A/N: The war has not happened yet - it will be happening in the near future, however. I know this is a long chapter, but I was not planning on adding to it. However, if you enjoy it, let me know in a review or something, and I might add some romance as time goes on. :)

Happy reading! :)

It's a Start

Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy, you could say, were not on the best of terms, and certainly had nothing in common. However, as Head Girl and Head Boy, they were forced to be around each other for the majority of the beginning and end of the day. Of course, they could just lock themselves in their rooms, but both were too proud and settled on making it some sort of competition. Each owned the place just as much as the other did, so why hide?

Over the span of the first month, they would spew angry comments at each other and avoid one another as much as possible - or simply ignore each other. However, both were growing rather tired of keeping up the circulation of insults, so they usually just ended up ignoring each other. One can't constantly keep up the angry atmosphere, it becomes tiring, especially when you live with the person.

On one paticular evening, Hermione was up late, furiously scribbling last minute revisions on her Transfiguration essay. She vaguely noted with annoyance Malfoy still wasn't back - she was certainly irked that the Head Boy was out way after curfew. She wondered if he did things like this on purpose.

She shook her head to herself and spent the next thirty minutes completing the finishing touches to her essay. When she finally convinced herself it was up to her standards, she stuffed it into her bag. She headed toward the staircase that headed up to their bedrooms. They were nice rooms - the only downside was that they had to share a bathroom. (What kind of sick joke was that?) They also had a little kitchen with a nice amount of food and other things, but not enough that they didn't have to go down for meals.

When she was halfway up the stairs, the portrait hole opened and Malfoy came waltzing through, his hands in his pockets. His blonde hair was disheveled - he seemed to, for whatever reason, fancy wearing it that way nowdays, at least it made him look less like a ferret - and his gray-blue eyes looked tired and wary and he closed them, taking a deep breath. She was torn between being angry with him and curious as to where he was. She decided to make her presence known then and she cleared her throat pointedly. His head snapped up to find her staring at him. She was about to either scold him for staying out after curfew or asking what happened, she wasn't sure, but he stopped her anyway with a raise of his hand.

"I don't even want to hear it, Granger." he snapped.

She hesitated. "Where are you always disappearing off to?" she prodded.

He cocked his head to the side, narrowing his eyes at her. "Waiting up for me?" he asked sarcastically, ignoring her question.

"Of course not," she spat, "I was finishing my Transfiguration essay."

"That's fanscinating," he sighed, walking up the stairs. "I'm going to bed."

She grabbed his arm and he turned sharply, ripping his arm from her grip and grimacing. He was about to say something, probably along the lines of "get your filthy hands off me," or "stupid Mudblood," but she cut him off.

"It's one in the morning, Malfoy. Where have you been?" she repeated, trying to be patient.

"It's none of your bloody business, Granger." he said, almost tiredly, as he made his way to the top of the staircase.

"Well, as Head Girl, it's my business." she countered smartly.

"Actually, it's really not, and there's nothing you can do about it." he shot back.

He shot her his signature vile - almost sarcastic - smirk before slamming his bedroom door behind him, leaving her scowling face looking at no one. She sighed and dragged her feet to her bedroom and flopped on the bed, but found she couldn't get her mind off Malfoy. Where had he been? Why was he always disappearing? And with who, if anyone? Was he in trouble? Or did it have something to do with . . .

She sighed and rolled over, willing away such thoughts. She slipped off her clothes until she was just in her tank top and underwear, too tired to actually put anything else on. She buried her face in her pillow and slipped under the covers.

"That guy is a mystery if I've ever seen one." she muttered, then forced herself to sleep.

Hermione dragged herself away from her warm bed and down the stairs, goggy and yearning to go back to sleep. The snow fell down hard and strong against the ground outside the windows and she squinted against the glaring white. Malfoy was already up as usual, looking crisp and polished as he read the Daily Prophet and sipped coffee in their common room. She almost tripped and fell on the stairs, but tiredly caught herself on the railing. It caused Malfoy to look up at her and he did a double take, raising his eyebrows.

"Forgetting something, Granger?" he asked slowly.

She glared at him, sighing. "I'm really not in the mood, Malfoy."

He sighed wearily, looking just as tired as her now that she paid attention. "You're not wearing any pants." he said nonchalantly as he stood and headed out the partrait hole.

She looked down in horror and found she was still in what she went to sleep in. She'd completely forgotten her refusal to put on normal pajamas. She scampered up the stairs in humiliation and locked herself in her room, covering her face with her hands and wishing she could just crawl into her bed and never come out.

"I can't believe it. Draco Malfoy saw me in . . . in my underwear." she gasped, sitting down on her bed in a daze.

That was when there was a banging on her door. She jumped and looked at the door in shock.

"Hermione, are you still in there?" Ginny yelled from outside, "It's time for breakfast, sleepyhead!"

Hermione scrambled up and threw the door open, probably looking like complete rubbish.

Ginny raised her eyebrows at her. "Why are you - "

"Malfoy saw me in my underwear, Ginny," she cried in horror, "Malfoy!"

Her mouth dropped open and it seemed she didn't know what to think, so she burst out laughing. Hermione gaped.

"It's not funny!" she insisted, pouting as she pulled jeans on, then her school robes on over that.

"Sorry, Hermione. It's just . . . I never thought I'd hear you say that," she said, trying to keep her chuckles at bay. "Don't worry, I won't tell Harry and Ron."

She gave her a grateful, slightly amused glance. "Thanks."

After breakfast, her, Harry and Ron went to Advanced Potions. Their casual conversation took a turn when Ron brought up Malfoy.

"How's sharing a room with the biggest git in school?" Ron asked, grimacing.

"'Scuse me, Weasle, Wonder Boy, Bookworm," a voice said from behind them, and Malfoy walked ahead of them, giving them a challenging glance. "Oh and thank you, Weasley, that means a lot." Malfoy looked back, rolling his eyes, and walked into the classroom.

Hermione gave her two best friends an exasperated glance that they returned before sitting down together at a table by the door. The new Potions professor wasn't much better than Snape, if not worse. Professor Stewage had a droning, almost robotic voice and his teaching skills were bland and untasteful. The dim lighting shone off his balding head and his mishapen teeth were sometimes bared as he sneered at the Gryffindors. He refused to grade the Golden Trio, Seamus, Neville and Dean fairly ever since the beginning of the year - because they were Gryffindors. Neville had told Professor McGonagall about it, but apparentlly Stewage convinced her they were just simply doing poorly in his class. Hermione was baffled that a clever witch like Mcgonagall had fallen for such a statement. Perhaps she had something else up her sleeve.

"Good morning, students," Professor Stewage droned from his desk, where he was calmly writing on a piece of parchment. "Start on your potion with a partner. I'll be coming around to check on it once you're finished."

"Terrific." Ron muttered, who had taken on an immediate hatred for the Professor since the year began.

The directions wrote themselves on the chalkboard and the class immediately got started.

"You three," the Professor called to Harry, Ron and Hermione, even though he knew he knew their names, "You are an uneven pairing. Zabini isn't here today. The girl - go work with Mr. Malfoy."

"Professor, I have to protest - " Malfoy started but he shut up when the Professor shot him a glare.

Stewage knew that her and Malfoy didn't get along, and she knew he had done it on purpose. The three had been working together for over a month now. She tried to keep her temper in check before gatheirng her things and heading over to a desk with Malfoy.

"I see you've ditched the undergarment style. Too bad, it was a good look on you." he said sarcastically as she sat down.

She glared at him. "Shut up, Malfoy." she demanded lamely.

They worked on their potion silently, sometimes snapping at one another on what they were doing wrong. When the potion was at a simmer, the Professor started coming around to check the potions. He didn't give anyone positive feedback, especially the Gryffindors. He grunted at the Slytherins. Hermione was curious as to what he would say about theirs. He had a specific disliking for her, considering her heritage and her House, but he also had a paticular liking towards Malfoy, because of his father and because he was a Slytherin, of course.

He came around and sniffed their potion, then grunted.

"Good work, Mr. Malfoy," he noted, "Full credit."

Hermioned snorted. Of course.

"Did you say something, Miss Granger?" he snapped, turning on her.

She really wanted to snap back at him, but she just said calmly, "Actually, Proffesor, I just wanted to point out that Malfoy and I worked on this potion together."

He stared blankly at her. "What are you getting at?" he asked impatiently.

"Well, I - "

"You're not acknowledging that she also worked on the potion," Malfoy cut in nonchalantly, "And you aren't grading her fairly."

Both the Professor and Hermione turned to Malfoy with a shocked expression. There was a long, heavy silence.

"Class dismissed." he said curtly, turning away from the two Heads and sitting back down briskly at his desk.

Hermione still sat there, shocked and immobile even as Malfoy gathered his things and left the classroom. Harry and Ron eventually came over to her and asked if she was okay. She quickly dismissed their worries with a wave of her hand and they went their seperate ways for the second class of the day. Malfoy was in her next class as well, Transfiguration, and as she neared the classroom, she spotted his blond hair and tapped his shoulder. Before he could say anything insulting, she spoke up.

"Thank you." she said simply.

He paused, grimacing slightly. "Us Heads have got to stick together, right?" he muttered, walking into the classroom without another word.

Over the next week, Malfoy seemed to go out of his way to bug Hermione, despite his unmistakably civil act in Potions. Hermione ignored them in the beginning, but, as her temper started to rise, she snapped back almost every time. This seemed to work fine for both of them for the time being, even though they both know they'd get tired of it.

Hermoine entered the portrait hole on Monday afternoon to grab some books and found Malfoy was already there, leaning against the doorway in the kitchen.

"McGonagall wants to see us." he stated, walking past her to leave.

She followed, confused. "Why?" she called and caught up with him, their insult-streak forgotten.

"Don't ask me, Granger, she just told me to meet her in Stewage's office with you after lunch." he said exasperately.

The rest of the way down, they nearly walked on opposite sides of the hallway.

"I really hope they don't make us see each other more than we already have to." Hermione grumbled.

"We can agree on that." Malfoy muttered.

They both stopped in front of the door, waiting for the other to open it.

She rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Malfoy."

He sighed and opened it for her. Both the Professors were waiting with grim expressions on the other side of Stewage's desk.

"Please sit." McGonagall offered stiffly.

They both sat down and Hermione resisted the urge to scoot her chair away from him.

"I cannot believe you two are acting like such infants," McGonagall exclaimed, startling both of them, "You are Heads, and this requires you to work as a team - to at least communicate civilly!"

"Professor, you know Malfoy and I don't get along very well." Hermione explained desperately.

"You will call Mr. Malfoy by his first name," Stewage snapped, "It's Draco."

Oh, for the love of Merlin, Hermoine resisted the urge to roll her eyes. I know his name is Draco.

"Yes, Professor." she muttered.

Stewage then looked to Malfoy for his agreement and he made an annoyed noise.

"But - "

"No 'but's', Draco." Stewage interrupted.

"Fine." he replied shortly, and him and Hermione shared a glare.

"We have figured out a solution to this predicament," McGonagall explained, "You are required to make your rounds together and do all other such duties as a team, as you were supposed to do so in the first place. If this should fail to happen, there will be consequences."

"But, Proffesor - " Hermoine cried in horror.

"No, 'but's', Miss Granger!"

Her and Malfoy exchanged a glance and made a rare silent agreement - they would find some way out.

"Let me elaborate," McGonagall said, noticing their looks, "If this should not happen, you will be deprived of your Head Boy and Girl titles."

They exchanged another glance of astonishment. This is probably one of the only times her and Malfoy would actually agree on something.

"But, Proffesor - " they complained in unison.

"I SAID NO 'BUT'S'!" Stewage bellowed, and both of them cut off indignantly.

"Now," McGonagall said more calmly, "This arrangement will work out." she said, making the decision for them.

They were dismissed and while Malfoy stomped out childishly, Hermione walked out, blank-faced. Once the door closed behind them, they rounded on each other, hissing angrily.

"I can't spend anymore time with - "

"You're the problem - "

"I am prefectly innocent - "

"You are so - "

"I can't take - "

"Mudblood - "

"Deatheater - "

Malfoy looked angry enough at that comment to slap her, but she was saved from any possible harm when the door swung open again, revealing McGonagall. They looked up at her with innocent expressions and she rolled her eyes.

"Try not to rip each other's heads off," she ordered exasperately, "Now get to class. And for Merlin's sake, take what we said seriously."

"Of course, Professor." Hermione murmured as McGonagall headed down the hallway. Hermione sighed and turned to Malfoy when she was out of sight. "Listen, Malfoy - "

"Draco." he smirked.

"Draco," she repeated with a clenched jaw, "we need to be nice to each other. I'm sure you don't want to lose your title as much as I don't."

"I think 'nice' is stretching it a little, Granger - "

"Hermione - "

"But I think 'polite' will do the trick." he continued, ignoring her.

"Fine."

"Fine."

They walked off to the Astronomy Tower together, both too proud to pout or look at the other.

Hermione and Draco finally got to see their friends that weekend and having to wait that long was rediculous to Hermione. However, she basked in her friend-time happily. Her, Harry, Ron and Ginny were walking down to Hogsmeade, chatting their up-coming Quidditch tournament against Ravenclaw next Saturday. Hermione didn't know much about the sport, but was happy to watch Harry and Ron play. They also talked a little about Stewage and how annoying he was, but they didn't compare him to Snape or anything - Snape had become some sort of taboo subject among the Golden Trio for the time being.

They entered the Three Broomsticks to get some butterbeers, laughing at some joke Ron cracked. They sat down at a table near the back and ordered their drinks.

"So how's the going with Malfoy?" Ginny asked empathetically as Harry put an arm around her shoulders.

Hermione groaned. "Not any better. You already know how much time I have to spend with him. It's a living nightmare."

"That's bloody rediculous," Ron grumbled, "Pretending to be nice to Malfoy on a daily basis? Talk about a living hell."

"Either that or loose my Head Girl title."

Harry shook his head. "That's not fair, Hermione."

She sighed. "I can understand McGonagall's reasoning, though. The Heads are suppossed to set a good example and Malfoy and I fighting all the time is the opposite."

"Whatever. I still think you should at least be allowed to call him 'Malfoy'." Ron protested, sippping his butterbeer.

After that, Hermione quickly changed the subject. She already had to had to spend way too much time with Malfoy - he was the last thing she wanted to talk about.

"No, Malfoy, I won't let it go!" Hermione exclaimed.

They had been arguing for the past twenty minutes about his often late-night entrances - Hermione had casually brought it up, her curiousity getting the better of her. It'd only been a couple days since they had talked to the professors and they weren't doing too well with the 'we're-going-to-be-polite' thing.

"Well, Granger, I'm not going to argue about it anymore. It's my business."

"Look, Malfoy, if someone is after you, you have to tell someone!" she protested.

They both stood in the common room, Malfoy behind one armchair and Hermione behind the other on the opposite end of the room.

"I don't have to tell anyone anything - I can deal with it."

"Look, I know you were doing something . . . something wrong that night, Malfoy."

"Something wrong?" he repeated, laughing maniacally. It scared her in a way Malfoy never could before. "Is that what you think? Since when do you know anything about me, huh, Granger?"

Hermione shook her head furiously. "You know what, Malfoy? This is what I know - your father is an evil, non-redeemable Death Eater and you will follow in his foot steps, worshipping some mental, emotionless creature! Do you like betraying your classmates? Did it feel good to have your wand pointed at Dumbledore - to watch him die? . . . How can you even face us? How can you deal with - "

"ENOUGH," Malfoy yelled, storming across the room to stand in front of her. "You think you know me, Granger? You think you have me figured out, do you? How about this - a father who constantly pushes me towards the opposite path I want to follow - with harm, if nessecary, and a mother who just stands there and watches! Not to mention being forced into getting a Dark Mark, one of the most painful things you can ever imagine, and being forced to serve a person whom I loathe," he yelled, taking Hermione aback. Then after a moment of the only sound being Malfoy's hard breathing, he continued quietly, "The moment I was born under the Malfoy name and the moment I was put into Slytherin, my future was set. I. Don't. Have. A. Choice."

They stood there, staring at one another. Brown eyes staring wide at narrowed grey-blue ones. After a couple of moments, Hermione bowed her head, ashamed of her own ignorance.

"I'm sorry." she said simply.

He paused. "Yeah, whatever, Mudblood." he muttered, turning to walk up the stairs.

Hermione was shocked into silence for a moment at this comment, considering the arguement they just had.

"Oh, that's just rich!" Hermione exclaimed, laughing bitterly. He turned, slightly shocked, slightly angry at her excalimation. "You complain about me having a stereotype with you when you have a million towards me! You think I'm a filthy Mudblood bookworm who is too proud to admit I'm wrong. Tell me, Draco - how is my blood any different than yours? We're both able to perform magic - the same amount. We're both intelligent and perfectly capable of looking past the image we've developed of each other. Like it or not, underneath it all, we're not that different. And I am admitting I was wrong about some things with you, Draco - but you're still that same bully I've come to loathe over the past few years, so I wouldn't expect you to return the favor."

This time, she turned away from him and walked up to her bedroom, hoping to Merlin she had at least riveted him in some way. But, as she slipped into her bedroom, that hope faded and she found she was more upset than she thought she'd be.

Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy stood staring wide-eyed at nothing in paticular, for both of them were trying to digest that the majority of what they had thought about each other . . . was wrong.

Hermione walked down the steps the next morning, not exactly fully rested. Draco was already up, as always, but this time he was staring into the fire so hard that he didn't even notice her come down the stairs. His blond hair was completely disheveled and she noticed the bags under his blue-grey eyes. She wondered if he'd really been up all night? She paused at the bottom of the staircase uncertainly.

"Hello." she murmured hesitantly, making her way into the kitchen. She wasn't expecting an answer.

"Hello." he replied so quietly, she barely heard him, but it made her freeze in her tracks and she fought the urge to turn and look at him. Instead, she continued to the cupboard and grabbed a mug for herself, then hesitated before grabbing Draco one as well. She was uneasy as she poured the coffee, but brought him one anyway. He glanced up at her blankly and surprise flickered through his eyes as she handed him the cup, but took it silently. She was sort of relieved he didn't say anything so it wouldn't end in awkward conversation.

She headed back up the stairs to go into her bedroom, her mind already drifting to check that she did all her homework last night.

"Listen, Granger . . . " Draco's voice startled her, and she turned abruptly. He looked more uncomfortable than she had ever seen him before and he shifted in his chair nervously. "Er . . . I just wanted to say that I'm, erm, well, I, you know, I'm . . . sorry."

She was completely shocked and it took her a while to respond. "Um . . . Thank you, Draco."

He furrowed his brow. "You're calling me Draco."

She avoided his eyes uncomfortably. "Uh, yeah, well, Stewage told us to. Just getting into the habit."

"Yeah . . . okay. Hermione." he muttered, turning back to the fire.

Hermione was baffled for a number of reasons:

1. Draco Malfoy had actually said sorry.

2. He had just called her by her first name.

3. She had actually managed to make him semi-speechless.

It was a start.

A/N: So that's the end. I hope you enjoyed it! Again, let me know if you'd like this story to continue. And, hopefully, you figured it out, but of course Draco was up to no good while he was out - however, it might not be what you think. If I should choose to go on, I will go into that more. So, anyway, thanks for reading! :)