Author's Notes: Written for the "Hate" portion of Mrs Bella Riddle's Loved and Hated Ships Competition on the HPFC forum. Participants took two pairings – one that they love and one that they hate – and attempted to write both. My "Love" pairing was Bellatrix/Voldemort.


Hermione was a sensible person – she prided herself on it. Her good sense was what saved Harry and Ron when they got themselves into trouble. She had long since realized that it was very much her responsibility to have good sense enough for all three of them, and that was a challenge that she could rise to without difficulty. She was practical. She was objective. She could put aside her emotions and look at a situation from a removed, clinical standpoint.

It was, therefore, the most momentous of frustrations when her good sense failed her.

And fail her it did in the case of Draco Malfoy.

Hermione could have compiled a list a mile long of the reasons that she should have hated Draco Malfoy – and, in fact, the reasons that she did hate Draco Malfoy, for there was a part of her, and not a small part, that did hate him. He was arrogant. He was spoiled. He lied and manipulated people for his own gain, without thought to the consequences or the effects on them. He called her a Mudblood. Any of those alone were reason enough to dislike someone, and all put together, Hermione considered them more than enough reason to consider her feelings for him to be –in part – genuine hate.

And yet…

There was something about him – not something that she liked to think about or something that she would willingly put a name to – but something that drew her to him.

Good looks, she told herself – that's all that it was. Draco was objectively physically attractive. His face was symmetrical and well-proportioned, and that meant that she couldn't help considering him attractive, because those were qualities that humans were genetically programmed to like.

It had absolutely nothing to do with the person that he was.

She could even admit that he had some qualities that – were they not coupled with such a horrible personality – she found pleasing. He was opinionated and outspoken, and he wasn't particularly stupid in lessons. Those qualities, along with her absolutely impersonal attraction to his appearance, were enough to justify some interest in him.

But when Hermione came right down to it, she had to admit that she was just trying to justify it to herself.

She didn't have any proper reason for wanting Draco Malfoy.

All the logic in the world couldn't explain away that lapse in her judgement.