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: 2675 words.
“So, what exactly is it I do?” Padma asked Hermione, sounding a little nervous as people were filing in for one of their rare Prefect meetings. With sixteen Prefects, two Deputies and the Heads themselves, they’d now be an even 20. Hermione liked that; even numbers were so much easier to manage.
“Right now?” she asked. “Mostly, you watch.”
“And in general?”
“In general, you do nothing, because Wonder Girl here won’t let you.”
Oh, great. He couldn’t just shut up and sit down at the other end of the room?
“In general,” Hermione said, ignoring Malfoy, who was, of course, the one who had made the remark and was now snorting and taking a seat. “You… Well, you help me.” She noticed that Malfoy was barely hiding a grin. “You act as Head Girl for Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff,” she impulsively added and while Padma squealed in excitement, Hermione silently cursed Malfoy for provoking her into giving Padma more than she had wanted to.
Padma immediately went to tell the sixth year Ravenclaw Prefect, who had just entered, and Hermione scowled at Malfoy and noticed that he was now looking startled and rather thoughtful. Right. She’d given up half of all she had dreamed about for six years to provoke a thoughtful reaction. Shouldn’t he at least be spluttering or something, indicating that he hated how severely he’d been wrong?
Not that he had actually been that severely wrong. She didn’t want to part with her position. It was hers, damn it! She’d worked for it and earned it, fair and square. She didn’t feel any strain and she could easily do it all by herself all year. But now, thanks to her own temper, she had even less to do. Great, just great.
She turned her back on him and came face to face with Nott. Damn Slytherins, slithering all over the place. “That was unexpected,” he observed.
Hermione colored slightly, knowing that Nott had probably recognized that she had allowed herself to be baited. “Yes, well, it eases my burden, doesn’t it?”
He raised his eyebrows. “It does. However, I didn’t actually mean that it was unexpected that you divide the houses between you. That seems logical and something you might do.”
Hermione was slightly confused. Nott often saw things in a way that was foreign to her, but she could usually somewhat follow him.
“Then what?” she asked.
The corner of Nott’s mouth quirked as if he was amused by her and he looked over her shoulder to where Malfoy sat, as if to ask if he got it. She turned around and met Malfoy’s gaze straight on as he replied in Nott’s stead, “You kept Slytherin.”
Well, of course I kept Slytherin. I don’t HATE Padma!
Hermione had opened her mouth and almost uttered this reply when she noticed Nott’s gaze on her and something told her that he knew exactly what she was going to say. She snapped her mouth shut and scowled at the Head Boy and his Deputy in turn. “Slytherin House is one of the more… challenging,” she bit out, directed at both of them. “She isn’t supposed to do all my chores.” She glanced questioningly at Nott again and he inclined his head slightly, acknowledging that she had softened her statement.
“So, what you’re saying—” Draco began, hell-bent on bothering the annoying Head Girl, when he was rudely interrupted by Nott.
“I think we should start this meeting since everyone is here.”
Theo’s gaze was calm and inscrutable, as always, when he looked Draco in the eye, but Draco knew exactly what he was saying. Stop fighting with her if you want this position. Draco sighed and made a slight wave with his hand. Whatever. It wasn’t worth it.
However, it was still funny how she hadn’t thought to give the Patil-girl her chores in Slytherin when it was clear to everyone that that was where most of the conflict lay. It would have been sensible of her to let someone else handle them. Of course, there were Theo and himself in Slytherin, and to Draco’s great delight, he’d found he now had access to the girls’ dormitories, but the rules dictated that the Head Boy and Head Girl both divided their time evenly between all Houses.
Doling out half of the Houses to her Deputy had been clever enough. Patil would function as Head Girl for the students there alongside Theo or himself (truth be told, they hadn’t really worked out what he’d do yet, he’d just been baiting Granger for the hell of it). But while he could understand why Patil had been given Ravenclaw, he really didn’t understand why Granger would prefer to give out Hufflepuff instead of Slytherin. Slytherin was only challenging her. A girl like Patil would have no problems. Was she really such a glutton for punishment?
Of course, it was possible that she hadn’t really thought much about it at all. She certainly hadn’t looked pleased right when the words had left her mouth. Still interesting, though. Did this mean that on some unconscious level even she found Hufflepuff to be a lesser House in spite of the whole ‘loyal and true’ thing? He bet she did. It would be typical of her sort. Be the champion of the underdog, but secretly respect the ones you’re defending against more.
Draco snorted and Nott shot him a warning glance. Granger had started talking, explaining the whole situation to the prefects, using too many bloody words. Draco merely shrugged at Nott and leaned back to stare at a crack in the ceiling, reminding himself that there were benefits to this job.
Lunchtime in the Great Hall was generally a pretty placid affair, but today Hermione couldn’t help but scowl a little at Padma, who was beaming as she was sitting at the Ravenclaw table. She didn’t consider herself a petty person and she had gotten over the fact that she had given Padma two of the Houses. After all, Hermione still held the ones with the real conflicts to be solved. It was just… Padma seemed so popular and much busier than Hermione had been at any time since she had gotten Head Girl. People seemed to flock to her with inquiries and the first weekly report that she had given Hermione had been filled with students coming to her with minor problems that Padma had, lamentably, already solved flawlessly by herself.
She had tried consoling herself that Nott – or Malfoy, for that matter – did not seem to be very busy either, but she had snuck a glance at Nott’s desk and had, without having to snoop too much, discovered that he, too, had more students coming to him than she had. She’d discovered that even some Gryffindors had gone to him, for goodness’ sake!
She was a complete and utter failure.
Hermione poked her lunch a bit. She had always been socially awkward, but, clearly, she was lacking something that even a hard-to-approach Slytherin, like Theodore Nott, had. She was so depressed that she was currently contemplating resigning completely. It was selfish of her to hang on to her position, really, when Padma seemed like she might do a much better job of it.
“What’s wrong?” Harry asked, having watched his friend for a bit.
Hermione shrugged, not really wanting to talk about it. She was aware that she probably looked like she was going to cry and tried to look like she cared less.
“Is someone giving you grief?” Harry pushed on. “Is Malfoy getting to you?” His jaw clenched and his green eyes were sparking fury at the prospect.
Hermione was slightly startled. “No, of course not,” she mumbled. Harry almost seemed like he was looking for a fight, which was rather unusual for him.
“Then what? You haven’t really been right since you had to choose Deputies.” She noticed that his fists were clenched on the table and realized that he was genuinely angry that someone might be bothering her. It touched her. And, it told her just how little he knew of her problems this year.
She supposed she’d better come clean. “Well, look at her,” she said, gesturing miserably at Padma.
Harry turned to look, confusion now being the predominant emotion on his face. “Padma?” he asked. “… She’s giving you a hard time?” He frowned a bit, not too happy about having to hex a girl, and a girl he liked, at that.
Hermione sighed. “No, she’s good at it!” She poked at her food some more.
Harry slowly turned back. “You’re miserable… because the Deputy that you chose… is doing a good job?” he asked.
Hermione nodded, feeling more dejected than ever.
Harry frowned again, trying to work out how Hermione’s mind worked. He would never understand girls, but he made a valiant effort just the same. “If you feel usurped, then find some way to take back the responsibility,” he said. “After all, you are the Head Girl.”
Hermione swallowed. “There’s really no point to that, is there? She’s good, I’m not.”
Harry looked genuinely baffled. “What are you talking about?”
Hermione shook her head. “I’m no good at being a Head Girl, Harry. The teachers like me but the students don’t. Nobody wants my help.”
“I’m sure that’s not true, Hermione,” Harry said in a soothing voice.
Hermione snorted. “Yeah, look at them flocking to me.”
“Maybe you just…” Harry stopped, hesitating.
“Maybe I just what?” Hermione asked.
Harry winced and glanced around, probably for backup. Finally, he sighed and said, “Look, Hermione, don’t take this the wrong way…”
“Maybe I just what, Harry?” Hermione’s voice had risen, just a little bit.
Harry visibly swallowed. “Maybe you just need to… relax a bit. Allow them to come to you. And for God’s sake, don’t lecture people.”
“I don’t lecture!” Hermione indignantly said.
“But you do,” Harry replied and sighed. “You mean well, but it makes people not want to—where are you going?” Hermione had abruptly stood up.
“I’m going somewhere where I might not accidentally lecture someone,” she said, before she stalked off.
Later that same night, Draco laid back on one of the comfortable sofas in his common room and closed his eyes. His head was pounding worse than it had in ages. He hadn’t fully considered that listening to people whine about their petty little problems and squabbles might be part of his job description. Apparently, it was. He cursed Nott for talking him into doing that part.
“You’re much more sociable than I am,” he’d said. “It only makes sense that you’re the one who talks to people.”
Meaning, Draco had just had the dubious pleasure of listening to two hours straight of other people whining. Draco had never been above whining himself, and suddenly he had a new understanding for why his father had usually bought him things to make him stop. Maybe he could do that the next time… Yes, that was he would do. He vowed to buy the next person who was complaining in his ear something, anything, just to make them stop.
“Hey, Draco!” a familiar voice said a little too loudly, making the pounding worse.
Draco groaned but didn’t open his eyes. “Go away, Blaise, and leave me to die.”
He knew that Blaise would unfortunately not go away and that he was most likely grinning, right now.
“Isn’t that interesting… The last time you said that to me you had cleared my entire stash of firewhisky the night before.” Draco could feel Blaise sit down in an armchair next to the sofa. Blast it, he really wasn’t going anywhere.
“I haven’t been drinking,” Draco said, rapidly growing annoyed with his talkative friend. “I don’t drink on school nights.”
“I know you don’t. So, what brought on your delightful disposition?”
“Whining…” Draco mumbled. “So much whining…”
“Well, then. Maybe you should stop?” Blaise suggested and grinned widely as Draco finally cracked an eye open to glare at him.
“Not my whining, you twat,” he growled. “Other people. I swear, this wasn’t in the job description.”
“I’m pretty sure it was,” Blaise contradicted him. “You were just too thrilled to gain access to the girls’ dormitories to care.”
At that, Draco couldn’t help a grin. “Oh, yeah. There was that.”
“Anything interesting in there?” Blaise asked.
Draco didn’t actually know. He’d been much too busy with the less fun sides of this job. He shrugged.
“What?” Blaise asked, sounding amused. “You haven’t snuck up to see Pansy yet?”
At the reminder of Pansy, Draco groaned again and his head throbbed excruciatingly.
“Trouble in Paradise?” Blaise asked.
“There is no Paradise,” Draco gritted out, barely able to hear his own voice through the blood pounding in his ears. “Can we save this little heart to heart for later?”
“Hmm…” Blaise pretended to think about it. “No. No, I don’t think so.”
“Why must you bloody torture me?” Draco groaned.
“Because it’s fun. Buck up, at least you won’t have to listen to anyone else while I have you.”
Draco cracked an eye open again, just long enough to notice some fifth years who looked suspiciously like they might choose to approach him. Oh, God, no. “Fine,” he forced out. “We broke up. Or rather, I broke up.” It wasn’t in his nature to allow anyone to think he might have been dumped.
“Why?” Blaise asked, sounding genuinely surprised. “I thought you were getting along fine.”
“We were,” Draco mumbled. “When we were casual. Then she wanted to be exclusive, which was fine by me, but she got so… clingy. Couldn’t turn around without her being there. So, I told her we weren’t exclusive anymore.” Pansy hadn’t liked that one bit. Just thinking about the scene she had caused was enough to double his headache, so he opted not to do so.
“I’ll be…” Blaise mumbled. “And this wasn’t important enough to tell me?”
Draco shrugged. He really hadn’t thought about it.
“You’re one to talk, though,” he said.
“What do you mean?” Blaise asked, instantly alarmed.
Draco allowed a slow smirk to form on his face. “She did talk to me, you know. Pansy. We weren’t just lip-locked. Tracey Davis? Half-blood, isn’t she? I hear you two were quite friendly over the summer.” He paused, waiting for Blaise to respond, but he didn’t, so he continued. “Tracey apparently told Pansy all about it. Pansy didn’t believe her, though, until she showed proof…”
“The Devil she did!” Blaise growled.
“Oh, yes. I forgot what it was, though. I didn’t see it. You’ll have to ask Pansy or Tracey. So, does this mean that we’ll be attending your upcoming nuptials?”
“I’m not with that bitch,” Blaise snarled. “Nor was I ever! She’s lying!” Draco heard the rustling as he shot out of his chair.
He knew Tracey wasn’t lying, but he also knew that Blaise could no more admit to having feelings for a half-blood than he could himself if he did. They were purebloods and they were expected to keep their lines pure. If Blaise’s mother were to find out about Blaise’s fling, he might find himself in an arranged marriage, years before his time, to prevent any additional insurgence. And that was the good scenario. Draco wasn’t going to tell anyone about this, as he was hardly concerned that Blaise would marry any current girlfriend, but he couldn’t stop others from talking, either. He just hoped Blaise took the hint to be more careful with any relationships that he wasn’t having.
As Blaise mumbled some excuse and strode off, Draco sighed with relief. At last, his troubled head would have some peace.
This peace lasted exactly 30 seconds and then a second year timidly approached him about rescheduling a detention with McGonagall, who, apparently, had scared the living daylights out of the boy. Draco considered giving him something to be scared about, but decided against it as he really wanted to keep this position.
He’d be damned if he remembered why, though.