Head to Head

Awake at 2 AM

A/N: Hello my lovely readers! Welcome to chapter 3 of Head to Head. I know it doesn't seem like much, but thank you for 6 followers ((: Just note that the bit in italics at the start is a chunk of the ending bit of the last chapter, just to give you a refresher.

A small bump in the boat indicated that they had reached the other side of the lake, and had finally arrived at the school. Hermione looked up to find a pale hand extending out towards her to offer her assistance out of the boat, and she smiled, maybe people do change, even Draco Malfoy.

However, she lifted her eyes further up and saw something that she hadn't seen since the end of the war, and wished she would never see again.

A snake coiled around a skull in black ink stood out against Draco's pale inner forearm.

The Dark Mark.

At the sight of the black ink imprinted on the Slytherin's arm, Hermione jumped back into the boat, hitting her head on the hard, wooden surface.

"Are you alright?" Draco asked, confused, oblivious to the fact that his long sleeve had ridden up his pale arm. "Granger?" His grey eyes followed hers downwards where they rested on his inner forearm. His face blanched, and he hastily pulled down the sleeve on his black robes.

Hermione took a deep breath. We're going to be late to the feast, she thought and clambered clumsily out of the little boat.

"It doesn't go away?" she asked Draco, gesturing to his left arm, which was now completely covered with his black robes, except for his pale fingertips.

"Never," Draco spat, turning away, his long strides carrying him away from her. Hermione couldn't help but feel sorry for him. It would always remain as a constant reminder of his mistakes and his past, but then again, he was a Death Eater.

In complete utter silence, the unlikely pair headed to the Great Hall, positive that they were both very late.

They stood in front of the tall, grand doors of the Great Hall side-by-side; the Slytherin and Gryffindor. Hermione held her ear against the wooden door and listened to the headmistress of Hogwarts, Minerva McGonagall's voice echo around the hall.

"We're late, Malfoy," Hermione winced. "So late…" She had never been late on her first day at school, and it just had to happen when she was Head girl.

"Granger." Draco's voice interrupted her frantic thinking. "We're late, get over it."

She turned to him, shocked. How could he simply play off the fact that they, the Head boy and girl, were late to the very first feast of the year? She put her ear back against the door. "She's still talking," Hermione observed, "McGonagall, I mean."

"And?" The platinum-blonde haired boy said nonchalantly, raising an eyebrow. "Let's just go in."

"We would be interrupting her speech!" she said, almost hysterically, she had never been late before! "She hates being interrupted!" Draco turned to her and snorted.

"Well, we're just getting later by the minute," he said. "Your choice, Granger." She sighed in frustration, he was right. They really were quite late.

"I guess we should go in…" she sighed.

"Okay, you first."

"Okay." She paused.

"Granger, go in."

"Okay," but she made no move to go in as she clasped the brass door handle.

"Granger, go in!" Draco yelled. "It's not like you're going to get a detention for being a few minutes late!"

Hermione sighed, "Okay."

"I swear to Merlin, Granger," Draco said. "If I hear another bloody okay from you, I'm pushing you in."

"Okay!" Hermione cried, but then turned to Draco, a grumpy expression plastered across his pale face. Blast, she thought, I said okay again.

"Are you going to push me in?" she said mockingly, crossing her arms across her chest. He wouldn't do that, would he?

"No," he grunted in reply. "Just go inside." She pushed open the door, holding her head high, determined to make a good impression as the new Head girl. However, as she walked in she felt the back of her robe catch on something, surprised, she turned around to find an equally as shocked Draco Malfoy behind her, his foot caught on the back of her robes. She could feel herself losing balance, and in a desperate attempt, Draco tried to lunge forwards to catch her.

Then she fell forwards.

The laughter of hundreds of witches and wizards surrounded her; she turned behind her and saw her fellow Head boy sprawled behind her. It didn't look like he got the better end of the deal. As she tried to untangle herself from Draco, she noticed a pair of long, black robes standing in front of her and looked up. Face turning red, she found herself face-to-face an elderly witch with grey hair pulled back into a tight bun and a tall black hat. The new Headmistress, Minerva McGonagall, and she certainly didn't look happy to see her.

Eyeing the Head girl clumsily pulling herself upwards, McGonagall shook her head, disappointed. "Please meet me in my office after the feast, Miss. Granger," she said curtly and peer behind the bushy-haired girl at Draco, who was still struggling to regain his posture. "You too, Mister. Malfoy." Draco groaned, he couldn't even stay out of trouble for the first week. "My office now resides in the old headmaster's." A wave of sadness washed over Hermione, it had finally hit her that Dumbledore wouldn't be returning to Hogwarts this year, or ever.

"For now, please find a seat…" the Headmistress sighed wearily, she would've thought that with Potter and Weasley gone, Hermione Granger wouldn't put a toe out of line, but clearly she had been wrong.

The two to walked towards their respecting tables, Gryffindor and Slytherin, smiling sheepishly. It was certainly not the entrance they had expected for their seventh-year. Hermione scanned the Gryffindor table, looking for at least somebody she knew. Usually, she sat with Harry and Ron, but they were, for obvious reasons, not there.

"Hermione!" Ginny Weasley called. "Over here!" Hermione turned around, relieved to find a familiar face. She made her way over and Ginny shuffled aside to make room for her friend.

"So…" Ginny said, smirking. "You and Malfoy, huh?" Hermione gasped. How could she even think that? Hermione and Draco had years of rivalry between them, and it made her reminisce of the time she had socked him in the face. It really was one of her proudest moments.

"There is no me and Malfoy!" Hermione demanded. Ginny sipped her pumpkin juice, eyes sparkling mischievously.

"I heard the Head girl and Head boy spend a lot of time together…" Ginny continued, a sly grin on her face. "They even share sleeping quarters." Shared sleeping quarters?! Nobody had told Hermione about this.

"No way!" Hermione protested. "McGonagall would never have a boy and girl share sleeping quarters. Anyway, I'm meeting with her and Malfoy later, so prepare to be proven wrong!" Hermione gulped, that reminded her. She would be meeting in the Headmistress's office after the feast, and boy was she nervous. She had never gotten in trouble, really, and the other times she had gotten in trouble was for, ahem, a good cause. Namely saving the wizarding world, of course.

"Absolutely embarrassing," McGonagall said as she sat at her desk in front of the Head boy and girl. Hermione gulped nervously, while Draco appeared to be hiding a smirk.

"I chose you two as the Head students because you have always displayed exemplary behaviour and morals." Hermione turned to Draco, since when had he ever done a good thing in his life? she thought angrily.

"However," McGonagall continued angrily. "Not only did you arrive late, but you entered in such a…" She paused, lost for words. "Dramatic manner, I dare say."

"It's not my fault!" Draco cried, angrily. "She just had to go ahead and fall into the lake."

"-because you scared me!" Hermione contradicted. How could he blame this all on her?!

"Yeah, and then I saved your arse, scaredy-cat."

"I was doing just fine, thank you!"

"Sure thing, Granger," he smirked.

"Then you stepped on my robe!" she began. "…and made me fall over in front of the whole school!"

"It was an accident!" Draco professed. "You were taking too long to go inside, anyway."

The two continued arguing, and arguing as McGonagall shook her head, disappointed. In all her years at Hogwarts, she had never seen such a disorderly pair of Head students.

"Enough!" she yelled. "You two are supposed to be role models for the younger years, especially the first-years, however, you're acting extremely immature and arguing over who's at fault." McGonagall sighed and pushed her thin-framed glasses up her nose, her frayed black hat drooping sadly.

"I can't even look at you two anymore," she sighed. "Go to your quarters together and sort this out." Hermione gasped. Ginny was right, after all, her brother Percy Weasley had been Head boy.

"Do you have a problem, Miss. Granger?" the Headmistress said, surveying the shocked expression on the Head Girl's face.

"No, of course not," Hermione replied quickly, masking her surprise well. Draco turned to her and smirked. Teacher's pet, he thought.

"Perfect," McGonagall said as she stood up from her desk. "Please go to bed now, and remember that starting from tomorrow night, you will begin your night patrols together." The Head boy and girl both winced when McGonagall had said 'together', they couldn't stand another moment with each other.

"Have a good night," the headmistress said wearily as she ushered them out of her office into the dark, torch-lit corridor. As soon as she as they had turned the first corner, Draco started speaking in a high-pitched, taunting voice.

"I can't even look at you two anymore," he said in a squeaky voice, clearly imitating Professor McGonagall. "Absolutely embarrassing!" He scoffed, amused with the lecture he had just received. "Merlin, I can't stand that woman. Absolutely insufferable." Hermione gasped, how could he even speak of a teacher like that?

"I know what you're thinking, Granger," he sneered, turning to Hermione. "How could I be so rude to the headmistress?" He laughed angrily, his grey eyes flashing with hatred. "I know what you've said about Professor Snape in the past, Granger, you of all people should learn a thing or two about respect." Turning away angrily, he quickened his pace, which was not easy as he was easily a third of a foot taller than her, and his long legs were certainly to his advantage. Thinking of all the times he had bullied Harry, Ron and herself in potions, she was determined to shoot back a retort, however, quickly remembering how he was close to Draco before his passing, she decided to keep her mouth shut. Just this once, she thought as she followed Draco through the wooden door which lead to their sleeping quarters.

As she entered the room, she gasped in surprise. She knew that the Head boy and girl were important figures in the school, but she could never imagine having a room like this. A red, black and beige Persian carpet spread across the wide room, tall glass windows, bewitched to show a gorgeous star-speckled night, with red and gold silk curtains covered the cobblestone walls while across from them was a cosy fireplace in front of a plush red couch.

"It's gorgeous," Hermione said, absolutely awestruck by the grandeur of the room.

"The red and gold makes me sick," Draco sighed, mock-gagging. "The room really needs a splash of green, or silver." He added. Hermione shot daggers at him.

"One more comment like that, and I'll hex you," she said warningly. Draco opened his mouth, but quickly shut it and Hermione smiled smugly. He would certainly not like to be hexed today, or ever.

Hermione climbed the stairs to her room to find a room as beautiful as the first. Her bed was a lot larger than her previous one in the Gryffindor tower and the room was even more spacious than her own at home. The Gryffindor lion was emblazoned on the red draping curtains and, to her surprise, she found all of her trunk already neatly sorted out. Books on the mahogany desk, clothes folded neatly in the tall dresser and photographs stood-up on her bedside table. It was a bit odd to image little house-elves rummaging through her stuff, however, it wasn't out of the ordinary. Those creatures always tended to overdo things.

She walked across her room to find another door which led to an ensuite bathroom; walls covered in white marble, a golden chandelier hanging from the surprisingly tall roof and a giant bathtub which she could've easily mistaken for a small swimming pool. Tracing up a marble pillar, she found a gold-rimmed clock which read the time of 10:43 pm. Blimey! she thought. It's almost eleven! She opened the bathroom cabinet, and to her surprise, the house-elves had already placed her toothbrush, toothpaste and other toiletries in the cabinet. She brushed her teeth for two minutes, each quarter of her mouth for thirty seconds and smiled in the mirror, gazing at a reflection of even, pearly whites. After all, her parents were dentists! After pointlessly trying to tame her bushy, brown locks, she slid out of her robes and into a pair of soft, satin red and gold pyjamas she found laying on her bed. Those certainly weren't there before… she thought. She debated going downstairs for a cup of hot chocolate but she did need all the sleep she could get, after all, she had Potions with the Slytherins tomorrow. However, a pang of guilt hit her. The previous Potions teacher, Severus Snape, had died during the war. Although he had been insufferable and unfair to the Gryffindors, she felt as if she was getting used to his snide comments, it was almost part of her routine. However, she was guilty of wishing for the new teacher to be better but still felt culpable comparing the new teacher whom she hadn't met, to a dead man.

Flopping tiredly on her bed, she let out a loud yawn. Today had been a long day; a boring train ride with Draco Malfoy, falling into the lake, tripping in front of the whole school and receiving a lecture from the headmistress had certainly tired her out. Should I say goodnight to Malfoy? She thought, however the idea was soon abandoned as she curled under the covers and quickly fell asleep.

It was 2:06 when she awoke again to a loud bang from downstairs. Sitting up, alert, she crept down the stairs with her wand held cautiously in front of her. However, instead of an intruder, she found a tall, platinum-blonde haired boy standing in the mini-kitchen, his bleary grey eyes staring at the floor, unfocused.

"Malfoy?" Draco turned around, surprised to find her awake.

"I thought you were asleep," he said, rubbing his eyes.

"Well, I was until I heard a bang," she replied. "What happened?"

"I was making coffee," he sighed. "Then I accidentally broke the mug."

"Coffee? At 3 am?" She walked towards him and surveyed the scene. A dark brown liquid was splattered on the stone floor and shards of green ceramic lay scattered. She watched him pull out his wand.

"Evanesco," he muttered and the mess on the floor vanished with a 'pop'. "You should be going to sleep now, Granger."

"You should be going to sleep now, Malfoy," Hermione replied, copying his tone. Draco rolled his tired eyes and shook his head.

"I'm not tired,"' he said, and Hermione wanted to burst out laughing as she watched him desperately try to suppress a yawn.

"If you won't go to sleep, then I won't go to sleep," she protested, her Gryffindor stubborn-ness shining through. Draco opened his mouth, about to complain, but watching her unwavering expression, he knew this was a fight he wasn't going to win.

"Fine," he huffed. "Just don't try to talk to me, or anything weird like that." He took long strides over to the plush red couch and sat down on the end, head resting on the back. Tentatively, Hermione stepped towards the couch and sat down on the opposite end.

As the two sat on the couch, Draco averted his grey eyes, and instead stared at the blazing fireplace. Brilliant flames of orange, yellow and red curled in the brick fireplace, turning the black wood into charcoal. It was almost hypnotizing watching the fireplace, the quiet crackling of the flickering fire made him feel at peace, but Draco knew that when he closed his eyes again, the horrible nightmares would return. After he had been cleared of all charges as a Death Eater, the nightmares wouldn't stop. Horrible scenes that he had witnessed at during the war would return every night. His wand pointed towards Dumbledore. The screaming of the Muggles. The Muggle Studies teacher's body suspended over the dining table. More and more would enter his head every night, and he soon found that the only solution was not going to sleep at all. At least the dreams wouldn't come.

As he found himself lost in thought, he hadn't noticed that Hermione had fallen asleep opposite him. Draco chuckled watching the brunette curled up in a little ball, almost like a little child. Careful not to disturb her peaceful slumber, he scooped her up and carried her up the stairs into her dorm. As he placed her onto her bed, he gently pushed a stray piece of brown hair away from her face.

"Goodnight, Granger."

A/N: Chapter three out! I hope you guys enjoyed this story, and please review. It's really motivating when I get any positive comments or even tips on how to improve. Make sure you don't miss a chapter by following/favouriting this story! Lots of loveee x

Word Count (not including italics the starts) : 2794!