Saturday, October 15th

Draco's chest felt like someone had torn it open, removed everything vital and poured in salt and broken glass. He wasn't used to feeling like this…to feeling ashamed of himself.

It wasn't like what Ginny said mattered. He didn't care what she thought of him. (Liar.) What she said meant nothing to him.

Liar, liar. Pants on fire.

Draco sighed.

"Are you all right?"

Draco looked up as Hermione joined him at the table. "What are you doing here?" he asked.

"We're studying for the potion on Monday, remember?"

He had forgotten about their plans to meet today and study. Somehow, in light of the past twenty four hours, the potions challenge paled in comparison.

"What are we making on Monday?" he asked.

"A dreamless sleep potion," she said.

"Right," he said and grabbed one of the books she had brought. He tried to concentrate on the book but his mind was elsewhere so he wasn't terribly surprised when Hermione spoke up to say, "You do know that book is on Muggle Studies."

Draco pushed it away. "Good lord, woman! Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because you're distracted. What did she say to you?"

"Who say what to me?"

"Malfoy, I know Ginny talked to you yesterday and I know you two got into a huge row. She was pretty pissed off at you when she got up to the library yesterday."

Draco felt his heart sink. "That so?"

"Yeah. Now, do you wanna tell me or should I ask her?"

He sighed. "Might as well get it over with. She said I was just like my father."

"And are you?"

"Hell no! At least I thought I wasn't but…well I said a few things yesterday that I really shouldn't have."

They lapsed into silence as Draco slowly turned the pages of the potions text.

"So what are you going to do about it?" she finally asked.

"I don't know, Granger. Go torture some Muggles then swear off women for the rest of my natural life."

"I'm serious, Malfoy."

"So am I. Well about the women part."

"Look, You like her."

It was a statement but he answered anyway. "Yeah, Granger, master of the obvious. Somehow in the past bloody week, I care about the sodding girl."

She laughed. "Glad you joined the party."

"What does that mean?"

"Malfoy, you didn't start this war because you wanted to piss her off. You started it because you were attracted to her and you didn't want to admit it."

"Of course not. She had that fugly hair cut that made her look like a bleedin' boy."

"Exactly. And I repeat. What are you going to do about it?"

Draco looked at her. Love was a new concept for him. Which meant he was going to have to do some research. And there was only one girl he knew who would know the first thing about romance.

8()8()8

Pansy was definitely not one hundred percent but when Draco presented her with his odd request, she shrugged and said okay, despite the fact that watching romance movies all day sounded like a horrible, horrible idea to her broken heart.

Then again, Draco was her best friend.

Pansy knew all about what was going on. In fact, she knew both sides of the story. She might be heart broken but she was still the Slytherin Bitch Queen and what she wanted to know she already knew. She knew that Draco had played a risky game and had lost. Well, lost wasn't the best term for it. More like…forfeited a battle.

Which was why Pansy was on her way to Hogsmeade with him. Hogsmeade didn't brag but it was far enough away that the magical effects Hogwarts had on electronics barely caused a glitch over here. Which was fine with Pansy.

As soon as they stepped into the Hogs Head, Pansy pulled out her cell phone and flipped it open, dialing a number she knew by heart.

"Yes Rupert….No I didn't listen to your message….Because you ramble….well maybe if you spoke proper English…Rupert, I'm the only one who can understand a word of what you just said…I don't care what she said, cockney accents aren't hot….will you please just tell me how the stocks are doing?"

Pansy listened for a few moments then bid Rupert a farewell and hung up. Draco raised an eyebrow. "What was that?"

She shrugged. "I trade stocks in my spare time."

"How's that legal? You're not seventeen."

"Well spotted. Rupert didn't know that three years ago when I first enlisted him. Now my shares are worth over ten million and that's not including how much I've sold in the past year."

"Jesus, Pans. What exactly are you planning to do?"

"When I have twenty million, I'm going to sell off half my shares and start my own business."

"Doing what? Making toy ducks?"

"Very funny. I want to start a publishing company."

Draco took her arm and spun her around before kissing her forehead. "You are the most remarkable friend I've ever had."

She smiled and kissed his cheek. "I know."

"Are you going to publish books on ducks?"

"You're really pushing your luck."

8()8()8

"I'm still not sure I get this love stuff," Draco said several hours later. Movies were strewn around the hotel room, including Stardust, Gone With the Wind, The Proposal and Love Actually. They were currently finishing up Bridget Jones' Diary and so far, Draco had had no revelation as to the mysterious ways of love. He had, however, gleaned several romantic clichés off the movies. For instance, he knew there had to be some sort of conflict that only true love could resolve and when you kissed the person you loved, it was supposed to be like magic.

"It's pretty easy, Draco," Pansy said. She had cried through most of Stardust as well as Thumbelina and Titanic. "Someone loves someone else. End of story."

"But why? Why do they love?"

"This isn't a potion or an equation, Draco. There is no cause and effect in love. You just fall. And if aren't careful, you get hurt."

Draco reached over hugged her. "I love you, Pans," he whispered.

She smiled. "Not as much as you love her."

"I don't—"

"Yes, you do. It's okay, Draco. I forgive you."

Draco lay there, thinking about what she said as she got up to put in another movie. Maybe he did love her. "Well fuck."

Pansy smiled as she hit the play button. "Want a chocolate milkshake?"

"What the hell? Why not?" Something suddenly occurred to him. "What time is it?"

Pansy consulted her wrist watch. "Like, four in the morning."

"You do know we have prefect duties tomorrow…er, later today."

"We'll live. This next one's the best."

"How are you planning on getting us back into the castle?"

"You're Head boy and I'm a prefect. We'll be fine. Now shut up; it's starting."

(A/N: This was a difficult chapter for me to write. Deciding the timing of this story wasn't easy but I'm getting there. Anyway, hope you liked this chapter!