Hermione drew in a shuddering breath, shoving the dress back in her trunk and slamming the lid. Even through the haze surrounding that night, she could clearly remember the way it had felt. How her lips had burned from his kisses...


2. A... Charming New Roommate

Chapter Two

A... Charming New Roommate

Hermione Granger brooded silently in her compartment on the Hogwarts Express. There were minutes left to spare before the train set off. She was hoping to see her friends before she had to head down to the Prefects compartment. Sighing, Hermione raked her fingers through her thick curls, staring sightlessly towards the mass of witches and wizards jostling on the platform.

"Hermione!" A high-pitched squeal startled Hermione from her stupor. Turning, she just managed a glimpse of a fiery red shock of hair, before the tight grasp of Ginny Weasley enveloped her. Looking past the younger girl towards the compartment doors, she could see two teenage boys staring at her. Hermione smiled timidly.

Harry returned her smile, yet still Hermione deflated at the guarded look in his eyes. Ron's expression, however, caused the smile to fall from her face entirely. He glared stonily at her, before shoving past Harry and flopping down in the corner furthest from her, staring at his feet.

Ginny finally untangled herself from Hermione and stepped back. Now that she got a good look, she could see Ginny's face mirrored Harry's. A hesitant yet kind look, hand in hand with masked anger and curiosity.

"Um, hello Harry, Ginny . . .  Ron."

"How are you doing, Hermione?" Harry blurted out in an attempt to make conversation. They were all worried about her but too afraid to broach the sensitive topic. It was painfully obvious in their apprehensive eyes and fidgety hands.

Hermione could hardly stand the tension.

"I'm good! Great, actually!" Her stomach clenched at the lies, at what she was hiding. Fortunately she didn't dwell on it. She had accomplished that skill well in the past few weeks. 

The train let out a long, piercing whistle, before chugging forward. Ron glanced up, briefly meeting her gaze before looking away.

"We'd better go," he grunted, more to the open air than to anyone in particular. Pushing himself to his feet, the tall 17-year old disappeared into the hallway. He was no doubt headed for the Prefects compartment. Sighing in frustration, Hermione followed.

Storming down the hall, she snagged Ron's sleeve, forcing him to stop. His ears were already turning that telltale red.

"Ronald Weasley, now you listen to me! Stop acting so—“ Hermione gasped as he swung around. His fingers wrapped around her upper arm in a vice-like grip. His nose was barely an inch from hers. His eyes bored angrily into her.

"What are you, my mother?" He spat. "I don't want to talk to you right now, Hermione. I'm not going to pretend I'm not angry with you like those two.” He jerked his head back towards the compartment where Harry and Ginny remained. His fingers tightened, clenching her arms. "Because believe me, I'm bloody furious."

Whirling around, Ron stomped down the hall, snarling at any students who got in his way.

Ashen-faced and shaken, Hermione followed slowly, arriving well after he did. All heads turned towards her as she entered, their eyes searching the front of her robes expectantly. After a moment, a snort sounded from the corner. Hermione turned, knowing exactly who she'd see. Draco Malfoy's haughty blue eyes met hers, taunting her.

"I'm shocked," he drawled, mouth curling. “Has the know-it-all Granger been denied Head Girl status? It seems Dumbledore has finally raised his standards!"

Hermione flushed. Ron's ears turned an even brighter red, if that were possible. "Shove off, Malfoy!" he growled, eyes smoldering.

"I am Head Girl. So you can shut your mouth, Malfoy. Don't make me do it for you." Hermione pulled out a red and gold badge as she spoke, emblazoned with the letters "HG". She held it out proudly, her hazel eyes searching his face for a hint of surprise.

Malfoy regarded it coolly. "Oh, please. You wouldn't risk your precious status and hex me, Granger. You're a good little Mudblood."

Several of the prefects gasped in shock. Ron made a jerking motion, as if he wanted to jump across the room at the Slytherin, but stopped himself.

Hermione surveyed Draco Malfoy with indifference. Her insides squirmed in irritation as she noted the silver and green Head Boy badge pinned to his chest. 

"Don't be a prat, Malfoy. I'm sure they'd have it in their hearts to understand." She was cooing at him now, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "Honestly though, I'd only have to go about it the Muggle way wouldn't I? Remember third year?"

With that last scathing remark hanging in the air, she turned on her heel and began giving the Prefects their directions. 

The day passed as usual. Before Hermione knew it, the train was slowing to a stop in Hogsmeade Station. Harry and Ginny were still acting on their toes around her. Ron continued blatantly ignoring her. This was nothing more than she'd expected, and Hermione knew before long they'd confront her. Just the thought of it made her stomach roil.    

The sorting went smoothly. Dumbledore gave his usual nonsense speech, followed by his annual warnings. Before long the meal was drawing to a close.

"Oh, bloody hell!" Hermione groaned, thumping her head down onto her magically cleared platter. Ginny shot her a startled look. Hermione rarely ever swore.

"What's the matter?" Harry questioned, his green eyes following Ron's retreating back.

"I have to—“ She shuddered. "Oh, no. I've just realized I have to share a Common Room with Malfoy!"

She shot a livid glare at the young man in question, who was whispering something to his usual cronies, Crabbe and Goyle.

Ginny wrinkled her nose in distaste, following Hermione's gaze. Harry, on the other hand, gripped the table furiously. 

"They're going to make you bunk with him? Are they insane?" He shook his head, flabbergasted. "I swear, if he does anything . . .” The rest of his threat was lost in a train of aggravated muttering.

"Oh, goodness Harry, I can take care of myself." Hermione said in exasperation. "I just don't want to listen to his ridiculous ravings all day. I'd rather not hear about his dear Daddy or how filthy he thinks my blood is on a daily basis, thank you."

Before either of her friends had a chance to reply, Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape swept over, Malfoy in tow. McGonagall nodded curtly to Harry and Ginny, before turning her bespectacled gaze on Hermione. 

"As you may or may not already be aware of, Miss Granger, you will be sharing a Common Room with Mister Malfoy." Her lips pursed at this. "If you would kindly follow Professor Snape and myself, we'd be happy to show you to your sleeping quarters."

Neither Professor looked overjoyed with the prospect. Grudgingly Hermione nodded and rose from her chair, shooting a feeble glance at her two friends. She then stood up straight, held her head high, and followed.

It didn't take long to arrive, and she was very surprised to find that the dormitory was located in the same corridor as the Headmaster's office. The stone gargoyle stared at them menacingly as they passed. 

The portrait which marked the Common Room entrance depicted a surly looking Medieval boy.

"This is the, er, pleasant portrait of Roman the Gifted. He's a unique character." McGonagall said, looking at him in distaste. Her lips had once again flattened into a severe line of disapproval. 

Rolling his eyes and muttering something obscene, Roman glared. "Password?"

Professor McGonagall looked as if she'd had a stroke if the word left her lips. Snape breezed past her with an impatient sigh.

"Bollocks.” He made a face, as if the word left filthy taste in his mouth. "The password is bollocks.”

This year was looking interesting already. 

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