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"He has the arrogance of a hippogriff, the personality of a flobberworm -"

"And how exactly does one manage to have both those qualities at the same time?"

"Shut up, Daph. He's got the talent of a Muggle, the looks of a Bulstrode, and the charm of a drunken Hufflepuff!" I finished. Daphne, who was staring into her water contemplatively, raised her eyebrows at the drink and smirked.

"I imagine a drunken Hufflepuff would be quite charming. Remember when Ernie Macmillan had too much wine at the Department Christmas party last year?" She laughed and stirred the liquid in the glass fondly. "I simply adore when ex-Hufflepuffs try to dance. So amusing."

"Oh, come on, Daph, just admit that you fancy him," I muttered under my breath, rolling my eyes. She snapped her eyes to mine, glaring.

"He's a Muggle-born, Astoria. I may be friendly with him, but I would never consider tainting our bloodline," she said haughtily.

"The war is over. Relax. You can be with whoever you want," I reminded her. She glared at me.

"Then why don't you admit that you want Draco?" she asked. Now I was the one glaring.

Daphne and I were sitting at a private table in The Three Broomsticks. We were in Hogsmeade on business for the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, where we both worked. So did Ernie Macmillan, obviously. Unfortunately, Draco Malfoy did as well.

"I don't have any feelings whatsoever for him," I replied. I could be just as haughty as she could when I wanted to. I flipped my blonde hair over my shoulder as I spoke. "He is the most irritating individual I've ever had to be on assignment with."

She nodded sarcastically. "Yes, of course. That's why you haven't shut up about him for the past hour."

"I have not been talking about him for that long!" I took a sip of my gillywater. The only alcohol I liked was firewhiskey, and I never drank that around Daphne. I knew it would be very difficult for her to deal with that, as she was three years sober and still missed the burn of the whiskey. "I just was complaining about him, okay?"

She laughed. "Yes, of course." Then she looked over my shoulder and smirked. "Speak of the devil."

I gasped and twisted around in my seat. Sure enough, Draco Malfoy was sitting down at the table right behind us, and a short brunette was sliding in across from him. He looked up and, seeing that I was looking at him, smiled at me. My mouth dropped open, and I raised my hand in a half-wave. Then I turned back around to gape at Daphne. "Why would he be here? That's so annoying! And why did he smile? We don't get along! We spent all of last week arguing with each other," I exclaimed in a whisper. She grimaced at me.

"Maybe he likes you, Astoria," she suggested, drinking from her water.

"Obviously not," I retorted. "He's got a girl with him! What an asshole. He was just complaining about breaking up with that stupid Levine girl. Why would he have a date already?"

"Maybe it's not a date."

"Well of course it is, look at how they're talking to each other," I told her, faking a casual glance over my shoulder to get a look at them. Then I realized how I sounded and blushed. "But, er, it doesn't matter. Look, we should go. I have so much paperwork to do."

Daphne shrugged and stood. "Alright. I have to go home anyway, I have somewhere to be later."

"Oh really? With who?" I asked, resisting the urge to look at Draco at the girl he was with as I stood up as well.

To my surprise, Daphne's cheeks flushed a little bit. "Um," she coughed.

"Ernie?" I demanded, and her face darkened further. "And you didn't even tell me!"

She stuck her nose in the air. "Just because you spend all your time talking about your personal life doesn't mean I do."

I stuck a hand on my hip. "Shut it, Daph. I do not. Now give me details!"

We walked past Draco's table. Daphne nodded at him politely, and I remembered that they'd been friends in school. "I'm not giving you any details," Daphne muttered to me. "Not until after. And by the way, Draco was totally staring at your ass when you stood up. I just thought you'd want to know..."

"He was not!" I felt my cheeks heat at the very idea. I pushed open the door and stepped into the August air to hide my face. Daphne grinned at me.

"Yes, he was. Bye, Astoria. I'll see you tomorrow."

"He was not!" Before I could finish the sentence, Daphne had Disapparated. It was a common trick of hers - she always had to get the last word.

Before I Disapparated, I gave in to the desire to look over my shoulder at Draco through the glass doors of the pub. He was smiling at the girl he was with, but as I watched him, he looked up and his eyes caught mine. I held his gaze for a moment, then closed my eyes and Disapparated.

I arrived at my roomy flat in London and opened my eyes. "You hate him. The arrogance of a hippogriff, remember? Personality of a flobberworm? Remember?" I mumbled to myself, laughing ironically. I sat down on my couch, exhaling loudly.

And yet, I was jealous of the woman who had been making him laugh. Some part of me wanted to be the one there with him at The Three Broomsticks. I threw my arm over my face dramatically. "Astoria Greengrass, you are a masochist," I told myself severely, groaning. "Get over him." But if there was one thing I prided myself on, it was the fact that I was entirely honest.

I was falling for Draco Malfoy. Falling head-over-heels. And there was nothing I could do to stop it.