Chapter One: Muggle Studies

Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the Harry Potter books or movies or J.K. Rowling

Hermione rushed down the corridor, wanting to get to her first class. She knew that she was 20 minutes early, but she didn't care. She just wanted to get there and make sure she got a good seat, and set up all her books and supplies so she would be ready when the professor walked in.

It felt so good to be in the halls of Hogwarts again. She forgot how much she missed the sounds of students milling about the corridors, the long hallways lined with stone and lit with torches, and the smell of musty old books in the library. She loved the smooth well-worn wood in the tables and desks that have been used by many students before them.

Yes she was happy to be back in school and get back into her usual routine. Hanging out in the Great Hall with Harry, Ron and Ginny as well as the other Gryffindor's and spend hours upon hours studying in the library when she wasn't in class.

She was returning to complete her schooling along with several other students from her year. She was already far ahead in her class, so she only had to take a few more classes to complete her schooling. Fortunately for her, she had already taken and passed all of her core classes and all she had left were electives. This meant she got to choose what she wanted to take. Unlike Harry and Ron who still had to take Advanced Herbology and Advanced Transfiguration.

She was only required to choose three electives to take her final year, but three classes wasn't enough and she wanted to take more. And besides she had enough spare time, so why not? Harry and Ron of course thought that she was mad for wanting to take more classes than necessary. You would think after seven years of knowing each other they would back off and let her do her own thing. They just didn't understand her passion to learn.

The electives they wanted to take were flying and quidditch, which she personally had no interest in either…she had a thing with heights. Since Harry and Ron still had core classes to take and they choose to do the two electives she didn't want to participate in, it meant they wouldn't be in any classes together. Which was a bit strange and sad, since from day one they've been in the same classes and now they weren't, especially in their last year.

But on the bright side, it was probably a good thing and she'll be able to concentrate better instead of sharing her notes with Harry or constantly fighting off Ron's persistent pestering with him trying to convince her to write his term papers for him. Yes, being in separate classes this year will definitely be a good thing indeed.

She got to her first class and walked into the room. Of course she was the first one there, which was no surprised; it just meant she could get her choice of seat. She didn't want to sit in front and seem too eager, but she didn't want to sit too far back either, because then she might not be able to see everything the professor writes on the board or hear everything they say.

She picked out a seat that was in the second row, right in the center of the classroom. She sat down and put her book bag on the floor and started taking out her books, parchment and quills. Shortly other students started coming in, claiming their seats.

This class was a new course added to the curriculum, only offered to 7th years, but not required, like the core classes were. It was supposed to be a class on Muggle Studies of the 21st Century. Harry and Ron gave her hell when they found out she was taking a class on Muggle Studies, because she was a muggle born and should already know everything there is to know about muggles. But she was interested in finding out what they taught in this course and what the wizard's perspective was on muggles…a nonjudgmental perspective.

She glanced at her watch, only a couple minutes before class started. Most of the seats in the classroom were filled up and only two empty seats remained, one of them was next to her and the other was in the front row. She made a quick glance around the room; she recognized most of the students but didn't know them personally. Any second now the professor should be walking in.

The professor teaching this class was supposed to be someone new and Hermione was anxious to meet her. Just as she suspected a short, surprisingly young woman walked in and set her articles on the desk in the front of the classroom next to the chalk board. She had fire red hair, with big lavender eyes, and wore bright green leggings with a blue tunic-like dress. She wore pink lace fingerless gloves on each hand and to top it all off wore bright yellow sneakers on her feet. The woman literally looked like a rainbow had thrown up all over her. It was almost difficult to look directly at her, her outfit was so bright.

She went about pulling various books and things out of her bag but still didn't address the class. She walked over to the chalkboard in the room and began to write her name. Harriet Candlewick.

A door opened and closed in the back of the class. Professor Candlewick didn't turn around from the chalkboard as she addressed the late comer. Hermione didn't bother to look back at who came in, instead had her quill ready, prepared to take notes.

"Mr. Malfoy, you're late. Please find a seat so we can begin."

Malfoy? Hermione thought. Why would he take a class on Muggle Studies? She heard a rumor that he was severely behind in his studies, but surely he would have taken something different then Muggle Studies? She sighed, so much for having an easy class with no distractions.

There were only two seats left in the classroom. Surely he would see her and decide to take the one in the front row, instead of the one next to her. Unfortunately that was not the case; she didn't need to look to see that he plopped down his leather book bag next to hers on the ground and sat in the desk about two feet away from hers. She ignored him and continued to stare straight ahead, ready for Professor Candlewick to start class.

"Now that everyone is here. I like to say welcome." Professor Candlewick turned towards the class, clasping her hands together, making the bangles on her wrists jingle.

Her voice was high pitched and a bit squeaky, reminding Hermione of a pixie…or a squirrel.

"My name is Harriet Candlewick, but you can call me Harriet. I'm not formal here so there is no need to call me Professor Candlewick or even Mrs. Candlewick, just Harriet is perfectly acceptable to me."

She didn't want them to call her professor? Hermione's never had to call a teacher by their first name, it just seemed to causal. And for some reason that didn't sit well with her. But she supposed it would be okay since the prof…uh Harriet looked more like a student then a teacher.

"First things first. You all signed up for Muggle Studies in the 21st Century, yes?" all the students nodded.

"Excellent, however you should know, there has been a slight change in the curriculum. Instead of Muggle Studies in the 21st Century in general. I thought it was necessary to narrow it down to something a bit more specific."

A slight panic rose up in Hermione's chest. How could she change the curriculum? She already studied ahead of time with the assigned books for Muggle Studies in the 21st Century. How could she change it without letting us know ahead of time, before we signed up for the class?

"Marriage and Family in the 21st Century, is what we'll be learning in this class. And not to worry I've already cleared it with the headmaster and she loved the idea, since this will be something that you can apply in your everyday life once you leave the walls of Hogwarts."

Hermione heard Malfoy mutter a curse, but she ignored him. Marriage and family? That didn't seem too bad, she probably wouldn't have taken this course if she knew that this was what they would be learning but since she was already signed up for it she might as well stay.

Hermione looked around the room, most of the girls didn't seem to mind but the boys seemed to be mumbling angrily to each other.

"In this class we will be talking about the joy of what it's like to become a parent and how to find your life mate and how to treat your spouse with love, care and respect. As well as learning about marriage and family life in other culture around the world."

More grumbling came from the boys. Hermione could see Malfoy hunch down lower in his seat, scowling at the teacher from the corner of her eye. She hoped this wasn't going to be a class where the teacher made them carry around an egg or a sack of flour and pretend it's a baby for the rest of the term. Surely they wouldn't do something like that at Hogwarts? She remembered her cousin Lisa had to do that once in her muggle school and her partner accidentally dropped their egg and broke it causing them both to fail the class.

Hermione loved hands on projects, but she didn't want to have to waste her energy taking care of a fake baby when she could be learning how to brew potions that could help cure deadly diseases or something equally exciting.

"Does anyone have any questions or concerns about this change in class?" Harriet asked.

"Is it too late to drop out and switch classes?" one of the boys in back called out.

"No your class schedules are already finalized, so you may not drop out or switch this class with another."

Hermione raised her hand. "Since we're no longer focusing on Muggle Studies in the 21st Century, do we need to get new books? Or are we still going to use the one's already assigned to us?"

Malfoy cursed under his breath once again.

"No need Ms. Granger, we won't be using any of the assigned books for this course, so you might as well go ahead and put them away. In this class I will provide all of the information you will be needing to learn and all that there is that I have to teach. I believe in a hands-on teaching method, nothing you can learn in life comes from books, the way to learn is experience."

What the bloody hell was she going on about? You can learn so many things from books and literature, that's the whole reason they exist in the first place.

"Any other questions before I get started?" No one spoke up. "Excellent, well I suppose we should get started on your projects for this term. I'm going to go around the room and pair everyone up in groups of two. The person who I partner you up with will be your class partner for the remainder of the term. Once I have everyone partnered up I will pass out instructions for your first assignment."

Candlewick started pairing everyone up, starting off from the back. Hermione couldn't help but notice each pair was grouped boy/girl. The number of people who still needed to be paired up was growing shorter and shorter. And then there were only four people left. Susan Clubburd and Thomas Mchunger, and Hermione and Malfoy.

"Next will be Susan with Thomas."

Hermione could see Malfoy tense up knowing the same thing she knew. They were the last two people left who haven't been paired up.

"Last but not least, Hermione and Drac…"

"Professor I really don't think that's a good idea. I can't work with Malfoy, it would be a disaster. Please I'll work with anyone else, just not Malfoy." Hermione hated that she sounded like she was begging in front of Malfoy of all things.

"She's right I can't possibly be expected to work with Granger. I refuse to do this project with her."

"Oh you two don't be silly. I've took careful consideration when choosing who should be paired with whom. And you two are the most compatible with each other. We'll see how well you work together on this first assignment, and if you still can't get along then I will choose new partners for you." Candlewick turned and walked back to the front of the classroom, clearly the case was closed.

Hermione turned to Malfoy to glare at him, he was already sneering in her direction.

"I swear to God Malfoy if you screw this up for me I will make your life a living hell." She gritted through her teeth.

"Right back at-yah Princess." He said with venom dripping from his voice, and then turned back towards the front of the class.

She couldn't concentrate on what the assignment was; she was too busy thinking about how awful it was going to be to work with Malfoy.

"Some important things to know about this class, is that you will be expected to spend at least two hours each day outside of class to work on your project with your assigned partner. I've gone over all of your individual class schedules and came up with workable timeslots for each pair to work, without disrupting your other classes."

"You can't do that, what happens when we get assigned an emergency quidditch practice at last minute or something? You can't expect us to work on our class project during all of our free time."

"Yes, I understand your concerns. Believe me, the last thing I wanted to do when I was a student was work on school work during my downtime. If anyone has any problems concerning the time or any conflicts with extracurricular activities then they may come see me and we'll work out a more acceptable time that works better for you and your partner. This class is worth six credit hours instead of your traditional four, and the extra two hours are what I'm calling lab hours, which is when you'll come here during your assigned timeslot I give you for additional time to work on your projects that you can't do when in class. This was all explained in the curriculum when you signed up for this class. These lab hours will work just as normal classroom hours, you will sign in to get participation points and I'll be checking in on you during your work time to see if you have any questions and problems concerning your individual projects." She grabbed a stack of packets and passed them out. "Here is the times you and your partners will meet each day and you will report here to work on your project. Unless I tell you otherwise." She handed a packet to Malfoy and then one to Hermione.

"In these packets will be a list of ingredients you and your partner will need to collect to brew a special potion, that will be used to create your projects. Each group has a different list of ingredients and potions, so there is no excuse for anyone to cheat or ask help from a different group. This is a group project, as I've said. If you need help ask your partner. This project is to improve your teamwork sills. You and your partner will need to learn to trust and respect each other. And when you do so, you will succeed. Each partner needs to participate in this project, which is why it is called a group project. If one person does all the work and the other doesn't, then your grade will reflected that. And we all want to pass with high marks, don't we?"

Malfoy looked over at Hermione and sneered at her, she glared back at him. This class was going to be pure hell with Malfoy.

"Each of your potions will take roughly 2 to 3 days to brew and then once your potion is brewed to perfection, you will receive further instructions from me. Now unless anyone has any questions that will be all for today. Don't forget to meet here tomorrow during your assigned timeslot with your partner to start working on your projects."

Hermione was so busy looking over the ingredients that she and Malfoy needed to collect for their potion, that she didn't even get to ask what their project even was. All she knew was that they had to brew a potion that was going to take at least 2 to 3 days to make.

When the professor dismissed the class, Malfoy was already up and leaving the room. He better be there tomorrow at…she looked at her packet, 6:00pm, which meant after dinner. Great that was her favorite time to study in the library, now she had to spend it with Malfoy instead. This project just kept getting better and better, she thought bitterly as she gathered her own books and left the classroom.

The rest of the day went on smoothly with professors giving out normal homework assignments and not vague group projects. Unfortunately Hermione found herself having three other classes with Malfoy. Luckily he choose to sit in the back with other Slytherins and left her alone. He never came up to her and asked about their project, not that she expected or wanted him to, but she wanted to make sure he collected his half of the ingredients that he was assigned to and bring them tomorrow. She was not going to fail because he didn't do his share of the work.

Draco didn't want to come back this year, but it was either come back or stay home with his manic depressed father watching his every move with a disappointed look in his eyes. Of course coming back to school meant he had to make up twice the amount of classes, since he practically failed most of his classes his 6th year. He had other important things to consider back then like trying to stay alive.

The headmaster told him he needed to pass all of his classes this year in order to graduate with the rest of his class. If he didn't then he would have to stay another year and graduate with the 6th years, which he had no desire to do. He didn't even bother signing up for classes this year, he just told the headmaster to put him in whatever and make sure they were enough to ensure that he graduated on time. Which is how he got stuck in a stupid class like Muggle Studies and now finds out it's going to be some lame class on parenting or some such nonsense. And to top it off he's partners with Granger, and has to work on the project alone with her for two hours every day.

He grimaced, just thinking about being in the same room with her was making his stomach turn. At least she didn't have her two bosom buddies, Potter and Weasel following her around like puppy dogs in class. It was most likely his fault, that he got partnered with her, he shouldn't have sat next to her in class. He didn't like that the professor singled him out in class when he came in late, so he took the first seat he saw. It was only after he sat down that he noticed Granger sitting next to him.

He had three other classes with her during the day and he made sure to sit as far away as possible from her in case some of the other professors got an idea to partner them up together as well. The less he spent in the company of Granger the better.

The next day she was eating dinner in the Great Hall with Ron and Harry. They were both going on about the upcoming Gryffindor verses Ravenclaw quidditch match that was going on tomorrow, and how they were convinced Gryffindor was going to win because they had a new strategy. Hermione was only half listening to them yammer on about it, nodding at the appropriate moments and what not. She was more concerned about her first project meeting with Malfoy. Will he even show up? He never once came up to her to discuss how they were going to make this work. And there was no way she was going to confront him especially when he was surrounded by all his Slytherin cronies.

She was losing her appetite and just ended up pushing her food around her plate more than anything. She almost felt nervous about their meeting. Was Prof…Harriet going to be there to observe them...and make sure they don't kill each other? Was he going to make her do all the work? Probably, she thought grimly.


She looked up from her plate, "hmmm?"

"I asked if you were going to the library to study after dinner. I really need you help on my transfigurations homework." Ron asked her.

"Uh, no. Actually I have a muggle studies project I'm working on with my partner. We're supposed to meet at 6:00pm."


"In the Muggle Studies classroom."

"When will you be done? I really need your help, Hermione."

She let out a sigh. "I don't know Ronald! We have to work on our project for at least two hours and I still have all of my other homework that I have to complete before tomorrow. I don't know if I'll have any time tonight."

"Okay, fine. I'll try to do it myself." Ron grumbled impatiently.

She left the Great Hall 10 minutes early. She was anxious and being pestered by Ron and Harry to help them with their homework was getting on her last nerve. And frankly she just wanted to get this stupid project done and out of the way.

Hermione got to the classroom and of course was the first one there. The room was dark, so she flicked her wand and the room lit up. She set her book bag on one of the empty tables and pulled the packet out that the professor gave them and went over it one last time before getting the ingredients out that she collected. She wasn't sure if she should wait for Malfoy to arrive before getting the cauldron setup or go ahead and take care of it. She decided to wait and just organize all the ingredients into the order that they needed to be brewed in.

Two minutes after six o'clock the door opened. Just when she thought he wouldn't show, he came.

"Glad you could make it." Hermione said sarcastically to Malfoy as he set his book bag on a table.

"Let's just get this over with Granger."

"Fine by me." She rolled her eyes and tried to ignore him as she turned and continued to take inventory of the ingredients they needed.

Hermione spun around about to ask him to add his ingredients when she noticed Draco standing next to her arms full of what he was supposed to gather. Her eyes darken in annoyance. He didn't say anything so she spoke up first.

"Right there is fine." She said shortly pointing to the table.

Without speaking he set his ingredients next to hers in a neat pile. "What is this stupid potion we're making anyway?" he asked.

"I don't know, she never said. But I don't want to get a bad grade, so we're going to do what she says." She glanced at the packet for the directions as to how to start the brewing process.

"This is a complete waste of my time. And worse yet I have to do this with you of all people." Draco sneered.

"Yeah, well I'm not exactly jumping for joy either Malfoy." She muttered to herself as she went to the side of the room to get a cauldron so they could start brewing.

Normally in Potions the cauldrons were already set up on the tables, but since they weren't in a potion classroom, the cauldrons were stacked up along the wall. One thing about cauldrons, even small ones, is that they are much heavier then they look. She bent down and tried to life one off the ground. But she was having trouble getting a good grip on the handles.

"Do you need help with that?" Malfoy asked when he noticed Hermione struggling with the caldron.

He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the table, smirking at her yet making no actual move to go over there and help her.

"Oh yes, Malfoy. Maybe you could give it a mean sneer and maybe it will carry itself across the room." Hermione sneered sarcastically. "No thanks."

"Whatever Granger." Draco said as he continued to pull out his ingredients from his book bag.

She reached for the cauldron again, hoisted it up in the air and lost her balance and the cauldron dropped with a loud clang. She got back up immediately ignoring Malfoy's obvious enjoyment over her struggle. Hermione was determine to move this cauldron by herself even if it was the only thing she got done for the night.

"Wait," Malfoy said as he walked up to her side. "Granger wait. Hold on, I just want to say something."

From the tone of his voice Hermione thought he was about to apologize or possibly help her. She stood up and waited. He stood very close to her, staring at her with unfamiliar intensity. Hermione's heart started to beat uncontrollably, and she willed it to stop.

As their eyes locked, he leaned in even closer. "Put your back into it and life from the legs." He whispered.

Hermione jerked away from him trying to control her temper as he spun around and walked back to the table. She took a deep breath and found out she was shaking, whether it was because she was so angry or if it was because of something else, she didn't know. Regardless she was not going to let someone like Draco Malfoy see how much he had affected her.

After bit of huffing and puffing she finally got the cauldron to the table. Ignoring Malfoy as much as possible. Now she wished that she should have went ahead and set up the cauldron before he arrived.

They silently began brewing their potion. For the first day they only had to add a couple of the ingredients into the potion and had to leave them to simmer for 24 hours. But first they had to bring the water up to a boil and add two sprigs of knotgrass and let them break up and separate in the hot water. Next was the armadillo bile, once that was added they had to let it sit for an hour stirring occasionally.

Malfoy apparently put Hermione in charge of the stirring for he plopped down in a chair and propped his feet on the table with his arms crossed over his chest and shut his eyes. She scowled at him, even though the task was simple and honestly she didn't mind doing it. It still made her blood boil when he decided to take a nap instead of work on their assignment.

The hour went by slowly. Hermione made sure to stir once every 5 minutes or so. She caught herself looking over at Malfoy more than once and each time she would turn away quickly annoyed with herself for looking in the first place.

At some point when Malfoy first walked into the classroom he took off his class robe and rolled up the sleeves of his white button-up school shirt. He took his tie off and had the top buttons undone, giving Hermione a glimpse of his collarbone and the top of his chest. She couldn't help but notice his arm muscles under his shirt as he crossed his arms. Since when did he become so built? Sure he played quidditch, but this was Malfoy who just looked tall and skinny, not…muscular. Or the fact that his hair was free of any hair product that she usually noticed he used. Instead it looked…soft. He grew it out a bit longer then he usually wore it, but not long enough that it looked unruly. A piece of it fell across his forehead and into his eyes and she inched to move it back and out of the way. He actually looked attractive… She turned away quickly.

What was she doing? She wasn't interested in guys, well okay she was, but she needed to focus on her schooling first and foremost. Then get a decent career and then she can start thinking about guys. And she definitely couldn't start thinking those things about Malfoy, because that was just absurd. She was only thinking those things because she was in close proximity to him and for once he wasn't making fun of her, or picking on her or insulting her or sneering at her…no he was sleeping.

"Are you going to keep staring at me Granger or get back to stirring?" He said eyes still closed.

Heat engulfed her face; she turned quickly back to the potion. How did he know she was looking at him? She cursed herself for becoming so easily distracted by him.

"Well this is a group project. Maybe you could help out a bit instead of sleeping."

"Help out with what? Taking turns stirring? This potion can easily be done by one person. I don't know why we both have to be here for this." She rolled her eyes at him when he went back to sleep.

The hour finally passed and she added the last ingredient for the day. Malfoy actually offered to help carry it over to set it by the other group's cauldrons so it could simmer overnight.

"I just don't want you to throw your back out or anything." Malfoy said in a fake innocent tone that had her gritting her teeth.

He walked up to the cauldron and pulled out his wand, gave it a flick and had the cauldron levitating within seconds. Hermione felt the color drain from her face. Of course, a levitating spell! How could she be so daft not to think of that earlier? Instead she made a fool of herself trying to prove she could carry it by herself.

Once Malfoy set it down gently next to the other cauldrons he turned to her and pretended to roll his shoulder, "Wow that was a lot heavier than I thought it would be. I don't know how you did it with your frail toothpick like arms." Draco gave his shoulder a good rub and faked a wince as if he was in pain, then smirked at her.

She gritted her teeth and glared at him in annoyance, then picked up her book bag with more force than necessary and stormed out of the room. She could hear Malfoy laughing at her all the way out the door. That insufferable git knew just how to push her buttons.

The next meeting went on about the same, with Hermione doing most of the work as Malfoy did as little as possible. Neither of them talked to each other. She still didn't have that faintest idea what kind of potion they were making and why it pertained to their class.

Professor Candlewick still hadn't shown up to check on them like she said she would, but that didn't really bother Hermione. She worked better without the constant supervision of a teacher. The day went faster than yesterday; mainly because they had to add more ingredients to the brew and watch it carefully to make sure they didn't over mix it or burn it.

They packed everything up and left. Hermione decided to head to the library. It was only eight o'clock and Madame Pince kept it open until 9pm on school nights. Hermione still needed to get her Arithmancy homework finished. And she rather do it in the peace and quiet of the library, instead of head back to the Gryffindor common room and have Ron pester her to help him with his homework.

Draco watched as Granger went inside the library. He shook his head, that girl spent too much energy in her school work. Whenever she wasn't in class, she was studying. He even noticed that sometimes during dinner in the Great Hall she would have her head stuck in some book. She needed to learn how to relax and not be so uptight. Not that he was volunteering to help her with that. No way. Spending two hours with her alone in an empty classroom was already messing with his head.

He was starting to notice things he didn't want to be noticing about her. Like yesterday when she was ridiculously trying to lift the cauldron by herself. He walked up to her just to mess with her and noticed when he got in really close she licked her lips, probably subconsciously and hitched in her breath. Or the fact that her hair smelled like jasmine, and when he was pretending to sleep all he could think about was how good she smelled. And when she was concentrating on something she would bite her bottom lip, making him wonder what else she could do with her lips. And he wanted so badly to take the clip that she used to tie her hair up in a tight know out and watch her hair fall down the back of her shoulders. Which was ridiculous because she had crazy, wild uncontrollable hair, why would he like it?

He took in great satisfaction that he caught her staring at him too. He smirked to himself. It was no mystery that most of the female population at Hogwarts thought that he was attractive. Wouldn't it just piss off Potter and Weasley if Granger became part of his little fan base. He walked towards the Slytherin common room, thankful that he only had to spend one more day with Granger working on their project.

On the final day of their potion brewing, Hermione walked into the classroom early as usual. She went ahead and set everything up and got out all of the ingredients that they had left to add. A quarter after six Draco finally walks in.

"You're late," She said not looking up at him from the cauldron.

"It's only been 15 minutes Granger. And it's not like the teacher even bothers to show up anyway to monitor our comings and goings. I could have probably not even shown up at all and she would have never known."

"Not when your grade is on the line, not to mention mine as well." Hermione said.

"Why are you even taking this class? It's not like you need it." He asked turning to face her.

She shrugged, "Why does it matter to you?"

He turned back to the table, "It doesn't."

"Then it's none of your business."

"Whatever Granger. Just tell me what I need to do so I can get out of here."

"Did you bring the rest of the ingredients we need to finish this?"

"Yeah I got everything except Chinese Chomping Cabbage."

She smirked at him. "I kind of expected that, so I went ahead and got some already."

He glared at her. "How did you get that? I've spent all day looking for that stuff."

Hermione gave him a bored look. "All you had to do was go to Professor Sprout and ask for some. Anyway I had some left over from a different project so I brought it along just in case."

He sneered, "I shouldn't be surprised you're always prepared. What's next?" He laid out all of the ingredients on the work table.

"Cut up the Chomping Cabbage, smash the fluxweed and squeeze the juice out of the flobberworms."

"Fine." He went about doing just that.

Hermione watched out of the corner of her eye. He was actually doing what she told him to do and didn't argue or try to make her do it. Not that she was complaining. He was standing next to her, close enough that she could smell whatever cologne he used. He smelled like the outdoors with a hint of spiciness. He was squeezing the juice out of the flobberworms which would have completely grossed her out but all she could focus on was how amazing he smelled. His hair fell into his eyes again and once again she wanted to reach out and move it out of the way. The cauldron started to boil which brought her back to the main focus. Which was getting this potion finished and not think about the way Malfoy looks or smells.

An hour later they added the last finishing touches on the potion until it turned a light lavender color. To her surprise it smelled like peppermint, even though they didn't add any peppermint to it. They turned the heat off to let it cool to room temperature.

Seconds later Professor Candlewick breezed into the classroom. Today she wore a bright orange outfit, paired with her fire red hair. It was difficult to look directly at her. Her voice rang out loud and clear making Hermione wish they could go to being silent.

"Ah, excellent you finished the potion." She clapped her hands together.

Draco was gathering his stuff getting ready to leave.

"Not so fast Mr. Malfoy, you still need to complete the second task before you can go on about your evening."

He set his book bag down with a thud. "And what is that supposed to be?"

Candlewick placed a single smooth rock down on the desk in front of them. "This here is your project."

"It's a rock." Draco said flatly.

"What does a rock have to do with the project?" Hermione asked the professor a bit more kindly then Malfoy did.

"This here won't be just any rock once you added it to the potion. The potion I had you brew is an animation potion. The potion will transform this 'rock' in a baby of sorts. Of course I can't use real babies, since that will be too much responsibility to put on students. But it will be just as fragile as a baby. Once the transformation takes place you will have to care for it as if it were real, you need to make sure it's fed, cleaned, and cared for. Fortunately you'll only have to care for it during class hours, outside of this class room it will change back into its rock like state. The potion you made will make it come alive and it will also tell how well you care for it, if you or your partner neglect it in any way I will be able to tell. And neglect is a form of child abuse, so this project is one to take seriously. The last step of your assignment tonight is that once the potion is cooled down completely you'll need to place your rock into the cauldron and repeat vivo fetus enchante, three times and then let it sit overnight. Tomorrow in class your assignment will be to determine the sex of your rock baby and give it a name." Candlewick told them, she put a tentative hand to the side of their cauldron. "Your potion is still lukewarm, so you'll need to wait a few more minutes before you add your rock. Do either one of you have any questions before we part ways for the evening?" The professor asked them.

"What the bloody hell are you supposed to feed a rock?" Malfoy asked.

"Language Mr. Malfoy, two points from Slytherin." Draco scowled. "I'll go over all the essentials in class tomorrow. Remember this is a class on marriage and family. This project will help you get a better understanding on what it's like to be a parent or having to care for a child. Don't think of it as a rock, think of it as a child in your care. Anything else?" They both shook their heads. "Excellent then I will see you two in class tomorrow."

Draco and Hermione looked at each other after she left.

"If you tell anyone I have to take care of a stupid rock for this stupid project I'll…"

"Hex me into oblivion?" Hermione added sounding bored. "I'm not exactly thrilled about this either."

He leaned against the desk, crossing his arms over his chest as he smirked at her. She reached over towards him grabbing the empty vials of the ingredients they used to brew the potion. Draco flinched away as her arm accidentally brushed his side.

"Watch it will you." He sneered. "What are you doing anyway?"

"What do you think I'm doing? I'm cleaning up, something you could help me with. And if you moved out of my way then you wouldn't have to flinch away from me like a little girl."

"Whatever Granger. Is the bloody potion done yet, I have places to be."

Hermione rolled her eyes and ignored him as she continued to clean up. She slid the cauldron to the edge of the table, careful not to let it slosh over as she cleaned the spot where it sat before. Draco walked to the other side of the table near where the caldron sat. He picked up the rock that was supposed to turn into a baby and examined it as she continued to clean up their workstation.

"This is the most ridiculous assignment I've ever heard of." He grumbled tossing the rock up in the air and catching it in his hand, then tossing it up again.

"Just be lucky it's not an egg or a sack of flour." Hermione grumbled under her breath. "Will you stop doing that, before you knock over something." She told him as he continued to toss it in the air.

"What are you afraid I'm going to drop it? It's just a rock Granger it's not like it will break easily." He told her as he made a big show of tossing it high and catching it.

"I mean it…sto…" she flinched as he faked dropping it. "Stop it Malfoy I mean it. Stop…" he faked it again. "Damn it Malfoy are you trying to make me hex you." She told him walking around the table to take the rock from him, as he smirked at her. "Give it to me." She demanded as she held out her hand.

"No, you'll have to come and get it." He told her as he held it above his head out of her reach.

"What are you five? Give it here Malfoy." She gave him a stern warning.

"Nope like I said you'll have to come and take it from me." He brought his arm down and held the rock out towards her but still slightly out of her reach.

She knew if she tried to take the rock he would just snatch it out of reach again away from her. "I'm not playing this game with you Malfoy."

He didn't say anything, just held out the rock, out of reach. She rolled her eyes and sighed deeply, then reached out quickly to try to snatch it out of his hand. But he was faster and put the rock behind his back. She glared at him as she walked up towards him and tried to reach around him without actually having to touch him. He lifted it above his head. She of course was too short and couldn't reach unless she jumped for it. This was ridiculous.

"Give it here Malfoy." She snarled.

He made a face as if to think about that. "Hmmm, nope you're going to have to jump for it."

Unbelievable, she thought. She was already making a fool of herself so she jumped like a trained dog. Of course he tossed the rock to his other hand and held it out to his side. She launched to the side just after he switched hands again. Putting her hands on her hips she glared at him. As he laughed at her.

"This isn't funny."

"Come and get it." He taunted her as slowly made his way around the table.

She had two choices, crawl across the table and get it or go around either side. She reached over and tried to grabbed, he pulled back. She reached out again and managed to grab a hold of it. But he didn't let go, he tried to pull it away from her but she managed to hold on tight. Soon it became a tag-a-war between them.

"Let go damn it!"

"No you let go." He sneered tugging it closer to him.

Back and forth, they tugged and pulled. Her hands were starting to slip and she was losing her grip on the stupid rock. She tried to grip it tighter; she was not going to lose this stupid game he started. She couldn't hold on any longer, her fingers kept slipping then suddenly she lost her grip all together as well as her balance and flew backwards bumping into the table behind her. He must have fallen back as well and their workstation table shook from their collision. The cauldron teetered violently on the edge of the table directly above her. One last wobble and it fell towards the ground. She moved just in time before it crashed to the ground spilling the potion they took three days to make all over both of them and the floor. Both their clothing was soaked in purple liquid.

"NO!" She quickly righted the cauldron to prevent any more liquid to spill out, and then turned to Malfoy. "You idiot, this is your entire fault."

"My fault, you're the one who knocked into the table making the cauldron fall." He yelled at her as he came around the table and looked inside the cauldron.

"If you didn't start that stupid game of keep away none of this would have happen." She yelled back.

Thankfully there was still about half of the potion left inside, hopefully that would be enough to complete their project. The rock needed to be submerged into the liquid, and there was just enough for that to happen. So they wouldn't have to make the potion all over again. Draco levitated the cauldron back up on the table and dropped the rock inside. Wiping her hands on her skirt she pulled out her wand and chanted the spell to make their project complete. Once the spell was complete she couldn't help but notice the skin on her arms started tingling, as well as everywhere else the potion spilled on her. She shook off the sensation and levitated the cauldron to the far wall to sit next to the other classmates cauldrons.

Hermione looked over at Draco and noticed he was scowling down at his hands, turning them over and back again, then finally took the edge of his shirt and wiped his hands with it. Maybe he felt the odd tingling as well. The potion wasn't toxic and shouldn't hurt them, but it was still odd that it had an effect on them. Draco bent down and picked up his book bag off the ground and wiped away imaginary dust from it, and turned to leave.

Hermione watched him walk away, hands on her hips. "Yeah. You go ahead and leave. I'll just clean all of this mess up by myself." She said sarcastically towards this retreating form.

"You do that Granger. I didn't want to get my hands dirty anyway." Draco said then left the room.

Leaving a scowling Hermione behind.

Once Hermione finished cleaning up their mess, she made sure to wash her hands and arms real good. Her skin stopped tingling so she wasn't worried. She cleaned up her shirt and skirt as well that was still covered in purple liquid before leaving the classroom and headed towards the library so she could finish the rest of her homework from her other classes.

She stayed inside the library until Madame Pince told her to leave because it was closing time. She left the library with more books in her arms then she entered with. None of them were related to her studies, but she was getting low on her every day like-reading material and needed to restock. The books she had stacked in her arms were heavier then she expected and they made walking difficult, but she managed.

As she rounded the corner to go down towards the Gryffindor common room, she noticed Malfoy with his goons standing near the side of the wall. She tried her best to ignore them as she walked by. She could hear Pansy Parkinson snicker in her direction.

Out of the corner of her eye she could see Malfoy trying to get Blaise Zabini's attention.

"Watch this." Malfoy told Zabini as he pulled his wand out and flicked it in her direction.

The next thing Hermione knew her books went flying in all directions and she lost her footing causing her to fall hard on her hands and knees, which caused the group of Slytherins to erupt in laugher. She felt her cheeks flare up in both embarrassment and anger.

"Really Granger, you shouldn't carry around so many books, it clearly disrupts your hand eye coordination. You should be more careful and watch where you're going next time." Malfoy smirked.

Before she could do anything, the group had already started walking in the opposite direction down the corridor. She could still hear the laughter from Pansy and Blaise. Hermione pushed her hair out of her face and began collecting the books that she dropped. Trying to regain a bit of her dignity back by holding her head up high, cursing Malfoy under her breath the entire time.

Little did they both know, that when they went to bed that night. Both of their lives were going to change big time.