Draco couldn't believe he had to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas this year. His parents were taking a vacation to Aruba - without him - so he'd gotten stuck in this drafty castle for the rest of winter term. Almost nobody stayed over the holidays, so it
was sure to be lonely and cold. Still, Draco had vowed to stay positive - no need to be snarky without Potter around.
As he entered the hauntingly quiet Great Hall, Draco came to the conclusion that at least some of the house elves had toremainat the castle over break as well, as food still magically appeared on the tables at mealtimes. Although the spread
was considerably reduced due to the lack of students, there were still platters of food adorning each of the long tables. That means there's at least some people from each house here, Draco thought. Hopefully not too many of those obnoxious Gryffindors. No
sooner had this thought crossed his mind than the very person he had hoped least to see walked in: Harry Potter. He was followed by that cowardly Longbottom fellow, who looked rather like he was dressed to leave. Perhaps Potter would be leaving for
winter term as well - at least, he could hope.
Harry, on the other hand, was paying no attention to who else was in the Great Hall, least of all Malfoy. He was used to spending his holidays here, after all, and had become accustomed to seeing a few familiar faces during the otherwise rather lonely
holiday term. There were always a handful of Ravenclaws who elected to spend their holiday doing a study group, and a few select Hufflepuffs who would stay with their friends out of kindness. Most students, however, were decidedly absent during the
month of December, a fact that remained true this year as well.
As Harry sat down to eat with Neville, who had missed the train and was heading out after breakfast, he suddenly became aware of someone staring at him from across the room. Turning his head cautiously, his eyes locked with Malfoy's. Wot the hell is he still doing here? Harry
wondered. As far as he was aware, the Malfoys usually spenttheir holidays traveling to exotic places or otherwise flaunting their money among the less fortunate. Seeing Draco skulking alone at the Slytherintable was certainly a surprise.
The thoughts of both boys wereinterrupted by Hagrid's voice bellowing throughout the Great Hall. Draco was only half-listening, thinking not very highly of the great oaf. Harry, on the other hand, was listening intently; Hagrid was saying something
about a gift exchange between the remaining students, some sort of arbitrary pairing where they and their partner would give each other presentsfor Christmas. Not a half bad idea, Harry thought, so long as I get someone who I'm comfortable with. As
he mentally began running through the possible options, checking off everyone he knew to be regulars around the holiday season, Hagrid went on to discuss the type of gift; it didn't have to be expensive, but it should be heartfelt. Worth was measured
in more ways than just monetary value.
Midway through his mental checklist, Harry startled at the sound of his name. Hagrid was looking at him expectantly, so Harry could only assume he was supposed to go up front. Hagrid was standing next to some kind of cup; although it glowed and spouted
flames much like the Gonlet of Fire, it was smaller and had more of a gold hue. It was unadorned, but still looked rather intimidating.
"Whene'er you're ready, Harry," Hagrid said. He seemed nervous, but Harry couldn't blame him. It wasn't often he was put in charge of the entire student body. Harry carefully reached his hand into the cup, half-expecting to be burned while simultaneously
realizing that that was never going to happen. His hand found a scrip of paper and he hastily retrieved it, anxious to get the ordeal over with. Unfolding it, Harry couldn't believe his eyes. By some horrendous turn of events, the name on the paper
in his hands read Draco Malfoy.