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I'M BACK! Did you miss me? I definitely missed HPFF... :P You guys have been waiting long enough, so without further ado, I present to you the eighth way to impress a Mudblood!

WARNING: Er...some Ron bashing. It's not that I don't like him; it just sort of turned out this way as I was typing it....






VIII. 



After recovering from the best Quidditch match of my life, I was ready to continue pursuing my one and only love, Hermione Granger. I was almost there, seeing as when we had last met she had already admitted that she was impressed by my daredevil flying skills.

Now, the eighth way to impress a Mudblood is a lot less painful…physically speaking, at least. Mentally and emotionally, it'll be a little more than difficult. You see, the eighth way to impress a Mudblood is to be nice to her friends.

Yes…I really just said that. Now stop staring at me slack-jawed and bug-eyed. You look a tad demented, my friend.

That's right. I, Draco Malfoy, am going to attempt to be nice to Potty and Weasel. Er, scratch that out. I meant to say I'm going to be nice to Potter and Weasley. Yes. I might as well start now.

Gah! Why did Hermione have to be friends with those two dimwits? How can someone so intelligent and beautiful have anything to do with--with Potty--er, Potter--and Weasel--Weasley?

Merlin's pants, this is going to be painful.



"Good morning, Hermione," I said jovially as we prepared to leave the common room for breakfast in the Great Hall. The previous night, I had concocted a brilliant plan to show Hermione just how far I was willing to go to impress her.

Hopefully I won't completely alienate myself from my fellow Slytherins. This is just a one-time thing after all…. I don't plan on being nice to my enemies all the time. That would be torture.

"Good morning, Draco," she said cheerfully. So she was in a good mood too. This would make my job a tad easier.

I casually slung my arm over her shoulders as we strolled toward the portrait hole. She didn't even notice, which was a good sign seeing as she wasn't about to kill me for doing so. We walked in this way, chatting amiably about nothing in particularly, all the way to the Great Hall. Before we could get there however, we were stopped.

"Oi, Malfoy! Get your hands off her!" a familiar and angry voice greeted me. It was Weasley, of course. An equally infuriated Potter was right next to him. Both of them were making furious moves toward me.

As for Hermione, she was rooted to the spot and blushing scarlet. It was quite cute, if you ask me.

"Draco!" she hissed at me out of the corner of her mouth. "Get your arm off of me!"

I pouted at her. "You didn't seem to mind just a second ago."

She glared at me while blushing even more. "I--you--" she stammered incoherently. "Just move your arm! Now, before they beat you up!"

"Hermione," I said, feigning surprise. "I didn't know you cared."

Okay, now she was mad at me too. "You are such a prat!" she growled.

By then Potter and Weasley had already reached us. Weasley's fist swung out at me wildly, like a gorilla waving its arms, and I instinctively ducked, dragging Hermione down with me.

"Release her!" Potter demanded.

As soon as I had set Hermione back on her two feet, I released her and held my hands up in the air in surrender. "I'm sorry, Potter…and Weasley. If I had known it would upset the two of you so much, I wouldn't have touched her." I tried my hardest to sound as sincere as possible.

Apparently it wasn't sincere enough, because Weasley snarled at me like a feral dog. "What are you playing at, Malfoy?" he spat at me.

I shrugged. "Nothing, Weasley. I just think it's about time to bury the hatchet."

"What hatchet?" Weasley snapped, showing off his intelligence. (I hope you saw the sarcasm there, my friend.)

Rather than mock him, I said, slowly and patiently, "What I meant, Weasley, was that we should stop having these petty arguments, and attempt to be civil toward each other."

Potter's mouth had dropped open. "Are you feeling alright, Malfoy?" he said sardonically. "Did you hit your head? Overdose on butterbeer? Or perhaps you're Imperiused?"

I laughed--not derisively, but you know, the kind of laugh you use when you're trying to be polite to someone who just made a bad joke.

"Of course not, Potter, I'm being completely serious," I said smoothly. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Hermione staring at me in disbelief. It was working.

Weasley was still trying to get this concept of "burying the hatchet" into his tiny brain. (Hey, I can think mean thoughts as long as I don't say them out loud.)

"Are you completely mental?" he said, apparently still in shock.

"As I have already told Potter, no, I am not mental. I truly want to leave the past behind us and move forward…perhaps not as friends, but definitely not enemies." Hermione was now looking at me like…like she had never seen me before. Hmm…

"So what you're saying," said Potter, "is that you don't want to be enemies anymore? You want to be…what's the word…"

"Acquaintances," Hermione cut in, speaking for the first time since this conversation started. Her chocolate brown eyes were open wide as she looked at us anxiously.

"Exactly," I said, inclining my head in her direction. "Thank you, Hermione."

"Hey!" said Weasley angrily. The redness of his ears was just beginning to fade, but now he was getting himself worked up all over again. "Don't call her Hermione! Only her friends are allowed to call her that, and last time I checked we're all acquaintances, not friends."

Ah…but what the Weasel--sorry, Weasley--doesn't know is that Hermione and I are almost more than friends.

"Thank you for elucidating upon the distinction between the two," I said back, unable to keep an icy tone from edging into my voice. "But I do think it is up to Hermione to decide what I should be allowed to call her. Isn't that fair?"

"Yeah," said Potter, looking surprised at himself for agreeing with me. To be honest, I was rather surprised too. As for Weasley, he was just flabbergasted.

"What?" bellowed Weasley, rounding on his best friend. "Since when were you on his side?"

Potter ran a hand through his hair, frustrated at his dimwit of a friend. (I don't blame him; I would be too. But since I am smart enough not to choose the first dimwit I meet to be my friend, I fortunately don't have to deal with that problem.) "Since he started making sense, Ron. And I think you should do the same."

Weasley could only gape at him while making obscene hand gestures toward me.

"Ron, stop that," Hermione reprimanded him. "It's rude."

"You've gone over to the dark side too!" he gasped in horror.

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Anyway, I agree with Draco as well. And I am perfectly fine with whatever he calls me, so long as it isn't degrading."

"Like Mudblood," Weasley muttered under his breath.

Hermione glared at him. "What did you just say, Ronald?" she said dangerously. I could see her fingering her wand.

"I said, like Mudblood," said Weasley, glaring right back. I have to say he's a brave man. Not too many males at Hogwarts would be brave enough to look directly into Hermione's eyes when she's glaring daggers at them. Or maybe it's not bravery…perhaps I should call it stupidity. Yes, stupidity. Now I don't sound like I'm complimenting Weasley. Merlin forbid that I stoop so low!

"Are you calling me a Mudblood?" said Hermione through gritted teeth. Now her wand was out. Weasley, if he had a brain, should have been running away by now. Evidently, he doesn't possess one in his cranium. He only went out of the frying pan and into the fire.

(Hey…where the heck did I learn all these Muggle sayings? They seem to have magically appeared in my brain!)

"No, of course not," said Weasley hastily, taking a clumsy step backwards. "I was only reminding you of when he used to call you that. Remember? I belched slugs for you when he called you that. And now you're willing to forgive him? I can't believe you!"

Well, that's just disgusting. Belching slugs? That's some unpleasant imagery right there…. Oh wait! I remember! I was right there when that happened. I snickered, inwardly of course.

"No, Ron," Hermione was saying. Oh, now she was infuriated. "I can't believe you. You're always doing that--dragging up the past. Draco said he wanted to move on. Why can't you just accept that? Yes, I've forgiven him. What's so wrong about that? Why must we hold grudges? Why can't we all just be friends?"

She seemed to be near tears now. Merlin's pants. I didn't mean for it to go this far. All I meant to do was exchange a few friendly words, and then get out of there. But no, now we were turning this whole thing into some dramatic showdown. I glanced over at Potter. He looked about as uncomfortable as I felt.

"You've changed, Hermione," said Weasley, looking disgusted.

"And is that such a bad thing?" she snapped at him even while blinking back tears.

"Yeah," he said idiotically. "Yeah, it is. You've changed for the worse…ever since you started hanging around that." He pointed a shaking finger in my face.

I tried not to. I really did. But it was an automatic response. Yes, I sneered at him, with all the sneering ability I had. But I didn't say anything rude back, so I get some points there.

"That?" she repeated, now pointing her wand at him. "Are you referring to Draco as that?"

"What the bloody hell?" said Weasley, his entire face turning red. "So he's Draco to you now? Oh, I see how it is."

"Er…" Potter mumbled. No one, apart from me, heard him. "I'm going to go eat breakfast now," he said feebly, before departing from the scene. That was smart of him to do so, before things got nasty. I would have left too, but I've got to show my support for my beloved Hermione. I have to be ready to hex Weasley to pieces if he so much as harms a hair on her head.

"No, you don't see how it is. You really don't, Ron," said Hermione with a scary tone of finality. She raised her wand.

I was excitedly waiting to see what she was going to do to him, but before I could even blink, Weasley was screaming and running away from us down the hall, sprinting around the corner and out of sight.

"What the--" I muttered.

Hermione lowered her wand, looking slightly confused as well. "I didn't even do anything to him," she said. "That is, unless I accidentally used a nonverbal spell without even knowing it." She shrugged and sighed, rubbing her temples. "I can't believe I just killed my friendship with Ron."

"It's not your fault," I said comfortingly, pulling her into a hug. "Everything's going to work out in the end."

She laid her head on my shoulder. "Maybe so, but I still feel terrible. I mean, I've been friends with Ron ever since first year! What happened?"

For once, I wasn't angry because she was still dwelling over Weasley. In fact, I understood what she was feeling…sort of. "People change," I said in response to her question. "You changed. I changed. But he couldn't…and therein lies the problem."

"You're right," she sighed. "Goodness, Draco, you've changed a lot. Sometimes, when we're like this, I feel like I'm dreaming."

"Oh, it's happening," I said, grinning. My plan was working so well. Not only was she impressed by my actions, but she was also falling in love with me. How do I know? I just do.

Anyway, Hermione and I were just having a fine time hugging each other in the hallway when Potter had to come along and interrupt us. Fortunately for him, I remembered that I had promised to be nice to him.

"Er…" he said awkwardly.

Hermione broke away from me. Actually, she sort of shoved me away. But I won't dwell on that. "Hi Harry!" she squeaked.

He raised an eyebrow at her and then looked over at me. "So," he said, with the air of someone who was commenting on the weather, "are you two…together?"

"What does it look like to you, Potter?" I said.

"It sure as hell looks like you two are together to me," he mumbled.

"Well, you see Harry, I don't exactly hate him anymore," Hermione began, wringing her hands together nervously.

"Yes, I can see that," he said. Apparently Potter can do sarcasm.

"And, well, I suppose you could say that we're together…but please don't tell anyone, Harry!" she said anxiously.

Wait a second. Did she really just say that?

Hermione Granger has just admitted that she and I are together.

Wow.

This was going better than I thought.

Forget impressing the Mudblood…. By the end of these ten ways, I'm going to marry her.

Just kidding…or not.

Wink, wink. 




And there you go! Only two more ways to impress a Mudblood. Don't worry about Ron, like Draco said, everything will work out in the end. ;) Please review!
Yours till the Snorkack's horn crumples,
Queen Luna

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