Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or its characters, I just admire them a lot :)
Hermione let out the puff of air that she had been holding in her cheeks, causing a strand of famous bushy brown hair that had fallen to fly back into its position. Exasperated, she shot her hand up high into the air.
"Yes, Miss Granger?"
"What exactly is the point of this stupid project?"
Headmistress McGonagall shot a dangerous look at her star student. This stare, which would have frightened away any younger student, didn't affect its intended victim at all, however. The Gryffindor simply raised her eyebrows and proceeded to question this class project's intentions.
"Really, I can see no benefits to this. Forcing students to live in a dormitory with a partner - of the opposite gender - for the entire school year? It sounds to me like several school rules waiting to be broken, and plenty of added drama and stress. Do we really need this with important finals coming up?"
"-Miss Granger, thank you, the professors have already discussed these matters and they will all be addressed. But we will not be canceling this group project. We all feel it will benefit you by introducing you to the idea of living with a spouse, and dealing with everyday situations alongside them. This promises to be an exciting, educational experience."
Hermione sighed again, resigning to cross her arms and lean back in her chair. No one in this year took her seriously, they never really did. They were all open to this idea, of living in house-like dorms with an assigned partner until June. All Hermione could envision was getting stuck with a jerk like Cormac McLaggen and having to put up with him, all the while having to study for the NEWTs and OWLs and tests and essays. Why couldn't they stay with the current housing?
"Let me explain to you how this will work, in a bit more detail, before we begin with the list of partners," McGonagall began. "First of all, it was an important detail that we cast a spell over the rooms to prevent any... ahem, rule-breaking. There will be magical limits set to how close students can be to one another, etcetera. Just because we are excusing normal school activities doesn't allow inappropriate behavior.
"Secondly, these dorms are found in the left wing of the castle, and much like what you would find in a common Muggle home. None of the items will be enchanted, though you are free to enchant them if you wish. The basic layout will be a living room, a small kitchen, a bathroom, and a bedroom, with a closet for each person. Four of these dorms are connected by a common room, and some activities in the coming year will be done with your common room group together.
"Lastly, this year is set up especially for you, sixth through eighth years. This project is counting as an entire separate class. There are countless activities planned beside your normal academics, and 100% participation is the only way you will receive an A. So, think twice about shrugging off this assignment," the Headmistress finished, casting a quick yet obvious glance at Hermione.
Hermione frowned. She did admit, she was stubborn, and she was still against this crazy plan. It was not her idea of a "stress-free year" as promised by her friends when she was weighing the decision to come back for her final year. Fine, then, she thought. Whatever they'd like to do to me. I've proved that I can survive Dark Magic of all sorts - why not this, a silly project? It'll be easy, like all the other homework.
"Shall we begin pairing students? When I read off the partners, you'll both go through the doorway here, which will Apparate you to the correct dormitory, with all of your belongings inside. There you will settle in, and we'll meet briefly in the dungeons for an orientation before turning in for the night. Ready?"
You could have heard a pin drop. Hermione held her breath and did a quick survey around the room. Of all the sixth through eighth year boys in this room, who would she be stuck with? Maybe she'd at least land a friend like Neville, or Dean, or even better yet, Harry or Ron, who wouldn't be bad to work together with. God forbid she'd get Goyle.
"Pansy Parkinson..." announced Headmistress McGonagall. The Slytherin lifted her head and pompously looked around. "…with Seamus Finnigan"
"Pshhh? I'm stuck with that loser?" Pansy stood up from her desk, her pug face contorted in a disgusted sneer.
Seamus rose out of his chair, wand in hand. "What do you mean, 'what?' I'm stuck with you, the Slytherin wh-"
"Enough!" McGonagall yelled. "You might as well learn to get along now, since you will be rooming with each other for this entire school year. Through the doorway is your dormitory, please go and get settled into your home. We'll see you at the breakfast feast early tomorrow morning."
Silently snubbing each other, the two slipped through to the back of the class and Apparated with a crack when they reached the doorframe.
"Padma Patil and Dean Thomas."
"Cho Chang... Blaise Zabini." A few who knew Cho made a pained expression to show their sympathy. Poor, poor Cho.
"Lavender Brown, Ron Weasley."
"Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter."
"Hermione Granger," said McGonagall. Harry and Ron were already taken... Oh, please get at least Neville, or someone like that. "Cormac McLaggen." Hermione's hopes fell. How unlucky could a person be? Well, at least the rooms were enchanted so McLaggen couldn't lay a filthy paw on her.
"No, wait," McGonagall corrected. "I read the wrong line, excuse me. Miss Granger, you are paired with Draco Malfoy."
There was only a millisecond of silence before the room erupted with comments, both sympathetic "ohs" from the Gryffindor table and horrified booing from the Slytherin. The Golden Trio girl didn't move.
It took a moment to process. Suddenly, she bolted upright. "Wh-what?" Hermione stuttered. This wasn't happening. No, she couldn't be stuck with... the great bouncing ferret. McLaggen was sounding like the best roommate in the world at the moment.
"Headmistress, please, may I request another partner?"
"No, I'm afraid I cannot change couples, Miss Granger. The list is already set."
"I'll take McLaggen!"
"Miss Granger," Headmistress said dangerously. "There is no reason to fight over such a 'silly project.'" Mrs. McGonagall was getting old, but Hermione could still appreciate that she was nowhere close to losing any of her sass. Just not so much at the moment.
"Please step through the doorway, Miss Granger. Your belongings are in the dormitory." Hermione exhaled sharply in a form of defeat. She wasn't going to get anywhere arguing with the Headmistress. This was payment for talking back to her all of her seven years at Hogwarts, correcting the professor in classes when she said information wrong. She was stuck in a room with the worst person on earth, perhaps besides Voldemort. But now that Voldemort was dead, maybe the cockroach qualified for this title.
As she rose to walk to the doorway at the back of the class, she caught a glance of Malfoy's disgusting frowning face. Apparently, neither of them were going to enjoy this long year ahead. This was destined to be a long night. Crossing her fingers, hoping there was a way to get out of this, she stepped through the doorway side-by-side with Draco bloody Malfoy and Apparated with a snap.