Author's Note: Sorry it's taken so long for me to update- I've been having a mental block on dramione… But I'm back into it now. I'm kinda worried about this chapter… is Draco realistic enough? I tried to make him still seem arsey (I really hate Fluffy Bunny!Draco) but he actually seems rather nice and she seems mean. Ooops.

A not-so-vague disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling, so I do not own the Potterverse.

They had to sit next to each other at the feast… She had to sit next to Draco bloody Malfoy at the start of term feast. She had to watch him winking at girls and sarcastically clapping when each of the first-years were sorted. And she had to endure Professor McGonagall's not-so-subtle looks that were telling her to control him. It was her fault for letting him be made Head Boy. When they started eating, Draco turned to stare at her.
"What?" She said, through a mouthful of potatoes.
"You're eating like Weasley, Granger." He said, raising his eyebrows at the full plate in front of her that she was refusing to look up from.
"I. Like. Food." She said, trying to stop herself from throwing the plate at him and covering his pretty hair in roast meat, vegetables and gravy.
"And I would prefer it if you didn't throw up the second you got up."

"I won't." She shoved more food in her mouth and looked away. She looked over at Harry and Ron, happily eating at the Gryffindor table and rolled her eyes. Of course they would be enjoying themselves… It was just bloody brilliant. She caught Harry's eye and rolled her eyes, nodding at Draco. He laughed back.
"Flirting with Potter isn't going to stop me talking to you." Draco laughed. She noticed that he was only pushing a small amount of food around his plate, not eating anything.
"I'm not flirting with him… He's my friend; I wouldn't expect you'd know what that's like." Great, she was just being mean now.
"I've seen the way Potter looks at you… And how annoyed he was when you were going out with that Quidditch player, Krum." He said it as though he knew something she didn't.
"I never went out with Victor, we're just friends." It seemed like she had to repeat these words to everyone in the school, even though she hadn't seen Victor since her fourth year. "And it's annoying when you use people's second names."
"Potter does it…" He tried to argue.
"Just when he's talking about you and the professors. You do it with everyone."
"What? You don't like being called Granger?" He laughed at her. Great, he knew that he was getting on her nerves.
"Granger sets of the part of my brain that will cause many eye-gougings." She wasn't even trying to be subtle anymore.
"Merlin you're violent."
"Really, 'cause I hadn't realized that. I guess it must be the muggle in me. Or would you prefer the term mudblood?"
"Hey! I was twelve when I said that, I'd like to think that we'd got past that. Or do you want me to bring up the face-punching incident of third year?"
"You deserved it."

"So you would do it again?"
"Probably… Probably if this conversation continues." She added.
"I'll keep ice to hand, then."
They continued eating (or, in Draco's case, pushing food around) in silence. When the feast ended Draco started walking towards his friends.
"See you in class tomorrow, Hermione." He gave another mock-salute and left. Well, at least it showed that he could learn something. His friend Blaise Zabini gave her an 'up and down' look and raised his eyebrows, smiling. She rolled her eyes and held her cardigan tighter to herself. She had to admit, that she probably liked Blaise more than Draco, but that wasn't really a compliment. She pulled her hair up into a loose bun as she walked across the hall to meet her friends.

"I take it you had fun with Malfoy?" Harry grinned as she rubbed her temples while they walked up the stairs.
"Madame Pomfrey would be able to fix a gouged eye. So I wouldn't really be doing much damage, would I?" She asked. Her friends laughed at that.
"At least have the decency to hex him, Hermione." Ron laughed.
"Nice to know that random displays of violence are socially acceptable to you," She smiled. "Ginny, how much pain does a bat bogey hex cause?" She turned to the redhead, who was holding hands with Harry.
"It's more funny than painful. I'd go with the eye-gouging plan." They all laughed when they saw a group of first-years staring at them in a scared kind of awe. Okay, Hermione conceded, more of the scared and less of the awe.

"Come on Gryffindors, I'll show you to the common room." She gestured for them to follow her.

Her first class of the next day was Ancient Runes and, as she always did, she arrived early to get a seat near the front, by the windows. She sat and read a book while the classroom filled up with grumbling seventh-years, not used to being awake so early after the summer holidays. As usual, nobody was clamouring to sit next to her. That was always the case in the subjects she took without Harry or Ron. Except Neville would always sit with her during muggle studies. Five minutes after the official start of the class, Draco loped into the room. It didn't matter that the teacher was always fifteen minutes late to class, even on the days they were having tests, it annoyed her that he, unlike everyone else, thought that it was ok to be late for his first class of the school year. He began to walk towards her and she silently willed him to see that her bag was on the chair next to her and decide to sit somewhere else.
"Can you move your bag, please?" Of course he didn't. She obliged and started to read her book, hoping that that would stop him talking to her.
"Watcha reading?" He asked. Apparently he was planning on saying this whenever he saw her. She looked over to him.
"A book." She pretended to start reading again. But he started to read over her shoulder.
"'Another injustice to the House-elf community was the lack of regard the wizarding world put in their, considerable, magical skills.' Are you reading this for a class?" He asked.
"No. I happen to care about others, Draco." She put the book down and looked straight at him, willing him to argue with her.
"But they're happy when they work." He started the argument that every wizard seemed to start with her.
"They're brainwashed slaves." To his credit, he didn't argue with that but instead thought about it.
"Is that what you plan on doing next year? Campaigning for Elf rights?" He asked.
"Maybe, if I can get an in at the Ministry, I could try and change policy." She answered. She sighed before she asked him what he wanted to do.
"Dunno, maybe I'll try and become an auror. Then I could do something for the order." His voice dropped when he mentioned the Order of the Phoenix. She raised her eyebrows; surely he had only joined for protection.
"Surprised that I want to do good?" He seemed to read her mind.
"No, I'm sure that if you were allowed in you're good…" She trailed off, flustered.
"It's ok; I've not exactly got the best track record, Hermione." He said her name slowly, obviously still getting used to it. "You've been much nicer about it than your friends."
"Well, we are on the cusp of war. It's hard to trust anyone."
"Even people who've been sworn in?" He asked, but not in a mean way, just as if he had been thinking about it.
"So, you're going to be the big hero, then?" She tried to lighten the mood.
"Something like that." He gave her one of his enigmatic smiles as the professor walked in.