THE QUARTER MOON GAMBLE
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any characters present in the Harry Potter books, nor do I take credit for them. This plot, though using the same names and similar aspects to their personalities, is a complete fabrication of my imagination. Hope you like it.
NOTE: This story doesn't take place during a specific book. If anything, I'd say around 5th year. The events surrounding Harry are irrelevant because the story joins Hermione and Draco. Some scenes are slightly graphic. Nothing too explicit, but keep it in mind.
SUMMARY: Hermione enters a bet with Slytherin out of drunken ambition and now she has to stop a certain photo of her kissing a certain Malfoy from circulating Hogwarts halls. Ron and Harry do the can-can, McGonagall's smashed, blue butterbeer, broken toes, tiny closets, and a leaky roof that's driving them mad.
Christmas at Hogwarts was always something to look forward to, except for those few whose rotten luck never brought anything more than rainy reminders of how much worse things are about to get. The falling snow seemed to like its new home and would creep through the cracks on the old roof of Gryffindor tower. The boy's dormitory seemed unscathed but at three in the morning, the sound of raindrops could be heard all throughout the echoing tower.
It tormented Hermione. The raindrops would find her anywhere she went, falling atop her nose night after night. By the twelfth December night of heavy winter, she decided she'd complain to higher authority.
The next day, she went to complain to McGonagall and found the woman drunk and displayed spread-eagle atop her desk in an empty classroom.
"Professor? Would you take a look at the girls' dormitory? The roof is leaking something awful," she said cautiously but the professor simply began singing the theme to Chitti Chitti Bang Bang and mumbled something about school being nearly over for Christmas break and that she should fix it herself.
"But I have! There are cracks all over the roof. I fix one and the water just comes out another!" she yelled but she got drunken bantering in return.
She went to Filch and he insisted he had more important things to take care of. "Are you crazy? Me go in the girls' dormitory? They'd fire me faster than a roadrunner!" So she forgot about it for the rest of the day.
That night, rather than swim back to her bed, she decided to join the boys at the winter dinner in the Great Hall. She wasn't much for it. None of the girls were because the boys always found a way to sneak in booze and spend the night dancing on tables with ties wrapped around their heads like hippies on vacation.
When she got there, the party had already started. It was supposed to be dinner but she hardly saw food that wasn't being used as projectiles. What the hell is going on with this place? she thought to herself. Everyone's gone mad!
She passed some third-year Slytherins taking turns knocking down floating candles and some Ravenclaws peeing in the butterbeer somewhat evidently before reaching the Gryffindor end. Ron and Harry were in bathrobes sitting on top of the tables drinking something a strange bluish color in shot glasses.
"Well you two look ridiculous," she said, greeting them with a smile.
"Grab a table!" slurred Harry and he helped her up to sit beside him. "Butterbeer?"
He handed her a shot glass of the bluish liquid. "No thank you. I saw what the Ravenclaws were doing with it."
"Oh no. This is from our own stock," replied Ron, twirling the liquid in a bottle by his nose.
"Is that why it's blue?" she asked, not really wanting an answer. Ron just hiccupped his response. "Harry, I can see him drinking one of his brothers' concoctions but why you? Come on, you'd have to have known you had a 50-50 chance of self-induced vomiting and possible shape-shifting to your interior organs."
"Well," he said in-between shots with some other Gryffindor boys, "I figure this: I might have a 50-50 chance of death drinking this slock but I at least know with about 89 certainty that one of its main ingredients is not urine.
Hermione laughed, took a shot glass, and dove in.
"That's the spirit, Hermione!" said Lavender, who walked by with her arm wrapped around some poor Hufflepuff's stomach. Hermione looked around. There couldn't have been more than a few handfuls of girls, most of them with already trashed reputations.
Ron had begun to sing some sort of Irish jig with Dean and Neville about some sort of prostitute or barmaid that worked at the Busty Barnacle and walked around in red spandex.
"This is ridiculous. I think I'm gonna go," she told Harry.
Ron had heard and jumped off the table after her. "Come on Hermione, dance with me!" he yelled.
"That's all right, Ron. Let's just say I owe you one."
"No, come on! You never have any fun," he said and took her arms as if to dance and collapsed down her front like a piece of paper to the wind. She sighed and helped him back up to the table beside Harry. When she looked back up, some Slytherins and Hufflepuffs were playing a game with dice back by the teacher's table. Draco Malfoy was playing the animate host and enticing others into play.
She didn't know why but she felt the urge to go play. So she took another shot of the blue butterbeer and began to wobble towards the table.
"So you want to play the Quarter Moon Gamble, Gryffindor? I warn you, it's not something to be taken lightly," Crabbe growled above her. She couldn't quite focus her vision and she knew she'd gotten the bad half of the 50-50 chance of severe death. She looked back at the Gryffindors. They'd begun a jolly can-can line of drunken mumbling.
"How do you play?" she asked, determined to prove Ron wrong. Crabbe stepped aside and she stepped onto the bench-seat of the table and up to the circle of players.
"Well look who's here," Malfoy said with certain amusement. He was sober, she could tell. Either that or he could hold his liquor well. "Welcome to the Quarter Moon Gamble."
"Why's it called that?" she asked, seeing him in swirls of color.
"Because it sounded good. And because each bet takes a quarter moon before it's over."
"What's that mean?" asked a Hufflepuff.
"You dare someone to do something dirty and if they don't do it, by the next quarter moon, they'll have to pay."
"Pay what?" Hermione asked.
"Depends. All I can tell you is it doesn't involve money." Draco smirked as he spoke. Was he checking her out, she wondered by the look in his eyes. It seemed like he wanted to eat her alive but her intestines seemed to be doing that for him.
The rest of the circle was a blur. Time seemed to blend into the colors. The lights from the floating candles hurt her. She held her head and went to get up, go back to the leaky sanctity of her room but it was too late. The beer had gotten to her. She went to step down but found herself falling back. She wasn't sure whose but two sturdy hands grabbed onto her a foot before her head reached the table.
All she remembered was something blonde holding her up. "Malfoy?" she asked, her eyes dazed and drawn to the painful lights. The blonde blur smirked devilishly. It had to be him. He helped her to her unsteady feet but she seemed to have no control of her limbs. He picked her up effortlessly and carried her down the table.
As they went, she heard a voice much like Crabbe's yelling after them, "Remember, Malfoy! We better see some proof you did something."
"Did... something?" she repeated back to Draco. Those words echoed in her head all the way from the Great Hall to the Gryffindor common room. She mumbled the password to the lady in the portrait who looked at them in great worry. She didn't seem to want to open but Draco seemed to speak something to her. The lady seemed flattered and the door swung open.
The common room was empty, as far as she could tell. He set her down by the fire. He took out his wand and yelled a sobriety spell and slowly her vision focused. When she opened her eyes, he was practically nose to nose with her as if he wanted to kiss her but had frozen seconds before their lips touched.
"What the hell?" she yelled and pushed him off. She sat on the floor and had sent him knocking into the table by the sofas. "What did you think you were doing?" She looked down. The first few buttons of her blouse were open.
"I wasn't going to do anything! I promise!" he shouted.
"What?" she said and began fumbling her blouse closed. She was still a little doused by the blue liquid. A Polaroid camera floated by their heads. She saw it and squealed. "That was your bet, wasn't it? Get me up here drunk, do whatever you wanted, and get a souvenir for your mates to laugh about? Dumb move sobering me up first."
"I was going to but... I could never do that. I was just going to pose the picture and get out of the bet."
"You sorry-assed bastard! No chance of that now, she said trying to stand up.
"Shhhh... you'll wake up the other Gryffindors," he hissed, running to catch her before she fell again.
"Get your hands off me!" she growled.
"Would you shut up, woman? I'm trying to help you here. It was your drunk-mates that got you like this, not me!" he said as he sat her in the comfy sofa by the fire.
She groaned an angry reply.
He knelt down in front of her, his eyes filled with worry. "Are you alright?" he asked.
"Bloody stupid question, but yes. I'll be fine."
"A fourth-year was about to bet he'd steal Dumbledore's teeth when you fell over," he said soothingly, brushing the hair back from her face. "You had me worried."
"Sorry to ruin your fun," she said crossly. "You'll have to find another girl to rape, Malfoy."
"I was not going to rape you! It was just a kiss and a picture!" he defended. She pointed at her blouse. "Alright maybe not."
She was beginning to fall back asleep. He slapped her lightly and she woke up. She was still drunk.
"You know you're really cute in this light?" she said a little woozy.
"I'm cute in any light, darling," he joked, reaching for her hand. She thought he was being romantic but he just checked her pulse. She made a small noise of disappointment. He smiled and glanced up.
She was stubborn and tried to get up again, despite his warnings, but she ended up on her knees in front of him, her head too heavy to hold up. She collapsed on top of him, her head on his shoulder, her hand by his.
It sent fire through him, their contact. Even if it was slight, it still brought his cold heart to life -- her breath upon her neck like tiny needles seeping through him, the fragrance of her hair turning his hands to pure sweat. He gulped and tried to push her off him, at the very least get her back in the chair before any of her friends came back and beat the living snot out of him, but her hand was moving up his arm towards his neck.
Oh great. She's going to try to choke me, he thought. But her hand made it to his face and before he knew it, she had raised her lips to his and kissed him.
She couldn't believe what she had begun, and obviously neither could he. His lips were tense at first, reserved in shock. But, there was a moment when his hands found her arms again and his lips found motion, and a sharp lust rose through him, cutting him in two just long enough for him to forget who she was and how he had come to be there. She felt like it might end too soon and she'd never be allowed this feeling again, so she pressed tightly against him, begging him for more. His hands had found her waist and pulled her blouse out of its neat tuck. One slipped under and rounded her waist, pulling her closer. His other moved on her thigh under her skirt.
And then, he couldn't breathe. It took all his might to pull away. He quickly withdrew his hands into the air in surrender, fighting to catch his breath. "No," he said, his voice a little ragged, and then more firmly, "No."
"No..." she repeated and realized she was on top of him. "Oh God!" she yelled and jumped back.
But it was too late.
The camera had already gone off and the Polaroid had fallen by his hand on the floor of the common room.
They froze for a moment. He looked at it. She looked at it. They looked at each other and she warned, "Move and my knee comes into sudden impact with your groin, understand?"
"Is that a promise?" He smiled coyly. "Eh?"
She narrowed her eyes and slowly got off him, not taking her reddened eyes off him as she went to reach for it. But just as she thought she'd won, he said, "Accio photograph," and it flies right out of her grasp.
"Malfoy, give it here!" she yelled, though she realized she was on all fours and still half-intoxicated. She had little influence to go through with any threats. She didn't even know where her wand was.
"Awww... but you look so sweet here. I think I'll keep it thanks," he said and got up, admiring it with the same wry smile.
"Damn you, Malfoy," she said through gritted teeth.
"Goodnight, Hermione. Drink lots of fluids. Get some rest. You'll be fine," he said quickly and pocketed the picture, running a hand through his hair and straightening his clothes. "Back to the party then."
And he walked right out through the portrait with the same smug demeanor he walked in, leaving her kneeling in defeat on the floor by the cozy fire.
It was several minutes before she got up and wobbled up the stairs to the girls' dormitory, to her bed that as soon as laid her tired head to rest, seemed to rain down upon her a reminder that things can only get worse.
"My… my… my… Aren't you fascinating?" came a voice from above. Hermione took her eyes off her book for an instant to confirm her assumption and yes, unfortunately, it was Draco Malfoy standing over her tall, blonde, and pale.
"I'm sure you're wanted elsewhere, Malfoy. I believe that's your fan club calling."
"My fan club can wait. It seems you have a quarrel with me. I'd like an explanation," he said and sat down roughly in the library seat in front of her.
"A quarrel?" she asked, insulted that he would even talk to her let alone that he implied it was all her problem. "Is that what you call it? How about 'blind hatred?' That sounds about right. No wait! 'Distaste to the point of vomiting.' Or maybe 'I'd rather eat a bag of thistles' is more politically correct!"
"Calm down! We're in a library!" he hissed at her, gesturing with his hand for her to lower her volume. "I need to talk to you. Take a walk with me?"
She looked around. People were already staring. She sighed and nodded and began to collect her books. He had already turned around and begun walking out of the library with his nose up in the air as usual. She scoffed and followed slowly, trying not to notice the eyes upon her.
When she reached the doorway, he was leaning against the wall right outside with his arms crossed, looking at his Quidditch boots with a worried expression like there might be a tiny scuff on one of them and he might have to throw it out.
"Let's go then," he said without looking up and she followed him cautiously. She hugged her books tightly as if to guard herself from his inherent malice.
It was 5 minutes before he spoke again, 5 of the longest minutes of life. But then when he spoke, it was all worth it.
"Do you fancy me?" he asked genuinely looking at her as if expecting a real answer.
"No!" she yelled. The day slowly turned to dusk and the hallways were nearly empty or else the usual bustle of students would have all turned in shock. "What kind of question is that? It's like asking if I fancy a toad or that weird wart on Savila Porinsi's nose."
He smirked. She was jittery, couldn't think straight. He could tell a lie a mile away, seeing as he was an expert liar. "You do. I can tell. You're red as a Weasley, Granger," he laughed. But it wasn't all that funny to him.
She scrunched up her nose and gave him a cross look. She'd stopped walking and now they stood in the middle of a hallway. "What quarrel did you want to talk about, Malfoy?"
"Why do you call me Malfoy?"
"Why do you call me Granger? Why do you call me a Mudblood, while we're on the topic?"
"Oh don't be so sensitive." She raised an eyebrow and narrowed her eyes menacingly. "Alright... Alright, I'm sorry."
Her expression softened into shock. "Did Draco Malfoy just apologize to a Gryffindor?"
He realized it too and looked away, and kept walking down the stairs. She looked back at the empty hallway and reluctantly followed beside him. She had an hour or so before she planned to meet up with Harry and Ron at the Great Hall.
They walked all the way down to the lake in silence. Hermione kept looking around to see if anyone saw them together. If Harry or Ron found out, they might never speak to her again. But still, she followed. Why? She didn't know. It was maybe his gentle eyes, the tender reminder of the good hidden deep in people. In the back of her mind, she might have done it to get caught but she'd never admit it.
"Where are you taking me?" she demanded.
"I'm not taking you anywhere. We're just walking, Granger. Take in the fresh air. Enjoy the scenery. Relax for once, woman!"
"Relax?" she yelled back. "This is ridiculous! What am I doing? I must be going mad!"
"Are you always this loud?"
"Hmm, well then go. Walk away. Pretend the other day never happened."
"Oh please! I don't need to pretend. Nothing happened. I was drunk."
"Drunk?" he said with a wry smile. "I was close enough to taste your breath, darling. Butterbeer and red licorice is not exactly drunkard material."
"What do you care? You got kissed by a girl who WASN'T forced against her will or tied and blindfolded. Get over it. I spent all night brushing my teeth till they bled, thank you very much."
He raised an eyebrow. "Well… I'm glad I had some effect on your… teeth."
She couldn't help a smirk. "Why are you even bringing this up, Draco? Go back to your snakes and your petty insults. I'm sure the other boys got a kick out of it."
She had turned around and begun to walk away when he clutched her arm and pulled her back to him. It was meant to be impulsive and even romantic. He was ready to kiss her again. But just as her stunned lips reached mere centimeters from his, her Monster Book of Monsters landed on his foot, causing him to yell out in pain as her two other thick reads cracked open atop his feet.
Instantly, he began to shout obscenities and jump around on one foot. Hermione ran after him yelling, "Oh my God! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"
He saw a tree trunk by them, hopped towards it, and sat down. She sat next to him and tried to calm him down but he was too enthused by his own whining.
"Would you shut up!" she yelled and he gave a small squeak and shut up. She pulled his leg onto her lap and took off his boot. His toenail had begun to bleed and the top of his foot had turned red. There'd be a large bruise there later, she knew.
She took out her wand quickly and said calmly, "Don't be such a baby," before whispering a simple healing charm and fixing his foot right up. "There you are. Back to your usual irritating self."
He didn't say thanks but he shot her a smile and a look that left a twinkle in her eyes for days.
"My hero," he said, putting his boot back on, his smile gone.
"Don't be silly. I was merely trying to stop the whining. Werewolves in Romania could hear your howling. And there was no need to bring Dumbledore's mother into your rant," Hermione said, going to pick up her books from the floor.
"Oh she had it coming to her."
"The woman's been dead for 50 years, Malfoy."
"So? Look at what she raised. Death was a blessing. I take nothing back."
"Bah. I'm going to dinner. Goodbye Draco. Deal with whatever 'quarrel' you had by yourself," she said, making a dismissing gesture and turning back towards the castle. "Write in your diary or something."
"Oh I plan to," he whispered to himself and smirked. He quickly tied his shoelaces and ran after her. "Hey, listen. I don't usually kiss anybody without at least buying them dinner. So… can I walk you?"
She smiled at him wonderingly, her eyes too tired to protest. She looked down sheepishly, forgetting for at least a moment his true nature, his ties to darkness. It was always so easy to forget, so easy to regret it later.
He took a few of her books and smiled. This time, she didn't follow. They walked side by side. He tried to start a conversation, something about her classes but she was a bit lost into how Harry and Ron would react if she befriended the enemy. And then she thought of Ron as she stared at the grass before her. Draco was going on about something or other. Ron would be jealous. He might even try to take it out on Draco. No harm there seeing as she hated him. Or she had hated him. He seemed so innocent talking to her as if he wanted her to listen, as if he wanted her opinion.
They neared the entrance. She could see the boys practicing at the Quidditch field and guilt drowned her. "Why did you say 'quarrel'? Why did come up to me?" she said quietly, looking down at her feet on the snow-scattered stairs. It would be spring soon.
"I don't know," he lied, looking away. "Maybe I just felt like it. Maybe I was thinking of you."
She knew it took a lot for him to admit anything he was feeling. "Well I suppose it wasn't completely unwanted. I'd been meaning to talk to you too."
"It's about the photograph, isn't it?"
"Yeah… In how much trouble would you get if you didn't turn it into Slytherin?"
"Oh they could kill me," he said calmly as if he'd just admitted he wanted lunch.
"Kill you over a kiss!"
"We take our bets very seriously. It's why we never gamble. Last time I did… well let's just say I'm not a natural blonde anymore," he said. She laughed but tried to hide it. "I heard that."
She smiled even brighter. "Don't make me laugh. I mean it. You can't turn it in. Is there a loophole to the rules?"
He was about to reply when he heard the sound of rustling feet coming down the hall. "Someone's coming," he shushed her. Quickly, he opened the nearest door and pushed her in, leaving her books to fall to the floor.
She pressed her ear to the wooden door and held her breath as a small group of first year girls ran by giggling. She took as deep breath as soon as she heard them pass then turned to him but couldn't see him very well.
"Are we… Are we in janitor's closet?" she asked in the darkness.
"I don't know. I don't think so. It's just an empty room."
"An empty, dark room the size of a postage stamp, yes," she said, irritated. She could feel his body heat. He was so close. If only she could see him.
"Lumos," he whispered, and a small light blossomed from the end of his wand in-between them. When she looked up, he was closer than she thought and the room was even smaller. She gazed down at him, the glow reflecting like cloud-light off her porcelain skin. He was beginning to feel extremely dizzy and lightheaded, probably from the heavy sweet fragrance that clung to her hair and hands. When he noticed her proximity, he just cleared his throat as if hiding a gulp and said hoarsely, "It's probably clear now."
She nodded, still caught in his boyish stare, and he poked his head out to see. The hallway was empty again. "Maybe it's best you don't walk me to dinner. I was going to stop by Gryffindor tower anyway," she said and slowly crept through the door. "Thank you for the walk, Draco." She shot him an apologetic smile.
"I understand," he said seriously. She had turned around, her skirt and hair fluttering in the cold air, and Draco thought grace was leaving him. "You know what? I'll find you that loophole!" he yelled after her.
"Why?" she asked, walking lightheartedly backwards.
"Because you called me Draco!" he yelled back. She was still close enough for him to hear her laugh.
Their encounter left a scar, a smile upon his face. He was about to turn towards the Great Hall when he looked down and saw the books she had dropped still scattered on the floor beside her scarf. And from one of the books, a marker had escaped its pages. When he went to pick it up, he froze. It was a picture of her and Harry and Ron taken, most probably by Colin, after a winning Quidditch match a while ago. She still looked like a little girl, as he'd seen her across Potions for years. After all, how could he not notice her? The hand that pleaded for Snape's attention seemed to have attracted his too.
So he picked up the books and the scarf and when he went to pick up the picture, he felt his heart rival itself with jealousy and he ripped it in two and kept the part with her then discarded Harry and Ron's faces to the cold hallway floor.
To be continued:
Confrontations, swimming with a lake monster, making out in closets (but not with who you think), astronomy towers full of moments, more drunken singing -- I think Ron has a problem, jealousy everywhere, and what happens during potions that makes Draco such a pet…