Happy New Year Everyone!
Well here's my entry for the Quiet Ones Christmas Fic-a-ton.
Prompt: When Draco suggested that Hermione try a new hair potion, she looked as though she were going to re-enact the slap from third year.
It's not very Christmas-y but I snuck a few hints in there, plus it's not beta'ed so I apologise in advance for any mistakes.
On The Inside
Hermione would admit that she found potions class the least enjoyable lesson on her timetable; however, that didn't stop it from being her favourite.
The accurate measurements of ingredients, precision timing, and just the neat and orderly fashion in which everything fit together to make something so unlike its original forms.
The art of potion making reminded her of herself, not because of the strict routine of it but exactly for the reason of how, say, salamander blood and a few drops of pomegranate juice can make a strengthening potion.
Now if someone were to make a Hermione Granger potion, (especially anyone that didn't intimately know her), would boil up a quite a lot of books and perhaps a couple of muggle items to represent her heritage. It would be an easy potion to make that would appeal to the more lazy potions makers, but to Hermione it would be dull, boring and most definitely not complete. Every student knew that one false move when brewing a potion could cock the whole thing up. More ingredients were needed.
There was more to Hermione Granger than met the eye, and that is why she was deemed 'The Know-It-All', 'The Walking Encyclopaedia', 'The Teacher's Pet', 'The Suck Up', 'The Brains of the Golden Trio'. Not very nice names she would admit but all were undeniably true, if not exaggerate a little. These were the top layers of her, the intelligence and the book smarts, and this was the Hermione that everyone knew and what she showed the most. Unfortunately though, nobody was interested enough to delve down into the second, or even third, layer. Not even Harry or Ron tried to venture that far into the catacombs of Hermione Granger's mind, or maybe it was the fact that she wouldn't let them.
The fact of the matter was that nobody really knew her, and she had been around many of these people for six years.
Draco Malfoy, for example, was sitting next to her with his body twisted so he could see her more clearly and a smirk lifting the corner of his mouth. Hermione could tell in an instant what he thought of her with one glance: 'Mudblood'. The word may have lost it's sting over the years but that didn't mean it didn't leave a mark every time it was whispered in her ear as he strode past her in the hallways. Or spat at her when she ignored him, or retaliated with her own remark, (which was mostly a reference to an incident back in fourth year.)
Hermione sighed and dropped her eyes to her lap, she shouldn't be thinking of these types of things, not when an important assignment had just been handed out, and her partner was sitting right next to her with that damnable smirk on his face. She would be needing her wits about her.
She had no idea how she got here, but she was sure fate had a twisted sense of humour.
"So Granger, chosen anything yet?" the blond asked.
"What? Oh, no. I, huh, need to think about it." she replied swivelling in her seat so that she was now facing the front of the classroom. She picked up her quill and was about to write the due date for the assignment, only to drop it when she felt as slight pressure on her left shoulder and warm breath on her ear.
"I doubt there is much you can change about me! Nevertheless, if you would like a closer inspection you will usually find me in the prefect's bathroom on a Tuesday night after rounds. You're welcome to join me Granger, I'm not shy."
Hermione jerked away from his offending words to glare at him, "I am not interested in any part of your body Malfoy, so shove off."
"But that is the whole idea, 'Improve Your Partners Appearance'." he quoted tapping the title written on the parchment settled between them. "Anyway like I said, there isn't much you would want or need to change about me."
"Narcissistic prick," Hermione mumbled under her breath, again picking up her quill to continue writing. He didn't react so she guessed he didn't hear her. She wouldn't have cared even if he had.
"Aren't you even going to ask me what I'm changing about you?"
She lifted her head to stare at him as she raised an eyebrow. "To be honest I couldn't give two monkeys what you are going to do to me, but one thing I do know is that it will be something that will no doubt embarrass or humiliate me, and if I'm lucky, both."
"Granger," he mocked. "I had no idea you had such a low opinion of me. For that I am no longer making the eye-colouring potion," he said purposefully scribbling out something on his own parchment, "but the," he smirked and his eyes flickered up and down Hermione's body and wrote something new, "breast enlargement potion."
"MALFOY!" she shrieked, lunging at the arrogant Slytherin as she tried to get the paper. "You will do no such thing."
Draco had stood up and held up his new and improved assignment brief over his head as he tried to stop the Gryffindor from ruining his idea.
"MISS GRANGER." The room went silent and Hermione stilled. "Get your hands off Mr Malfoy and return to your seat. Twenty points from Gryffindor for mauling another student."
There was no point in arguing with the Potions Master, it would only make things worse she decided. She quietly took her seat and bowed her head over her work, ignoring the looks from the rest of the class and most especially the boy who was taking the seat next to her.
"Hermione. Hermione!" came a shout that echoed down the tower steps of the boy's dormitories. "Hermione!"
Rather suddenly a tall lanky redhead came barrelling down, flushed and out of breath.
"Harry!" Ron exclaimed, running over to his friend after seeing his unruly mop of hair peeking over the top of a newspaper. "I need your help." He paused to catch his breath. "Have you seen Hermione?"
The Boy Who Had Just Been Interrupted didn't even remove his eyes from the interesting story about a Jarvey, captured by muggles and put on exhibition in a muggle zoo. Harry looked at the picture and chuckled. It looked just like Malfoy.
"Stop laughing, I need to know where she is. This is an emergency," cried Ron.
"Sorry mate," Harry said shaking his head still not looking at his impatient friend. "I haven't seen her. But the most logical place to find her would be the library."
Ron stomped his foot, "Shit." That got Harry's attention and he turned down a corner of the newspaper to see Ron red in the face.
"Why, what's the matter?"
"This," he pointed to his face, "is the matter."
Harry raised an eyebrow, closing his paper and placing it on the seat next to him. "What?"
"Look Harry." Ron leaned down giving his friend a closer look at his face. Harry peered at him, scanning his features for a bruise or a cut, as Ron was known for having a short temper, thus getting into a few fights over the years. Therefore, he was quite surprised to see a pimple marring his face, right on the tip of his nose.
Harry laughed and Ron was taken back by the outburst, especially during such an important situation. "What? What's so funny?"
"Ron I think you'll live," he replied and picked up his paper to resume reading. Perhaps he could cut out the picture, copy it and stick them all over Hogwarts; he could just see it now, 'Overgrown Mal-ferret Trapped in Muggle Animal Prison'. He laughed again.
"Harry, listen to me." Harry could hear the exasperation in his voice. "I can't show my face with this great big custard pie on it, I've never had a spot before."
"It will be gone in a day or two, as long as you don't pick at it," he sighed and tried to ignore the vanity of the desperate boy.
"What?" Harry bit out. Ron was even more annoying than Hermione.
Ron startled, "Sorry mate. No need to get defensive, but can I borrow your scarf to cover this up, just until I find Hermione?"
"Sure." He waved him off in the general direction of the door, "It's over on the coat rack."
"Thanks." Ron turned, then paused, "And Hermione's…"
"In the library."
"Yeah, great." He left the common room hoping that he would not see Lavender Brown on his travels.
Indeed Hermione was sat in the library, a couple of dozen books surrounding her; however, she paid them no mind, although others would think otherwise. She held a book open between her hands, covering her face; every so often, she would discreetly glance up over the top then quickly look back down at the tome.
She still needed to get something to start on her cosmetic potion assignment, and the only way to do that was to look at him.
Taking another look, she saw Malfoy sat with one of his friends, the black boy, Zabini she thought his name was. They were at a table facing one another, but due to their placing, she could only see the back of Malfoy's shiny blond head.
This whole project would be easier if it was on personality, no staring was involved in that. No such luck. So she was sat here actually praying that she had a better view of him, and get the hard part over with; find something that she could change about his appearance.
Alternatively, she could just give him a big nose or maybe a big, fathead that would help him co-ordinate it with his big, fat ego. Even better would be to tan up his complexion, he always looked a bit sickly for her tastes. However, her nature was; when Hermione did something, she did it right.
She looked at him again and finally admitting to herself that this seating arrangement would not work, she admitted that a change of plan was in order.
As the fates would have it, both Malfoy and Zabini were sitting near to the stacks where the potions texts were stored. Hermione riffled through the piles of books on her table, searching for the books that would bring her into a closer proximity of the two Slytherins.
She found that most of the books would give her that advantage. Picking them up, she stood and wobbled slightly because of the weight. Taking careful measures steps to avoid tripping over bags that usually littered the library floor, and caused Madame Pince to scold whoever was responsible, she made her way to and past the object of her scheming.
When she was adjacent to him she snuck a peek at him, his head was bent. It didn't help that she could only see his profile either. A full on view was needed. She continued on to the stacks and began placing the books in their right places.
It was a shame it was now Wednesday. Maybe she should have just taken up his offer.
"Hum," he replied.
"You know that Granger girl has been staring at us?" he whispered across the table.
Draco looked up at Blaise and smirked. "Of course. I've felt her eyes burning a hole in the back of my head for the past twenty minutes. I think she singed my hair."
"Well aren't you going to do something about it?" Blaise said perplexed.
Looking behind his friend, Draco saw the object of their discussion covertly glance over her shoulder and peek at him, then quickly turn back to her task of replacing an enormous pile of reading material. He grinned smugly, knowing exactly what she was up to. "Na."
"Why? Isn't she getting to you? Because she's getting to me."
"Then go bugger off, I didn't ask you to come."
"You know I'm shit at Transfiguration Draco. I need your help."
"Then stop moaning."
"But she keeps looking at me, it's putting me off," he said nodding his head towards the girl standing behind him.
"Granger's not looking at you," Draco said indignantly.
"Perhaps we can finish this later, when distracting Gryffindors aren't around."
Draco watched Blaise slide from his seat, gather up his stuff and leave the library.
Time to get under Granger's skin.
"Shit!" came the exclamation from the Gryffindor. As she bent down to pick up '147 Ways to Cure the Side -Effects of Teenage Hormones', an amused voice came from behind her.
"Whatcha' doing down there, Granger?"
Hermione slowly stood and turned to face his blatant smirk, well they always were, and was surprised to see he was standing very close to her. She unconsciously took a step back and bumped into the shelving behind her.
"Leave me alone Malfoy."
"You very well know that I can't do that," he said leering at her.
She crossed her arms over her chest, "And why not?"
He leaned down to whisper in her ear, so she shrunk even further into the bookcase. Damn, she hated it when people were up in her personal space, and Malfoy seemed to know this titbit of information, using it to his advantage.
"Because you won't leave me alone." He leaned back and raised an eyebrow.
Double, double shit.
"I… I don't now what you're talking about," she said, trying to cover up her falter with a look of indifference.
"Oh, I think you do," he said, reaching up to tug on a curl of her hair.
"N-no," she choked out, not understanding why she was unable to move or look away from his smouldering grey eyes.
"Get away from her Malfoy."
She recognised that voice even if it sounded muffled.
Hermione breathed a sigh of relief as Malfoy stepped away form her.
She glanced between the two boys and decided to put an end to this one worded standoff. It was so childish and immature for people their age, but then again they were boys. She rolled her eyes. "Ron, can I help you?" Hermione asked, stooping again to pick up the book she had dropped.
"Yeah." He pointedly looked at Malfoy.
"Oh don't mind me."
"Piss off; I need to speak to Hermione. Alone."
"Sure Ron, but what's with the scarf?" she asked bemused.
Indeed Ron was wearing a scarf wrapped around his neck, covering both his mouth and nose. Now it may have been winter, but there was no need for it in the warmth of the castle.
"Got yourself a love bite, have you? No that can't be it," Malfoy said rubbing his chin, and then his eyes lit up like a small child's on Christmas Day. "Perhaps a spot?"
Ron glared and the tips of his ears burnt red. "It's none of your business. Now go away."
"It is, isn't it? The Weasel's got himself a spot," he said gleefully.
Seeing a violent ending to this conflict, Hermione interjected. "Just shut up both of you!"
They both looked at her and Malfoy glance down at the book in her hands. He snatched it quickly. "Here," he said throwing it at Ron, who caught it like the Keeper he was, "this might just help."
Ron flipped it over, looked at the cover and bristled. "Malfoy, you bloody git." He was going to pounce, Hermione was sure. She quickly cut in between them.
"That's enough Malfoy. Go," she said pointing towards the general direction of the library doors.
He stepped further away from them. "Fine Granger, but I thought you would like to know that my potion has changed yet again."
He was doing her head in, sparing with Ron and finding out about her plan. "I don't care!" she gritted out.
He smirked. "A balding potion."
She felt her face turn a scolding red and her blood boil within her veins. These directs slights against her appearance were uncalled for. "Why you…" In addition, she would have lunged if he hadn't disappeared before she could jump him. "Argghh!"
"Whoa, Hermione. I thought you were going to slap him again."
"I would have done more than that if he didn't have the damned reflexes of a cat." She tried to calm herself, slowly breathing in and out.
Calm yourself Hermione, he's doing it on purpose because he knows it will get to you.
Feeling her anger settle, she faced Ron. "So, what can I help you with?" This was the only thing she hated about being intelligent. Everyone came running to you when they need help. Not that she minded, but when it was over inconsequential things, it aggravated her. Didn't these people realise she had a life too?
No. She supposed they didn't.
By the way Ron glanced from his left then to his right, to see if anyone was watching, she assumed it was something important. Then he pulled down the scarf from around his face.
"Crikey, Malfoy was-"
"'Mione, shhh," he said holding a hand over her mouth and looking around again. "I need you to get rid of it."
She slapped his hand away. "Honestly Ronald," she said tapping her foot, "it's perfectly natural, everyone gets them. It's nothing to get embarrassed about."
"But I've never had one before."
"Ah, it must be because your ginger."
"Never mind," she dismissed.
"Harry said leave it, but that will take forever. I don't want Lavender to see. So can you help me?" He looked really desperate.
Hermione looked at him, really looked at him, and then laughed as she turned to walk away.
"Ron," she said. "I can't do anything. You either take Harry's advice or," she paused.
"Or…" Ron said eagerly.
She bit her lip trying to hold in her laughter. "Malfoy's!"
He looked bewildered. "Malfoy's? What?"
She didn't say anything just pointed at the book he held and returned to her table.
That night she sat in front of her mirror contemplating what it was that Malfoy would change about her.
He had hinted about her eyes, so Hermione leaned in close to her reflection and studied the colour. They didn't stand out like Harry's dazzling green or Hannah Abbot's ocean blue. They were nothing special, just - Brown. Nothing worth noticing really.
She supposed that her hair, another thing Malfoy so kindly pointed out, was the first thing people saw.
She fingered the strands. It did need a trim as the ends were dead and splitting. Hermione sighed, she hadn't had it cut in over a year. School was much to blame for that, and her mom always said that; it takes seconds to chop it off, but months to it grow back - never minding that her daughter was a witch. But Hermione was sure Malfoy wasn't talking about how long her hair was, rather the texture and style. Sure it was a little frizzy but that didn't mean it would be wiry to touch. As she ran her fingers through it she was happy that it felt, not silky and light but, soft and healthy.
Looking back into the mirror Hermione contemplated Malfoy's third observation. Her chest. Unfastening the top few buttons on her pyjamas, she looked at the clear gap between her breasts. So what if she didn't have a cleavage? It's not like she would put things down there, unlike Parvati who was known for keeping a galleon cushioned there; 'for emergencies,' she would always say. So what if she didn't have a bust size, that caught the eye of every male in the school, like Daphne Greengrass? It wasn't like she was looking for that kind of attention. This reminded her of another one of her mother's insights; 'More than a handful is a waste.'
Hermione sighed again, plopping her elbow on the vanity and resting her head in her palm.
She wasn't breathtaking, beautiful or even pretty. She was Hermione.
Just plain old Hermione.
I wasn't until after the weekend, in Transfiguration, that Hermione found what she as looking for, which was lucky because Potions was her next class.
She had had many failed attempts during that time, in which she had followed him for a full 15 minutes, until he went into the boys toilets and stayed there for another 10. Stupidly she had waited and when he finally emerged he had given her a 'look', that said 'my, aren't you persistent!'
(She was very good at reading people.)
Right now, he was sitting at his desk across the aisle from her, next to that Zabini boy again. They were whispering about something or other, she didn't know what about, but Zabini looked a little anxious.
Hermione pulled her attention back to the front of the room as Professor McGonagall spoke. "Today we shall be transfiguring Muggle items into their Magical counter-parts and vice versa. For example," she said holding up a muggle wall clock, "I shall change this clock into a Wizarding one." She placed it onto the table, for all to see, and raised her wand as she said, "Interruttore."
The clock wobbled as the cogs within creaked. The roman numerals around the face merged in the centre, only to spring back out in the form of words. The hands multiplied and turned to the previously marked number two, which now read 'In Class'.
"Now this is the stage I want you all at by the end of the week. For today, you shall practice on your quills and turn them into pens. If you look in these books you will find pictures of pens on page forty-one." She waved her wand again and the Muggle Studies books zoomed from her desk and around the room, settling between each pair. "As you work I shall collect and mark your homework from last lesson. Any questions?" The class was silent. "No? Then begin."
As the room filled with the rustling of clothing and school bags, as student pulled out their wands and quills, Hermione once again looked at Malfoy. Zabini was talking to him and Malfoy seemed as though he was about to laugh. She just about caught what they were saying over the noise.
"Fuck Draco. What am I going to do?"
"I told you I needed your help, and you left me."
"I don't think so, you were the one to leave me remember?"
"I'm going to get detention for sure; I haven't done half of what she asked for."
Hermione tutted. So that is why he looked scared. Homework was important to one's education.
"Oh shit she's here."
McGonagall towered over the two seated Slytherins. "Mr Zabini, Mr Malfoy, homework please."
Malfoy confidently placed his scroll in the teacher's out stretched hand, where as Zabini looked reluctant to let his go. "Well don't just sit there, get on with your work."
"I'm buggered," Zabini said, bowing his head and banging it on the table after the teacher continued onto the next pair.
Malfoy laughed as he took a quill from his bag. He rubbed the soft feather hairs between his fingers feeling its texture, and that was when Hermione saw what she had needed for the past four days. He placed it in front of him, on the desk, drew out his wand and transfigured the quill perfectly into a gold tipped fountain pen.
He must have seen her staring because a second later he gave her a smug grin. She gave him one of her own causing him to look curiously at her, perplexed and confused.
Hermione settled back into her chair and happily gave McGonagall her homework as she stood before her.
Who knew Draco Malfoy was a nail-biter?
After Potions, Hermione made her way to Gryffindor tower to deposit her belongings in her room before heading on to the Great Hall for dinner. She was feeling very pleased with herself, having finally started on her potion for Malfoy.
He kept asking what she had finally found out what to improve, but she made sure not to give away anything, like putting a concealment charm on the title of the page she was copying the recipe from. She paid no mind to what he was making for her, most probably changing his mind again.
Rounding a corner, she found Harry. "Hello."
He jumped, whirling around to see who had greeted him and blatantly hid something behind his back. "Oh, hello Hermione, you scared me there."
"What are you doing?" she said trying to get a look at what he was hiding.
"Don't give me that Harry Potter. When somebody says 'nothing' it is obvious they're up to no good. You're hiding something."
"Honestly, I'm not."
She crossed her arms and cocked her head to the side, clearing showing that she didn't believe him.
"I'm not," he said feebly.
"Harry, as a prefect it's my job to stop trouble-makers, just hand over what you have before I give you detention and report you to McGonagall."
"Come on Hermione, it's just a bit of fun."
"So you admit it then, you're up to no good."
He blinked, then pasted a blank expression on his face. "No."
"Harry," she warned, "don't make me force you."
Looking guiltily down at his shoes, he bought his hand from around his back and handed the papers to her. It was a picture of a Jarvey, copied onto several sheets of parchment. The title said, 'Overgrown Mal-ferret Trapped in Muggle Animal Prison'. Hermione sighed.
"Harry, is this some cruel joke just to get back at Malfoy?"
"Well he deserves it after what he did back in forth year with those 'Potter Stinks' badges."
"Really," she said disappointedly, "I would expect to see this sort of thing from Ron, but not you." Harry looked down at the ground again. Hermione eyes widened. "Oh please," she said desperately, "don't tell me Ron's in on this too."
Harry gave a small smile. "No, Seamus."
"Oh for the love of…"
"No Harry. I want you to get rid of every last one, especially before Malfoy sees."
"But Hermione, they're all over the school," he whined.
"Well then, you shall be spending dinner and the rest of the day retrieving them, plus detention. Seamus too when I catch hold of him." She clutched at the pictures she held, rumpling them.
With her book bag now safely in her room, Harry suitable reprimanded and Professor McGonagall told of the incident, Hermione took her seat in the Great Hall, at the Gryffindor table. She piled up her plate as soon as the food appeared before her.
She looked up to the person taking the seat across from her. "Hey Gin."
The youngest Weasley also followed suit, selecting a variation of food. "You seen Harry?"
"Yeah," she replied, cutting her potato, "he's cleaning up the mess he made. Why?"
Ginny blushed. "He usually walks to dinner with me."
"Oh," Hermione said, surprised. She had never noticed.
The redhead seemed to read her mind, "You've missed the beginning of dinner these last few days."
Ah Malfoy. Always getting in the way even if it's not purposefully done. "I've been busy, potions project, you know?"
Ginny winced, "Yeah Ron told me. Paired with Malfoy, huh?"
"Yeah. Speaking of Ron, have you seen him?"
"He still won't leave his dorm, except for classes, and if he had his own way, he wouldn't even do that." The two girls giggled. "It's a shame I wasn't there when Lavender found out, about his problem."
"She found out? What happened?" Hermione asked after taking a sip of pumpkin juice.
"Parvati told me it happened this morning in Divination. You know how hot it is in there." Hermione nodded. "Well, basically Ron fainted from having that thing around his head, the fumes didn't help either. Lavender was so distraught, she thought he had dropped dead right there and then."
"Trust Lavender to jump to conclusions like that," snorted Hermione.
"She started wailing and shaking him to wake him up," Ginny continued, "telling him to stop pretending to have died. The scarf slipped and Lavender screamed."
"Because of a spot?" The disbelief it her voice was evident.
"It's not a spot anymore, apparently he had popped it. Dean said he looked like that… What's his name, you know that reindeer muggles sing about?"
"Yeah that's him."
The girls burst out laughing.
Across the hall, Draco was looking curiously at the two giggling girls. She had found something, and wasn't going to tell him what.
He was perfect, damn it. What could she possible think that needed to be changed? She was being sneaky and Slytherin-like. The only way he was going to find out what she was plotting to do to him, was to actually drink the potion.
Draco's hand dropped into his lap. His only hope was that she wasn't planning something for his second 'wand'. He shifted uncomfortable in his seat as Blaise took the seat next to him.
"What's the matter with you?" he asked.
"Nothing. What's the matter with you?"
"McGonagall cornered me."
"And points taken off, but that isn't even the worst of it."
Draco waited expectantly for him to continue, while snatching a slice of cake that Goyle was eyeing.
"Detention with Potty and that Leprechaun."
"Tell me about it."
"When is it?"
"Monday, with the old broom-pusher."
"Spending Monday night with Potter, Finnigan and Filch. Now that's harsh."
Blaise leaned across the table, taking no notice of Draco's sarcasm, to take the last cupcake, when a hand shot out, stole it and shove it in its big cakehole. "Crabbe you fat porker!" he shouted.
Draco chuckled beside him and Blaise glared. "You snooze, you lose, Blaise-y boy."
"Piss off," he grumbled. "I've had a bad day."
"I'm not wearing makeup?"
"It's not make up. It's an ointment, I got some off Madame Pomfrey after I found out about it in that book of yours."
"Something about hormones. Anyway, a tiny dab on the end of your nose and everyone will think they had dreamt that little fiasco in Trelawney's Tower."
"Little! It was huge."
"Shut up Harry. Ron, why did you pick it?"
"I couldn't help it, every time I looked in the mirror it kept on staring at me."
Ginny rolled her eyes, unscrewing the cap off the top of the tube, and squeezing a small amount of the flesh coloured liquid on the tip of her finger. "Don't move. I don't want to get it in your eye."
"No." Ron jumped up off the bed and made a dash for the door.
"Harry, get him."
He sprang up from his own bed and leaped after his best friend, catching him around the knees. They both tumbled to the floor, with a shriek from Ron.
"Pin him Harry, don't let him get away."
It was difficult when you were quite a few inches shorter, but Harry tried his best as Ron struggled and squirmed.
"Forget this," Ginny said grabbing up her wand. "Stupefy."
Both the boys froze.
"Sorry." She unfroze Harry.
"It's alright," he said rubbing his knees.
Ginny knelt next to her brother's head and looked into his eyes. "We're doing this for your own good, you know? If you want Lavender to ever speak to you again, you will be grateful."
Ron made no reply; it wasn't as if she really expected him to.
She dabbed her foundation-covered finger on the end of his nose and gently rubbed it in. "Harry pass me that mirror would you?" Like the obedient friend he was he handed her the hand mirror from his bedside table. "There, looks good doesn't it? Like there was nothing there in the first place," she said holding it over Ron's face. "Just don't rub it off."
His eyes, the only moveable part of his body, looked grateful.
The week flew by.
Harry and Ginny had finally made their relationship official, by being caught, by Snape of all people, snogging in a broom closet. They both got dention and fifty points taken from the Gryffindor hourglass in the Entrance Hall.
Lavender was finally talking to Ron again, thanks to Ginny and, unknowingly, Malfoy.
Blaise, Harry and Seamus served their detention with Filch, dusting every individual bauble, which were soon to be put up for Christmas. Using magic was a big 'No, No'. With a castle the size of Hogwarts, Harry had to continue with the task on his second detention. Unfortunately, Ginny wasn't present and was made to clean the whole of Slytherin house's dirty laundry.
And thus came, Friday, the day where the cosmic potions were put to the test.
Parvati and Crabbe were the first to try out theirs out. Being a hefty boy, Parvati had chosen to give him a weight loss potion, it wasn't strong enough to shift most of his bulk, but in the end he had shed a nice even three stone. Crabbe's potion wasn't so successful, instead of shaping Parvati's eyebrows into a neat arch, they grew, down past her eyes to her chin. Snape was so mean he denied her the option of going to the hospital wing. Throughout the rest of the class, she had to keep flicking them over the top of her head to be able to see.
Theodore Nott and Neville Longbottom were up next. Neville's ears were successfully pinned back, but bent at an odd angle. And Theo's nose grew so long it started to droop. He had the liberty of seeing Madame Pomfrey, much to the chagrin of the Gryffindor's.
"Pinocchio," Malfoy whispered as Nott left.
Hermione cocked her head, "You do know Pinocchio is a muggle book, right?"
He coughed, "Yeah. Why?"
Other scenario's that the class went through was, Ron's hair being set on fire by Goyle. His excuse was that it looked so much like the real thing, he wanted it to be real. Goyle also lost a few stone but the missing lbs materialised in his hands and feet. Walking back to his desk, his steps were shuffled and his arms dragged along the floor.
Pansy Parkinson tried to get rid of Harry's 'Hideous Scar', as she deemed it, with no such luck. Instead his mouth disappeared completely. Harry successfully straightened out her 'Pug Nose' as everyone else deemed that.
Throughout the whole lesson Hermione saw that Malfoy was trying to hold in his amusement, "You have to admit Granger," he whispered to her, "that this is the best potions lesson we have ever had." She didn't look impressed.
However, his laughter eventually burst through when it was his best friend's turn.
Blaise gave Seamus ginger hair and a beard to go with it.
"All he is needs now, is a tiny green suit and a pot of gold," said Blaise. The red and gold house were enraged but were too busy nursing their own wounds, from their own experiments, to really call upon their anger.
Malfoy's laughter only got worse when Seamus rounded on Blaise and said in his thick Irish accent, "I'm not a bloody leprechaun, you bloody eejit."
"A pixie then?"
Hermione couldn't help but laugh at that, even if she knew it was wrong. Her partner looked at her intrigued. "Change of mind?"
She shook her head, only, the biting of her bottom lip and the tears in her eyes showed that she was lying.
A fight ensued. Both boys were sent to the hospital wing and, once again, put in detention.
"Now for the final pair. Malfoy, Granger, get up here."
She knew that Potions was Malfoy's best subject, and that his potion would be perfect, so that didn't make her all jittery and scared. No, it was the prospect of what said potion was going to do to her.
Heaving a sigh and steeling herself for whatever humiliation Malfoy was going to subject her to, she rose from her seat and made her way down the aisle to the front of the classroom.
At the end she was met by Snape, who was standing next to his desk. "I think Miss Granger would like to go first," he said, giving her a severe look. "Mr Malfoy give her your potion."
Oh, how she hated that man.
"Actually," Malfoy coughed from behind her, "I think mine should be saved until last." Hermione turned around, confused that he would want to go first. It must be something that was going to outstrip Ron's episode in the Divination tower, though she couldn't quite tell from his blank expression and the shrug of his shoulders in reply to her unspoken question.
"Very well." He looked at Hermione. "Come on, I haven't got all day give him yours instead."
Oh, how she hated him even more in just that one look, like he knew by letting his star pupil get his own way that it would be causing the suspense in her nerves to tighten. Now he had pulled one and it was vibrating down to her very toes.
Hermione shakily, but confidently handed over her vial, in which a murky red substance sloshed and swirled because of the motion of passing it from one person to another. Malfoy eyed it critically taking out the stopper and then sniffing.
"Mr Malfoy, it's not wine just drink it."
Snape looked bored and Granger was giving him an encouraging smile to drink.
Well now, he thought, is the moment of truth. But Granger, he was sure, wasn't the type to purposefully be mean to someone. No, that was his job. She was too nice to do things like what Blaise had done to Finnigan. She wouldn't sacrifice her grade just for a laugh either.
Being sure of her nature he gave her a wink and tipped the vial against his mouth, downing the contents in one. And the class waited for what was about to happen.
He didn't feel anything at first, that is until a prickling sensation worked it's way down his arms to the ends of his fingers. Draco looked down at his hands, where it felt as though some was squeezing the tips. He glanced up at Granger, astonished that she had found something so small to change. She was smiling, happy to see that her potion was working. So, when he did look back down it was to see that gone were the hang-nails and jagged edges, now replaced by what looked like a perfect manicure.
"Satisfactory work," cut in Snape. "Miss Granger, your turn."
Granger's smile was wiped away with weariness, she eyed him waiting for his vial to be handed over.
"Sir," said Draco.
"What ever you have to say I'm sure can wait until after class. Just give her your work so we can get on with the lesson."
"I haven't done my potion."
Now those were words that nobody in the class was expecting, especially Hermione. Where was this potion that was suppose to make her the laughing stock of the school. The potion that was so good it was to be saved until last.
"You what?" Snape asked calmly.
"I haven't done my potion Professor."
The class gasped.
Hermione had been so engrossed in her work all week that she hadn't really taken note of what Malfoy had been doing beside her. However, she hadn't seen Malfoy move once from his seat to collect ingredients or even get his cauldron out. All she had seen him do was sit there and write. He gave her the impression that he had already completed the practical part of the project and she gave no thought that the theory was to be written down until after the potions were tested. So joyous in the fact see had found something on Malfoy she had paid him no mind.
What was going on?
"Then what have you been doing for the past week?" Snape asked incredulous.
Malfoy replied by pulling out a scroll from inside his robes and handing it over to the Potions Master. "This," he said.
"What is it?"
Malfoy looked at the floor, then to Hermione, then back to Snape.
"Answer me this instant," Snape growled.
Straightening his back, Malfoy looked calmly at his Head of House with determination. "An essay on why I didn't make one."
The class sat awestruck and Hermione choked on the breath she was holding. She was not anticipating a reason like that.
Snape opened the scroll and read the title. "CLASS DISMISSED," he bellowed.
Everyone was too shocked to move, except Hermione who was standing right next to the booming voice. As soon as she bolted, grabbing up her bag on the way to the door, the class moved.
Hermione paced back and forth in front of the classroom waiting for Malfoy to emerge. Snape had obviously cast a silencing charm on the room because she could here anything when she pressed her ear against the door.
There were so many thoughts running threw her head Hermione had no time to process any of it. After leaving she had run down to the end of the corridor and collapsed behind a dark statue.
The only thing she could decipher from her jumbled mind was that Malfoy had gone completely and absolutely bonkers.
What did he think he could gain from that stunt? She didn't know but she was burning to find out. That is why she waited until the others had dispersed form the classroom and made their way to lunch, discussing what had just happened, and why Draco Malfoy had turned in a report on why he failed to concoct a potion.
She needed answers and she needed them NOW!
"Granger," he said, holding her shoulders to steady her from their collision. "I should have known you would be out here. Your large Gryffindor brain wouldn't let you leave until you had all the answers."
She batted his hands away and glared at him. Great, so that's what he gets for being nice.
Her hands gripped her hips. "Of course I want answers Malfoy. I want to know what in Merlin's name that was all about."
Draco rolled his eyes and started walking towards the Great Hall. "You can be so dense sometimes, do you know that?"
"No I don't, just tell me why you didn't do the assignment and I will go away," she said following his long strides.
"What gave you the impression I didn't do it?"
"There was no potion you idiot, you didn't make one."
"How very perceptive of you."
"Stop it, just stop it okay." She grabbed hold of one of his arms to stop him. "Tell me why you didn't make my eyes a different colour, or my hair less frizzy, or," here she cupped her breasts, "my boobs bigger."
He sighed, raking a newly manicured hand through his hair. "Because they don't need to be changed." Draco started to walk again but she was quick to stop him by blocking his path. She was starting to get annoying.
"What do you mean? Of course they need to be changed, why else would you tease me about them."
"And what did you do after I teased you?"
"I sat in front of the mirror for an hour."
"And what did you see?"
Hermione blinked. "What?"
"What did you see, Granger?" he pressed.
She felt like a fish out of water. Was he really asking her this? He looked as though he really wanted to know.
"What did you see?" he repeated.
She wasn't going to stand there and be questioned like this. She looked for a way to escape.
Malfoy took a threatening step closer to her, "No Granger. What. Did. You. See?"
"I. I." She deflated. "I saw… me."
"Good," he said and side stepped her.
She couldn't help it, she had tried to hold it in but it escaped her. Her chocked cry ripped through her throat, still she pushed on. "Is that suppose to make me feel better Malfoy?"
"What?" he said stopping in his tracks.
"You heard me. I said, is that suppose to make me feel better?" She saw his shoulders slump and his head hang low, however she didn't pay any mind. She continued, "To know that when people look at me all they see is a boring plain girl, who just happens to know a bit about magic? To know that when people have the tiniest insignificant problem they come to me for help? To know that I'm not attractive or even remotely pretty? But I thank you Malfoy, you've finally opened my eyes."
He spun around and was upon her before she knew he had moved. "Don't ever say that again, do you understand me? Don't ever say anything like that about yourself again."
"Just don't," he gritted out. "Don't you get it?"
"Oh, I get it very well."
"No you don't. You don't know why I didn't make the damn potion. Why I wrote the stupid essay. You don't get it, do you?" He was angry and she could feel the harsh pants of his breath against her face. She shook her head in reply. "I didn't make the potion because you don't need them Granger."
"What?" she breathed.
"And the essay," he continued, not hearing her, "was about why you didn't."
"You still don't understand what I'm trying to say. I said those things about you to make you realise you're just as pretty as Sally-Anne Perks or Parvati Patil, or even Weasley's sister." He paused sighing. "You're perfect Granger, just the way you are."
Hermione was stunned. She didn't totally understand his reasoning behind it all, but Draco Malfoy had just said she was perfect and the sincerity in his eyes told her he meant every word he had just said.
"I might be the only one to see it, I just… I just…"
"Just, what?" she whispered.
He looked at her properly then, as if realising she was really there.
The feeling in her chest felt so tight she found it hard to breathe, and when his lips pressed against hers the constricted feeling exploded and melted her insides. His touch was so light she barely felt it, she may have even missed it if her eyes weren't open.
He pulled back from her with soft eyes and finished what he had been saying, "I just wanted you to see it too."
Hermione sucked in a breath. "I see it now," she said.
And she did.
She could see it in his face and the way he smiled. At that moment she felt like the most beautiful girl in the world. "Good," he said and pulled her away from the wall she hadn't even realise she had been backed against.
They were about to leave the cold draftiness of the dungeons when Draco spotted something. "What's this?" he said, ripping something from the place her head had been only seconds before. "'Overgrown Mal-ferret -'"
"Oh God," Hermione said. "Harry!"
"What? Potter did this?"
"I told him to take them all down but it seems he-"
"Missed one." he finished, crumpling the paper in his hand.
"Hey don't be mad," she said taking the flyer from him. She unbundled it then said, "I think it's an uncanny likeness."
"Uncanny likeness?" Seeing the teasing in her eyes he relaxed, but still the heightened colour in his cheeks showed the anger he still held.
She grinned. "Now, now. Beauty is only skin deep, remember, you taught me that."
"I did, didn't I?" he said smugly.
He kissed her.
"I'm still going to hit him though."
People often say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.
Please make my New Year a happy one and leave me a review.