Disclaimer: All characters (anything worth owning in fact) belong exclusively to J.K. Rowling and Co. I'm just here to play awhile and not make one red cent doing it.

Credit: Special thanks to Pittsy for beta-reading.

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He didn't know what made him do it.

Well, that wasn't entirely true. It just hadn't been his original intention. His original intention had been to get some embarrassed reaction out of her; a blush, flustering, cowering away from him. That's what he had been going for when he stepped up close behind her in Flourish and Blotts that clear summer day before their fifth year, whispering obscenities in her ear. But his tactics must have been getting old, because she didn't blush or get flustered or pull away. No, Hermione Granger just rolled her eyes at him, flicked her hand as if she were shooing a fly, and walked away. The snotty little bint! And that's what pushed him to do it.

She was ignoring him and he hated being ignored. He followed her through the shop continuing to utter disgusting words at her, but her nose was still buried in the book she was looking at as she walked away—it wasn't even one of the textbooks they needed, stupid Mudblood bookworm! Her hips were swinging gently as she moved, which he could see all too well in those weird Muggle jeans she had on.

And maybe that's what made him do it, why his hand seemed to develop a mind of its own, because before he had even thought this particular course of action through, he was reaching out and grabbing a handful of her firm, round bottom and squeezing it.

She didn't scream. She just gasped and turned to face him with wide and furious eyes. And then something very hard was whacking him across the face and he was stumbling back. She'd used the closest thing at hand to hit him with—that being the book she was holding. In retrospect, he thought this was pretty lucky. She could have drawn her wand and hexed him to Hell and back. But no, not Hermione Granger, she wouldn't risk getting expelled for him.

"How dare you!" A few blinks later, he realised she was screaming at him. "You disgusting git! I am not one of your Slytherin whores!" She was going to hit him again with the book. He grabbed her hand, just to stop her, but this seemed to infuriate her even more and she slapped him with her other hand.

"Shut up, you stupid Mudblood! What the hell is wrong with you?" They were attracting a lot of attention, and that wasn't good, because his father was in the shop and any minute now he'd hear...

"Draco, what is the problem here?"

Hermione yanked her hand out from his, clutching the book to her chest. She glanced around at the people surrounding them.

Lucius Malfoy turned his cold gaze on her. "Miss Granger?" As he watched, all the fury in her seemed to evaporate under those eyes. Well, that would put the little bint in her place!

"Nothing, Mr Malfoy," she said quickly. "It was just a—a misunderstanding." She was glaring at Draco as she said it.

"Do try to contain yourself then, Miss Granger." Lucius Malfoy's upper lip curled up in disgust. "You may have no breeding to speak of, but you can at least act civilised, can't you? And, for Merlin's sake, girl, you're barely dressed. What do you expect looking like that?" His words were low and sharp.

She wouldn't dignify that with a response. He knew she wouldn't. But her cheeks were flushed red with embarrassment. She backed away slowly, eyes on the floor, until she stepped behind the bookcase and fled. Finally... the reaction he wanted.

But that wasn't the only reaction he was going to get.

"Draco." His father's voice held a note of disapproval.

"She's crazy! I barely touched her and she—"

"Keep your damn hands to yourself." The words came out as a lazy drawl, but Draco didn't miss the threat behind that tone.

"Yes, Father." He knew. Of course, he knew. Somehow he always knew whenever he did something wrong. If Draco didn't know any better, he might suspect there was some kind of spying charm on him.

His cheeks were still stinging as he followed his father out of the store. Outside, he caught sight of Hermione across the street with the Weasley girl. She'd been serious when she hit him; she was still glaring at him now. And he could still feel his father's disapproval, hanging over him like a heavy cloak. Well, what did he expect? Lucius Malfoy wasn't going to defend his son's right to grab a girl's bottom, even if she was a Mudblood.


He didn't know what made him do it. Not really.

But when he saw her heading into The Leaky Cauldron with Ginny Weasley, he couldn't help himself. Not that that was anything new. His father had wanted a nice family lunch in an upscale restaurant. But Narcissa Malfoy, who was only too willing to give in to her son's every desire, and who knew how to get her husband to give into hers, decided that it was just fine to let Draco do whatever he wanted.

So maybe that was why he did it.

In any case, he followed Hermione into The Leaky Cauldron, holding back at the doorway to scan the room and see where she had gone. She was settling into a chair in one corner of the room with the Weaselette across the table. Her back was to him, which suited him nicely. And though he hadn't thought through this particular course of action (when had he ever bothered to do that?), he was walking toward her with a devilish grin creeping over his lips. He reached her side, (that errant hand that acted on its own was grabbing her shoulder), and dropped by her ear whispering those familiar, hateful, spiteful words that told her what an ugly and filthy mudblood she was. It was his fallback plan; this never failed to get a rise out of her. But he never knew what her expression was, because in the next moment and in a flash of red light, he was flying across the room. Hermione Granger would never have hexed him in public. Ginny Weasley, however, certainly would.

It was a few long moments before his head stopped spinning. The Mudblood was standing over him with a look of disgust and irritation on her face. "You're pathetic, Malfoy."

Not quite the reaction he wanted, he thought as he pulled himself up off the floor. "You're an ugly bitch, Mudblood." It meant so much more when he directed that word at her. There were many Mudbloods at Hogwarts (regrettably) and he called them as such, but only one truly deserved that name the way he meant it. He could scarcely think of her by her surname. No, to him, she was just "Mudblood".

"Keep trying, Malfoy." It was the Weasley girl. "Give me another reason to hex you!" She glared at him down the length of her wand.

He scrambled to his feet, face twisting in rage, but he didn't dare make a move while Ginny had her wand pointed at him. Finally, she let him go, tossing her hair at him as she snorted her disgust. He watched her run to catch up with Granger. The Mudblood had just walked away, as if he wasn't worth her time.

And maybe that's what made him do it.

He waited until they split up (one hex from Ginny Weasley was enough, thank you) and then followed her as she took a shortcut between two buildings. He hadn't thought through this particular action (did he ever?), when he began calling to her.

"Mudblood!" He saw her head shake slightly, but she kept walking.

"Mudblood!" he yelled at her again. Still ignoring him.

"Mudblood!" He ran up and grabbed hold of her arm, yanking her around to face him. "Look at me!"

"What do you want from me, Malfoy?" she screamed at him. Her eyes were sparkling with unshed tears.

"Wh-what do I—" he stammered. It's not like he had thought it through before he got there. And before he knew it, his hands (maybe they were possessed?) had reached up to cup her face and feel the flush of heat beneath her cheeks. "I just wanted to see your ugly, crying face," he said with a sneer.

Her cheeks glowed red, burning with embarrassment, and he could feel her trembling in his grasp. Two tears were leaving glistening streaks down her face. Her lips, pink and soft and inviting,—drawing him in—were murmuring softly. For a brief, frozen moment, he savoured it. "Impedimenta."

And then he was flying back on his bottom, on the receiving end of Hermione's spell.

It was a perfect reaction.


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