A/N: And here it is! The long awaited (kind of) chapter 5! I don't have much to say except thank you to all of my readers and reviewers! Especially to my #1 Reviewer Samantha. Thanks for reviewing every chapter! You're wonderful and I'm working in your idea!
Hermione awoke the next morning knowing she had slept in due to the large amount of light streaking across her closed eyes. She’d probably missed breakfast. She groaned into her pillow and rolled to her side, away from the light and right into something solid… solid and warm. Hermione’s eyes snapped open. Upon seeing a shirtless, unknown male in bed with her, Hermione shrieked and tried to escape from the bed. In her haste, she became horribly tangled in the silk sheets that had covered her and was unable to do little more than fall onto the floor with a thud in a tangled mess. Wait… silk sheets? She didn’t have silk sheets. Ohmymagic, I’m not in my room! She panicked and continued to scream as she tried to untangle herself.
Draco awoke to screams. He winced and then realized that Hermione must have woken up before him. In a flash he was awake. He jumped out of his four-poster bed and was kneeling at her side in mere seconds before he clamped his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams. “Do you ever stop screaming?” His grey eyes looked deeply into hers and she was silent. He removed his hand from her lips. “Are you okay? Do you remember what happened last night?”
She concentrated as she looked into his eyes. “Last night… We… We went flying, didn’t we? And then I…” Her eyes started to water, “Oh, I fell and I thought I was going to die and all I could see was the ground and knew I was going to hit it and-”
Draco shushed her. “It’s alright. You’re perfectly fine. I caught you before anything happened.” Hermione was frozen for a moment before she threw her arms around Draco’s neck and started to cry. This time it was Draco’s turn to freeze, as he had no clue how to cope with tears. Sure, he had seen people cry during the war and stuff, but never to him. Never on him or because of him. Well, okay. Maybe some people had cried because of him, but not to him. Draco didn’t know what to do. What he normally would have done was pull back, tell her to suck it up, and then walk out… but he knew he couldn’t do that with Hermione. She was different. And the way he felt about her was now different. And so, Draco hesitantly wrapped his arms around the crying girl and let her sob onto his bare shoulder, not knowing what to say.
A few minutes passed and Hermione’s cries grew softer, her tears slowed their flowing, and she gradually pulled away from him. She looked away from him, embarrassed. “I’m sorry,” she apologized. “I just… I’ve never been so frightened in my life. I thought that was it for me.” Her honey-brown eyes slowly found his. “Thank you… I owe you my life.”
“I’m the one that took you flying,” was his guilt filled reply
“But I was foolish. I tried to do something I shouldn’t have. You kept me perfectly safe the whole time.” She touched his arm gently. He felt a slight tingle shoot through his body when she did. “It wasn’t your fault. You’re practically a hero.” He shrugged sheepishly. “I don’t know how to repay you…”
“You don’t have to. This is what friends do for each other, right?” Hermione nodded. She wasn’t sure if normal friends saved each others lives on a regular basis, but her core group of friends seemed to. “Then you don’t have to repay me.”
“Okay.” She said slowly. “Can you tell me why you brought me back to your room as opposed to mine?”
“There are wards on your room. A male can only be allowed inside with explicit permission from you, and we closed the window when we left, and they can only be opened from the inside. Since you were unconscious I couldn’t really get permission to get into your room, and I wasn’t just going to leave you on the couch in the common room, so I brought you here.”
“Right. Now I remember.” She paused for a moment and looked around the room before speaking again. It was laid out similarly to her own, except like a mirror image. The décor was subtle, masculine, and dark. The sheets she was wrapped in were jet black in color, as were the rest of his sheets and blankets, and the hardwood floor was a deep, dark mahogany. The drapes that hadn’t been closed that night were a deep green with silver stitching and looked to be made of heavy velvet. Everything looked… rich. Rich and heavy and dark. The contrast to her room, though decorated similarly, was near startling. Draco was
practically a beacon of light in the room with his pale colouring. She looked back to him. “I should, uhm, probably go get cleaned up.”
“Yeah, sure. Your shoes are over there,” He gestured to his trunk across the room where a pile of folded clothes rested. “along with a few of your other layers of clothing. I didn’t think you’d be comfortable sleeping in all of that. I hope you don’t mind…”
Hermione waved away the notion with her hand. “It’s fine. I appreciate it.” She looked up at him sheepishly and gestured to the silken black sheets she was still wrapped in. “Help me get untangled?” He chuckled and told her he would. After doing so, Hermione scooped up her things and headed for the door that led to their adjoining bathroom. “So I’ll see you later?”
She rolled her eyes and smiled at him. “Bye, Draco.”
“Try not to die, Hermione.”
“I’ll do my best.” And with that, she was out the door.
On the other side of the door, a very overwhelmed Hermione took a deep breath as she leaned back against it. It was probably time to analyze exactly what was going on between her and Draco, and if there was anything Hermione Jean Granger was really good at, it was analyzing things.
She walked across the marble floor of their bathroom to the door that led to her room on the other side, taking a quick moment to look at herself in the mirror. What she saw made her gasp. She had let him see her like this? Her eyes were red and slightly puffy from her tears, not to mention her hair was a frizzy disaster and her skin was devoid of makeup. She was a wreck. She groaned in frustration and continued her trek across the bathroom to her own quarters.
After entering her own room, Hermione dropped her clothes and shoes
unceremoniously onto the floor and flopped face down on her bed with a tired moan. She could spend the rest of the day here. Easy. She sighed and rolled over, surveying her room and comparing it with Draco’s. Everything was essentially the same, just a lot… brighter and less… imposing. Nearly everything was decked out in either red or gold in honor of her house, much like Draco’s room was silver and green. Her drapes were red with gold stitching, but not velvet. They were much lighter in weight and allowed the sun to emit a hazy glow into her room when they were closed. Her floor was also hardwood, but that of a much lighter make than Draco’s and stained a very light honey toned color. Her sheets weren’t silk; they were cotton, and they were white. Her blankets were red, as was the canopy that draped over her four-poster bed. Her room had something that Draco’s didn’t. Warmth and comfort.
Surprisingly enough, Draco’s room had been more organized than her own. It looked almost unlived in. There were no books out, no letters, no paper, no quills… everything must have been tucked away in his desk. Hermione’s room, on the other hand, books were everywhere. Stacks of papers and letters littered her desk, for she had asked the House Elves that normally came in to tidy things up not disturb her desk. However her floor was devoid of any obstacles and all of her clothes hung up nicely in her wardrobe or were folded in her trunk.
She would admit that she liked the feel of his silk sheets, though.
Thoroughly prepared for any kind of emotional distress that might be caused, Hermione turned her thoughts internally. What was going on with Draco? She supposed they were friends now and had been (on and off) for approximately a week now. Christmas Eve was tomorrow, but that was irrelevant to her musings. She sighed, closed her eyes, and visualized him in her head. His white-blond hair, silvery blue eyes… oh those eyes. They did things to her. Hermione decided that she was, undoubtedly, physically attracted to one Draco Abraxas Malfoy. She was also relatively sure, based on some of the looks he had given her, that he was at least mildly physically attracted to her too. Onto the next point.
Hermione tried to place her feelings towards Malfoy. She was certainly beginning to like him as a person a great deal. He was highly intelligent and had been competent all year as Head Boy. As far as she knew he almost rivaled her in his studies and had been much less of an outwardly conceited prick this year. And getting to know him the past week had been… well, enjoyable. Fun, even. He had a sense of humor, could keep up with her in a conversation, and even exchange witty banter. And he had been kind… Not anyone would take someone flying in the dead of night. Fewer people would have been able to save her life… but Draco did. The more she thought about it, the more she realized that Draco Malfoy had many of the qualities that she deemed important in a significant other. Drive, ambition, intelligence, courage… And he wasn’t a pompous ass anymore like the Malfoy she had grown up with. He had changed.
A lot of things had changed.
She was starting to like Draco Malfoy.
Christmas Eve approached quickly for Hermione and Draco. They had eaten dinner that night (and practically every meal before that) together and were now walking through the Halls in a companionable silence back to their dorms. The House Elves had really outdone themselves this year. All of Hogwarts seemed to be in celebration. It was the first Christmas after the defeat of Voldemort and everyone was simply ecstatic. The whole castle glittered and was alive with sparks and fireworks and random magic. Dumbledore had given a lovely Christmas speech and given all the students a surprise treat at the end of dinner. The female students all received bracelets in their house colors with individualized charms that moved. Hermione’s had a lion for Gryffindor, an otter for her patronus, a miniature wand that looked like hers that shot out purple sparks, a book that looked a lot like Hogwarts, a History and lastly an “H” charm, either for Hogwarts or Hermione. She didn’t really care. She adored it.
Meanwhile the boys had received sturdy rings, also characterized by their House. Needless to say, Draco’s was silver with a large, seemingly black stone in the center surrounded by two snakes, but when the light hit it just right, the stone glittered a brilliant dark green color.
Even Draco had to admit, for jewelry, it was pretty cool.
The two were on a staircase headed up to their dormitory when it suddenly began to shake under their feet.
“Damn it! The staircase is moving again. It’s going to take us an extra ten minutes to get to our dorm now!” complained a rather tired Draco. He hadn’t been able to get much sleep as he had been up all night worried about Hermione, for he disliked the idea of her being alone in case she had nightmares about her fall. All night he had remained awake just in case he heard her screams, but they had never come. He was both grateful and ungrateful for that. He didn’t particularly want her to have nightmares, but he had to admit to himself that if she did he wanted to be there to console her and let her know that everything was going to be alright.
Hermione laughed at his impatience. “Relax, Draco. You know this is normal.” She attempted to placate him, but he continued to grumble under his breath. The staircase finally stopped moving, directing them to a completely different wing than had been their destination. Draco and Hermione began to trudge up the stairs once more in their effort to return to their rooms when they were both suddenly frozen in place at the top of the stair.
“Draco… I can’t move.”
“Neither can I…” The paintings around them began to snicker as if they knew something the heads did not. Hermione made quizzical eye contact with one of the paintings who gestured toward the ceiling.
“Uhm… Draco…” He looked at her and Hermione let her gaze drift to the ceiling where a sprig of Mistletoe had begun growing above them. Draco groaned and looked back down at Hermione who had a rather offended look on her face after his seemingly disgusted reaction. “Thanks a lot.” She said bitingly.
Draco’s eyes widened. “No, no… Hermione, it’s not that I don’t want to kiss you, I just didn’t think it’d be like… well, like this.”
Hermione blushed furiously at his words. Draco Malfoy had essentially just admitted that he had thought about and wanted to kiss her. She looked down at the ground and Malfoy mentally kicked himself. Smooth
“Like what?” She asked, even though she thought she knew. In the few sparing moments she had thought about kissing him, it had never involved Mistletoe. Never involved being… well…
“Forced.” He answered, and then shrugged. “I mean, not that I ever thought that we would or anything, but if we ever were to kiss… I would want it to be because you wanted to. Not because you were, you know…”
“Forced to.” She finished for him. She looked up again. The Mistletoe had finished growing and Hermione felt herself being magically pulled closer to Draco. They weren’t going to be able to move until this was done with.
He gave her a curious look as he felt himself being pulled towards her as well. “So… do you want to? Not that we have a choice but…”
“Draco, now is not the time to-“
“I think it has to be the time.”
“I… I don’t know!” She was able to reply before their lips touched. Hermione’s brain catalogued many things at once. First, his lips were soft. So soft. Probably about fifty times softer than Ron’s had ever been. Second, he tasted vaguely of mint. Third, she felt her feet being unfrozen from the ground. And fourth, Draco must have felt the same thing because the moment he was able he took a step to close the space between them and pressed his lips more firmly to her own.
Draco’s mind was in a similar place as Hermione’s. He noted the softness of her lips, how she tasted vaguely of strawberries and honey, and that the moment his feet were unfrozen he wanted to get closer to her. He was surprised by his boldness as he closed the distance between them. He wasn’t really one for forcing an advance on a woman who wasn’t sure that she wanted it (most of the time girls were throwing themselves at him, so he’d never had to). However, Draco wasn’t disappointed. After a moment, Hermione began to respond. Her eyes closed, her body gently leaned into his and her hand found its way to his shoulder. In turn, he brushed some of her hair off of her neck with the backs of his fingers, then gently placed his hand on her neck. He’d kissed plenty of girls, sure, but he’d never kissed a girl and had it feel like… well like this.
And what he hated the most was that he wasn’t able to describe what it was. It was magic.
Hermione didn’t know what was happening. All she knew was that Draco was closer to her than he’d ever been and his lips were on hers and she liked the way it felt and before she knew it she was kissing him back. His hand on her neck sent shivers down her spine, which only served to encourage the blond haired boy who was caressing her lips with his own and wow if she had known that kissing could be like this she would have been doing it a lot more.
Suddenly a clearing of throats caught the couple’s attention. A few of the portraits appeared to be feeling uncomfortable. Hermione pulled away from Draco, her cheeks flushed and her breath coming in a rhythm she recognized as abnormal. Draco was grinning boyishly. “Still not sure?”
“I don’t know.” She answered honestly, but still didn’t look at him. Her eyes stayed firmly fixed to the floor as she began to walk away from him. She didn’t know what was happening between them anymore and it scared her. Draco’s eyes clouded over, but he remained silent and followed her, unable to break the awkward silence that had now settled between them.
The unbearable silence lasted all the way back to their now ten minute longer journey to their dorm. Hermione mumbled the password and trudged slowly into the common room, her eyes still on the ground. Draco couldn’t stand it anymore. “Hermione, look at me, for Merlin’s sake.” She shook her head, knowing that if she looked at him she’d be taken in by his eyes and forced to admit that she actually did, in fact, want to kiss him and to spend a decent amount of time doing so. “I’m not going to bite you.” Draco prompted again. Hermione slowly raised her eyes to meet his, a noticeable blush painted on her cheeks. “Much better. Now, would you like some hot chocolate?”
She looked at him incredulously. “What?”
“Hot chocolate, you know. Hot… chocolately… in liquid form…”
“Oh…” She hesitated for a moment, shocked that he hadn’t said something about their kiss. “Uhm, yes. I’d love hot chocolate. Thank you.”
“Sit.” Draco directed her to the couch in their common room. Hermione obeyed, sitting on the end of the couch and pulling her knees to her chest as she waited. Draco sat on the couch with her and pulled out his wand, conjuring up two mugs of steaming hot chocolate. He handed one to Hermione and took the other for himself. He watched her take a hesitant sip followed by a much longer one. Draco prided himself on his hot chocolate making skills. “So tell me, what’s Christmas like at your house.” He inquired.
Hermione thought for a moment before answering. “I’d say traditional, but that wouldn’t mean anything to you. We visit my mum’s family, my dad’s family, trade presents, sing Christmas carols, decorate the house, eat a lot of food… Santa comes on Christmas Eve and leaves presents in a stocking to be opened on Christmas Morning. It’s very happy. Very cozy and warming.” Draco watched her eyes shine as she recalled her family and their traditions. It all sounded very strange to him.
“Who is Santa?”
Hermione gaped at him.
“YOU DON’T KNOW WHO SANTA IS?”
He shrugged. “Christmas isn’t really celebrated at Malfoy Manor. I mean, sure I get stuff from my parents and a few distant relatives, but there isn’t decorating or visiting or singing or any of the things you mentioned really… There’s a reason why I don’t really feel the need to go home for Christmas.”
“Draco, that’s… I’m so sorry. Christmas is wonderful…” She didn’t know what to say. He shrugged in response. “Uhm… well, Santa is kind of a muggle tradition. An old, fat man who rides in a red sleigh pulled by flying reindeer comes to your house, enters through your chimney, and leaves you presents.”
“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Why would you want an old fat man breaking into your house?”
“He doesn’t actually exist, Draco.” Hermione explained. “He’s a myth that makes children happy. The children’s parents actually buy the presents and put them in the stockings while the children are asleep pretending to be Santa.”
“Oh… that’s still stupid.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and took a sip of her hot chocolate. “You make excellent hot chocolate, you know.” Draco gave her another boyish grin.
Draco awoke the next morning in his dark room and registered that it was Christmas. He sat up in bed, letting the silk sheets pool at his waist and yawned. He knew that down the stairs would be presents waiting to be opened, but what made him get out of bed was the fact that he knew Hermione would be waiting for him. Draco was impatient to see her; so impatient, in fact, that he merely brushed his teeth and threw on a shirt before going down the stairs. The smell of Hermione’s shampoo lingered in the bathroom, assuring him that she was already up and probably waiting for him. She wasn’t the type to open presents alone.
A still slightly groggy Draco made his way down the stairs noisily, causing a very wide awake, but still dressed in pajamas, Hermione to look up at the sound. She saw him walking down the stairs dressed similarly to herself, in pajamas. His hair was a disaster, but a ridiculously attractive disaster, and she liked the lazy smile that his face broke into when he saw her. She was sitting on the floor in front of a Christmas tree that was stocked with presents underneath. A smile graced her lips as well when she saw him and her hair was in similar disarray, but she didn’t care. It was Christmas. “Come open presents with me!” She prompted once he was down the stairs, patting the floor next to her. Draco moved slowly to her side and plopped down on the floor.
“This pile is yours.” She told him, pushing a stack of presents in his direction. He raised an eyebrow.
“You sorted our presents?”
Draco merely shook his head and surveyed the presents between them. “Your pile is bigger than mine.” He pouted.
Hermione rolled her eyes. “You’ll survive.” Draco scoffed, and then gestured for her to begin. “Alright Alright…” She picked up a package in front of her. “Well, this one is from Mrs. Weasley.” She gave him a knowing smile. “That means it’s a sweater. And probably an ugly sweater…” Draco laughed as Hermione read the small card that went along with the package.
“Time to start showing off those curves, dear! You won’t have them forever!”
A slight blush rose to Hermione’s cheeks when she read the card. What was Molly thinking? She ripped off the wrapping paper surrounding a beautiful dark purple sweater. Hermione gasped. It looked her size, but at the same time, didn’t. The torso and sleeves were long enough, but the deep v-neck and tightness of torso were uncharacteristic of Molly Weasley’s knitting style. “It’s beautiful, but I don’t think it will fit…”
Draco looked at her incredulously. “Why wouldn’t it fit? It looks just your size.”
She shook her head. “No, it’s… it’s far too tight and the neckline is too low. I couldn’t wear it….” She clapped her hands before Draco could protest. “Your turn.”
Sensing Hermione’s insecurity (though he didn’t know why she should have any), Draco didn’t put up a fight. He pulled a present from his stack, looked at the card, and grinned. “It’s from Blaise.”
“Yeah, he’s my best friend. We’re practically brothers.” Hermione nodded in understanding. She knew that Blaise and Draco were friendly enough, but didn’t know they were close enough to exchange presents at Christmas. Draco tore the paper off of the package and opened the box. Hermione wasn’t prepared for the howl of laughter that escaped him. Draco pulled a piece of paper out of out of the otherwise empty package, “What do you get a Slytherin Prince who has everything? Nothing. ” Draco recited the writing on the piece of paper to her. “It’s a very Blaise gif-” Draco’s voice cut off as the package in his hand became heavy. He opened the box again to find the box filled with Fizzing Whizbees and Licorice Wands and a new piece of paper. “Except his favorite candy” He recited again and Hermione laughed.
“That’s a nifty little trick Blaise has there.” Hermione complimented. Draco pulled out a licorice wand and bit off the end of it.
“He knows me well.” Draco grinned and offered a Licorice Wand to Hermione. She took it and nibbled on the end. “Your turn.”
Hermione took another present out of her pile. “Oh, it’s from Harry!” Draco fought back a frown. He disliked how excited she got when she mentioned Harry. He didn’t have a specific problem with Harry anymore, but that didn’t mean they were particularly on great terms. Hermione opened the box containing Harry’s present and gasped. “He remembered!”
Hermione pulled out a beautiful bright red cloak from the box. “I was looking at this at Gladrags Wizardwear with Harry and Ron and Ginny… I only mentioned once how much I wanted it, but I could never afford it. I can’t believe he remembered!” Hermione laughed. “I’m going to look like Little Red Riding Hood!”
“Muggle story character. I’ll tell you later.”
“Your turn again.” Hermione reminded him and he pulled out another present. His eyes narrowed at the package.
“It’s from Pansy.”
Hermione looked away. In the past few days she had entirely forgotten that Draco and Pansy were still more or less an item. “Oh…”
“I can open it later…”
“No, no. It’s fine. You should open it now.” She shrugged and ended up giving him a halfhearted smile. Draco sighed and pulled the box open. He cringed as a horrid smell wafted out of the box. He picked up the card and read.
“Draco, I miss you oh so much this Christmas. I bought you my favorite cologne for you to wear. Think of me every single day. Kisses.”
Draco slammed the lid back on the box to keep the smell of the cologne from escaping further. He practically gagged. Hermione laughed. Clearly, she had nothing to be worried about. “I wonder if throwing it in the fire would get rid of the smell.”
“We can let the House Elves dispose of it later. Just… I don’t know. Leave the box closed for now.”
“I’ll never open it again! Alright, you go again.”
“Okay, this one is from Ginny. All it says is ‘One day, you’ll thank me.’” Hermione looked at the large, flat box skeptically. She shook it, but could gather no hints as to its contents. It sounded like clothing, but she couldn’t be sure. It wasn’t heavy, so it certainly wasn’t a book. The second Hermione opened the corner of the box, she wished she hadn’t. Her face turned a brilliant shade of pink and she slammed the box shut. Draco was curious.
“What is it?”
“You liar. It’s obviously something.”
“No really. Don’t worry about it.”
“I want to know!” He reached for the box, but Hermione moved it from his grasp quickly.
Draco lunged forward and tackled her by the waist, causing the box to fly from her grasp. He quickly released Hermione, snagged the box, and ripped it open. Hermione dropped her head and hid her face in her hands. She couldn’t believe this was happening. Draco’s eyes widened when he saw the contents and looked at Hermione.
“You mean Ginny bought you this?” She nodded miserably. “She must have gone into muggle London for something like this.” Hermione nodded again, unable to look at him.
Inside the box was the most scandalous looking lingerie Hermione might have ever laid eyes on. It was her favorite color, a deep, rich plum and all lace. The ribbing clearly meant it was a corset and the satin ribbon relayed that it laced up. Hermione was sure that scandalous pair of matching underwear was in the box somewhere, but she had neglected to look and didn’t want to know.
“So… do you want to try it on?” Draco asked and she shot daggers at him with her eyes. “What? Don’t you want to know if it fits?” He smirked at her and she hit him.
“Don’t get any ideas.” And she snatched the box back.
“Fine.” Draco huffed.
They kept opening presents back and forth until all the presents were gone. Hermione received a book she already had from Ron and some lovely freshwater pearls from her parents. The twins had sent her of their newest products and candy was in abundance from her friends like Luna, Neville, Lavender, and the Pavarti twins. Draco received more candy from Crabbe and Goyle and a random book or two from obscure family members to add to his library.
Once or twice Draco had tried to bring up Ginny’s present again, but Hermione was having none of it. She refused to talk about the present, and she swore that she would kill Ginny the moment she saw her for this.
After opening their gifts, Draco let Hermione go use the bathroom to get ready first and took a bath himself once she was out. Once they were both ready they left their common room to go walk the grounds where Hogwarts was, in fact, having a white Christmas.
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