Author's note: just a short little story because I love the Weasleys, and I had to wonder what it must be like for all those poor kids who lose out to the good looks, charm, and sheer amazing-ness that is the Weasley love machine. I won't lie, I hate Dramione, but I do occasionally like to dabble in writing it from an unrequited point of view (on Draco's side of course- like he's good enough for Ron's Hermione!)
I'm really not fond of Cho Chang either. But I love Cedric. So please forgive me, Ced, for using you for my own personal silliness. My bad!
- - - - - -
She was thirteen when he kissed her.
He was fifteen at the time, and they'd been friends for as long as he could remember. They'd been in the field near their houses, running quidditch drills. A beater spot had opened up on the Hufflepuff team and she wanted it badly; her father had been a beater for Ravenclaw in his days, and he'd conditioned her to love the spot despite its high level of violence. She was a little small for a beater, but she was quick and her reflexes were good, so he'd agreed to help her train a little before the school year came.
He'd known he'd pick her for the team without the practices, but there was something sweet in the way she'd asked and so he'd agreed.
He knew she was too young to be kissed when he leaned down and taken her confused face in her hands. Her hair had been mussed and sweat made it cling to her face, and he was so much taller than her he'd nearly had to bend at the waist. Though he'd wanted it badly for the last few weeks, he was sorely disappointed to realize kissing her was not unlike kissing a pillow- she was that unresponsive to his advances. Here he was, pressing his lips to hers as gently as he could, as romantically as he could possibly muster up, and she was so stiff against him she felt as if she were petrified.
He pulled back from her, dropping his hands from her face quickly.
"Um." She said, her face flushed.
"Sorry, uh..." He said sheepishly, unable to come up with anything else to say.
"So," she said uncertainly, "Can we just stick to Quidditch, or do I have to do that every time I need your help?"
He told himself, lying awake that night mortified about the whole thing, that it was simply that she was too young. He was unused to this feeling of guilt and rejection- girls usually loved him, didn't they? - And so he told himself it was simply that she was too young.
Only a few months later, on the train to Hogwarts, he'd been helping her with her things when she'd gone suddenly clumsy at his side, dropping her half of the trunk on her feet and getting her fingers tangled in the handles.
"What's gotten into you?" He asked her curiously, watching her turn crimson. He followed her blushing gaze and saw George Weasley bounding toward them, a grin on his face.
"Looks like you could use a hand, Caroline." George said, his grin widening. "Shall we lift this for the lady?" George said, winking across the trunk at him. The two of them lifted it onto the train for her, Caroline trailing, still red, behind them.
"Thanks George." She said breathlessly, not even looking back at him anymore.
"No problem, Caroline." He said, still smiling at her. George waved a goodbye to both of them and he watched Caroline follow his retreating, redheaded figure, her eyes hopeful. Clearly, Caroline Cresswell was not as young as he'd figured her.
Cedric Diggory, everyone's favorite nice guy, scowled.
Later that year, when they beat Gryffindor at Quidditch, he'd been the only one to miss Harry Potter's fantastic fall to the dementors. It was not so much that he was preoccupied by the snitch; it had much more to do with the fact that he was looking for George Weasley in the rain, to see the look on his face. But George was not even paying attention to his fantastic catch- he was jumping off his broom and running toward his fallen friend like all the other players on the field, including Caroline. Cedric felt his stomach turn.
After that game, he swore off Caroline Cresswell for good. By the next year he could watch George and Caroline dance at the Yule Ball without feeling the ugly twist of jealousy that had so affected him the year before. He was happy with Cho, and he wanted Caroline, his good friend, to be happy. After all, Cedric was a genial guy, and quite frankly, he knew better than to mess in Weasley territory.
- - - - - -
Cho'd been stupid really, to figure that it had ever been Hermione. Of course it hadn't been Hermione. The day Granger stopped making moon eyes at her other best friend was the day the world stopped turning. She had never really had anything to worry about in Hermione.
But by the time she'd figured out where the real threat was, the official story was they had "moved on". Harry Potter wasn't hers anymore to toy with, and she'd moved through five or six unexceptional Ravenclaw boys in the space between. Harry'd seemed content to wait, and for a few wild and hopeful weeks she had thought maybe he was still waiting for her. She'd been a little too hopeful really, but why shouldn't she have been? She was a beautiful Ravenclaw prefect, smart and funny and talented at Quidditch, charming really- boys loved her. He had loved her too, once not long ago, but she had been too suspicious of Hermione Granger and had managed to botch the whole affair with her accusations.
She'd been prepared to get him back the next year; by the time she'd realized how silly she had been. She wasn't going to apologize, no, but she'd devised plans, written the script for the moment in her head. In her scenario, he'd weep at her generosity and be grateful at his second chance. Hand in hand they'd walk off after the whole scene played out, leaving clapping students of every house tearing up in their wake.
So when she'd seen him walking down the hall, arm and arm with a threat she hadn't seen coming, she'd nearly had a fit.
Ginny Weasley? Ginny Weasley?
Once, at a party long ago, she'd thought Percy Weasley was good looking from far across the room, but she'd never admitted that to anyone and had since sworn off the Weasley family entirely. But never, in thinking Percy perhaps had lovely eyes, had she ever imagined losing a boyfriend to little Ginny Weasley!
It didn't matter that Ginny was grown, fifteen and beautiful and fiery as all her brothers combined. Cho Chang was livid in two parts, at the girl and at herself. She was a Ravenclaw- wit and intelligence were supposed to be her forte. How could she have not seen it coming?
- - - - - -
Draco Malfoy would never admit that the sorting hat had taunted him.
In the thirty seconds before it had screamed Slytherin, it had whispered, Nothing to see here but blind ambition and faux nobility…
In his first year, he'd thought nothing of it. He probably could not have defined the word "faux" anyway, and so he'd tucked it away in the back of his mind. Second year, too, it had rarely come up. But by third year, when he'd known what all the words in the sentence meant and he'd understood what the hat had been saying, it had started to make him feel uneasy. What had begun to make him more uneasy, though, was that when he explored his feelings late at night he realized the hat was right- he could find no goals for his ambition, no intelligence to back his self-imporantance.
Enter Hermione Granger.
She'd been there all along of course, but one day she'd come to class with two rows of straight teeth and he'd noticed that maybe bushy hair wasn't the most unattractive thing in the world, that maybe he might like the way it looked just a bit. Draco hated her more than ever, because her ambition could not be fake and her confidence was not overbearing or overrated.
And he wanted her, oh yes. He wanted her. Perhaps that was the reason he most hated her. She was supposed to be disgusting to him, mudblood that she was, but he couldn't help but wonder what she'd feel like if he kissed her.
He knew she'd never kiss him, though, because she was a Gryffindor, driven and true and brave, and he was a Slytherin who cared for no one but himself.
When she hit him in the face, he could taste the blood in his mouth and he'd never wanted to hurt her so badly, nor had he ever wanted to taste her so badly. He chose to walk away rather than run either risk.
He might have had Hermione, too, with a little coaxing. Plenty of girls felt like they could fix a poor, emotionally wrecked pureblood, and it was how many of his kind lured unsuspecting women into bed. But then there was him.
He'd caught him looking once at her, his gaze lingering a little too long in potions.
"Malfoy," he said sharply. "If you need something interesting to look at, I can gladly break your nose and leave you seeing blood."
Malfoy sneered at him, said something vile. Hermione, in the mean time had looked back. The look she gave Malfoy was one of such intense hatred that, as always when he caught it, it startled him.
"Just go back to your cauldron, will you Malfoy?" She said angrily. Her eyes flickered to her savior in gratitude, and he brushed the palm of his hand over her shoulder quickly, turning scarlet. Malfoy, pale as ever, spat another insult at Ron Weasley, the boy she would love in his stead. When Ron lunged at him, he tried to muster up pleasure at his losing points for Gryffindor, but it did nothing for him.
Of course, he could call them blood traitors. Lose them points. Throw their poverty in their faces and insult their mother. But it wasn't as satisfying as he would have hoped. Nothing really took the edge off losing to a Weasley.
And at night, before he went to bed, it would be in Ron's voice and not the hat's that he heard the mantra.
Nothing to see here but blind ambition and faux nobility…