Chapter 3: Bubble, bubble, Boys are Trouble!
She was staring at him again. She knew she was, but it was getting harder for her to look away. There was something so compelling about him.
“Hermione,” Ron whispered, “What am I supposed to add first?”
Hermione rolled her eyes, and turned her attention to her ginger friend, quietly and methodically reciting the order of ingredients, Ron looked gratefully at her, and then went back to his cauldron. Hermione’s gaze flickered between her potion and Draco throughout the entire lesson.
With five minutes left in class, Draco suddenly looked up and caught her staring at him. Hermione froze. She was supposed to be adding three drops of murtlap essence to her cauldron. The vial hung suspended in her hand in the air above it. She sat there, staring across the dungeon into a pair of stormy gray eyes.
They seemed to lack the malice they usually held when they skimmed over her. It seemed to Hermione that they were sad, and a little twinge of longing flashed across their murky depths. The thought that Draco Malfoy might long for her brought an unexpected flush to her cheeks. He blinked at her, and she thought he might have even smiled a little, but she was distracted by a sudden plume of midnight blue smoke erupting from the cauldron in front of her.
Professor Snape frowned in her direction, distaste etched on his face as he swept toward a very flustered, very embarrassed Hermione. She’d never messed up so furiously in Potions, or any of her classes for that matter. Hermione prided herself on her perfectionism. Blushing a deep scarlet, she only half-listened to Snape as he berated her for emptying the entire contents of the vial into her potion.
Hermione flicked her eyes over to Draco, though it was hard to see him through the low-hanging smoke. Professor Snape gave her one last sneer, before twitching his cloak, and crossing the room back to his desk. As the class gathered their things to leave, Harry and Ron muttered mutinously about Snape. Hermione waved them off but was asked to stay back a few minutes by the Potions Master. Hermione noticed Draco casually drop some parchment on the floor. As he ducked under the desk to ‘retrieve it’, Snape asked Hermione what she’d been thinking of putting the entire vial into her cauldron.
“I don’t know. I was… distracted, I suppose. I didn’t notice until it was too late. I’m very sorry Professor.”
Snape scowled. “See that it doesn’t happen again, Miss Granger. Perhaps you should stop flirting with Mr. Weasley and Mr. Potter and pay more attention to your studies.”
An odd banging noise interrupted Hermione’s stutters of outrage at the false and unfair accusations. Snape threw one last sneering glance at Hermione, then frowned as Draco came out from under his desk. Severus swept from the dungeon, leaving behind a very upset Hermione, and Draco rubbing a sore spot on his head.
“Say, Granger? If you were flirting with Potter, why were you looking at me?” Draco teased. His words were mocking, although his tone was not. Hermione glared at him.
“The absolute idiocy of that statement astounds me!” She retorted hotly, “I was no more flirting with Harry as I was looking at you Malfoy!”
Draco raised one eyebrow in faux disbelief. “Well, that’s twice you’ve lied today.” He smirked, “And your first contradicts the second.”
Hermione laughed without humor. “What are you going on about Malfoy?”
He tipped his head to one side, as if considering her question, and took a few sauntering steps closer to her. She watched him warily. Just because he’d gotten taller didn’t mean that he’s grown up. Draco Malfoy was handsome, but Hermione didn’t trust him at all. He stopped when he was about a foot away. Though Hermione felt wary of him, she refused to step back and let him know just how uncomfortable he was making her.
“You weren’t flirting with Potter, and you were looking at me.” It was not a question, but a statement made in a low voice completely devoid of his normal snide attitude. Hermione blinked at him once, then looked away.
“Why did you bother staying around while Snape spoke to me? You needed more to make fun of me?”
Draco looked at her seriously for a very long moment. When he didn’t answer right away, she turned back to him. There was an odd, almost pained expression on his face. Hermione just let out a disgusted noise and rolled her eyes, gathering herself, and walking past him.
He reached out a hand and caught her arm. She shot him a glance, and he quickly let go. She waited for a heartbeat longer for him to say something, but he simply stalked past her and out of the dungeons.