It was two days before Christmas when Hermione Granger arrived home, ready to begin her Christmas break from work. She now had ten whole days away from the Ministry. Ten days she could spend with her husband and her friends. Smiling happily at the holidays that stretched ahead of her, Hermione slipped off her shoes in the hallway, dropped her bag to the floor and hung up her jacket. As she did so, she spotted an ivory envelope on the floor beside the door, which had clearly been posted through the letterbox earlier that day, and when she picked it up she found her name written over the front in elegant writing.
Hermione knew exactly what was inside the envelope before she opened it. For the last couple of weeks she'd been receiving small mystery presents from her 'Secret Santa', and she knew this was the final gift. Of course she knew the 'Secret Santa' was her husband as he did the same thing every year, in remembrance of how they first got together back in Hogwarts.
Opening the envelope, Hermione was unsurprised to find an invitation to dinner. However, she was surprised to find that the invitation was for a meal at The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. Over the years the invite had been for dinner in numerous fancy restaurants all over the world, but this particular invite harked back to the first invite she'd received. Hermione was momentarily confused as to why her husband would want them to go back to Hogsmeade, but then it hit her that it had been ten years since their very first date. It had been ten years since her husband had first played Secret Santa, and he clearly wanted them to go back to where it all began.
"Let's go back in time then," Hermione whispered to herself.
Taking the invitation she headed off to her bedroom to get ready, her mind turning back ten years to where it all began. Back in school during her seventh year, when she found herself with a secret admirer and no idea who it was.
Ho! Ho! Ho!
Ten Years Earlier.
"Bollocks," Ron Weasley swore as his quill snapped clean in half mid-sentence.
"Don't swear, Ronald," Hermione scolded, not looking up from her own work. The trio were in Gryffindor Tower, with Hermione supposedly helping Ron and her other best friend, Harry Potter with their homework, but they weren't getting very far as both boys seemed more interested in talking about the upcoming holidays and what they were going to do over Christmas break.
"But my quill's broke," Ron complained.
"Then get a new one," Hermione replied.
"I don't have another one," Ron grumbled, searching through his bag and not finding a spare quill.
"I'll have a spare one," Hermione said with a sigh.
Setting her own quill down on the desk, Hermione picked up her bag and opened it up to try and find a spare quill for Ron. However, she was totally distracted by the presence of a long thin deep purple box in her bag. Pulling the box out of her bag, she found it was tied with a gold ribbon and there was a small gift tag attached.
"It's a bit early for Christmas presents, isn't it?" Harry Potter remarked. "Whose it for?"
"Me," Hermione answered, turning the tag over and finding it was addressed to her from her 'Secret Santa'.
"Secret Santa?" Ron frowned, reading the tag. "So you have no idea who it's from."
"That's the whole point of a Secret Santa," Hermione said quietly, her focus on the box in her hands.
"So how did it get into your bag?" Harry asked.
"I don't know, but I don't suppose it would be hard for someone to slip it in there during the course of the day," Hermione replied with a shrug.
"I guess not," Harry conceded. "So are you going to open it?"
"Yes," Hermione replied.
Aware that Harry and Ron were just as interested in what was in the box as she was, Hermione lifted the lid on the box. Inside she found an exquisite golden peacock quill nestled on black tissue paper. The quill clearly wasn't just a cheap everyday quill as Hermione had never seen such an ornate quill.
"Wow," She gasped, gently picking the quill up out of the box. "It's stunning."
"It's a bit over the top if you ask me," Ron huffed.
"Well I think it's lovely," Hermione replied. "I just wish I knew who'd sent it so I could thank them."
"You could always ask around," Harry suggested.
"What, just ask the entire school if they happened to have slipped a gorgeous quill into my bag?" Hermione laughed. "People will think I'm mad. I guess it'll just have to stay a mystery."
"Unless there's more," Harry said with a shrug.
"More gifts?" Hermione asked, glancing at Harry out of the corner of her eye and wondering if he was her 'Secret Santa'. After all, he could afford to buy her a fancy quill, and on more than one occasion Hermione had wondered if he had feelings for her.
"Why not?" Harry replied. "I'd say this is a secret admirer, and I doubt he's going to stop at one gift. I bet that you receive more before we reach Christmas."
"We'll just have to wait and see, won't we," Hermione replied, becoming increasingly certain that Harry was behind her mystery gift. Now all she had to do was decide how best to break it to her best friend that she had no romantic feeling for him, she did love him, but only as a friend.
When she'd received no more presents in the couple of days following the quill, Hermione suspected that Harry had given up. In fact as she headed to the library, this time to do some homework without her friend's interference, she spotted him looking very cosy with Ron's younger sister, Ginny. Feeling relieved that she wouldn't have to break Harry's heart before Christmas, Hermione carried onto the library and settled herself at one of the tables.
As usual the library was pretty quiet, with only a handful of students milling about. A lot of the students were younger, and the only person she could see from their year was a Slytherin, Blaise Zabini. Blaise was sitting at a desk not far from where Hermione was settled, his head buried in his Potions homework. Turning to her own homework, Hermione pulled out her books and got to work.
An hour into her work, Hermione found she needed a Transfiguration book she'd forgotten to bring with her. Rather than traipse back up to the head dorms, which was where she was residing this year, she decided to just find a copy in the library. Knowing that her things would be safe on the desk, Hermione got to her feet and headed into the Transfiguration section.
It didn't take her long to find her book, and when she returned to her seat she found someone had left a gift wrapped parcel on her desk. The second box was bigger than the first, and it was wrapped in gold paper with a red bow. As with the quill, there was a small tag with her name on it and the sender had again signed it her 'Secret Santa'. Glancing around, Hermione tried to see who could have left the present, but the only person she could find that might have left it was Blaise. However, he still had his head buried in his books and didn't look as though he'd moved in the couple of minutes Hermione had been away from her desk.
Sitting back down, Hermione carefully opened the new gift. Inside she was found a box of luxury chocolates from Honeydukes. The box was a soft centred selection, with each chocolate containing a different flavoured centre. Hermione had actually admired the box last time she was in Hogsmeade, as some of the flavours sounded unusual and pretty exotic.
Hermione tried to think back to her trip to Hogsmeade, and to remember if there'd been anyone in Honeydukes with her as she was looking at the chocolates. She knew Harry and Ron hadn't been with her, as she'd wandered into the sweet shop as she was waiting for them to emerge from the quidditch shop. Wracking her brains, she suddenly recalled almost walking into Blaise as she was leaving the shop.
Glancing over to the Slytherin, she wondered if he was her secret admirer. He could probably afford to splash out on a fancy quill, and it would have been easy enough for him to slip it into her bag, and here he was when she'd found her second gift. But why would Blaise send her presents, rather than just approaching her if he liked her? Hermione knew enough about Blaise to know he wasn't the shy type, and if he liked a girl he wouldn't have any problems telling. He could be trying to be romantic and making sure he stood out from the crowd, but Hermione just wasn't buying it. Somehow, this just didn't seem Like Blaise's style, which meant she was back to Harry or her Secret Santa was someone else entirely.
"So you have no idea who it is?" Ginny Weasley asked Hermione for the hundredth time.
The two girls were sitting in the courtyard, waiting for Harry and Ron, and Ginny was determined to find out who had sent Hermione her mystery presents. However, Hermione hadn't been able to provide any real clues as to her secret admirer. As she pointed out, anyone could have slipped the quill into her bag and just because she didn't see anyone in the library, didn't mean they hadn't left the chocolates and departed the library before she even noticed them.
"I've told you Ginny, I'm clueless," Hermione replied with a sigh.
"You should have asked Zabini to see if he saw anything," Ginny said.
"I'd rather not publicise my private life," Hermione said. "I'm sure whoever is doing this will show their hand sooner or later, or else it will forever remain a mystery."
"Whoever is doing this clearly likes you, so I don't see it staying a mystery forever," Ginny replied. "Sooner or later they're going to want you to know whose being sending you gifts."
Hermione nodded her agreement, but before she got a chance to add anything, she was distracted by Crookshanks approaching her. Since the day she'd gotten him, Crookshanks had been fiercely independent and she was used to not seeing him for days on end, so when he did put in an appearance she tended to make a fuss of him. Bending down, she scooped Crookshanks up in her arms and stroked the top of his head.
"Hey Crooks, what have you been up to?" She cooed.
"What's that on his collar?" Ginny asked.
Hermione looked to where Ginny was pointing and found a small emerald green box tied to her cat's collar. Untying the box, she found it was another present from her 'Secret Santa'. Opening the box she found a small, but beautiful, pair of ruby stud earrings. She wasn't sure if the rubies were genuine, but even if they were fakes, they were good fakes and she could tell the earrings were expensive.
"Wow, how did he get it on Crookshanks's collar?" Ginny questioned.
"I have no idea," Hermione replied with a puzzled frown. Crookshanks wasn't a people cat and aside from Hermione, he let very few people near him, let alone near enough to tie a box onto his collar.
"If only he could speak and tell us who left the present," Ginny mused as Hermione put Crookshanks back down on the floor.
The two girls watched as Crookshanks padded off towards the castle. As he entered the castle, Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan walked past him, and Hermione watched in surprise as her cat rubbed against both boys' legs and let them both stroke him. Turning to Ginny, she found the redheaded witch was just as shocked as she was.
"You don't think it's either Dean or Seamus do you?" Ginny asked.
"I don't know," Hermione replied. "I guess either of them could have slipped the quill into my bag, and just because I didn't see them in the library doesn't mean they weren't there."
"But could they afford these gifts?" Ginny asked, turning back to look at Hermione's earrings. "I'm no expert, but those earrings aren't just cheap tat, and the quill looked pretty expensive. Do Dean and Seamus have that sort of money?"
"I really don't know," Hermione replied, snapping the box shut and tucking it safely into her bag.
Even though the quill and earrings looked expensive, it didn't mean they were. Or whoever bought them might have just gotten a good deal, so it didn't necessarily follow that whoever her secret admirer was had money. Although Hermione did have to admit that whoever he was, he knew her tastes very well. He'd given her a box of chocolates she'd been eying up, a quill she definitely would have bought herself, and even the earrings were delicate and modest, like something she was would wear. Her Secret Santa knew her very well, and with each passing present she was getting more and more curious over his identity.
When Hermione entered the head dorms to find the Head Boy, Draco Malfoy, lying on the sofa with his eyes shut, she paused to admire the blond Slytherin. Hermione had never confessed to anyone that she'd developed a crush on her co-head since the beginning of the year, and she was happy to take the opportunity to just watch him. In fact she would give anything if he turned out to be her Secret Santa, but she didn't see it happening. Draco had his pick of girls, and Hermione didn't think for minute that he would be interested in a dull, bookworm like her.
"Are you going to watch me all evening, Granger?" Draco suddenly asked, his eyes remaining closed.
"I was trying to work out if you were asleep or if you were just cluttering the place up," Hermione replied, moving past the blond as he finally cracked open his eyes and sat up.
"I was sleeping until you woke me up," Draco said, standing up and stretching, causing his shirt to ride up and give Hermione a quick glimpse of his firm torso.
"How did I wake you up, I was silent," Hermione protested.
"I can sense when people are watching me sleep," Draco replied with a shrug.
"Do people do it often?" Hermione asked, regretting the question as soon as it left her lips. She really didn't want to know if there was someone in a position to watch him sleep.
"It has been known to happen on occasion," Draco replied with a shrug as he headed towards the kitchen alcove attached to the common room. "Before I forget, Longbottom called round and dropped a book off you'd let him borrow. It's on the table."
Hermione first checked the coffee table, but finding nothing she headed over to the table under the window. She quickly found the book she'd loaned to Neville on the table, however underneath it she found a parcel wrapped in deep blue paper. The tag on the present confirmed it was for her, and yet again it was from her 'Secret Santa'.
"Malfoy," Hermione called, wandering over to the kitchen with the parcel in her hands. "Did Neville leave this?"
Draco glanced over his shoulder to see what she was holding and shrugged his shoulders in response. "Not a clue. He turned up with the book and I told him to leave it on the desk. If he left anything else, I know nothing about it."
"And has anyone else been up here today?" Hermione asked.
"Potter and Weasley called round, but they left when they realised you weren't here," Draco answered. "And Blaise and Theo were here for about an hour. Why?"
"Just wondering," Hermione replied as she turned around and walked back into the common room.
Settling down on the sofa, she tore the paper off her present and found a beautifully leather bound book on magical myths and legends and their muggle counterparts. Hermione flicked through the book, thinking that yet again her Secret Santa knew her so very well. She doubted many people in Hogwarts would know about her love of myths and legends. And even those who did, she doubted they would have been able to afford such a luxurious book. She'd suspected the quill and the earrings were expensive, but Hermione knew the book in her hands was expensive because she'd seen a similar book in Hogsmeade a few months ago and it had been far too expensive for her to justify treating herself.
"What's that, an early Christmas present?" Draco asked as he meandered in from the kitchen.
"Something like that," Hermione answered. "I don't suppose you know anything about it, do you?"
Draco tilted his head so he could read the cover. "Wizarding Myths and Legends, not really my thing Granger."
"It's a beautiful book," Hermione said, lovingly stroking the cover. "Whoever bought it has good taste."
"Whoever bought it? You mean you don't know who sent it?" Draco asked with a smirk. "Got a secret admirer have you, Granger?"
"Is that so hard to believe?" Hermione demanded, glaring at the blond as she jumped to her feet and stormed off upstairs, not waiting for his answer. She may have rather fancied Draco, but she couldn't deny he was the most aggravating person she'd ever met and there were times she would have quite happily strangled him.
Retreating to her room, Hermione settled down with the book and thought about who could have left it for her. Neville was now an option, and to be honest she could picture him leaving her presents as he was too shy to pluck up the courage to ask her out. But could he afford to spend so much money on her? To be honest, Hermione didn't know how much money Neville had, but what teenager would really spend a fortune on a girl he wasn't dating? Hermione didn't know the answer, and it was starting to frustrate her that she was still no nearer to finding out who her mystery admirer was.
It was the last class of the day as Hermione headed down to the dungeons for Potions. Since Harry and Ron no longer took Potions, due to their marks not being good enough, Hermione was all alone as she headed through the draughty dungeons to the Potions classroom. In fact, she was the only Gryffindor in the class, but it didn't bother her. In fact she liked the fact that Potions wasn't a big class and they were always lessons where a lot of work got done.
Entering the classroom, Hermione found she was the first person to arrive. The Potions Master, Professor Snape, was lining up trays of ingredients at the front of the class, and he barely looked up when Hermione entered the room and headed to her desk. When she arrived at her desk, Hermione gasped slightly when she found a gift wrapped in deep blue paper sitting in front of her cauldron. Since everyone had their own seats in Potions, Hermione knew it was meant for her, and sure enough it was another gift off her Secret Santa.
"Sir, was there another class in here before us?" Hermione asked, tearing open the box and finding a fancy bottle of perfume that smelt divine.
"No," Snape replied, turning to look at Hermione. "Why?"
"No reason," Hermione replied. "I don't suppose you happen to know if anyone's been in the classroom before I arrived, do you?"
Snape gave Hermione a curious look, before shaking his head. "No Miss Granger, no-one has been in this classroom. I've been here by myself for the last hour, and you're the first person I've seen in that time."
"Right, thanks," Hermione muttered, placing the perfume into her bag just as other students began to enter the classroom.
Normally Hermione found it easy to lose herself in her Potions work, but she found she couldn't concentrate on anything but the present in her bag and who could have left it for her. With some of the other presents, she could see how anyone could have left them for her, but she didn't know how someone could have left her another gift in the Potions class without Snape seeing. Unless of course it was Snape that had left the present for her.
At the shocking thought that her Potions Professor could be the one leaving her gifts, Hermione dropped the vial of water she was holding all over the floor. Hastily apologising she cleaned the mess up, her mind whirling on the possibilities of her Secret Santa being Snape. She didn't know how much he earned, but she was guessing since he was a single man with no responsibilities that he would have the money to buy all the gifts she'd received. He would have also been able to ensure all the gifts found their way to her. But would Snape really send presents to one of his student's? Hermione didn't really want to think that he would, as it was rather creepy. Yes she was eighteen, making her an adult in both the wizarding and the muggle world, but she was still his student.
By the end of Potions, Hermione was in a daze and she retreated to the head dorms to try and think. She was going to look back over every single gift she'd received and think about the possible sender. She was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and find out who her Secret Santa was before the end of term in a few days' time.
"I give up," Hermione declared over breakfast on the last full day of term. Despite her best intentions she still had no idea who her Secret Santa was, and they headed home tomorrow morning.
"I have to admit, I expected him to show himself before now," Ginny said with a disappointed sigh.
"Maybe he's just a coward," Ron suggested. "After all, if someone liked you they should have just told you rather than messing around like an idiot."
"I think it's romantic," Ginny protested. "He's showing Hermione how well he knows her, and how much thought he's put into his gift choices. Every single thing he sent was just perfect for Hermione."
"It was far too over the top if you ask me," Ron grumbled. "He's nothing but a flash git."
"A flash git who's now in hiding," Harry added. "Unless he's got one final surprise for today."
"I'm not getting my hopes up," Hermione said, returning to her breakfast.
Hermione only managed to keep to her vow for five minutes, until the owls began to arrive. Despite herself she couldn't help but watch to see if one was heading in her direction, and when one of the school owls landed in front of her she couldn't help but smile. Reaching out she untied the envelope which was around the owl's leg and gave it some of her toast crumbs. When the owl was finished it soared back into the air and swept out of the Great Hall with the other birds.
"Is this another one?" Ginny asked, leaning over to see what Hermione had in her hands.
"I don't know, it's just an envelope with my name on," Hermione replied, turning the envelope over in her hands and seeing no message saying it was from her Secret Santa.
"Open it then and see what it is," Ginny urged.
Taking a deep breath, Hermione opened the envelope and pulled out a golden edged invitation. The invitation was for a dinner date this evening at The Three Broomsticks. Also in the envelope was a short note to let her know that all she needed to do was show the invitation to Madam Rosmerta and she would be directed to where her Secret Santa was waiting for her. Luckily she knew it wasn't a problem to get down to the village as seventh years were allowed to go down to Hogsmeade on an evening, providing there was no lessons the following day.
"You can't possibly be going to do this," Ron grumbled when Hermione explained what was in the envelope.
"What? Go and have dinner with my secret admirer?" Hermione questioned.
"This could be anyone, Hermione," Ron argued. "You don't know what sort of a trap you could be walking into."
"Who spends so much money luring someone into a trap?" Ginny scoffed.
"And more importantly, why?" Hermione asked. "Why would someone want to set a trap for me?"
"There's some strange people out there, Hermione," Ron said grimly. "Personally, I think the whole thing is a bad idea."
"Well, I don't and I intend to find out who my Secret Santa is," Hermione declared.
"In that case, maybe Ron and I should go with you," Harry suggested.
"I'm a big girl Harry, I can take care of myself," Hermione argued.
"You're not going down to Hogsmeade on your own," Ron insisted. "If you're insisting on going, Harry and I will be with you."
"Fine," Hermione huffed. "But I think you're overreacting. We know it's someone from school, and let's be honest there's no-one here that I can't handle. But if you insist, you can walk me down to the pub tonight."
"And then we'll come in and keep an eye on you," Harry said.
"Just don't expect to sit at the same table as us," Hermione muttered. She didn't think it was necessary for Harry and Ron to go with her, but she knew even if she didn't agree they would just turn up so it was easier to go along with them and at least try and exercise some control over the pair.
"Oooh, I wonder who it's going to be," Ginny said excitedly, gazing around the Great Hall to see if there was anyone showing any particular interest in Hermione.
"I don't know, but I can't wait to find out," Hermione admitted with a grin, letting herself be swept up in Ginny's excitement. Finally, she was going to get her answers as to who her Secret Santa was and she couldn't wait.
Hermione froze outside of The Three Broomsticks, suddenly unsure if she wanted to proceed. All day she'd been looking forward to the meeting, but now she couldn't help but think what would happen if she didn't like the end result. What if her Secret Santa was someone she wasn't interested in? Hermione didn't want to hurt anyone so close to Christmas, especially not someone who'd gone to so much effort to get her attention over the last couple of weeks.
"You don't have to do this," Ron said from beside Hermione. True to their word, Harry and Ron had turned up at the head dorms and they'd accompanied her down to the village.
"We could just head back to school," Harry said. "Or we could go in, have a drink and see who's in there from school."
"No, I'm going to go in and speak to Madam Rosmerta," Hermione stated, making a decision on how best to proceed.
Summoning her courage, Hermione pushed open the door and entered the cosy pub. As she made her way to the bar, with Harry and Ron trailing behind her like little lapdogs, Hermione glanced around to see who she could spot from school. In actual fact, half the customers looked to be Hogwarts seventh years. She spotted Neville, Dean and Seamus sitting in the corner. At another table sat Blaise and his friend, Theo Nott, while other students included various Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs. Hermione even spotted Professor Snape sitting on his own, nursing what looked to be a glass of firewhisky.
"Hermione," Rosmerta greeted, giving Hermione a smile as she approached the bar. "I take it you're here for your date."
"I am," Hermione confirmed. "Is he already here?"
"He is," Rosmerta replied, smiling slightly as Hermione's eyes darted around the room looking for her potential date. Moving down the bar, she opened the hatch and gestured for Hermione to pass through to the back of the bar. "Not you two," She declared, slamming the hatch down before Harry and Ron had a chance to follow their friend.
"But we're with Hermione," Ron protested.
"On your date?" Rosmerta asked, glancing at Hermione in bewilderment.
"They're just being protective," Hermione explained. "Since we don't know who I'm meeting, they insisted on coming with me and keeping an eye on me."
"I can promise you that no harm will come to Hermione," Rosmerta said, turning back to Harry and Ron. "Her date is waiting in a private room in the back of the pub, and I assure you he means her no harm. You two can sit out here and have a few drinks while Hermione enjoys her date."
"And what if she doesn't enjoy her date?" Ron asked. "What if whoever she's meeting is hideous?"
"Hideous is not how I would describe him," Rosmerta replied with a laugh. "If I were twenty years younger, I'd be pushing Hermione out of the way to get my hands on her date."
"Just yell if you need us, Hermione," Harry said, accepting that they'd come as far as they were going to be able to go.
"I will," Hermione replied with an affectionate roll of her eyes.
"Come on, I'll take you through to the back," Rosmerta said to Hermione.
Hermione followed Rosmerta through to the private back rooms. Rosmerta pointed her to the correct door and left Hermione to enter the room in private. Hermione took a deep breath before she pushed open the door, revealing a table set for two. The room was lit by magical snowflakes which floated around the room like real snowflakes, creating a romantic, but Christmassy feel. Entering the room, Hermione looked around for her Secret Santa, and spotted a dark figure beside the window.
"Hello Granger," The figure purred as he stepped into the light.
"Malfoy," Hermione gasped, rather stunned to see the blond Slytherin in front of her. "It was you?"
"It was," Draco replied with a smirk.
"Why so elaborate?" Hermione asked. "Why not just tell me you like me?"
"Where's the fun in that?" Draco asked with another smirk. "So, are you going to sit down so we can eat?"
Hermione nodded, but before she could answer, Draco pulled out her chair. Hermione smiled at the gentlemen like move as she sat down. Draco settled himself opposite Hermione, and tapping his wand on the table, two bowls of steaming French onion soup appeared in front of them.
"I hope you don't mind that I sorted the menu, it was the only way Rosmerta would agree to this," Draco said.
"It's fine," Hermione replied. "Although something tells me everything will be things I like."
"What gives you that idea?" Draco asked with a grin.
"Well your other gifts have been tailored to me perfectly," Hermione replied.
"I'm pleased you liked them," Draco said, his eyes drifting to Hermione's ears where the small earrings he'd bought her were twinkling in her ears.
"I did," Hermione said. "Although I would like to know how you got them all to me."
"That's easy," Draco answered with a chuckle. "I slipped the quill into your bag while it was sitting in the head dorms. I left the myths book under the book Longbottom returned. I tied the earrings to Crookshanks collar one time when he was lying on my bed."
"Crookshanks lies on your bed?" Hermione interrupted, shocked by the revelation.
"He does," Draco confirmed with a nod. "You can join him one time if you want," He added with a grin.
"Not so fast," Hermione laughed. "This is only our first date."
"So there's going to be more?" Draco asked.
"We'll see," Hermione replied with a smile. "Now you were telling me about the presents. I didn't see you in the library, and Snape swore no-one had been in his classroom."
"You might not have seen me in the library, but I was there," Draco answered. "Blaise settled himself at a table near to the one you always use, and he sent me a signal to let me know you'd left your desk. I merely placed the chocolates on the table before I left and Blaise ensured that no-one took them."
"And the perfume?"
"I had help there," Draco admitted. "I gave Severus the perfume, and he made sure it was sitting at your seat before the lesson began."
"I have to admit the whole thing was very inventive," Hermione said. "What gave you the idea?"
"I've been trying to think of a way to ask you out for ages," Draco confessed. "I know I could have just asked you out, but I wanted to do something special."
"This was certainly special," Hermione replied, gazing around at the room as they finished their soup.
"Are you ready for the main course?" Draco asked, tapping his wand so that the bowls disappeared.
"Is it going to be my favourite?" Hermione questioned.
"Only if your favourite is Lasagne," Draco replied, tapping his wand so the next course arrived.
"Somehow you know it is," Hermione laughed. "How do you know so much about me?"
"I'm observant," Draco answered.
"Very," Hermione remarked.
"Although there's still so much I don't know," Draco said. "And I intend to find out a lot more tonight."
"Do you now?" Hermione chuckled. "And what do you want to know?"
"Everything," Draco replied.
"That could take a long time," Hermione said.
"I've got the time if you have," Draco answered with a small smile. "Unless you don't want us to get to know each other."
"I can't think of anything I'd like more," Hermione admitted, returning Draco's smile. She planned on spending the rest of the night getting to know Draco, and with any luck there would be plenty more dinners with the handsome blond Slytherin in the future.
Ho! Ho! Ho!
Standing outside of The Three Broomsticks, Hermione smiled to herself as she recalled the last time she'd stood outside of the pub a few days before Christmas. A lot had changed in the last ten years, including the fact she was now happily married to Draco, but Hermione would always be grateful of the events of her seventh year. Draco's Secret Santa routine had brought them together, and Hermione had never regretted one moment of her romance with the handsome blond wizard.
Entering the pub, Hermione found it had changed little since their Hogwarts days. Rosmerta was still the landlady, it was still a warm and welcoming pub and half the patrons were still Hogwarts students. Feeling slightly overdressed in her deep emerald halter neck dress, Hermione made her way to the bar where she was greeted by Rosmerta.
"Hermione, you're looking good," Rosmerta said with a smile.
"Thank you," Hermione replied. "I take it he's already here."
"He is," Rosmerta answered with a smile. "So what's the occasion this time?"
"It's ten years since our first date," Hermione said.
"Ten years," Rosmerta gasped. "I can't believe it's been so long."
"Neither can I," Hermione said with a laugh. "I can't believe I've gone ten years without strangling him."
Rosmerta chuckled as she let Hermione through the back of the pub. "The same thing I said last time still stands, if I were twenty years younger you'd have competition. If anything, your husband is getting better with age."
"So he reminds me every year," Hermione laughed.
While Rosmerta returned to the bar, Hermione entered the same room she'd found Draco in ten years ago. As she half expected the room was exactly the same as it had been ten years ago, with the table set for two and magical snowflakes lighting the room. When she shut the door behind her, Draco stepped forward from the shadows and greeted Hermione with a grin.
"It's not Granger these days," Hermione replied, smiling at the fact Draco could even remember how he'd greeted her all those years ago.
"You'll always be Granger to me," Draco said, stepping forward and pulling out the chair for Hermione as he'd done all those years ago. Although to be fair, it was something he did whenever they went out as he was true gentleman.
"I thought you liked the fact I was no longer a Granger," Hermione said, smiling at Draco as he took the seat opposite her.
"I do, and I wouldn't change it for anything," Draco replied.
"Nor would I," Hermione said. "So I take it you fancied a trip down memory lane tonight."
"I thought we should mark the occasion," Draco said. "Ten years is a long time."
"It is," Hermione replied with a nod. "And it's been nice to think about what happened back in school. It reminds me that I've got the perfect husband."
"I do like to remind you how special I am now and again," Draco joked. "But mainly I like to remind you, how special you are. That's why I do this, because you were totally worth the effort, both back in school and now."
"I'm pleased you picked The Three Broomsticks for this year, it's a nice way to round things off," Hermione said.
"Round things off?" Draco frowned. "You make it sound like this is our last Christmas together."
"It is in a way," Hermione replied with a secretive smile. "At least it's our last Christmas just the two of us. Next year we'll be three."
Draco gazed at Hermione in bemusement for a few seconds before understanding dawned on him and his face broke into a wide grin. "You're pregnant."
"I am," Hermione answered with a grin. "I was going to tell you on Christmas morning, but the time seems perfect."
"It is perfect," Draco said, reaching across the table and taking hold of Hermione's hands. "I love you, Hermione Malfoy."
"And I love you, Draco Malfoy," Hermione returned. "Now let's celebrate our anniversary."
"Sounds good," Draco replied. "But just for the record, this won't stop once we have a child. We might be about to become parents, but we still have our own relationship to work on. I don't intend on becoming one of those couples that have no time for each other because they have a family to look after. We can be good parents and still have time for ourselves."
"So I'll still get my Secret Santa gifts next year?" Hermione asked with a teasing smile.
"Of course," Draco replied with a grin. "It's a tradition now Hermione, and I don't see it stopping anytime soon."
"That's good to hear," Hermione replied with a smile. As much as she knew they were looking forward to starting a family, as it was something they'd discussed many times, it was good to know they would still have some time for themselves.
"Now, let's get on with our celebrations," Draco said. "Did you like your presents this year?"
"I loved them," Hermione answered with a laugh.
In fact Draco had given her a series of replicas to what he'd bought her ten years ago. It had certainly been a fitting way to celebrate them being together for ten years, and dinner at The Three Broomsticks was the perfect way to round off the celebrations. Now after ten years together they were about to embark on a new chapter in their lives and neither of them could wait.