A very tired and bored Draco Malfoy sat in the cold luxurious Malfoy Manor on Christmas Eve alone, except for the house elves that stayed in their quarters, of course.
Draco’s mother had left him a note saying how 'deeply sorry' she and his father were to be absent on Christmas Eve.
He learned early in life not to question or ask for reasons why they left to go about doing 'who knows what.' And even though she mentioned his father being sorry, no doubt, Lucius Malfoy couldn't care less about Christmas.
He had ruined Christmas for them long ago after what he did when Draco was seven years old. Ten years later, Draco glanced at the enormous Christmas tree, absent of any gifts. But then he quickly turned away from it, blocking the memory before it could rear its ugly head.
He sighed as he sprawled out onto the sofa in front of the warm fireplace, his long body taking up the entire length of it. His eyes looked up to a beautiful and exquisitely painted mural high above him on the ceiling.
It was a depiction of a gorgeous witch wearing a dark green flowing gown and a banner that read, “Purus Cruor,” the Latin translation for “Pure-Blood.” Her white-blonde hair flared out in all directions as she held a single crystal prophecy ball. Her large black pet, a majestic Norwegian Ridgeback Dragon, surrounded her, protecting her family’s pure-blood future.
He had always admired it for its meticulous detail and stunning beauty, but he slowly grew tired of the mural’s message as a certain mudblood female with a fiery spirit entered his mind and took residence.
He had been pondering her for months and it was no mystery to him as to why he wanted her. She was forbidden. That fact alone enticed him the most. That and her long hair and the way she would run her fingers through it in an attempt to tame it on windy days. He imagined running his own fingers through it someday, or rather pulling it in playful frustration.
Draco had come to discover that if someone is accustomed to having his way and is refused one thing, eventually it’s that one thing that he will crave most. And in spite of the exceptional consequences, this undeniable craving of his came in the form of Hermione Granger.
He recalled the countless times when he was caught staring at her. Her sensing of stares from a distance was as sharp as blade. So when her eyes would meet his, he wasn’t like most, as he never looked away. If there ever was a staring contest master champion, it was Draco Malfoy.
His eyes would lock to hers sending her nonverbal messages. But judging her expressions, he was only confusing her.
He recalled the time when she spoke in boldness, which had him confessing a truth to her.
“Honestly, snake, I can't tell if you loathe my very existance or if you want to kiss me.” She had glared up at him, full of confidence.
“I most certainly loathe your very existance and I want to kiss you." He replied with a deep sinister laugh as if he were only joking and teasing.
“With your forked tongue? Ugh.” She reacted as if she were only half disgusted.
“I find you cute, Granger.” He had said. “Is that a crime?”
“It is in your family.” She replied hotly as her cheeks flushed four shades of red.
Mudblood or not, Hermione had become adorable and beautiful in his eyes and he couldn’t help but think of her, especially at times like this when he was bored and lonely.
As he continued his stare into the mural on the ceiling, he abruptly noticed something different about the witch hovering above him. She was now glaring at him in disgust as if she were fully aware of the tempting betrayal crossing his mind.
“I make a promise to you now, witch. When I gain full control of this place, your ‘Purus Cruor’ banner will change.” He said, adamantly.
“Something on your mind, Draco?” A voice above him said.
It was the enchanted portrait of Draco’s grandfather, Abraxas Malfoy that hung above the fireplace.
“Sorry if I disturbed you, Grandfather. It’s nothing.”
“Contemplating blood status… love?” He asked.
“It’s blood status first, love second in this family. What’s there to contemplate?” Draco remarked rather bitterly.
“Hmm. You should go to bed. I see how tired you are.” He suggested.
“I don’t feel like it. Besides, I think I’ll just sleep down here. My bedroom is always too cold.”
“Have it your way then.” The white haired old man said as he closed his eyes. “And sweet dreams, grandson.” He added.
Draco’s thoughts quickly went back to Granger’s smile and how she had giggled almost uncontrollably at a bit of revenge he had taken on a fellow Slytherin student, Cole Devlin, secretly on her behalf.
The kid had it coming. Normally Draco didn’t care when bullies were doing their thing, knocking people’s books out of their hands on the way to class, scattering papers everywhere. He knew they would never have the audacity to mess with him, so in general, he didn’t care.
But when he witnessed Granger fall victim to Devlin’s antics, he performed as expected. Draco laughed cruelly at her discombobulated circumstance and stepped over her, not bothering to help. But he quickly decided that he couldn’t very well let Devlin get away with messing with his Granger.
So in the quiet of that same night, Draco secretly brewed a potion that ate the glue clean from the bindings of all of Devlin’s books. So when every page mysteriously fanned to the floor uncontrollably as he opened them in class, it was Devlin’s turn to be humiliated. And because there were too many of his victims to count, not a soul felt sorry for him.
Draco recalled how Hermione had giggled with delight in seeing the Slytherin crawling on the floor in embarrassment trying to pick up the mess. Her sweet laughter had caused her eyes to squint and she actually placed her forearms across her belly and doubled over in hysterical giggling.
When she finally was able to gain some control, she spoke breathlessly. “Seeing that, just made my day. It serves you right. Someone finally got you, Devlin. And if I ever find out who did it, I shall thank them properly.” She dabbed at her eyes, catching her happy tears caused by the hilarious spectacle.
Seeing the smile on her face and the sparkle in her squinted eyes made it well worth it, even if it meant going against a Slytherin comrade. Draco didn’t do it to rid the school of the menace. He did it for her and he found great satisfaction in performing his ‘good’ deed.
He thought of how cute she looked at the end of the last school year as she tripped over her trunk trying to get it onto the train’s baggage car. Her face was flushed in frustration and he was considering stepping out of his Slytherin character in chivalry, but before he could, she whipped out her wand and levitated it into place instead.
He wondered what it was like at her Muggle house at Christmas. Probably a tree spilling over with gifts, perfectly straight, whitened teethy grins, and the place reeking of peppermint candy canes.
He wondered what it would be like if she were there with him. It wouldn’t be so lonely. He thought of how fun it would be to argue with her over something petty and then spend the remainder of the evening making up. Oh, the unlimited ways he could make her blood heat to a boil.
He thought of what he might give her for Christmas, if she were his. The thought was preposterous, of course, and not to mention a complete waste of time. But he already knew what it would be. The Malfoy family library had a rare out of print book called ‘Delilah’s Black Book of Poems’ that he knew she had wanted since they were Third Years. The one hundred and fifty year-old book hid dangerous curses in the text, which caused the Ministry of Magic to ban it.
Short of beginning to hallucinate her presence, he finally grew tired enough to fall into a deep sleep.
But it was short lived as the Malfoy Manor’s over-sized grandfather clock began loudly chiming its solemn midnight song. It abruptly woke him and he was about to stupefy it to silence, when he noticed a familiar shadowy figure standing beside him.
“Grandfather?” He said in bewilderment as he abruptly sprang from the sofa. “Did I die in my sleep or did you figure out a way to step out of your portrait?”
“Magical things can happen on Christmas Eve, Draco. Interesting magical things.”
Draco didn’t speak. Instead, he stood and poked at his grandfather’s upper arm to see if he was really there or if he was ghostlike. When it was solid, he took a step back.
“Relax, grandson. I’m here to show you a few things is all.” He said rather cheerfully.
“What things exactly?” Draco said cautiously.
“Things that were, things that are, and things that could be.”
“You mean like that stupid ‘Christmas Carol’ story? You can’t be bloody serious. I must be dreaming this or I fell off the couch and bumped my head.” He started toward the stairs to escape the illusion, but his grandfather had other ideas.
The old man’s wand came out and a spell went flying as Draco’s body involuntarily froze in mid step.
He walked up to Draco slowly, his cane tapping rhythmically on the floor. “Have you forgotten who you are talking to?”
It came out as a slight warning as Draco realized, indeed, that he’d forgotten who this man was. He wasn’t just an old man in a portrait. This was Lucius’s father, a man fully capable of being just as cruel. Draco had a good relationship with him when he was alive and they always had lively conversations. But as good as their relationship had been, the old man Malfoy demanded respect from the younger.
He released the spell and let Draco respond.
“My apologies, Grandfather.” Draco replied, knowing he was stuck. Stuck with whatever the old man wanted to do. “Show me what you must.”
The house grew warmer then and the place lit up with color as it use to when Draco was a child. He looked then at a tow-head blond child sneaking under the huge Christmas tree to shake and rattle his presents in an attempt to find out what he was getting. Like all children, he couldn’t help but be curious.
Draco stood there in disbelief. He was looking at himself as a seven year-old boy. His favorite pet, Stella was beside him. The dog was always his shadow and Draco adored her.
She was a jet black stray mutt that had roamed the manor grounds looking for food and at their first chance meeting, she’d given Draco more affection, attention, and love than any human ever had. With much begging, it was finally his mother, Narcissa who convinced Lucius to go ahead and allow Draco to keep her.
Stella kept him warm in his cold room by sleeping beside him every night. She had to sneak in of course, because Lucius would forbid his son to sleep with a mangy dog. But somehow she managed to always get away with it and Draco loved the pitiful looking thing for going against his father’s wishes and cuddling with him anyway.
Draco started wearing all black clothing then, because Lucius would complain about all the black dog hair all over his clothes. He figured if he wore all black, then his father wouldn’t notice Stella’s shedding so much. And it actually worked.
They were inseparable friends and Stella didn’t seem to mind when he would pretend that she was a fierce and firey dragon. He would take out his toy wand and cast imaginary spells and she would play dead like a good slain dragon.
But Stella wasn’t just his furry companion and friend. She was also his protector.
“No. Not this. Why of all things would you show me this blasted dark memory?” Draco protested.
By now, Draco’s adorable little seven year-old bare feet were sticking out under the tree, revealing what he was up to.
“Draco, get out of there now!” Lucius shrieked at the boy from a foot away. He tried to escape his father by crawling further into the tree and against the wall, but it was too late.
With one hand he grabbed the child’s ankle and viciously yanked him from under the tree, holding him upside down. The other hand was raised high and about to come down hard on Draco just as Stella leaped up and grabbed hold of his arm, sinking her canine teeth into Lucius’s flesh as deep as she could whilst twisting her head violently and growling ferociously.
Little Draco was abruptly dropped with a thud as his father winced and cursed loudly in pain as the dog tore into his forearm. Streams of deep red blood dripped from his arm.
“Stella. No!” Young Draco ordered.
The dog reluctantly followed her master’s orders and released her hold.
But as she did, Lucius’s wand came out and a second later, Stella was dead.
Seven year-old Draco went into shock witnessing the horrific scene that was now forever engraved into his mind. His beloved dog had been pushed back by the deadly curse’s blow and was now dead, lying under the Christmas tree amongst the very presents that he was trying to get a peek at just a moment earlier.
His mother ran in to see what was going on as she gasped in disbelief. “Lucius, how could you do such a thing?” She yelled at him as young Draco stared at his dead dog.
“Do you not see my blood running down my arm and onto the rug?” He spat at her. “I should’ve done the deed months ago when she began growling at me. Worthless mutt.”
When his parents left to tend to the wound, little Draco noticed his father had left his wand on the floor. Without thinking too much, he picked it up, even though he knew he wasn’t ever permitted to do so. He was only allowed to have toy wands.
He bent down and crawled under the Christmas tree, shoving dozens of presents out of the way. He held the wand over the dog and calmly but firmly repeated every healing spell he could remember his mother saying.
He tried the one she used when he fell down the stairs and bruised his pointy chin and his little ribs.
When that didn’t work, he tried the one that healed him when he fell from one of the apple trees on the manor grounds, slicing open his knee. He tried a couple more spells, but nothing worked.
Desperate, he tried the ‘Reparo’ spell that could fix his broken toys, but that didn’t work either.
When Draco couldn’t think of any other healing charms, tears welled up so much that he could no longer see through his watery eyes. He began to cry as quietly as possible, afraid his father would hear.
Giving up on healing spells, little Draco carefully, lovingly, snuggled up close beside his beloved dog and buried his tearful face into her soft black fur.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry.” He sobbed into her with his little boy voice. “I just wanted to look at the presents.” His tiny body shook in grief as his little seven year-old heart broke on that fateful Christmas Eve.
Draco cried himself to sleep under the tree with her by his side, but awoke in his bed the next morning. When he realized she wasn’t there, he remembered that it was real. That his father really did kill her and she really was dead and that it hadn’t been a nightmare. It had really happened.
He felt his tiny heart sink inside of his little boy chest where an aching pain had started. He noticed a strange feeling deep inside as his stomach did flip flops. His body shook uncontrollably and he thought he was going to get sick, but he didn’t.
And for the first time, little Draco didn’t run down the stairs to tear into his gifts on Christmas morning. Instead, he stayed in his room and grieved over the loss of his best friend.
Narcissa went up to his room to coax him out. The only thing that worked was her telling him that the house elves had taken care to make his favorite breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes and hot cocoa, both topped with whipped cream. Thinking of the elves working so much, he finally made his way down the stairs and into the kitchen, avoiding the Christmas tree and its deadly memory.
Every gift went unopened that year. He told his father the only thing he wanted was his dog back.
“The Avada curse is not reversible, son. It’s a good lesson to learn now while you’re young. I can’t bring her back, even if I wanted to. But I’ll get you another dog if you want. A pure-blood this time. One that’s smart enough not to turn on its owner.”
“I don’t want another dog. I want Stella!” He had yelled back through tearful eyes.
And when they filled the manor with gifts the following year, they couldn’t get him to open a single one that year either. They ended up opening them for him and showing him all the wonderful things that other kids would die for. But he wasn’t the least bit interested.
“I’m sorry, alright. Is that what you want me to do? Beg you for forgiveness?” Lucius finally said. “That dog attacked me.”
“She was only defending me.” He replied quietly.
“My arm still hurts occasionally and I have permanent scars from her vicious teeth puncturing my skin. Have you no concern for your own father?”
Draco hoped his father’s arm would hurt for the rest of his life.
When Draco said nothing, Lucius remarked, “You ungrateful brat. Do you even know what we had to go through to get you all of this?”
But Draco didn’t care. He responded with the shoulder shrug of indifference. He felt no happiness in any of those material things. He felt only bitterness... and guilt. After all, it was his own curiosity of those very gifts that got his dog killed. And now he wouldn’t be remotely interested in any Christmas gift ever again. So much so, that they eventually gave up on him and stopped buying Christmas gifts altogether.
That’s why there were none under the tree now, ten years later.
“Why did you show me this?” Draco said full of emotion. “Do you think I’d forgotten about it?” He snapped.
“Draco, I show you this because it is time to forgive yourself and your father for what happened that night.”
“Why should I?” He said through gritted teeth. “He killed Stella for protecting me.”
“He killed her because he was in pain. She attacked him. You must forgive him. He didn’t mean to emotionally scar you in the process.”
“But he did, didn’t he? The man is malicious in his intent in everything he does.”
“That’s not true. He sincerely apologized to you and was remorseful.”
“He apologized and then turned around and justified the killing, just as you just did.”
“And you’ve been punishing him and your mother by ruining ten years of Christmases with your stubbornness ever since.”
“Deservedly so.” He scowled.
“I may be an old man living in a portrait now, but don’t think I don’t know that a dark war looms. I want you to think about that for a moment and ponder the thought that this might very well be your last Christmas with them.”
“And that’s supposed to make a difference to me now?” He replied, his voice full of utter disdain.
Just then, loud clock chimes interrupted them. Malfoy Manor’s over-sized grandfather clock began to chime its one o’clock announcement.
“Come with me, grandson. I’ve somewhere else to show you. A place that also has no presents under their tree as well, but for an entirely different reason.”
With a sigh, Draco plopped his hand on the old man’s forearm. “Any place but here,” he said, as they apparated away to a certain Burrow and into a house full of nine red heads amongst some brunettes and a blonde or so.
Well... Hopeless Dramione fans (like me), I hope you enjoyed that so far... Isn't little seven year-old, bare-foot Draco adorable?
I want to tell you that this "Christmas Carol" dream sequence isn't even half of this story, so do please be patient with it.... As soon as chapters are validated, the next one will be sent. I'd love to hear from you... Thanks for taking the time to read it... Dark Whisper.
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