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“Oh no, not another one!” Hermione groaned, as a large white box was dropped on the table by a pair of owls who had been struggling to carry it.

“Well I think you should open it!” Ginny said, “Who knows, this might be one that you like!”

In the weeks since the announcement of the celebration, Hermione had received hundreds of letters and packages from all over. Included had been dresses from numerous Wizarding shops, all of whom hoped Hermione would make them famous by wearing one of their dress robes.

“Ugh, well then you be my Press Secretary and open it then.” Hermione grumbled.

Ginny tore open the box eagerly. “Yikes!” She exclaimed, pulling a gigantic purple and lime green frock from the swathes of tissue paper inside. She packed the frock back into it’s box and sent the owls back to their shop with it, and the group wandered out into the courtyard, as it was a Saturday.

“How am I meant to find a dress for this fiasco if there’s no Hogsmede weekend between now ant the celebration.” Hermione groaned. “I’ll never find something in the week before the celebration.”

“Maybe McGonagall would give you some kind of special dispensation?” Neville pointed out.

“I’m not going to start asking for favours!” Hermione cried.

“Well, you could wear your Yule Ball dress.” Ginny pointed out.

“No, it doesn’t fit any more.” Hermione groaned. “I’m taller than I was in fourth year, and I lost too much weight last year.”

“Well, I’m sure Luna could sort you out.” Neville suggested. “She makes most of her own things, doesn’t she?”

“I’m not sure that’s quite the statement Hermione wants to make Neville.” Ginny said with a giggle.

“I guess I’ll just have to go out on the first day of the Christmas Holidays and hope I get lucky.” Hermione said with a sigh.

“I’ll go with you, it’ll be fine.” Ginny said. “And if you can’t find anything good, I’ll just make Ron wear his old lacy dress robes and no one will notice!”

Hermione laughed at the memory of Ron in his old musty dress robes.

“What colour even goes with green anyway?” Hermione asked.

“Why green?” Neville asked.

“Because that’s the colour of the riband I’m meant to wear.” Hermione explained. The only interesting thing she’d received was a large stack of parchment detailing the protocol of an Order of Merlin recipient. “As ladies don’t generally have a lapel to pin the medal ribbon to, they are given a shoulder sash to wear it on. Apparently the First Class medal has a green ribbon.”

“Well that does make it more difficult.” Ginny said.

Hermione nodded.

“Just ask the Slytherins” Luna said, joining them.

“I think I’ll figure it out on my own.” Hermione laughed. “It’s freezing out here!”

“You said you’d help me in the greenhouses!” Neville challenged.

“Well then lets get there before we lose all our toes!” Ginny exclaimed, heading down the hill. “Maybe the greenhouses can enlighten us on what colour goes best with green.”

Sitting behind one of the courtyard pillars, Draco overheard their conversation. She’s trying to find a dress that doesn’t show her scar. He thought. He’d watched her open and discard dozens of dresses over the past week, and all of them had one feature in common: they were strapless, or had thin straps… none had sleeves. He knew she was self conscious about the scar carved into her arm.

He jumped up, and headed quickly back to his dorm to write a letter.

Just at the end of breakfast, before everyone was meant to leave on the train for the Holiday break, several owls dove into the hall and dropped a large black box in front of Hermione.

“I thought all those designers had given up!” Ginny said, pushing the box towards Hermione.

Hermione searched the box for a card, but there was none. “I don’t know who sent this.”

“Well, open it, you never know.” Ginny joked. “Twenty second time could be the charm.”

Hermione rolled her eyes, and opened the black box. Inside, hidden amongst black tissue, was a black dress.

“Well, at least this wouldn’t clash with the medal.” Hermione joked.

Pulling the dress out of the tissue, she gasped. “Ginny look!”

It was a plain black ball gown, of raw silk with a very full skirt, with a thick crinoline petticoat. The top of the dress seemed to be draped in sheer lace, that gathered over the left shoulder and extended down the arm in a single long sleeve, leaving the right shoulder bare.

“Oh Merlin!” Ginny said, rushing around the table to come inspect the dress. “Who sent it?”

“I don’t know, there’s no cart, no label, nothing.” Hermione said, quizzically, digging through the layers of tissue looking for a hint. “Oh merlin!”

“What?” Ginny asked, taking the dress from Hermione and swishing it around.

“There’s shoes too.” Hermione said, lifting a pair of sky high heels out of the box. They were plain black sandals, with silk bows on the back of the heel, a tiny strap around the ankle, and bright red soles.

“What kind of shoes are those?!” Ginny gasped.

“I… I think they’re Louboutin’s.” Hermione exclaimed. “They’re a muggle shoe, they’re quite famous, and expensive!”

“Well they’d have to be famous if you know the brand.” Ginny teased, still drooling over the delicate shoes. “Who in the world would send you the perfect dress, and muggle shoes, but no card?”

“I have no idea.” Hermione admitted honestly.

“Well, I’m willing to bet if this doesn’t fit you, mum can fix it up.” Ginny said. “Quick, put it back in it’s parcel so it doesn’t get ruined, and lets get to the train!”

Hermione carefully wrapped the dress and shoes back up in the tissue, and placed them into the black box. She hurried along with the throngs of students heading for the carriages. As she left the hall, she crashed directly into Draco, dropping the box.

“Sorry.” he said quietly, picking up the box and handing it to her.

“It’s no problem.” Hermione said, trying to meet Draco’s eye.

“Did one of those silly designers finally get lucky?” Draco asked, pointing at the box.

“Yes, actually.” Hermione said, with a smile. “But I don’t know who sent it, as there was no card.”

“Well, I’m sure it’ll look lovely.” Draco replied, moving to leave.

“Are you staying here for Christmas?” Hermione called, as he headed up the stairs.

“By court order.” Draco called back.

Hermione nodded, and said a bit lamely, “Well, have a good Christmas!”

Draco smirked at her, and continued up the stairs.

Hermione shook her head to clear it, and hurried to catch up with Ginny.

Christmas at the burrow was a rather spectacular event. All the Weasley’s, plus Harry and Hermione filled the kitchen to the brim. They ate a marvelous feast, and exchanged gifts, and generally enjoyed a holiday without having to constantly look over their shoulders.

Bill and Fleur announced that they were expecting a baby in the spring, and Mrs. Weasley had burst into tears of joy.

Even George got in a bit on the merriment, although he was much altered without Fred by his side.

As the sun sunk low in the sky Harry, Ginny, Hermione, and Ron were sitting on the floor next to the crackling fire playing exploding snap, when a strange owl tapped on the window.

“Who could that be from, do you suppose?” Ron asked, opening the window and letting the owl in with a burst of cold air.

“Dunno,” Harry said, freeing a small parcel from it’s leg. “But it’s for Hermione.”

“For me?” Hermione asked, confused. She had already opened gifts from all the Weasley’s, Harry, and her parents.

Taking the parcel from Harry, she removed the simple brown paper, revealing a black velvet box. There was a small card attached with a black ribbon. It had a holly berry on the front, and inside written in beautiful script, “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

Hermione sucked in her breath, she recognized the quote from the Diary of a Young Girl. She turned the card over looking for a name, but there was nothing.

“No name.” Hermione said.

“Really?” Ginny asked, taking the card from Hermione.

Hermione opened the box and found, nestled in raw black silk, was a brooch. It was a small circle with alternating black and crystal stones, set in silver, with a tiny dragon in the center. “Oh merlin!”

“That’s gorgeous Hermione!” Ginny gasped. “That looks like Goblin silver.”

“It does?” Hermione asked, still surprised at the gift.

“Yes, it doesn’t look like regular silver.” Ginny pointed out. “Goblin silver isn’t usually used in jewelry though.”

“What do you have there Hermione?” Mr. Weasley asked, coming into the room.

“Hermione just got a Christmas present, with no tag.” Ron explained.

“Oh, that looks like a sash brooch.” Mr. Weasley said, “The round shape gives it away. It’s meant to hold a tartan sash.”

“‘Mione, you could use it for your Order of Merlin sash.” Harry pointed out.

“I wonder if it came from the same person who sent you the dress?” Ginny asked.

“Maybe, they didn’t say who they were either.” Hermione agreed, closing the box and placing it with her other gifts. “Do you think Gringotts would know where it came from, if it’s Goblin Silver?”

“They might.” Mr. Weasley nodded. “But I doubt they’d divulge the information. You might try taking it to the jeweler in Diagon Ally, they can at least tell you what it’s made of.”

“Well, we need to pick up the boys robes anyway.” Hermione said, “I guess I’ll bring it with me and we can find out.”

The next day, all the Weasley’s headed to Diagon Ally, by way of George’s shop. After picking up Dress Robes for Harry and Ron, who was thrilled to have new ones, they made their way to the jeweler.

As they entered, the tinkle of bells alerted the owner to their presence. “Merlin, what can I do for the Golden Trio?” The old wizard asked, in a wheezing voice.

“I was wondering, if you could tell me anything about this?” Hermione said, placing the box on the table in the center of the room.

“Well, lets have a look,” He said, bringing out a spectacle and pushing it in front of his eye. He opened the box, and removed the brooch. “Interesting.” He concluded, after inspecting it closely.

“What’s interesting?” Hermione pressed.

“Well, it seems to be a newly made piece, fashioned from old things.” The Jeweler explained. “The dragon looks to have come from a pendant, it’s quite old. Perhaps 200 years. The Goblin silver has been refashioned from another piece, likely a sword as it is discolored in several places. Quite unusual for jewelry. The diamonds are newly cut.”

“Diamonds?” Hermione gasped.

“Yes, nearly perfect black and colorless diamonds, all the way around.” The jeweler said. “Where did this come from?”

“It was a gift,” Hermione said, and then admitted. “I don’t actually know who gave it to me, I was hoping you might be able to help me with that.”

“Well, I don’t recognize it.” He replied, placing it back in it’s box. “None of the stones were sold by me, and neither was the dragon. I don’t work with Goblin silver, because it’s usually not desired in jewelry. Although I must say, this is quite a unique piece. If you were willing to part with it, I would give you a good price. How does 5000 galleons sound?”

“5000 galleons for a Dragon pin?” Ron exclaimed.

“Well, it’s quite unique. And the stones alone are worth nearly 4000 galleons.” The Jeweler said with a shrug.

“No, thank you.” Hermione said, collecting the box. “It was a gift, I don’t think I could part with it.”

“I understand.” The Jeweler said with a smile. “Should you ever change your mind, you know where to find me.”

“Thank you for your help!” Hermione said with a smile.

As the left the shop, Hermione whispered to Ginny, “I think I know who sent me the brooch.”

Authors Note:

The quote in this chapter is from The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

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