“Grace, don’t touch it.” Draco snapped at the girl beside him. He was asked by Blaise to assist in all of Grace’s studies, potions included.
“I just hate sitting here and doing nothing,” the Italian whined at her new potions partner. Blaise wouldn’t let her do anything, mainly because she was useless when it came to copying notes, reading questions, and writing essays. “I was looking forward to making this potion,” she mumbled in annoyance.
Draco couldn’t help but chuckle at the girl, admitting to himself that her complaining was much more attractive than Pansy’s. “Fine.” He opened her palm and placed a tablespoons-worth of dried leech bellies in her hand. “I’ll guide your hand and you will drop it into the cauldron.” He gently lifted her wrist above the already boiling liquid.
Grace elegantly released her hand and heard the potion sizzle; she smiled. “Thanks,” she said as she placed her palm back on the desk, simultaneously feeling a heated stare from a nearby desk.
She couldn’t see, but Draco shook his head in amusement, “You really thank me too much you know.”
“Would you prefer me to ignore your noble actions?”
“Ah, so I’m noble. I believe that’s a Gryffindor trait but, I’ll settle for it.”
“Oh shut up you pompous twat.”
Ron couldn’t help but glare at his girlfriend’s potions partner. He watched as the two in question laughed at some comment. “When have you ever seen Malfoy help someone?” He asked his own partner.
“Uh-never, actually. Why ask?” The boy responded, not even bothering to look up from his textbook.
“He’s willingly helping out Grace. What in the bloody hell is he playing at?” Ron flared, almost knocking over their cauldron as he threw in three wrong ingredients.
Harry looked up and squinted his eyes at the Slytherin duo. “Well, they look pretty cozy.” He started to stir their potion. “Don’t think any of it mate.”
Ron began to savagely chop nine sprigs of goosegrass, keeping his eye on the friendly Slytherins.
“Thirty-five…Thirty-six…Thirty-seven.” Grace finished as she placed the ladle on the desk. “At least I can stir.”
“Yeah, it’s a very strenuous task,” her partner replied sarcastically. Grace gave him a good blow to the shoulder. “Owww! That’s not kind.”
“Who said I was kind?” Grace teased.
Draco finished filling their vials with the fire potion, “Well I assumed you were.”
Grace snorted as she resettled herself on her seat, the stare she felt was making her upmost uncomfortable. “Draco may I please have a piece of parchment?”
“Sure.” Draco ducked under the table to reach his bag. He grasped the dragon hide strap and began to drag the pack towards himself, while a disturbing chill ran down his back and his eyes widened in fear. Haunting memories began to refill his mind as he reminisced upon that specific day. “I’m sorry Draco. It’s what we deserve, what I-I deserve. Forgive me.” The man’s voice shivered a mere few inches in front of his own. Draco let go of the breath he had been holding for the last two minutes. Quickly grabbing a piece of parchment from one of his journals, he decided to calm himself before he resurfaced to the world.
As Draco dug into his bag for the requested item, Grace sought for a quill on the desk. Brushing her hands past the vials, a bit of the potion dripped down and caught her skin.
She let out a painful squeak as Draco straightened himself back from his search. He glanced over at his partner and immediately grabbed her hand. “Oh god, I’m sorry.” He muttered a quick cooling spell on her burnt finger. “I should’ve closed the lid.” He gently caressed the small sore. His mouth was now dry and he was desperately trying to suffice with his own saliva.
“It’s fine.” She glanced up to what she knew was his face and Draco couldn’t help but stare at the girl in front of him. Noticing they were a bit too close, Grace pushed a lock of hair behind her ear and turned her face away.
Draco tried to pretend it never happened too. “Here’s your parchment,” the blonde pushed the item in front of her.
“Um-Thanks.” Grace spoke with a heated blush on her cheeks. She quickly thought of what she was going to write.
After a minute or so, Draco watched Grace lean fairly close to him. “Is someone looking at me?”
He looked up and scanned the room for possible suspects, an eye catching onto a beefy boy.
“Weasley, mind keeping your eyes somewhere else?”
The ginger in question looked at the blonde in rage, “Yes. I do mind, because you’re getting friendly with me girlfriend!”
“Ronald!” Grace said in surprise, “It’s ‘my’ not ‘me’, and we are just partners, so please stop staring.”
She heard a large grunt from the boy, and regained her collected demeanor. Little did she know that the one staring holes at her was none other than a curly headed blonde.
Later that Day…
Draco and Grace were spending hours in the library, attempting to tackle several assignments.
By the time they got to their Runes homework, they had worked out a system. Grace would speak her essay, while a charmed quill, (one similar to that of Rita Skeeter’s) was used to write her thoughts on a nearby parchment. Draco, however, would stay and supervise while he finished some homework of his own.
While Grace was speaking her transition for her fifth paragraph about Irish Rune theory, Draco couldn’t help but contemplate the girl’s large capacity for knowledge. She had been speaking quietly for a good hour about the topic and she already had thirteen feet of parchment beside her, that and including the fact she rarely stopped to correct mistakes, just because there was none to begin with. Before, Draco Malfoy was known for terrorizing anyone who came close to his high level of intelligence, especially towards a certain muggle-born. Yet, the girl that sat before him had a more intriguing way of displaying information that made it almost monumental. He finished his fourth foot of parchment with a final tap of his quill.
Draco looked up to watch the girl. He tried to distract himself from his memories by listening to her voice; it was somewhat…well…he didn’t know. He just decided he really liked her voice. Actually, he liked everything about her, from her unique hair (he still didn’t fully understand it’s reflecting properties) to her genuine personality. Yes, her physically attributes were extremely appealing, but her charisma was what really intrigued him. Never had he met someone who was so confident, bright, loyal, and kind, not to mention a Slytherin. She was the complete opposite of him. Draco frowned. He had done such terrible things in the past, in the war, and his family trickled down from glory ever since. He had been through a lot and not once had she judged him. Not once had she questioned him about his past. And yet, she fit perfectly in this Hogwarts lifestyle, in her own little world. Draco stared at the girl in front of him and had the most magnificent epiphany he had ever experienced. He was in love.
“Unlike the Ancient English runes, the Irish Demiguise represents both 0 and the negative scale, which is similar to…” Grace’s minds went blank briefly; she was hoping this wouldn’t happen. “Er...Draco?”
Draco snapped out of his realization at the sounds of her voice saying his name, “Yes?”
“I’m really sorry to ask you this but…I’m unsure about a fact and I want to double check in a book. Can…uh…can you get me Magical Hieroglyphs and Logograms: Demiguise through Runespoor? It should be on the third shelve from the bottom in the Runes section, and in-between Spellman’s Syllabary and The Simple Pronunciations of Rowcorn. Sorry to ask…I know I interup-”
“You didn’t interrupt me Grace,” Draco stopped her rambling, “I’ll be glad to do it. Just sit tight, I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.”
Grace smiled and they both chuckled as she thanked him for the umpteenth time.
Grace could hear Draco get up from his chair and walk away. She sat in silence for a couple minutes thinking about the blonde who previously occupied the seat across from her. He was so different from what she used to think of him. He had this outer layer that only a couple could break through, and when one did, they would be quite surprised. Draco could be a very loyal friend when asked to be, and she fairly enjoyed that version of him. However, she repeatedly watched him replace his mask and act the way she always viewed him as. And spending more time with him, Grace couldn’t figure if she should respect or hate it. Her brother seemed to rely on Draco a great deal, and therefore she had spent a good amount of time with him, and the more and more she did, the more she saw what she believed to be his true-self, and the more she began to like him…as a person. Well it was a start.
The sound of a nearby seat took her out of her reverie. “Uh, hello?” She knew the person could not be Draco, just because he gave her space (which she was very appreciative of) and would never sit beside her without permission or if situation sought for it, not to mention the person didn’t smell like him either. Yes, this figure was not her assigned study buddy.
“Hi.” The voice snapped impatiently. From the sound, Grace could make out the person to be a female, a very unhappy female at that.
“C-can I help you?” Grace stuttered, the voice was so familiar but she couldn’t put a finger on who it belonged to.
“Listen bitch, just do us all-”
She finally put a face to the sound, “Lavender?”
Lavender went pale, how could this girl know exactly who she was? She made sure the trollop couldn’t see, surely she couldn’t identify by just her voice. Could she? Lavender turned around and pointed her wand towards her neck, mumbling a distortion spell on her vocal chords.
“No. But, I’ll get to the point. Stay away from him. You’re nothing but a filthy slag compared to me. You’re worthless and nothing in his eyes, and he’s only with you because you’re the vulnerable little new girl that you are. So do us all a favor and snap out of you’re pathetic little act and get away from him. You’re tainting him.” Lavender finished by spitting in the girl’s face and giving good couple slaps to her face. She grabbed Grace’s wrists and pressed down firmly, “I warned you once, do not make me do it again.” Grace whimpered under the girl’s wrath and hissed at the pain that was now coming to replace the initial numbness.
Grace was in complete shock as she received several smacks to the face. Tears were gaining in her blind eyes, and she frantically tried to search her robes for her wand. The stranger held her wrists to prevent her search, and drawled a final warning in her ear. The whole time, Grace’s face was burning with fear and her heart was yearning to fight back. Not until a distant yell did the stranger release her wrists and leave. Grace leaned back in her chair as she heard the far patters of feet slow down into a few thuds.
“Merlin, what happened? I thought I saw someone here…” She heard Draco’s voice say breathlessly.
Grace pushed the seat further back with her feet and wiped the tears that were forming in her eyes. She turned away from the blonde and waved her wand to pack her things.
“Done already? What about your essay?”
Grace remained silent and kept her back firmly turned on him. Noticing the girl’s reluctant form, Draco decided to respect her want for silence. Together they packed with an uncomfortable tension settling between the two.