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Draco Malfoy splashed cold water on his face and raised his eyes to the mirror above the sink. The image staring back at him was a grim one.
The last few years had not been kind to him. The reflection he saw was tired, drawn, and pale (even for him).
Under the Mistletoe
Draco Malfoy, in disguise as Steven Carmichael, scanned the room with a frown on his face. He didn’t see her.
He felt a small sense of panic at the thought that his careful preparation these past few months had been for nothing. If Granger didn’t show up tonight, he was out of luck and almost out of time.
A Surprising Date
Draco Malfoy surveyed his living area one last time, making sure everything was in order.
No Polyjuice Potion tonight. He glanced at his watch and saw it was ten to seven. Now or never, he thought grimly.
A Message for Harry
When they landed, Draco removed the stunning spell and pushed her away from him so roughly, Hermione stumbled backward. She steadied herself and looked around.
Where am I? she wondered.
Much like he had the previous evening, Draco Malfoy stood above his bathroom sink and splashed cold water on his face. This time, the action did nothing to calm his nerves.
Had it really only been last night that he and Granger had laughed and danced together at the Ministry Christmas party? It felt like another lifetime.
Hermione Granger was walking through a dark forest with Harry and Ron. She could feel a warm summer breeze blowing around her and she knew they would have to make camp soon, as twilight was fast approaching.
Suddenly she heard a popping sound behind her and voices. Snatchers.
Hermione woke up the next morning feeling even more exhausted than when she had fallen asleep. She hadn't woken to an alarm, which made her worry that she had overslept and was late for work. She reached for her wand on her bedside table, but it wasn't there.
She shot up in bed when she realized she wasn't in her room.
No Better Than Me
Draco sat at his desk in the library poring over several books on Dark Magic, trying to find more information about Horcruxes.
He rubbed his weary eyes, because, so far, he hadn't found much that was helpful. He was also so tired he was having a hard time concentrating.
Hermione blinked for a few moments as Draco's words sunk in. Was he right? Was she really prejudiced against him?
Maybe. But she reminded herself that she had every reason to be. His actions spoke for themselves, didn't they? He had been nothing but horrible to her their entire lives. Why would she not be prejudiced against him?
The Things We Have in Common
Hermione's eyelids fluttered open and she sat up slowly, looking around the room. For a moment, she thought she was in the library at Hogwarts but then she remembered where she really was.
The library of Malfoy Manor enchanted to be part of Draco Malfoy's current home.
Hermione awoke the next morning to the first rays of sunlight streaming in from a crack in the rich blue curtains. She turned over and checked the time. 6:30 a.m.
Even though she hadn't taken the Dream-Blocking Draught, she had slept well. She was especially relieved that she hadn't had any nightmares because, if she had, Draco would have known she hadn't taken the draught and may have become suspicious.
Dream a Little Dream of Me
After lunch, Hermione made her way into the library and found Draco already there, seated at the same desk he had been at yesterday. He glanced up briefly when she walked in but didn't greet her.
She made her way over to the shelves, looking for a book that might help her with the nagging question in her brain.
Hermione ran her fingers along the spines of the books in front of her as she perused the library shelves. She knew she had seen the book she needed here a few weeks ago.
She pursed her lips, mentally repeating the title she was searching for. On her left hand, a large emerald ring sparkled in the sunlight that was shining in from the large picture window across the room.
Draco spent longer than usual in the shower that evening, turning over everything that had transpired between Hermione and himself that day. Talking to her was beginning to feel so easy and natural. Her kind nature and fascinating mind made him want to really know her and, in turn, let her know him.
He had shared so much with her. Parts of himself that he had never shared with anyone. He wondered now if that had been wise.
As Hermione dried her hair that morning, she was once again lost in thought. She glanced at the towel where she had hidden the Dream-Blocking Draught last night and sighed. She had since placed it with the other in her dresser drawer.
She only needed one more draught and she would be able to put her plan in action. In one more day, she might be able to escape. But for some reason, the thought didn't make her as happy as it originally had.
Walking in a Winter Wonderland
When Hermione awoke that morning, she was greeted by a pain in her heart unlike one she had ever experienced. Waking up and remembering the events of the previous day made her heart hurt afresh.
The clock downstairs struck eight and she glumly remembered it was Christmas.
Happy Christmas, she thought morosely to herself.
A Christmas Carol
Draco could not for the life of him understand why anyone would voluntarily, every year, do everything that he had just done for one day of celebration.
However, as he stood back and surveyed his work, he was quite pleased.
Using Draco's wand, Hermione broke through the barrier spells and plunged into the dark forest.
A light appeared at the end of her wand to guide her way. Now that she had gotten past the barrier, she tried to Disapparate but wasn't able to.
"Harry!" Hermione leaped from the couch and ran towards a stunned Harry Potter, wrapping him in an emotional hug. "I'm so glad you're here!"
At that moment, Ron Weasley entered the room as well with his wand drawn.
"Ronald!" She let go of Harry to attack Ron with a hug now.
12 Grimmauld Place
The next few days were awkward, to say the least. Shortly after Draco had returned Harry's handshake, Hermione had taken down the Apparation wards and they had left Draco's house, arriving at 12 Grimmauld Place, which Draco soon learned was the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix.
Harry's acceptance of Draco's request had come with some stipulations. First, that Draco would not be allowed to have a wand and, second, that he would remain under tight surveillance at 12 Grimmauld Place.
The Final Battle
When the group arrived at Hogwarts, everyone from the Order spread out, making themselves useful for the imminent war. Harry turned to his three friends.
"Hermione, you and Ron go to the Chamber of Secrets and destroy the cup. Malfoy and I will work on finding and killing Nagini."
"You got it, mate." Ron grabbed Hermione's arm and made his way to go.
Draco was once again back at his wooded home where he and Hermione had spent Christmas.
He had almost completely cleaned the place out, as his luggage lay packed in one corner with boxes of things he would put into storage next to them.
Harry had been true to his word. Draco had met with several Ministry and Wizengamot officials who reviewed his case and pardoned him from spending any time in Azkaban. Besides some restrictions on the type of magic he could perform, Draco Malfoy was a free man.
Hermione ran her fingers along the spines of the books in front of her as she perused the bookshelves. She never grew tired of spending time in this library. Even though it had been part of her home for a while now, she still found new treasures hidden in the stacks.
She pursed her lips, searching for a specific book among the thousands. On her left hand, a large emerald ring sparkled in the sunlight that was coming in from the large picture window across the room.
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