The True Meaning of Winning

by H of monini

Disclaimer: I sadly do not own any of the below characters (not even Draco), and accept that they are all J.K. Rowling's.

Summary: He knew the only way to get her attention was to annoy her. If there was one thing he was good at, it was annoying the hell out of Hermione Granger, and oh how he did love winning.

A very special thanks to M, without whom this story wouldn't be anywhere near finished.


It was true, she was doing almost exactly what she had always wanted to do - working to help bridge the communication gap between the muggle and wizarding worlds. She liked to think that she was playing a big role in the unification process.

It was also true that her office was absolutely gorgeous, large and spacious with a beautiful mahogany desk and expensive art hanging from its walls. She remembered walking into the luxurious office on her first day and looking around, her face lighting up upon seeing the far wall, with shelves entirely lined with old, leather bound books. "Now don't hug me Granger, I might die," she heard his slow drawl, and looked over at him, all of his six foot some frame carelessly leaning against the door.

"Now I have a reason to hug you Malfoy. I don't need your help though – I've already thought up plenty of ways to kill you."

He sent her a smirk, "tsk tsk Granger, that's no way to treat your new boss now, is it?"

She groaned. Again. Brought back into reality with the memory - that was why she questioned herself so often. Her boss.

On cue, he walked in through the door and plopped down in one of the comfortable chairs that her office was equipped with. She decided to keep her focus on the paperwork she was filling out, her quill furiously scribbling away, trying desperately to ignore the blond wizard who decided to seek shelter in her office.

She could feel him taking a look around the office, finding something to make fun of her about, no doubt, and finally settling his eyes on her head.

No, she thought. She would not let him win. Continuing with the paperwork, feigning as though it was the most interesting thing she had ever written in her life, she ignored him. She could hear his frustration in his breathing, the way he was moving around the chair more than necessary, and the way he was clearing his voice ever so often.

Sensing that she wasn't planning on greeting him anytime soon, he knew the only way to get her attention was to annoy her. If there was one thing he was good at, it was annoying the hell out of Hermione Granger, and oh how did love winning.

He got up and began to move around the office, pausing in front of the expensive painting he had procured at an auction (it was true, Malfoys did get the best of everything), and continued to the far wall stacked with books.

He remembered the designer asking him how he wanted his newest employee's office decorated. His instructions had been simple, a large room, a big desk, and a wall of the rarest books she could find. He knew that he needed Granger if he wanted Malfoy Industries to have a chance at credibility in the future, and he knew the best way to get her was through books. She was not only a strong advocate of Muggle rights, but she was a beloved war hero no one had forgotten about. If he got Granger to work with him, people would see that Malfoy Industries was changing. Morphing into a different type of company - one less cold and stringent, and more flexible to fit the current times.

His father had changed after the war - not drastically, but enough to shock Draco. He understood that if he wanted the company his forefathers had built to survive, the reigns had to be handed over to someone young enough to change its image. Draco wasn't pleased with the idea at first, much more content to find his own work than to attach himself to anything with the Malfoy name. But he knew the difficulty his father faced in trying to keep the company afloat, and took the position, if for nothing but the challenge of returning it to its former glory as one of the Wizarding world's most successful companies. And for that, Granger was a necessity.

Draco smirked to himself. He had found the perfect way to make Granger look up and speak to him. Why he hadn't thought of it before, he didn't know.

Slowly, carefully, he nudged one book out of its designated place, and opened it. He knew he was on the verge of success when he saw her eyes drift to his figure then quickly back when she saw him looking in her direction.

Instead of putting the book back in its position, he chose another book at random, opened it, and did the same thing, feigning interest in its writings. And, as though forgetting which book came from where, he switched the books' positions, and pushed them back into the shelf.

But that wouldn't do. He continued the process until he had shifted about ten of her books, anticipating his colleague's reaction to what he knew she thought was a travesty.

She saw him as he sauntered from the chair, and walked towards the far wall, looking momentarily at the hanging painting. Whatever, she thought to herself. I don't care. She went back to her work.

Moments passed, and she saw him now, poised in front of the shelf pulling one of her precious books towards him, opening it to read a few words, then closing it. He paused and look behind him, catching her staring at his back, as she quickly looked back down again. Damn. Now Malfoy thinks he's got me curious or something.

But she was. Her curiosity was peaked when he pulled a second book out to read, gently closing it, and adjusting his position, now holding the two books in his two hands. Seemingly satisfied, he began to put the two books back, with a moment of confusion, and tucked them back into their homes.

That couldn't be right! How did the oversized encyclopedia find its way among the old classics? Any dimwit could have seen that it didn't belong there. But no, he wasn't stopping, he continued and continued picking up two books, switching their places, until it seemed that her entire organizational system was crumbling on its foundation.


Ahh, there it was. He loved winning. Malfoy looked back at her innocently, "yes Granger? What can I do for you?"

"What the hell do you want Malfoy? Why did you come into my office, and ruin my books, and stop me from doing my work? Tell me Malfoy, what do you want?" Her voice was gradually raised higher and higher, and towards the end of her rant, she was almost shouting.

"Gee Granger, is it so awful to want to chat with an old school chum?"

She fixed him with a stare so cold, he knew that if looks could kill, he'd die a death far more painful than any curse. But there was something so gratifying about pissing off Granger. The way her cheeks would go all pink, her hair coming undone from whatever style she chose that day, the way she'd raise her voice and lose complete control of her actions. It had become one of his favorite pastimes.

"Fuck off Malfoy. I don't need you here bothering me when I can be doing something worthwhile."

"Aww Granger, you don't think talking to me is worthwhile? I'm hurt. I just thought you'd like to know that the meeting that you had requesting with all the heads of the departments has finally been pushed's tomorrow morning at 9."

Her face lit up like a 1000 watt bulb, a smile spreading across her face.

"Wow Granger, you almost look like you got some last night," and before she could get up slap him or open her mouth to yell, he turned on his heel and walked out of her office, leaving her to mull over the news he had just given her.

Finally! She had a requested a meeting with all of the department heads of Malfoy Industries over three months ago, but the company was just dealing with too much at the time to schedule one. Even Hermione couldn't blame Draco for deliberately not having the meeting.

As she sat in her large office, making deals, writing legislation, teaching staff, she could quite clearly hear the hustle and bustle of the executives, staff, and assistants as they zipped through the hallways trying to contact other departments to set up functions to gain some press, executives trying to get bills passed into the Ministry, assistants trying to keep up with the demand of phone calls from curious wizards to high power clients. Yes, Malfoy Industries was a changed company, and they were very very busy.

And Malfoy, well, Malfoy was a changed man. She knew when she had accepted his offer that she'd have to face his jokes and taunts, though he had apologized for the remarks he had made when trying to really hurt her. Any comments he made now were in jest. It was strange for her to be working so closely with her ex-enemy, but she found herself quite enjoying the job, and at times even his presence.

Malfoy actually had quite a sense of humor, all dry and sarcastic wit, and she had almost come to enjoy their banter, looking forward to her daily verbal spar. Their arguments, or "discussions" as they liked to see them, had become somewhat of a common practice for the two, their voices reaching such a volume that Draco's secretary walked in on them once, shoe-in-hand ready to fight her boss's enemy. After the initial months, even the staff had grown accustomed to their loud voices, simply learning to ignore it or be amused by it.

It turned out that Draco Malfoy was actually quite an ambitious person, who (like Hermione) wouldn't take no for an answer. More often than not she'd see him working past seven, hunched over papers, on the phone with clients, or writing up new proposals. It was certainly quite a change from his youth. As a young boy sneering and malicious relying on his father to get him what he wanted, to a man who seemed to have his head quite firmly on his shoulders.

Yes it was quite worth it, being a part of the reformation of the company, reformation of Malfoy, and reformation of both the Muggle and Wizarding world.

Her friends had noticed a change not only in Malfoy, but in Hermione as well. As a part of her deal with him, she told Malfoy that deliberately making fun or taunting Harry and Ron would be a deal breaker. To her shock, the once enemies actually came to some kind of truce, the origins of which remained unclear to Hermione. True, she had forgiven him, but she was Hermione - always willing to give people another chance. But Harry..and Ron! Both had been on the receiving ends of Malfoy's bullying for a better part of their six years in Hogwarts, and even they saw enough change to give him a second chance. Granted, it was Harry, first, who forgave Malfoy; Ron took a bit more time coming around.

It took her a bit of time, but Hermione realized that the what she felt for the snarky blond was something more than what a friend should feel, and was even so bold as to admitting to Ron and Harry how she felt. They didn't seem to mind at all, clapping her on the back and telling they understood that she couldn't control who she was attracted to, even though Hermione had assured them that he had tried. Many times.

And when they had prodded her to admit her feelings to him, she vehemently denied any such action. She'd just wait for him to make the first move. And though she knew that the chances of that were zero to none, it was far better than admitting her feelings and having him laugh in her face.


Hermione looked up at 8 o'clock from the presentation she was preparing for tomorrow, to find that Malfoy was still at his desk pouring over some documents. He had silver framed glasses on, was constantly pushing his hair out of his eyes, wearing an expression of the deepest concentration.

Draco felt someone's eyes on him, and looked up to find Granger looking at him, deep in thought. Intrigued, he lifted a hand to indicate hello. She broke out of her reverie and waved back, a small smile on her face, seemingly satisfied with her inspection of Draco and got back to her work.

He sighed and took off his glasses, slowly stretching out his sore arms, running his hands over his face, taking the hair out of his eyes. He had been in the office since 7 o'clock in the morning, and it didn't seem like he'd figure this out anytime soon. He leaned back in his chair, and put his feet up on his desk, allowing himself a moment of relaxation. It was hard work, but he had found that, despite his initial reluctance, he found the job challenging and - something he had never experienced before.

He looked back up and found that Granger had once again immersed herself in her work, and Draco couldn't help but grin at the determined look on her face. He knew that when she had accepted his offer, that the company had a real opportunity for success, because if there was one thing Hermione Granger was known for, it was the ability to work until she achieved her goal.

He remembered she had told him that she would accept the offer on the terms that he wouldn't offend her precious Potter and Weasley. Luckily for him, he had thought ahead, and had gone to them himself without her knowledge. He calmly explained that now he understood that what he was taught as a child was complete and utter rubbish. If Voldemort could be killed with a spell he had learned in his second year, then really, what did that say about the beliefs the so-called Dark Lord held?

Potter, it seemed, had come out from the war a wise and understanding man. Realizing the frailty of life, he was quick to forgive Draco, but sent him a clear message - "if you're going to hurt her, or hurt us in any way, all bets are off Malfoy...and you will pay." Draco could live with that, because he had no intention of going back on his word.

Weasley was another matter. Potter and Granger had both already forgiven him and even accepted him, but Weasley took his own time to warm up to Draco. At first, he had been cold, not forgetting the stupid things Draco had done as a boy. But it seemed that, as time wore on, he could forget and finally accept Draco. He had finally done so at a dinner that Granger, Potter, and Draco had all attended at the Burrow (which had become somewhat of a common ritual for the three). Ron could see that both this mother and father had come to see Draco as a fine young man - someone on par with their own sons, and if Draco could treat his parents well, he had no reason not to accept him.

And so Draco had won the approval of the Golden Trio.

Draco was content with life. He was young and ambitious, and had brought his company to where he had hoped it would be. But he also had friends - genuine friends, who convinced him to go out with them once in a while - times he had slowly come to cherish (though he wouldn't tell them that). His parents both had decided, after handing the company over to Draco, to vacation in the South of France, and had spent about a month there when they decided to make it their permanent home. He enjoyed having the Manor to himself, and living separately from his parents, with the option of visiting them a few times a year if he so chose.

But there was a certain loneliness to it all. He never felt it while he was working, of course; he was happy channeling all his energy into the business. And at the times when he wasn't at work, Potter and Weasley sometimes could convince him to go out with them, and there were always functions and charities that seemed to require his presence.

There were times when he would be at the Manor, eating dinner alone, or reading in his huge library, or taking a walk on the acres of the Manor's land. He had such a beautiful home and he was the only one living in it; sometimes he felt like it was such a waste on him. But he had grown up on the lands, and it was the only home he had ever known. He didn't have the heart to sell it.

He heard a quiet groan from the office across from his, and found that Granger was now running her hands furiously through her hair, her quill pressing down hard on her parchment. This was how she got when she was truly frustrated, a sight that he had grown accustomed to seeing. She was known for her hard work, but it was only after he had seen her working that he realized how passionate she could get about the things and people she truly cared about.

He was in a somewhat fortunate position to be sitting in the office directly opposite hers, and had learned the art of reading her - she was quite an open person, so unlike his own personality, usually cold and guarded. It made her even more interesting to him.

He knew, especially, that she was one of the most loyal people he had ever met. Once she had decided that she was going to be your friend, you really had no choice in the matter. She'd always be there for you, even if you didn't know it. Draco had fallen asleep at his own desk with Granger still at hers working, and always had woken up on his leather couch tucked under a heavy blanket with a note telling him "Go home Malfoy, I'm sure your house elves miss you." She always could make him smile.

It had been about six months when Draco finally came to terms with the fact that he had, more than once, considered the possibility of expanding his relationship with Granger beyond casual bickering at work and the occasional evening at the pub. It was a hard thing for him to accept, especially because he had never seen himself as ever remotely even wanting someone to be more than just casual with. Sure, he had plenty of women ready to take to functions and galas (being named as Witch Weekly's Bachelor of the Year did have a few perks), and more than a few who had offered to come home with him after. But for some time now his first and only priority had been the company, and he hadn't looked beyond that.

But with the addition of Granger of his life, he had realized that there had always been something about her he couldn't quite figure out. From first year to the slap in third year to their daily interactions now, she was always a passionate spitfire, who had an uncanny ability to provoke him just as much as he could provoke her. They were opposites, but they were alike, and they could have made quite a pair, and he found himself liking that idea more and more.

Of course he never had told her that, though Ron and Harry had cornered him into telling them at one of their weekly nights out a couple of weeks after his revelation. To his surprise, they didn't immediately chuck him outside the restaurant and proceed to beat him to a bloody pulp, but, instead, had stupid grins on their faces, and had told him that they had known for some time now and were just waiting for him to spill it. They had also told Draco that they had a sneaking suspicion their dear friend felt the same way about him, but of course he couldn't believe that. Not after what he had put her through in their school years, hell, not even after what he put her through now.

He was never a lets-hold-hands and sing person. He kept most of his most private thoughts to himself, never feeling the need to tell others for fear of burdening them with his problems. He usually kept himself at a distance from anyone he found himself growing close to, and had a fear of any sort of relationship beyond the platonic level.

He knew that she thought of him as maybe a friend, but beyond that that she couldn't care about him less. It wasn't as though she was sending him signs like those stupid Witch magazines had said. And so he had never told her. Draco was a man of reason, of logic. What was the point if nothing was going to come of it anyway?


"Oh Drrrraco!" He heard the purring voice and looked up and found a beautiful blonde woman in the door of his office. He rolled his eyes at her, why his mother insisted on sending "suitable women" his way was completely beyond him. It was almost amusing how the powerful Malfoy who could take on every executive in the office would find himself cowering after incurring the wrath of his mother. At least the executives knew he wielded some power. With his mother, she never backed down.

He sighed, "Yes?"

Seemingly encouraged by his response, the woman walked in eagerly, and held out her hand "Hello! My name is Cassandra - I'm a friend of your mother's. She's a lovely woman, and she told me I simply had to contact you when I was in town!"

He knew the story well, these women were sent by his mother often, but usually he had some notice of their impending arrivals, and had time to postpone, or just plain cancel any engagement with the woman of the week. His mother had apparently realized, and thought ambushing her son would be a better method.

"Shall we go out?" He could hear the anticipation in her voice, and figured it best to avoid a visit from his mother (not that he was afraid of her or anything). He looked around at the paperwork he was looking over before her arrival, resigned that he wouldn't get much more done this night, and got up from his seat.

"Yes, we shall," he gave her a small smile he was told was charming, and watched as her own smile grew and went to grab his coat. He saw Granger looking up at him, a frown marring her face.

"Oy, Granger, I'm leaving for the night. I'll see you tomorrow then."

She continued scowling at him, as though disappointed in him for some reason. Oh well, Granger probably had a million reasons to be pissed off at him. No reason to start being worried now.

He looked over at Cassandra, and motioned for her to exit the door before him, and waved to Granger as he left his office.


She had seen the entire exchange.

A gorgeous woman had entered the office wearing a tight red dress, so short she thought it'd be considered illegal in most countries. She saw as the woman purred Malfoy's name, and leaned into his office from the doorway. Disgusting.

She and Malfoy were talking now, and the woman made her way into the office, still leaning towards him. It was like watching some mating ritual. Gross.

She saw a smile on Malfoy's face, and the woman almost tripped over herself in response. Honestly, he really should have toned down that smile. Was it necessary to charm an already smitten woman?

The pair got up, and Malfoy, ever the pretense of a perfect gentlemen, allowed the woman to go first. Hermione heard Malfoy's voice as he bid her goodbye, and saw as he mockingly waved to her, winking on the way out.

Honestly, he was possibly the most disgusting man she had ever known. She had seen women like these, beautiful and blonde (as though it was some sort of necessity that they look like female-Malfoys which was creepy on so many levels), entering his office, leaving on his arm. She knew they called him some sort of playboy, but really. Couldn't he just keep it in his pants? It was absolutely horrific, the way he'd flit from woman to woman, careless of their feelings, and it was clear what those were. Every woman that had entered his office seemed absolutely and completely charmed by the man. Stupid women.

And yet she was one of those stupid women. Not blonde or gorgeous, but still, completely charmed by him. She was stupid, and she knew it, and she had no idea how to stop it. She groaned in frustration. She wouldn't let this get the best of her. She needed to be prepared for the meeting, and she went back to analyzing her notes for her presentation.

The nagging voice in the back of her mind, asking what Malfoy was doing with the woman at this very moment was one she just chose to ignore.


Hermione was ready for the presenation. She checked her watch, 8:56. 4 minutes. Where the hell was Malfoy? Most of the department heads were already gathered in the conference room, but their mysterious boss was yet to show. She was sitting outside of the room, tapping her foot nervously, adjusting her neat pile of notes, wondering where the ass was when she needed him. 9:01. Okay, now he was officially late. Malfoy was never late. Maybe he was still with the red dress blonde tart. Maybe they had had such a good night, she accompanied him back to the manor. Maybe he found his soul mate. Maybe he would start becoming sappy, and write her poetry and buy her flowers. Maybe she'd reject him. Maybe he'd die of a broken heart. Maybe he'd die-- Oh. There he was. Sauntering in. 9:08.

She scowled, and Draco knew he was in trouble. It wasn't his fault that his usual morning cafe had been closed, and that he'd had to resort to another subpar establishment. In fact, he was the victim. Of course, he knew Granger wouldn't see it that way. Not from the way the steam was seeping out of her ears. Honestly, she needed to lighten up. Maybe he could help her.

He winked as he approached her, and drawled "Sorry Granger, it was just such a late night," and brushed past her into the conference room, smiling with ease and confidence as though everyone else was simply early, and he on time.

She was absolutely fuming. Fuming. That completely git. What an ass. He knew how important this meeting was for her. He knew! And yet he insisted on ruining everything for her. Everything. She'd never forgive him. Not that that stopped her from wondering how exactly he spent that late night of his. This didn't help her fuming problem. No. Now she was seething with anger.

Stop it Herimone. Calm down, you need to focus. Focus. She took a deep breath and entered the large room, ready to make her presentation.

It went very smoothly - as smooth as Hermione could have hoped for under the circumstances. Malfoy was smirking at her from across the oval table, trying to bait her. And she spent the majority ignoring him completely, trying to make her point without walking past the department heads and over to Malfoy to slap him across the face, making sure her hand left a print on that pale cheek of his. It wasn't an easy thing to resist.

The department heads had told her they'd think about it, and would come to an agreement by the next meeting, which was more than Hermione could have hoped her. She was ecstatic. Or she would have been if she wasn't completely pissed off that Malfoy had no respect for her at all (and slightly that he'd gone out with the tramp the night before, okay more than slightly).

After the heads left the room, she left in a huff, only to be stopped by Malfoy.

"Hey Granger...Wait up, Granger!"

She turned around to face him, "What do you want Malfoy, I'm in a rush" she said in an icy tone.

"Nothing Granger, nice job."

"Thanks Malfoy, but I have no need for any of your sarcastic bullshit today. I'm tired, and I'm cranky, and I'm pissed, and I want to go home and shower and sleep and forget you."

"What the bloody hell Granger? What's got your knickers in a twist?"

"What's wrong with ME Malfoy? ME?" Her voice was too shrill for him to even try to hear. "You were late this morning Malfoy. LATE. And you know how important this meeting was to me. You KNEW. And I was up all night, trying to get it perfect, and you just walk in LATE as if you own the place --"

"-- I do own the place!"

"-- and we're all your servants or something, here to deal with your every need, and you don't even respect me! I mean really, Malfoy? I needed you here on time. I needed everything to go perfectly and I need for this thing to be approved! And you don't even care. You don't care about my job, and you don't care about what I'm trying to do here, and you don't care about me. And fine Malfoy, that's fine. But you don't even respect me! And it's getting ridiculous, and I think maybe just finding another job is best!"

She ended her speech with her voice raised high, and felt almost as shocked as Malfoy looked after her last statement. Honestly, she hadn't meant to say it, she was just frustrated with him and that stupid woman and his lateness and the way he could push her buttons and the way she sort of kind of was attracted to him.

He looked horrified. He knew that she never said anything lightly.

"You can't quit Granger!"

Oh. Maybe Malfoy deserved a bit of payback. She did enjoy winning.

"Why not Malfoy? I've gotten loads of offers. And I could find better pay and, Merlin knows, a better boss." She looked at him pointedly.

"But Granger," he sputtered, "You can't!"

"Why can't I Malfoy? I actually can. And it'd be really easy. It's not a bad idea at all," she made a show of tilting her head to the side as though seriously considering the move.

This was getting serious now, she was going to leave, and then his company would fail and he'd never see her again and he'd never get to make her mad again, and really what was life without Granger to piss off?

"You can't leave Granger! We need you!"

"We need you Malfoy? Who's this we?" She could see he was absolutely panicking, she wasn't even mad anymore, but this was too good to pass up.

"Uh, the company! The company needs you!"

"Oh, the company? They'll find another person to fill my position! Honestly Malfoy, so dramatic." She said reproachfully.

"God Granger, don't make me beg you!"

"Beg, Malfoy? No no, I won't make you beg. But you might try asking me like you mean it!"

He groaned in frustration. She was absolutely infuriating. And Malfoys didn't beg. They just got things they needed magically. "Fine Granger," he gritted out through his teeth, "You're absolutely the most amazing employee in Malfoy Industries and I haven't a clue how we'll function without you."

She smiled almost mockingly at him, still acting as though she was pondering changing companies. He had to do better than that.

"Ugh Granger, what the hell do you want from me?"

"Oh nothing at all Malfoy. Just admit that you need me to stay and work here."

"I already did Granger! I told you Malfoy Industries needed you!"

"Yes, yes you did. But that's not what I want to hear is it? How do you feel Malfoy? Just admit that without me, you couldn't run your company smoothly as you run it now," she said in a condescending tone as though speaking to a very dull child. She knew that in the grand scheme of things, her presence probably didn't amount to as much as she was claiming (probably not even a fraction), but getting Malfoy to admit anything akin to her importance was worth it, bar any hyperbole.

He smirked, catching on to her game. She should have been in Slytherin. Getting him to admit that he needed her - it was a smart move. She'd bring it up whenever she needed to, and she knew he'd say it to keep her. She was a damned smart woman. He hated it. But maybe he could have a bit of fun with this. Throwing her off completely while still giving her what she wanted.

She saw a smirk form on his face, and knew he had figured her out. But then she saw his smirk turn into a far more devious expression. She looked around nervously to find that there were a few employees watching the whole exchange, wondering what he could have been up to.

He gracefully dropped down to both knees, grabbing ahold of her hand before she could react. She jumped back from her position, but was kept close to his kneeling form.

He raised his voice, knowing he was putting on a show, "Granger," he started with an overly dramatic genuine expression, "you asked me to tell you, so here it is. I need you to stay in the company. We all need you. Without you, this company would not be the same." Women in the office were looking at Malfoy as though he was their hero, and Hermione as though she was scum on the ground.

If he could play to an audience, so could she. "That's sweet of you to say Malfoy, so lovely that you've gotten in touch with your inner feelings, it's wonderful!" She patted his head patronizingly. "Now don't hug me or anything Malfoy, I might die," and she winked at him and walked away leaving him kneeling on the floor for everyone to see. She was aggravating. But he wouldn't have it any other way. And as he looked up to see her smirking at him from her office, he didn't think a smirk could look that good on anyone else.

He got up, and went after her, and grabbed her arm so that she was suddenly facing him in her office, almost nose to nose. He hadn't missed her quick intake of breath, or the sudden flush of her face. Was it possible that she felt the same way about their proximity? Hell, if he had known, he'd have done this far earlier that today.

"Good insult Granger, resorting to using other people's wit to make up for the lack of your own are you? I never knew what a little cheat you were."

"Oh yes Malfoy, I'm the cheat. I got perfect scores in Potions because Snape loved me, not out of any talent on my own. Yes, that was me alright."

"Honestly Granger, bringing up something from over five years ago? Sounds like a sore subject. Ah well, I was always best of course, and maybe you came in a distant fourth or so?" She opened her mouth to retort, but he covered her mouth with his hand and continued as her eyes glared at him, "And so because I am the best, I have to break the sad news that I can't just hug you and leave." And for once, without thinking or analyzing or deeming it fruitless, Draco did exactly what he wanted to do - he proceeded to remove his hand, and tug her even closer until her body crashed into his, and let his lips take the position his hand had occupied just moments before.

A full minute later, she slapped him. Hard. And her print was left on his cheek, bright and red like that stupid bint's dress from last night. She grinned, atleast she had finally done it.

If his kiss wasn't a sign, she didn't know what was. "What the hell took you so long Malfoy?" He looked mad, but before he could say anything, she pulled him back down towards her.

Maybe she'd let Malfoy win. But just this once.