Title: Beautiful Disaster
Summary: Veela!Draco! finds out that his mate is the least likely person on the planet, and the discovery leads him and his father in new directions.
A/N: This is actually a really long part. 15 pages and over 6000 words. I hope you guys enjoy it. Appearance from Lucius and Narcissa in this one.
He was miserable. She hadn’t said more than four words to him in the last week and he hated it. His witch had a mind of her own and at the moment her mind was apparently telling her to stay away from him. This upset him in ways he wasn’t truly ready to admit. He missed her. She’d become a bit more open to him, telling him things that he had never known. They had talked of her family and the muggle world. He felt he was really getting to know her and the steps they had taken forward had done little to close the gulf between them now. She was surviving without him and he was pining, endlessly, for just a word from her.
Every day it was the same. She ignored him while she was with her friends, which was to be expected, but he didn’t even get the occasional glance now. It was hard for him to be ignored by anyone; much less from the one person he wanted attention. She was denying him what he wanted and he was angry with her for that. He couldn’t put it into rational words, if asked, but he just knew he was angry that she felt she should ignore him. He had been a good person for those few weeks and he wasn’t willing to just stop and prove to her she was right. It was a tough situation and he didn’t know what to do about it.
Which was why he was writing a letter to his father; he needed the man’s advice, but he didn’t want to give too many details about his relationship with Hermione. Even if the man was his sire, he wasn’t open to sharing information that wasn’t required. He tapped his fingers on the desk of his common room and sighed. He didn’t know what it was that he wanted to ask, exactly. He knew he had to get Hermione away from Hogwarts. He wanted her to see him without the pretenses of the Malfoy name getting in the way. He needed her to see that there was more to him than she thought.
She wouldn’t go for the idea at the moment. She was far too angry with him to even speak to him, much less trust him enough to go home with him. But he had to try.
I hope this letter finds you and mother well. Give her my love.
You know it is uncommon for me to send you letter after letter telling you of the things happening in my life. However, I seem to have found myself in a bit of a spot when it comes to Hermione.
I made her angry. Let me rephrase that, I made her very angry. The Veela charm isn’t even working on her, or it seems like it’s not. She’s not talking to me. She doesn’t even look at me.
I don’t think she’ll be joining us for Christmas. Any advice on how I can get her to speak to me again would be nice.
Draco held out his arm to his eagle owl and attached the letter to its leg and sent it on it’s way. He didn’t know what his father could really do or say to make everything better, but he hoped that there was something, some sort of advice he could give to his son that would make him able to clear things with Hermione.
He checked the time and gathered his books as he made his way to the potions classroom, ready for Hermione to ignore him once more.
Hermione sighed as she lay staring at the ceiling of her bedroom. She was in a foul mood, as was the case the last week. She’d been getting on so well with Draco and then he showed his true nature once more. She hated that he was so horrible without remorse. He didn’t seem to feel badly about what he’d done to Ron and Harry that morning and she hated that about him. She didn’t expect them to be friends, but she wanted him to at least make an effort.
She sighed, feeling that she was maybe putting a bit too much pressure on Draco. It was a lot to expect him to be nice to Ron and Harry just for her. She knew he didn’t like them and shouldn’t be surprised when that side of him came out. However, the effort would be nice.
She was gathering her things when a tawny barn owl landed at the window and began pecking. She let it in and it settled at the foot of her bed. She took the letter from the owl and showed it to the treats resting on her bedside table.
The Prefects meeting has been canceled tonight. Remember to do your rounds and keep the first years in line.
She read over the letter and sighed, relieved that she wouldn’t have to spend an hour pretending that he didn’t exist. As she read it once more, always proficient, she noticed that words were appearing at the bottom of the letter.
You’re wanted in Professor Dumbledore’s office at 7:00.
She rolled her eyes, tempted to not show up. However, if it was a meeting in Dumbledore’s office she knew that the Headmaster was most likely expecting her as well, which meant she had to go. She checked her watch and lay back on her bed and continued staring at the ceiling.
Since her fight with Draco, the dreams about him had increased and she was loathe to go to sleep. She didn’t want to see his face, feel his lips against hers, his hands on her body. She wanted to forget him, but her mind seemed reluctant to forget about him despite the protest of her head and heart. She didn’t want him to hurt her again, but she knew it was inevitable. She was his mate, essentially his. She still despised the thought of belonging to anyone, much less someone who couldn’t show an ounce of common courtesy if it killed them, but he seemed as if he was happy being the way he was. She wanted to punch him in the face for how he acted sometimes.
She had twenty minutes before she was to make her way to the office and sighed audibly in the deserted room. Crookshanks leapt onto the bed and curled into a ball beside her. She began absent mindedly rubbing his fur. She stroked behind his ears, “What am I going to do Crooks?”
The cat purred at her and she rolled onto her side to give him more attention, “How am I ever going to be able to trust him? He’s not even a nice person,” she whined. Crookshanks stretched and rolled onto his back, “He’s nice when it gets him something, not because it’s the right thing to do.”
Crookshanks didn’t offer much to the conversation, just a few purrs and what sounded like sighs. She tilted her head as she reluctantly stood several minutes later and donned her school robe. She made her way, slowly, to the Headmaster’s office and knocked as she waited for the kind voice to tell her to enter. When she heard it she opened the door and almost turned around at seeing Draco and his mother and father sitting in the room with the headmaster. But she noticed two other people in the room; her mother and father.
She rushed to them and threw her arms around her mother’s neck, happy to see her parents. They both smiled at her and the Headmaster looked on with a smile as Draco and his parents stayed stoically silent. She turned to the Headmaster and he conjured up a chair for her to sit in. She took a seat between Draco and her mother.
“Now that everyone has arrived,” he began, “I should let you know, Hermione, that your parents are aware of…certain things that are and have happened in your life.”
She blushed and turned to her mother who gave her a sad smile. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.”
Her mother shook her head, “No need to apologize. I understand why you didn’t. We don’t really understand, but we trust Dumbledore to tell us the truth.”
Hermione gave her a sad smile as well and felt Draco shift beside her. She glared at him, “You couldn’t deal with me so you had to involve everyone in the room?”
“Deal with you? You wouldn’t even look at me! How was I supposed to get you to have a conversation with me?”
“Draco, darling, calm down,” his mother said smoothly. Narcissa Malfoy was truly a beauty. In her early to mid forties, she was striking with perfect blonde hair and eyes the color of the ocean. She was lean and petite, a striking contrast to Lucius Malfoy’s broad shoulders and cold grey eyes.
The headmaster continued, “Draco, apparently, was and is very distressed by whatever fight it was that you had and sent a letter to his father to ask for advice?” he looked to Lucius who only nodded. “It was what has brought you here.”
“What? The letter?” she asked, unsure of what was going on.
“Yes. You see, you’ve been extended an invitation to spend Christmas with the Malfoy family, and I, like Lucius and Narcissa, believe it would be in the best interest of you both.”
“I disagree,” she said folding her arms over her chest.
“Hermione,” her mother said softly, “listen to what he has to say before you get angry.”
“You’re okay with this?” she asked her mother quickly.
“We want you to be happy…” her father said quietly.
“Which is why we’re going to come to a compromise. You’ll spend two weeks with your parents and two weeks at Malfoy Manor.”
“Headmaster, I…don’t want to.”
“Stop being so bloody stubborn, Hermione,” Draco said angrily from beside her.
“Miss Granger,” Lucius said smoothly, “this is not something that any of us want to fight over. I believe that Hogwarts tends to make one feel too confined by their house. If you are to ever know that you’re to be happy with Draco then you need to get away from these walls and not worry about being caught talking to him by one of your friends or someone else that could put all of us in serious jeopardy.”
“This isn’t the only way.”
“I would love to hear another solution,” Dumbledore said, rather amused by the situation, it seemed.
“Why can’t he come to our home?”
Draco grimaced and hoped that no one in the room thought that was a good idea. He wasn’t looking forward to stepping a foot into the muggle world.
Her father sighed, “We’re leaving the day after you go with them. There’s a convention your mother and I have to go to that can not be avoided.”
She frowned as relief flooded Draco’s face, “But I don’t want to go.”
“Hermione,” Dumbledore said with a soft smile, “Everything will work out just fine.”
“I don’t like him, why would I want to spend time with him?” She asked turning her head from him and Draco’s face fell as he stared at his hands.
Dumbledore was in deep thought for a moment before he spoke, “Hermione, if you didn’t care about him, in some fashion, you wouldn’t care how he acted. You wouldn’t care that he doesn’t like your friends and that they don’t like him. You wouldn’t be so hurt or feel betrayed if you didn’t care about him. That’s why you should spend time with him. I’m afraid to say that your fate is unavoidable because over time the chasm between you will be impossible to break.”
She shook her head, “I choose not to make an effort then.”
Narcissa cleared her throat and everyone looked to her, she had on a dreamy smile, “You can choose not to all you want, the part of you that is his mate will not give you a choice after a while.”
Draco was not comforted by these words. She’d just told the room that she didn’t like him and would choose not to be his mate. That hurt. He knew she was angry, but to wish not to be near him was something he never wanted to hear.
She shook her head, “Always running to mummy and daddy to fix your problems.”
Draco glared at her then turned to his father, “The invitation is withdrawn,” he said as he stood and walked to the door.
“Hermione,” her mother chastised gently.
Lucius watched his son leave and felt for the lad. She was being far more hostile than reason to be. He looked to his wife who frowned, not knowing what sort of advice to give to his son to make him see that this was just part of it until she managed to get over their past. He scowled, “Young lady, my son cares for you a great deal. He doesn’t get attached to people, but he’s attached to you. He would do anything for you. Must you be so hostile?”
Hermione glared at him, not wanting Lucius Malfoy to utter another word to her. She didn’t know what he was gaining out of this, but she didn’t like knowing that it was something. “Yes, I must be hostile.”
Her father sighed, “Dumbledore, this…mate thing, are we certain that nothing can be done about it? She doesn’t seem very happy and…”
“Nothing can be done.” Lucius sniffed indignantly. “The Malfoy men have had this certain enchantment for centuries and your daughter isn’t going to be able to break it just like no women before her was able.” He raised an eyebrow, “This is your daughter’s fate whether she likes it or not.” He stood, “However, if this is what she has chosen, to fight against the power of their bond, I’m afraid that she’ll be shown eventually that fighting it takes far more energy than to simply give in.” He held out his hand to his wife, “Come, Narcissa, let’s see to our son and be off.”
Narcissa took his hand and stopped in front of Hermione, “I’ve been where you are. The trapped feeling that seems to almost suffocate you as you take a breath.” She sighed, “I wish I could say that it gets easier, but it gets more complicated before it gets better. Don’t allow your anger to overrun you. It can soon take on a life of its own and then you’re full of resentment and unhappy.”
Hermione watched them walk to the door and disappear to the other side. She pinched the bridge of her nose and looked over at her parents, “I’m sorry you were pulled into the middle of this.”
Her father frowned, “You could have told us. We don’t understand this Veela thing, but we would have been there to lend you support.”
She felt like crying. She had been completely ambushed and she was angrier at Draco than she had been before. But now there was a feeling of…hurt that went along with the anger. She didn’t know where it was coming from, a feeling of rejection that seemed almost tangible in front of her. She didn’t think it was her emotion that she was feeling, but rather the charm of the Veela transferring Draco’s emotions to her. That’s the last thing she needed. She had enough problems with her own emotions, she didn’t know if she could handle his as well.
She looked to the headmaster, “Am I free to leave?”
He nodded, “Miss Granger, I do hope that you will take the advice of the people in this room, especially the people that care about you. I think it would be in your best interest to consider the Malfoy’s invitation.”
She shook her head, “I don’t think so.”
Her mother frowned and stood to hug her daughter good bye. “I miss you every second you’re gone,” she whispered into her bushy brown hair. She felt like crying again. She missed her parents, upset that they were left out of this part of her life, not knowing what it really meant for her to be trapped like this.
“I miss you too, mum,” she said as her mother squeezed her tightly. She fought against the tears that threatened to spill. She knew she would eventually have to talk to Draco, but she figured it would be best if the git actually suffered for a while.
Her father frowned as he looked at Dumbledore, “So, what happens now? Is she coming home with us for Christmas…?”
“Yes, of course,” Hermione said with a smile. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
“But what about…”
“He doesn’t matter,” Hermione said as she hugged her father.
The man sighed, “Dumbledore, may we have a moment with our daughter?”
The older man sighed, “Of course,” he said as he stood from his desk and moved to a small room off to the side of his office.
Her father looked to Hermione, “What exactly does this Veela thing mean? Dumbledore gave us the basic rundown, but I feel there’s more to it than what he’s said and the Malfoy’s stayed quiet.”
Hermione took a seat in one of the chairs and sighed, “It means that I’m tied to Draco, trapped is more like it.”
She sighed and blushed furiously, “In everyway.”
Her mother put a hand over Hermione’s and sighed, “How did this happen?”
“Apparently it has been in the cards for centuries. I’m destined for him,” she said with a roll of her eyes.”
Her mother took a seat beside her, “Well, you’re obviously angry with him.”
“I have every right to be!”
“Calm down, your mother never said that you didn’t have that right.”
Hermione frowned at her explosive temper. She imagined that she was feeding a bit off of the fury from Draco. She’d come to notice that when he felt something, any great deal of the emotion, that she felt it as well. The last few days she’d been dealing with his loneliness and his melancholy, but this anger and hurt was harder to push through.
“What did he do, if you don’t mind us asking?”
She frowned, “He picked a fight with Harry and Ron for no reason and then he tried to pick one with me. I’m just…I’m not happy with him at the moment.”
“Why would he pick a fight with Harry and Ron?”
“Because he hates them, and the feeling is mutual.”
Hermione’s mother sighed as she looked back at her husband, “Teenage boys will never change,” she said with a weary smile. “Hermione, he’s probably jealous.”
“Jealous of Harry and Ron? Haven’t you heard anything, mother? I’m his! There’s no way around this! Harry and Ron are of no threat to his claim on me!” she said hysterically as she put her head in her hands and sobbed for the first time since she’d found any of this out. She really could think of nothing else to do but cry. A combination of everything, her fight with Draco, her anger at him, his anger at her had all compounded into this one long cry.
Her mother wrapped an arm around her and pulled her into a tight embrace as her father moved to sit on the other side of her and stroked her hair. “I’m so sorry, darling,” her mother whispered.
It was several minutes before Hermione could calm down. Her father handed her a handkerchief and she wiped her face, “As I was saying, dear, he’s probably jealous of your relationship with them. Not because he’s being threatened, or what have you, but because they have a bond with you that he doesn’t have.”
Hermione eyed her mother skeptically, “They’re not a threat to him.”
“Men aren’t always rational people, Hermione.” Her father gave her a smile, “We’re often impulsive, stupid, and irrational.” He took her hand in his, “We’ll support you no matter what you decide to do, if you don’t want to go with them, you’re welcome to come home with us for Christmas and see if we can arrange something with Dumbledore to allow you back to school early.”
She frowned, “I’ll let you know.”
“So you will consider their invitation?” her mother asked.
She frowned, “Given that they’re the irrational ones I should at least be the one thinking clearly, right?”
Her mother smiled, “You’re an amazing young woman, Hermione. Your father and I are so proud of you.”
She blushed, “Thanks.”
“You’re mother’s right. But, I want you to know, that should this young man hurt you, wizard or not, I won’t be held responsible for what I do to him.”
She smiled at her father, wondering what Draco would do with her father’s temper unleashed on him. “Thanks.”
“Well, you should probably be getting to your room.” She nodded and both she and her parents stood. They both hugged her before she left the room.
Draco threw another vase at the stone wall beside the portrait hole, feeling nothing but rage and heartache. There was an assortment of books, vases, and tea cups smashed into pieces at the base of the wall. A cup barely missed his father’s head as he walked in, followed by his mother.
“You should shut your portrait completely lest you want people to know you’re throwing a tantrum.”
“I don’t care who knows,” he hissed as he started pacing. “I hate her.”
His mother rolled her eyes, “You do not.” She moved to sit on the plush sofa and watched as her son paced. Lucius stood near the portrait, his hand on his cane, “You care for her which is why you’re feelings are hurt.”
“She insulted me.”
Lucius spoke before Narcissa could, “I thought you would have been used to that by now.”
Draco fumed silently, “You two are enjoying this far too much.”
“We’ve been where you and Hermione are, Draco,” his mother said soothingly. “We’ve done the pining, the fighting, and the making up, and we’re still together. She’s yours, dear; no one else will ever have her.”
“She makes me feel wretched.”
Lucius almost let a smile pass, but restrained himself, “Of course she does. It’s part of the fight. And despite that, you still want her. It’s a very confusing time.”
Draco stopped pacing and looked at his parents, “So, what do I do? She basically spit in my face when we mentioned Christmas…and I’m not willing to ask her again.”
Narcissa smiled, “She’ll come around Draco.”
“Yeah…she’ll come around. Meanwhile, she’ll continue to make me feel like dirt and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Lucius frowned, “Women tend to do that. They can make you feel lower than anyone else on the planet and you still can’t help but want them. You’ll find a way to make this work out.”
“Not as long as Potter and Weasley are in the picture.”
Narcissa stood and shook her head, “You have to compromise! She’s not asking you to give up your friends, so why can’t she have hers?”
“Darling, his friends aren’t always around causing problems,” Lucius said softly.
“Right. His friends just want her dead.” She shook her head, “The double standard is killing me. Draco is allowed to be friends with who he wants but she can’t socialize with the two boys who have been in her life since the day she got here?”
“Why are you getting so upset?” Lucius asked as Draco looked at his mother in confusion.
“Because I think it’s ridiculous to ask her to give up two people who mean so much to her just because you don’t like them. I hate to say it, but that’s the best way to get her to never talk to you again.” She turned to look at Draco, her hands on her hips, “You need to find a way to co-exist with the two of them. If you don’t you might have a long and painful road ahead of you.” She dropped her hands to her sides and looked at Lucius, “It’s time to leave,” she said as she reached into her pocket for a small bag of floo powder.
Draco looked to his father, “You’re flooing?”
He nodded, “Dumbledore has a friend in the ministry who had them open for two hours tonight. Time is almost up. Good luck with Miss Granger.”
Draco said nothing as he watched his parents leave. He frowned as he sat on his sofa and starred up at the ceiling. He rubbed a spot on his chest that was aching, and closed his eyes as the pain grew. He couldn’t imagine feeling worse than he did at that moment. The physical pain he felt was much more manageable than this. He didn’t handle emotions well, and the hurt, the ache he felt was driving him mad.
“We need to talk.”
His head shot up as he stared at Hermione. His anger returned, but his need to just be in front of her outweighed it. He wanted so much to touch her, to hold her as she moved to sit in one of the high backed chairs. “Yes, we do.”
“I don’t appreciate what you did.”
“Involving my parents, that was low even for you.”
“For your information, that wasn’t me. My father and Dumbledore worked that out, so take it up with them,” he said moodily.
“Why involve your parents?”
“Because they’ve been where we are.”
“And where are we?” she asked as she folded her arms over her chest.
“The fuck if I know. One minute you like me, the next you’re pissed off, and then you say that you don’t want to be anywhere near me. So, at the moment, I’m a bit confused myself.”
“Why couldn’t you just talk to me?”
He stood. “You made it very clear that you didn’t want to talk to me.”
“You should have tried.”
“And what?” He asked as he folded his arms over his chest, “Would you like for me to apologize again for hating your friends, because I won’t. Not when they hate me too. We are never going to get along, no matter the compromises that are made on my behalf.”
“Because they hate me, Hermione! There is no answer more simple and to the point than that one. They hate me; it shouldn’t matter what they think about me.”
“But it does to me! They’re my best friends!”
He frowned, “What do you want from me?” The tone of his voice was defeated. He didn’t see how he could get through to her. He didn’t know how he could make her understand that it was a lost cause.
She frowned, feeling on the verge of tears again, “I want none of this to be true. I want things back the way they were.”
“You wish you weren’t my mate,” he said softly, more as a statement than a question.
“Yes,” she whispered. “This has made everything so complicated and I just don’t know how to juggle everything. I don’t know what to do because I’m being pulled in two different directions.”
He took his seat back on the sofa and put his head in his hands, “I can’t make this go away.” He looked up at her, “Don’t you think this is hard on me as well?” He shook his head, “Everyone in Slytherin looks up to me. Their fathers are Death Eaters alongside my father, and we, my father and I, are both betraying them.”
… before all of that...there is much sadness ahead for you. A large betrayal on your part…
Draco closed his eyes as the words of the seer drifted into his head. He’d often wondered who it was he was to betray, but he knew now. His friends, those that looked to him for guidance as the Prince of Slytherin, were the ones to be betrayed, and the ache in his chest grew. He felt low; lower than low. He was going to hurt those who had always been loyal to him and there was no way around it.
“It’s not the same.”
He shook his head as she spoke, “It is the same. You just don’t want to see it. It’s much easier to make me out to be the monster that’s threatening to tear apart your friendship with Potter and Weasley than it is to see that I’m letting everyone I’ve known my entire life down because of what I feel for you. It’s exactly the same.”
She shook her head, “You can’t trivialize…”
“Can you just go? We’re going around in circles and I…I just can’t argue with you anymore,” he said as he stood and made his way to his room.
He sat on the edge of the bed with his back to the door and put his head in his hands. His head hurt, his chest hurt, everything hurt. He felt like beating his head against the wall until the pain subsided. He didn’t realize it before. He didn’t see that it was his friends, Pansy, Crabbe, and Goyle that he would hurt. This would tear their families apart and leave him happy and healthy in the end. There was nothing he could do to help them. They were on a doomed path, and due to his luck, he knew what was waiting for him in the future. He was able to change his path, but his friends didn’t have that luxury.
He felt the mattress sink beside him and turned to find Hermione perched on his bed. She frowned as she took one of his hands in hers, “Your sadness is eating at me,” she said softly. “I’m sorry.”
He shook his head, “Don’t be. You’re…you’re not the one to blame.”
“I just don’t want to lose Harry and Ron because of what I feel for you…and the thought of losing them terrifies me. I’m betraying them by being with you, but you’re betraying your friends by…”
“They all look up to me, Hermione. This…this is going to kill them.” He shook his head, “We’ve all been friends since we were in nappies, but we won’t be when everything finally goes down. They…they might die in this war. Their fathers are either going to prison or will…and it will all be due to my father and I. I’m doing this to them.”
“But it’s for a good cause. They want to do away with people that they see as less than themselves, by any means necessary, Draco.”
“I don’t even know what my beliefs are on this, Hermione. How can I condemn them for their beliefs?”
She furrowed her brow, “You don’t know your beliefs?”
“No. I care about you…but you’re different…you’re…I don’t know.”
“If I wasn’t your mate, do you think you ever would have changed your mind?”
He shrugged, “I honestly can’t say.”
“I see,” she said a bit cross.
“Don’t,” he said sharply. “I’m being honest with you. If you’re asking me if I would go so far as to kill someone, the answer is no. But I can’t say for sure what I feel about anything else.”
“Oh, so you don’t have it in you to kill someone, but you have no problem hating them because of their bloodline? That’s ridiculous.”
“Can we not fight for five minutes?” He frowned at her, “Why is it that when I’m honest with you, it’s when you decide to yell at me?”
“Because that’s when you tell me things I don’t want to hear.”
“The world can’t be sunshine and roses, Granger.”
She folded her arms over her chest, “Back to Granger, are we?”
He closed his eyes, “For all that is holy, are you trying to drive me insane? I mean, really, is that why you came in here? To see exactly what it was you had to do before I jumped out of the window?”
She frowned, “Maybe I should go.”
He sighed, “I don’t want you to leave, but I don’t want you to stay if we’re going to keep fighting.”
“So, we’re going to avoid all the things…”
“That could lead to a fight, yes.”
“What will we talk about?”
He tilted his head at her, “Is it too much to just sit in silence?”
She tilted her head at him in the same way he’d done to her, “Yes. I have a hard time being quiet.”
He rolled his eyes and tried to fight back the smile that threatened to show itself. She really did hate to be quiet. She usually had something to say on every subject known to man, but the silence was sometimes nice.
She sighed and looked around his room as he stood and removed his school robe, revealing his uniform beneath. She wondered how often the house elves cleaned his room for it to remain this pristine. This, she knew, was not the typical boy’s dorm. However, Draco was far from being the typical boy. She wondered if his room at home was much different from this one. She wondered if he really had everything any child could ever ask for.
Thoughts of his room at home led her to thinking about the invitation. She knew that Dumbledore and even Draco’s father were right. It was a good idea for her to see him where he didn’t have to keep up a pretense. He would see the real her and she could see the real him. It could work out for the best. But what if they got into another row? Would she be allowed to leave? What would they do with all that spare time? They’d have assignments, but she wondered how long that could really take if they were both in the mind-set that it had to be finished, to give them the rest of the holiday to enjoy.
“Are we going to agree that we’ll fight later?” She said as she watched Draco remove his cufflinks.
He shook his head and smirked, “If that’s what you want,” he said half-heartedly.
“What would we do?”
“I’m sure we’d scream at one another some more.”
“No…” she said with a sigh, “I meant, what would we do during all that time at your Manor? You don’t strike me as the type of person to play in the snow or bake sugar cookies.”
He furrowed his brow and stared at her as if she had two heads, “I’m sorry, what are we talking about?”
He folded his arms over his chest. Hermione was running hot and cold and he wasn’t sure what was wrong with her. One minute she was screaming at him, the next she was trying to comfort him, then she was back to yelling at him, and now she was asking about Christmas. He was confused. He hated being confused.
“I’m sorry; I was under the impression that you wanted nothing to do with Christmas at my home.”
“Well, you did ask at an inappropriate time. I mean, you can’t expect me to say yes while we’re in the middle of turmoil, can you?”
He squeezed his eyes closed, “You said…”
“I know what I said. But I was also angry with you. I still am angry with you. However, I might have been thinking about what Dumbledore and even your father said, and it would be a good chance for us to get to know one another. So, I was just asking what we would do.”
He was too stunned to give a really coherent answer, “Whatever you want, I suppose.”
He tilted his head at her as he leaned against his desk and stared at her. She really had him confused at the moment, and he wasn’t sure whether or not she was actually agreeing. “The house elves might have a fit, but I don’t see why not.”
“Playing in the snow?”
“But…snow is cold and wet.”
“Honestly, where’s your sense of adventure?”
He rolled his eyes, “Fine. Anything else?”
“Do you decorate?”
“In what sort of way?”
“You know…a tree? Lights?”
He raised an eyebrow, “Could you imagine my father allowing us to decorate?”
“Well, that just won’t do. The house would need to be decorated…”
“Do you have electricity? Because if you do, they make these icicle lights that are just beautiful…”
“And then the tree. I think my mother has some old ornaments that she could send to me. We could find a tree or maybe your mother or father could conjure one, which cuts off on the hassle of going out to the forest and actually finding a suitable tree…”
“Hermione,” he said as he grasped her shoulders.
She looked at him wide-eyed, “What?”
“Are…are you saying you’re going to join me for Christmas?”
She looked down at her hands that rested in her lap, “I…I was thinking about it.”
He smiled, “Were you?”
She felt this wash of warmth through her and knew that he was genuinely happy with her answer, “Yes. But, like I said, there would have to be certain accommodations and arrangements worked out before I agree.”
Draco smiled, “Of course. Whatever you want.”
She smiled slightly, “Fine.” She stood and tilted her head at him, “I should be getting back to my common room.”
“I’ll…I’ll ask my father how he was planning to get you to the Manor without anyone knowing. Since you’ll be home it will be easier than if you were coming from here, but it still might be a problem.”
She pursed her lips, “Let me know.”
He nodded and caught her hand as she turned. She stared down at their joined hands as he stared at her seriously, “Thank you.”
She shrugged and removed her hand from his grasp before she walked from the room.
To Be Continued...