1) As stated in the summary, this One-Shot is adjacent to my new fic Yes, Professor, though it takes place a handful of months down the line from the events currently happening in YP (and YP is Rated M). For those not reading YP, don't worry, you needn't do so just to read this, for those who are, this is totally a teaser for what you can eventually expect in terms of the dynamic between Hermione & Orias.

2) Orias Mulciber is my take on the canon character of Mulciber.


Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or any affiliated characters, and make no profit from this story.


A Christmas Story

Hermione stirred, aware of a presence in her room as she slowly woke. Bloody hell, she couldn't have been a sleep more than an hour, and already someone was bothering her.

Christmas was tomorrow, and as dismal a prospect as that was in Voldemort's Hogwarts, she wanted to be rested so that she could at least help make the holiday pleasant for the students stuck at school. The likelihood of showing Voldemort that she could pretend to be in a festive mood for the sake of the younger witches and wizards in her charge was not going to be high at this rate.

She never would've thought keeping up a charade of not feeling anything would be so draining.


At the familiar chirping voice, Hermione pulled herself to sit up, rubbing the heel of her palm against each eye, in turn. "Winky? What time is it?"

"Nearly midnight. Winky's sorry to wake Miss, but there's a problem in the kitchen."

Groaning, Hermione's shoulders slumped. The elves only reported to her rather than the Dark Lord when it was one of Miss' Death Eaters causing the problem, and given the last few nights that the elves had been preparing various confections for the students . . . .

"What is it now?"

"He's gotten into the biscuits. Winky tried to stop him, but—"

Hermione cut off the little creature's words with a sigh. "I know. It's okay, I'll deal with him."

Winky's frame drooped in relief as she waited for the witch to kick back her covers and climb out of bed. After Hermione dropped her hand into the elf's waiting fingers, Winky blinked them out of existence from Hermione's quarters off the library, to reemerge in the kitchens.

Even before she got her bearings, Hermione could hear someone rattling about in the pantries.

Winky nodded and backpedaled. "Winky will leave Miss to it, then." The elf popped out of the room, again, leaving Hermione alone with the biscuit thief.

Drawing in a steadying breath, the witch marched toward the sounds, halting only when she was close enough to see the blond mountain of a wizard bent over the silver trays of confections. She shook her head and held in a grumble. Last night it had been the cakes, the night before custard . . . . He'd mentioned in passing that he couldn't control himself around holiday sweets, but she'd not realized at the time how literal he was being.

"Orias Mulciber, you step away from those biscuits this very second!"

At the wrath in his little witch's tone, he straightened and turned on his heel to face her, his blue eyes wide. "I . . . I wasn't doing anything."

Hermione's brows pinched together and she folded her lips inward to hold back a laugh. The feigned innocence might've worked, except . . . . "Then do explain the crumbs and sugar in your beard, please?"

His broad shoulder slumped as he held her gaze. "I was standing too close to the tray, is all."

She forced a frown. "Clearly I've been bad influence on you . . . . As a Death Eater, I assume you were a much more convincing liar, once upon a time."

Orias showed the good grace to feign an affronted expression.

"So," she said with a nod, "if I were to look that tray right now, there would be no missing biscuits?"

"You know what? It's pretty late, I should escort you back to your quarters."

Hermione was not going anywhere until he fessed up. Her chestnut eyes narrowing, she folded her arms under her breasts.

"Hmm," he breathed the sound as he noted her determined expression. "Fine, you either turn around and let me escort you to your room, or I will toss you over my shoulder, just like I've seen Rowle do, and carry you there."

She made an indelicate scoffing sound in the back of her throat. "You wouldn't dare!"

Orias cracked a broad grin, aware he had her. "I would, in fact. And, because I'm taller than Rowle, it'll make for a further drop if you struggle."

"Fine," she said, hissing out the word from between pursed lips.

She spun on her heel to start off toward the doors, missing the way he reached backward into the pantry, nicking something from the shelves before falling into step behind her.

The entire way, up staircases and through corridors, they didn't speak—keeping Hermione's lifeless act in place as a precaution, should they cross the path of any of his fellow Death Eaters along their way. But, Orias did keep pace, a few steps behind her the entire time, appreciating the sway of his little witch's hips as she walked.

Hermione was aware of his gaze on her as they moved through the castle to the library. It had been a few—very, excruciatingly long—days since they'd had the freedom to be alone together, and now that they were going to be alone, and she could feel the weight of his stare following her movements, and they were away from any distracting servings of holiday sweets, a delicious, heated coil of anticipation wound through her.

But she kept her head high and her eyes and face empty of any reaction as they walked.

When they reached her library-adjacent quarters, she entered, stopping just far enough into the room to allow him to step in behind her and close the door.

The sound of the lock clicking into place echoed in her ears.

Letting out a rattling breath, she turned to face him, a delighted whimper working its way out of her throat as he pulled her against him with one arm to bring his lips crashing down over hers. She stood on her toes, trying to get closer to him, still, as she eagerly explored his mouth, caressing his tongue with her own.

After several breathless heartbeats, he broke the kiss pulling away only enough to meet her gaze. "Now, are you going to get out of those robes yourself," he said, drawing from behind his back the thing he'd nicked from the pantry, "or am I going to have to tear them off you?"

Another rattling exhalation came out of her as she looked to the container of frosting he held up, and then back to him. "Why, Professor Mulciber, whatever do you mean to do with that?"

He smirked. "I mean to satisfy my need for sweets and my need for you in one go."

Hermione felt color flood her cheeks, her skin warming at the implications. She opened her mouth to speak a breathless response, but the chiming through the castle signaled midnight, cutting off whatever she might've said.

She swallowed hard, aware of the heat of his skin pressing so close to hers. "It's Christmas."

"Then lucky me," he said his voice low, "getting to spend Christmas morning with the witch I love."

Her brows shot up and she was relatively certain she felt her heart thunder to a halt in her chest, but in the most blissful way imaginable. "You love me?"

He nodded.

She reminded herself to breathe as he backpedaled a step and opened the container.

Biting his bottom lip, he held her gaze. "Happy Christmas, my little witch. Now, about your robes . . . ?"