This is the rewrite for a fic of the same name I wrote in 2010, which I decided to keep up since I thought it would be interesting to see the contrast!
"Malfoy, you really are insufferable! Why did Professor Snape have to pair me with you?"
Draco rolled his eyes and snatched back the quill that had been rudely taken out of his hand, going back to writing his part of the essay. It was not the first time she'd asked that, both to him and muttered to herself, but Draco did know the answer. As much as it pained him to admit it, she was the only one who could rival his marks in their class and if he wanted to ensure he did well on his OWL, he needed to be paired with someone who could actually challenge him.
And challenge him she did. They'd already had three disagreements and their current one was about whether they should include murtlap tentacles or octopus powder. Their assignment was to design a new potion with only five ingredients and if Granger were to constantly have her way then their invisibility potion would be more likely to make the user combust. They were just lucky it was to remain theoretical.
"Trust me Granger," Draco said, finishing off his sentence with a flourish. "I would rather be anywhere else."
She glared at him, her eyebrows still barely visible beneath that ridiculously frizzy hair of hers.
"This would be a lot easier if you would just listen to me," she argued. "By adding murtlap tentacles, the potion would prevent a spell from revealing the user."
Draco huffed. "But in order to do that it would need to be in high enough concentrations that could have potentially dangerous side effects. There's also no guarantee it would work on all spells. Octopus powder would increase the power of the invisibility potion and increase the chances that no one would even notice them in the first place."
Granger to a deep breath and Draco sat back in satisfaction. There was something so enjoyable about antagonising Granger.
"A compromise then," she offered tersely. "One tentacle to increase protection and twenty grams of powder for strength. There shouldn't be any negative reaction between them."
Draco frowned. He would rather keep it to just octopus powder for maximum strength…but he didn't want to keep them there longer than necessary.
"Fine." He erased out the previous sentence, amending it to include the octopus powder. After that, there were fortunately fewer disagreements and begrudgingly, Draco had to admit that when they were on the same page, they did work well together. The two of them shared the same analytical mind and focus. It was a shame she hadn't been place in Ravenclaw.
Granger let out a sudden noise of irritation.
"Problem?" He inquired.
"I've run out of ink. Could I use yours?"
Draco eyed his ink, his self-correcting, smudge proof, erasable and everlasting ink that cost a small fortune. While one his family could easily afford, he did not want to share it with someone who would not appreciate its quality.
(And his mother refused to buy more until after the Christmas hols.)
"Why don't you use one of those muggle things you all seem so fond of, a pem?"
"It's called a pen and you know Snape won't the essay being written in it," she replied irritably.
"Terrible shame that. Why don't you just head back to your common room and I'll finish it off. I'm sure Weasley needs someone to write his own essay."
"So that you can claim you did more work? I don't think so."
"Well, it wouldn't be a claim…"
It seemed Granger was in a grabby mood today as she reached for Draco's ink but he rescued it just in time.
"You know Malfoy, they say that when a boy is mean to a girl it means he really likes her…"
The comment hit him like a stupefy and seconds later, Granger had his ink.
"That's mine!" Draco yelped. He took the rim so that the ink was now trapped between the two of them. "Give it back!"
He pulled back but so did Granger, meaning they were suddenly in their own miniature version of tug and war, one Draco was not going to lose because the ink was his and-
Granger suddenly let go and Draco stumbled back, the ink pot tipping and sending ink splattering over his shirt. She grinned as his gaped at the mess.
"You'll pay for that," he snarled and seconds later, there was a matching stain on Granger's clothes.
"Good luck getting that out," he sneered and Granger's face turned a delightful shade of red.
"This wouldn't have happened if you would just share!"
"It wouldn't have happened if you'd just left this all to me like I asked. Honestly, I would have been better off paired with Potter."
"Please," Granger scoffed. "You'd have killed each other within minutes."
"…True," he conceded. "But death might have been preferable to ruining my Egyptian cotton jumper."
"Can't you just use a scourgify?" Granger asked, an eyebrow raised.
"Ignoring the fact that a scourgify is no decent replacement for actual cleaning, this ink was from France, the latest blend of ingredients and spellwork. You try a scourgify and let me know how that goes."
"Egyptian cotton jumper, ink from France," she shook her head, "do you even hear yourself?"
"I hear that I come from good money and have a good sense of fashion, better than…," he waved a hand, unable to comment because Granger's outfit, while likely costing little more than sickles, did actually look good on her. Her chocolate coloured jumper, though now ruined, matched her eyes and her jeans, while pedestrian, were…well-fitted. His eyes flitted back to her face. Sometimes he forgot that Granger was a girl, preferring to lump her into a single entity along with Weasley and Potter.
Not that it was exactly unintentional because any time he thought about Granger alone, things became more complicated and he blamed the Yule Ball for it. Draco liked brains in a beautiful girl and it was then that he realised that fit Granger. Even afterwards, when she'd forgone the Sleakeazy again, Draco couldn't get her out of his mind and this was a problem for him. If his father knew the thoughts Draco had been having about a mudblood he'd either turn his wand on Draco on himself. Especially with the Dark Lord returning, he couldn't risk himself or his family like that.
"You're staring," Granger said and Draco averted his eyes, his mouth suddenly dry. She took a step forward and he just barely restrained from holding himself back. There wasn't anything to run from. It was just Granger, plain, enraging Granger.
"Why do you hate us so much?" She asked and the laugh Draco wanted to release bordered on hysterical.
"You're asking this now? After 5 years?"
She shrugged. "There had never been an opportune moment before. So, why?"
Draco hesitated. It would be so easy to lie, to tell her that it was easy and he was proud of who he was and his morals, but that was a boy who had slowly begun to die and within these walls, he felt a desire to be a bit more honest.
"Because I don't know who I'd be if I didn't."
She tilted her head, exposing her neck and Draco's eyes followed the movement. He swallowed and then stared back into her calculating eyes.
"There are people who would help you, you know," she said softly and this was all wrong. He wanted to go back to before, when she was angry and he was smug and there were none of these, these feelings.
"I don't need help," he snapped, desperate now to break this spell that had come over them. To his surprise, a small smile came onto her face.
"Are you sure?" Granger asked and then took his hand. He needed her to stop taking everything she wanted because her touch sent a spark through him, one he wasn't quite able to hide if her expression was any indication. She looked like she'd figured something out, figured him out.
"It's not in a Gryffindor's nature to give up," she explained, letting go, "but there's only so much we can do. When you figure out who you are, let me know. I'll write the rest of my part back in the common room and we can combine them before the lesson."
Draco didn't trust himself to speak and so just nodded. Granger gave him another small smile and then left, leaving him behind feeling uncomfortably exposed.
I tried to include the kiss in here but it just didn't feel natural and I didn't want it being in any way non-consensual which it would have been on Hermione's part, a least slightly since she could not be with a guy who acted as Draco does (at least when he has his mask on and she hasn't really seen behind the mask). I don't even ship Dramione but this was a bit of fun and I hope you thought so too!