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Chapter 17- the day that is both an eve and a day
AN: Read and Review please!

Hermione woke up on Christmas Eve with the jitters. She was both extremely excited and nervous. She knew that she got along well with Damien, and even Draco as of late, but she still felt anxious. She wanted everything to be just right. She went down to the kitchens to talk to the house elves. 

“Hello Miss,” a house elf Hermione did not know greeted her once she entered. “How may Gotty help Miss today?” Hermione smiled, house elves were some of the nicest creatures she had ever had the pleasure to encounter.

“I was wondering if I could place a request for food to be sent up to a certain room, if you are not too busy tonight.” The elf nodded energetically. 

“What is Miss wanting and where?” Hermione began to list a bunch of fun foods for dinner, desert, and Christmas breakfast. She outlined when she would like each meal to be delivered and described the room. Luckily for her, Gotty knew of the Room of Requirements and assured her that he would be able to get the food to the room at the specified times. 

“Thank you so much, and please, do not over work yourselves just because I do not want to eat with the other students.” All the elves chimed in this time, swearing that they would not be over worked at all and that it would be a pleasure. Hermione then left the kitchens, satisfied that food was taken care of. 

Other than ordering the food, Hermione had not been responsible for any other preparations. The room would provide them with a realistic looking fake tree and decorations. They had agreed that it would be more fun to decorate it themselves together than have the room decorate it. 

Well, Hermione thought, they had not really agreed on it so much as “Emily” had begged and pleaded until “Damien” agreed to do it her way and decorate it the muggle way. So to pass the time before she was due in the room of requirements Hermione worked on her animagus transformation in her room. She almost had it. She figured maybe if she had more space she might feel less stressed and able to focus better, so she moved to the common room. She was still practicing when Draco came in from breakfast. He helped her with what he saw her doing wrong and she tried again. Draco’s eyes went wide. Hermione no longer looked like Hermione. Hermione had turned into a cat. But not just any cat. Hermione had transformed into a medium sized snow leopard. She was beautiful in an intimidating and scary kind of way and Draco just stared in awe. 

Since she was new at it Hermione could not hold her shape for long, it took thought and control which she had yet to build up, so she transformed back into herself and sat down on the floor, shocked. She could not even talk. She had just transformed, into a snow leopard. She had half expected her animagus form to be the same as her patronus, an otter. She had been less than ecstatic at that prospect, but she wanted to become an animagus anyway. Her work had apparently been rewarded, she was so happy with her animagus form. It was not particularly inconspicuous, but she did not care, she never planned to transform in public, it was just for fun. 

Hermione finally regained the use of her vocal cords. “I can’t believe we did it.” She said, looking up at Draco. “I’m an animagus! This is so exciting, thank you so much, it would have taken so much longer without your help!” She stood up and hugged Draco briefly. Draco did not hug her back, naturally, but he did not protest or push her away either. He even smiled. 

“Congratulations, that was pretty impressive. I am sure that normal people do not learn to be an animagus that quickly. But then again, you are more intelligent than normal people.” Hermione blushed a bit. “Your animagus was pretty cool, though it won’t blend into everyday life very well.” 

“No,” Hermione agreed, laughing a little. “But that was never the purpose now was it?” He shook his head. “Well thanks.” She said awkwardly. “I’m starving now, I am going to go get some food. See you later.” She waved at him as she walked towards the door.

“See you later.” He said as he headed up to his room. 

They both spent the rest of the day passing the time in their own ways. Hermione mostly read books from her list and continued to write her own book. Draco finished the last few preparations and wrapped his gift for Emily. Finally, it was 6 o’clock. They had agreed to both show up to the room at different times, Damien at 6:15pm and Emily at 6:30pm so as to avoid raising suspicion. 

When Draco first arrived at the room he was not entirely sure what he was supposed to think while walking in front of the room. He finally settled for, I need a place for a friend and I to enjoy Christmas Eve together. When he entered the room he knew that he had thought the right thing. The room looked spectacular and he was so excited for Emily to get to see it. He had a secret Christmas wish. He was pretty sure that he was not going to get it, but he could hope anyway. He wanted Emily to get him the gift for Christmas that he most wanted, the knowledge of what her true identity was. He had gone over and over his list of potential girls with little success. She did not fit into any of his categories. 6:30pm came and went. Emily was late. 

Hermione was frazzled. She had been mistaken in thinking that she was ready and could relax all day. She did not know what to wear, or what to bring. Should she bring a change of close since she was staying overnight? Should she bring pajamas? Where did she put her gift for Damien? Finally she located her gift, settled on shrinking both pajamas and a spare set of clothes and putting them in her purse just in case. She put on a simple, elegant, white dress. It was strapless and went down to two inches below her knees. It had a tight bodice and flared out at the waist. It reminded her of the famous Marilyn Monroe dress that Damien would know nothing about. The main difference was the strip of two inch thick green silk around the top of the bodice, making it more Christmas-y. Finally, she turned her hair red again and her eyes brown. Feeling like Emily and finally ready, she left for the room of requirements about ten minutes late already. When she got there it was already 6:50pm. She felt bad that she was late, but she was not about to go there without being sure that she looked good. 

When she entered she felt even worse. There Damien sat, looking bored, in one of the chairs at the table. She’d asked for dinner to arrive at 6:45pm, so he was sitting, alone, in front of a meal for two. She ducked her head a bit, slightly embarrassed to make him wait, she felt rude. 

“Hey, sorry I’m late” Hermione said as she walked further into the room. “I could not decide on what to wear, and then I misplaced your gift, and then I had to do my hair and my eyes, and then…” Thankfully Damien cut her off.

“It’s fine Emily,” he said, “I’m just glad that you’re here.” Emily smiled. “Please, would you care to join me for dinner?” He smiled as he said this, standing up to pull out her chair for her. She nodded her thanks as she sat. “You look lovely; I think you chose a great dress.” She blushed a bit. “So, I love your choices for Christmas Eve dinner.” Emily kind of laughed, giggled really.

“I was sort of hungry when I placed the order, so I just named every item that came to mind that sounded delicious at the time. This is what I came up with.” Damien laughed a little too, hearing the humorous explanation. 

While they ate dinner they decided to get to know each other even better. They revisited the game that they played the night that they met. They alternated asking each other questions; they had to answer whatever they were asked.

“So, when you were a child, what was something you did that you are ashamed of?” Damien asked.

“Well” Emily thought about it. “When I was six my mom took me to swimming lessons, I didn’t want to swim, so I took a candy bar with me.” Emily blushed, remembering. “When my mom wasn’t looking I unwrapped it and threw it into the pool. The lifeguards made everyone get out of the pool when they saw it, thinking that some kid had gone to the bathroom in the pool. My mom took me home, thoroughly disgusted, and I never had to go back to that pool for lessons.” Damien almost had tears in his eyes from trying to contain his laughter. “It’s alright, I know you want to laugh.” She smiled, to show him it was really ok. He burst into laughter.  

“That’s brilliant.” He told her. Now she had to ask the question.

“Out of all the things that people assume are true about you, Draco Malfoy that is, what’s one of the rumors that is not true. I know that they can’t all be true, you’re no superman.” Damien looked kind of confused.

“Who’s superman?”

“Oh, he’s a comic book super hero in the muggle world. He’s make believe, imaginary, but he saves the world in movies and stuff.” He nodded in comprehension. 

“Well, and you have to promise not to tell a sole?” He put a serious look on. 

“I promise” and she really meant it. 

“The biggest lie that I let continue to circulate about me is the rumor that I am the Slytherin Sex God. I mean, I’m sure I’m amazing, but I’m a…I’m a…” His voice went down to whispering volume, “I’m a virgin.” His voice went back to normal. “But you can’t tell anyone. If word of that got out, I would be way less popular with the girls, probably the guys too. People need someone to look up to.” He smiled after saying it. It was then Emily’s turn to laugh. Damien looked perplexed. “Now why is that funny?” That just made Emily laugh harder.

“You have a reputation for being the best shag in the school. You are most definitely called the Slytherin Sex God, but you’re a virgin.” Damien smiled a little. “I mean, just thinking about whoever started that rumor makes me laugh. They said you were great in bed and they have obviously never slept with you. Girls can be so weird.” Damien finally laughed for real, understanding what Emily found funny at least.

“Well, once I heard it I wasn’t about to discourage it or dispute it. It upped my reputation and I’ll never say no to that.” He smiled, to show that he wasn’t completely conceited. 

They continued with similar questions for about an hour. At last, they were so exhausted from laughing that they migrated to the couch. Looking at the bare Christmas tree Emily knew that they should start on the decorations. 

“We can do the lights and tinsel with magic, but the ornaments have to be done by hand, ok. The star especially, you have to put the star up yourself.”

“But I can’t reach that high; magic would be so much easier.”

“It’s traditional at Christmas time to see men on ladders, putting up stars. And look at that, the room has now provided you with a ladder, when the time comes you can use it to put up the star.” Damien grudgingly agreed and they began to string the lights with magic. Once that was finished they started to drape the tinsel with magic as well. Eventually they moved on to the ornaments. The ornaments provided by the room were lovely. After hanging as many ornaments as they felt necessary, Emily dragged the ladder over to the side of the tree. 

“Up you go.” She said, holding out the star for Damien to take up with him. Once that was done the ladder disappeared. Before they took the time to look at it properly Emily went and got their gifts for each other and placed them under the tree. They stepped back to admire their handiwork.  

It was then that the room did something all on its own. Later, both would deny ever wishing for the room to do what it did, but the room was not known to act out of its own accord. 

“Oh, my.” Emily said, looking up. 

“What’s wrong?” Damien asked, following her eyes upward. “What’s that?” 

Emily stared at him like he’d grown horns. “You mean to tell me that wizards don’t have mistletoe?” He shook his head.

“What’s it mean?”

“Tradition is that any two people caught under the mistletoe have to…have to…kiss.” She blushed. “It’s a silly tradition.” Damien smiled.

“Well, we had to follow the silly tradition of hanging the ornaments by hand and I had to climb up a ladder to put on a star because of a silly tradition, I don’t know why we would stop following traditions now.” Emily’s blush deepened. 

Damien leaned in slowly, giving Emily ample time to back away or say no. She didn’t. Their lips met, not for long, but it was a kiss all the same. Once they’d pulled away they both smiled. “Shall we sit, it’s not really time to sleep yet, so I think we could sit in front of the fire and talk, or read, or something.” Emily nodded and the returned to the couch. The room gave them a book, it just so happened that the book was one of the books on Hermione’s list of books to read, but Damien didn’t need to know that. They read together for a while, mostly Damien reading while Emily listened. In the end, Emily fell asleep leaning on Damien’s chest, listening to him read. 

AN: I hope you liked the chapter, sorry it’s been a while, I’m a horrible person and I apologize. I did have a tiny bit of Draco/Hermione in there, not much, but it’s not their time yet. :D Please review, they give me inspiration and almost every time I get a review I write a bit more of the next chapter. Thanks for the loyal support!

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