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Chapter 13 : The Start of Christmas Break
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Hermione smiled as she walked down the stairs and headed towards the dining room, convinced that this would be one of the Christmas’s she would never forget. Walking into her dining room, she took a seat across from Lizzie at the table. Her mother stood and filled each plate with a little of everything; there was beef with hot gravy poured over it, cooked carrots and peas to the side.
“We’re hosting the annual New Year’s party this year, dear. Are you going to Ronald’s or will you be staying home for the party?” her mum asked, setting down the serving spoon and making her way back to the end of the table. Taking a deep breath before she started, she quickly told her parents that her and Ronald had broken up a couple months ago due to some disagreements.
“Sorry to hear that, but he’s a fool for losing you. You’re a great catch, you’ve got brains, beauty, a good head on your shoulders. Your mother and I are very proud of you dear and you’ll find someone one day, and they’ll take care of you.” Her dad said, trying to console her, thinking that she was quite heartbroken over the whole breakup. Funny, if he had known about it when it first happened, his words might have eased her pain. Now, they’re just words that every father says to his daughter to cheer her up; the words by a father who wants to see his daughter happy, yet relieved she is rid of the boy that did not deserve her.
“I’m not upset, we’re both friends now and everything is as it should be.”
“If you and Ron broke up, who accompanied you to that school dance then, dear?” my mum asked, looking at me with interest. “Is there a new boy?”
“I went with a boy I met, though he wasn’t right for me.” She said, hoping to steer away from the topic of Terry.
“Good. No guy will ever be right for you, not when you’re this young.” Her father said, the over–protective side of him kicking in.
Sitting down on his orange bed, he turned to his best mate who was leaning against the wall next to some of his Chudley Cannon posters. Ron was glad to be home, though home was never the same anymore. His mum always had this haunted look in the back of her eyes ever since Fred’s death. Everyone crept around the topic, nobody wanting to mention that this would be the first Christmas without him. Ron’s heart ached for his brother and he could only imagine how George felt. George had never been the same; it took a lot more to get a smile on his face these days.
“I don’t think Hermione will be coming this holiday, do you?” Harry asked, sliding down the wall and pushing his glasses up to the bridge of his nose.
“No, she didn’t mention anything about coming by; probably just spending time with her parents.” Ron thought, knowing how much she missed them the year before. Looking out the window, he watched the dark sky, wondering why Malfoy was falling for his best friend. “Why didn’t you tell me about Malfoy?” Harry looked up, and shifted uncomfortably under his gaze.
“I just didn’t want to upset you. I was afraid the two of you would have a bad row.” Harry said truthfully.
“It’s weird though, I’m not really upset about it, but I feel like I should be. I’m actually more worried that he’s got some secret motive and is going to end up breaking her heart.” He said, looking at Harry with a worried look in his eyes.
“I already warned Malfoy, told him he would have the wrath of the entire Weasley family and me if he hurt her in the slightest.” Harry said nodding. Ron nodded along, turning to face his window, letting his mind wander.
Hermione woke to her mother, shaking her slightly, informing her that they were going Christmas shopping today. She nodded groggily, pushing herself slowly up and rubbing her eyes. Crookshanks jumped gingerly unto her bed and purred softly as he came to a stop next to her. She gently petted the ginger cat, scratching very softly behind his ears.
“Good morning, Crookshanks. Hogwarts certainly isn’t the same without you, though mum pays more attention to you here than I would there. Especially with NEWT’s coming up.” She softly whispered to the cat before getting herself out of bed and slowly making her way to the shower. Slowly, she got ready. For some reason, she felt the only speed she could move this morning was a snail’s pace. Once finally ready, she made her way down into the living room where everyone was waiting for her.
Lizzie chuckled as she walked into the room and when she looked up, she realized why. Both she and Lizzie, without even realizing it, had worn very similar outfits. They both wore jeans tucked into grey knit boots and both wore a black top, though Lizzie’s was a turtleneck while hers was a scoop neck.
“It’s because you two are so similar in every way.” Her mum said, smiling, as she noticed the two girls. They all made their way to the car, piling in and heading down to London. Hermione had some wizard money in her bag and was going to head over to Diagon Alley for her shopping while everyone else was shopping in the streets around the Leaky Cauldron. They all decided to meet at a small café for lunch in an hour and a half and then parted ways.
As she entered the small wizard pub, she noticed that it was mostly empty today, and assumed that was due to the fact that it wasn’t yet noon. She nodded to Tom the barkeep before exiting the pub and tapping her wand along the brick wall, entering Diagon Alley. The weather outside wasn’t that bad, it was chilly, but it wasn’t until the wind started blowing that the cold air stung. Having a vague idea of what she was getting, she made her way into a nearby shop which looked to have many items that would be useful around the house. There wasn’t anyone in the shop other than a little plump witch who was waving her wand at the windows as they scrubbed themselves. She browsed the shelves before finding something she knew her mother would appreciate. Her mom always loved to cook, especially for guests, going all out when she knew there would be company. Hermione came across a set of self cleaning pots and pans that came with a free cookbook. Thinking of how perfect this would be, she quickly picked the box up off the shelf and carried it to the front counter, the plump witch waiting for her there.
“Buying this for you mother?” the little witch asked, smiling awfully big as a big bag zoomed towards her.
“Yes, she loves to cook.” She replied, wishing she would stop smiling like that.
“It’ll make a wonderful gift, only 5 galleons. It’s on sale, half price for the entire week. You came at a good time.” Wondering if she was getting a good deal or not, Hermione handed over the coins and picked up the bag it was in, surprised at how light it felt. It must’ve shown on her face because the little witch laughed before saying, “I’ve charmed that bag for you deary, nobody but you will be able to peek at what’s inside and it’ll be as light as a feather until your shopping is done.” Hermione nodded her thanks before leaving the shop and making her way along the alley, searching for the next shop she would need to be in. She ended up getting her father an assorted set of sugar-free, semi-expensive candy that she knew he would enjoy, Ron a broom servicing kit, Ginny some nice gloves for Quidditch and Harry a special collection of Quidditch books including Quidditch Through the Ages, A Hundred and One Ways to Improve Your Technique: a Seeker’s Guide, and a book that held all the records for anything that had to do with Quidditch.
Only having left Lizzie, she walked towards a small interesting looking shop on the corner of the alley. It looked warn down on the outside, the blue paint peeling along the door. She peeked inside and saw that it carried an assortment of items and, interested, she walked inside. The shelves were crowed and slightly dusty and, for some reason, the shop gave her a bad feeling, making the hairs on her neck stand up. She quickly browsed the shop, wanting to hurry out, when she came across something she found interesting. It was one of those necklaces that you bought in a pair, each chain containing half of a heart. One was meant for you and the other was meant for a friend. They were very popular for small girls, though this one, was different, and as she read the card next to it, realized it held magical properties. Apparently, if you find that you really need to get into contact with the other person wearing it, the necklace would somehow warn you of this, and alert the other person. This looks useful if we ever need to get into contact over the mirrors, she thought as she picked up both necklaces and brought them to the counter.
Maneuvering through the store, she made her way to the register to pay for what she wanted. As she stood there, she noticed a thin layer of dust resting on top of the counter. Noticing a bell near a stack of Why YOU should trust in Gringotts pamphlets, she gave it a quick tap, the ringing echoing throughout the back of the store. She waited patiently; hoping whoever was working would have heard the ring and come forward.
“Hello? Is anyone here? I’d like to purchase something.” She said, wondering why nobody was coming to the counter. Moving behind the counter, she stopped in a small doorway, peeking in, hoping to see someone. She went to take a closer look when she remembered it was already time to meet her parents and Lizzie for lunch. Reluctantly, she moved away from behind the counter. The store gave her the creeps and there was something weird with how nobody was here, but there was nothing she could do about it. She decided that three galleons would be enough to cover the cost of the necklace, gingerly placing the coins on the dusty counter. Hurrying from the store, she pulled the scarf tighter around her neck, scurrying along Diagon Alley, towards the Leaky Cauldron, anxious to get back onto the muggle filled streets of London.
Draco walked down the hallways in his home; he had been walking for about an hour now, lost in the endless maze. Thinking best when he was walking, he let his mind roam. He never really liked Christmas; it was more focused on the party his parents threw every year than the actual holiday. Wealthy and influential families would come from all over and spend Christmas night here, drinking and dancing, talking and making deals, then they would all be back for the New Years party. He never enjoyed the parties, always being introduced to eligible girls from all over in the hopes that he would fancy one of them. Not appreciating girls being forced upon him, he often tried to find ways to get out of the party or at least hide himself for half of it. He would much rather find someone on his own than it be arranged. It had started as soon as he had gotten home, his father starting in on him, talking about Pansy and the Greengrass sisters. Turning another corner, he strolled along with his hands in his pockets, and observed some of the House Elves decorating for the holiday. They were hanging garland everywhere, bewitching ornaments to suspend themselves in the air and shine. The manor was filled with decorations like these and at least three of four Christmas tree’s, each decorated with silver ornaments and white lights. He never understood why they would put up so many trees every year; they were only used for decoration. His father disapproved of gifts underneath the tree; instead they exchanged gifts over the morning meal while they all sat at the table. Draco hated it, what was the point in even having a tree if they practically didn’t even celebrate it. He didn’t even really exchange gifts with his friends, never really seeing them over the break. The only gift he bought during the holidays was one for his mother. He used to buy for his father too, but realized quickly that his father never appreciated it, so he stopped. This year, though, he planned on buying not only his mother a gift, but also Hermione. He knew he wanted her to be a part of his life and him a part of hers. Preferably something more than friends, though, if that’s what she chose, he would gladly take it. He wanted to get her something to show her that. Just then, a small elf appeared in front of him, bowing low.
“Dinner is ready, young master.” The small elf squeaked.
“Thank you for alerting me,” he said, examining the elf as he straightened up. “And it’s Draco.” He added as an afterthought before turning around and heading to the dining area. The dining room was huge, big enough to sit about fifty guests comfortably. The table was made of dark wood with three chandeliers hanging above it, illuminating the dismal room. It was decorated lavishly, paintings and plush rugs bringing some life to the room, though it wasn’t much at all. Sitting at one end of the table near each other were his parents, patiently awaiting his arrival to begin dinner. Making his way towards them, he took a seat near his father and mother. Dinner passed in silence, nobody really talking.
“Draco, what’s on your mind? You’ve barely talked since you arrived. Did something happen at school? Did you and Pansy get in a quarrel?” His mother asked, looking at her son with concern in her eyes.
“I haven’t been with Pansy for months.” He said, knowing that it would infuriate his father.
“You’d rather focus on one of the Greengrass sisters? Good choice, both are fairly more attractive than Pansy.” His father said, nodding at him. Remaining silent, he continued eating, not bothering to reply.
“I think Astoria is quite charming, don’t you dear?” his mother asked him, a small smile on his lips as she thought her son had finally chosen a suitable girl. He continued eating, debating on whether or not he should even tell them who he actually fancied.
“Answer your mother, Draco.” Lucius scolded. Draco softly placed his fork on his plate and wiped his mouth before looking up, deciding it was now or never.
“Actually, I think Hermione Granger is quite charming, don’t you?” He asked, looking at his father with an indifferent expression. A look of shock passed over his fathers face, followed by the sound of glass shattering as the wine glass was crushed in his fathers grasp. His father swore angrily under his breath, clasping his palm having cut himself. Two house elves rushed forward with a rag and scrub brush, trying to get the stain out of the carpet before it set.
“Is this some sort of rebellion?” Lucius asked, both palms flat on table as he glared at Draco.
“I’m a little old to be rebelling against your rules. I’m just simply not following them. I have legitimate feelings for her and I plan on pursuing her.” He stated, glancing at his mothers reaction to all this. She seemed calm enough, though, when Lucius started talking, worry flooded her eyes.
“I give you no privilege to marry her. You will marry someone of wealth and pure blood, not some filthy mudblood,” Lucius hissed.
“I will not follow your rules any longer father.” Was all Draco said before he stalked from the room. He expected that reaction from his father, though it angered him all the same. Voldemort was gone, couldn’t he see that the old ways meant nothing in the new world? His pure blood idealistic ways would get him nowhere. He quickly made his way to his room, deciding that tomorrow he would go down to Diagon Alley and do a little holiday shopping.
“Ready? One…two…three!” and with that Hermione plugged in the cord and crawled out from under the Christmas tree. White lights shone from the branches, illuminating the silver, red and gold baubles that hung from the many branches.
“You forgot the star for the top.” Lizzie said, stepping onto the step stool the two girls had brought out and delicately placing the star on the very top. “There, now it’s finished.” Both the girls looked at the tree, mesmerized by how beautiful of a job they had done; no magic necessary. Hermione walked over to the stereo and put on some holiday music, keeping the volume low to give the whole home a Christmas feeling. Lizzie walked into the kitchen, leaving her alone in the living room. She took a seat on her couch, staring at the tree, wondering when her parents would be home to witness the fantastic job they had done. Just then, Lizzie came back in carrying two mugs of hot cocoa over, taking a seat next to her.
“You added marshmallows, too.” Hermione said, breathing in the smell of the cocoa and the tree.
“They’ve been your favorite for ages, how could I forget them?” Lizzie chuckled. Both girls took a sip of the cocoa, relishing the warm feeling as it spread through their bodies.
“So, how’s the love life?” Hermione asked, turning to her friend. “Wasn’t there someone you were interested in a while back?”
“Yes, but nothing became of that, he was awful at snogging. I’ve taken a fancy to this one guy, though; his name is Roderick and he is quite the charmer.” Both girls got lost in the subject of Lizzie’s love life, only stopped by her parent’s arrival home. They were surprised to see the tree already decorated and finished, but very impressed with how it had turned out.
“Your father and I are going to be in our room wrapping presents. Why don’t you two go wrap your gifts, too?” her mum suggested and the two girls ran up to their rooms, closing the doors behind them. Hermione laid out all the gifts she had bought everyone on her bed, taking a look at them and wondering where to begin. She wrapped her friends’ gifts first, placing the ones for Harry, Ron and Ginny in a small basket. Walking over to where Theodore rested in his cage, she gingerly woke him up, giving him an owl treat that lay beside his cage.
“Do you think you’re up for a trip? I have gifts for everyone to be sent.” She said, stroking the owl affectionately. He looked up at her with his amber eyes and hopped out of the cage, ruffling his wings in the process. She picked up the small basket and handed it to him, making sure he had a good grip on it before opening her bedroom window for him. “Just take this to the Weasley’s.” She said before he flew out the window and off into the sky. Turning back to the rest of the gifts, she quickly wrapped them all and headed downstairs, placing them underneath the tree.
Harry walked into the parlor to find Ginny sitting on one of the couches. Her face was in her hands and her shoulders silently shook. Feeling the need to comfort her, he took a seat next to her, placing a comforting arm around her shoulders, holding her tight.
“Ginny, what’s wrong?” Harry asked, concern sounding in his voice.
“Neville’s broken up with me. He just sent me the letter, his grandma wouldn’t allow him to leave the house or something.” She said, tears rolling down her cheeks, her eyes red and puffy. Butterflies erupted in Harry’s chest, elated that Ginny was finally single.
“I’m sorry, Ginny; he doesn’t know what he is losing. Everything will be fine, though, I promise.” He said, rubbing her back in an attempt to comfort her. She sat up, wiping her eyes in the process. Harry stopped rubbing her back but kept his arm around her, hoping she didn’t mind.
“Mistletoe.” She said, as she motioned to the small plant hanging above the couch. His heart started racing a mile a minute, wondering if she was insinuating that she wanted him to kiss her. Just then, Ron and George walked in, both absorbed in a heated argument about Quidditch to notice the two of them on the couch. Harry moved away from Ginny, both of them feeling slightly awkward about what had just transpired.
It was the morning of Christmas Eve, snow was falling silently to the ground, keeping everyone inside. Hermione and Lizzie sat at the dining room table and were spending the morning building gingerbread houses while her parents made desserts and drank wine while dancing to some holiday music together. She admired her parents, so in love after all the years of marriage. It was what she wished for, for herself one day.
They all laughed and enjoyed the morning together, ready to spend the rest of the day watching Christmas movies.
Draco walked around the manor, dreading what he knew tomorrow would bring. His father wanted to get the exchanging of gifts out of the way so tomorrow would be free for the party, so he and his mother quietly exchanged gifts. He had gotten his mother a small silver locket with a picture of the two of them when he was younger. She had teared up slightly when he had given it to her, before giving him his gift. She had bought him a new broom and black dragon hide gloves for when he played Quidditch.
Lucius marched around the house for the rest of the day, shouting orders at the house elves as they prepared for the festivities the next day.
Hermione woke up to the smell of bacon and coffee wafting through the house. Excited, she threw back her blankets and ran over to her window, opening her sheer curtains to see her backyard covered in snow. Smiling, she made her way over to her dresser, examining her appearance in her mirror. She was wearing her favorite red flannel pajamas that were incredibly soft. Searching her dresser for a rubber band, she quickly put up her hair before making her way down to breakfast to join everyone else.
“Happy Christmas.” She said as she walked into the dining area as her mum poured everyone a mug of coffee.
“Happy Christmas.” Everyone replied back, all wearing smiles similar to hers. Her mum had made bacon and hot cakes and eggs for breakfast, filling everyone’s stomachs to the top. As soon as breakfast was over, Hermione and Lizzie rushed to the living room, each sitting down quickly, ready to open their gifts. They waited patiently for her parents to join before they started passing out gifts. She grinned as she noticed that during the night, Theo had delivered the gifts to her from her friends and someone had placed them under the tree. Opening them one by one, she fell in love with each gift she received. Harry had gotten her a planner, to help her schedule study time for NEWT’s. Ginny had bought her this really nice eagle feather quill that, apparently, wrote the smoothest out of all the quills out there. Ron, on the other hand, had just bought her a box of assorted candies. Noticing a small lumpy package under Ron’s, she opened it quickly to find a navy blue sweater with a sky blue ‘H’ on the front from Mrs. Weasley. Pulling it over her head, she noticed that it smelt just like the Weasley’s home and her heart ached as she realized how much she missed her friends.
When she finished opening gifts, she observed what else she had received: she had gotten a lovely winter dress from Lizzie, a new knit hat, scarf and gloves from her mum, and a lovely new bookshelf from her father, as the one she had in her room currently was sagging under the immense weight of books resting on it. Hugging each person, she thanked them for the lovely gifts.
“I absolutely love the pots and cookbook, honey. I’ll have to try some of these dishes for the New Years Eve party.” Her mum said smiling, leafing through the cookbook interestedly.
“Thanks for the sweets, dear.” Her dad said, kissing her forehead before getting up to clean the wrapping paper strewn all over the floor.
“I love this necklace ‘Mione. It’s beautiful.” Lizzie said, as she gently placed it around her neck.
“I’ve got one too. Supposedly, as long as each of us is wearing ours, it will alert us when the other needs to talk.” Hermione said, putting her own on as well.
“Brilliant, it’ll definitely help when it comes to those mirrors.” Lizzie said, gathering all her gifts in her arms, making her way to the guest room.
“My thought exactly.” She replied, following suit. As soon as she had finished placing her gifts in her room, she hurried downstairs, ready to help her mum with the Christmas dinner cooking.
Straightening out his dark green dress robes, Draco stood in front of the mirror in his bedroom, knowing that he had avoided the party long enough. It had been a good forty five minutes since the guests started arriving and if he didn’t get down there soon, his father would kill him. Sighing, he exited his bedroom and made his way down into the ballroom where things like this were often held. Unfortunately, though, as soon as he entered the room, Pansy and the two Greengrass sisters quickly encircled him. They started going on and on about the dresses they were wearing and what they had gotten for Christmas, though he was paying no attention. Mostly he just nodded here and there when they looked at him expectantly and sipped at some wine that one of the house elves was carrying around on a platter. Draco noticed his father walking towards him and quickly put down the glass of wine, knowing that, if he became upset, he would most likely throw it at his father, which wasn’t the best thing for him to do, especially here. He wasn’t one to make a scene. Letting his father pull him away from the girls, he enjoyed the few moments of silence he got before his father started in on him.
“Draco, you need to be friendlier. You haven’t spoken a word to any of those girls and you’ve been down for almost an hour. Tonight is the night I want you to pick which one you will marry. So, stop messing about and get to know them better, or else I will pick one for you.” His father hissed in his face, the look in his eyes clearly showing that he meant business.
“I will not pick any of the girls here. I’ve told you who I would like to be with and that is final. I will not settle for any of the girls here, who can only hold up a conversation when it’s about what the latest gossip is.” Draco sneered back, not intimidated by his father.
“I forbid you from having anything to do with that Mudblood, Draco. She is none of your concern and you are wasting you time with her. You will choose a suitable companion tonight and that is final! You’re my son and you will listen to me!” Draco couldn’t stand it anymore. Who was he to tell Draco who he was allowed to fancy or not? If his father wanted to keep his pureblood ideals then so be it, but he wouldn’t allow himself to get sucked into that world again, not like when he was younger.
“You’re not a father to me. I will not choose a bride based on status and wealth alone.” Draco said, knowing that he could stay here no longer.
“You’re making a mistake, Draco.” His father warned him, though he no longer cared.
“I’m not, I’m making the right choice. Give my love to mother.” And with that, Draco turned on his heel and left the party, headed for his room. Once inside, he waved his wand quickly around his bedroom, articles of clothing all flying into his school trunk, along with all of his school supplies. He changed out of his dress robes, throwing on his favorite pair of black slack and a white t-shirt before throwing his coat on over. Quickly shrinking his trunk, he stashed it into his pocket and turned on his heel, apparating away.
The sensation left just as quickly as it came and he was left standing in the snow about twenty feet away from the last place he ever expected to be. Swiftly walking to the door, he knocked on it sharply three times, hoping that someone would open quickly.
Mrs. Weasley quickly jumped up from the table, hurrying to the front door as a knock sounded.
“Are we expecting anyone else, Molly?” Mr. Weasley asked, a curious expression on his face as he looked around the room, most likely checking if everyone was there.
“Harry, m’dear, it’s for you.” Mrs. Weasley said as she hurried back to the kitchen, a look of surprise on her face. Harry walked to the front door, curious as to who could be looking for him on Christmas night. Turning the corner to the front door, he stopped, surprised to see Draco Malfoy standing in the doorway, brushing snow off of his black jacket.
“What are you doing here?” he asked, stunned to see him here, of all places.
“I have a question for you, and I don’t really have time to explain why I need to know, I just do. Can I have Hermione’s address?” Draco asked. Whatever Harry was expecting him to ask, it certainly wasn’t this. Knowing he wouldn’t get an answer if he asked why he wanted to know, he quickly mumbled her address. Draco thanked him quickly before hurrying back out into the snow and apparating away. Harry walked back, his mind racing as to why he would need to know her address.
“Who was that?” Ron asked as Harry took a seat back down at the table. He just shook his head slowly, knowing that if he told Ron who it was now, he would make a big fuss and probably rush on over to Hermione’s after him.
Hermione sat down at the table, slowly eating a piece of pie her mother had served everyone, laughing as her dad told Christmas jokes from a small booklet a child at work had given him.
“Here’s another one.” Her dad said in between laughs. “What do you call Santa when he stops moving?” he asked the table.
“I don’t know. What do you call him?” Lizzie asked.
“Santa Pause.” He said, and the whole table broke into another fit of laughter. Just then, the doorbell rang, and her mum quickly got up to go get it. Hermione would have wondered who it could be if her dad hadn’t caught her attention with another joke.
“What’s black and white and red all over?” he dad asked her and Lizzie, who both shook their heads, awaiting the punch line. “Santa covered with chimney soot.” Her dad said, breaking into another bought of laughter though, this time, Hermione’s attention was focused on more important things than the punch line.
“Hermione, this young man says he knows you from school.” Her mum said as she walked back into the dining room, followed by Draco Malfoy.
Author's Note : Ok, there's chapter 13!! Can you believe that? I even had to change the story type from Novella to Novel. It's insane. This story is alot longer than I thought it would be, though I'm not complaining :) . Did you guys find any mistakes while reading? If so, I'd be SUPER grateful if you could just leave me a review and let me know, and what you thought of this chapter.
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