Author's Note: Oh, look! I have something else to share with you. A one-shot based on a Treasured Trope prompt submitted by elyaeru. It was already claimed so once posting for the fest had finished on Hawthorn & Vine, I decided to write it up and post it. The prompt was Draco is entrusted with the task of teaching Hermione how to play Quidditch. She sucks and is competitive. I think I leant more towards deluded than competitive.
In my head this is called Quidditch Bet II.
A massive thanks to Poppyxxxx for betaing this for me.
Harry felt his hand close around the familiar shape of the Snitch and grinned as he clung onto it, rolling off of his broomstick onto the grass of the Quidditch pitch. The thud next to him told him that his unsuccessful opponent had done the same.
Harry turned his head and smiled victoriously. "Tomorrow, Malfoy, at 9AM, make sure you're here."
Without waiting for the blond's snippy reply, he sprung up and into the waiting scrum of teammates and supporters to celebrate yet another win against Slytherin. It was made all the sweeter by the fact that he'd gotten rid of the problem which had been troubling him since the summer.
In the giddy days after the war, when all the counselling, rebuilding, and immediate mourning had taken place, Harry had stayed for one glorious month at the Burrow. With Fred finally out of hospital, there had been a party atmosphere. It was in this environment that they had finally persuaded Hermione to play Quidditch. She had whined and complained about getting on the broom, more so when they'd all taken off, but soon that moaning had turned into war cries as her competitive nature had overtaken. By the end of the day, they'd all been wondering what monster they had unleashed on the Quidditch-playing fraternity.
Unfortunately for Harry, Ron, and Ginny, Hermione wasn't a gifted Quidditch player. Oh, she could fly okay, but she had no coordination skills, no understanding of the finer points of the game, and, most importantly, no natural talent. However, she liked to win and was very vocal on this point. Now that the Quidditch bug had bitten her, she spent every available moment trying to force her friends to teach her how to play.
And Harry had officially run out of excuses.
However, luckily for him, Draco Malfoy had come along, looking to make their final year's Quidditch match more interesting. The Slytherin had offered up a bet, offering whatever Harry wanted in return for his Cloak of Invisibility. The audacity of it had taken him by surprise, and the prospect of losing his precious cloak had made him automatically want to say no. But then he'd caught sight of Hermione, frantically waving her arms around, obviously trying to coerce Ron into teaching her something to do with Quidditch, and the devious plan had come to him.
Surely what better way to get rid of all of Hermione's Quidditch ambitions than to have Malfoy teach her? What better way to show Malfoy that he'd never match Harry on the Quidditch pitch than for him to lose and then have to suffer Hermione's over competitiveness?
Before the blond could see his satisfied grin, Harry had made the Slytherin shake on it. He looked forward to breaking the news to Malfoy tomorrow.
"Oh, Harry, I'm so pleased that you have time to teach me today. I promise I'll help you with that Transfiguration essay tonight."
"No problem, Hermione, and thanks. That essay is driving me nuts," he replied, stifling the small pang of guilt for the deception he was practicing.
Hermione stopped as they made their way onto the Quidditch pitch. "What's he doing here?" she asked, gesturing towards Malfoy.
He shuffled his feet slightly. "Er… yeah… about that. Malfoy is going to teach you how to play."
"What?!" they both shrieked at the same time.
"But Harry, I don't want him to teach me Quidditch," Hermione moaned a little pathetically.
Malfoy looked at the bushy-haired Gryffindor scornfully. "You're kidding me, right? She probably can't even fly a broom."
She drew herself up to her full height – still managing only to reach Malfoy's chin. "Actually, Ferret Boy, I can fly. I bet I can fly better than you. After all, didn't you have to buy your way onto the Slytherin team?"
"Buy my way onto the team? Why, you stuck-up, infuriating-"
"Better to be a know-it-all than a pathetic spoilt little daddy's boy, you-"
Harry smirked as he watched the outraged pair. If he didn't think they were about to turn their combined guns on him, he'd stay around to watch the fireworks. Instead, he took advantage of their preoccupation to escape.
"Harry!" Hermione huffed, stamping her foot in exasperation and turning towards her best friend, before the tension in her shoulders deflated as she realised he was no longer present. In fact, he was nowhere in sight, which indicated he'd left some time ago.
"I see Potter can't even stand you," Malfoy snidely said.
"Piss off, Malfoy."
"I would gladly do so, but unfortunately for me, I made a bet with Potter, and you're the consequence. Stupid, bloody game. Why couldn't I have beaten him just this once?" Malfoy mumbled to himself.
"You and Harry made a bet on the outcome of yesterday's game?"
"Huh!" she said, thinking it through. "Oh! I'm going to kill him! I can't believe he's so lazy he won't even teach me how to play Quidditch."
"Maybe it's not sloth but the fact that you're unteachable."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Come off it, Granger. You're hardly the athletic type."
She put her hands on her hips. Malfoy'd better not be implying what she thought he was. "So what you're saying is that you cannot be intelligent and play sport?"
He snorted. "Hardly! I mean, look at me: beauty, brains, and brawn."
"Oh, please, Malfoy. Personally, pointy-faced ferrets don't do much for me."
But she knew it was a lie as soon as it left her mouth. You'd have to be blind not to notice how attractive Malfoy had become over the last year or so. She would've worried that it was some form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, left over from her time stuck in that blasted tent, had it not been for the whispers of the other Gryffindor girls. Malfoy was good-looking, but he was also a massive pain in the arse.
He sneered down at her. "You'd be lucky if I touched you."
"Get over yourself," she snapped, looking morosely at her broom.
She'd purchased it in Diagon Alley when stocking up on her other school supplies, so excited to finally get what Harry and Ron had gone on about for years. They had been right: Quidditch was fun. And winning was even better.
But now she was stuck with two friends who, for some reason, appeared to resent her interest in the game. She'd thought they would be enthusiastic about her newfound love for the sport. After all, they'd spent enough time trying to get her interested before. However, they'd veered away from all of her attempts to learn after that one game at the Burrow. She didn't understand – her team had even won, which she put down to her efforts and her strategic acumen.
She dragged her Firebolt behind her as she started to trudge off the pitch.
"Hey! Where do you think you're going?" Malfoy asked.
"Back to my common room."
Hermione glared at him. "Why do you think? As fun as it is to stand around all day insulting you, I have better things to do."
He sprinted around her and stood, arms akimbo. "Oh, no, you don't! You are going to be taught how to play Quidditch, and I'm going to do it."
She stared at him, her mouth agape. He tapped it shut. "Stop looking so gormless, Granger. We've got work to do."
Four hours later, Draco was regretting his martial words. So wizarding debts were debts of honour, and it would be a stain on his reputation if he didn't teach Granger. He could cope with that. After all, he was a former Death Eater – how much worse could his status get? This was impossible! Granger was hopeless, and to top it off, she was competitive. To a fault.
He tugged his once-pristine locks in exasperation once more. "No, Granger! That's not right. The Moran Shimmy is like this," he shouted, executing a delicate move with his broomstick.
"That's what I did!" she yelled back.
"No, you didn't. Your shimmy has all the intricacy of a mountain troll in mating season!"
She huffed before determinedly wiping her hands down her robes, gripping her broom, and trying once more. Her dedication wasn't in doubt, but her skill was entirely lacking. It didn't matter how many times she tried; it just wasn't coming. Teaching Crabbe and Goyle hadn't been this frustrating.
He released the air from his mouth, blowing his fringe out of his eyes. "Okay, well, let's come back to that another day. How about we try the Ramadi Ruse?"
Surely she could get this right. It was about as basic as they came. All she had to do was move the hand holding the ball one way, as if about to shoot, committing the Keeper, before moving her broom completely the other way, rounding the opposition player, and scoring into an empty net.
Draco set himself in front of the goal hoops, frowning as Granger fumbled with the Quaffle. She finally settled in her hand, made an obvious fake attempt at the goal, but he dutifully followed the pathetic ruse and then… nothing.
Harry sat watching the unmoving blond. His vigil at the Slytherin's bedside hadn't gone unnoticed. Madam Pomfrey had viewed it with suspicion whilst Zabini had made a wisecrack about making a play for Ginny now Harry had come out of the closet. Nott had beadily stared at him, and Parkinson had wailed for a ridiculous amount of time over the unconscious Malfoy, ignoring him altogether.
But when the Slytherin contingent left, Harry remained. He tried to ignore the guilty feelings, but they wouldn't go away. It was annoying, really, but he did feel somewhat responsible for his fellow Seeker's hospitalisation. Well, he couldn't be held accountable for Hermione's erratic Quidditch skills, but he was the reason Malfoy was at the receiving end of them.
Hermione had dashed up to the Gryffindor common room and told Harry in agitation that Malfoy had ended up in the Infirmary. Apparently, he'd been trying to teach her a goal-scoring move, and somehow – Hermione wasn't sure how – she'd flown into him instead of around him, causing him to fall from his broom. Fortunately, Hermione was a lot quicker with her wandwork; otherwise, the snarky Slytherin might well have died.
The moaning from the bed drew Harry's attention back to the present. "What're you doing here?" Malfoy asked thickly.
"Checking to see that you're okay."
"That girl's a menace. She should never be allowed near a Quidditch pitch again."
"I tried to teach her the Ramadi Ruse."
Harry couldn't help breaking into laughter. Malfoy scowled at him. "It's not funny."
"Sorry, but you have to admit it is, a little bit."
"How did I end up in here?"
"She flew into you instead of around you."
"Typical! I should have known she wouldn't be able to grasp it. She couldn't follow anything else I tried to teach her."
"Why do you think I took you up on your offer? She's been driving me mad about Quidditch since we got back to Hogwarts."
"How come she's finally decided she likes it?"
"Er… we might have inadvertently awoken her competitive nature at the Burrow over the summer. We were short one player and nagged her into participating. Well, shortly into the match, she decided that she actually liked playing, and then to top matters off, she made a lucky observation about Charlie, which I followed up on, and it ended up winning us the game. So now she thinks she's some of kind of Quidditch master tactician."
Malfoy groaned and shot him a look of disbelief. "What were you thinking? Of course getting Granger to play was going to get her competitive juices flowing."
"Come off it, Malfoy. How were we meant to know that? She's never shown any sign of liking sport before."
"And you think only sport is competitive? She's used to being number one, the best and the brightest. You think she would accept being rubbish at something?"
Harry stopped in surprise. He hadn't thought of it that way before, but it made sense, Hermione's need to win the Weasley game and her subsequent badgering of him and Ron about being taught to play properly. He eyed Malfoy with dawning respect. "How did you know that about her?"
The blond rolled his eyes. "Really, Potter? Just because you're dense doesn't mean the rest of us are."
He flushed. Malfoy telling you about one of your best friends was embarrassing. Then again, he supposed the Slytherin observed all kinds of things about others, probably to suss out their weaknesses. All the better to bully with.
Harry was saved having to answer by the appearance of Madam Pomfrey. "Visiting hours are over, Mr. Potter."
He nodded at the nurse and then looked over at Malfoy. "You don't have to continue teaching her. I consider this accident as making the bet null and void."
Malfoy narrowed his eyes at him. "Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you? I'm a Malfoy, and I honour my bets. Tell Granger to be at the pitch tomorrow after classes."
Harry raised his eyebrows. Well, if Malfoy was volunteering to continue, then he wasn't going to stop him. It wasn't as if this accident had slowed Hermione's desire to play Quidditch, and he really didn't want to be the next one in the Infirmary by her enthusiasm and inability to master a ball and fly at the same time.
Draco waited for Granger's appearance with some apprehension. He still wasn't sure why he was persisting in this task. Maybe it was because Potter had expected him to duck out as soon as he was given the opportunity. Maybe at some point in the last two years, he'd finally discovered that taking the easy way out wasn't always the best thing to do. Or maybe he was just an idiot who enjoyed pain. It would explain some of his mistakes in the past.
He didn't have a chance to ponder this as Granger showed up at that point, looking annoyingly chipper with her weapon of mass destruction in hand. At this point, he had to question where his Slytherin trait of self-preservation had disappeared to. It appeared to have vanished as soon as he'd noticed that Granger looked beautiful when she manically concentrated on a task. He shook his head, trying to dispel that notion before it took hold.
"Alright then, Granger, let's just get this over and done with."
"I've been thinking-"
A sentence that was designed to strike fear into his heart when it came to her and Quidditch.
"Thinking about what?"
"Well, I received a letter from Viktor this morning. He was so excited that I've finally realised how much fun Quidditch is and am learning to play. He outlined some things he thought I should be taught, especially after I told him how I won that match at the Burrow."
Why was he standing in the middle of the pitch? Surely, it would have made more sense to stand over by one of the wooden towers; then, he could have banged his head against a post – repeatedly. She brandished said letter, and he snatched it.
It was as he feared. Granger had wildly overestimated her Quidditch powers to her ex-boyfriend, and now the superstar Seeker was outlining complicated match plays for her to learn. It was apparent from the tone of the letter that Krum fully expected Hermione to turn professional by the end of the year.
"You do realise that he's a little ambitious in the letter, right?"
She bristled at this. "What do you mean?"
Oh, dear, sweet Salazar. She was deluded enough to think she was actually that good. He was going to have try and be tactful. His automatic mode with Granger was outright hostility with the odd sarcastic remark thrown in for good measure. Now, he was going to have to try and engage his diplomatic skills. She had that scary look on her face, the one that threatened annihilation if she didn't like what you said.
"Well, it's just that we haven't mastered the basics yet, and he's giving you moves that international teams use."
Her hands went to her hips. He started ducking automatically. "Malfoy, how long have you known me?"
Was that a trick question? "Er… seven years."
Her smile was smug. "Exactly! And have you ever known me to fail in anything?"
Hair grooming, he thought, but he wisely kept that quip in his mind. "Noooo," he replied, elongating the response.
"Precisely. So I thought we'd start with number five. The Cilic Knockout."
Harry didn't think the sheets had even been changed on the bed that Malfoy was occupying for a second night in a row. The chair he'd sat on yesterday certainly hadn't been moved.
However, Malfoy looked worse tonight, almost as if he'd been run over by a herd of Hippogriffs. Harry found himself waiting for the blond to wake up once more. Zabini and Nott had been in again, but this time they paid him no mind, as if he was a fixture they expected to see by their friend's bedside. Parkinson was another story. She'd berated him solidly for ten minutes. Blaming him for her poor Drakie's condition and warning him to control his menace of a friend. Harry would've taken this seriously if he hadn't known that Hermione could take Parkinson out with one hand tied behind her back - her wand hand, at that.
There was a rustle of sheets and a groan. "It might be a good idea to cut your losses before you die," Harry remarked.
"The last thing I remember was the Beater's bat in Granger's hand."
"Yes, what were you thinking, letting her try the Cilic Knockout?"
"Not my fault. That blasted Bulgarian suggested it."
"If you could find that letter and confiscate it, I would be grateful."
"I'll give it a go, but Hermione is keeping it on her at all times and quoting it at every available opportunity."
"Merlin! She's worse than the Weasel," Malfoy commented bitterly.
"I believe it's surpassed Hogwarts: A History in pride of place in her bag," he remarked, ignoring the comment on Ron.
"Great! That's all I need."
"You know, you can quit."
"Tell Granger I'll see her tomorrow at the same time," Malfoy said mulishly, stubbornness written across his face.
"Your funeral," Harry muttered, puzzled as to why the blond was determined to keep teaching Hermione.
Hermione skipped down the steps of the Gryffindor girls' dormitory, her broomstick in hand. She was feeling positive. Today was the day that she was going to master Quidditch. She had poured over Viktor's letter, looking at what would suit her most, and she thought it was the Dugdale Dive. It was tricky and dare-devilish with a streak of recklessness that not many would associate with her. But when she put her mind to it, she could follow through. Look at Dumbledore's Army in 1995 – she was behind that. Her! The Perfect Prefect! But she'd masterminded breaking all the rules and how to escape from the consequences. She could more than tackle the Dugdale Dive and make it her signature move.
Besides, she found that she enjoyed these lessons with Malfoy - well, apart from the inevitable end of them when she had to rush him up to the Infirmary. But she did enjoy sparring with him, and he wasn't too bad to look at either.
"Er… Hermione, have you got a moment?" a hesitant Harry asked, emerging from the sofa in front of the fire.
"Yes, of course."
"Maybe you should give Malfoy a break today. I mean, he's spent the last two days in the Infirmary."
She frowned. "Don't be silly, Harry. If he wasn't up to teaching me today, then why would he suggest that we meet?"
"He's proud. He doesn't want to admit defeat."
"Defeat in what?"
"In not being able to teach you to play."
"What do you mean? I'm doing fine."
"Hermione, you know I love you, but you are not a Quidditch player. In fact, you're pretty lousy. Why do you think neither Ron, Ginny, nor I wanted to teach you to play?"
She drew back, hurt at those words. Why would Harry say that? Okay, so she wasn't up to speed yet, but she thought she had done pretty well so far. After all, she had made the suggestion that won them the game at the Burrow. She folded her arms defensively. "I might not be the best player yet, Harry, but I am getting better."
"Hermione! Malfoy has been in the hospital wing for the last two nights, and it's all been down to you."
"They were accidents. Accidents do happen in Quidditch as you and Ron have always been so fond of telling me."
"Yeah, but not normally in one-on-one training sessions."
"I think you're being unnecessarily negative."
"Really, I'm not. It goes against my nature, but I'm actually worried about Malfoy's physical welfare. You're going to be the death of him."
She huffed, really upset with her best friend now. "That's harsh. What you're trying to say is that I'm such a menace, I'm going to kill him?"
"I just think you need to be more aware of your abilities. You're a fantastic witch and an even better friend, but a Quidditch player you are not."
"How do you know? You won't even let me learn!"
He sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Look! Go and meet Malfoy, but why don't you forget that letter Viktor sent you and concentrate on the basics?"
"Are you saying I'm too stupid to learn a few moves on a broomstick?"
"No, but I'm saying that maybe you should learn to walk before you run."
"You're a fine one to talk, Harry Potter! You've spent your whole Hogwarts career rushing off before you're ready."
And with this, she stomped off and out of the Gryffindor common room. How dare Harry suggest that she couldn't learn Quidditch. It was just a stupid game, and she was only trying to join in with her friends. If she didn't know better, then she'd think that Harry was jealous and was deliberately trying to hold her back. But that was ridiculous. He was the youngest Quidditch player at Hogwarts in a century, and the best flier. So why was he suggesting that she give it up? She felt a moment of self-doubt. Was she really that terrible? She shook her head to rid herself of the thought. She couldn't be. She didn't fail at anything and wasn't about to start with Quidditch.
Draco watched as Granger walked slowly onto the Quidditch pitch. What was up with her tonight? She was usually the most buoyant person around. She certainly didn't have the spring in her step that she'd previously had. He found he didn't really like this version of the resident know-it-all.
"Buck up, Granger," he called across to her.
She looked up, frowning slightly, as if she were assessing him. "You are well enough to teach me today, aren't you?"
He hesitated. What had brought this on? She hadn't shown any interest in his wellbeing before. Suspicion bloomed in his mind. "Have you been talking to Potter?"
"Well, yes. He thinks we should take a break tonight."
"It's none of his business," he snapped.
"But if you are feeling under the weather, we could postpone the lesson to a later date."
"I'm perfectly fine. I think I know my own body and limits more than Potter does, even if he is the so-called Chosen One."
That seemed to reassure Granger. She nodded and perked up, picking her broom up with more enthusiasm.
"Great," she said, bounding across to him. "I was thinking we could try the Dugdale Dive today. I really think this could be the play for me."
Draco's heart sank a little. Whilst he was pleased to see the grin back on her face (she really was endearing when fired up), was he really up for this? The Dugdale Dive was really risky. A move only for the most experienced of players, and here was Granger planning on attempting it.
"Do you think the Dugdale Dive is a good idea?" he asked, faltering a little at the prospect.
"Yes, Viktor himself thought it would be a good fit for me."
Stupid, bloody Krum once more.
"You know, this is becoming quite a habit. The whole of Slytherin House has started to remark on it," Malfoy said, breaking into Harry's thoughts.
"I think Madam Pomfrey is thinking of keeping this bed firmly open to you."
The blond winced as he touched the egg-sized bump on the front of his head.
"The Dugdale Dive, huh," Harry mused.
"Don't," Malfoy groaned.
He chuckled. "What made you even try it?"
"Have you ever tried to stop Granger when she's got the bit between her teeth? It's impossible."
Harry acknowledged this with a nod. Hermione could be just as pig-headed as Ron when she put her mind to it. It was one of the reasons they hadn't worked out as a couple. Two stubborn people did not make for a good marriage – add magic into the mix, and it was downright dangerous.
"You know, I'm not holding you to this wager anymore. You can quit at anytime. I think you've more than paid up."
"As much as it pains me to say it, I think I have to stop."
Harry gulped. "How are you going to tell her? She's already planning the next session."
The blond gave him an amused look. "Oh, I might have mapped out my own lesson plan."
He left Malfoy to recuperate, more than a little intrigued as to how the Slytherin was going to quash Hermione's Quidditch ambitions. He hoped it wouldn't be something cruel, although he feared it might have to be as his own attempts to get Hermione to see she wasn't suited to Quidditch had ended in failure.
Hermione left Viktor's letter behind in her dorm room that day. She was beginning to think that Harry was right and that she should maybe look to concentrate on the basics. Those match plays were tempting though. They really would go a long way in winning any game she played. She sighed. Malfoy had just spent three nights-in-a-row in the Infirmary and she did have to recognise that even in the violent world of Quidditch, that wasn't normal.
She traipsed across the Quidditch pitch to Malfoy, whom she could see at the far end of the grass. As she neared, she realised he didn't have his broom on him.
"What's going on?" she asked, as she reached him.
"Granger, it's time you acknowledged the truth."
She frowned. "What do you mean?"
"You are rubbish at Quidditch. It's impossible to teach you because you cannot play. You're crap, and your friends are too scared to tell you."
As much as she tried, she couldn't keep the hurt expression from her face. But she soon rallied. "Maybe I'm not the one with the problem; maybe it's you."
He came across, gripped her shoulders, and tipped her face up. "Granger, listen to me. You. Are. Rubbish."
He punctuated each word with a brief kiss on her lips, and she froze in shock. What on earth was happening?
"But," he continued, "I have another way to channel that competitive nature of yours. Date me! That way you've won the best catch in the school, and you get to beat all those girls who have been chasing me all year."
She tilted her head and looked at him analytically. "You think pretty highly of yourself, don't you?"
He smirked. "I am a Malfoy, and, as I've said previously, I have beauty, brains, and brawn."
"That's debatable," she said but leaned up and kissed him lingeringly. "I'll think about it."
She smiled, feeling his eyes on her as she sashayed her way across the pitch. She wasn't going to make this easy on the blond.
AN: I'll have the next chapter of The Hogwarts Prophecy posted up for you soon.