After five long hours of shopping, Hermione had finally finished her Christmas shopping. For Ron she got an autographed picture of some Chudley Cannons player she didn't know, for Harry she got a golden snitch that flew around and when Harry caught it, it would produce a scene of other famous seekers and their glorifying catches, a different one everytime he caught it. Her and Ginny had an agreement that since they were shopping together, they would each buy one thing for the other that they liked, wrap it anyways and act surprised for the sake of Christmas. For Pansy, she got a load of brand new make-up of every color and for Luna, a muggle fairy tale book. Hermione knew Luna would enjoy it, and maybe even give her father something new to write about in his magazine The Quibbler. For Blaise, she had a hard time deciding between a few things, but had finally made a decision on a magical bag that when opened would produce his favourite candy, whatever it happened to be that day. Draco however, was a bit harder. She was stumped, even with help from both Ginny and Narcissa, she couldn't find something that was good enough.
" Hermione, there's still another day. After we're done with lunch, and whatever else Cissa has planned for us, we'll go back to the manor and both you and I, and we can recruit Blaise, will sit down and put our heads together and come up with a perfect gift. You'll see." Ginny tried cheering Hermione up, but so far, nothing she did was working.
" I know Gin, but everytime I think of something, it just doesn't seem good enough. I mean, what do you give someone who already has everything?"
" I honestly have no idea, but let's forget about it for right now and.." Ginny began but stopped when Hermione had ran away from her side. Ginny ran to keep up and nearly smacked right into her back when Hermione came to a sudden halt infront of a store.
" Look Gin, it's perfect, absoluetly perfect. You think Draco would like it?" Hermione asked, her nose pressed right up against the glass and her finger tapping against it, pointing to the gift she was looking at.
" Mione, it's beautiful. If he doesn't like it, I will personally hurt him. You have to get it." Ginny exclaimed, her eyes as big as saucers. Along with Hermione, the girls entered the store.
" Did you girls get your shopping done?" Narcissa asked, sitting down at the table the three girls were just brought to. It was a fancy french restaurant with a line out the door and starting to wrap around the block. Hermione and Ginny were both floored when Narcissa just walked past everyone, up to the host and said her name. The host had immediatly began apologizing for having the ladies wait and ushered them to the best table in the restaurant.
" How did you manage to get past all those people waiting in line?" asked Ginny, still a little shell shocked.
" You two girls will come to find that both the Malfoy and Zabini name will take you places you've never imagined and fast to." Narcissa explained, placing her napkin in her lap while the waiter began pouring some name brand red wine into her glass. He offered the same to both girls who, out of politeness accepted.
" But isn't that sort of exploiting your name for personal gain?" asked Hermione, reading over the menu.
" Our families have worked very hard to get where we are in life, and while I agree that using our name for personal gain is wrong, using it to help get somewhere in life, providing you work very hard to get there, shouldn't be a bad thing."
" I guess that's not so bad. Merlin, the prices in here are so high. A salad is 10 galleons, who would pay that for a salad? I could go and pick my own for free." exclaimed Ginny, skimming the menu.
" Yes it is rather pricey here, but wait until you taste the food, makes it all worthwhile. Now forget about the prices and order what you will. I suggest the salmon, it's to die for." Narcissa said, folding her menu and taking a sip of her wine.
" I think I'm going to have the fettucine, with grilled chicken and a side of sauteed mushrooms in garlic and butter." Hermione ordered, and put her menu down.
" I'm going to try the grilled chicken breast with garlic mashed potatoes and garden vegetables." Ginny ordered and placed her menu on the table and took a sip of her wine.
" And I of course, am going to have the salmon." Narcissa placed her order and dropped her menu on the table. All three menus disappeared and in their places, the food appeared with cutlery and fresh glasses of wine.
" My, that was quick." laughed Ginny, who watched as the appearence of the food made Hermione jump in her seat and slightly choke on her mouthful of wine.
" Merlin, these mushrooms smell amazing, and the pasta is so soft. I could live in this plate of food and be happy to never leave." Hermione moaned, placing another forkful of food into her mouth.
" Somehow the prices don't seem to matter anymore." Narcissa laughed under her breath as she watched her girls enjoy their meal and began cutting into hers.
" Thank you again Cissa, that was quite possibly the greatest meal I have ever had in my entire life." Hermione rubber stomach in appreciation. Her stomach was full yet the quality of the food didn't leave her feeling tired afterwards.
" It was my pleasure ladies, I've been needing a day out with the girls for some time now. So are you ready for your surprise yet?"
" The lunch wasn't the surprise? There's more?" asked Ginny, nearly dropping her bags in shock.
" Of course there's more. The lunch was to stock you up with energy for what's next, I assure you, your going to need it." Narcissa laughed. She pointed over towards a clothing store, except this one didn't have any robes or regular clothes in it. Instead, lining the front window were beautiful manneqins dressed to the hilt in elegant dresses.
" Whoa, hold on we're going in there?" Hermione asked, stopping dead in her tracks.
" Of course, that's my surprise. Every year we have a New Year's ball and this year I'm going to introduce you two as my son's mates. Kind of like a debutante ball, you know, a coming-of-age thing, and my surprise is I'm taking you to the best tailor and beautician and we're going to get you the best dresses England has to offer and get you all set up for the ball. What? Is this something you don't want? We don't have to do this if your not comfortable with it. It can just be a regular ball like every other year and we can go somewhere else for dresses,"
" No no, Cissa, no." Hermione interrupted, " It's just that, this is way too much. First lunch then dresses and a make over. You didn't have to do all of this for us."
" I've always wanted a daughter to going shopping with, buy dresses and have makeovers, talk girly things with. I'm living my dream right now with you two, please allow me this one last indulgance, and on my word as a witch, I will never make you two do this again!"
" Okay, I guess we can't say no too that." Ginny laughed and looped her arm through Hermione's, following Narcissa through the front door, sighing, knowing it was going to be a long day.
" So boys, may I ask as to what you have planned for your mates for the upcoming Christmas?" Lucius asked, pouring himself and each boy a tumbler of brandy.
" Honestly Father, I have no clue what to do for her. I am, for the first time in my life, stumped for what to do for a woman to please her." Draco groaned, taking a sip and sitting down on the couch in his father's study.
" I have an idea as to what to do for Ginny, Godfather, but not quite sure how to pull it off. I think I may need Aunt Cissa for this one." moaned Blaise, sitting beside Draco on the couch.
Lucius chuckled lightly to himself and took a seat in his armchair, resting his cane beside him. " I know for a fact, Cissa will jump at the opportunity to help you with your mate Blaise, have no fear, she will go all out."
" That's what I'm afraid of!" mumbled Blaise into his cup, before taking a sip.
" But I may have an idea for you Draco, however you may not like it."
" Seeing as Christmas is only two days away, I'm all ears for any and all ideas."
" Well Hermione is a Muggle right? And if I'm not mistaken, every year for Christmas she spends it with the Weasleys? So how long has it been since she's had a Muggle Christmas? Decorating, tree, lights, stockings I believe they are called. Give her a Muggle Christmas, with help from magic of course." Lucius offered.
Draco jumped off the couch, his glass of brandy sloshing over the brim, landing on Blaise, who shot him a dirty look while using scourgify to clean himself. " That's gotta be the most amazingly, brilliant thing I have ever heard."
" Well, I am Lucius Malfoy, known for being brilliant, intelligent, and of course devilishly handsome." Lucius joked.
" Blaise, I'm going to need some help, would you mind? I have to get started, I want to be done for Christmas morning." Draco asked, running to the door, hollering for any house elf available to come and help.
" I suppose," Blaise sighed, " Thanks Godfather, now I'm going to end up doing all the work while Draco orders me around, you do know this right?" Blaise sighed once more, before following Draco out into the hall, waiting for his orders.
" My feet are screaming at me Hermione. I never knew feet could hurt this much." Ginny complained, taking a seat on Hermione's bed, her floor covered in a ton of bags and boxes from their shopping spree with Narcissa.
" I know she said just a makeover and get a dress for the ball, but 5 hours of standing on a pedestal, while some strange woman dressed and undressed me a million times is a little much."
" Well we just had a little cut and had some slight makeup added to our faces, I wouldn't really call it a makeover Mione. Are you happy with your dress though. I can't wait to wear mine."
" Yes, it's beautiful. Now let's get started wrapping these presents. I really need to take a nap."
" So what are you expecting Malfoy to get for you? I bet it's something like a house somewhere exotic, maybe a castle."
" Gin, I highly doubt it's castle, or even a home. But anything he gets me would be perfect. It's really the thought that counts anyways, not the gift."
Ginny snorted. " Tell that to Fred and George."
The girls spent the next hour wrapping their presents and Hermione helped Ginny carry hers back to her room. After making her way back, she collasped on her bed, barely having enough time to remove her shoes before her eyes closed on their own and soon she was in a blissful dream.
Dinner was uneventful. Ginny and Hermione sat quietly, eating very little, still spent from their day of shopping. Lucius ate while Narcissa filled him in on the shopping and lunch. Draco and Blaise ate as quickly as they could, before rushing off and disappearing for the rest of the night. Hermione was curious, but thought nothing of it, chalking it up to 'boys', and excused herself, heading to her private bathroom for a long, hot bubblebath. Her muscles were sore from carrying the heavy bags, and she needed to relax.
Upon exiting the bathroom, she heard the distinct 'pop' from a house elf in the hallway and muffled whispering. She knew it was wrong, but couldn't help it when she pressed her ear up against her door, listening in.
" Should Tinky get the misses?" the elf asked.
" No Tinky, we can't even be sure Dumbledore is correct. No need to upset everyone. I will floo to Hogwarts right now though. Not a word to anyone till I return, is that clear?" Lucius whispered. Hermione was straining to hear him, wondering what he was talking about.
" Yes sir, Tinky won't tell anyone. Will sir be needing anything more from Tinky?"
" No thank you Tinky, you've done enough. Your everything to this family, know that we appreciate everything you do for us. Thank you again old friend." Another loud 'pop' was heard and Hermione heard Lucius' footsteps as he headed down the hallway, probably to his study. She leaned her forehead against the door, silently wondering what had just been discussed. Was it bad? Good? Did it even have anything to do with her? Her mind was racing, but she was still to tired to even think, so she just made her way back to her bad and climbed under the covers. Loving the feeling of the silk sheets, she yawned and stretched her arms above her head as she let herself drift off again into sleep.
" And your sure it was them? They haven't been heard from since the fall of Voldemort!" Lucius stated, pacing infront of Dumbledore's desk, his cane smacking the palm of his other hand in anger.
" While I didn't see them first hand, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley have it on good account from their twin sons it was them."
" Where? When? How can they be so sure? Perhaps it was others who bare a resemblence, how are we to know Albus?"
Dumbledore felt for the pacing man infront of him. This man had fought not only for his life, but the life of his family. Had endured things no man should ever have to. Now here they were, possibly awaiting another war. " Yesterday. They were at their shop, and decided to leave early. They were taking the garbage out to the back alley, and happened to see them walking down the same alley. They followed them but stopped as they headed inside Borgin and Burke's. Instantly, the twins apparated home, to inform their father what they had just seen."
" NO! I refuse to believe it was them. I did not almost give up everything I hold dear to me, just to have it ripped away again. I WON'T LET THAT HAPPEN!" Lucius roared, picking up an ornament from Dumbledore's desk and throwing it across the room, watching as it shattered against the wall into tiny little pieces. Lucius growled loud as he plopped down into the chair. " What are we going to do Albus?"
" Everything we need to Lucius, to protect those kids."
Her stomach was rumbling as Narcissa was walking down the steps to the kitchens. She screamed bloody murder as something fluffy brushed up against her leg and jumped down the last remaining steps, beginning its slaunter out to the gardens. Her husband was immediatly at her side
" What in Merlin's name was that Lucius?" she asked, her hand placed above her heart, trying to stop it's pounding that threaetned it's way through her chest.
" I believe that would be Ms. Granger's cat."
" It would appear it suffers from the same hair problem that she does!"
Lucius was trying everything he had to hide his laughter as him and his mate made thier ways into the dining room, awating breakfast. He had arrived home after the meeting with Dumbledore completly wrecked. He had flooed straight to his study, flopped down in his armchair and contemplated drinking himself into an oblivion. However, had he decided to do that, the wrath that Narcissa would bring down upon him immediatly changed his mind. His wife was a charming woman, no one could argue that, but piss her off and it would be like hell had been unleashed on earth. Lucius shuddered from the thought.
" Good morning ladies, how was your night?" Lucius asked, pulling out his chair and looking at Ginny and Hermione.
" I was so exhausted from yesterday, I could have slept all day today." Ginny mumbled, taking a sip of her pumpkin juice.
" Oh nonsense, that wasn't half as much shopping as I do on a regular day." Narcissa gauffed, taking her rightful seat beside her mate.
Hermione's eyes shot open in surprise, " Merlin Cissa, how much shopping do you do?"
" Not nearly enough, if I had my way." Narcissa muttered. She glanced around the table, noticing two vacant seats. " Where are those boys of mine? I haven't seen them since yesterday, when they took off after dinner. Lucius?"
Lucius simply shrugged his shoulders. He knew exactly where the boys were, but didn't want to ruin the surprise.
Narcissa narrowed her eyes in suspicion. " If you know something, you had better tell me Lucius. You know I hate being kept in the dark."
Lucius simply leaned over and patted her hand with his, silently telling her that he would enlighten her later on in their own secret way. Narcissa smiled in relief, she really hated not knowing what was happening in her own house.
" So, do you ladies have everything in order for tonight?" Lucius asked, taking a bite from his toast and opening up The Daily Prophet.
Both of the girls heads snapped up. " Why? What happens tonight?" Hermione asked, not knowing what in the world they were talking about.
" Merlin, I hope it's not more shopping," Ginny muttered to herself.
" Well tonight is when we exchange presents. We have done so every year, since tomorrow is so busy with visting friends and family, we hardly have time to ourselves for our own private family time. So awhile back, we decided to make Christmas Eve our night." Narcissa explained, watching as relief spread over Ginny's face, and laughed quietly to herself.
" What goes on tonight?"
" Usually we exchange our presents first, after Narcissa hustles us into the family room, then we sit around the fireplace, and we relive old family Christmas' and the boys tell us of their year so far at Hogwarts. Not as elegant as some would like, but it's one of the few times where we're together as a family." Lucius said, taking a hold of Narcissa's hand and smiling lovingly at his wife.
" Actually, it's sounds beautiful. I don't get to spend much Christmas' with my family anymore, it would be nice to have a quiet Christmas. I can't wait." Hermione exclaimed, clapping her hands in excitement. She couldn't wait for tonight.
" So, is everything in order Blaise?" Draco asked.
" Since I did most of the work for your present to Hermione, I can confidently say yes it is." Blaise muttered, plopping down on his backside in exhaustion.
" My dear friend, don't think of it as work, think of it as putting your talents to good use. Think of how happy Hermione will be when she sees this. Think of how she'll repay me!" Draco laughed, coming to sit beside Blaise and grabbing a clump of grass in his hand.
" Glad I could help you get laid, mate."
" I'll forever be in your debt."
" I doubt it!"
" So are you ready for tonight?"
" I didn't do anything like you did, but I think Ginny will be happy with what I got her. Or I'm hoping she will be."
" Blaise, I don't know Ginny as well as I should, but I guarantee, anything you decided to get her, she will treasure forever."
" Merlin I hope so!"
" Well, we better get back inside and start getting ready for tonight. Mother will have our heads if we're late."
The boys stood up and began their walk to the Manor, each hoping tonight went as well as each hoped it would.
A clock somewhere in the Manor chimed, alerting the occupants it was 7pm. Ginny and Hermione, both ladened with presents, made their decent towards the family room. They stopped in front of the door and took a deep breath. Ginny turned towards Hermione, her face flushed.
" What's the matter Gin?"
" Nothing really, it just suddenly hit me that in the near future, this will be our Christmas' for the rest of our lives. That we're going to be part of this family. Had someone told me a year ago that I would be spending Christmas at Malfoy Manor, I would have laughed at them."
Hermione laughed, " trust me Gin, I know how your feeling. I'm going to be a Malfoy, that's enough to cause me to wonder about my sanity. Well, let's head inside, I really don't want to keep them waiting."
Ginny nudged the door open with her foot and pushed it open further allowing Hermione to walk in first, and followed behind her. Narcissa and Lucius were sitting in their armchairs, each holding a sniffter of brandy, while Draco and Blaise each occupied a seat on one of the couches, keeping a spot open beside them for the girls. They held a glass of champaigne in each hand, handing one over to the girls when they placed their gifts on the floor. Narcissa cleared her throat, and stood.
" Alright, who wants to go first?"
Lucius' eyes sparkled evily and Narcissa laughed. " Alright Lucius, you first. You were always such a child when it came to Christmas."
" He enjoys this more then we do I think," Blaise whispered in Ginny's ear, making her chuckle.
He went about opening his presents. Receiving a few from Draco, Blaise and Narcissa. He paused when he grabbed the last present, unmarked. Hermione and Ginny both came to stand in front of him and sat down on their knees, almost like kneeling infront of royality.
" What's this?" he asked, shaking it delicatly and looking at both girls at his feet.
" Open it and find out!" both girls exclaimed excitedly, looking at each other.
Lucius tore at the wrapping and gasping in shock as he glanced down at his present. Its was magnificant. It was a brand new top for his wand, that he kept hidden in his cane. It was a beautiful, silver carved snake, it's eyes a deep, forest green, matching the color of Slytherin. When he placed it on the handle of his wand, it's tail immediatly wrapped around it, while the head hissed quickly before baring it's fangs and biting sharply, taking a solid grip. It really was an amazing gift.
" Ladies, I don't know what to say, except it's beautiful and thank you!"
Hermione blushed and glanced down at her hands. " I know your wand was practically destroyed in the final battle, so we thought you might want something to remind you of what you had lost."
" It's perfect, thank you both again." He got up and grabbed both of the girls hands, placing a grateful kiss on each of them. Hermione went and sat back down beside Draco, who wrapped an arm around her shoulders and placed a kiss on top of her head.
" That was a wonderful thing you did for my father, love. You made him extremely happy!" Hermione smiled up at him and snuggled closer into him, watching as Blaise began digging into his pile of presents.
" Sweet Merlin's ghost. Hermione, this is brilliant!"
" Glad you like it Blaise!"
" Look, licorice wands. Head's up fellas, I'm gonna devour every last one of you!" Blaise spoke to his candy. He took a gigantic bite and opened his next present, Ginny's. He nearly choked on his candy, when he glanced inside the box. " Dragon hide beater's gloves? With my name embrodiered in each one? Ginny, this is just too much."
" Nonsense, I saw you looking at them in one of your thousands of Quidditch magazines you have in the common room. Nothing is too much when it comes to you Blaise. I hope you like them." Ginny replied, tilting her head to the side and smiling slightly.
" Like them? I love them. But I hope you still think the same thing when you see your present!"
" Okay Mother, you go next!" Draco said, bringing over her gifts and placing them at her feet. She reached for a silver wrapped box, bringing it to her ear and shaking it. Hearing no sound, she frowned slightly. She began to slowly unwrap it, her eyes narrowing in suspicion. Opening the end of the box, she placed a hand over her mouth, her eyes watering immediatly.
" Oh my!"
" Cissa, what's the matter, don't you like it?" Ginny asked, worried her and Hermione may have upset the lady of the house.
" No, no. Quite the opposite. I had thought this was lost in the fire. However did you get this?"
" Hermione has great standing when it comes to the elves of Hogwarts. They would do anything for her. And so they did."
" What is it mother?"
" It's my favourite memory!" Narcissa exclaimed as tears began rolling down her cheeks. She lifted the silver frame, engraved with different celtic designs all around it and handed it to Draco. She had this same photo in her dorm when she was at school, but a wrong curse sent, had everything burned, everything lost. It had hurt her deeply, but now she had it back. It was a moving picture of her standing by the Quidditch stands after Slytherin had won the House Cup. Suddenly, Lucius appeared, dressed in his chaser gear, picked her up by the waist and planted a kiss on her lips. He leaned over and whispered something in her ear to which she beamed at and whispered something back.
" That's the first time your father and I said we loved each other. Thank you girls so much." she opened her arms and welcomed the hugs from both girls together, tears freely rolling down her cheeks and landing in the tops of Hermione's and Ginny heads.
" Okay, enough of this sentimental nonsense, I wanna open my presents next." Draco jumped from where he was sitting and began digging into his pile of presents. He had finished opening Blaise's, when the last one sitting there was from Ginny. He picked it up and unwrapped it, finding inside was Dragon hide seeker boots, with Slytherin green and silver lining the outside, while soft fur lined the inside.
" Ginny, this is amazing. How did you know I wanted these?"
" I know you'll find this hard to believe Malfoy, but your not hard to read at all. I watched you for months in the common room with Blaise reading over the same magazines, and watched how excited you got when you turned to the page with the boots."
" Thanks Weasley, they are awesome. I'm going to wear them during our game against Gryffindor after the break. Prepare to be destroyed."
" Bring it on Malfoy, I'll take great pleasure watching Harry holding the snitch in triumph while you wear your new boots in defeat."
Draco laughed, " we'll see who's right Weasley. Watch your back!"
" Watch your's Malfoy!" Ginny giggled, and sat back, waiting to see Hermione give him his gift.
Draco looked around but couldn't see anything else for him,so he got back up and began making his way to the couch when Hermione stopped him.
" Umm Draco, I wanted to give you this personally. I hope you like it." she held out her hand and inside her palm sat a small, green box. He picked it up and sat down on the couch. Hermione joined him, sitting as far away as possible and turned to face him, watching closely as he unwrapped it.
Draco held his breath as he opened the top of the box and removed the gift. In his hand he held a silver ring. On the outside, was a picture of a dragon, which moved and flew around the band, breathing fire and smoke, it's eyes shining bright green. The smoke began to form letters, which spelled out 'D+H'
" Look on the inside!" Hermione quietly said.
Turning the ring on it's side, he looked closely, and engraved on the inside of the ring it read, 'Always and Forever'.
" Now blow on the ring" Hermione again said quietly, barely making a sound.
Draco lightly blew on the ring and inside his head he heard Hermione's voice whisper, " I Love You!"
" Just incase I don't say it enough, you'll always hear it!" she replied, blushing furiously, and worrying her bottom lip between her teeth.
" I don't have the words to express to you how much I love this gift. I'm speechless!"
" Bout time someone shut that mouth," Blaise laughed, raising his glass in a toast to Hermione. Draco shot him an angry look, and he lowered his glass, mouthing an apology to Draco.
" Hermione, I didn't think I could ever love you more, but apparently I was wrong." Draco leaned forward and wrapped his arms around his waist, placing kisses all over her face, coming to stop and hover over her lips, " I love you Hermione."
Her breath hitched and caught in her throat, " I love you too Draco!" She let out the breath and lightly placed a kiss on his lips, her face growing hot from showing such intimacy in front of his parents.
" Okay Ginny, come on, I'm dying to see what you got!" Blaise begged, coming to sit beside her on the floor in front of her presents.
" I think your more excited then she is Blaise!" Narcissa laughed, taking a sip of her brandy and looked back down at her photo for the hundredth time.
Ginny unwrapped the present from Hermione, which she already knew she got, a beautiful gold chain from Draco, a gorgeous bracelet from Blaise which held plently of charms and she suddenly knew why he said what he had said about his gift. But the biggest shock came when she opened up the gift from Draco's parents.
" Bloody hell, uh I mean, Merlin!"
" No, I think bloody hell pretty much covered it!" Hermione laughed as she looked down at Ginny's brand new Lightning Bolt broomstick. It was the fastest, latest broom, and it wasn't even out on the market yet. It was due out next year! Harry was going to have a cow when he saw this at next practice.
" How in the world did you guys get this? It's not due out till next year?" Ginny asked, running her hands along the fine mahogany wood.
" Lucius has his ways, and when we heard you played on the Quidditch team as chaser, we had to get it for you. We were going to give one each to the boys, but decided it would suit a chaser better. You need to be fast to score those points for Gryffindor" Narcissa explained, raising the corners of her mouth up in a sneaky grin that was only for the girls.
" Oi!" both Blaise and Draco shouted. " Mother you were in Slytherin, and you give my best rival the fastest broom ever as a gift to beat me with for House Cup? Your going against your house, son and godson!"
" Oh hush Draco, I'm doing no such thing. Besides, I've been out of Hogwarts for years now, houses mean little to me anymore. If I just so happen to give my future Daughter in law a gift that might help her win a Quidditch game against my son, then so be it. Don't blame me if your not better then a simple broom dear."
" Hmmph," Draco snorted and leaned back against the couch, his arms crossed over his chest.
" This is the best gift I have ever received, thank you Lucius and Cissa. And excuse my language, I seem to have inherited my brother's mouth!"
" Quite alright dear, now Hermione, your last. Open your gifts!"
Hermione sighed and sat down on the floor around her pile of presents. She opened her gift from Ginny, faking surprise and giving her a sly smirk and a sneaky wink! She opened her gift from Narcissa, receiving a pair of diamond drop, Malfoy heirloom earrings. She didn't know what to say, only hugged Narcissa tightly and whispered that they were perfect for her dress for New Years and a quiet thank you. Narcissa only squeezed her reply back and Hermione continued on her presents. Lucius had gotten her a matching diamond drop necklace, and she snickered to herself, thinking that Narcissa had gotten it for him while getting the presents to match the earrings. Hermione looked over at Lucius and rasied a single eyebrow in question. Lucius only raised one back in answer and went to take a sip of his brandy. Blaise had handed his over and she ripped into it. He had gotten her a brand new edition of Hogwarts, A History, only it was signed by the author on the inside page.
" I saw your copy was getting old and worn out, seeing as you read it twice a night!" was his reply. She smiled lovingly at him and gave him a slight kiss on the cheek.
" Hermione, I need you to come with me. I have your present elsewhere," Draco replied, reaching for her hand and helping her to stand.
" Where are we going?"
" Out to the gardens."
Everyone watched as they walked out, Lucius making sure he caught his son's eye. He gave him the look that said either 'I'm proud of you' or it was, 'Mess this up and your dead', but Draco couldn't decipher it. Instead he nodded his head, and walked with Hermione out of the room.
" Will I be needing my jacket?"
" I suppose it wouldn't hurt, but I highly doubt you'll need it."
" Umm, okay."
Draco helped with her jacket, and placing his hand on the small of her back, began leading her out to the gardens. He stopped short of the door and spun her around to face him.
" I need you to close your eyes and not look until I tell you okay?"
" Why would you need me to do that?"
" Just humor me okay?"
Hermione sighed and not only closed her eyes, but placed her hands over top of them as well. " Happy now?"
Draco waved his hand in front of her eyes, and when he was satisfied she couldn't see he replied, " immensly so, Love."
Hermione waited on bated breath. She had no idea what he had in store for her, let alone what her present was. But as she heard Draco open both doors, felt him grab her wrist and lead her outdoors, her heart began pounding even harder.
" Okay Hermione.....open them!"
Hermione slowly removed her hands, and peeked out from underneath her eyelids. The sight before her, had her eyes shooting open. " Oh Merlin!" she exclaimed, her hands coming to her face.
Every single tree in the garden had been decorated with Muggle christmas lights, every one a beautiful blue, green, red, yellow, and orange! He even had them decorated with Muggle ornaments. Nothing moved except her and Draco in this scene. He had used magic, of course, to make it snow. Now it was falling in light flakes, covering the ground in a dazzling white. He even went through the trouble of building a Muggle snowman, unlike the magic one Dumbledore makes every year on the Hogwarts grounds that does nothing but terrify the students and pelt the unsuspecting ones with snowballs. Everytime Hermione would decide to take a walk down by the lake, or curl up under her favourite tree with a heating charm and her favourite book, that damn snowman would bombard her with snowballs! Hermione's nose crinkled at the thought of that thing. She was going to get that hell minion, if it was the last thing she did. However, this one did not move, even had a real carrot of a nose, coal pieces for eyes and buttons and sticks for arms. Draco had even dressed him in a top hat and scarf.
" Draco, a Muggle christmas! This is all so wonderful. How did you do it?"
" Well I read a million Muggle Christmas books, listened to a few Muggle songs, and even Blaise helped. He wanted to know what a Muggle Christmas was all about too."
Hermione's eyes began watering, and slowly tears began running down her cheeks. Draco got worried.
" What, don't you like my gift?"
" No Draco, it's not that. I love my gift, it's wonderful. It's just that, I haven't had a Muggle Christmas in years. I always go to the burrow for Christmas or Harry's place and everything there is magic and has to do with witches and wizards. It makes me miss my Christmases even more. But now, thanks to you, I have my Christmas back, and it's never looked so beautiful."
" I will make sure you have your Muggle Christmas every year. However, I was thinking about asking Dumbledore, when we graduate this year, if I could have that adorable snowman he has on the grounds every year. Something to remember him by."
Hermione's eyes flashed in anger and she spun around on Draco so fast, he nearly fell over in surprise. Her voice was low and even, " don't you dare!"
" Okay, geez. What do you have against a harmless snowman anyway?"
" You have no idea!"
" Alright, well let's continue. I have another surprise, however it did have a little magic to make it work, but I'm sure you won't mind in the least." Draco brought two fingers to his mouth and whistled. Hermione's eyes widen in surprise when she saw what came next.
In front of her was a huge, horse drawn carriage, complete with horse driver on top. The horse was bigger then any horse she had ever seen. It was a brilliant light brown, with spots of white covering its body. Its mane and tail a bushy yellow color, swishing restlessly. The driver on top was dressed in a full length black suit, who jumped down, removed his hat and bowed before them. Draco grabbed Hermione's hand and helped her into the carriage when the driver opened the door for them.
" Where are we going to go?" Hermione asked, nestling beside Draco.
He wrapped an arm around her and answered, " Just around the gardens, The magic will only last an hour, then it will turn into the little figurine I saw in a store window. A Muggle store mind you!"
" My brave hero, you fought the Muggle's during Christmas time, and lived to tell the tale!" Hermione giggled
" They are vicious. I went to look at a sweater, and not only did an old woman grab it out of my hands but she bit me as well. Bit me! Can you believe it? Bloody savages!"
" How did Blaise enjoy the Muggles?"
" He pretty much held on to my arm for dear life the entire time! I tell you Hermione, if I wasn't able to get this, I was sure ready to blast them all into oblivion."
He held out his hand, and inside was a beautiful small, red, velvet box. He placed it into her plam and gestured for her to open it. She narrowed her eyes at him in suspicion and began to removed the ribbon. She nearly dropped the gift when she lifted the lid. Inside was a beautiful, princess cut, white platinum, diamond ring.
" No love, it's not a wedding ring or engagement ring. This is the Malfoy ring, made for the women of the house. I saw what my parent's had gotten you and thought who better to wear the ring, then the next Lady Malfoy?"
" Draco, it's beautiful, much to beautiful to be worn at Hogwarts. But I'm going to wear the bloody hell out of this at the New Year's ball your parents are throwing."
Draco laughed, and rested his head on top of Hermione's. This had been a beautiful day, and everything had gone perfectly. Only he felt something...off. He knew it wasn't him, he looked down at Hermione, who had worried her bottom lip into her mouth.
" What's wrong love?"
" Um, nothing Draco."
" Being a Veela does come in handy sometimes. You can't lie to me Hermione, I can feel something is wrong, now tell me what it is!"
" It's just, I was thinking about what happened the other day in the library."
Draco moaned in frustration and shook his head. " Hermione, we discussed this. I don't care about sex, I care about you."
Hermione shook her head. " No, no. Not about that. I've just been doing alot of thinking and I have come to a decision."
" About?" asked Draco, not really following her.
" While I'm not ready to have sex yet, I am fully ready for you to mark me!"
Draco eyes widened in shock, as he waved his hand, instantly making the horse, driver and carriage disappear. He and Hermione now both stood in the middle of Malfoy gardens somewhere, Hermione wasn't quite sure where. " You'll have to forgive me love, I think I had some snow or something in my ear, and I'm afraid I misheard you. Did you say you are willing to be marked by me?"
Hermione laughed out loud, " yes Draco, that's exactly what I said."
If it was possible, his eyes bulged more, " here?" he squeaked out.
" While it's not the most romantic setting, but if you wish it to be..." she carried off.
" Hermione, if I had my way, I'd take you everywhere in every which way. But to put your mind at ease, we are at least twenty minutes from the house." He came up in front of her. " Are you sure you won't get cold?"
" A simple heating charm will help."
" So your sure? You do know what being marked entails right?"
" Yes Draco, it means that from that moment on, I will forever be bonded to you, heart, body and soul. It means that for as long as I live, no other will ever posses my heart, and no other man will ever be allowed to touch me, for I am yours and you mine. I'm ready to do it Draco. You've patiently waited and allowed me my time to think it over and decide on my own, even giving my chance to walk away before it started. And because of that, I've come to love you, and I want nothing more then to be yours for the rest of my life, if you'll have me, of course."
The only answer that came from Draco, was a deep, animalistic growl, as he wrapped his arms around Hermione and roughly pressed his lips against hers. Trying to remember not to hurt her, he released some of the pressure, dragging his tongue along her bottom lip before nibbling on it, asking for entrance. Hermione sighed as she felt his tongue softly dip into hers, curling around her tongue, massaging ever so slightly. She grabbed the bottom of his jacket and pulled, telling him to follow her to the ground where they could lie down.
The snow was magically gone as their bodies hit the ground, which Hermione was thankful for. It was like Draco had been expecting this to happen, ' the sneaky, little bastard,' Hermione thought with a chuckle. She felt his hands undoing the button of her jeans and pulling the zipper down. She started shaking, ever so slightly, but wasn't sure if it was from the cold or their current situation. Hermione lifted her hips a little as Draco wedged her jeans off her hips, leaving them to rest at her knees. He began sliding his hand across her stomach and up and down both legs, looking for the perfect spot to mark her on. As his hand lightly passed over her right hip joint, right where it connected to her thigh, he suddered. His body reacted instantly, his eyes blackening over and his fangs springing to view. Hermione began rethinking her decision as soon as she saw those fangs.
He looked up at her, panting heavily now, his every being needing to mark her right now. " Y-y-yes?"
" I love you."
" I love you too Hermione, this may hurt a little."
He bowed his head, using his hand once more to find that spot again. When his body shuddered, he lightly grazed it with his tongue, trying to relax Hermione. His entire body was racked with nervousness and fear that was radiating off his mate. Once he felt her relax a little bit, he opened his mouth wide and sunk his teeth deep within her hip. He felt his body draining energy as he flowed his Veela vemon into her. Everything around him was becoming blurry, and he was vaguely aware of Hermione screaming when suddenly he was pushed off of her by an invisable force, his fangs disappearing immediatly. He shook his head, regaining vision once more and rushed to Hermione's side. He looked down and saw the angry marks from his canines and bent down and licked it once more, watching in fascination as they closed up, leaving behind a faint scar to anyone who saw it, however, to any Veela who happened to see it, it was his initials that would be clear as day to another Veela, should they try and mate with her, alerting them she was taken. He smiled a faint smile as he watched his initials being forever imprinted on her skin.
" Bloody hell! ' May hurt a little'? Rubbish, that fucking hurt like hell! I feel like my entire body is on fire, and I'm running a two hundred degree fever." Hermione moaned as she pulled her jeans and did them up.
" Do you want to go back to the house?"
" Yes, I think I need a freezing cold shower to try to get this fever down."
" Your not the only one," Draco mumbled under his breath.
Hermione, now having Veela vemon in her veins, heard that and merely chuckled to herself as they began their walk back to the house. Before coming to a stop by the back door, that Draco ran ahead to open for her to enter through, Hermione stopped and grabbed his collar, bringing him in for a heart stopping kiss.
" Happy Christmas Draco."
" Happy Christmas Granger!"
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