Disclaimer: Harry Potter was created by J.K.Rowling.
Author's Notes: This story is woven into the plot of the fourth book, The Goblet of Fire. Any scene or line you recognize from the book belongs to Ms. Rowling. Enjoy!
Chapter 1 – Potions
Draco Malfoy walked, or rather strutted, into Potions class, his ever-loyal lackies hunching in his wake. He took his usual seat near the Potter trio--he knew it irritated them to have him there. His ears were always ready to pick up whatever they were talking about. If they gave him an opening, he'd pounce.
He looked over.
Weasley was already giving him a death glare.
Hmmm, he thought, turning back to the lesson. That's early. He hadn't said anything yet. Then it hit him...they must still be sore about the Skeeter article. He frowned as he tossed mandrake leaves into his cauldron. Well, he didn't see what they were so worked up about. They weren't turned into a rodent by a psychotic professor and humiliated in front of the entire school. Draco heightened the flames under his cauldron, imagining that Potter and his friends were burning in them.
"Careful now, Mr. Malfoy." Professor Snape said, walking by. "The heat must be increased gradually, not suddenly...lower...that's a good lad."
He looked at the trio again. This time it was Granger cursing him with her eyes. He smirked. No doubt she was thinking about the injustice of Snape's lenience towards Slytherins.
Granger. Little Miss Perfect. How he hated her. Her perfect spells. Her perfect potions. Her perfect charms. And most especially her perfectly Muggle lineage. The mudblood. He should have known she'd be this touchy. The Skeeter article featured their fool of a gamekeeper, Hagrid. Granger was very close to the half-giant. Maybe he'd better steer clear of the Mudblood for now. The last time Hagrid was in trouble, Granger had hit him in the face.
The memory of that encounter was so clear in his mind.
"Don't you dare call Hargrid pathetic...you foul...you evil...!"
He remembered how Granger had reached for her wand and the way Potter and Weasley held her back.
Absent-mindedly, Draco touched a hand to his cheek. It had hurt and she made him lose his balance. Granger had always been so calm and collected before then, but at that time, her eyes were glistening as if she had just cried. Her cheeks were tinted red with fury and her hands were shaking with unrestrained emotion. She must have really hated him then. He saw it in her eyes. Her angry brown eyes.
He stopped in the middle of grinding porcupine quills. Brown? When had he noticed that? He pounded on the quills. The Muggle's only prominent feature was the bushy brown hair.
Well, it wasn't so bushy at the Yule Ball.
He stopped again. Granger at the Yule Ball. She was a completely different person. And she entered the Great Hall on whose arm, but none other than Victor Krum's. He had heard Weasley asking her who she was going to the ball with. He never would have guessed. Although, Krum had seemed interested in her since he first set foot in Hogwarts.
Draco leaned forward to address Krum. "Welcome to Hogwarts. You're lucky to be seated with us. Please excuse the rest of the riffraff."
Crabbe, Goyle and the rest of the Slytherins chuckled. Krum and his schoolmates were observing the Great Hall with a surly sort of interest. Then the Bulgarian Seeker looked at the rest of the Hogwarts houses' students.
"That's Hufflepuff, then Ravenclaw, " Pansy Parkinson told Krum. She had not taken her eyes off him. "And over there," she said disdainfully. "Is Gryffindor." Krum seemed to be fascinated by something--or someone--at Lions' table because he did not turn away.
Whatever caught his attention became evident at the end of the Welcoming Feast when the Durmstrang students filed out of the Hall.
"Thank you" said Karkaroff, glancing at the boy who had let them pass.
It was Potter.
Draco rolled his eyes. Of course the bloody Boy Who Lived would get his usual dose of fame even from visitors. Then came Professor Moody, who proceeded to exchange what seemed to be heated words with the Durmstrang headmaster. It was then when Draco felt a tap on his shoulder.
"Who is the girl vid Potter?" Krum asked.
Draco looked at him, puzzled. What did he want to know that for? But he answered anyway. "That's Granger. Hermione Granger."
"Hermy-own." Krum was still looking at her.
"She's a Muggle, you know." Draco said.
But Krum didn't seem to hear him. "Hermy-own..." He said again.
Draco did not correct him.
"Fill a four-ounce vial with your Stinging Solution." Snape's voice snapped Draco out of his reverie. "Place it on my desk as you go out."
"Damn." He muttered. He wasn't finished. "Pansy," he hissed, "I need some of your solution."
"No problem, Draco." Pansy filled another vial and handed it to him.
"Thanks." Draco was irritated. Potions was his best class--and it was not just because Snape made allowances for him. He turned in the solution and marched out of the room.
"Hey Drake," Pansy caught up with him. He waited for her to say something. She looked like she just made a great discovery. "Do you know that's the first time I've ever heard you say that?"