Disclaimer: I do not own any claims to Harry Potter or A Christmas Carol. You'll have to take that up with J.K. Rowling and Charles Dickens.

~*~

Author's Note:

Why, hello people. This is not the story that I was going to start writing when I finished my last story. I'm still trying to figure out how to write that one. This story will only be just this one very very long chapter, so I hope you enjoy it!

~*~

A Christmas Not Soon Forgotten

~*~

Draco Malfoy lay in his bed staring at the ceiling, his hands resting behind his head. It was nearing midnight- Christmas Day would soon arrive. He heard the soft clicks of the grandfather clock as the second hand made its circular voyage around the clock's face. Draco was completely and utterly bored, unable to sleep, and even worse-unable to do anything about it.

'What was any seventeen year old boy to do in that predicament?' you may ask. Why, he hummed, of course! He found himself humming to a slightly odd tune he had heard from someone once-he didn't remember who it was or where the song even came from, but that doesn't really matter in this story, does it? As the words slowly made their way back into his mind he began to whisper them softly with the tune.

"I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts. . .Diddly diddly dee. There they are standing in a row. . .bum bum ba bum. Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head. . ." his voice trailed off as he forgot the rest of the song. He furrowed his brow. He was, indeed, bored again. For some reason he began to think of something he hardly ever thought of anymore-his mother and father.

Draco's father, Lucius Malfoy, had fallen deeper and deeper into the dark arts as Draco grew up. His soul-if one could even call it that-was filled with evil, corruption, and malice. He was in high ranks with Lord Voldemort, and was quite possibly the most steadfast and loyal of the death- eaters. Yes, I said it, a steadfast and loyal death-eater. Quite the oxymoron, is it not? Do not falter, though, for it was true.

There was nothing more his father wanted most from Draco than him being inducted into the death-eaters on his eighteenth birthday. Draco had no objections. He liked the feeling and idea of being one of the most powerful people in the wizarding world. It was practically a dream come true. He agreed with Lord Voldemort's discipline that there were no 'good and evil'- only power.

Turning his glance to a picture frame on his nightstand, Draco reached out with his finger, tracing the curves of his mother's face, desperately trying to wipe the tear that slid down her beautiful visage. But the only thing he felt was the lusterless matte of the black and white picture.

She had died many months back, during the summer. He didn't know the entire story, except that she disappeared one day and he didn't see her again until she was lying in the hard ebony casket his father had made for her. 'You must be prepared for many things, Draco, even death,' his father told him many years ago when he walked in on him making a whole arrangement of caskets. Draco's eyes began to water slightly at the thought of his mother and he gripped the picture frame and suddenly slammed it face-down against the wood of the nightstand.

If his father had ever seen him like that he surely would have taken a beating for it. Draco had been on the receiving end of beatings and verbal assailments many times in his life. Somehow, in all his seventeen-almost eighteen- years, Draco had been able to warp his mind to believe that he deserved the punishments, so he never let anyone know about them or believe anything was wrong.

To his left, Draco heard one of his dorm mates- Goyle, in all likelihood- grate his teeth together before letting out a loud snort and Draco couldn't help but wonder how people were able to grate and grind their teeth. It seemed almost unfathomable to him as he tried it himself, only succeeding in a cringe as his back molars rasped together like nails on a chalkboard. Yes, Mr. Malfoy was still very much bored.

Some short seconds later, a brilliant chill ran through Draco's body and the curtains around his bed began to move. Draco rubbed his arms with his hands, hoping that friction might help in the matter, knowing it wouldn't. Steadily, he pulled the covers off him and crept out of the bed, peeking around the curtains to see what had happened.

The window was open. 'Bloody hell, those dolts! Don't they know that December is cold?' he yelled angrily in his mind as he looked back and forth from Crabbe and Goyle. He walked to the window and pulled the shutters in and latched them, then restored the heating charm that had gone off when the window opened. A thought then occurred to Draco. 'The window just opened. Crabbe and Goyle have been out for hours. They couldn't have. . .' his thoughts trailed off as he turned around, and he almost cried out in shock at what he saw.

There, not three feet from him, in billowing silver-white robes, with blond hair like a fire of platinum surrounding her face. . .was his mother. Draco gulped forcefully, and he was almost positive his coloring was a few shades paler than usual. He tried finding his voice, and when he located it, it came out as a stutter.

"You, uh, wha-what are you doing here?"

Narcissa Malfoy smiled soothingly as she stepped toward her son. Draco took a few steps back until he found the wall behind him. His mother stopped when she was a foot away from him. She reached a hand out to caress Draco's face, and as she did, he flinched, and she paused for a moment before bringing her fingertips gently to the side of his face, brushing his right cheek lightly with her knuckles.

Draco pulled in a shuddering gasp and closed his eyes as she continued to explore every curve and crevice of his face. He slowly reached his right hand to his face and grabbed her hand, squeezing it gently, and finally, opened his eyes to look to her. A small smile found it's way onto her lips as she opened her mouth to speak.

"My baby. . ."

Against his will, a shiny sliver of something wet slipped down his face, formed in a puddle at his chin, and dripped down onto his mother's hand. She brought her fingers to his face and wiped the tearstain off his cheek before kissing his forehead. After her lips left the smooth flesh at the top of his face she whispered something to him.

"There is a matter you and I need to discuss, my son."

Draco nodded silently and gestured towards the door that led to the common room. Draco, for the first time, noticed that his mother didn't walk, but instead floated. He had seen ghosts before, many in fact, but still he wasn't able to suppress the look of surprise that appeared on his face as he watched her hover over the floor. 'She really is dead', he concluded. For some reason the news struck him hard and he collapsed into a chair as soon as they got into the common room.

"You have never been told the real circumstances involved that resulted in my death, have you?" she asked briskly. Wow, straight and to the point.

Draco shook his head slowly and Narcissa went on.

"Draco, I know how much you want to be like your father."

'What does this have to do with anything?' he found himself wondering. He shrugged to let her know he was listening.

"But you have to realize how corrupt your father really is. If you do not, you will end up handing your wife over to Voldemort to have her killed at his hands and then you will go on telling your children that her death is a mystery when in fact, you were the murderer! You would be just like him." She emphasized the last three words and Draco looked on at her in horror.

"Because of this fate that will undoubtedly occur if you do not change something in your life soon, I have taken the liberty of showing you things that happen that you do not notice off hand. What you will be shown, Draco, are the most important and most pivotal moments in your life life. You will come across things that you weren't even there for, but you will know that they took place. You may not believe me when you see them, but I am entirely serious about what you are about to venture on. During the night, you will be visited by three beings. They will take form of a person in your life that defines the main quality of the beings. Beauty, joviality, and death. Be wary, my son, and pay close attention."

With that, she was gone. Draco looked around the room, then towards the clock above the fireplace. Quarter to one.

~*~

Draco awoke suddenly as the clock above him boomed out a melody and then chimed at one. He rubbed his eyes and looked dully around the room that was lit with a warm glow from the fire. He shifted his position on the couch but only found that he was kicking something. He rolled onto his back, propping himself up with his elbow. Blaise Zabini waved cheerfully to him and smiled.

He looked at her in confusion. "Go 'way, Blaise. I'm tired," he mumbled groggily. Blaise's sweet smile transitioned into one full of mischievousness. Wagging a finger at him, she replied, " Ah ah ah. I am only the appearance of Blaise, Mister Draco Malfoy. I am the Ghost of Christmas Past, and I have come to collect you. Come along then." She stood and pulled him up by the arm, and in a flash, the common room vanished, and was instead replaced with Draco's room at Malfoy Manor. What he saw when he lifted his eyes shocked him.

There, crouched on the floor directly in front of him, was himself at about the age of six. Draco glanced around the room, looking at which presents he had gotten for Christmas that year, and after seeing the model train set sitting by the bed, it dawned on him just what Christmas this actually was. He watched as the younger him walked towards the train set and plopped down, beginning to play with it. He watched sorrowfully as kid Draco made all the special noises for the train, the whistles, the sound of it as it went down the tracks, and finally the sound of a collision as he spastically sent the train set zooming across the floor into the wall. The sound seemed to echo in the hall, for thunderous footsteps made their way for the door.

The door jolted open swiftly and Draco's father stood at the threshold, eyes glinting with fury and anger. For some reason, the kid Draco hadn't looked up when his father burst in, so he did not see the look in his eyes. But modern day Draco did. He saw it all. And it terrified him. He watched as his father approached the younger version of himself rapidly. He saw Lucius reach down and pull the boy up by his arm, almost jerking it out of socket. Draco found his heart beating fast as he watched the scene before him- the first time his father had ever beat him.

Draco looked to Blaise. "Get me out of here, Blaise. Now."

Blaise nodded and grabbed his arm again and he soon found himself back in the Slytherin common room. "Why did you take me there?!!" he shrieked. Blaise put a hand over his mouth.

"We aren't finished with the tour yet, Mister Draco Malfoy. Now, I know that this didn't happen on Christmas day, but it did happen during your winter holidays, so it does count, and I am able to show you this. I do not think you realize at all how cruel you can be sometimes. That's what I am about to show you."

Draco glanced up as he heard voices from outside the entrance of the common room. Suddenly, he saw himself at the age of 12 storm into the room with Crabbe and Goyle close behind them. Draco scoffed at his appearance; he was all to happy that he stopped slicking back his hair because now he realized he looked like a complete dolt, and a bit of poof. He looked at the younger versions of Crabbe and Goyle. He watched curiously. They seemed a little different. He only listened to the younger version of him speaking, his eyes were planted on the two across from him.

"Wait here," he heard himself say. "I'll go and get it- my father just sent it to me."

Crabbe and Goyle looked around the common room like they were mechanical gorillas. They both seemed utterly flabbergasted at their surroundings. Draco became even more curious.

Younger Draco returned holding a newspaper clipping and thrust it under Crabbe's nose. Crabbe read it quickly, judging by the rate of eye movement, and Goyle leaned in a little to read to. When they finished reading, both seemed a bit paler, Draco noted. He also noted the fact that they read it quickly. That was something that usually would have taken five minutes longer. Something was definitely amiss.

"Well? Don't you think it's funny?" he heard himself ask.

Goyle nodded bleakly. "Ha, ha," came his reply.

"Author Weasley loves Muggles so much he should snap his wand in half and go and join them. You'd never know the Weasleys were pure-bloods, the way they behave."

Draco looked away from Crabbe and Goyle as he heard the words that came out of his younger version's mouth. He glanced back to Crabbe and Goyle and found that Crabbe's face was contorted with something that appeared to be fury.

"What's up with you, Crabbe?" he heard himself ask. Crabbe grunted out something that sounded like 'stomachache'. The younger version of Draco nodded his head at the response. "Well, go up to the hospital wing and give all those Mudbloods a kick from me. You know, I'm surprised the Daily Prophet hasn't reported all these attacks yet. I suppose Dumbledore's trying to hush it all up. He'll be sacked if it doesn't stop soon. Father's always said old Dumbledore's the worst thing that's ever happened to this place. He loves Muggle-borns. A decent headmaster would never've let slime like that Creevey in."

Draco watched as he began mimicking Colin Creevey, holding an imaginary camera and talking about Harry Potter. Crabbe and Goyle were completely silent. "What's the matter with you two?"

Crabbe and Goyle finally let out a forced laugh and Draco was shocked to see that the younger Draco didn't realize just how slow their reaction was. What was going on?

"Saint Potter, the Mudblood's friend. He's another one with no proper wizard feeling, or he wouldn't go around with that jumped up Granger Mudblood. And people think he's the Slytherin's heir!" the young Draco paused for a moment before continuing. "I wish I knew who it is. I could help them."

Crabbe looked sublimely clueless. Goyle finally spoke. "You must have some idea who's behind it all."

"You know I haven't, Goyle, how many times do I have to tell you? And Father won't tell me anything about the last time the Chamber was opened either. Of course, it was fifty years ago, so it was before his time, but he knows all about it, and he says that was all kept quiet and it'll look suspicious if I know too much about it. But I know one thing- last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened, a Mudblood died. So I bet it's a matter of time before one of them's killed this time. . ." He heard himself trail off. He barely remembered this conversation, and what he heard himself say next nearly sent him through the floor.

"I hope it's Granger."

Crabbe clenched his fists at the comment. Draco didn't hear much of what was being said after that. He couldn't get over the fact that he had actually wished Hermione Granger dead. Sure, he had never liked her, but he never thought she should die. It occurred to him suddenly that he probably said that to save face. The Slytherin house was full of spies for Lord Voldemort- you wouldn't want to say the wrong thing.

Draco glanced up. Crabbe had let out a loud 'Ho!' suddenly and forced Draco out of his thoughts. He watched Crabbe and Goyle as they looked at each other suddenly then gave each other a look of horror. Draco suddenly realized why. Crabbe's hair was turning red and a faint scar was appearing on Goyle's forehead. He stood up in shock and watched them run out of the room, then he glanced at his younger self in scorn for not have noticing anything except for what he was talking about.

He wheeled around and faced Blaise, pointing at the entrance of the common room. "That was Potter and Weasley!" he yelled. "How could I have been so stupid?! How could I have not noticed something like that?!" Blaise only grabbed his arm and again, the room around him vanished. He now found himself in the Great Hall.

He looked around and saw himself at fourteen walk into the room with Pansy clutching his arm like there was no tomorrow. He was dressed in black velvet dress robes with a high collar. Draco raised an eyebrow at his outfit and looked sidelong at Blaise. "Yule ball, I presume? I look like a bloody vicar." Blaise stifled a small laugh as they both continued to watch the mass of black and pink known as Draco and Pansy. He heard McGonnegal's voice shout over everyone that the champions should come towards her.

He realized suddenly why this was one of the Christmas's that he needed to witness again. He glanced to where Viktor Krum was standing and he saw her. The same feeling that washed over him three years before came back to him and he found himself mesmerized by Hermione Granger all over again. Her hair was sleek and shined with the glow of a thousand suns, twisted up into an elegant knot on the back of her head. Her robes were made of a floaty, periwinkle blue material, and she was poised and elegant. And then she smiled. That was it, he was lost forever now, left breathless and amazed-stunned at this girl's beauty, that seemed to be radiating from inside of her. She still had the same effect on him now as she did three years before.

He must have left his mouth hanging open because Blaise pressed her finger under his chin and forced it shut.

Blaise watched intently for a moment, glancing between Draco and Hermione and she gave a small smile before placing her hand on his arm once again to take him through the abyss.

This time Draco found himself in a place he had never seen before.

"Where am I?" he asked softly, still a little taken aback from the last memory.

"This is what's known as 'The Burrow'. In answer to your question, though, it's Ron Weasley's house. This, I believe, was last Christmas."

Draco gave her a perplexed look. "Why am I here of all places?"

Blaise gave him a sly smile. "You'll see. I promise."

Draco rolled his eyes and sat down on the couch with a thud. He hadn't any other option in the matter anyway. A few minutes later he heard laughter floating down the stairs. Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, Ron Weasley, and Harry Potter appeared behind the banister. As they stepped into the room, Ron pulled Hermione back by the arm and pointed up. Everyone in the room looked up simultaneously.

Mistletoe.

Draco sat rather dejectedly as he watched Hermione place her arms around Ron's neck, pulling him nearer to her. Ron was smiling, and Draco was surprised to see he wasn't blushing. And then they were kissing. Ginny stood there red-faced, avoiding Harry's gaze. Harry mussed up her hair and kissed her cheek, making even more red appear. Draco made a face of disgust at Potter and the Weaslette flirting. He clenched his teeth though, when he looked back towards Ron and Hermione who were still going at it. No matter how hard Draco tried to look away, he found that he couldn't. He found himself envying Ron suddenly, and his eyes went wide at the realization.

He heard someone clear their throat and looked over to find Harry tapping his wrist impatiently. For once he was happy over an interruption from the infamous creature.

Ron and Hermione smiled shyly and made their way towards the couch. Draco looked around and made himself as small as possible, even though it really didn't matter. When he looked up, Hermione was standing right in front of him. He longed to be able to reach for her but he knew it was highly impossible to do.

Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out a small white toy as Hermione sat down directly to the left of Draco. Draco leaned in to get a glimpse of the furry thing Harry was holding. Harry laughed. "I got this thing from Fred and George. They've got an entire line now. They haven't told anyone about it yet. But it's hilarious."

Draco watched as Harry tapped the fuzz-ball three times then he let go of it. It flew up into the air and then landed with a thwack on the floor again. It continued to bounce for quite some time. Then Draco realized what it was supposed to be. Ron voiced Draco's thoughts.

"Why, Harry, it's the amazing bouncing ferret!"

Harry, Ginny, and Ron were all laughing hard at the memory and Hermione sat in annoyed silence. Draco watched on in hidden humiliation. He turned to Blaise. "Fred and George created an entire line of 'The Amazing Bouncing Ferret' products?" His face went red with fury. "Why the hell am I here, Blaise, why?!"

Blaise didn't respond, only turned Draco's head so that he was looking at Hermione. And Hermione began to speak.

"That really isn't very funny, you two. It's something that happened three years ago. Why can't you just let bygones be bygones and grow up a little?"

Ron and Draco both looked at her with the same expression. An 'O' of complete astonishment.

"Bygones Hermione? What are you talking about? That twitchy little rodent has made our lives hell for six years, especially yours! And now, you're defending him?"

Hermione shot him an annoyed look and crossed her arms and legs. "And if I am?"

She rolled her eyes and turned to face Ron completely. "Listen, all that I'm saying is that you've let Malfoy be too much apart of your lives. You let him get to you way too much. I've been used to him since third year. He uses the same lines all the time. He's just trying to save face. I'm sure he's probably gotten as bored of you two as you two are of him. You both are only trying to save face just as much as he is. Get over it and get on with your lives. This rivalry is ridiculous." And with that, she was finished.

Ron looked at her like he was waiting for more lecture. She pushed his arm. "Oh shove off, I'm done now."

Blaise stood and grabbed Draco. "And so are we. There are no more things from the past that you need to be privy to. Time to go now, Mister Draco Malfoy."

~*~

He found himself in Dumbledore's office seconds later. He turned around searching for Blaise.

"She isn't here, Mr. Malfoy." It was Dumbledore.

"Professor- I erm yeah." He tried to begin.

Dumbledore held up his hand. "Alas dear boy, it is I. The Ghost of Christmas Present. Would you perhaps care for a cockroach cluster? I dare say, they are quite delectable."

Draco cringed. "Are you sure you aren't Dumbledore?" Draco asked, wondering if the old man had finally lost it.

"Come with me, boy. . ." With a snap of the old man's fingers, they were in the Slytherin common room. The man motioned around the room. "This, as I'm quite positive you know already, is the Slytherin Common Room. Now, sit here, and watch carefully. You will need to use it as comparison in a few moment's time."

Draco looked around the room. Those who were awake all sat around the room dismally, crouched in the shadows, like panthers ready to pounce. A beautiful tree was in the corner of the room filled to capacity with presents from family members. No one seemed to care about it though, he noted.

Pansy came running in the room and crawled onto a sixth year's lap and began kissing him. Draco raised an eyebrow. "Good to know my girlfriend cheats on me."

Dumbledore smiled silently and looked towards him. "I think you have seen enough of this, correct?" Draco nodded. The old man smiled and snapped his fingers. The room was bright with flashes of crimson and gold everywhere.

Draco scoffed. "No need to ask you where we are. Gryffindor common room? Yep."

He took in everything. People were laughing and talking, hugging and kissing. He had never seen this before. It was all so new and he had no idea how to respond. There were actually people out in the world that gave a damn about you. The Gryffindor common room was so much happier than the Slytherin's.

"How are they so happy? People aren't supposed to be so happy." Draco wondered aloud.

"Says who, Mr. Malfoy?"

"Everyone."

Dumbledore patted his leg. "Well, I hate to do this to you, but I have to show you this. You do not want to become like your father, Mr. Malfoy. I know you think he's perfect, but he isn't. Just be forewarned."

And then he snapped his fingers.

He found himself in his living room at the manor. 'Not again.' He thought to himself. His father walked slowly into the room and sat in a chair directly in front of the fire place.

"My lord. . ."

A face appeared slowly and dimly above the fire. The voice that emitted from the face was spooky and one of the most slipperiest voices he had ever heard. He had heard it before of course, but it had never been this haunting. He had never been this fearful before.

"Lucius. . .have you talked to the boy yet?" the spectre hissed.

Lucius shook his head. "Not yet, my lord. Soon, though. His birthday is coming soon. I will talk to him before then."

"January 28, is it not? Yes, you had better talk to him. And it had better be soon."

"Yes, my lord."

"Will he work hard for me like you have? Will he offer to me his wife like you have? Will he be able to kill like you have? If your boy is weak, Lucius, I will kill you first, and then I will kill him. I will put you under the most severe of torture devices that I can think of and then I will ridicule you and use you as an example. An example of what not to do. And remember, Lucius. Once I have the boy, I will have no need for you. Either way you look at it, dear friend. . .you're dead."

A cold cackle filled the air and Lord Voldemort escaped the fireplace with a pop. Lucius sat in his chair for awhile, stroking his chin. "Believe me, my lord. . ." he began softly speaking to no one but himself, "if he is soft, I will kill him myself. Then I would have the honor to die by your hand. There is no other death more prestigious than that, my lord."

Draco stood watching his father in horror. 'He would kill me- his only son? Just because I don't want to follow the family tradition?' He grabbed Dumbledore's arm.

"We're leaving."

With a snap of Dumbledore's fingers, they were gone again.

"This, Mr. Malfoy, is what you know as the Chamber of Secrets. Do not fear the next apparition. He is only a symbol that you see for death. Now, this next part- your future. . .it may or may not come as a shock to you. Remember, you can still change your future. If you do not, though. . .this is how you will end up."

He snapped, and in a puff of smoke, Dumbledore was gone.

~*~

Draco had taken to walking throughout the passages underneath the school. 'so this is how the basilisk moved around,' he thought. He had no idea where the last figure was. 'Shouldn't it have been here by now?'

The passage was sticky and full of muck. He had a feeling he didn't want to know what exactly he was stepping through at that moment. All he knew was that it was squishy and there was a strong stench throughout the pipes. Perhaps I'm saying more than even you want to know as well. . .

Then he hit a dead end. 'Great. And where the hell is this guy anyway?!' he screamed in his mind. Frustration was seeping in deeper and deeper. He was getting tired of walking and he had no idea where to go to get out of the blasted pipes that were filled with human feces and excrement. Creates a brilliant image in your mind, doesn't it? The mucky pipes, the rotting stench of digested food particles. . .

Draco turned at that moment to head back down the way he came from, but instead, he ran straight into Lord Voldemort.

His eyes went wide with fear as he glanced at the man. The figure shook its head slowly and beckoned Draco nearer to him. Draco abided but was wary to move forward.

"Draco Malfoy. . ." the figure hissed. "It is thus time for you and me to venture ahead to the year of 2003. . ."

The ghost put his hand on Draco's shoulder and they were instantly out of the Chamber. Draco looked around at his surroundings. Far down the crooked street he saw the rotting sign of Borgin & Burkes.

"Knockturn Alley. . ." he whispered to himself. He watched as filthy witches and wizards passed him on the street, teeth rotting and yellowed, skin slack and withered like an old banana peel.

Draco followed the figure of death around turns and corners until finally they found themselves in a deserted alley. "What's about to happen? Please. Tell me."

The figure pointed to a darker and more shadowed area of the alley. Two figures apparated suddenly. He recognized one of the figures as himself. The other was a girl- crying and sobbing to Draco.

"Please, please Draco, don't do it. Please! I beg you, please don't go through with this!" her voice rose with panic as Draco watched the twenty- three year old version of himself lunge out at the girl.

He took her by the neck and slammed her against the hard brick wall, her head hitting it with a loud thwack. She screamed in pain and reached for the back of her head. When she pulled her hand away, it was covered in blood.

Her face contorted with pain and grief. "Please, don't do this, Draco!"

Draco saw himself pull out a crooked dagger from his pants leg by his ankle. He went white with the realization of what his future self was about to do to this poor girl. He yelled out trying to stop it all, but no one could possibly hear him. He was a shadow, an image. He wasn't really there. Draco watched helplessly as the older Draco reared back with the dagger then brought it forward with all his might, sinking it solidly into the girl's soft flesh around her abdomen.

Before he had stabbed her the girl had begun screaming his name, and now, as she sank down the wall- blood pooling around her, the crimson staining the gold of her flesh, she made out the last syllable, a quiet, barely audible 'O'.

Draco watched from beside Voldemort, bile threatening to escape the constraints of his throat and mouth. He had just witnessed himself kill another person. The future Draco brushed back the girl's hair and kissed her forehead.

"They wouldn't let me love you, Hermione. . ."

Draco looked up at the sound of the girl's name. Hermione. It was impossible. 'That couldn't be the same Hermione. Of course it was, you dolt! How many Hermione's do you know!' Logic and heart were out to get him.

He kept his gaze steadily as he watched the older version of himself stand up, clutching the dagger tightly in his right hand. With his left hand, he reached down and grabbed hold of Hermione's cold and limp one.

Draco's ears perked up as he heard future Draco speak again.

"And now, my love, it is time for me to venture into the unknown by the same means as you have. Same death. . .same murderer. . ."

Seconds later, Draco was witnessing himself committing suicide as he brought down the long dagger in the same way he had to Hermione. And then he was on the ground- head turned to Hermione's, still clutching her hand. He was dead.

Draco shut his eyes at the sight and felt himself begin to shake involuntarily. He felt the apparition place his hand on his arm once more, and when he opened his eyes, he was in the comforts of his bed, sunlight dappling through the window.

It was Christmas Day.

Draco smiled as he tossed off the huge comforter. He flung himself out of the bed, slipped on his slippers, and ran out into the common room. Everyone glanced up at him simultaneously, the same bemused expressions on their faces. He felt a hand on his shoulder suddenly and turned around.

He smirked. "Pansy."

Pansy giggled and ran her fingers down his chest suggestively, kissing his cheek seductively. Draco's smirk broadened even more as he pulled Pansy off of him. She stood in front of him trying to appear as if she were pouting. What Draco said next registered a real pout from her.

"Pansy, you disgust me," he told her turning around to walk out of the common room. Right before he got back to his room he hollered over his shoulder. "By the way, I just broke up with you, in case you're confused."

Once in the room, he walked back to his bed, crawled over to the nightstand, and pulled the picture of his mother back up. I will change for you, mum. Tonight. At the Yule Ball. . ." The school had decided to make the dance an annual event, since it had evoked such praise the first time it was held.

~*~

Draco stood at the entrance of the Great Hall as couple after couple kissed under the mistletoe that hung over the threshold. He glanced at his watch. 20:03. 'Where is she?' he thought to himself. Most people were in the dance already, and had been for the past half hour. Ron had come in already- apparently he and Hermione had a pretty big tiff and decided not to go with each other. Potter had come in with Weaslette and was presently snogging her up on the dance floor.

He turned back towards the entrance hall and suddenly, there she was. She looked like an angel in her long red dress robes that hugged her proportions beautifully. Her hair cascaded in wavy curls down her back. She looked radiant.

"Wow. . ." he breathed as she made her way down the staircase, her hand on the banister for support. Right as she got to the entrance, Draco stepped out from behind the shadows and met her directly under the mistletoe.

Hermione glanced up at him in surprise. "What are you doing here?" she asked him. Her tone, he noted, wasn't dripping with malice as it usually did when directed at him. In fact, she sounded as if she really wanted to know. He smiled silently and gestured to the mistletoe.

Glancing up, her face turned slightly red as she saw the plant. Draco smirked at her expression as she resettled her gaze on him. "Are you serious?" she asked.

Draco was beginning to worry now. He gulped slowly, and nodded. She looked a little wary. "Listen to me, Hermione. . ."he realized he had said her name. So had Hermione, apparently, because she raised her finger to his lips and slowly guided him toward her. He felt his heart beat faster as he placed his hands at the small of her back, felt her breath on his cheek. This was it, it was now or never. He brought one hand up and pushed it through her hair, moving it off her face and just as suddenly he brought his lips to hers and captured her with an emotional he had never felt before. He was caught with surprise at the feeling he got just by kissing her. Obviously she felt it too, because now she was kissing him back with ferocity. She opened her mouth slightly and he took the opportunity to push his tongue through the opening, seizing hers with untamed passion. It finally registered to them both that they should come up for air, and when they did, they were caught in each other's gaze. Neither could look away. Draco took her hand in his, and they walked into the Great Hall together, still unable to pivot their eyes away from the other.

It was the unexpected gasp from the crowded room that made them look away, and when they saw everyone's expressions both began to laugh and Draco put his arms around her as a slow song came on and they began to dance their very first dance.

~*~

Afterward:

Voldemort did indeed kill Lucius but by some strange unexpected occurrence of events, Severus Snape killed Voldemort. Snape is presently loathed by many Slytherins but adored by many from the other houses. Snape has also found love but won't tell a soul who it is. Many suspect the new defense against the dark arts professor.

Ginny finally stopped chasing after Harry. The Yule Ball was the last time she ever thought of him in that way because frankly, she felt kissing Harry was about the same as kissing one of her brothers. She is currently engaged to Seamus Finnegan.

Ron went ballistic when he found out about Hermione and Draco, but he settled down a bit when he attended their wedding and found himself a bridesmaid who was also, in turn, Draco's cousin. They have been happily dating for two years now.

Draco and Hermione are still happily together, and were wedded a year after their graduation from Hogwarts. They are expecting their first child in two months. Draco has never been happier and thanks his mother, wherever she may be.

~*~

Author's Note:

Hiya. I just had the urge to write that, so I did. I don't think it's half bad myself- a little corny, but oh well. So do you see that little blue review button right down. . .

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