“What do we have so far?” Malfoy asked as he bent down over Hermione to look at the outstretched roll on the table. It was covered in ink-dots and two types of handwriting all over it, showing that it was used well. All the ink-dots were gathered on the left side with written lines heading out from it.
Subject: My favourite thing in the World
Hermione: books and reading
Draco: brooms and flying
* Reading is entertaining
* Books can be interesting, full of knowledge
* Old books are full of wisdom
* Reading is an old art; we need it to survive, communicate and pass on our knowledge to later generations
* I have read over a hundred books, many more than ones
* Schoolbooks are full of interesting spells, potions and history, same with the library-books
* I become a part of the story I read
* Favourite book: 'Hogwarts; A history'. All the effort to protect the castle
* No particular gender; all books are fine
* Flying makes you feel free
* Brooms are the best tool to fly with
* Quidditch is the best sport
* Quidditch is an old sport
* Love to train my team
“Hmm, it looks OK,” he said and sat back down on the chair next to hers.
“Do you have anything to add?” she asked, “or shall we say that we have enough keys to start forming it into a text?” She gave him a questioning look, although she could foresee the answer.
“Let's get it started.”
Working on the keywords had taught them a great deal about each other that they were not already aware of. One thing Draco had learned about Hermione was that even if she said that there was no great need of searching through books for information, she would do so anyway. She had already found a book on the old art of reading and writing as well as 'Quidditch through the ages' for him. He shook his head.
“You know what? Why don't we take a brak instead,” he suggested. “I'm almost dead.”
“Break?” she asked horrified. “We're taking breaks all the time! Soon we won't be doing anything but taking breaks!” Hektik red spots appeared on her cheeks and she looked very upset. She stared him down, impatiently waiting for an answer.
“Oh, get real, Granger,” he said dejected. “We're not taking that many breaks.”
“Ok, but-,” she started, but he cut her off. “No buts. We've been working on those sentences non stop for an hour. I'm tired and need a break.” Hermione couldn't say anything on that; they had been working non stop for an hour. They had thought hard to come up with that list, and she had searched a few books as well. She had to admit that the sound of a break was quite tempting, so she laid down the quill as a sign that she surrendered.
“Very well, then. Let's take a break.” They went over to the sofa and let themselves fall down onto it. Hermione sighed and then yawned before leaning her head back. This sofa was so soft, it was close to be overstuffed, and the fabric felt smooth and gentle against her skin. It was the perfect place to rest. She allowed her legs to come up as well, and to creep under her. She looked down to see that her long, wide skirt was folded perfectly around her, making her think of old days when the girls wore those beautiful dresses. She felt like one of them.
“What are you smiling like that for?” Malfoy asked. His voice was not rud or anything like it used to be, just wondering. It was quite nice for a change, she thought.
“Nothing,” she said with a shrug. “Just thinking.” She turned her head slightly away and kept smiling. Oh, how would she not have killed to be one of those girls, to live at that time. With garden parties almost every day, walks in the park with little parasols to keep the sun out, and picnics. It sounded wonderful!
“Thinking of what?” Malfoy's voice cut into her thoughts once more.
“Just something funny. Listen, Malfoy, it's nothing, really. At least nothing that you would like to hear about,” she said sincere with a look that said 'and that's final'.
“Care to play a game of wizards chess?” Malfoy asked after a while. He pointed his wand at the table and immediately a board appeared. The pieces seemed very aggressive, and were already yelling instructions to their fellows and insults to their opponents.
“You have to excuse them,” said Draco lazily. “They've been in the familie for generations. Learned quite a few things over the years.”
“I see...” said Hermione with an uncertain look at the somewhat murderous' pieces. “I must admit that I'm not a very good player.” She did not like to say it, but it was the truth. Wizards chess was one of the very few things she was extremely bad at.
“That doesn't matter really,” Malfoy answered. “I didn't expect you to be. Just listen to their advises, and everything'll go just fine.” He smirked a little, the usual Malfoy-smirk, though Hermione pretended not to see it. How did he know that she did not know how to play?
As to answer her thoughts, Malfoy said, “You have to be bad a something, you know, and this isn't something you can read yourself to.” Hermione nodded. It was fair enough. Nevertheless, she did not like to hear that she wasn't good at something. But for now, she had to swallow her pride, she knew that, and just get this thing over and done with. It was time for a game of wizards chess.
Hermione moved over the the chair on the other side of the table so that they were sitting opposite of each other. On her side of the board the the black pieces had taken their stands, and the white ones on Malfoy's side; he was opening the game. After some discussion he send one of his farmers to H4. Hermione's pieces started to speak all at once, giving advise on what to do, and she became very confused. Slowly, she moved her hand against a farmer on the middle on the board, but stopped when all the little creatures yelled in agreement that she should move the one to the far right to A5. So she did. They continued to make moves, knocking down each others pieces. Malfoy soon had the dobbel amount of hers than she had of his, and she could feel his satisfaction. It didn't satisfied her, though. This wasn't going her way, and she hated to loose. An idea took root in her mind, an idea of how to win this game. She had to make the figures work together and with her, without Malfoy hearing their planes. She bend her head down to them and started whispering.
“What's going on over there?” Draco asked without receiving any reply. Granger kept whispering to her pieces, and they were all quiet, listening to whatever she was saying. Now and again one would nod its little head and smile evilly. When Granger finally sat back up, she seemed very pleased with herself, and smiled just as evilly as the little stone creatures. A feeling spread through Draco, was it fear? No, not that exactly, but very close to it. What kind of conspiracy had they made against him?
“Ah, looks like it's my turn,” she smiled.
Without a word her knight moved two up and to the right. Draco ordered his own knight one up and two to the left. That, he saw, was a mistake. In this position there were nothing between his rock and her bishop. With a mischievous smile, Hermione let it slid over the board and knocked his rock rudely over. “You were lucky there,” Draco said.
“Oh, are you sure it was just luck?” she said playfully. It was clearly that she enjoyed the moment, that she had managed to make a cleaver move. As it was now, he couldn't take any of her pieces, though she could take at least one of his. No matter how he made his next move, she had the chance to snap one of his pieces right in front of his nose. But maybe she hadn't seen it? He had no such luck, he discovered, when he had made his move and she captured his last bishop. He swore, and she laughed.
"This is quite fun after all!" she thought cheery. Malfoy, it appeared, was just a bad looser as she was. He clearly couldn't take it that she had made two perfect and smart moves in a row. And there were more to come. Malfoy thought long and hard before he made his next move. His pieces had always had confident in him due to the fact that he always led them to victory. Now, however, they started to mistrust him as more and more of them were taken down by Hermione and her army. It was she who now had the double amount of pieces, and the game was just about to end. He had only his king left while she had six pieces all around the board. Among them were both the king and queen, as well as a knight. Before he even knew what happened, her knight moved in in front of his king and he heard her voice say the blasted words 'checkmate'. He buried his head in his hands. “Aargh!”
Hermione laughed an 'I'm better than you' laugh and got up to danced a little winning dance. It was the very first time in all her years at Hogwarts that she had won a game of wizards chess, and it felt wonderful! She made a little spin on the floor, which caused her skirt to fly around her, and the air was filled by her rippling laughter. Draco lifted an eyebrow at her; to him, this was a very odd behaviour. Then, suddenly, she span right into the sofa and fell over it, screaming. She landed on her back in the seat and turned a backward somersault onto the floor and ended up under the table. She hit it on her way down, and both board and pieces flew in all directions. Draco didn't know whether to laugh or to cry, the sight was so absurd that it wasn't something you usually experienced.
He stood and watched the place where she had disappeared when he heard a grunt.
“Sorry?” he said merrily. “Didn't quite catch that.”
“Helpf.” Her voice was muffled, though he still understood what she said.
“Are you quite sure about that?” he asked jokingly as he walked over to see what had happened. He squat down and peered under the table to see that she was somewhat stuck. “Merlin's beard, how did you manage that?” he asked both impressed and in disbelief. He wasn't sure how it was possible to get stuck like that, but it seemed that if anyone was likely to do so, it was Granger.
“Just help me, will you?”
“Hmmm... should I?” he said thoughtfully. “It's kind of fun watching you when you're lying like that, with your legs all tied up.” He smirked down at her, teasing her. Her expression was something between highly concentration and flaming fury. The last part seemed to strike in double at his smirk and teasing. “Malfoy!”
He jumped up as a soldier when she barked his name and lifted the table. "Your wish is my command", he thought as he put it back down a little away. The table had been quite light, much lighter than he had expected. It almost flew out of his hands when he lifted it.
He turned back to Granger just to see that she was still on the floor, now holding her leg and stroking it. He frowned and took a step closer to her.
“Everything alright?” he asked. She shook her head a little. “My leg's hurting. I hit it against the table.” She kept striking it somewhere beneath the knee. Draco couldn't see how it was hurt because of her skirt, but she seemed to be in quite some pain. “Here,” he said as he offered her his hand. “I'll help you up.” She made a grimace, which he interpreted as a smile, and took his hand gratefully. He dragged her up and spun her over to the sofa where she landed with a soft tud and a suppressed laugh. “Thanks,” she smiled.
Hermione's hand flew back to her right leg, the pain was stinging through it, giving her a lump in her throat. She lifted it up into the seat and ran a hand down it. Carefully she lifted her skirt to her knee to examine the injury. It wasn't too bad, she saw, only a bruise. But it was big and blue and burned with hot flames. She had hit the bone inside with a lot of force on her way down. Note to self: Never do a backward somersault down off a sofa.
“Are you OK?” Malfoy asked in a concern tone, his gaze attached to her bruised leg.
“I'll be fine,” Hermione assured him. “It's only a bruise. It'll heal.” He nodded understandingly before his face cracked up in a big, laughing smile. “Well, Granger, that's what happens when you try to win over me in wizards chess.” She rolled her eyes at him. “Sod off, Malfoy.”
She turned away with a little smile. He wasn't too bad after all, she thought. He was actually quite nice, or at least it seemed that way. Maybe this whole thing would go smooth after all? That would be nice. She took a peek at her watch and saw that it was beginning to get late and that dinner would be up soon. She was starving.
“Let's finish the essay tomorrow,” she said with a smile.
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