Everyone woke up late the next morning. It was the beginning of the Christmas holidays so most people were packing. McGonagall had arranged for the train to take students back to Kings Cross after dinner rather than after breakfast as it usually did.
Hermione, who had already packed before the ball, showered and dressed and lay on her bed reading. Or more, trying to read. She was staring at the words in front her her but they just weren't going in. She was replaying, for what felt like the hundredth time, the events of last night with Draco. Their dancing, his compliments, hugging her when se cried, the soft kiss on her cheek before they went to bed. The almost kiss. Would they have kissed had Ron not interrupted? Hermione was almost sure of it. What had surprised her most was that she had wanted to. She had wanted to kiss Draco Malfoy. She had been trying to work out if it had just been an in-the-moment thing, if it had been a combination of the romantic setting, the music, the dancing and the suit...that suit. Or had she developed feelings for Draco? She told herself to think about it logically. She thought about the idea of being in a relationship with Draco. Really, it wouldn't be that different to their friendship, they already spend all of their free time together, the only different would be that there would be...kissing. Did she want to kiss Draco Malfoy? That's what it came down to. If he walked in the room right now and kissed her, would she kiss him back?
A knock on her bedroom door interrupted her thoughts. As if he had heard her thoughts, Draco was standing in the doorway when she answered it. He was wearing black jeans and a tight fitted Slytherin green jumper. His hair was slightly ruffled as if he had just rolled out of bed. Hermione liked it that way; he looked extremely handsome.
"Morning Granger." Hermione smiled, him calling her by her second name had become an affectionate term rather than a hostile one. "I assumed you would already be finished packing so thought you might want to join me for breakfast?"
"You thought right, I'm all done and I'm starving."
He held out his arm for her as he had done last night and Hermione linked hers with it without hesitation.
Yes, she definitely wanted to kiss Draco Malfoy.
Several hours later, the students who were going home for Christmas were piling out of the Hogwarts Express. They greeted families, hugs were exchanged and people disappeared through the barrier into the muggle world.
Hermione had insisted on the journey home that Draco met her parents before leaving. He had immediately panicked, assuming they would hate him after everything they had gone through. Hermione had confessed that she had never actually mentioned him to them. Her Dad had been bullied awfully when he was at school and it was always a very sensitive subject. She had simply decided to keep that part of her school life in the wizarding world. Draco relaxed after hearing this.
She found her parents and ran to them, hugging them both tightly.
"Mum, Dad, there's someone I want you to meet. This is my...friend...Draco."
They exchanged greetings and Draco was a perfect gentleman, as usual.
"Mum, Dad, go on ahead, I'll meet you at the car." Hermione told her parents.
She and Draco agreed to write to each other over the holidays and send their Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, this was Hermione's idea as she knew Draco wouldn't wait if she gave him it now. Before she left to catch up with her parents, Hermione gave Malfoy a swift kiss on the cheek, as he had done to her last night.
Hermione adored being at home with her parents. They had always showed an interest in Hogwarts since they found out she would be going. She told them all about her lessons, the new teaching staff and the huge success the ball had been. When Hermione and her Mum were alone the day before Christmas Eve, making mince pies, her mum finally brought up the subject of Draco.
"So...that boy you introduced me to...is he just a 'friend' or is he possibly more?" She was trying to sound nonchalant but Hermione could tell she had been dying to ask since she had met Draco on the platform.
"Oh I don't know Mum. Sometimes I feel like I really like him and he likes me too. But...it's complicated. He, Harry and Ron don't really get along and I couldn't imagine being with someone who doesn't like my friends, or who my friends don't like." She sighed.
"Hermione Jean Granger, you listen to your Mother. Harry and Ron are the two best friends you could ever have and you have been through more than I care to think about. Do you really think they would care about you any less if you were going out with someone they weren't too keen on? You're young adults now and you're better than that. I say go for it!"
"Thanks Mum, I know you're right." Hermione hugged her Mum.
A tap on the window made them both look up. It was Draco's owl. Hermione let it in and quickly untied the string holding her letter.
I hope you're enjoying your holidays so far. I'm just writing to tell you that I'm at my flat in London now and not the Manor. I'll be here until we go back to Hogwarts. Mother and I had a big fight. She wants to spend Christmas with the Parkinson's, still hoping for a reunion between me and Pansy, of course, I refused. So she left for their house and I came back to my flat. I'll send your Christmas present tomorrow.
P.S. I miss you.
Hermione read his letter several times. Draco missed her, it was there in black and white. The thought would have made her smile, but all she could think of was that he would be alone on Christmas. She showed the note to her Mum, who quickly made a decision.
"He has to come here. Write back now and invite him dear. No one should be alone on Christmas, let alone a handsome boy who misses my daughter! He can stay in the guest room and have Christmas dinner here. I would suggest him staying for the rest of the holidays but I know you're heading to the Weasley's on Boxing Day..."
"Really Mum? He can come here? I'll write to Harry and Ron and explain, I'll tell them I can't go. It wouldn't be fair for Draco to spend the holidays alone." Hermione quickly scribbled a reply to Draco, telling him of her Mum's suggestion. She wrote another to Harry and Ron to explain and attached both to Draco's owl.
A couple of hours later, a nervous looking Draco knocked on the front door, a duffle bag in his hand. He addressed Hermione's Mum and Dad.
"Mrs and Mrs Granger, thank you so much for your invitation. Are you sure I won't be intruding?"
"Absolutely not, I always make far too much food anyway. And please, call me Angie and my husband is Paul." She smiled kindly and Hermione's Dad took his bag and showed him the guest room.
Hermione was determined to show Draco a proper Muggle Christmas. On Christmas Eve they helped to prepare everything for the dinner. Hermione couldn't help but laugh at Draco attempting to peel and chop potatoes without using his wand. Eventually, when Hermione's Mum and Dad turned their back, he waved his wand and was finished.
"Oh Draco, you're an expert at cutting vegetables. Are you sure you haven't done it before?" Mrs Granger beamed whilst Hermione and Draco sniggered.
That evening they all put their pyjamas on and had mince pies and hot chocolate whilst watching Hermione's favourite Christmas film, Scrooged. Draco was amazed by the television and Hermione had to stop him from getting up every few minutes to poke the screen.
When the film had finished, they were all exhausted and decided it was time for bed. They wished each other goodnight and went their separate ways.
Hermione had just drifted off to sleep when she felt something on the end of her bed. She gasped and quickly sat up to see Draco sitting by her feet, grinning. She glanced at the clock beside her bed.
"Draco, it's after midnight, what are you doing?"
"I couldn't wait to give you your present...technically, it's Christmas now." He handed her a large present, beautifully wrapped in gold and red paper, the Gryffindor colours.
She placed it on the bed and reached into the drawers next to her, pulling out Draco's present, smiling as she had wrapped his in green and silver, the colours of Slytherin.
She handed over his present. "You first." she told him.
He pulled off the paper to reveal a box containing a silver portable CD player and several mixed CDs with all of Hermione's favourite songs on them. Seeing the confused look on his face, she opened it, placed a CD in and put the headphones on his ears. He grinned widely. "This is amazing!" He said a little too loudly, Hermione heard her Dad's snoring stop and then continue again.
"Shh! You'll wake my parents! I'm glad you like it, you're very difficult to buy for."
"I love it, I promise. Now open yours!" He was practically bouncing with excitement.
Hermione carefully unwrapped her present, not wanting to rip the beautiful paper. Inside was the most amazing gift Hermione had ever received. It was a book, black leather bound with intricate gold writing on it that said:
Hogwarts: A History.
By Bathilda Bagshot.
It was dated 1901. Hermione ran her fingers across the pages. She was worried it might fall apart in her hands.
"Draco, it's beautiful..." She whispered.
"It's perfect for you then. I'm glad you like it. Merry Christmas Hermione." He said, leaning closer to her.
"Merry Christmas Draco." She replied, leaning closer too. She could see every single eyelash that framed his beautiful grey eyes, eyes that were slowly closing. She closed hers too just as their lips met in their first kiss. It was soft and gentle, not a passionate kiss but one which both Draco and Hermione put their hearts into. He pulled away, smiling broadly.
"Half an hour into it and I already know this is going to be the best Christmas ever. I should go back to the guest room though, if I don't leave now I'm afraid your parents will find me in here tomorrow morning."
Hermione laughed quietly and nodded. "Goodnight Draco. And thank you, for both of my presents."
"You too Hermione." He kissed her once more and then tiptoed back to his room. Leaving Hermione to drift off to sleep with a smile on her face.
A/N just a quick thank you to everyone who is reading, cant believe its had over 2000 reads! Please let me know what you thought of this chapter, I respond to all reviews :)