A/N - This is just another cute family based festive one-shot, and it's my favourite of all the christmas stories I've written this year. I hope people enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
A light snow was falling on Christmas Eve afternoon when Draco Malfoy arrived at Malfoy Manor with his four year old daughter, Lyra. His wife, Hermione, was at home with their eight year old son, Scorpius, while Draco had called at the manor to see how preparations were coming for Christmas Day.
The manor was going to play host for the entire family on Christmas Day, and for the first time in Draco's lifetime, his mother was going to be cooking the Christmas dinner herself. Normally the Malfoys used house elves to do all the cooking, and even after Hermione had joined the family and persuaded Lucius and Narcissa to give the family elves their freedom, the elves still did the cooking. However, Narcissa had been inspired by her daughter-in-law's love of cooking and had decided to try her own hand in the kitchen.
Upon arrival at the manor, Draco helped Lyra off with her coat, boots and other outdoor wear before his daughter went tearing off to find her grandparents. By the time Draco arrived in the front room, Lyra was sat beside the large Christmas tree in the corner of the room, poking around in the mass of presents that were waiting to be opened the following day.
"Draco, this is a surprise," Narcissa remarked, a warm smile on her face as she greeted her only son. "We weren't expecting you all until tomorrow morning."
"Hermione just wanted to be sure you were still okay for tomorrow," Draco explained. "You know what a perfectionist she is."
"Everything is all in hand," Narcissa reassured her son. "I know what I'm doing. I've been practising my culinary skills, haven't I Lucius?"
"Unfortunately yes," Lucius muttered, grimacing at his son. "Sadly, she's yet to master the art of cooking."
"I may have had a few missteps along the way," Narcissa conceded with an elegant shrug of her shoulder. "But I've cracked it now. There was nothing wrong with that venison I made last week."
"Nothing wrong with it?" Lucius snorted. "I spent half the night stuck in the bathroom."
"I still say that was due to the amount of alcohol you'd drank," Narcissa argued. "I was perfectly fine, and I'd ate the same meal as you. You on the other hand had drowned half a bottle of firewhisky."
"To remove the taste of your cooking," Lucius grumbled.
"You're not as young as you once were Lucius," Narcissa informed her husband. "Alcohol is starting to affect you differently."
"I can still hold my liqueur just as well as the next man," Lucius retorted.
"Last month when you were out drinking with your friends, you came back so inebriated that even though you promised me a night of passion, you couldn't perform," Narcissa shot back.
"It was a one-time thing," Lucius hissed, his pale complexion flaring red with embarrassment that his wife had mentioned his embarrassing problem in front of their son. "And if I recall, I had no such issue the next morning. In fact we were in bed until after midday as I proved my virility."
"And that is enough of that," Draco interjected with a shudder. "I have no desire to hear about what my parents get up to in the bedroom. I only popped over to check you had everything in hand for tomorrow."
"I have a list," Narcissa said proudly, flicking her wand to summon the list of things she needed to do to prepare for Christmas dinner the following day. "See," she crowed, handing it over to Draco.
Draco scanned the list, spotting several things were already ticked off. "It looks like you're right on schedule," he told his mother as he handed her the list back. "Are you doing the vegetable preparation tonight, or waiting until tomorrow? Hermione always used to do it on Christmas morning, but since we had Scorp, she's done it the night before."
"The veg," Narcissa cried as she jumped to her feet. "It's all still in the garden."
"You mean in the ground?" Draco checked with a confused frown.
"I wasn't going to buy vegetable when I can grow much nicer ones myself," Narcissa sniffed haughtily.
"But it's the middle of winter," Draco argued. "The ground must be frozen solid. It's been snowing for the past week."
"I am a witch, Draco," Narcissa said, shaking her head at her son. "I've been growing them in a magical greenhouse. And now, I need to go and pick what we need. Lyra, sweetheart, do you want to come with me?"
Lyra jumped at the chance of helping pick the vegetables, and as she headed off with her grandmother, Draco settled down to talk to his father.
"Is she really that bad a cook?" he asked his father in a low voice, once he was sure his mother was out of earshot.
"Your mother has many talents, Draco. Unfortunately, cooking isn't one of them," Lucius replied. "Unless you want food poisoning for Christmas I suggest you talk to your wife and get her to persuade your mother that using some magic in the kitchen is allowed. Unless of course you would rather eat raw turkey and burnt roast potatoes?"
"I'll talk to Hermione," Draco said with a decisive nod. "She can persuade mother that it's not cheating to use magic to make sure things are cooked to perfection."
"It would be better still if she could persuade your mother to never set foot in the kitchen again," Lucius remarked.
"That's not going to happen. You know how stubborn mother is. Once the idea was in her head, she was always going to see it through."
"I suppose so," Lucius conceded with a sigh. "But let's just hope for all of our sakes that this is the only Christmas dinner she decides to cook. I'm not sure I would survive your mother taking up cooking as a regular hobby."
Laughing, Draco swiftly changed the subject from his mother's cooking to what his parents had bought the children for Christmas. They only wrapped their conversation up when they heard Lyra's feet running in their direction. Moments later the four year old skidded into the room, still dressed in her outerwear and a grubby carrot clutched in her mitten covered hands.
"What's that darling?" Draco asked his daughter while Lucius's grey eyes fell to the mud falling from the carrot and landing on the pristine cream carpet.
"It's for the reindeer," Lyra answered. "I picked it myself."
"I'm sure the reindeer will love it," Draco said.
"Reindeer?" Lucius frowned. "Don't tell me you've bought them a pet reindeer, Draco."
"It's for Santa's reindeer, Grandpa Lu," Lyra giggled.
"Silly me," Lucius replied, giving his granddaughter a smile. "Although it is a relief to know you haven't gone completely mad, Draco. I had visions of you having reindeer running around the garden. That would have just been mad."
"As opposed to the peacocks that you had living at the manor for years," Draco retorted, arching his eyebrow at his father.
"Those peacocks were classy," Lucius argued. To be honest he was still sad that Narcissa had made him get rid of the white peacocks that had roamed the grounds of Malfoy Manor after they'd chased her and Hermione one fateful summer afternoon.
"They were a menace," Draco said with a laugh, just as Narcissa returned from the garden. "Did you get your vegetables?" he asked his mother.
"They're all in the kitchen," Narcissa replied. "The elves were desperate to do something, so I said they could wash the vegetables."
"Well, as long as you're sure everything is in hand, Lyra and I should get going," Draco said as he got to his feet. "Come on squirt," he said, ruffling his daughter's hair. "Let's go home."
"And then will Santa come?" Lyra asked excitedly.
"Later tonight," Draco replied.
Saying goodbye to his parents, he grabbed his coat and making sure Lyra had everything, he flooed them both back home. Once at home, he managed to persuade Lyra to put her carrot down long enough to remove her outerwear. However, the second she was done she snatched her carrot back and went running off to show Hermione. Picking up the clothes his daughter had left littered around the floo room, Draco removed his own jacket before heading off to find his family.
Hermione and Lyra were in the kitchen and Draco entered just in time to hear his daughter proudly explain how she'd picked her carrot all by herself.
"Can I go and show Scorp?" Lyra asked.
"Let's wash it first," Hermione replied as she lifted Lyra onto a chair and turned on the tap. "So is your mother ready for tomorrow?" she asked Draco, while keeping one eye on Lyra who was splashing her carrot in the water running into the sink.
"She is," Draco replied. "Although father is very wary of her culinary skills. He asked if you could have a quiet word and let mother know that she can use magic to make sure things are cooked properly."
"I'll see what I can do," Hermione said with a chuckle as she turned off the tap and lifted Lyra back off her chair. "Go on Lyra, take your carrot to show your brother."
Hermione and Draco followed Lyra into the front room, where Scorpius was flicking through a quidditch magazine. Lyra instantly ran up to her brother and waved the carrot in his face.
"It's for the reindeer," she explained happily.
"Which one?" Scorpius asked, a twinkle of mischievousness in his grey eyes.
"Santa's reindeer," Lyra answered.
"I know that," Scorpius returned with a roll of his eyes. "But which reindeer is it for? Santa has more than one you know. And each reindeer needs a whole carrot each, they can't share as they eat them whole."
"Oh no," Lyra gasped, her big brown eyes filling with tears. "I need more carrots," she informed her parents. "All the reindeers need carrots."
"Do we have any carrots?" Draco asked his wife.
"No, I didn't but any as your mother is doing dinner," Hermione replied.
"Nana Cissa has more," Lyra said. "We have to go and get some more carrots, Daddy."
"Go on Daddy, go and get some more carrots," Hermione said with a teasing smile.
"Make sure you get enough," Scorpius told his little sister.
"How many?" Lyra asked seriously.
"Eight, or nine if you include Rudolph," Scorpius answered.
"You can't forget Rudolph," Lyra gasped as she took hold of Draco's hand and began to tug him out of the room. "Come on Daddy, we need carrots for the reindeer."
As Lyra dragged Draco back to the manor for more carrots, Hermione watched her son break out into laughter.
"You're wicked, Scorp," she said with a shake of her head. "One carrot would have been perfectly fine for your sister to leave for the reindeer."
"I'm not wicked, I'm merely a Slytherin," Scorpius replied with a shrug of his shoulder.
"Not yet you're not," Hermione argued.
"I will be though," Scorpius replied with confidence as he threw his magazine on the coffee table and got to his feet. "Are there any more mince pies left, I'm starving."
"You're always hungry," Hermione answered with a roll of her eyes as she headed into the kitchen.
"I'm a growing boy," Scorpius replied. "Besides, I don't want to be a midget when I start school. Not like Dad was."
"Your Dad was not a midget," Hermione argued.
"I've seen the pictures, a house elf would have been taller than him," Scorpius snorted. "He was tiny."
"Maybe he was slightly smaller than average," Hermione conceded. "But he grew."
In fact Draco was now over six foot tall, just like Lucius, and Hermione suspected Scorpius would be just the same. After all her son was an obvious Malfoy with his platinum blond hair and deep grey eyes.
"Well I want to grow before I start Hogwarts," Scorpius said as he found the mince pies. "It's the last one," he informed his mother with a slight frown.
"You have it," Hermione said with a fond smile. "Lyra doesn't like mince pies and there's other things for your Dad to eat tonight. I'm sure we can get some off Molly on Boxing Day."
"Thanks Mum," Scorpius said, stuffing the mince pie into his mouth and heading back into the front room.
Ten minutes later, Draco and Lyra returned from the manor. Lyra had a whole bunch of carrots, and Hermione helped her wash them. Placing them in a small wicker basket, Lyra carried the carrots into the front room and placed them beside the fire.
"Now the reindeer can have carrots," she announced with a wide grin.
"What about Santa?" Scorpius asked innocently. "He doesn't eat carrots. You can't feed the reindeer and leave Santa out when he's the one leaving your presents."
"Don't worry Lyra, we can find you a snack and some milk to leave out for Santa," Hermione said soothingly, knowing that her daughter was only going to get upset at the thought of leaving Santa out.
"What does Santa eat?" Lyra asked her brother as she hopped up onto the sofa beside him. In her eyes her big brother could do no wrong and he knew everything, which meant she idolised him.
"All sorts, but his favourite is mine pies," Scorpius answered with a smirk.
"Scorpius," Hermione hissed, well aware of what her son was doing.
"Mummy, do we have mince pies for Santa?" Lyra questioned.
"No sweetheart," Hermione answered, shooting her son an unimpressed glare. "But we have chocolate chip cookies and iced biscuits. Santa likes biscuits."
"No, mince pies are his favourite," Lyra said with a stubborn shake of her head.
"I don't think they are," Hermione said. "I think he prefers biscuits."
"But Scorpius said mince pies," Lyra argued. "I want mince pies. Will Nana Cissa have mince pies, Daddy?"
"I don't think so sweetheart," Draco replied. He wasn't quite sure what was going on, but he suspected his son had suggested mince pies as he knew that they had none.
"Nana Molly might," Scorpius slyly suggested. Technically Molly Weasley wasn't their nana, but the Weasleys were like family to Hermione and they all loved Scorpius and Lyra as though they were part of the large family.
"Mummy, can we go and get some mince pies from Nana Molly?" Lyra asked, jumping off the sofa and tugging on her mother's hand.
"Yeah Mummy, go and get some mince pies for Santa," Draco laughed when his wife turned to him with pleading eyes.
"You're as bad as your son," Hermione hissed as she got to her feet. "Okay Lyra, put your coat on and we can pop to The Burrow." Lyra immediately went running out of the room and Hermione glared at her laughing husband and giggling son. "The pair of you are evil."
"We're just Slytherins love," Draco drawled in amusement.
"Damn you Slytherins," Hermione muttered as she followed after her daughter.
Leaving her husband and son to their own devices, Hermione made sure Lyra was dressed appropriately for the bitter winter weather before whisking her off to The Burrow. As usual the Weasley family home was a hive of festive activity and almost the whole family was present when Hermione and Lyra entered the house.
"Hermione," Molly greeted, hugging Hermione and then Lyra. "We didn't expect to see you today. There's nothing wrong, is there?"
"We need your help," Hermione answered. "Lyra wants to leave a mince pie for Santa, and we don't have any. I was hoping you could help."
"I've just whipped up a batch this afternoon," Molly said. "Come on Lyra, let's pick a mince pie for Santa."
"Thanks Molly," Hermione replied with a relived sigh as Molly lifted Lyra up so she could pick a mince pie from a plate on the kitchen table. "This is all Scorpius's fault. He deliberately suggested mince pies because he knew we didn't have any, and he knew once he'd mentioned them, Lyra would have to have one. You know how much she hangs on every word he says."
"What a character," Molly chuckled. "He reminds me of the twins. Ron was the same way with them, and they used to use his devotion to them as a way of causing mischief. I've lost count of the amount of times Ron did something just because the twins said so. I tell you, it was a relief when he grew up enough to question what they were telling him."
"I would say I'm looking forward to the same thing happening with Lyra, but I'm not sure it's going to happen," Hermione admitted. "Scorpius might like to cause mischief, but he's also a pretty devoted big brother. I think Lyra is always going to look up to him."
"Which is how it should be with big brothers," Molly said before turning her attention to Lyra, who was carefully scrutinising the mince pies on offer. "Have you picked one, Lyra?"
"Are they all really full?" she asked Molly.
"Yes," Molly confirmed with a nod of her head.
"Then I'll take this one," Lyra said, plucking one of the fatter looking pies. "Thank you Nana Molly."
"I hope Santa likes it," Molly said with a smile as she put Lyra back down on the floor.
"Thank you Molly, you're a lifesaver," Hermione said.
"You're welcome, sweetheart," Molly replied with a smile. "Are you going to stay for a bit, or do you have to get back?"
"We should be getting back," Hermione said. "But we're still coming on Boxing Day if that's alright?"
"Of course, we're looking forward to seeing you," Molly said.
Thanking Molly again, Hermione quickly poked her head into the front room and wished everyone a merry Christmas before taking her daughter home. Back at home, Lyra wouldn't settle until she'd put the mince pie for Santa on a plate and placed it on the fireplace alongside a glass of milk. Once that she was done, she was more than happy to curl up next to Scorpius while they watched a Christmas film.
"Maybe now we can relax," Draco whispered to Hermione as she settled herself next to him and he wrapped his arm around her.
"We could have relaxed earlier if it wasn't for your son," Hermione retorted. "He was just winding Lyra up."
"Why is he always my son when he's causing havoc?" Draco asked.
"Because, darling, he gets that from you," Hermione replied, smiling up at her husband. "You are the Slytherin in the family."
"And in a few years, Scorpius will also be an official Slytherin," Draco said with a proud grin.
"But with any luck, Lyra will be a Gryffindor like me," Hermione countered.
"Don't count on it," Draco laughed. "I wouldn't put it past her to order the sorting hat to place her in the same house as Scorpius."
"Now that I can see," Hermione conceded with a smile.
"If you want a little Gryffindor, I think we're going to have to have another one," Draco whispered in Hermione's ear, giving her a seductive smile when she looked at him.
"I could be tempted," Hermione replied.
"We could start tonight," Draco suggested. "And just think, by this time next year there could be another addition to our family."
"I'm not sure that's tempting me after the afternoon we've had," Hermione laughed. "Who would have thought that we would spend out afternoon searching for carrots and mine pies for Santa and his reindeers?"
"It's certainly not a way I ever picture spending Christmas Eve," Draco conceded. "But at the same time, I wouldn't change it for anything."
"Nor would I," Hermione agreed with a smile as she took in the sight of her two children curled up together watching their Christmas film.
It may have been an unconventional Christmas Eve, but as they had said, they wouldn't change anything. They loved their little family, and even though Scorpius and Lyra could sometimes be a handful, they were worth the trouble. And who knew, maybe in a year or two the pair could have a new sibling to share the joys of Christmas with.