A/n: As of November 14, 2012, this story has obtained a beta. Thanks to my beta loveinthemadness!
Minerva McGonagall grinned at the set before her; Slytherins and Gryffindors from fourth year and up. This class could be exceptionally interesting, or terribly difficult to handle. The Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws had taken up residence further down the hall, instructed by Severus Snape (unfortunately for them) leaving the opposing houses to work on this side of the room.
She looked around the space. Most couples were dancing haphazardly to the music, either too slow or fast, and half of the hall's occupants seemed to still have no idea what the steps were, despite her precise description of the steps, and demonstration with Mr. Weasley. Shaking her head Minerva looked down. However would the Hogwart's students attend this Yule Ball without proper knowledge of how to even dance?
She looked over at Ron Weasley. He was dancing with Hermione Granger, repeatedly stepping on her toes. She kept pushing the red-haired boy away, saying something after her loud, "Ronald!" She smiled lightly. Oh, young love. It had not been a far-fetched guess to assume those two would quickly partner together for this assignment, although Hermione seemed to be rethinking her choice each time the ginger stepped on her toes again.
Adverting her eyes, she sought out an entirely different pair. Pansy Parkinson and Draco Malfoy were dancing rather elegantly on the other side of the room. Well, it would've been elegant, had his hands not been so far south and their bodies a few more inches apart. On closer inspection she even realized the girl seemed to be biting his neck.
The nerve of those two. The transfiguration teacher ignored all other movement just then and made her way over to the Slytherin couple, enveloped in their small corner, out of everyone's mind but the few idle couples around them, who had been paying more attention to the close couple then their own dance steps; it wasn't surprising, considering how daring the two teens were being in public.
"Back to work!" she snapped at them, before turning to Malfoy and Parkinson, who had yet to disentangle themselves. She cleared her throat, and the arrogant boy glanced up at her, not doing anything about his hands. This student, my words! If I were only Snape, I would really lay him out and make him think about his actions! I will have to consult him later. "What exactly do you two think you are doing?"
"Dancing," Draco replied, finally stopping. No one was paying the three any attention just then, too caught up in some crazy scene elsewhere. His hands remained too low on the girl and Minerva shook her head. What trouble was that boy going to get into later on? Pansy herself wasn't even properly facing the teacher, and instead was angled towards the blond, her fingers playing with the collar of his shirt.
"Well, kindly remove your hands from Miss Parkinson's body, and place them correctly on her hips." She crossed her arms, waiting for the two to follow directions.
The blonde rolled his eyes and continued dancing, the girl seemingly ignoring Minerva as well. She could feel irritation building, and quickly shot the two apart with a quick spell. This was not how the students would be training for the Ball!
"Since the two of you seem unable to follow directions," McGonagall said, eyeing each Slytherin closely, "You leave me no choice; I will be assigning you both new dance partners."
Parkinson looked horrified at the idea of losing her sexy partner, but the blonde only smirked. Clearly, he was interested in having someone new to play with. Well, that certainly won't be happening; I have just the partner for you then, Draco.
She raised her voice a bit as she turned to address her side of the Great Hall; "Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger, kindly come here." She spotted the duo in the midst of another argument, Hermione now rubbing her cheek. The teacher rolled her eyes to the ceiling, supposing the boy's uncoordinated steps had probably caused him to elbow his partner. Merlin knew how long it would take to teach him how to hold his partner without causing damage. At the mention of their names, Hermione quickly spun away, the ginger following in tow; his cheeks were bright red. As the two students broke boundaries and crossed over to the Slytherin section of the room, the group fell silent, watching in wonder. They made their way over to Minerva, Ron's cheeks slowly losing the heated color.
"Yes, Professor?" Hermione said, standing politely in front of her. Her proper posture and straight legs contrasted to Draco, who was leaning to one side, arms crossed over his chest by this point. They appeared as polar opposites.
"Yes, Miss Granger," Minerva replied, nodding her head once, "I have called you over to inform you that you are now going to be learning with Mr. Malfoy for the duration of this lesson."
"What?!" came the reply, and it was from more than just the four students who were being switched around. The hall, that had moments before fallen into silence was now in an uproar, with the four victims in the center, staring at one another in disgust.
Above all the noise, they could hear the teacher speaking, "… with your current dance partners, so I am reassigning you. You can opt out and not dance, but this will be brought to the Head Master's attention and could result in your expulsion of the dance for misconduct- no matter how small. This is a direct order, and as students you should follow it as such."
While the occupants of the Great Hall battled over why this idea was so terrifying, the four students listened to Minerva intently. When she finished, Hermione's cheeks were paler. She resented the idea of dancing with Draco Malfoy above all else, but she had a date for the Ball, and to be denied access to the event now would ruin her good mood. She really didn't know what the other three were planning to do for the event, or if they were attending at all, but for once she wanted to attend something showy and different, and she had no intention of losing that privilege.
Boldly, she took a few steps forward and stopped in front of the blonde. Half of the hall was watching them again, but he was looking down with a hideous sneer painted upon his features.
"Don't even think about it, Mudblood."
She only smirked, mirroring the expression many expected him to be wearing, and grabbed both his hands quickly, forcing them into the proper places on her body. Her smirk widened at the horror stricken look that took over his face. "Is that the only insult you have for me?" she mocked, raising a delicate eyebrow in wonder. He was still stunned, frozen with his hands on her, unsure what was the best motive to tear them away. "I always assumed you could come up with something better than that."
When he didn't respond, McGonagall cleared her throat, overjoyed at Hermione's willingness to partake in the change. Now if only Pansy and Ron would be as willing. "Wonderful," she said, attempting to lighten the now eerie mood in the Great Hall. Turning from the duo, she looked at the stricken faces of the others within view. "Well don't just stand there- Continue!"
The music began again, and after a great deal of shuffling the majority of students were dancing again, save Weasley and Parkinson, who currently had their back to each other. Minerva could only shake her head at the two.
Draco and Hermione's dancing, no matter how elegant it appeared, was board line painful. He was gripping her too tightly, just to annoy her for putting him on the spot like she had, and in return she was digging her nails into his shoulders. They were both cringing.
"You dance like a rock," she commented after some time, blowing curly hair from her forehead. "If you bent your knees this wouldn't be so awkward."
"It's awkward to begin with Mudblood," he countered, rolling his eyes. She huffed, and they continued dancing in silence again.
"You don't step on my feet," she commented.
"Of course not Granger; I was born with poise that you can never match."
They carried on.
"Stop digging your nails into me."
"Stop holding me so tight then; you're going to bruise me."
He huffed. "As if that is the worst I could do to you."
The girl looked up at him then for the first time since they had started dancing. The usual sneer was there, and although his threat was dark she expected that his mild heart could never follow through. She didn't believe the words slipping from his mouth for a moment. He wouldn't harm her that badly- despite her blood- for even just last year when she had punched him, he did not jump up and attempt to harm her in return. She didn't think she had ever seen him hurt a girl, truthfully.
"Perhaps it's not, but would you actually follow through with anything worse?"
His grip tightened, and she grit her teeth together. He really did intend to make this the most difficult dance of her life, didn't he? "Shut up Mudblood; I have no intentions of further conversing with you."
She applied more pressure to his hand, but did not offer another response. Flipping her head to look away, she spotted Ron and Pansy sulking together on the edge of the floor, hardly dancing. They might hate each other, but neither was inflicting pain on the other like she and Draco were. She huffed. Typical; she got the worst bloody partner.
"And dip your partner," Minerva cried out. Hermione groaned quietly, wondering if this dip in the dance would result in her 'accidently' breaking her head due to the boy holding her. Then again, his bruising grip didn't exactly read "I'm going to let go easily".
Draco didn't look at her when he dipped her during their dance, and had to fight off the urge to drop her onto the unforgiving earth. Dropping her could mean expulsion from the Ball, and that couldn't happen. Where else was he going to pick up easy women for a quickie? Pansy was only tolerable for so long, after all.
When he pulled her up, she spoke, "I expected you to break my head there."
He scoffed, forcing her body closer when Minerva gave them a look. He didn't want her touching him, but he wasn't about to lose the opportunity for something like this. It would be the first Ball they had ever attended as students to this school, and he was anticipating it in his own, hidden ways. "I thought about it heavily Granger."
Hermione looked away. He was as stubborn as ever, wasn't he? But a small part of her had to chuckle. He might be bruising her, but as he had so thoughtfully pointed out, that wasn't the worst thing he could do to her. Maybe the prick had a bit of melted ice in his soul; a single place that could actually consider another human being without it scolding him.
It was just a thought of course.
The dance ended, and neither student bowed graciously to the other like they should've. They were simply relieved to be away from the other's hands. She rubbed her hip sorely, pulling the shirt up to check the skin as she walked back to grab her schoolbag. Purple bruises were forming on her hips. How lovely.
Harry was smirking at the two when they arrived at his side, Hermione's shirt tucked neatly back into her skirt. "You two look like you had fun," he mocked, failing to conceal his entertainment. It didn't matter that it came at his friends' expense, the whole of Gryffindor and Slytherin had been laughing at their classmates' misfortune. He patted each on the back. "Don't worry too much about it; you're likely to never have to dance with them again."
I won't need to if I have bruises that large. She bit her tongue as they left the Great Hall, her irritation still obvious. When she didn't smile along with Harry and Ron as the raven-haired boy cracked a joke about what happened, they stopped trying to engage her in the conversation.
She could only hope that the git had hated it more than she did.
Classes the following Monday started off with a bang. Pansy was screaming at McGonagall during class for making her dance with 'that oaf' and the entire class was snickering behind her. When the woman removed Parkinson to the hallway, everyone in the class broke into conversation; that was quite a sight.
Hermione was not oblivious to the looks she was getting from the other side of the room. Malfoy had been glaring at her since entering, and more than one of his Slytherin classmates had been looking her way. Circe, he must've started some ridiculous rumor.
Her answer came a few minutes later in the form of a note. It floated onto her desk, and no one else paid it any mind since the professor had returned and sent them straight to bookwork. Raising an eyebrow, she opened the piece of paper.
I congratulate your ability to leave a mark on me, Granger. Although I must make a point of it that my bruises on you are far larger than yours on me. When competing, you should always aim to win, yes?
Her eyes shot up and sought out the blonde, catching sight of him immediately. He was watching her with a guarded sneer, waving his hand around carelessly. In the light she could see tiny, crescent shaped bruises from her nails the previous day. Rolling her eyes, she regarded him with a single answer.
Malfoy, I should scold you for your stupidity. Do you honestly think that is the best I can do? Do remember, I am the one that knocked you flat on the ground last year. Perhaps you should rethink your statement.
Draco raised his eyebrows at her response, and was about to reply to her note when it began to shrivel up. Dropping it entirely, he watched it disappear. Annoyed, he snapped his head up to look at her, only to find that she wasn't even watching him for a response.
Stuck up know-it-all. That girl is insufferable; I bet that she couldn't take me anymore. Last time was just a stroke of luck on her part.
With that in mind, he turned back to his work, but instead of starting it again, his eyes fell on his hand. The small bruises were noticeable at best, but hardly hurt. The same shapes marred his shoulder blade. They had hurt at first, but had quickly faded.
He wondered what kind of marks he had left on her.
A/n: I have no idea what this is. Is it good? Does it have a plot? Will it be continued? I have no idea! I found it on my flash drive from some time ago and decided to make something out of it; I'm pretty sure my original idea ended differently, but oh well. If anyone likes this, I might update it. Otherwise lovelies it will remain this strange, strange one-shot.
And in case you didn't catch it, this takes place in their fourth year.