**Disclaimer: I own nothing... It's all Ms. Rowling

_

Draco silently closed the door to the boy's dormitory behind him, he wanted to slam it shut, but all of his years in the Malfoy manner had taught him to act coolly and hide strong emotions. His father had always told him that showing emotions only gave someone a means to control you, Draco let a small frown creep onto his features as he thought about Lucius. As much as he disliked thinking about his father it was slightly better than the alternative at the moment.

"That blasted Mudblood," Draco growled to no in particular since the room was empty.

Walking to his four-poster in the corner of the low ceiling room he drew back his dark green curtains and laid down on his bed. His arms crossed over his chest and his eyes closed, he let his body drift peacefully into the meditative state that Lucius had ground into him at an early age. According to Lucius, one must be centered in order to be powerful. Draco continued to let his mind delve over thoughts of his parents, he hadn't heard from them in several weeks, which was fine as far as he was concerned. His father had been busy with business associates, although Draco highly doubted that any business that his father might be conducting with that lot was legal. Draco gave a small scornful laugh as he thought of Lucius and his friends, those death eaters. Draco had worshiped his father as a child, but with the return of Voldemort, Draco had seen how weak his father was. Draco could really care less about the plight of Mudbloods or those stupid muggles. But to see his father prostrate himself to a man that had been reduced to a shattered wreck by a mere infant had made Draco sick. With the return of Voldemort, Lucius had talked of little else on the rare occasions when he came home. He had told Draco again and again how wonderful everything would be now that the Dark Lord had been returned to power. The Dark Lord, Lucius hadn't even been able to say his name. Draco had wondered how anyone that could invoke such terror from his own supporters could possibly be good for anybody. In his mind he could see the horrified expression of his father's face when he had told him that he had no intention of becoming a death eater, The horror had quickly turned to rage, Lucius had almost killed him that night, Draco had come back to Hogwarts a few days later without ever seeing his father, He could see in his mind the pale face, so similar to his own, suffused with anger. Draco could feel himself drifting slowly into sleep, the image of his father still infused on his mind when another, even more unwelcome visage appeared. An angry face surrounded by a cloud of bushy brown hair. Draco groaned and sat up.

"Stupid Mudblood," he muttered under his breath.

Draco couldn't believe that Professor Vector had paired him with one of Potter's merry sidekicks. He glanced at his watch, he would be leaving for dinner in a few minutes, and then he would have to go to the library and meet her. He made a face as he thought about the upcoming encounter. Draco wondered what Lucius would think if he found out that he was working with a Mudblood, Draco grinned to himself then, Lucius would be beside himself in fury, and that almost made working with Granger worthwhile.

The dormitory door crashed open and Draco could hear heavy footsteps approaching his bed.

"Draco, you there?" Pulling back his curtains, Draco looked into the dull faces of Crabbe and Goyle.

"It's time for dinner," Crabbe told him proudly, obviously impressed with his ability to tell time.

Draco dug through his pile of textbooks until he found the Arithmancy book. Crabbe and Goyle looked surprised as he slipped it into his pack and then pulled it up onto his shoulder. Draco sighed and wished yet again for smarter companions.

"I have to meet that Mudblood Granger in the library after dinner. We have to do our Arithmancy homework together." He told them this in a slow even voice, hoping that he wouldn't have to explain things to them.

"Well why do you want to go do a thing like that?" Goyle asked despite Draco's silent prayer that they would actually be able to comprehend something.

"It isn't as if I planned it, Professor Vector assigned us as partners, I don't have a choice. Now we had better hurry or we'll miss dinner." Draco switched topics quickly not really wanting to talk about Granger if he could help it.

His ploy worked as Crabbe and Goyle's eyes lit up at the mention of food and the trio made their way out of the dorms and up to the great hall.

Draco stood momentarily in front of the library doors. He studied their wood paneling then his eyes swept down, examining the large stone slabs that made up most of the floor in Hogwarts. He ruefully acknowledged that he had no real interest in the doors to the library. Draco felt a sliver of shame, Malfoy's did not stall, especially not when it came to insufferable Mudblood, All eyes in the library rose to watch him when he swung the doors open more forcefully than he had intended. The thick wooden doors banged into the stonewalls with a resounding thud that drew a furious look from Madame Pince

Draco found Granger on the far side of the library hidden deep amongst the various shelves. She had obviously hoped that he wouldn't be able to find her, annoyance was plainly clear across her face. He gave her a sour look before pulling a chair back from the small table and sat down.

"You're late," she said looking back down at the charts that she had already started on.

"I would have been on time had you not wanted to find such a secluded spot for our rendezvous." Draco said calmly, a small smirk playing at the corners of his mouth

"Do you really want people to see us working together?" She hissed at him.

"Why should I care what other people think, you're the Mudblood, not me," Draco shuffled through the neat stack of charts on the table and began to work.

Granger started to speak, but seemed to think better of it and returned to the chart that she had been working on. Silence followed for quite some time and Draco soon lost himself in the chart. Arithmancy had always come easy to him, figuring out the long charts and scrolls of numbers had always been oddly comforting to him, He believed that it was the order that they represented that he liked. So much of the magical world was ruled by chance and odd occurrences, but Arithmancy had rules and structure. Finishing the chart, he let a smile of triumphant cross his face. It had always pleased him that he was so good at something that most people found so hard, He looked up from the chart and his gray eyes met brown ones. Granger was still sitting across from him; the other Arithmancy chart lay finished in front of her. Granger had her arms crossed over her chest and she was watching him, studying him.

"I know that I'm astonishingly handsome, but don't you have anything better to do with your time?" The smile left his face as he glared at her annoyed that she had been watching him surprised that he hadn't noticed, and rather put out that she had finished her chart first.

"Have you always been so conceited? Does it just happen naturally or do you really have to work at it?" Her brown eyes hadn't left his yet and he was beginning to find her gaze rather disconcerting.

"Actually I can be quite the gentleman when the mood takes me. That's very rare of course." Draco was smiling at her sardonically now, enjoying the way that she seemed to fidget when he smiled, he liked that he could make know-it-all Granger nervous. Draco continued to smile at her, now he was the one forcing eye contact, her deep brown eyes widened and Draco felt a strange tingle in the pit of his stomach. Surprised, he blinked his eyes and allowed Granger the time to look away.

"Are you finished?" She asked, reaching for his chart. Her voice sounded slightly odd and her hand trembled ever so slightly as she picked up the chart.

Lucius had trained Draco to watch people; he had always claimed that if you knew what to look for, you would never have need of a truth potion. Most people cannot hide their true emotions and fears he had always told Draco. But as Draco studied the girt, he found that he didn't know what she was thinking. After another moments pause, he began to check her chart, looking for some mistake, praying for some small mistake. There were none though, he handed back her chart unmarked, and he wasn't surprised when his own came back unmarked.

'You didn't mess up Granger, congratulations." He told her.

"Oh shut up Malfoy," She retorted as she shoved her Arithmancy book back into her sack. "We are going to be working together from now on, you could try to be a little less unpleasant."

"You could try to brush your hair, but I won't hold my breath," He smugly began to gather up his belongings.

"Oh go walk off a cliff Malfoy," Granger snapped at him as she struggled with the clasp on her bag.

Without thinking Draco reached across the table and easily twisted the strap to one side and slipped the snap closed. Granger was staring at him in surprise. Draco himself was feeling rather surprised. Without a single word to her he turned and walked away.

Draco walked out through the large library doors and found Crabbe and Goyle leaning against the wall across from him. They had been busy leering at a couple of first years that had nervously wandered by, but they snapped to attention when they noticed Draco.

"What are you two doing here?" He asked them.

"Well, we came to find you." Crabbe told him.

"Well yes, obviously, I'm surprised that you even knew where the library was. But what do you want?" Draco responded.

"I heard from a seventh year that the gamekeeper had some large crate arrive for him today. It was brought by a bunch of wizards too. He saw them carrying it around the lake in his Herbology class." Goyle was being much more informative than usual.

"We thought that it would be funny to sneak out and see what's in the crate, don't you think it would be funny Draco?" Crabbe asked him.

"Yes, actually, I think it could be very funny indeed." Draco felt someone's eyes upon him again and he turned to see Granger watching them from the doorway, He wondered what she had heard. It took Crabbe and Goyle a little longer to notice her, but when they did they started towards her menacingly. Granger just turned and walked away her head held high.

**I hope you guys are liking this fic... Please keep in mind that Draco and Hermione are not going to fall in love in the books, so if I have to bend them a little in this fic to make fit, please forgive me. Oh... please read and review!