Muggle Studies Partner Project
There's that split second between when the limousine pulls up in front of the red carpet, and when the driver hops out to open the door. The fans and reporters gather around, safely behind the ropes, all silent, frozen in place.
And then, very slowly, the door opens and a pair of shoes protrudes from the darkness- expensive Italian leather shoes, carefully polished, laces retied many times to perfection.
The fan girl nearest to him catches sight of the Armani suit and the person inside it, and starts screaming. It doesn't take long before everybody surrounding her joins in. Reporters grab their microphones and cameras start flashing.
Draco Malfoy elegantly slips out from the vehicle, somehow managing to look both causal and dignified at the same time. He accepts a pen from his manager and heads to the girl that started screaming first.
She's frozen, mouth open, as he nears her. Then-
"Please, please, sign my shirt for me!" she begs.
Draco Malfoy grins, brandishing the pen, "of course," he says, "no problem at all. What's your name?"
"Lavender," the girl breathes, "Sign right here please-" Draco crouches down so that he can write his name and the words 'To Lavender' on her back.
The first autograph from Draco Malfoy tonight. The girl is beaming, cameras trained on her and the celebrity. A real monumental moment.
Draco moves along, signing, shaking hands, and, occasionally, gives his famous smirk to a random girl, who immediately erupts into giggles and boasts to her friends.
"Did you see that? He smirked at me! At me!" One such girl gushed to her friend.
"Yes, I saw, how very exciting," her friend replies sarcastically, rolling her eyes. She was, perhaps, the only person in the twenty feet radius that was not trying to get closer to the famous boy.
"Hermione, don't be such a party pooper," the girl pouts, "You promised to come."
"And I did- that's why I'm here," Hermione Granger sighs, "And currently I'm regretting my decision. I swear one of my eardrums just popped. And I have a massive bruise from where several girls pushed into me-"
"You promised to not complain," the girl reminded her friend. "C'mon, I know you're not a fan of the movie, but you liked it, didn't you?"
Hermione stuffs her earphones into her ears in an effort to block out the screaming and the shouting. "Yes, I enjoyed the movie. But I don't think Draco Malfoy's in it, is he? So why is he at the premiere? The main actors didn't get so much attention."
"He is in the movie," the girl insists.
"Then what's his character?"
But Hermione's friend couldn't reply, because the person in question had stopped in front of her, reaching out for the piece of paper she's clutching.
"Autograph?" he asks, smirking at her once more.
"Oh, yes," the girl says eagerly. "My name's Ginny. Ginny Weasley."
"Right. How's this? To Ginny Weasley, signed Draco Malfoy," and without waiting for her response, he signs it with a flourish and reaches out to Hermione, only to find that she doesn't have a piece of paper for him to sign.
"Do you want me to sign your t-shirt?" he asks, eyeing the black shirt Hermione is wearing.
"Can you use a black marker pen on a black shirt?" Hermione shots at him.
Draco pauses. This was the first time ever that a girl has rejected his autograph. He doesn't know how to respond.
"I can sign your arm," he offers finally, still playing the I'm-the-good-guy part.
Hermione looks down at her bare arms, and wrinkles her nose. "Thanks, but I don't want you to- I might get ink poisoning."
"What about a handshake?"
Hermione stares at him. Doesn't he get that she's not a fan? That she doesn't even know him? (Well, she did, but only because Ginny kept re-reading his profile on Wikipedia.)
"No." she says firmly.
"Are you out of your mind?" She blurts out. "Who offers hugs to girls they don't even know?"
Just then, another limousine pulls up, and everybody's attention is temporarily drawn to the breathtaking beauty that's being escorted out. Draco sees this opportunity, bends low, his smile wiped off his face.
"Just let me give you a handshake," he insists, staring the short girl down.
Hermione refuses to give way. "No," she says firmly.
"Why not?" He sounds exasperated.
"Why should I let you?" She asks, crossing her arms. Her friend, Ginny, is too busy taking photos of the starlet to notice the brewing storm.
"Because I have to keep up my appearance as the most wanted bachelor," he smirks.
"Most wanted bachelor?" Hermione looks around, "where? I don't see him."
Draco scowls. "Listen," he says warningly, "when the crowd's attention is back on me- you're going to let me give you a handshake."
"No," she repeats. "And who are you anyway- why are you here?"
Draco's baffled. "I'm Draco Malfoy," he emphasises his last name.
"Yeah?" She's looking away now, her attention wavering. "So who do you play in the movie?"
He flinches. "I'm an extra," he admits reluctantly.
"Oh?" she raises her eyebrows, "and do all the extras struts around on the red carpet like you do?"
"I'm the main female lead's brother," he explains.
Hermione nods, "okay, I get it. You're here because your sister's famous."
Draco wants to throttle this girl. But he won't- he must stay calm.
"I'm here because the fans want to see me."
"Fans of the movie or fans of you?" Hermione asks.
She shakes her head, "you're drawing all the attention away from the actors and actresses that actually worked hard for the film. That's not fair."
Draco shrugs, "I bring in all the fans- that means more viewers, and more money for them."
"You're impossible," she says, "can you be any more arrogant than you already are?"
"Well yes, if I'm you."
She catches sight of the girl moving towards them. Soon all the cameras will be trained on Draco again. Draco seems to realise this and straightens, his show smile plastered on his face once more.
"Goodbye, Mr. Extra," Hermione says, narrowing her eyes.
"See you around, Miss Nobody." And then he disappears into the crowd, signing, smirking and shaking hands. Both of them give no sign about their exchange.
Draco makes up an excuse and heads towards the bathroom. He has a headache from all the screaming. His face feels oddly numb from all the smiling and smirking he has to do.
He reaches the empty corridor, sighing in pleasure as silence greets him. He always says in interviews that his idea of paradise would be standing in the middle of a crowd, anonymous, listening to his favourite band. But that was not quite true. His idea of paradise would be someplace where he could stay in private, in isolation, with nothing but him, silence and a stack of sci-fi novels. And perhaps a cat curled up in his lap-with a cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows on the side.
But he has to keep up his appearance as the unattainable playboy, so he pretends that he prefers flipping through car magazines featuring barely-clothed models and drinking beer.
So many lies, so many false appearances.
He ignores the door with the male toilet sign hanging on it and instead turns left, through the worker's entrance that leads to the back where the rubbish bins are. For now, that'll serve as his paradise.
His hopes are dashed when he sees that somebody's already there. But wait- he recognises the girl.
It's that un-fan girl, with that stupid black t-shirt, head of hair that looks like a nuclear explosion happened to it, leaning against the metal of the rubbish bin, bobbing her head to music.
He stands right next to her, but she doesn't seem to realise. Her eyes are closed, and the volume is cranked right up.
Then a smile finds its way onto his face. A voluntary, genuine smile.
A wicked smile.
He wrenches the earphones from her ears, making her swear out loud. She looks around wildly, and, catching sight of him holding the dangling earphones, scowls.
"Why, if it isn't Mr. Extra," she says, snatching her earphones back.
"Nice to see you again, Miss Nobody. Did your boyfriend dump you?"
She looks flabbergasted. "What? What makes you think that?"
He shrugs, "oh, you know, just that your face shouts out rejection."
"Yes," Hermione says without skipping a beat, "just like yours scream out failure."
"Oh," he chuckles, "I'm not a failure. I'm worth about fourteen million galleons, I've won numerous awards-"
"-For being the most arrogant, stuck-up, spoilt, immature child? Yes, I'm sure you won that, no contest."
They fall silent as a cheer-distantly- erupts from inside the building.
"Aren't you supposed to be in there? You know, since your sister's there?"
"I needed some air. And might I add that I don't follow my sister around."
"Not all the time, I'm sure," Hermione says, but her tone spoke otherwise.
The music is still blaring from her earphones- Draco tilts his head to one side, trying to catch the lyrics.
"It's Italian," she explains, holding up the music device.
"Ah, just like my shoes," he beams, "looks like we have something in common."
"Dear Merlin," she mutters, stuffing the earphones back into her ears. She ignores him for the next few moments, seemingly oblivious to the way he's staring at her.
Draco sighs and runs his hand through his hair, completely messing it up. He leans against the rubbish bin, focusing on the soothing Italian song rather than the cheers directed at him.
He finds that actually likes this, standing here next to someone, both of them just silent, listening to a slow beautiful Italian song. Maybe he needs to rethink about what paradise, to him, actually is.
He thinks about the starlet, Pansy, his girlfriend. Both of them are only dating each other because to date other people would be unthinkable-not because they loved only each other, but because the two teens were currently in the hot-spot, and people expected them to be a couple. Their relationship was obligatory, not voluntary.
He thinks about their so-called dates, which involved sharing an ice cream in front of a whole horde of paparazzi. He remembers being disgusted about eating melted ice cream and sharing the same spoon with someone else. He remembers the way that they only held hands or kissed when everybody was looking.
It was stupid. Everything about his life is stupid. It's completely fabricated to make him seem irresistible and unattainable when all he wanted was to act-nothing more, but just act, in films. He loves his work, regardless of whether he plays the handsome guy who gets it all, or the poor beggar on the streets. He loves acting in films, but he hates acting in life.
"What?" He's confused.
"Stop acting- show everybody who you really are. Your job should not take over your life."
He didn't realise he'd spoken out loud. "Oh," he says, not knowing how to respond.
"I did that. I let my job take over my life- and now I'm paying for it."
"What did you do?" He hadn't realised she had a job- she looked like she was seventeen, and in school.
"I'm a student," she says, "and I let my way of wanting to be the perfect student get in the way of more important things."
She hesitates. She doesn't know why she's sharing these intimate feelings with him. She's not usually so talkative when the subject is herself. But she relents. "I studied every day and night, and I neglected my two best friends. As a result, we've grown apart. It hurts me to see them hanging together without me, and I hide my feelings by burying deeper into books- but that, of course, made things worse. They realised that my presence wasn't necessary, and though they remained friendly, we drifted apart."
Draco ponders about this. "Maybe you can contact them?" he suggests, "ask them out for a movie?"
Hermione smiles- a nice warm smile. "That's a great idea," she says, "I think I'll do just that."
He's on a roll here, being nice. "Tell you what," he says, "I'll get my manager to mail you three free tickets to the movie I'm starring in."
She snorts, and he's immediately taken back. "What?" he asks defensively.
"It's just-sorry, but my friends and I aren't exactly, er…" Hermione didn't know how to put her words delicately. She feels that she should not return his odd act of kindness with harsh words.
"-Fans of me?" Draco guesses.
Hermione breathes in relief. "Yeah," she says.
"Invite them anyway. It'll be a test-" Merlin knows how many tests I go through each day, Draco thinks, "-If they agree, you know that they feel the same way, because if they truly are your friends, they'll do anything to get you back."
"And if they don't?"
"Then you need to find other friends."
Hermione laughs. "That's true. I should move on."
"Move on?" Draco doesn't understand.
She blushes, and he realises. "You like them," he says, "like like them."
"Not them," Hermione corrects, "just one of them-Ron."
"Well, if they reject you, I'll come along," he doesn't know why he's offering so much to her-just that he wants to. There's something about this girl that makes him feel like he needs her. Or the feeling that she needs him, maybe.
She raises an eyebrow, "Really?" She doesn't sound giggly or excited, like how his adoring fans would've sounded. She sounds… relieved. Yes- that was the word. Though he didn't know why she'd be relieved.
"Yeah, sure, why not?" he shrugs, "just bring a helmet along."
"Yes," she says thoughtfully, "I would need it, wouldn't I?"
"To hide your face from the reporters," he adds.
"Oh," she says, surprised, "I thought I needed one because of well, you."
"Yeah, I hear that you always end up drunk. I figure I need a safeguard so that my head remains intact. Who knows what you may do when you have alcohol inside of you?"
Draco stares at her. "I have a reputation as a drunk?"
"As the numerous photos in magazines proclaims, yes."
"I wasn't aware you followed such substance-less, poor-excuse-for-literature magazines."
"I don't- Ginny does. But I agree that it doesn't have any substance in it, considering most of the time it features you."
"Ouch. I'm hurt…"
"Hermione," she says. She didn't realise that she hadn't even introduced herself.
"Hermione," he repeats.
"Draco! Get back inside!" It's his manager, and he's frowning at the boy, ignoring Hermione.
"All right," Draco sighs. "So, movie, when?"
"I'll call you," he promises, before following his manager inside.
Hermione gives a small chuckle. "How?" she asks him quietly, "considering you don't even know my number."
Hermione gives a small grunt as she heaves Ginny's suitcase down the stairs. "You do realise we have a twenty kilogram limit, don't you?" She says to the red-head.
Ginny gives up pulling her other suitcase, and instead pushes it down, so it whizzes by Hermione and lands on the ground. "It's twenty exactly," she says, "well, this suitcase is. I estimated that yours probably weighs about ten, so the other one is ten. Gosh, I love travelling with you. Tell the check—in counter that that suitcase is yours, okay?"
"Fine," Hermione says, pushing the suitcase with her foot, just like Ginny did, "but you owe me, big time."
"I'll come with you to that museum," Ginny offers. "Y'know, the one featuring Merlin and Gandalf."
"That, and you're paying for my lunch tomorrow."
"Ugh. All right."
They sit down on top of their suitcases, waiting for the taxi to arrive.
"So… you never told me what happened that night."
Hermione pretends not to understand, "what night?" she asks, avoiding Ginny's stare.
"When you slipped out to get some fresh air and met The Draco Malfoy."
"We didn't do anything!" Hermione protests, "We just talked, that's all."
"He offered to take you to the movies," Ginny grins, "I think he likes you."
Hermione scoffs, "he didn't even know my name. He just felt sorry for me."
"A hot, famous guy who's dating a hot, famous girl doesn't just hand out dates to random girls."
"Well, apparently he does. Stop talking about him, Ginny, it gives me a migraine."
"A heart-burn is more like it. Admit it, you like him too."
"He's an arrogant bastard that pretends to be nice. And I thought we'd agreed to not continue on with this subject?"
"You suggested it, but I didn't agree."
"-Hey, is that our taxi?"
Hermione peers over her friend's shoulder. She frowns, "I highly doubt it. I'm sure we didn't hire a white limousine."
The limousine stops, and the driver hopes out.
"Oh my-" Ginny grips Hermione's hand. "It's Draco Malfoy!"
"That can't be tru- It is him!"
Draco Malfoy steps out of the vehicle and catches sight of the two girls. He walks towards them.
"I promised you a movie, didn't I?" he says to Hermione.
"How did you know I was staying here?" She asks.
"Because an anonymous person told me."
Hermione whips her head around to stare at Ginny, who suddenly announces she forgot something upstairs. Draco replaces Ginny, sitting on the suitcase.
"So," he says conversationally, "Did you call them? Ron and the other person?"
"Harry," Hermione supplies, "and yes, I have."
"We're having lunch tomorrow, once I return to London."
Draco draws out three movie tickets from his pocket. "Still giving these to you," he says, "as a thank you."
Hermione's confused, "for what?"
"Your advice," he replies, "Pansy and I have talked it through, and we're going to stage a hideous break-up in front of everybody. Then I'm selling my penthouse and moving to a house that's within walking distance of a good café and a library. I'm taking one year's rest, then once I'm off the radar, I'm going to audition for parts that really interest me."
"Sounds great," Hermione says. She raises an eyebrow, "Café? Library?"
"I happen to enjoy drinking hot chocolate and reading sci-fi novels," Draco confesses, "I like cats too, but I don't think I'm ready to have one. I wouldn't have the time."
"I have a cat. Crookshanks."
"I'll pay him a visit if I happen to be in London."
Hermione shakes his head, "you don't know where I live."
"Not now, I will though, soon enough."
"What? How? I'm not telling you- and Ginny's not either."
"Because I'm going to be on the same plane as you."
"You stalker," she says, laughing, "I can file a complaint for harassment."
"You can't if you invited me," he says, "with a witness. Hey Ginny," he says to the red-head who was eavesdropping behind the vase, "Hermione invited me to see her cat, didn't she?"
Ginny nods, a wicked glint in her eye, "oh absolutely, "she agrees, "yes, she did."
"There," Draco says triumphantly, "problem solved."
"With a questionable solution," Hermione mutters. "Where's our taxi anyway?"
Draco blinks, "oh, I forgot, I'm giving you a ride to the airport."
"In a limousine?" Ginny squeals, "Gosh, thanks!" And without bothering to listen to Hermione spluttering her protests, she and Draco wheels the suitcases to the driver, who loads them.
Fast forward x16
"And I proclaim you husband and wife!"
"WHAT?" the girl snatched the remote away from the boy, who smirked. "That's the craziest thing I've ever heard! How the hell did the girl fall in love with such a prat?"
"Beats me," the boy crossed his arms, "Not to mention the way how the awesome boy falls for the questionable girl."
"This is the stupidest movie I've ever seen. I demand that you rewrite the script- or at least change the names of the characters."
"No. I like this."
"I don't. I'm not handing this thing in."
"The due date is tomorrow," the boy reminded her, "C'mon, you know we'll get an E for Muggle Studies if we give the professor this. She likes this crap."
"Really? She does?"
"Yeah, I mean, what's not to like? Hot, famous, rich guy falling in love with ugly nobodies. She can pretend she's Miss Nobody and her Mr. Extra is out there, somewhere. It's every female's dream, isn't it?"
"That's incredibly sexist of you, Malfoy," the girl scowled. "But you're right. We simply don't have any time anymore. I guess we'll just have to hand this thing in. By the way- what happened to the script that we wrote together?"
"You mean the one that you wrote? I burnt it."
"It's filled with feminist ideals. I mean, seriously? House elves ruling wizards? Men getting rescued by witches?"
"It shows how unfair the world is, Malfoy. Elves deserve to be recognised for their contribution to our society, and I'm sick of the whole cliché damsel-in-distress, Prince Charming comes along story line."
"Whatever. Okay, eject the DVD. I've got better things to do than sitting around watches movies- albeit great ones- with you, Granger."
"Great movie? This?" Hermione scoffed. "I beg to differ." But she took out the disc and placed it inside its envelope.
Muggle Studies Partner Project- Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy
Final Grade- Exceeding Expectations.
Comments- I hope you don't mind that I've made an extra copy. Professor Dumbledore insisted that we play this for our weekly "Muggle Movie" Staff day.
Oh, nearly forgot- you two are both invited- this coming Sunday, 8pm, Staff Room.
And bring along your sleeping bag, because it's going to be a slumber party.
To Professor Burbage:
You're kidding, right? Because the chance of me going to a slumber party with nobody else but Professors and that Granger nut is the same as a ball of ice cream's chance in Hell.
Which, if you were not able to comprehend my words, meant that your invitation is rejected. I. Will. Not. Go.
To Draco Malfoy,
Unfortunately I seem to have accidentally entered a T for your assessment rather than the E that you deserved. This mistake can easily be rectified if you accept the invitation.
P. Charity Burbage.
If you think that you can blackmail a Malfoy, well, think again.
P.S.- how're you and Flitwick doing? Reached second base yet?
To Professor Burbage:
I accept the invitation and look forward to the party.
P.S.: if Malfoy happens to end up in the Hospital Wing, it has nothing to do with me. I swear.
To Draco Malfoy:
In the words of an insolent child: "If you think you can blackmail a professor, well, think again."
P. Charity Burbage
P.S.: my personal life has nothing to do with you- but since you asked so nicely (note the sarcasm) I will say nothing except that I'll tell you at the party, provided, of course, that you are there.
P.P.S.: I believe you seem to have forgotten that little incident in fourth year concerning you, Miss Pansy, and some highly inappropriate actions, all wrapped up in the romantic atmosphere of a broom closet.
Madam Pomfrey's report regarding:
Student: Draco Malfoy
Injury: A rather large bruise on the top of his head, several cracked ribs and the signs of being confunded.
Reason for Treatment: I was unable to treat Mr Malfoy, on account that Miss Granger (fellow student patient) refused to stop punching him.
Madam Pomfrey's report regarding:
Student: Hermione Granger
Injury: questionable red mark on her neck.
Reason for Treatment: The patient would not stop punching fellow patient Mr Malfoy.
The plan has worked. Mission highly successful.
Excellent, thank you. (And yes, I happened to witness the 'event', so to speak.)
P.S.: I believe we should advertise our match-making skills in the Daily Prophet.
A/N: haha, just something random I typed up when I'm supposed to study. Will appreciate it very much if you review :)