Title: Good Girl 1/1
Disclaimer: Not mine, all characters, setting etc belong to J.K. Rowling, Warner Brothers, Scholastic books and anyone else that has rights to it.
Distribution: http://hp.magical-worlds.us/ , Harry Potter Improv(http://improv.magical-worlds.us/ ) RI and anyone else with previous permission. Anyone else that wants it just let me know first.
Spoilers: I don’t think there is anything specific but say through OotP to be safe.
Summary: Hermione needs help and it comes from an unlikely source.
1) This is for Luna, for the Hermione fic-a-thon. I know it’s not exactly what you requested but I hope its close.
2) Thanks to Kristen for helping me with the idea that started this fic. (the exact challenge/plot bunny is up at Harry Potter improv (http://improv.magical-worlds.us) Challenge #8
Hermione moved quickly through the dark halls. She had lost track of time and stayed in the library past curfew again, she wished she had thought to ask Harry for his invisibility cloak before he’d left for the Quidditch match against Ravenclaw. She walked as quietly as she could; not wanting to be spotted by whichever professor was patrolling tonight. With her luck it would be Professor Snape or Filch and there would be no way to avoid losing points or getting detention.
She stopped moving when she heard voices around the corner. She immediately recognized Professor Snape’s voice and that he was already in a foul mood. ‘Damn, they’re moving closer’ Hermione thought as the voices became clearer. She glanced around nervously, she had to hide. The problem was where; Snape would most likely check the classrooms and closets, those were the most obvious places for students to hide. Realizing she didn’t have much time before they reached the corner she waved her wand, whispering a spell as she did so and jumped into the large painting closest to her, not paying any attention to the subject just wanting to hide.
She watched the two men pass by her from inside the painting still not taking any notice of where she was. She waited several moments after they passed by, wanting to be sure they couldn’t see or hear her before coming out. When she was sure they were gone she moved to the edge of the picture and tried to step out. She hit the wall of the canvas and couldn’t get past it. Frowning she reached for her wand, realizing for the first time that she was in the water and no longer in her robes. She looked down at her body and smothered a scream.
She wasn’t only in the water, but her legs were gone. Well, not gone so much as replaced by a tail. Her robes and blouse had also been replaced by a rather small bikini-type top. As upset as she was about those things, she was more upset by the fact that she was gazing out of the painting at her wand lying on the stone floor of the deserted hallway.
If she couldn’t just step out of the painting, which obviously she couldn’t if she didn’t have feet, her only chance was with magic. Magic she couldn’t do without her wand. She tried to calm herself down by concentrating on ways to get out of this.
The only thing wrong with that strategy was the more ideas she came up with the more plans she had to admit wouldn’t work. She could try screaming but that would only attract a professor at this hour. They would be able to get her out but she’d be in detention for the rest of the term. She could just wait for Harry or Ron to come looking for her, but that wouldn’t work either. Neither of the boys knew where she was. They probably assumed she had gone to the library but she hadn’t taken the usual route back to the dorms. She had taken a different hallway in hopes of avoiding being caught by a professor. Eventually they would look down here but it could take a while. There had been a Quidditch game tonight so it could be hours longer before they even knew she was missing.
Those were the two best options. She had also considered asking the Merpeople swimming in the background for help but she quickly realized that wasn’t going to work because she didn’t speak Mermish. Even if they knew a way out, she had no way to find out about it. She did notice that several of them had stopped moving and were watching her closely. ‘Great they must think I’m crazy,’ Hermione thought bitterly turning her attention back to the hallway. Her only real hope now was that someone would pass by that could help her. It didn’t really matter whom; she was pretty sure she knew the spell to get herself out, and she could explain it to even a first year if necessary. If that didn’t work she could have them try to pass her wand through the painting and she could do it herself.
She began to swim back and forth along the edge of the painting waiting for someone to come by. She found that swimming was necessary to keep warm. Keeping so much of her body out of the water was making her extremely cold. It was getting quite late and she was beginning to worry that no one would be back until morning. She would miss class if that happened. She was quickly reaching the point that she didn’t care if it was a professor that happened by, as long as it was someone who could get her out. She was tired and cold and wanted to go back to her dorm.
Once again she considered trying to communicate with the Merpeople when she heard voices in the hall again. Finally she could get some help. She listened as the foot steps stopped and then she heard them begin to retreat and she let out a heavy sigh of disappointment, they weren’t coming this far down the hallway. She started to swim back toward the deeper water; she would have to figure out a way to communicate with the Merpeople, when she heard footsteps again, only one set this time, moving closer. Switching directions she swam back to the edge of the canvas and waited. When the steps were near she began to call out for help.
Draco stopped moving at the sound of Hermione’s voice. He began turning slowly in circles trying to locate where it was coming from. She wasn’t supposed to be patrolling tonight. Tonight had been Ernie McMillan and himself; Granger had patrolled the night before. He was just heading back to his dorm; the night had been quite uneventful. However the chance of finding Hermione Granger out after curfew was beginning to make his night look up.
“Lumos,” he said raising his wand in front of him, the tip immediately lit the area around him.
The hallway was definitely empty except for him. Unless she was using Potter’s invisibility cloak, but then why would she be calling for help, he thought as he moved slowly down the hall still trying to pinpoint where the voice was coming from.
“Malfoy,” he heard the now irritated and slightly panicked voice call, “Help me!”
“Granger?” he stopped moving realizing he was very close to the voice but still didn’t see her.
“I’m over here?”
“Right. Where?” Draco was now beginning to sound as irritated as Hermione did.
Hermione took a deep breath and tried to calm herself down. He was standing right in front of the painting. Draco Malfoy certainly was not the person she was hoping for. She had no doubt that the Slytherin would report this to Dumbledore; or at the very least make her life hell for the remainder of the term. On the other hand, as much as she didn’t like him, he was one of the top students and would be more help than if some less competent student found her.
“I’m in the painting,” she said calmly.
“Which one?” She watched as he turned in circles examining several different portraits around him.
“The Mermaids, behind you,” she sighed.
She waited impatiently while he located the painting. He lowered his wand as he faced her, and she wished she could somehow reach out of the painting and slap the smirk off of his face. She had seen that smirk many times in the last seven years. It never led to anything good for her.
“Granger,” he said slowly, “Why are you in that painting?”
“I was hiding.”
Draco glanced again around the empty hallway. No one had been in the hallway in a while, he was sure of that. Professor Snape said he had patrolled over here but that was well over and hour before.
“Who were you hiding from?”
“Snape and Filch,” she was now sounding irritated again, “Are you going to help me get out or not?”
“Why can’t you get yourself out?” Draco asked, “I assume you can’t because you’d have to be pretty desperate to ask me for help.”
“Of course I can’t get out on my own,” she snapped, “My wand is out there.”
Draco’s eyes followed the direction her finger was pointing and saw the wand laying near his feet. He bent to retrieve it, standing up he slowly twirled it in his hand.
“You jumped into a painting without your wand?” He was no longer trying to hide the amusement in his voice. He would’ve expected something that stupid from Potter or Weasley but not Granger.
“I obviously didn’t intend to, I don’t even know how I dropped it,” she muttered. “Do you know how to get me out and uh, back to normal?”
“Normal?” The confusion evident in his voice. Hermione raised herself out of the water slightly and splashed the water with her new tail. Scowling at him when he started laughing as he realized what she had been talking about. “Not only did you put yourself in a painting but you turned yourself into a mermaid?”
“Yes that’s exactly what I did. I planned it all out this way.”
“Do you want my help or not?” Draco asked.
“Of course I do. It’s not like I have a choice, you know?”
Draco stared at the impatient Gryffindor for several minutes before responding. He really had no idea how to get her out of there. Jumping into paintings wasn’t really something taught at Hogwarts. Nor was he immediately willing to admit this piece of ignorance to Granger.
“Do you know how to get me out or not?” Hermione’s voice cut through his thoughts.
“Not exactly,” Draco responded. “I’ve never… Damn.”
“What?” Hermione asked not having a view of anything not directly in front of the canvas.
“Someone’s coming,” Draco whispered, “I’ll be back.”
Hermione scowled as he disappeared from view. She wanted to ask where he was going and if he would be back right away but he was gone before she realized what he was saying. She moved away from the edge into deeper water. She didn’t need someone else to see her in here now. A few seconds later she heard saw Professor Sprout hurry past and let out a sigh of relief.
She was warming slightly being back in the water again so she swam slowly back and forth keeping one eye open for Malfoy to return. As she swam she began to grow more tired, and realized that Malfoy had been gone a long time and either wasn’t returning at all or at best not before morning. She was going to be stuck here all night.
She had to get some sleep; she wasn’t going to be able to stay awake much longer. She also needed to stay in the water to keep warm. She glanced back once again at the Merpeople in the background. She had no choice but to hope that her transformation included learning Mermish. Hermione turned toward the back of the painting and began to swim toward them. She was met halfway by a mermaid who spotted her and swam out to meet her.
“Hello,” Hermione began hoping the girl would understand her.
“Hello,” she smiled in greeting. “You are new to us.”
Hermione let out a sigh of relief. This must be like Harry speaking parseltongue, she thought, I’m speaking Mermish without realizing it. “Um, yeah, I accidentally jumped in here and now I can’t get out.”
“We saw you at the edge speaking to someone. They cannot help you?”
“No, well maybe but he left,” Hermione explained hurriedly, “He’ll be back in the morning maybe but until then I’m…”
“We can give you shelter for the night,” the young mermaid assured her, “I am Aria.”
“Thank you,” Hermione smiled, “I’m Hermione.”
“Follow me Hermione,” Aria turned and dived under the water.
Hermione took a deep breath and followed the girl under the water. As she swam she realized that she was able to breathe naturally in the water. She found herself hoping that all these mermaid traits she was acquiring were not going to make her return from the painting more difficult. Hermione reached out toward the brightly colored fish that swam near her. She had never seen anything so amazing before. Her parents had taken a trip last summer to go diving but she had chosen to stay at Grimauld place with Harry, Ron, and the others. Hermione followed Aria into a small underwater cave, coming to a stop next to her as they met two older Merpeople whom Hermione assumed were her parents.
Aria introduced Hermione to her parents and quickly explained what had happened. Hermione waited patiently while the other three discussed the situation quietly on the opposite side of the small room. A few moments later Aria swam back to her side.
“My parents say its okay, you can share my room,” Aria told her and led her further into the cave.
“Aria, I need to be back out there very early tomorrow, I don’t suppose you have alarm clocks?” Hermione asked nervously as she helped the other girl prepare a place for her to sleep.
“I will be sure you are awake in time to return and wait for your friend.”
Hermione decided not to explain that Draco Malfoy was not a friend, by any stretch of the imagination. Once again thanking the girl for her help before slipping into the small bed. She quickly fell asleep and was surprised to feel Aria shaking her gently awake what she thought was only minutes later.
“Hermione it’s morning. The students will be in the hall again very soon,” Aria said quietly.
“You know about…”
“Well yes, we see them, we just don’t communicate with them as some others do,” Aria grinned.
“Oh well, then I better be getting back.” Hermione agreed.
“I will show you the way,” Aria offered and led Hermione back out of the cave and swam with her until Hermione could see the halls of Hogwarts in the distance.
“Thank you for your help,” Hermione told the mermaid,” I don’t know what I would’ve done.”
“Do you wish me to wait with you?”
“Oh no, I’ll be fine, I’m sure Draco will be back soon.”
“Good-bye,” Aria waved and dove back under the water disappearing from sight as Hermione turned and swam the remainder of the way to the canvas edge.
Draco looked behind him one last time to make sure no one was around. He had managed to get rid of Crabbe and Goyle but it was always possible someone else would try to catch up to him. The last thing he needed was for anyone to know he was helping not just a Gryffindor, but also Potter’s mudblood friend.
He certainly didn’t want anyone to know that he didn’t hate Hermione Granger nearly as much as he pretended. She was one of the few students in the school that he felt even posed an intellectual challenge to him anymore. The Ravenclaws were smart, but were too afraid of him to even consider rousing him into an argument anymore. She had changed a lot in the past year since Voldemort’s and ultimately his father’s defeat.
His father’s defeat. That was really the beginning of the changes in him. He still did his best to appear the same spoiled arrogant boy he had been seven years ago but he wasn’t. He had never truly been aware of all his father was capable of until a year ago when the war had really picked up and Lucius had escaped from Azkaban. His father had begun taking him to Death Eater meetings and on raids. Draco had always heard the stories, but had somehow convinced himself that his father was not going to such extremes to rid the wizarding world of muggle-borns. When his father had been killed Draco had found himself relieved at no longer having to live up to his father’s cruel expectations.
Now he found himself hoping the Gryffindor wasn’t too angry that he hadn’t returned last night. He had planned too, as much as he enjoyed annoying the girl he hadn’t intended to leave her in the painting overnight. Professor Sprout had caught him hiding in the classroom he had ducked into when he heard her approaching. She had escorted him back to the Slytherin common room and he hadn’t thought it smart to try to sneak back out. Sprout had only taken a few points but if Snape found him in the halls the punishment would be more severe. The Slytherin head of house wasn’t nearly as easy on his house as the others believed.
Draco came to a stop in front of the large painting but Hermione wasn’t there. All he saw was the large expanse of water and sand and several Merpeople swimming in the distance. He watched for a moment and was just about to leave, assuming that her friends must have come looking for her, when he saw the familiar bushy brown hair emerge from the water some distance away. She was with someone else, which had Draco wondering when she had found time to learn Mermish. Crossing his arms and smirking, doing his best to not appear relieved that she was still there, he waited for her to reach the edge of the canvas.
“Malfoy,” Hermione said as she reached him.
“Granger where have you been?”
“Where have I been?” She asked angrily. “You’re the one that left me here all night.”
“Right, well I’m missing breakfast waiting for you,” he asked impressed with himself at how well he was hiding his relief and how easily he was able to get under her skin.
“Sorry, I needed some sleep and a mermaid was kind enough to offer me a place to spend the night.”
“You speak Mermish?”
“I thought you wanted to go to breakfast?” Now Hermione was becoming impatient. “You do know how to get me out right?”
“Actually no I don’t,” Draco admitted there was no point in pretending he knew the answer she had already suffered through the night because he hadn’t wanted to admit it.
Hermione took a deep breath and tried to control her temper. If he had told her this last night, she may have been able to explain it to him right away and wouldn’t have had to spend the night in a cave. She wanted to yell at him, but she also was fairly certain that losing her temper would only serve to make him angry and it would be even longer for her to get out.
“Do you know what spell you used to get in there?” Draco’s voice cut into her thoughts.
“Of course, I know,” she snapped. “What I don’t know is how to get out.”
“You don’t know the counter spell?” Draco asked surprised that Hermione would do something as foolish as entering a painting without knowing how to get back out.
“Well, not completely. I know how to step back out if I have my wand but I’m not exactly sure of how to remove someone from a painting.”
“Well then, what do you believe is the correct spell?”
Hermione quickly explained what she believed to be the correct spell. “What I’m not sure of is if this,” she splashed her tail to the surface, “Is going to matter. I mean, coming out of the painting as a mermaid…”
“Would be very amusing,” Draco smirked.
“No it wouldn’t,” Hermione frowned. “How would I explain it?”
“You really have nothing to lose,” Draco pointed out raising his wand.
Draco muttered the spell Hermione had given him and a flash of white light shot from his wand toward the painting blinding him for a few seconds. When the light disappeared and his vision cleared Hermione was standing before him.
The spell had worked; she was out of the painting minus a tail. She was standing in front of him dripping wet. His eyes widened as he took in her appearance and realized the spell had not returned all of her clothes. She was still wearing her only the bikini top she had on in the painting a pair of black panties.
“Malfoy, your robes?” Hermione asked, moving her arms trying to find a way to cover as much of her nakedness as possible.
“What?” He asked still staring.
“Your robes please.”
“Right,” he answered realizing what she wanted and quickly removed his robes and handed them to her.
“Now how am I going to make it all the way to Gryffindor tower without being seen,” Hermione was muttering.
“Wouldn’t do for you to wander around there in Slytherin colors would it?” Draco’s smirk quickly reappeared now that she had covered herself.
“No it wouldn’t.”
“Follow me,” he said and began heading back toward the dungeons.
“Where are we going?” She asked catching up with him.
“My room, you can transfigure something to wear.”
“I can’t go to Slytherin,” she insisted as they rounded the corner.
“Everyone’s gone to breakfast,” Draco replied, “I left last, the common room and dorms are all empty.”
Hermione was trying to control her natural suspicion about Draco Malfoy being helpful and almost kind. She had noticed the slight changes in him since his father’s death. He hadn’t called her a mud-blood all term. It wasn’t however, as if they had become friends, so his willingness to help her was surprising.
She followed him into the Slytherin common room and waited while he checked to make sure they were the only ones around before leading her to his room, he had managed to retain private quarters after his father’s death by sheer luck.
“We’re going to have to transfigure something of mine,” Draco said as he dug through his trunk, “I can’t get into the girl’s dorm they have it warded.”
“Right,” Hermione clutched the dark robes she was wearing closer to her, deciding against explaining that the wards were set by the school not the Slytherin girls.
Draco finally stood up holding a pair of dark pants and a sweater in front of him. “I guess these will do.”
Hermione reached out and took the offered clothing. She glanced around not seeing a place to change and she still didn’t have her wand. “Um, my wand?”
“Right, sorry. Pocket,” Draco motioned toward her then to the far corner of the room, “The bathroom is through there.”
She quickly located her wand in the pocket and went into the bathroom to change.
Draco was lying on the bed reading a book, wearing a new robe when Hermione emerged from the bathroom several minutes later wearing a school uniform and her hair dried and braided. Glancing up from the book he eyed her clothing for a moment, slightly disappointed in the change.
“We’ve missed breakfast,” he said setting his book aside.
“You didn’t have to wait for me,” Hermione said apologetically. “Do we have time to make it to class?”
“If we hurry yes,” Draco grabbed his bag and headed for the door, Hermione following behind. “Um, what about your books?”
“I’m going to have to go back to my dorm,” she frowned.
“Can you make it in time?”
“Probably not. Maybe Snape won’t notice,” she suggested.
“Don’t come to class,” Draco suggested not really believing she would take his suggestion, “Go to Madam Pomfrey and tell her you have a headache or something.”
“I couldn’t… everyone would…”
“Why would anyone know, they haven’t seen you since dinner right?” Draco interrupted, “You weren’t at breakfast so they should believe it.”
“I guess that makes sense.” They quickly left the Slytherin common room, Draco heading toward the Potions classroom and Hermione heading in the opposite direction to go upstairs to the Hospital wing.
Hermione left the Hospital wing at lunch time after assuring Madam Pomfrey that she was fine and could attend her afternoon classes. She ran back to the Gryffindor dorms and quickly changed into her own clothes and robes, before grabbing her bag and heading down to the great hall for lunch.
She immediately noticed an unusual amount of whispering when she entered the hall. She noticed Draco concentrating on his meal and not participating in whatever rumor was being spread. As she approached the Gryffindor table all heads turned to her for several seconds before everyone turned their attention to their food as she passed them. The whispering picking up again as soon as they believed she was out of earshot.
She quickly located her friends and pulled out the chair between Ron and Ginny. After missing breakfast she was so hungry she didn’t immediately realize her friends were all staring at her, none of them, including Ron eating anything. When she finally noticed the open mouthed stares of her friends she set her fork down and faced Harry, who was directly across from her.
“What is going on?”
“Um, well Hermione,” Harry stuttered avoiding her gaze.
“Where have you been?” Ron asked angrily.
“I wasn’t feeling well, I was in the hospital wing,” Hermione answered not sure why he was so angry.
“So you went there first thing this morning?” Ginny asked, “You were in your room all night?”
Hermione frowned, why was Ginny asking such an odd question. Her first instinct was to lie and say she was in her room, that she had gone to bed early. Then she realized that it wouldn’t work, Lavender and Pavarti were whispering several seats down and kept glancing over at her. Obviously everyone knew she wasn’t in her bed last night.
“Um, no I was in the library and then I didn’t feel well so I went to see Madam Pomfrey last night,” Hermione lied.
“So you were in the hospital wing last night then?” Harry asked.
“What is going on?” Hermione finally said nearly shouting as she came to her feet, “Whatever it is you want to know just ask?”
Her friends once again fell silent as they all gaped at her. Their staring was making her more irritated than she already was. She crossed her arms and tapped her foot impatiently looking first at Harry then letting her gaze move to Neville, Ron, and finally Ginny.
“Well Hermione, it’s just that Lavender said that you never came to bed last night and then Pansy said—and you weren’t in any of your morning classes.”
Hermione closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she opened them her eyes immediately fell on Draco Malfoy who still had his head down not looking at anything other than his breakfast. The whispering still continuing at the Slytherin table, although her table had now fell completely silent waiting for her to respond.
“What did Pansy say?”
Draco snuck a glance at the Gryffindor table. Hermione was standing up now, and nearly shouting at her friends. She obviously knew nothing about the events of the morning; she must have stayed in the hospital wing after leaving him. He, on the other hand, had been hearing and arguing against the rumors all morning.
He found out as soon as he had arrived in Potions that the Slytherin dorms had not been as empty as he had believed. At least not the entire time. It seemed that while he and Hermione were in his room, Pansy had come back to pick up some forgotten item. She had been coming out of her own rooms just in time to see Draco and Hermione leaving.
Since everyone had been in bed when he had returned the previous night and he had left after everyone this morning she had quickly spread rumors about Hermione being in his room all night. Then when Hermione didn’t show up for her classes and Lavender Brown confirming that Hermione had never been in their room the night before, the rumors had caught on rapidly.
Draco had tried to quell the rumors as best he could but, generally everyone was willing to believe anything of him. While they were less likely to believe the same of Hermione the evidence seemed irrefutable.
“You think I what with Malfoy?” Draco’s attention as well as the rest of the school’s was once again on bushy haired Gryffindor who was now shouting a couple of tables over.
Draco was too far away to hear the rest of what was being said. Potter, Longbottom, and the Weasleys weren’t shouting as loudly. So he had to settle for small bits of the argument that Hermione was conveying.
“I would never—I can’t believe you would think—Pansy Parkinson…” Draco sighed quietly when he saw her grab her bag and run out of the Hall.
He turned his attention back to his meal, assuming one of her friends would go after her. When he looked back at the vacated space at the Gryffindor table and realized that no one had so much as budged from their seats he threw his napkin on the table, grabbed his bag and walked out of the Hall. He could hear the whispering beginning again as soon as he passed through the doors. Going after her wasn’t going to put a stop to the rumors but this was at least partially his fault so he had to do something.
Hermione dropped her bag down onto the grass near the lake and flopped down next to it. She had to get out of there. She couldn’t believe her friends would believe that she would ever… It wasn’t even that it was with Malfoy but that they believed she would ever behave so irresponsibly in general. It hadn’t occurred to a single one of them that something could’ve been wrong, that they should’ve gone looking for her. Then to just believe Pansy—well all right Pansy hadn’t completely lied. She had been in Malfoy’s room, but her friends just assumed that everything the Slytherin had said was true.
It was almost time for her next class and she was wishing she had stayed with Madam Pomfrey. At least then she would’ve had some time to think of something. She wiped her eyes, she wasn’t going to cry, and she hadn’t done anything wrong. That was really what had her so angry, she never did anything wrong, she followed all the rules and did what was expected but the first time someone implied she had done something wrong everyone believed it.
“Are you going to Herbology?” Draco’s voice pulled Hermione out of her thoughts and she scowled up at him.
“You’re probably enjoying this aren’t you?” She turned her attention back to the lake in front of her, “Embarrass the poor ugly mud-blood.”
Draco sat down on the grass next Hermione and didn’t reply for several minutes. He couldn’t blame her for thinking that way. While he had been different this term, there were six others before it that he had been someone who would do that, and he hadn’t exactly been kind to her this year.
“Do you really believe that?” He finally asked, “That I’m enjoying this? Or that I told Pansy to say what she—or whatever it is you’re implying?”
“I suppose not,” she said after hesitating for several seconds, “I mean it’s not exactly helping your reputation either is it. It can’t be moving you up in the Slytherin ranks.”
“I was already at the top, no where to go but down.”
“I just can’t believe that anyone would believe that I would ever…”
“People always believe the worst of people they’re jealous of,” Draco said quietly, choosing to ignore her apparent disgust over the idea of being with him.
“Right everyone’s jealous of the little know-it-all,” Hermione frowned.
“You really don’t get it do you?” Draco asked surprised. “Of course they’re jealous of you. Your grades are better than anyone in Ravenclaw. You’re every teacher’s perfect student. Everything is always so easy for you. Have you ever even had a detention? Not counting fifth year?”
“What does that have to do with anything? Anyone can have good grades if they work hard enough.”
“They don’t see it as you working hard,” Draco smirked. He had often heard the remarks about how easily everything came to the Gryffindor, “They see it as the beautiful girl having everything coming easy to her.”
“Nothing comes easy to…” Hermione stopped mid-sentence, “Did you call me beautiful?”
“Right I—um—well yes you are now,” Draco said quietly staring out at the lake not wanting to look at her.
Hermione stared at him for several moments before responding. No one other than her parents had ever called her beautiful before. She knew she had changed a lot in the last few years but she wasn’t beautiful. She certainly hadn’t expected the compliment to come from Draco Malfoy.
“No I’m not,” she finally said.
“Maybe not cover-model beautiful but you’re not ugly.”
“Still I work hard for my grades, and I never get into trouble but everyone…”
“They want to believe you’re not perfect,” Draco insisted, “I say give them what they want.”
“Excuse me?” Hermione asked not sure what he was saying.
“They want to believe you’re sneaking around and that you’re not the good little girl all the Professors think you are so give it them.”
“How do you expect me to do that?” Hermione frowned, “Go out and purposely get detention?”
Draco sighed Hermione really wasn’t getting this at all. “They already gave you a way. Pansy’s rumor…”
“Are you saying that you and I—that we should make them believe that we---how?” Hermione stuttered.
Draco glanced back toward the school and saw several Slytherins and Gryffindors heading out of the building, most looking at them as they made their way to the green houses. Might as well give them something to look at, he thought.
“Like this,” Draco smiled and leaned toward her lowering his head to kiss her before she could realize what he was doing and stop him, or hex him.
Hermione’s eyes widened when his lips touched hers. She hadn’t expected him to act so quickly, she really hadn’t even agreed that to his plan. He pulled his head away slightly and whispered in her ear.
“Everyone’s watching. It would be much more believable if you kissed me back,” as soon as he finished speaking he moved his mouth back over hers.
She quickly decided that she would enjoy his plan and closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his neck pulling him closer allowing him to deepen the kiss. When he pulled away several moments later she smiled slightly.
“They’re gone,” he said quietly.
“Too bad,” Hermione smile widened.
“Mmm, yeah, too bad,” Draco smiled, “So then my plan…”
“Will need a lot of work and practice,” Hermione grinned. “We should devote plenty of time to it.”
“Right, every available moment should be spent teaching you to not be the perfect good little girl.”
“We should probably start right away; after all I feel that headache from this morning coming back.”
“I seem to be getting one too, we definitely shouldn’t go to class,” Draco agreed and stood up holding his hand out to her. “Shall we go inside?”
“Where?” Hermione asked.
“We’ll find something,” he assured her. Pulling her to her feet and grabbing both of their bags the pair made their way back inside the school.
Hermione followed him back to the castle deciding that Draco had been right; if they wanted to believe she would behave this way, why fight it? She might as well get whatever enjoyment she could out of the rumors that her friends chose to believe.