"Brown and Finnigan."

"Oh, please. Give me a difficult one."

"No, we're starting with Brown and Finnigan."

Draco let out an exasperated sigh, fixed his eyes on the ceiling, and spoke mechanically. "Finnigan gets flirtatious with someone else...anyone else. Or maybe the Weasley girl turns her attentions from Thomas to Finnigan. Brown, being of a highly needy and unstable disposition, begins trailing after him like his shadow..."

"She doesn't already?"

"...needling him with the cliché relationship questions: 'Am I too fat,' 'Why were you looking at her,' 'Don't you love me anymore,' etc. Finnigan gets increasingly edgy, but doesn't officially break up with her, so most likely even at his wedding to whatever he finds, Brown will show up thinking there's still a chance." He took a breath. "Weasley and Thomas."

"Even simpler than Brown and Finnigan. Weasley tires of it before the end of the summer and moves on to ensnare some other of the male sex, flitting about until she lights upon Potter, the object of her affections since the first day she stepped into the school. Thomas is broken-hearted, which makes Potter's living situation next year thoroughly uncomfortable. Potter and Weasley."

Draco smirked in a satisfied manner. "Potter's hero-mania engulfs him, setting him apart as the self-proclaimed loner. Despite Weasley's attempts to get him to open up and share his feelings and all of that rubbish, he retreats further and further into his own personal world, in which no one can possibly know the trouble he's seen. Weasley breaks it off; Potter claims he wants her back but makes it sound like her fault the relationship soured; Weasley refuses to return; Potter goes to a lonely corner of the Forbidden Forest and performs the killing curse upon himself; we all rejoice."

Pansy jabbed him with her elbow. "We're not playing that one."

"Which one?" asked Draco innocently.

"You know perfectly well which one. We're on '50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,' not '101 Ways to Kill Off Potter.'"

"Have it your way," Draco conceded. "Next time, I get to pick. Weasley and Granger."

"Ooo," said Pansy, entwining her fingers with his, "my favorite."

"Is it?" came the just a little bit too casual response.

"Of course," said Pansy, "people say they aren't a couple. But people say all sorts of things in this school, rat-boy."

"Pug-face," Draco replied genially.

"Teacher's pet."

"Clingy wench."

"Heartless bigot."

"Brainless follower."

"Mmmm," said Pansy. "As enchanting as this game is, let's stick to the one we've started."

"Next time," reminded Draco, "I get to pick."

"Weasley and Granger," said Pansy. "As previously noted, I foresee several intensely public break-ups. Let's see, last time...."

"Last time you described them breaking up at the Christmas feast and hurling ornaments at each other from across the room."

"Right, then," Pansy continued. "After that, they storm out of the room in separate directions, only to run into each other in half an hour under some mistletoe, where they forget how much they hate each other and indulge their physical compulsions by snogging in a disgraceful manner."

Draco and Pansy shuddered.

"Must you," reproached Draco, "talk about those two snogging? I don't like to think of it. Hideous."

"Apologies," said Pansy. "Have a suitably restrained peck on the cheek by way of forgetting?"

"I accept."

Said suitably restrained peck on the cheek having been bestowed, Pansy continued. "Next break-up...Potions class. Granger chooses to sit with Longbottom instead of Weasley, because of Longbottom's legendary and hopeless ineptitude. The potion in question is a love potion." (Draco's cry of, "Taught by Snape? That'll be the day!" was greeted by another jab of Pansy's elbow.) "Weasley, having eaten far too much at breakfast and therefore being in a foul mood, becomes jealous. He asks to switch partners, as he is working with...Millicent." (Draco snorted.) "Granger tells him to act professionally; Weasley tells her he won't have anyone falling in love with his girlfriend; Granger resents his possessive tone; Weasley resents Granger's nonchalance and asks if she wants to be in love with Longbottom; Granger points out that this might well be better for her in the long run; Millicent takes this opportunity to sneak out of class; Weasley yells that Granger can bloody well have Longbottom's children if that's what she wants; Longbottom takes this opportunity to sneak out of class; Snape gives Weasley and Granger detention for a solid month."

"You have a twisted mind," Draco said.

"You're too kind."

"People have often told me so. Next victims?"

Pansy looked at him appraisingly. "Parkinson and Malfoy."

Draco laughed derisively. "I believe you meant to say Malfoy and Parkinson."


"All right. Let's see...this is easy.... Hell freezes over."

"Not fair."

"Come now," reasoned Draco, "you're a Slytherin, not a Gryffindor. Let's look at the thing logically. Things we have in common: birth; breeding; social standing; politics; religion; hatred of Potter and the other Gryffindors, which rather falls under the previous two; sense of humor; ambition; both prefects; etc., etc. Things we don't have in common...I'm male, and you, unless you have been grossly misleading me since we first met at the age of six months, are female. Other than that...oh, there must be something...."

"So you're saying that you're with me because I'm the female version of you."

"That's it," said Draco. "I'm my favorite person in the whole world."

Pansy put her head on his shoulder. "Same here," she said.