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Christmas was looming large, but for myself Christmas was going to be spent here at Hogwarts. My parents were off doing goodness knows what with Lord Voldemort, so it looked like I had no say in the matter! Not that I really cared anyway. Auria offered for me to stay with her over the holiday period but I knew that it would be best if I stayed put so that I could have a good think.

I doubted that many of the people in my house especially in my class would come back after the holidays. There was now at least one person leaving every week. It was only a matter of time before Auria would join them and I would get questioned about why I had not made an immediate decision to become a deatheater. Though my parents knew very well that I wasn't exactly one to jump on the band wagon when it came to following Lord Voldemort. My siblings all went off to different places for Christmas which left me alone. Just like how it always was. I was always the one to be left out but I never really minded.

'Now are you sure you don't want to join me for Christmas?' Pestered Auria.
She had done this nearly everyday hoping that I would eventually change my mind.
'I'm sure' I smiled at her as I stood at Hogsmead station with her, I was ready to get the bloody girl onto the train.
'Last chance' she grinned taking both my hands in hers.
'The quicker you get yourself on the train the quicker the holidays will go which means you'll see me real soon, so be quiet and get going!' I laughed embracing her tightly.
Auria pouted at me before she turned to get on the train.
'You'll love the present I got you!' she called out of the window.
I felt a sinking feeling in my chest as the train blew its final whistle before departing out of the station. I turned back to look at the big castle a head of me. It stood splendid and proud amongst the great stone mountains.

Upon entering the common room I took in every sight around me almost in fear that this might all be taken away from me very soon.

'Marianna, what are you doing here?'

I turned to find Draco coming down the stairs from his dorm. This was starting to become a bit of a day time ritual we always managed to bump into each other in the common room.

'I've got no where to go, to be honest I'm much happier staying here' I replied

'Well it looks like it's just the two of us then' Draco smiled slightly.

I felt my cheeks burn as I saw his face light up when he smiled. This was starting to freak me out slightly as I realized that every time I saw this boy my stomach would do one of those annoying little flips. I thought about him when he was not around. I placed a hand against my cheek as I felt the heat of me blushing. What was wrong with me? This was supposed to be my friend. Just my friend and that was all. But I couldn't help myself and look when ever he would stretch and his shirt would lift to show a bit of skin and reveal a rather toned stomach.

Shaking off these thoughts I tried to return his smile, I think I failed.

Christmas day came quickly, rising up from my bed I wanted at least 30 minutes more sleep but my mind seemed to wake up very quickly. A present lay next to my bed upon a little table. Smiling to myself slightly I picked up the present which was wrapped perfectly. I knew straight away that this was from Auria, she was a total perfectionist in everything she did including gift wrapping.

'Dear Anna Banana, Merry Christmas!
Lots of Love

It was a small little box wrapped in silver and green paper. I didn't want to open it at first as I took in the perfect presentation it looked beautiful. Placing my index finger on the fold of the paper I slowly opened it trying hard not to rip the wrapping. Inside the paper lay a black box with the letters MVL, my initials. I opened the box to reveal a beautiful pair of emerald stone ear rings the very same ear rings I had been admiring in a little shop in Hogsmead for the past few months. They were exactly what I wanted and I knew exactly what outfit I was to wear with them.

I knew at some point that I had to leave my bed so with a mighty groan I forced myself out of the covers. Every Christmas my family made a great effort in their appearance and I was not going to break that tradition. Rummaging through my trunk I found my silver silk baby doll dress. My ear rings would look perfect with this. Slipping the dress over my head it stopped just above my knees as the silk material played like water around my waist. I slipped on a pair of silver ballet pumps to match my dress, twisted my long black hair into a messy bun and placed the ear rings upon my ears. Examining myself in the mirror I smiled, I was happy with the image that was reflected back at me.

Sneaking a peak around my door I slowly descended down the steps toward the common room. The place was decorated with silver and green decorations, they hung delicately upon the large cold walls giving them a sense of warmness which it never held until now. I smiled as I saw the Christmas tree which sat proudly in the corner next to the fireplace. It looked so beautiful as the fire blazed on.

'Wow, look at you!' came a voice from behind me.

I spun round to find myself rather close to Draco. He looked down upon me with a small smile.We had to stop doing this, it was boarding on insane and incredibly frustrating. I couldn't help myself in taking in his own appearance as he stood tall in a black open neck shirt and black slacks. He looked so grown up, not like the boy I saw on the sofa that night a while back, he was a man.

'My family, we wear our best on Christmas day, I thought it would be nice If I did that this year, I know it's a little stupid' I stumbled over my words trying to keep my eyes away from his face.

I could feel him looking at me as my cheeks soon turned an impressive shade of red. Why my body would fail me like this at these precise moments I didn't know, but I knew that I wanted the ground to swallow me up right about now.

'No not at all' he replied 'My family do the same thing.'

'I got you this' Draco muttered slightly 'I didn't know what you wanted and I thought it was only right that I should get you a present.'

My head snapped up at him quickly in shock as he handed me a small box which was unwrapped. My body quivered and feeling flustered I realized that it would take me forever to shake off the queasiness that had invaded my stomach.

'Oh gosh you didn't have to, I mean I didn't get you anything, I feel so bad' I replied as guilt swept across me.

'No it's okay, I didn't really expect you to, just open it' he laughed.
I opened the little box to find a little silver serpent broach.

'Slytherin Pride' I smiled at him.

'If you don't like it then I can always take it back' he said quickly

'No I love it' I smiled taking it out of the box and pinning it onto my dress.
'Draco I never thought you had this kind of side to you!' I laughed

Draco turned away slightly as his cheeks turned a little pink.

'Yeah well don't expect this sort of thing all the time, it's only once a year and I would appreciate if you maybe didn't spread this around, I do have a reputation to with hold.' he sniggered slightly as he stared down to the ground.

'Don't worry your secret is safe with me' I laughed as I stared at the broach which lay delicately upon my dress.

New Years day I found myself alone as Draco had to go home for the day to visit his parents. I didn't know anyone else apart from those that were in my own house. So I spent the day walking around the grounds. It was such a beautiful day as the snow fell heavily leaving a thick white blanket which glistened under my feet. Everything was covered in white and it was all untouched. Breathing in slowly the cold air hit my nose awakening my senses and clearing my head.

It was at times like these that I would almost forget that there was a war raging on.
How could people fall into conflict when the world like today would sparkle with its impeccable colours of beauty?
You only had to stop for a few moments and hear the wind brush slightly against your ear almost as if it was singing you a lullaby. I could stay in this place like this forever. If only I could stop time even just for a moment to give me a little longer to appreciate this picture perfect scene. But it was soon turning dark much to my disappointment.

I found myself heading towards the castle as the smell of food began to tempt me back. Dinner was satisfying as I sat alone at the Slytherin table. Nothing would take away this feeling of bliss.

'Anna Banana!' Came a squeal as I entered the Slytherin common room, a pair of arms scooped me up into a tight embrace.

'Auria what are you doing back so early I thought you were supposed to be away for another week?' I smiled as my tall red haired friend stood in front of me beaming with happiness.

'Well that's the thing, I couldn't stay away from you because I have some brilliant news!' she squealed hopping slightly on the spot.

'What is it?' I asked expectantly smiling at her.

'Me and Draco are getting married! Our parents arranged it, Isn't that wonderful?!' Auria beamed squeezing my hands slightly.
It was only then that I noticed Draco standing behind her, my heart plummeted as the news began to sink in, but as always I faked my best smile and took my closest friend into my arms.

'Congratulations' I smiled as my voice wavered slightly and with that I disappeared to my room.

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