Chapter 14 : Chapter 14
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Over the next three days I spent nearly all of my time in my dormitory. Wood carving was not horribly difficult, mostly just tedious for the amount of detail needed. Thankfully tedious, detailed work was a familiar thing for me and I enjoyed most of it. I made a circular skyline carving of St. Petersburg and even made small windows in the buildings. Then I placed a blue flame in an unbreakable jar in the center. I was impressed by it, I hoped Dimitri would be too. I packed it safely with the other gifts for him wondering if an owl or maybe two would be able to deliver it in time. I went to bed that night with it wrapped and sitting on my bedside table. The next morning it was gone. Replaced with a short note.
It will be delivered for Christmas.
I raised an eyebrow, eyeing the familiar handwriting. This was a rather convenient way to send packages.
It was Christmas Eve and I still had Narcissa’s and the Weasley twins’ gifts to finish. Narcissa’s was first. This was my fifth time transfiguring and charming metal into jewelry for her so it wouldn’t take too long. Most of the work was the different charms used to make sure the spells were permanent and sparkling.
Four hours later I was sending a pair of earrings off using one of the school owls. I also sent Snape’s, I guess I really could have just walked down and given it to him. This was more discreet and probably a better idea though.
Back in the dormitory I wrapped three more gifts. Kuniye’s and Tsukino’s I left on my bedside table wondering just how they were taking and leaving items. Hermione’s I placed in my trunk, I would add it to her pile of gifts in the morning.
It was only noon, I had at least twelve hours left for the twins' gift. Using a spare bit of parchment I made a quick outline. There was a lot of information to write and I wanted to be sure it was easy to follow. An hour later I was ready. I pulled out the blank book I purchased at Hogsmeade and began writing.
At nearly 2 a.m. Hermione was already asleep and I was putting the finishing touches on the twins’ gift. I glanced at my bedside table thinking I should head to bed soon. It was already Christmas morning in Japan.
The next morning I deliberately ignored any and all gifts, I headed straight for the bathroom, showering and dressing for the day. When I returned to the sleeping quarters Crookshanks was laying on my bed. I sat down to pet him, he seemed to do this quite a bit. I didn’t know whether it was because I was the only one ever up this early or he just liked me for some bizarre reason.
Eventually I turned my focus towards the gifts at the foot of my bed. Growing up with the Malfoys I hadn’t been gift-less, though I certainly wasn’t showered in presents. This year it looked about the same as last year.
The first thing I grabbed was wrapped in simple green paper. I didn’t even have to check to know who it was from because he’d been using the same paper for nine years. Inside were two large books. One was Defensive spells the other Offensive spells which were border line dark spells. I flipped through a few pages, it all looked complex and incredibly difficult, oh Professor Snape, you know me so well. Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to use dark spells on people, but learning something new and complex? That was what I enjoyed. There was also the fact that being able to recognize dark spells was always an asset. I was looking forward to reading these books.
The next gift I opened was a rather large box wrapped in red paper with gold ribbon. I recognized Dimitri’s writing. Inside the box were several things. I started with the letter wishing me a Merry Christmas. He also asked about the wrapping, if I liked the colors. I rolled my eyes, weird Russian nutters. There was a small book of Russian children’s stories and some homemade fudge cooked by his mother. I was happy that Dimitri was home for Christmas, that would be much more enjoyable than spending it chasing down werewolves. Near the bottom of the gift box there was a small but very thick book of charms, in Russian of course. The writing was miniscule, this book would take some time to get through. The last item was a thin, flat box with a bracelet made of seven smooth white beads inside. I looked at it skeptically, I don’t really wear jewelry. There was a note with the bracelet. It said you could store a simple spell in each of the beads, using them later without needing to use a wand.
Following the instructions, I tapped my wand to one of the beads, muttering Lumos. The bead turned black and I set down my wand. The instructions said now all I had to do was focus on the spell in the bead. Concentrating, I rose my hand a bit and muttered Lumos again. A bright light filled the room, startling Crookshanks and waking Hermione.
“Sorry,” I said quickly, lowering my hand. The light disappeared and the bead changed back to white.
“What was that?” Hermione asked, sitting up.
“Er…Christmas gift. Didn’t know it would be that bright. Sorry,” I said awkwardly.
“It’s fine, Happy Christmas,” she said yawning.
“Happy Christmas,” I responded, standing up. I pulled a wrapped gift out of my trunk. “For you,” I told her, handing it over.
“Thanks. I have something for you too. I wasn’t sure what to get you, so I owled mum and dad to ask them to pick this up.” She handed me a rectangular gift that I opened. It was a book of short stories. I flipped through, not recognizing most of the names. “Muggle stories,” Hermione explained. “I didn’t think you would have read them before.”
“I haven’t. Thanks,” I said truthfully. Some of the names sounding a bit odd, but it would be a nice break from all the spell books.
“Oh!” Hermione exclaimed, she’d just opened the gift I gave her, a charms book. “I haven’t heard of some of these.”
“They’re mostly advanced American ones, though I’m sure you’ll have heard of some of them before.”
Hermione started flipping through the pages, looking extremely please. There was a knock on the door. Both of us turned towards it as a red haired girl poked her head in, it was Ginny Weasley, the twins’ younger sister.
“Er…mind if I join you?” she asked.
“Of course not, Ginny,” Hermione answered instantly. “Happy Christmas.”
“Happy Christmas,” Ginny said coming in and dropping her unopened gifts on Lavender’s bed.
“Ginny, this is Jade Lestrange. Jade, this is Ginny Weasley.”
“Happy Christmas, nice to meet you,” Ginny said while opening a gift.
“Happy Christmas,” I responded while grabbing another gift.
Inside was a long letter, some chocolate and a Bulgarian dictionary from Victor. Well that’s a subtle gift. I guess he had been hinting for a while that I should learn his native language. Plus it’s been a while since I learned a new one, why not. I flipped through the first few pages until I spotted Ginny holding up the gift she’d just opened. Hermione had one too.
“What’s with the sweater?” I asked curiously.
“Oh, er…mum knits them for us each year. Hermione and Harry get one too,” Ginny explained a bit awkwardly.
“Huh, I can’t imagine my aunt ever doing something like that,” I said out loud. It was a nice gift, something very motherly, just not something that would be natural for Narcissa. To be honest, I’d probably get worried if I found out she took up knitting.
“What does your aunt normally get you?” Hermione asked.
“Me? Usually money. My cousin tends to get more personal items.”
“That doesn’t seem fair,” Hermione commented while frowning.
“It’s preferable. Rather have money than something I don’t want.”
“She doesn’t even bake anything for you?” Ginny asked.
“Merlin, no,” I said laughing. “I don’t think she even knows how. An elf takes care of that.”
“You have a house elf?” Hermione asked, surprised.
“My uncle has a house elf, two actually. I’m not technically part of his family so they don’t obey me,” I corrected her.
“Wow, two elves,” Ginny said. “I bet mum wouldn’t mind having one to help out around the house.”
“Make sure you don’t get one of the nutter ones,” I warned as I ate a piece of chocolate.
“Yeah, some walk around insulting you, thinking you can’t hear them. Or they try and poison unfavorable members of the family.”
Ginny cringed. “Mum’s probably fine now that we’re all in school or off on our own.”
I picked up another gift, two boxes tied together with a ribbon. Inside the first one was a small box with tree branches and blossoms painted on it. In this box was a metal medallion. On the front was Tsukino’s symbol, on the back there was a phoenix. I flipped it over in my hand, admiring it. There was a small note inside. ‘For emergencies.’ Followed by instructions on how to use it.
Inside the larger box was a belt buckle that could transform into a knife without using a wand. Raising an eyebrow at this I put it down quickly before Hermione or Ginny could see. It would be a bit difficult explaining who I had gotten it from or why I received it. There was also a glass sphere with the buckle. I lifted it carefully. There was a miniature cherry blossom tree inside of it. Several petals were floating around as if there was a gentle breeze inside. It also wasn’t a perfectly round sphere, the bottom was flat so it could sit on a surface without rolling away.
“Is that a snow globe?” Hermione asked curiously.
“Er…I’m not sure what that is.”
“Oh, it’s er…well a globe filled with water and these small flakes of…stuff. You sort of shake it and it’s supposed to look like snow…” Ginny and I shared an amused look. “It’s a muggle trinket.” Hermione explained.
“I’m sure,” I said getting up and handing the globe to Hermione. She’d be careful not to break it I was sure. Ginny got up and moved beside Hermione, both staring at the tree.
“It’s very pretty,” Ginny commented.
“Who’s it from?” Hermione asked as she handed it back.
I paused. “Friend I met last year,” I answered, setting the globe carefully on my bedside table.
“I wonder how difficult it is to make,” Hermione said admiring it.
“I don’t have a clue,” I responded as I grabbed my last gift.
Inside this box was a range of items. There were normal things like Chocolate Frogs and a box of Bertie Bott’s Beans. Then there were dung bombs, stink pellets, even a couple of Filibuster’s Fireworks. I sorted through the different prank supplies rolling my eyes. There was also a book near the bottom, I snorted when I read the cover. 101 Pranks for the Mischievous Mind. ‘You’ll never be bored again!’ the tagline read. I wondered how long Fred and George spent looking for a book that ‘cured boredom.’
Hermione and Ginny were looking at me curiously. I held the book up for them to read the title.
“That looks like something from Fred and George,” said Ginny.
“It is.” Of course only the Weasley twins would give me a box full of restricted items. Which reminds me. “I need to go give them their gift.” I put all of my gifts, except for the charms book from Dimitri, in my trunk and grabbed the twins’ gift before heading down to the common room.
Fred and George were sitting on a couch by the fireplace wearing blue knitted sweaters. They stopped talking and turned towards the girl’s staircase when they heard me coming down.
“Happy Christmas,” they said in unison.
“Happy Christmas,” I automatically responded.
“Did we actually manage to wake up before you?” Fred asked amusingly.
“Afraid not, I’ve been up since five, opening gifts with Hermione and your sister.”
“Always awake at the crack of dawn,” Fred muttered.
“You know, I received an interesting gift,” I began.
“Oh really?” George said. “Go on.”
“It was a box filled with items that I know for a fact are not permitted on school grounds.”
“Those are really the best kinds of gifts,” Fred pointed out.
“When you wake up with a dung bomb booby trapped under your bed I hope you remember this conversation,” I told him, hitting the back of his head.
“Oi!” he exclaimed. “How will you know which bed is mine?”
“I can always tell which one is you, even when you’re sleeping.”
“What are you going to say if someone catches you in a boy’s dorm in the middle of the night?” George asked.
“Huh,” I said sitting down in an armchair. “Think it would be believable if I said I was in there snogging one of you?”
George let out a bark of laughter and Fred quickly elbowed him. George kept a smirk on his face as I raised an eyebrow at them.
“He’s an idiot, ignore him,” Fred said, glaring at his twin.
“You’re both nutters,” I said rolling my eyes. “Happy Christmas,” I said again as I held out their gift. They stared at it skeptically before taking it from me. “This is where you open it,” I told them in a patronizing voice.
With each of them holding onto a cover, they opened it. As they read a confused look formed on their faces. They shared a look and flipped through a few pages.
“Sort of a-“
“Sort of. Look at the table of contents. The different sections are divided. There’s also a page near the front explaining the different charms I placed on the book. Along with several blank pages at the back for you to add things, recipes and such that you’ve invented.”
“How come we’ve never heard of most of these things?” asked George.
“Oh the benefits of being multi-lingual.”
“There’s a whole sections on potion ingredients!” Fred said excitedly.
“And their affects,” George pointed out.
“How to brew them correctly.”
“Bloody hell, this is amazing.”
“How’d you know all this?” Fred asked, looking up at me.
“I have a very good memory,” I said mysteriously. I was glad they loved their gift.
Hermione and Ginny came down to the common room while Fred and George were reading through their new book. Hermione was carrying Crookshanks while Ginny had a container of fudge.
“I’m going to see if Harry and Ron are up yet,” Hermione said, heading immediately up the boy’s staircase. Ginny sat down, eyeing the twins.
“Never seen you two look so happy reading a book.” They looked up at her, scandalized.
“This isn’t just a book,” Fred said offended.
“It’s a work of art.”
“That we must cherish.”
“For the greater good.”
With that they turned their attention back towards the book. Ginny gave me a confused look. “They’re nutters,” I said shrugging
“Least you don’t have to live with them,” she muttered.
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