One Angry Hermione
"I hate you!" came the furious shout of Hermione Granger.
"Come off it, you silly bint! I'm trying to speak with you!"
"Get out of my room, Malfoy!" He crossed his arms and leaned onto the doorframe.
"Not until we discuss our Transfiguration project, Granger! I won't fail because of your little tantrum!"
"Flagrate!" the irate witch bellowed, brandishing her wand toward the intruder. The ropes of flame were rushing toward Draco Malfoy and he quickly jumped backwards to avoid being set on fire. "Colloportus!" she hissed when he was sufficiently out of the way. He stood by and watched the door slam in his face and seal itself with an odd squelching noise. The blonde wizard sighed heavily and set off for his own room at the opposite end of the hall. He still couldn't believe he would be subjected to Granger every day for a semester—he had graduated Hogwarts and still had to endure her presence. Naturally, she'd followed him to university and even had the nerve to live in the same residence hall—on the same hallway—taking two of the same classes—she'd even been chosen as his Transfiguration partner. In that moment, Draco cursed the fates, the fact that there was only one very good wizarding university in England, Professor Trumbull, and, especially, Hermione Granger.
"You are aware, Mr. Malfoy, that you are the first student to approach me with such a request?" The fearsome Professor Trumbull was looking at Draco as if he were trying to contemplate the best way to squash him.
"This term?" Draco asked for clarification.
"Ever," the stern wizard said crossly.
Immediately after leaving the dormitory…well, immediately after Granger had slammed her door in his face, he'd gone back into the Transfiguration building to seek out the man before him. Though it was absurd to think, Draco thought if Professors McGonagall and Snape were to have a child—this man would be the result. He was ill tempered, strict, not necessarily fair, and, much like the Gryffindor Head of House, he didn't seem to care for Draco—Malfoy or not.
"I'm terribly sorry for the imposition, sir," Draco began, and he truly was. This was hardly the way to start out his post-Hogwarts education. "But Granger is unreasonable. When I approached her to arrange a study schedule she tried to set me on fire."
Professor Trumbull snickered unpleasantly, and it was then that Draco Malfoy knew his fate was sealed. "Then I suppose you'll have to work that much harder, Mr. Malfoy. Good day to you." The wizard swept from the classroom without a second thought for the anguished blonde behind him.
Draco firmed his resolve—he would not let Granger, that unpleasant cow, ruin his academic career; he knew he would have to act swiftly. He made his way back to the residence hall both he and Granger occupied, passing his own room and heading directly for hers. He knocked on the door in a firm, but still polite, manner and heard, "Go away, Malfoy," for his troubles.
He shook his head at how such a thought could enter his head at the time—but it occurred to him that this was the only time a woman had turned him away at their bedroom door. He knocked again…and again…and again.
After nearly twenty minutes, during which passing students gawked at him snickering, she flung the door open and had her wand pointed directly at him. "I told you to go away," she hissed at him.
"And obviously, I didn't listen," he said impatiently as he knocked her wand to the side and strode into her room. She looked apoplectic, the rage wafting off of her in waves; Draco was unimpressed—he'd seen her temper on display many times before. "I've been to see Professor Trumbull, and he refuses to assign us different partners for our project. Sad as it is, we're stuck with each other until December and there's absolutely nothing we can do about it."
"I hate you," she grumbled as she picked up her wand from where it had rolled beneath her desk.
"And I'm equally thrilled to put up with your attitude and your temper. Tell me, do you regularly try to set blokes on fire when you're on?"
Her eyes widened in shock as she realised what he'd asked—how dare he assume that this had anything to do with hormones or menstruation.
Draco became conscious of his mistake nearly as soon as the words left his mouth, but he'd be damned if he'd apologise to the harpy standing before him.
She clenched her jaw, "I'm going to pretend you never said that, but know that if you say such a thing in the future, a simple flame spell will be the least of your worries."
"Fair enough," he told her. He'd never admit to anyone that he was a bit afraid of Granger. Yes, she had punched him out in third year, and it was similarly true that she had beaten him in a duel during seventh—but her look of cold fury was making him regret his words, for he was sure they would not help his cause. "I shouldn't have said that."
"And?" she said expectantly.
Draco snorted, the chit wanted him to apologise. "And we should set a schedule for our project. What days are you free?"
"I'll be available on weekdays after four, and anytime on weekends," she said cautiously, accepting that he would not apologise and that cooperating would make him leave more quickly.
"What, Granger? No bloke to tie up your time?" He closed his eyes tightly the minute he'd finished speaking—what on earth was wrong with him? Why couldn't he go more than a minute without insulting her or making deliberately inflammatory statements?
"I've had enough of you for the day, Malfoy. Leave."
He was actually rather surprised—he'd expected, at best, a tongue-lashing, and, at worst, an unpleasant hex of some sort. "Right, so Wednesday at half past six?"
"Fine," she ground out, sincerely wishing that he would just go.
"See you, then," Draco said as he edged toward the door, still not entirely convinced he would escape unscathed.
When Hermione had closed the door behind him, she went into the tiny bathroom to retrieve a phial of headache remedy…something told her she'd be needing a great deal of it this term. It was Monday afternoon, and she wouldn't have to deal with Draco Malfoy outside of class until Wednesday. Sighing, she plopped gracelessly onto her neatly made bed; all the time in the world couldn't prepare her for that.
"Are you alright?" Harry asked her over lunch the following day. She had been surprised to receive an invitation that morning, but two free hours in the early afternoon led her to accept.
"What's with you?"
She could tell Harry was concerned and decided to be forthright with him, "I've been partnered with Malfoy for my Transfiguration project this term; it's got me a bit on-edge, is all."
"You can't get out of it?" Harry demanded, horrified that she'd be required to work with him. Yes, Voldemort had finally been topped, and no, Draco hadn't fought along side his father, but that didn't change the fact that he was a right git; he told Hermione as much.
"He's tried already," she told him dejectedly.
"What did you do?"
"Besides attempt to set him on fire and lock him out of my room?" Harry raised an eyebrow, "Not much."
"You tried to set him on fire?"
She looked irritated, "He caught me going into my room—oh, he lives right down the hallway, naturally—and stopped for a chat."
"He just tried to talk to you?" Harry asked, trying to understand what had driven Hermione to set Malfoy on fire.
"He was just leaning in my doorway insisting that we devise a project schedule and I'd had a terrible day and he wouldn't leave, Harry."
The green-eyed wizard, though he loved his friend, couldn't help but snicker. "So he was being perfectly civil, and you tried to set him on fire."
"Yes," she sniffed.
Harry smiled at her; she had always been above reproach—from he and Ron, at least—and he wouldn't dare criticise her. His smile was more from imagining Malfoy's reaction at nearly being roasted by the sulking witch before him.
"So what's this project about?" Harry asked as he took the untouched half-sandwich from Hermione's plate; she didn't reprimand him—Ron had done such things countless times and she'd long since learned to live with it.
"I haven't the faintest clue," she responded honestly. "Professor Trumbull handed out partner assignments, had us move desks to sit with our partners, and then began lecturing on the project itself. By the time he began lecturing, I was in shock—and sitting next to Malfoy. I've already begun calling it 'Project Doom.'"
"I've always loved your optimism, Hermione."
Generally, Hermione's classes were rather entertaining and she didn't have the least bit of trouble paying attention; Wednesday was a completely different story. She was an absolute wreck—she hadn't slept the night before, her stomach was in knots, she couldn't eat a bite. Hermione thought the three-month project with Draco Malfoy would probably kill her.
She assumed Malfoy was perfectly unaffected by the arrangement—why would he fret at having to spend time with her? Besides the punch he'd deserved in third year, she'd never actually harmed him…even if she did sort of try to set him on fire; he tried to bring her down every time he saw her.
Hermione felt the slightest rush of guilt as her malicious inner-voice reminded her that classes had been in session for two weeks and that he hadn't said one word to her before they'd been partnered together. He'd cringed when he received his partner assignment, but he hadn't sneered at her or called her a mudblood; in fact, he seemed content to pretend as if she didn't exist and that suited Hermione perfectly.
The rest of the class gathering their books and exiting the classroom interrupted her thoughts—Hermione would need to ask her neighbour if she'd missed anything important. She watched the clock all day, her sense of dread growing with each passing hour; by the time six o'clock actually arrived, Hermione Granger was a nervous wreck.
She flitted about her room unnecessarily tidying things that were neat to begin with—she was cursing herself for her inability to sit still when a knock at her door startled her.
Hermione tried to gather her thoughts, to calm herself down, to appear as if she weren't positively mental—though she knew that, with the way she was behaving, she very well might be mental.
Gulping in a deep breath, she opened the door to find Draco Malfoy both loaded down with books and looking completely poised; while she would normally respect someone who could maintain such cool detachment, it was Malfoy and she loathed him for it. His muttered greeting made her move aside stupidly as he came forward and began setting out books and hauling out various papers.
The first hour had been the most difficult, Hermione decided in retrospect. They had sniped at each other several times, and gotten into an outright shouting match when it came time to decide the topic of their research. In the end, though, he had been the one to step away and sit quietly as she fumed. At the end of her tirade, after she had lost steam, she told him that his research up until then had been solid and that his proposal was a good one; she never thought her own words could pain her so much.
Rather than gloat, as she expected—and half-wanted—him to, he merely nodded and gave her a list of books to research from until their next meeting. She bristled and demanded to know why she was restricted to a list; he told her it was so that they wouldn't turn up having researched the same book. His logic made her face flush with shame, though he didn't comment.
When he had gathered up all he'd brought, he'd turned to her, "Are you able to meet on Saturday?"
"I had planned on having dinner with my parents that evening, but the morning or afternoon would be alright."
He nodded thoughtfully, "I've got prior obligations that afternoon…would nine be alright?"
Hermione nodded; she never slept past seven anyway. He excused himself with a brief, "See you." As she closed the door behind him, grumpily noting that she could still smell him in the room, she decided that the three-month project with Draco Malfoy would undoubtedly kill her.