A/N: I've played chess maybe twice in my life, and they were both dismal failures. Therefore, please forgive the awkward chess terms that I kind of ripped off Wikipedia and don't really know how to use properly.

"Oi, anyone open to a game of chess?" I heard Malfoy call out urgently to the great lot of Ravenclaws milling around the common room.

A couple people looked up at his request and shook their heads; a few more looked up and then went back to work as if they hadn't heard. Malfoy looked over to a group of giggling girls by the large round table in the corner. They were whispering excitedly to one and another, every once in a while glancing up at Malfoy's aristocratic profile which was thrown into sharp relief by the small fire.

Merlin, those girls didn't have two brain cells to rub together. Well, I suppose I'm wrong about that, they were Ravenclaws, after all, so they had their academic value. However, in terms of entertaining company? Completely beyond useless.

I also looked up from my Charms essay to sneak a peek at Malfoy. He was looking increasingly desperate; he knew it was only a matter of time until one of those inane sixth year girls volunteered their probably nonexistent chess prowess and vapid conversation. I saw him give an inaudible sigh from across the common room. Just as he bent over to pick up his bag and head up to the seventh year boys dorms – anything to avoid spending time with one of those girls – I shouted, "Hold up, Malfoy!"

I glanced down at my watch. Really, it was only nine thirty. Going to bed so soon, Malfoy? That was just pathetic.

And so that's why I decided to humour him and play one measly game. It'd probably be short too – I was taught by my dad, a master chess player himself.

He jerked his head up and stared, a bit open mouthed, in my direction. "Up for a challenge, then, Weasley?" he asked, smirking.

"Bring it," I called, marching over to where he was setting up the board.

He cast an appraising eye over me. "If you insist."

I sat down across from him. "Since I'm the guest for this game, and it's your chess set, I choose first." I looked up from where his smooth white hands were flurrying across the chessboard to meet his cool grey eyes, daring him to contradict me.

He didn't.

"I'll be white," I continued.

He chuckled. "That makes me black, then?"

"Obviously," I said.

And so that's how we started our daily chess games in the Ravenclaw common room. It always started at precisely nine thirty and ended two hours later at half past eleven. Malfoy proved himself to be a worthy opponent; our games sometimes lasted for two days or more, yet we never got bored (no matter how much Malfoy claimed otherwise) and we never let the other player win. When we finished one early, we'd readily start another, the loser eager to prove that they were not totally incompetent and the winner impatient to prove their title once again.

That first night was the first time I ever saw Malfoy open mouthed in surprise. My guess was that he'd never been beaten this quickly before.

"Check, Malfoy."