Disclaimer: JKR owns anything that is obviously hers. I own the rest.
Characters: Blaise Zabini, Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Pansy Parkinson, Ron Weasley, Theodore Nott
Genres: Drama, Friendship, Hogwarts Years, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Alternate Universe, Profanity, Sexual Themes, Unrelieved Sexual Tension
Overall Rating: R
Summary: Hermione is a stuck-up know-it-all; Draco is a sadistic prat; Theo has a scary way of knowing everything; Harry is too busy with his girlfriend and his hero status to pay much attention; Ginny really isn't very interested in anyone beyond Harry but unfortunately does pay attention; Pansy wants what's hers; Ron doesn't know how to get what's his; and Blaise definitely has both his hands in the cookie jar. Or maybe that's not how it is at all...
Extra Note: It is set in the 7th year at Hogwarts with some minor changes having been made to the end of their 6th year as well. It's amazing how differently everything can turn out if just a few things change...
Length: This chapter: 2468 words.
Hermione experienced a brief and unexpected burst of popularity as word got out that she was in need of a Deputy Head Girl and she would have free reign in choosing one. Suddenly, every girl in her year was vying for her attention and everyone was her new best friend. It was bothersome. Mostly because it really brought home how few people really cared to talk to her on a normal basis.
Ultimately, she decided on Padma Patil for her Deputy. Parvati was a little bit peeved but also proud of her sister. The reasons for Hermione choosing Padma were many. Her being clever, of another house, and reasonably popular weighed heavily in Hermione’s decision. Another reason was Parvati. Not meaning that it was because Parvati was Hermione’s friend, even though Hermione sort of supposed she was, but if it was really going to be a matter of having students unburdening on them, then Padma would at least have Parvati to unburden on in turn. It was sort of a “two for the price of one” thing. All in all, Hermione felt pretty good about her decision, and it was cleared with the headmaster in no time. Unsurprisingly, once this was settled, she was back to being largely ignored unless someone needed something from her.
She liked it this way, anyway.
Wednesday, she went to her office to meet with Nott as she did every Wednesday. Well, technically, it was their office, but he hardly seemed to use it when he didn’t have to. It was situated on the fifth floor and it was a comfortable working environment, big enough for them to lead their prefect meetings in there when they needed to. They hadn’t been having a lot of those, either, though. Nott had insisted that as long as everyone knew their schedules, and there weren’t any dire problems, they needn’t inconvenience themselves and each other.
She supposed that there hadn’t really been any reasons to push on yet, but she was just eager to prove herself. So far, being Head Girl had proven to be far less challenging than she had thought. Secretly, she was a little bit disappointed. She had somehow thought there would be more problems for her to solve. More things for her to arrange. More than just docking points off first years for running in the hall.
As she entered the office, she heard soft voices from the other side of the room, where a couple of comfortable armchairs stood in front of the fire with their backs to the door. There was also a couch, but that was unoccupied. Checking her watch, she realized that she was a few minutes early and that Nott had probably chosen to use this office to help someone before their meeting. She then proceeded to go around the conference table and over to her desk to sort out some other things while Nott wrapped up his session.
She was just about to go over a recent change to the Prefects’ schedule, when she heard the person Nott was talking to laugh and her spine chilled. She spun around and from here she could clearly see who was sprawled out on one of the armchairs. She closed her eyes and prayed for strength.
“Nott, this isn’t the place for social calls,” she said as calmly as she could. “Could you please ask your friend to leave so we can get started?” She deliberately avoided looking at the friend in question again and turned back to her desk, fully expecting him to leave.
“This isn’t a social call,” Nott calmly replied. “Meet my Deputy.”
Hermione spun around again to be met with grey eyes filled with malicious glee. No, reality hadn’t decided to refold and change; it was still Draco Malfoy sitting there.
“This was the best you could do?” she blurted out. “I know you two are… friendly…” To say that Nott had friends could be termed a stretch by anyone’s imagination. “But didn’t we agree to choose someone from different houses?”
“Not really,” Nott replied. “I had already decided. You, on the other hand, were free to choose whoever you wished. And so you did, I assume.”
Hermione rubbed her temple, which was starting to ache. “What did Dumbledore have to say about this?”
“He bloody well approved, Granger, or do you think there’s any way I’d still be here listening to you?” Draco angrily interrupted. “And I can see why Theo needs backup – being around you all the time would drive anyone bonkers.”
Hermione’s lips tightened in a frown as she looked from one to the other. Malfoy was scowling darkly at her and Nott’s expression was carefully blank.
“Who did you choose?” Nott asked after a few seconds had passed.
Hermione sighed. “Padma Patil. She’s smart and nice and well-suited to—“
“Gryffindor, though, isn’t she?” Malfoy interrupted. “Or is that the other one?”
“She’s Ravenclaw,” Hermione bit out. “She used to be a prefect.”
“Still, same difference, isn’t it? When her twin’s in Gryffindor and all.” Draco smirked at her in his most annoying way.
“Maybe to you it would be. At least I tried to go outside my House!” She directed a pointed glare at Nott.
“Yes, leaving poor Theo here to find himself a nice Hufflepuff to confide all his work in,” Draco said, ignoring that she had just tried to dismiss him. “Did you really think that would happen?” He leaned forward with his arms resting on his knees, mocking her with his whole demeanor.
Hermione gnashed her teeth. “Why am I still talking to you? Shoo! There’s no need for you here.”
“Ahh, but that’s up to Theo to decide, isn’t it?” he asked, leaning back again. “Us Deputies are supposed to step in when something becomes too much for you Heads. Of course, nothing ever becomes too much for Potter’s Mudblood Wonder Witch, but I’m suspecting that Theo ends up with frequent Head Girl-induced headaches.”
Hermione gaped at his audacity. “You obviously haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about,” she finally managed to grit out, feeling her very own Malfoy-induced headache taking root. “Which shouldn’t surprise me, really. You’ve always been quick to show your ignorance and doing it so well that there could be no question as to just how stupid you really are!”
At that, Draco shot out of his chair, startling Hermione enough that she took a step backwards before she could gather herself. There was no telling what he would have done if Nott hadn’t chosen that moment to speak.
“Draco,” he calmly said. “I’ll see you back in the common room in half an hour, ok?”
For a second, Draco looked as if he still might throttle Hermione, but then he just sneered at her and left, slamming the door on his way out.
Hermione turned to Nott full of righteous indignation. “You expect me to ever work with that?”
“You were the one who questioned him, talked down to him, and called him ignorant,” Nott replied, still calm as ever. “You could hardly expect him to just take it.”
Hermione shook her head, knowing full well that Malfoy had never been decent to her a day in his life. “Why did you choose him?” she asked. “There must be someone better.”
“He’ll do just fine, Granger, if you’ll just… leave him alone,” Nott replied, making Hermione gape again.
Her leave him alone? Nott had everything backwards! “Why him?” she asked again.
Nott studied her for a second. “He was a prefect in fifth year.”
“Well, yes, but he abused his status and lost it!” Hermione saw it fit to point out.
“No, he did not. His father was revealed to be a Death Eater and sent to Azkaban, and so was mine, as I have no doubt that you already know.”
“Well, yes, and I am sorry about that mess, but that couldn’t have cost him his status. It was the same for you and you gained it that year.”
Nott shook his head. “It wasn’t the same for me. The Malfoys are somewhat more… well-known? Nobody cared much about what my father had done and I doubt that You-Know-Who even knows I exist. Draco, however, suddenly found himself being punished for the sins of his father from all sides. Snape found out about this during the summer and told Dumbledore about it, and he, in turn, decided to remove the status with its added stress from Draco. And… you’re one of the few who actually knows what then happened last year.”
She knew. Draco had worked all year on betraying and killing Dumbledore, and he had almost succeeded, but, at the last possible moment, Dumbledore had convinced him that he was not a killer and that the Order could protect him and his mother from Voldemort’s wrath, and he had whisked him off. Nobody, except the members of the Order and whoever Draco had chosen to tell, knew about this. Dumbledore had personally sworn everyone to secrecy. As far as the rest of the student body knew, the Death Eater invasion had been a random occurrence due to a weakness in the school’s defenses, which had now been repaired.
Of course, the other side also knew, and Lucius Malfoy had actually gone missing from Azkaban not too long ago, but he had seemingly made no efforts to track down his wife and son. It was hard to tell if he really hadn’t bothered, or if Draco Malfoy might still turn out to be his father’s son. Hermione hadn’t quite made up her mind about which was more likely.
She shrugged. “I don’t understand why you’re telling me this and what it has to do with your choice.”
“That’s because you aren’t listening,” Nott said. He wasn’t visibly annoyed or raising his voice. He was so very different from Malfoy that it was startling. Hermione had somehow always thought that all Slytherins were like Malfoy. “It has everything to do with my choice,” he quietly continued. “If none of all that had happened, then he might have been Head Boy today. He was Dumbledore’s first choice for Slytherin, after all. I was only his second.”
“I’m sure Dumbledore considered these extenuating circumstances when he decided on a head boy,” Hermione scoffed. “I don’t think anyone has missed out!”
“Perhaps not,” Nott conceded. “Or perhaps he was in doubt and then decided against Draco because he knew the Head Girl would be giving him too hard a time about things he could never control.”
Before Hermione could think of a suitable answer, Nott had left the office.
“I can’t stand her; I really can’t stand her. She’ll make a killer of me yet,” Draco was ranting and pacing in front of his friends in the Slytherin common room. “She’s always so bloody sanctimonious, and she calls me clueless, ME! She dares attack me when I’ve been trapped in some godforsaken safe house all summer, unable to do anything but worry about whether I signed my mother’s death warrant by not murdering a defenseless old man.”
“Calm down, Draco,” Blaise said. “And lower your voice, unless you want everyone to know about that.”
Draco threw himself into a chair. “Fucking Mudblood. Nobody even likes her except for those freak friends of hers. She made head girl on book-smarts alone. Not the best choice Dumbledore ever made.”
“Nobody is arguing with you,” Blaise said.
“You know, they were considering not letting me come back for my seventh year at all. They said it would be easier to just pretend I had died until You-Know-Who was brought down… but who knows if he’ll ever be? If I can’t have a life, then I might as well be dead, you know?”
“We know,” Blaise soothed. Draco in an agitated mood was rarely very coherent. Draco himself knew this, but he needed to vent or he would go crazy.
He hadn’t always been friends with Blaise Zabini. In fact, he was fairly certain that for the first five and a half years they had mutually found each other to be prats. With his whole emancipation from the Dark Lord, however, he had slowly been finding himself friendless. This was a rather lonely state to be in when the world was a largely unfriendly place, so he had taken steps to get to know Blaise and Theo better. Theo was always holding himself a little aloof, but Blaise had relaxed remarkably around him after he had learned that Draco had no desire to follow in his father’s footsteps. Blaise was just as biased as any pureblood, that wasn’t what had kept him at a distance; he just didn’t want to get caught up with You-Know-Who in any way.
“And in fifth year I ranked second in every bloody class I took with her, except Potions, where I ranked first. I am not stupid! I just have a life, you know?” Draco continued. Of course, he wryly thought, much of his life was centered about trying to make Potter’s life miserable, but still… it was a life.
“We know,” Blaise responded with a heartfelt sigh.
“I swear; if it hadn’t been Dumbledore but that annoying… know-it-all that I had been sent to kill, I would just have done it. And been happy about it, too!”
At this, Theo cleared his throat. He had entered several minutes earlier and sat down to wait out the worst of Draco’s rant, but he felt he should probably say something right about now. Draco and Blaise both turned to look at him with that mild look of surprise they always had when he first made his presence known. It was funny, that.
“Will you be ok working with her?” he asked. “Or should I find someone else to make Deputy Head Boy?”
“Oh, no you don’t!” Draco said, pushing forward in his chair. “She will not ruin this for me. I don’t care what she says or what she thinks she knows. She’s nothing but some lame geek who couldn’t get a date to save her life. But I am not stupid!”
“No, you’re not stupid,” Theo replied. “Which is why you, of course, understand that if you’re to work with the Head Girl at all, then casual death threats might not be a very wise move.”
Draco’s cheeks flushed slightly at the mild rebuke. He fell back in his chair. “You know I didn’t mean that,” he mumbled.
“We know,” Blaise said with a somewhat amused glance at Theo. “But Theo is right. You might want to… be less vocal about it.”
“It’s just… I really want to teach her a lesson… Put her in her place, you know?”
“You and half the school, mate,” Blaise replied, and Theo remained silent.