December 29th, 2017
Author's Note: Written for Anise in The DG Forum's Secret Santa Fic Exchange 2017. Her prompt was "silver, cat, dream."
This story is... rough. I haven't written regularly in months, so I am completely out of practice and it shows. ACK. I hope this story is somewhat enjoyable nonetheless! This Christmas, I didn't watch nearly as many terrible Hallmark Christmas movies as I usually do, so this story is definitely inspired by the two movies I did manage to watch: The Nine Lives of Christmas and Christmas Getaway. :)
Double-Booked for Christmas
Ginny could not recall a single moment in her life when she had been unhappy to see a cat. Without fail, the sight of her favorite animal never ceased to lift her spirits. It was a tragedy that she had never owned a cat herself, neither in childhood, due to her father's severe allergies, nor in adulthood, when her travels as a professional Quidditch player prevented her from caring for a pet the way she would have liked.
Upon entering the cottage that would be her home for the next week and being greeted at the door by a massive, fluffy feline, Ginny's first reaction was a surge of unbridled pleasure. However, confusion quickly overrode the shocked joy.
The cat's tail swished against the hardwood floor as Ginny set her trunk down and closed the door fully behind her.
"Hello…" she said. "Are you staying with me this week?"
The cat turned its head as if Ginny had never spoken, and then with a low meow, and the jingle of a hidden bell, trotted out of the foyer and into another room.
Ginny shook her head and finally began removing her outerwear, the heat from the cozy cottage already stifling her in her layers. She was eager to get settled in and explore new outdoor sports. Quidditch was Ginny's first love, but recent failures in her career and personal life called for a break from familiar routines and activities. Hence her self-issued holiday to spend Christmas alone in the Alps.
A murmuring voice—a male voice—made Ginny pause mid-removal of her coat, her arms trapped in the sleeves.
"What could have possibly spooked a monstrosity like you?" the voice said.
The cat jingle-jangled its way back to the foyer—and right behind it followed Draco Malfoy in a bathrobe.
Ginny's stomach dropped, her confusion at seeing the cat turning into dismay. For the first time in her life, the presence of her favorite animal in her vicinity was an unwelcome surprise.
It was a little known fact that Draco loved snow. He had no explanation for his fascination—at least, not one that he would ever admit out loud. Before he'd gone to Hogwarts, he would sit in front of his window night after night beginning in October, searching the dark grounds for the first snow of the season. At Hogwarts he had hidden his delight with snow from the judgmental sneers of his peers, but he'd been delighted by it nevertheless.
That's why this year was such a travesty.
The Daily Prophet was calling it "global warming," a concept borrowed from Muggles, who had all sorts of scientific instruments to measure the insignificant effects of dirty things being emitted into the telosphere. Or something. Draco didn't actually read those articles because they were boring, and they were about Muggles, who were also boring.
He had waited by his window through October, and then November, and now it was December 21st and Draco had not seen a single flake of snow.
So what was a snow-loving man to do?
Rich snow-loving men booked cabins in the Alps for the week of Christmas just so they could enjoy their favorite weather event during their favorite holiday, and never mind if they must leave their parents behind in wet, non-snowy England.
Draco had expected a relaxing holiday doing his favorite snow things, such as skiing and throwing snowballs at unsuspecting skiers. He had not expected to find Ginny Weasley—war hero, Holyhead Harpies Chaser, sometimes model, and Harry Potter ex—standing in the foyer of his private cabin, arms bound behind her back.
"Ah," Draco said to Snowball, who had sat down at Draco's feet now that he had completed his task of alerting his master to the intruder's presence, "I see what frightened you now."
His words broke the Full-Body Bind that seemed to overcome Weasley. "Um, what are you doing in my cabin?" she had the audacity to say. At the same time, she began jerking her shoulders, trying to free her arms from the confines of her coat sleeves.
Draco sneered. "Do you hear that, Snowball? Weasley thinks this is her cabin."
"This is cabin 22, isn't it? The Royal Suite? I booked this particular cabin for the next seven days. You are in the wrong place."
"You have identified the cabin correctly, but I'm afraid you are in the wrong place because I have booked cabin 22, the Royal Suite, for this week."
With a great tug, Weasley finally released herself from her coat and threw it onto the floor with a clatter that scared Snowball off his feet with a vicious hiss.
"Oh! Oh no, I'm so sorry, Snowball!" She crouched down, hand outstretched toward Draco's legs, behind which Snowball was hiding. Her soothing tone did nothing to calm him, and his puffed up fur made him look three times bigger than he already was.
"Excuse me! Don't talk to my cat in such a familiar manner!"
Weasley rolled her eyes and stood back up. "Never mind the cat, then. We should go to management immediately to get this sorted."
Well, that wouldn't do for Draco at all. He waved a hand at her, shooing her out the door once more. "You go. I was here first. If there's been a mistake, you go figure it out."
The glare she shot him was the same exact look captured within the adverts of the Quidditch uniform line she had modeled last year. A pouty, smoldering intensity that gave Draco a thrill—the same thrill he'd felt at school upon seeing a Bludger headed his way while he raced for the Snitch. He hadn't played a competitive game of Quidditch in years, but one blast of her expression and he was back on the pitch at Hogwarts, the wind surging through his hair, players rushing around him, the Snitch just within his grasp. He could practically feel the cold metal against his fingertips and the brush of its fluttery wings in his palm.
Weasley stomped toward him, brandishing a finger like a sword. "I will not leave this cabin without you! You'll just lock me out of it, regardless of what management says!"
Draco frowned. "I suppose you'll continue to be obnoxious until we clear up this matter."
"You suppose correctly!"
Draco sighed. "Fine. I'll get dressed. Snowball, guard the interloper."
She made a sound of objection as he retreated to the bedroom, but he ignored it. Snowball was more than capable of handling a single Weasley.
Snowball flicked his tail as he waited for his servant and the orange fur to return. He was an excellent waiter, well-practiced in the sport. The sun shone through a glass door, creating a warm spot on the floor, and Snowball stretched his large body, luxuriating in the heat against his cold paws before curling up for a comfortable nap.
A clamor in the area where the orange fur had appeared earlier awoke him some time later, and his tail jerked in annoyance. He hoped it was his servant returning. Whenever Servant disappeared for a time, Snowball always received food when he returned. He licked his lips and hurried to the sound of the commotion.
The humans were making unhappy sounds that made Snowball's whiskers twitch.
"No, you leave! I make more money than you, so I get to stay!" said Orange Fur. Her meows were particularly abrasive against Snowball's sensitive ears.
"How in the hell do you figure that you have more money than I do?" said Servant. Snowball rubbed against his ankles, which usually worked to ease his agitation. It didn't work this time.
"I said I make more money, and I do because I have an actual job! I don't sponge off my mummy and daddy!"
"You probably would if your mummy and daddy had any money to spare, but they wasted it all on your eight—"
"I only have six brothers, thank you!"
"Merlin, do you ever stop shrieking?"
Snowball did not enjoy the loud meows, and he was hungry besides, so he nudged his servant harder and yowled to alert him to the impending tragedy of Snowball's starvation.
In unison but oblivious to Snowball's doom, Servant and Orange Fur said, "Who do I have to sue to get my cabin back?"
And just like that, the awful bickering stopped and they came apart, staring at each other in alarm instead of at Snowball in adoration as they should have been doing.
"I think I'm going to be sick," said Orange Fur. "If I ever sound like you again, please hex me."
Servant's eyes brightened and his mouth twitched in glee. "Gladly."