This is fanfiction for the wonderful already-alternate universe, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. It doesn’t really fit with the ending of that story, however, so imagine it extrapolating from the events of, oh, chapter 77 (the end of the “Self Actualization” arc).
It was pretty much impossible for Hermione to get distracted while actually reading a book, but unfortunately that didn’t extend to other academic activities, like copying information out of books, or writing a report that a Gryffindor could scribble their way through in their sleep. During those periods, her mind was free to wander.
In real life, she had been rushing from an end-of-class discussion with Professor Vector to a before-class consultation with Professor Sinistra (the week’s topic had been Diurnal Astronomy, which had been surprisingly interesting even for a well-studied Muggleborn) when she came around a corner and just barely stopped herself from running smack into Draco Malfoy.
(Harry had once confessed to her that he occasionally referred to Malfoy or Neville in his thoughts as “the scion of Malfoy” or “the scion of Longbottom”, which she had laughed at him for—it was a great word but using it for real people was ridiculous.)
Malfoy, of course, had not even been put off-stride; raised eyebrows were the only indication that he hadn’t intended all along to stop suddenly at the end of the hallway and observe her with his striking grey eyes.
In real life, she had dropped a book—she had had her pouch, of course, the pouch Harry had gotten for her back when they were first-years, but she had been hoping to squeeze in a few extra minutes with Professor Sinistra by already having the textbook ready—and had to awkwardly bend down to pick it up.
Malfoy was already speaking, smoothly and graciously: “Sorry, Miss Granger.” As she picked up the book she noticed his usual…friends? Crabbe and Goyle…weren’t with him at the moment. Maybe they were taking a lower-level class; for all his scorn of Hogwarts as an institution, Malfoy was actually fairly strong, academically, and had been taking nearly all of the advanced classes that she was. Neither Crabbe nor Goyle was on his level—though Hermione did have to admit that Goyle had been a natural trainer of the so-called “pocket-sized monsters” from their last unit in Care of Magical Creatures. No, it was just Draco Malfoy, standing there in his emerald-trimmed robes, looking at her—
In real life this had all been running through her head as she picked up the book, and yet by the time she straightened up and looked up from his chest to his face, she only managed a weak smile.
There was a pause, then Malfoy stepped smoothly to one side and went around her, somehow managing to leave the impression that he had been the one in the way and was sorry to inconvenience her. She had stood there a bit longer before giving herself a mental kick and starting ahead again at a brisk walk.
In her mind, the book had fallen closer to Draco, and before she could react he had knelt gracefully to pick it up. When he handed it back to her their hands touched—it wasn’t a small book, that didn’t make any sense—and then they were both holding it. Their eyes met, her liquid brown and his shimmering grey. And then, still holding the book, she leaned forward and he leaned over, her other hand moving up on its own—
“Hermione? Are you all right?”
Hermione looked over and saw Harry, wearing a little smile that really meant he was trying not to give her his biggest smirk, and only then did she realize that she was blushing all the way up to her ears.
(previously: “Draco x …”)
EDIT: I realized later that the only way this could be more kabe-don is if Draco actually slammed his hand on the wall.
Part of NaCreSoMo 2016.