Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling and Warner Bros. All fics posted at this community were written entirely for fun, not for profit, and no copyright infringement is intended.Title: The Game Is OnAuthor: articcat621Rating:
Hermione is more than excited to sign up for Flourish and Blott's Aspiring Writer Competition. She's also surprised to see Malfoy signed up too. And of course, he has to make things interesting.Warnings:
Language, Suggestive Themes, Slight Ron Bashing by his friends.Author's Note(s):
Thanks to the mod for a slight extension, and thanks to my beta GR for her assistance. I hope my giftee likes this bit of fluff and banter.
“Hermione, have you seen the ad in the Daily Prophet?” Ginny asked, sitting down next to Hermione at the table in Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place.
“No, what is it?” Hermione took a look at the paper that Ginny was holding in front of her.
“Flourish and Blotts is having a competition,” Ginny gushed. “This is your chance, Hermione!”
The brunette witch took the paper excitedly, her eyes scanning the article. “They're giving the winner the opportunity to publish with them free of charge?” She looked at Ginny. “The information session is tomorrow afternoon.”
“You need to do this, Hermione. Your writing is amazing,” Ginny said.
She blushed. “I wouldn’t say it’s amazing.”
“Nonsense,” Ginny said, rolling her eyes. “You’re being modest. Come on, I’ll go with you if you want. You have to go to the information session at the very least.”
“Fine,” Hermione relented, gently biting her lower lip. “I...I’ll do it.”
Hermione laughed at Ginny’s excited expression. “Yes, really. I just don’t think anyone besides you will want to read my work.” As she looked down at the advertisement once more, she couldn’t help the bubble of excitement that grew inside of her.
Ginny bounced on her heels next to Hermione as the two of them waited for the owner of Flourish and Blotts to begin explaining what the competition would consist of.
“There are only a few people here,” Hermione commented, looking around. “Maybe six or seven of us?” She had expected the shoppe to be more crowded.
“That means you have better odds,” Ginny said, grinning. “You’ve totally got this, Hermione.”
“I just like that the decision will be made by anonymous voters,” Hermione replied. “I don’t want to win because of who I am.”
“Again, because you’re modest,” Ginny pointed out. “Some people would use their fame in inappropriate ways.”
Hermione arched a brow at Ginny’s tone. “He’s your brother, you know.”
“And he’s being a total arse,” Ginny replied, shrugging. “Another girl every other week? I feel like Mum dies a little every time she sees the Prophet.”
“That’s his choice,” Hermione replied. “We can just support him the best we can.”
“You’re too nice of a friend,” Ginny answered. “Holy shite.”
“What?” Hermione asked, snapping her gaze to Ginny’s face. It was one of pure shock.
Hermione whipped her head around, looking in surprise. Sure enough, Draco Malfoy was lingering by the doorway. She hadn’t seen the wizard in some time – it had been nearly seven months since the end of the war. She knew that Malfoy was on parole, but she was surprised to see him there.
“I wonder if he’s a writer?” Hermione murmured.
“He must be; or he wandered in looking for a book and didn’t realise that today was the information session for the competition.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us,” an old man announced from the front of the store.
Hermione tried to pay attention to the store owner, but she found herself trying to watch Malfoy out of the corner of her eye. She looked at him, trying to assess him. He didn’t look healthy… well, she supposed he looked better than he did towards the end of the war. She didn’t imagine that living under Voldemort’s watch was good for anyone’s health.
Was he a writer? She assumed that he must be, he was paying attention to what was being explained…
Returning her attention to the speaker, she tried to focus, but her thoughts remained on Malfoy. She didn’t dare return her gaze to him for fear of getting caught staring. She would never hear the end of it if she did.
“So, Granger, I didn’t know you were an aspiring writer.”
Turning, Hermione was surprised to see that Malfoy was standing right behind her. Ginny had disappeared somewhere into the shoppe. “I…” She cleared her throat. “Short stories and some poetry,” she admitted. “I’m hoping to be published, someday.”
“And no one is jumping at the opportunity to publish the Golden Girl?”
Hermione scowled. “I won’t use my fame to get published,” she retorted, her hands clenching into fists by her side. She wanted to smack that smug look off his face.
“That makes you a better person than the Weasel, then.”
Hermione pursed her lips but knew that Malfoy wasn’t wrong. Ginny had basically said the same thing earlier. “So, you’re a writer?”
“Yes,” Malfoy murmured, grinning. “I write poetry regarding my tortured soul.”
She scoffed. “Yes, I’m sure you’re quite the tortured soul.”
He stepped closer, his voice low. “You have no idea, Granger.”
She swallowed nervously, subconsciously taking a step back. “I… So, I guess we’re competitors, then.”
Malfoy laughed. “You’re no match for me, Granger. This competition is mine.” He looked at her smugly. “It’s nice to know I’ll have an easy win.”
“Don’t be an arse,” Hermione hissed, her temper flaring once more.
“You know, we should make this interesting.”
Hermione turned away. “Don’t you have anything better to do than annoy me?” she asked, over her shoulder.
“Nope,” Malfoy said, following after her. “My parole doesn’t allow me much freedom.”
She huffed when he continued and followed her down the next aisle.
“Like I said, we should make this interesting, Granger,” he repeated.
Finally, Hermione stopped and turned to face him. “What do you mean?” She had a feeling he wouldn’t stop pestering her until she listened to what he had to say.
“Let’s make a wager on who will win this competition.” Malfoy grinned. “You or me?”
“Okay, what are your terms?” Hermione asked, arching a brow. She was intrigued.
“Well, what do you want if you win?”
Hermione looked at him carefully. “I want you to donate 500 galleons to a charity of my choosing.”
“Done,” Malfoy said.
“Really?” she asked, slightly surprised. She had not expected Malfoy to agree to her terms. “And if you win?”
“I get to take you on a date.”
Hermione felt her mouth go dry. “Beg pardon?”
Malfoy grinned. “If I win, I get to take you on a date.”
“Are you taking the mickey out of me?”
“Wouldn’t dream of it, Granger, I’ve felt your temper first hand, remember?” He grinned. “So, what do you say? Do we have a challenge?”
“We do,” Hermione murmured in agreement. She held her hand out, waiting for him to shake on it. To her surprise, he shook her hand firmly. She was surprised by the warmth of his touch.
“Great,” Malfoy chuckled. “I look forward to taking you out, I do hope you like Italian.”
“Don’t be so sure of yourself, Malfoy,” Hermione replied. “It’s on.”
He grinned, winking at her before turning and exiting the shoppe.
Hermione was still trying to process what had happened when Ginny found her a few moments later. “Are you ready?” Ginny asked.
“I’m going to win this competition,” Hermione said, determined. She grinned at Ginny. “Let’s do this.”THE END...