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Chapter   26          Winter Holidays

After a weekend of mutual debauchery, Hermione cuddled in Draco’s arms.  “I love you.”  Through their bond, she knew he loved her but the only time he said it was just before they bonded.   “Is there something you wish to tell me?”

“Yes, since Christmas is around the corner, let’s all go to Salzburg, both our families.”  He toyed with a ringlet of her hair.  “To get away from some bad memories,” he added.

“That sounds lovely but it’s not what I was talking about.”  She gave him a light peck.  “Is there something you wish to tell me?”  Draco’s grey eyes which she now found even more sexy, studied her a moment before they comprehended her meaning.  

“I love you.”    Draco traced her neckline, which made her gasp in delight.   “I don’t tell you enough do I?”

“I know you love me but I just like to hear the words.”  She traced a heart on his chest.  “As your soul-mate, I demand a lot of affection.”

“I show you plenty of affection, twice this morning and it’s not even time for lunch.”  Draco ran his hands along her hips.

“No, I mean hugs and kisses, not just sex.”  But then, Hermione thought about how much she craved him and the ecstasy she knew with him .  “But, I still want plenty of sex.”

“Plenty of sex, you don’t even need to ask.”  Slowly, he caressed her thigh.  “More affection, you know how I am.”

“I know and I’m fine with your indifference in public but in private I expect more.”  As she looked at him, she touched his forearm and ran her finger from his elbow to his wrist.  “When I do this, it will be your hint.”

“I promise to take the hint.”  In a smooth maneuver, he rolled on top of her and spread her knees apart.   “And you my liberated, intelligent and beautiful soul-mate need to let me take the lead in public like Malfoy tradition dictates.”  Immediately, he saw her flush with indignation.  “So I can protect you, but I promise you are my equal and that’s how I think of you.”

Hermione looked into those dreamy grey eyes and knew he truly meant what he said.  “Yes,” she whispered.

For Christmas, Draco invited Hermione and her family to accompany he and his mother to Salzburg which boasted a winter wonderland.  Though Hermione missed her traditional Christmas with the Weasleys, she enjoyed spending it with her parents and her soul-mate.  Between enchanted sleigh rides which thrilled her parents, tours of the castles both muggle with her family and magical with everyone,  and lastly shopping and touring the gorgeous cathedrals which Draco wanted nothing to do with the latter two activities, she stayed busy and thoroughly enjoyed herself.  More importantly, Draco and Narcissa were away from everything that could remind them of Lucius.  

The day before Christmas, Narcissa visited Hermione in her and Draco’s suite which seemed more like a small antique apartment.  “I thought you might enjoy looking at the Malfoy family photo album.”

“I would love that.”  Hermione sat next to her in front of the fireplace.

Narcissa opened a large album with the Malfoy crest on the cover.  “You can see all of Draco’s baby pictures.”

“Oh mum, don’t embarrass me,” Draco whined.

“There’s no need to be embarrassed.”  Narcissa tapped the book with her wand so it would open directly to his baby pictures.  “You were an adorable baby.”

Plopping his book on political studies down, Draco got up and grabbed his coat.  “I’m going for a stroll and see if I can find a way to humiliate myself more than having my girlfriend look at my baby pictures…but I doubt if I can.”

Once the door closed behind him, Hermione burst out laughing.  “What a sense of humor.”

“Just like his father,” Narcissa commented.  

To rid Narcissa of her sadness, Hermione pointed to a picture of the silver haired, grey-eyed baby Draco lying naked on the rug of the Malfoy living room smiling and playing with his rattle with a hand painted dragon on it.     “He’s so cute.”  As they perused the pictures, Hermione thought warmly about her future with Draco.  Probably, after several more years, they would marry and she would have her own silver haired baby eventually but until then they simply wanted to enjoy the dating life.  

When she saw Lucius and Narcissa’s wedding pictures, she saw a angelic blond witch very much in love with her silver haired prince.  “We were so much in love but I couldn’t ease the pain of his past.”  Narcissa dabbed her eyes.  “I tried so hard but expensive gifts replaced tenderness.  I still love him though.”  After a few sniffles, she regained her composure.  “Anyhow, I’m looking forward to the new year.  Thank you for making Draco so happy.”

On Christmas evening after a spending the day with their family enjoying a gift exchange and Christmas dinner, Draco and Hermione adjourned to their suite.  After Hermione freshened up and donned her red silk Christmas robe, she joined Draco in their suites’ living room.  Looking outside their hotel window, she relished the warm yellow glow of the snow covered Bavarian village outside.  “Close your eyes,” he whispered.  Before she opened them, she heard the crackling of a fire.  When Draco whispered, “You can open them now,” she did.

In the corner of the living room, she saw a four foot tall Christmas tree decorated with hand painted eggs, mostly of red poinsettias, a Salzburg tradition, and velvet gold and red ribbons.  “It’s so beautiful.  Let me get your present now.”   Quickly, she kissed him before she retrieved his present.

Kneeling in front of the tree, they exchanged their gifts to each other.  When Draco opened the rather heavy rectangular box, he removed a brown, leather bound silver leafed book entitled, Hope in Our Darkest Moments by Hermione Granger.  “Your first book and I get the first print and leather bound, thank you.”

“Actually, it is and will be the only one like it.  But, the inscription will be on every print.”  

Draco opened the book to find the inscription that the world would read.  He half expected to be dedicated to the rest of the trio since it was about defeating Voldemort.  Though she wrote it before she dated him, she portrayed him sympathetically.  To my darling Draco, whose love and support gave me courage to become who I always wanted to be.   My love eternally, Hermione

“Thank you.”  He leaned over and kissed her tenderly.  “And now for yours,” he replied.

The blue velvet jewelry box had a metallic silver inscription.  With this, you will always hear the words that I don’t say enough but you deserve to hear more of, but only when you’re alone.   Inside she found a diamond teardrop necklace with a twisted ribbon diamond chain.  “It’s gorgeous!  Thank you.”   A sound snogging began that evening’s celebrations.

For New Years, Draco held a grand ball at Malfoy Manor for several hundred wizards and witches where Draco would give a speech to government officials, influential celebrities and many wizards who opposed Voldemort.  Against convention, Draco had invited some popular musicians from their generation. A tiny press corp and even the Weasleys and Harry Potter were invited.  Afterwards, they would rock in the New Year with several of the bands performing. 

Hermione joined Draco in the grand ballroom of the manor.  Tucking her hand in his arm, they politely mingled amongst the wealthy, chatting outwardly but with veiled political maneuvering.  Sometimes, Hermione wished for the warmth of the Weasley family who she convinced Draco to invite but she wondered how much Draco would change under her influence.  At first, her gaze rested on a couple of the musicians who came dressed slightly outlandish, hanging all over their dates, hand holding and kissing.  Then she gazed to the wizard standing next to her, dressed in formal but chic robes, stoically speaking to some politically influential couple.  Rarely, did he show any emotion in public.  Privately, he showed passion, often…very often.  Tenderness happened a tiny bit more with her encouragement but she worried that it could be simply the newness of the relationship and not a long term committment to change.  

“If you’ll excuse me,” she whispered.  “I need to powder my nose.”

Draco’s cool grey eyes glanced down at her.  “Of course,” he replied.

Afterwards Hermione freshened up, staring at her reflection in the bathroom mirror.  Alone she plucked a piece of lint from her stylish burgundy velvet gown; her diamond earrings and necklace sparkled in the light.  A young witch whose eyes reflected passionate young love with a touch of yearning stared back.  Now that Christmas had come and gone, she reflected on the holiday.  Like Narcissa, did she get overly excited about an expensive gift?   Please don’t let expensive gifts replace tenderness or has it already begun?  Don’t let him become like his father.

As she gently caressed the diamond teardrop, she heard Draco’s voice whispering in her ear.  “I love you.”  Startled, she jumped and looked around but saw no one.  Then she rubbed the necklace again.  “I love you.”  That’s what the inscription meant.  He enchanted the diamond.

I love him so much.  She dabbed her eyes and reapplied a little eyeliner.  When she went out to the ballroom, Draco had made his way to the podium to begin his speech.

“Good evening, is everyone looking forward to the new year?”  Some cheers rang throughout the crowd.  “Many of you know me as Draco Malfoy, proud member of a long established pure-blood family.  Recently, I introduced The Law of Pure-Blood Decrees.  This law merely ensures that the traditions of the families are protected as long as they don’t conflict with the laws of the Ministry.   

Over seven hundred and fifty years ago, many of the pure-blood families banded together and formed the Wizards Council which eventually became the Ministry for Magic.  For hundreds of years, pure-blood families were considered innovators but today we are proud traditionalists upholding customs dating back centuries.”  Half the room, the half who were pure-bloods clapped and cheered.

“How many of you have heard of Adam Ocrolfy?”  The other half of the room cheered.   “How many of you consider him an innovator?”  That half cheered again.  Hermione noticed Harry and the Weasley clan sans Ron opted not to attend, joined in the cheering.  “Who would like to meet the mysterious Mr. Ocrolfy?”  Now the rock stars joined in boisterously.  Above and behind him, fiery deep green letters, the name Adam Ocrolfy appeared amongst an ovation.  Then the letters formed Draco Malfoy.  The crowd gasped.  “Nowadays, many think that one can’t be a traditionalist and an innovator.  I disagree.”

 “With the new year many of my policies will be going into effect.  The new procedures will bring about a more efficient Ministry with much less bureaucracy.  These changes represent a new age in the Ministry:  an era that merges tradition with change.  Please join me in ushering that new era and the new year.  Thank you.”

Cheers from both sides followed as Draco stepped down from the podium.  Amongst the congratulations, Hermione greeted him.  In return, he kissed her cheek and tucked her arm in his, resuming their rounds.   “We need to make our way to my study.  It’s nearly midnight.”  When Hermione looked at him slightly confused, Draco smiled smugly.  “So I can give you a proper kiss to bring in the New Year.”

“Of course,” she whispered.  The public could have the aloof Draco Malfoy but she knew his tender side and she didn’t mind being the only one who did.  She gazed at him lovingly, wondering how the New Year could top this past one.  For this year, not only did she become a published author, but also she won the heart of a dragon. 

Amongst the hundreds of party guests, a sandy blond haired wizard of eighteen gazed at Narcissa, a blond haired, blue eyed witch of delicate beauty who looked ten years younger than her true age of nearly forty.  Mickey opened a locket and stared at a picture of her when she was but seventeen being held by a wizard of eighteen with curly black hair who wore a Ravenclaw pin.  Lucius Malfoy, you thought you killed me.  I will have my revenge for what you took from me, in good time.  


And the story continues with Winning Lucius to be revised in October 2009. 

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