Word Count: 956

She was bored. Very, very bored. Heck, if there were ever a time to use the phrase 'bored to death,' now would be the perfect time.

She had finished all the school work that she had pending, rewritten her notes, finished any essays she needed to have done, practiced her wand and spell work, and had even poured over a couple upcoming reading assignments, including the next two weeks' lessons, just in case.

But now she was bored.

Hermione sighed and got up from the armchair in front of the fire, walking across the packed common room. Even the sights and sounds of her boisterous, laughing comrades weren't enough to entertain her at the moment.

She needed something to do.

Hopping lightly out of the portrait hole, she listened to the telltale groan of the painting swinging shut behind her. She wondered what the 'something' she was looking would turn out to be.

Harry and Ron were at Quidditch practice––again––only adding further to her boredom. Honestly, she didn't see what those two thought was so fascinating about flying a hundred feet above the ground, dangling from a broom and chasing a little ball that was practically invisible. At this point, she didn't even have the always-productive option of starting a row with Ron to amuse her.

'Hey,' she reflected somewhat appreciatively, 'That almost rhymed!'

She walked along the empty corridor, down a flight of steps, and pushed aside a large, hanging tapestry that blocked a shortcut to the third floor from sight. She hummed absently, occasionally repeating her previous, fairly poetic statement of 'row with Ron' out loud.

'If Luna could see me now,' she thought, chuckling softly at her obvious state of ennui.

She strolled through the deserted passage, looking around vaguely, taking note of the minute cracks in the wall, dust on the stone floors, and even the signs of what might have been dried blood, but could just as well have been a syrup stain from a couple years back—anything to keep her wandering mind occupied.

She huffed in mild annoyance. Now I'm thinking about syrup stains.

Hmm…Come to think of it, some pancakes would probably taste really good right now.

She berated herself for going off on a tangent, but then realized she hadn't exactly been focused on any topic in particular anyway. Except boredom…and pancakes.

She shook her head to rid herself of the idea before she got hungry and traveled (completely unaware of course…S.P.E.W would never allow her to do so otherwise) down to the kitchens. She needed to find something to do. And soon.

A perfect example of 'something' suddenly turned the corner into the empty corridor she was currently standing in and looked at her in a quick, moment's surprise.

Perfect, she mused. Just what I need to get rid of my boredom.

Draco Malfoy stood stock still for a couple of seconds, seemingly rooted to the spot, then leaned casually against the wall. His ever-present air of practiced grace, however, did not fade. It seemed as if his very purpose that day was to stand in a dusty hallway, lounging.

"Humph, I thought I smelled something foul." His upturned nose wrinkled in mock disgust.

She grinned to herself, glad at the chance to have some fun, but hid it under a mask of shared hatred.

"Well, if it isn't our favorite ferret boy. Bullied any more second years lately?"

He sneered in response, taking his wand from his coat pocket before Hermione could react.

"I don't have to answer to a Mudblood like you." He paused and made a point of looking around. "Where are Potty and the Weasel? Tired of tagging along already?"

She smirked, now actually trying to conceal her anger. "I should ask you the same thing."

She took a decisive step forward, disregarding the fact that she was wandless. She found that didn't really care. Goading Malfoy had definitely been the 'something' she had been searching for. At least it had put an end to her boredom.

He reciprocated her brazen action, walking forwards haughtily until she was forced to back up. The statue of the one-eyed troll behind her wobbled imperceptibly. She continued to stare up at him, the fact that he was almost a head taller than her not intimidating her in the slightest. At least not yet.

"What brings you up to a deserted corridor at this time of day?" she said, struggling not to stumble over her words. She paused for about half a second, then proceeded without a second thought. "Come to cry about your daddy perhaps?"

She almost gasped at the words that spilled out of her mouth, shocked at her bravado, but kept it down. Before the Christmas vacation had ended, Ron's father had told them that Lucius Malfoy had been apprehended for possession of various Dark objects and suspected involvement in the increasing bouts of Death Eater activity. He was now serving a four-year sentence in Azkaban.

Malfoy reeled back as if slapped. He blinked his silver eyes in astonishment, attempting to fix his face back into his usual leer.

"So," the blond said, dragging out the word a bit painfully, "The Mudblood Granger has finally grown a backbone."

"Oh, I've always had one. Maybe you've just never noticed." She smiled to herself, pleased with her comeback. "It looks like you're lacking in that department, though, seeing as you hide behind Crabbe and Goyle everyday."

His eyes narrowed dangerously, about to spring back with a spiteful retort, when Hermione interrupted him. Something else had caught her attention.

His lashes…they were so long…and thick, too, and, before she knew it, the question had popped out of her mouth unheeded.

"Do you use mascara?"


Happy New Year :D