will go to?" Neville asked tentatively, something about Malfoy just made all his nerves jumpy.
"Why, yes, Longbottom. I think you Gryffindors are learning."
"Don't you just hate, Malfoy?" Potter asked, looking at Hermione.
Draco knew that the question was not in any way directed to him but he opted to reply. "No. I rather like me quite well. Nine."
"Is that the number of questions used already?" Neville asked, confused.
"Oi!" protested Ron. "I thought you were not answering questions unrelated to Hermione?"
"They were looking at Hermione when they asked that," Malfoy reasoned out. "So, in a way, it has something to do with Hermione."
Weasel Boy pursed his lips in frustration, and stared at him narrow-eyed.
"You look positively ugly, Weasel." Draco thought that it was rather kind of him to point it out if only to salvage some dignity in him but apparently Weasley didn't think so.
His eyes narrowed some more— nearly to slits and said, "Malfoy, I hate your guts."
"Weasel, I hate you back," he retorted. "So, any more questions?"
"Is it a place near here?" Parvati. "Er, near Hermione, I mean."
"Good of you to save that one," lauded Draco. "But the answer's no. Eleven questions."
"Is it somewhere where I go to on a regular basis?" Hermione.
"Don't call me 'Mione'!" she snapped at him.
That made Potter keel over—literally.
"Deplorable, isn't it?" Blaise said with a tsk. "Sometimes, there's no telling what comes out of Malfoy's mouth."
"Is it the loo?" Ron asked.
"You've a very dirty mind, Weasel," said Malfoy with a smirk. "Admire the pun before I answer."
Weasel was tight-lipped.
"I admire it," he replied through gritted teeth.
"The answer's no."
Weasley bared his teeth and looked like he would lunge at him but Potter held him back. "We're nearly leaving remember? Let him have his ridiculous fun."
"Anyone going to ask question number fourteen?" Draco asked.
"Is it somewhere that's open for everyone other than Hermione?" Potter.
"Is it the Head Girl's Room?"
"Is it Hogwarts?" Longbottom.
"No. It's actually Hogsmeade, where Hermione and I will go to tomorrow. Right, Hermione?"
Hermione rolled her eyes at him.
"We win this game," Blaise said with a grin. "If we get the next one, we'll tie with the Gryffindors."
"It's Hermione's turn next," said Pansy. "How are we supposed to beat her?"
"Hermione has no guile, she is without a deceitful bone in her body, she—"
Draco's litany was cut by Hermione. "—will make sure that the Gryffindors will win this game."
"Really?" Draco cocked his brows at her.
"Really," she replied firmly as her eyes were scanning the piece of paper she had in her hand.
There was something quite amusing with the fact that she had to pick the one topic that Slytherins would know nothing about. So, she smiled.
That hadn't bode well with the Slytherins.
"What's she smiling about?" Crabbe asked. "These Gryffindors always get the funny topics."
The rest of the Gryffindors leaned towards her to read the paper as well. Harry, Hermione and Ron looked at each other. Harry quirked his brows at Ron and grinned at the two of them.
"Alright, who's going to start?" Hermione asked the bemused Slytherins.
"Does it have anything to do with being a Gryffindor?" Blaise.
"Is it something that Gryffindors have and Slytherins don't?" Pansy.
"Yes," Hermione replied with a beatific smile.
"Why don't I trust that look?" Blaise muttered.
"Is it related to the place that we're spending the day at tomorrow?" Draco.
"Not by any chance. Draco, will you just quit it?"
"My name sounds better when you say it. Blasted name. I just had to be named 'Draco' and my father's last name would just have to be 'Malfoy'," he said. "You know, if you win this round, I get to choose who I take to Hogsmeade."
Hermione looked undecided for a second.
Well, she thought, I do like him.
But is that enough to make you want to go out with him? Alone?
Because he's Draco Malfoy, seducer of innocents, Lucius Malfoy's incarnate, Slytherin Prince.
Is he worth disappointing your friends over?
That question stopped Hermione; she realized she was talking to herself and everyone was looking at her. "What? I was thinking."
"So, I think we've established that it's a thing," said Pansy contemplatively. "But it's a Gryffindor thing."
"Is it red?" Crabbe.
"Gold, then?" Goyle.
"How about something lion-like?" Crabbe.
Hermione couldn't help how those two could perfect the stupidity act. Didn't their brains get tired of being inactive all the time?
She shook her head at Crabbe. "No, it's not. And that's question number six already, just to inform you all."
"Is it also related to Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs?" Pansy.
"What the hell is that?" Blaise asked. "It's related to every other bloody house except ours. What do they have that we don't?"
"A cozy Common Room?" Pansy suggested dryly. "Is it, Granger?"
"I'm afraid not," said Hermione.
"How about a clean looking House Head?"
"Considering Flitwick, you shouldn't have asked that," Blaise told Pansy.
"Well, I'm very sorry. But I don't see you thinking."
"Is it something that all Slytherins don't have?" Draco.
"So, some Slytherins do have whatever it is. What the hell is it still?"
"How about Sugar Quills?" Goyle suggested.
"Sugar Quills, Goyle?" Blaise asked.
"You don't have any do you?"
"Well, I do."
"How about a lot of money?" Pansy asked.
"No. And that was the twelfth question."
"Is it something that can be acquired by any Slytherin , in any case?" Blaise.
By struggling with their innermost evil and self? Hermione asked herself. "Yes."
"Illegal goods?" Draco tried.
"Dark items?" guessed Blaise.
"No. That's the last chance. It's morals," said Hermione.
"Morals, eh? Who among our lot has them?" Blaise thought musingly.
"I do," said Pansy.
"Right." Blaise gave Pansy an underlying glance, belying his statement.
Hermione stood up. "So, day after the Leaving Feast."
"We'll all meet up in front of Hagrid's hut," said Harry, following suit of Hermione and dusting his robes. "So now, Slytherins, choose your partners."
Pansy looked undecided. "Oh, all right. Potter, then."
"Ron," said Crabbe.
"See you all tomorrow," said Hermione as she turned to leave.
"Hermione, I really do hope that you'd realize that it's taking me a lot of effort here to convince you. And effort and convincing girls do not mix in my vocabulary."
"I know," said Hermione and continued to leave.
"Damn if she didn't smile," said Blaise quietly. "I think you might stand a chance on this, Malfoy."
"Hermione didn't smile, did she?" Ron demanded to Harry. "There's no smiling matter about this!"
"Hate to say this, but Blaise just might be right," said Harry, still staring at Hermione's retreating back. "Good luck for tomorrow, Malfoy."
" 'Good luck', Harry, 'good luck' ? Why are you saying that to Malfoy?" Weasley sounded positively outraged.
"Come on, Ron. Malfoy's a good m—er, wizard."
"Caught himself," grinned Blaise.
"I happen to be a good man, as well," Malfoy told Harry. "Just not to everyone."
"You're leaving Hermione to the hands of this—this—"
"Charming rogue?" Malfoy offered.
Ron glared at him.
Harry patted his friend's back. "Let go, Ron. Hermione likes him. You know that. At least she'd be in rich hands."
Ron's shoulders slumped and he sighed.
And without another word, the Gryffindors followed Hermione out of the tower.
"Rich? You happen to be leaving Hermione in good hands. Good, rich, supple, impeccably beautiful hands."
"Would you like your boyfriend to be more vain than you?" Blaise asked Pansy.
"I don't know."
"Stand a chance indeed," said Malfoy, grinning to himself. "Come now. We must get ready."