"Ronald Weasley! Are you doodling? On my notes!"

"Must be that bloody time of the month again," Ron muttered, causing Harry to snicker.

Snatching the parchment away, Hermione exploded, "That's it! You two can use your own fucking notes!"

Harry and Ron stared at her in shock.

Hermione's hand flew to her mouth. She couldn't believe she'd just said that. She never cursed, not in the Muggle sense of the word anyway. Maybe Ron had a point. There was a first for everything. It wasn't her usual time of month, but she had been feeling crampy lately. Taking her notes with her, Hermione stomped out of the portrait hole.

Cursing her monthly curse, life giving miracle though it was, she headed toward the Hospital Wing. Unfortunately, the cramps eventually got so unbearable, she doubled over in pain. And that was the position Malfoy found her when he rounded the corner and bumped right into her.

"Geez, Granger. Lucky you had on those frumpy knickers, or I might've accidentally taken your virginity. Ten points from Gryffindor. You're out after curfew."

"For a legitimate reason," Hermione proclaimed, although curiously her cramps had disappeared. "I'm sick."

"You do look awful," Malfoy admitted, staring at the grinning snowman plastered across her chest, "but it's your own fault for wearing that ugly Christmas sweater. Ten points for violating the dress code."

"I can wear whatever I want in my free time," Hermione protested.

"Not if it's offensive."

"It isn't."

"I disagree."

Hermione scowled. "If you don't get out of my way, I'll remove you myself. Bit by bit." She looked down at his nether regions to emphasize her point.

"Another twenty points. For threatening the Head Boy's head boy."

"Fifty points from Slytherin," countered Hermione. "For being a pain in the Head Girl's ass!"

"Tsk, tsk, tsk," replied Malfoy, reprovingly. "Such words coming out of the Head Girl's mouth. Perhaps, someone should take a bar of soap to it."

Hermione leaned in menacingly. "I would like to see someone try." This might have come off as fairly intimidating had she not ruined it all by giving him a curious sniff.

"What are you doing?"

Unable to stop herself, she sniffed again. "Are you wearing cologne? You smell like..." Grabbing him by the shirt, she pressed her face against his chest and breathed him in deeply. He smelled like pine needles and apple cider with cinnamon sticks. He smelled like marshmallowy hot chocolate and gingerbread men. He smelled like all of her favorite holiday scents rolled into one. "You smell like Christmas."

"Look, Granger," said Malfoy, trying unsuccessfully to pry her off. "This is getting a little awkward. Maybe you should go to the Hospital Wing. I think there's something very, very wrong with you."

"What's going on here?" barked Snape.

"I have absolutely no idea," said Malfoy, looking at his Head of House helplessly. "She won't let go of me. Apparently, I smell like Christmas."

"He does, Professor. Smell him."

Ignoring her, Snape turned on Malfoy. "What is it? A love potion? A Confundus Spell?"

"I didn't do anything. I swear."

"He smells like Christmas. Like pumpkin spice, eggnog and freshly fallen snow. You have to believe me. Please just smell him," Hermione pleaded.

Looking very put out, Snape gave Malfoy an awkward sniff. "I don't smell anything."

"Not even snickerdoodles?"

"Especially not snickerdoodles," Snape replied gruffly.

"I don't understand."

"Did you eat anything unusual? Come into contact with any unidentified potions?"

Hermione shook her head. "I'm fine."

"I knew you weren't sick," Malfoy accused.

"I am too sick."

"What's wrong with you?" asked Snape.

Hermione blushed. "It's a woman thing."

"What kind of... Oh," said Snape, looking uncomfortable. "I suppose it make sense now."

"What do you mean by that?"

"He means everyone knows women with PMS are crazy," Malfoy cracked.

Hermione pushed Malfoy against the wall and pressed her wand to his throat.

"Miss Granger! Stop that this minute!" Snape ordered.

Lowering her wand, Hermione gave out an exasperated huff. As she did so, a single white feather puffed into the air and floated in front of them.

Snape plucked it from the air and stared at it with dread.

"What's that?" asked Malfoy, peering at the feather curiously.

"Trouble," said Snape with a sigh.


Smiling, Dumbledore sat down next to Hermione's bed in the Hospital Wing. Snape stood awkwardly behind him. "I think it's time we've had a little talk, my dear."

"Okay," said Hermione hesitantly.

"Now that you're a young woman, your body is changing. You're probably experiencing cramping, volatile behavior–"

"This really isn't necessary," Hermione interrupted, clearly embarrassed. "I've been having my period since I was eleven. I'm familiar with PMS."

After staring at her blankly for a moment, Dumbledore chuckled. "I'm not talking about PMS, Miss Granger. What you're experiencing is PVS, Pre Veela Syndrome."

"But I'm Muggle-born!"

"Apparently not. Madam Pomfrey has performed all of the tests and without a doubt you are a burgeoning young Veela."

"But I don't even like Veela." Fleur was the only one she knew, but she was a bitch.

"What do you know about Veela?"

"Veela are semi-human magical beings originating from Eastern Europe that transform into violent bird-like creatures when angered," Hermione recited.

"Very impressive. Ten points to Gryffindor."

Snape rolled his eyes.

"Do you know anything about Veela mating habits?"

Hermione shook her head, looking slightly wary of what was to come.

"Veela have one mate for life. Their bond is very powerful. Most Veela spend years searching for their mate. You, however, Miss Granger, are very lucky, for you've already found your mate."

Feeling light headed, Hermione's gaze warily shifted to Snape.

"No," replied Snape, looking horrified. "No!"

Dumbledore chuckled. "Professor Snape isn't your mate, although that would've been highly amusing. Your mate is Draco Malfoy."

"What!" exclaimed Hermione, several feathers puffing in the air.

"I know this is a shock, but you need to calm down. Your powers are still very unstable."

"Are you sure it's not Professor Snape?" Hermione asked desperately.

"Your mate is Mr. Malfoy," Snape snapped.

"The reason Mr. Malfoy smelled like Christmas to you," Dumbledore explained, "is because it's the Veela mating season. Your body was telling you that you've found your mate and are ready to consummate your bond."

"You mean I have to have sex with him!" Hermione gasped, more feathers flying.

"Well... he is your mate."

"No. Absolutely not. I refuse to have that insufferable asshole for my mate. You can take those frigging twinkling eyes of yours and go find me a fucking replacement. Now!"

"Miss Granger, I assure you–"

"NOW!" she screamed through an explosion of feathers.

"Well," said Dumbledore, rushing out the door with Snape, "she took that much better than I thought."


Dumbledore and Snape returned the next morning after Madam Pomfrey assured them Hermione was in a much better state of mind thanks to several potent Calming Draughts.

"I don't want him for a mate. I decline."

"I'm afraid that's not how it works, Miss Granger," Dumbledore replied patiently.

"Are you sure I can't exchange him?" Hermione asked, her eyes wandering to Snape.

"No," barked Snape

"Perhaps if you gave Mr. Malfoy a chance..."

"I would rather die than mate with Draco Malfoy," Hermione spat.

"That is your choice, of course."

"What!" sputtered Hermione. "Are you saying that if I don't mate with Malfoy... I'll die?"

"No, certainly not."

Hermione sighed in relief.

"Not right away, anyway. You could live for years. Of course, it would be a life of pain and agony."

"Oh," said Hermione, disappointed.

"So you see–"

"What if... Malfoy died?"

Dumbledore and Snape exchanged nervous looks. "You would be free from the bond."

Hermione's eyes lit up.

"But," continued Dumbledore, "I should warn you that killing Mr. Malfoy would come with serious consequences."

"Azkaban would be preferable to touching that slimy git."

"You wouldn't be able to take your N.E.W.T.s," Dumbledore pointed out.

"I suppose I'll have to put up with him a little longer," Hermione grumbled.

"That would be best," said Dumbledore, clearly relieved. "Madam Pomfrey said you're free to go, provided you take the potions she prescribed. They won't cure you, but they'll help you manage until you can control your powers."

"I'll be fine," Hermione promised.

"It's not you we're worried about," Snape muttered.


"Where've you been?" asked Ron. "We waited, but you never showed up. The bacon was all gone by the time we got here."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "I was in the Hospital Wing."

"I hope Madam Pomfrey cured your PMS," said Ron. "I need to borrow your notes again."

"It wasn't PMS," Hermione replied glumly. "It's some other bloody awful problem."

"Are you okay?" asked Harry.

Hermione looked around furtively, but most people had already left for class. "It's kind of embarrassing."

"More embarrassing than being on your period?"

Hermione glared at Ron. "Never mind."

"Come on, Hermione," said Harry, elbowing Ron. "You can tell us anything."

Taking a deep breath, Hermione blurted, "I'm a Veela."

Ron snorted. "You're joking, right? Aren't Veela usually... sexy?"

What happened next was a blur of feathers and hexes. Hermione couldn't quite remember exactly how she replied to Ron's comment, but it ended with him in the Hospital Wing.

Hermione arrived at Potion's fifteen minutes late, still fuming.

Malfoy scrunched up his nose. "You smell like burnt feathers."

"Well, you smell like–"

"Christmas," said Malfoy, finishing her sentence and punctuating it with a smirk.

"Yes," growled Hermione, chopping a Shrivelfig with a little more force than necessary. She spent the rest of class trying not to breathe. Who knew the scent of peanut brittle and fruitcake was such a turn on? When she couldn't take it anymore, she opened up a vial of nasty-smelling liquid and dumped it on Malfoy's head. "But now you smell like stink sap."


"How was detention?" asked Ron, having forgiven her after finding out what she did to Malfoy.

"Not so great," replied Hermione glumly. "I accidentally turned on my Veela charm and had to spend practically the whole detention with Professor Snape making googly eyes at me."

Ron let out a shudder.

"Yeah, it was pretty bad. I was barely able to brew a perfect Living Death Draught."

"Snape didn't try anything, did he?" asked Harry.

"Well..." Hermione hesitated, clearly embarrassed. "After I'd cleaned up and was about to leave, he leaned in like he was going to give me a goodnight kiss. And I kind of panicked."

"Don't tell me you kissed the slimy git."

"Of course not. I set his robes on fire."

Harry and Ron burst out laughing.

"I only did it to snap him out of it," said Hermione defensively.

"And did it work?" asked Harry, still chuckling.

"Yes," said Hermione, grimacing. "Needless to say, he wasn't very pleased. He gave me quite an earful. Apparently, he's still holding a grudge from the last time I set his robes on fire."

"How many points did we lose?"

"None, actually. And when I asked him if I should come back tomorrow night for detention, he told me to get out. So, I think we're good."


"I don't want to be your mate," Malfoy announced loudly, earning a glare from Ms. Pince.

"Heard the good news, huh?" Hermione replied sarcastically.

"I don't like you."

"Trust me, the feeling is mutual. I find everything about you repulsive."

"Except for how I smell."

"Yes, except for that," Hermione admitted dejectedly, breathing in the scent of candy canes and a crisp winter morning. "Why can't you wear some vile cologne like the rest of the eighth year boys? You're distracting me. Can't you see I'm trying to find a solution to our problem?"

"Dumbledore said there's nothing I can do to stop you finding me irresistible."

"Not even talking?" Hermione retorted.

"Admit it, you want to do me right now. Dumbledore said Veela are insatiable during the mating season. Although you'd think if you were trying to woo me, you'd do it wearing something a little less ridiculous," he said, sneering at the red-nosed reindeer on her sweater.

"I'm not here to fucking woo you. I'm looking for a way to break our bond. Do you see that really tall stack of books? Those are on deadly poisons. Just in case I don't find anything. Don't push me." Feathers puffed out around her.

"I'm telling Dumbledore about this," said Malfoy, fleeing.

Sighing, Hermione vanished the pile of feathers from on top of her book and returned to reading.


"What's wrong?" asked Harry when Hermione finally returned to the common room looking defeated.

Hermione hesitated. She hadn't told them about Malfoy yet. She didn't think they'd take it well. "It's nothing... Oh!" she gasped. "The cramps are back."

"Maybe you should talk to Fleur," Ron suggested.

"I don't need a fucking chat with Fleur!" shouted Hermione, a wave of magic and feathers bursting from her. "I need to get laid!"

"Okay," said Harry and Ron at the same time, wearing identical sappy looks on their faces.

Glaring at one another, they both drew their wands.

"She meant she wants to shag me," Ron growled.

"I'm the Chosen One," insisted Harry. "She wants to shag me."

Hermione hit them with Stinging Hexes. "I don't want to shag either of you. I want to shag Malfoy. He's my... mate."

"But he's our mortal enemy!"

"I didn't choose this! Believe me, I've looked in every single book in the library. There's no solution."

"If you shag him... you're a traitor."

"I will do what I want, Ronald Weasley!" Hermione screamed, producing enough raw magic to transform into her angry Veela form.

Shrieking, Ron and Harry shoved each other in their haste to escape from Hermione's sharp beak and talons.

"I really need to get laid," Hermione muttered, her wings flapping irritably behind her.


The next morning, Hermione yanked Malfoy into an empty classroom. "I've changed my mind."

"About your fashion choices?" asked Malfoy, eyeing this morning's Christmas sweater. "Good idea. Ugly gingerbread men are never in season."

"Would you shut up about my sweaters? They're very festive."

"They're also very ugly."

"Would you please just not talk? You're making what I need to tell you very difficult." Taking in a deep breath of mulled wine and a crackling fire, she said, "I've changed my mind about the whole mating thing."

"I'm not interested in spawning your little brats," Malfoy sneered.

"I don't want to have babies with you. I just want to have sex with you. I want to ride you until your penis falls off." She screwed up her face in concentration and tried to bring forth her Veela charm. When she looked up, Malfoy was already halfway out the door.

"I couldn't help overhearing," said Ginny, walking into the room.

"You mean eavesdropping," Hermione retorted, watching Ginny roll up the string in her hands.

Ginny shoved the Extendable Ear in her pocket and shrugged. "Same difference."

"I don't understand. What am I doing wrong?"

"I think you need to take a more subtle approach," Ginny suggested. "Telling a boy you want to ride him until his penis falls off will scare him off."

"Boys are such pussies," Hermione grumbled.

Ginny nodded her head in agreement.


When Ron and Harry returned from breakfast, they found Hermione alone in the common room surrounded by books.

"Where's your mate?" asked Ron sarcastically.

"Probably hiding from me in fear," Hermione muttered bitterly.

"Oh," said Harry. "When you didn't come to breakfast we thought you might be, uh... you know."

"I do know. Believe me, I know. It's all I can think about. But Malfoy's not interested. I even tried using my Veela charm on him. Turns out that power doesn't work on mates. Can you believe it?"

"Do you really want a mate you can control so easily?" asked Harry.

Ron snickered.

Hermione sighed. "At this point, I just want a mate. The problem is figuring out how to get him to want me."

"Find anything?"

"Some Veela woo their mates by performing a sensual dance."

"Anything else?" asked Harry. "Dancing isn't really your thing."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Oh, well, your dancing is, er..."

"Terrible," finished Ron.

"Dancing apparently comes naturally to me. It says so right here in this book."

"Well, apparently the author of that book hasn't seen you dance," retorted Ron.

"I think a world renowned author knows more than you do, Ronald Weasley."

"Alright, let's see it then," Ron challenged.


"Unless you'd prefer to admit defeat." Harry's eyes twinkled.

Looking determined, Hermione said, "Prepare to be entranced."

Ron snorted.

Ignoring him, Hermione closed her eyes and willed her mind to tell her body what to do. After a couple of minutes of over thinking it, she let inhibitions go and swayed rhythmically to her inner music, her arms making fluttery motions of their own accord.

"That's bloody awful," Ron declared. "It's not even turning me on."

"It's not awful. Is it Harry?" asked Hermione, turning to him hopefully.


Hermione groaned. She hated being bad at anything, even something as silly as dancing. "What am I going to do? Malfoy's never going to want me. I'm going to die a bitter angry virgin." Feathers burst around her.

Ron and Harry exchanged nervous looks. Hermione was getting more volatile by the minute. N.E.W.T.s were coming up. They didn't need this shit. There was only one thing to do. Get Hermione laid.

"We'll help."

"I thought Malfoy was your mortal enemy," Hermione replied mockingly.

"He is," said Ron, "but Mum will kill me if I don't pass my N.E.W.T.s."

"And I have to get an 'O' in Potions to be an Auror," said Harry. "We need you."

"Sane," added Ron.

Hermione scowled.

"So," said Harry, interrupting before Ron got his eyes pecked out. "Can we help you?"

"I suppose it couldn't make things worse," Hermione grumbled.

"That's the positive attitude we're looking for," quipped Ron.

"Just get on with it. What was I doing wrong?"

"You know that weird flailing thing you were doing with your arms?" asked Harry. "Yeah, don't do that."

"I was only doing what came naturally to me."

"Obviously, that's where you went wrong," said Ron.

"But the book said–"

"Forget the book. Try this," suggested Ron, thrusting his hips back and forth.

"That's vulgar."

"Do you want to shag him or have tea with him?" asked Ron.

Hermione started thrusting.

"I don't know," said Harry critically. "I think Malfoy is more of a breast man. Try shaking up top a little."

"Like this?" asked Hermione, shimmying her shoulders.

"A little more. So they jiggle."

"And keep thrusting," added Ron enthusiastically.

This was the scene Colin Creevey stumbled upon when he came back from breakfast. Needless to say, his eyes nearly popped out of his head.

"We're busy. Get lost," said Ron.

When Colin didn't budge, Hermione went angry Veela on him and sent him running to his room.

"Brilliant," said Ron, finding her transformation a little more impressive when it wasn't being used against him. "But not at all sexy. If you want to get with Malfoy, you're going to have to not do that."

"Fine," huffed Hermione, willing herself back to normal. It was getting a little easier to control.

"Better," said Harry.

"But not good enough," said Ron. "You need a makeover."

"What do you know about makeovers?"

"Plenty," Ron insisted. "We just have to change everything about you. Clothes, hair, makeup..."

"And you should walk with a book on your head," added Harry.

"You two have been watching too many rom coms."

"The first thing we need to do," said Ron, appraising her, "is get rid of that hideous sweater."

"No! I like my Christmas sweaters."

"But does Malfoy like your Christmas sweaters?"

Hermione pursed her lips. "He thinks they're ugly."


"But I don't care. I didn't get to wear my Christmas sweaters last year because of You Know Who. And it didn't feel quite like Christmas. It's my tradition and if I want to wear a Christmas sweater, I'm going to wear a fucking Christmas sweater!" Feathers fell around them like snow.

"Okay, okay," said Ron, brushing the feathers from his hair. "Wear your stupid sweater. We'll just shorten your skirt and maybe he won't notice."

After working their magic, Harry and Ron couldn't help gaping at the new Hermione. Her transformation left them completely speechless.

It had the exact opposite effect on Hermione.



"Are you almost done?" Hermione snapped.

"I'm sorry," said Ginny, wiping the tears from her eyes. "It was just so funny. The blue eye shadow and the bright red lipstick on your... beak." She broke out into a fresh round of giggles.

"It looked better before she went all Veela on us," grumbled Ron.

"It did not," Hermione seethed.

"What were you thinking letting these two idiots give you a makeover?"

"I was desperate. If I don't have sex with Malfoy, I'm going to die. I need him."

"Well, you don't need all of this," said Ginny, waving her wand and vanishing all of Ron and Harry's handiwork.

"Don't you think I need a makeover?"

Ginny shook her head. "I'm pretty sure Malfoy is already attracted to you. He maybe just doesn't know it yet. You need to make him jealous. That's how I got Harry."

"Maybe Ron–"

"No, not Ron," Ginny interrupted. "Harry."

"But Harry's your boyfriend," protested Hermione.

"It'll be worth it. If you want to drive Malfoy insane with jealousy, it has to be Harry. Besides, Malfoy has it coming. Karma's a bitch. No offense, Hermione."

Hermione scowled but decided to let it go. Ginny was being awfully generous offering up her boyfriend like that. "We should practice. So it looks natural."

Ginny smirked. "Go ahead, Harry. Show her your moves."

"I can't–"

"Touch my breast," Hermione ordered through a burst of feathers.

Flinching, Harry woodenly touched her breast. At the sight of Hermione's glare, he awkwardly squeezed it.

Hermione made a sound of disgust. "Really, Ginny. I don't know what you see in him. He's about as romantic as a slug. He's worse than Ron, for Merlin's sake."

"Hey!" exclaimed Harry and Ron at the same time.

Ginny let out a sigh. "This is going to take a while."


Hermione and Harry entered the Great Hall holding hands. As expected, it did not go unnoticed. Excited whispering broke out around them. Hermione didn't dare look, but she could feel Malfoy's eyes on her. Throughout dinner, Harry and Hermione did every nauseating thing couples do. When Hermione finally felt the jealousy radiating off her mate in violent waves, she smiled at Harry and said, "Now."

Harry draped his arm over her shoulder. After awkwardly searching around a bit, he finally found his target and gave it a squeeze. Hermione could see Ginny shaking with her head in her hands. Ginny passed it off as crying, but Hermione knew she was laughing her ass off. Despite Harry's less than stellar performance, she knew it had worked because Malfoy was storming toward them with his wand raised.

"Get your hands off her pussy!" Malfoy demanded.

Looking confused, Harry said, "But we haven't gotten to that part yet."

Hermione snorted. "I think he means my sweater."

Harry looked at the Santa cat on Hermione's sweater and smiled at Malfoy. "But she likes it when I pet her pussy."

Ginny's pretend wailing got even louder.

Yanking Hermione toward him, Malfoy hissed, "What do you think you're doing?"

"I'm just having a little fun... with your replacement."

"You can't replace me!"

"I can and I have. What are you going to do about it?"

"I'm going to challenge Potter to a duel, of course."

"You're going to challenge the wizard who defeated Voldemort to a duel? Over me?" asked Hermione incredulously.

"Apparently, I am," said Malfoy, his hand tightening on his wand.


"I don't know," said Malfoy, looking confused. "But I feel very strongly about it."

"Well, go on," said Hermione. "Let's see it then."

"Look, Malfoy, I don't want–" began Harry.

"Expelliarmus!" shouted Malfoy, sending Harry's wand flying across the room.

"Dammit, Malfoy. I was going to say I didn't want to duel." Harry stomped off after his wand.

"I don't want you seeing him," Malfoy declared.

"I don't see how it's any of your concern," Hermione replied haughtily.

"I'm your mate."

"Well, you're not acting like one."

"I just found out about this yesterday. What do you want from me?"

"I want to have sex with you!"

The crowd that had gathered around them gasped.

"Does this mean you're breaking up with me?" joked Harry upon his return.


"Son of bitch," muttered Harry, going off to look for his wand again.

By this time, Ginny had stopped pretending and was laughing so hard she actually was crying.

"Everyone back to your tables," Dumbledore ordered. "Except you two. I think it's time I put my matchmaking skills to work. Perhaps, they could use your office for a date, Severus?"

"Absolutely not," said Snape.

"Please, Professor," Hermione pleaded, pouring on the charm.

Snape looked adoringly at Hermione. "I insist you use my private quarters."

"You're getting really good at that, Miss Granger," commented Dumbledore, his eyes twinkling.

"I know, right?" replied Hermione, grinning.


"What are they doing here? You can't bring your minions on a date."

"I'm not doing this without protection."

"Couldn't you just bring a pack of condoms?" Hermione joked.

The three of them stared at her blankly, not getting the Muggle reference. Hermione sighed. "Can they at least sit on the other side of the room?"

"Fine," said Malfoy. "But don't try anything."

"How am I supposed to woo you if I don't try anything?" Hermione huffed.

"Can I eat these jelly slugs?" asked Crabbe.

"Will it get you to shut up?"

Crabbe grunted in the affirmative and sat on the other side of the room with Goyle. Ready to get on with the date, Hermione patted the seat next to her. When Malfoy hesitated, she said, "I won't bite... as long as you don't piss me off."

Malfoy's eyes widened.

"I'm kidding... sort of."

"These jelly slugs don't have any flavor," complained Crabbe.

"Then don't eat them," Hermione snapped.

"I think they're real slugs," Goyle said, still chewing. "I dare you to eat the whole jar."

"I said, don't eat them!" Hermione yelled, Crabbe's hand already in the jar.

Crabbe smiled at her. "Do I have slugs in my teeth?"

Malfoy made a gagging noise.

"You're friends are real charming," replied Hermione sarcastically.

"Like yours are any better."

"They have one thing going for them. They're not here."

"Are you going to woo me or what? I don't have all night."

"I thought we'd get to know each other first."

"I've known you since first year. Just get on with it."

"Okay," said Hermione, starting to get nervous. She stood up on wobbly legs. "According to the books I've read, Veela often perform a dance to attract their mate."

"You want to dance for me?"

"Uhhh," said Hermione, suddenly feeling very insecure. "I was going to dance for you, but I forgot the music." She smiled apologetically.

"I have a kazoo," offered Crabbe.

"And I can play this jar of pickled toads," said Goyle, taking it off Snape's shelf. He dipped his finger in the murky liquid, and then slid it along the jar's rim to make a ringing noise.

Malfoy smirked at her. "Problem solved."

"Great," said Hermione, not feeling at all great about having to perform a sensual dance to a kazoo and a jar of pickled toads. "Okay. Let's do this." She did some shoulder rolls, cracked her knuckles and then nodded her head at Crabbe and Goyle to begin.

Hermione did her best. She thrust and shimmied as though her life depended on it, which it kind of did, because she really felt as though she was going to die if Malfoy didn't have sex with her soon, but it was a complete disaster. Crabbe sucked at playing the kazoo and the sound and smell coming from Goyle's jar of pickled toads was giving her a headache. By the end of it, Malfoy was laughing uncontrollably, and Hermione was molting.

"I liked it," said Goyle, shrugging.

"Can you do it again naked?" asked Crabbe.

Hermione responded my morphing into her angry Veela form. In their rush to get out alive, they knocked over the slugs and pickled toads. The whole date was a mess in every sense of the word.

"I should be going, too," said Malfoy. "I'm going home for Christmas tomorrow. Thanks for the dance. That was... I don't know what that was, but I'll never forget it."

Hermione scowled at him, her wings flapping angrily. She was glad she thought of that spell to prevent ruining another Christmas sweater. "That's it?" she snapped. "I went through that whole humiliating dance, and you don't even have time for a quickie?"

Malfoy looked at Hermione in all her glory, his eyes lingering first on her feathery white wings and then on the chubby penguin of her favorite Christmas sweater. "No."

"Not even a fucking goodnight kiss!" she yelled after him.


"I'll get it!" yelled Harry, opening the door at The Burrow. "Oh, it's you."

"I'm here to see Granger," Malfoy said awkwardly.

"It's about time."

"Are you going to let me in?" Malfoy growled.

"One thing first. Expelliarmus!"

"What the hell was that for?"

"Payback. Now, go get your wand and then get your ass in here. Hermione's been mental without you."

"Who was at the door?" asked Ron.


"Where'd he go?"

"To get his wand." Harry grinned.

Ron glared. "You better not have let him escape. I don't think I can take much more of Hermione's mood swings."

"Don't worry. He'll be back. He's got it bad for Hermione."

"How do you know?"

"You'll see."

When Malfoy finally returned, Ron stared at him in shock. "He's wearing a Christmas sweater."

"With an elf on it," said Harry, grinning. He pointed his finger at the elf's stripey socks. "A free elf."

Ron gave Harry a high five. "We're so passing our N.E.W.T.s."

Malfoy angrily cleared his throat.

Filled with Christmas cheer and a lot of hot buttered rum, Ron impulsively embraced the scowling, ugly Christmas sweater-wearing Slytherin standing in his doorway. "Welcome to The Burrow."

Laughing at Malfoy's horrified face, Harry piled on, wrapping his arms around them both. "Merry Christmas, Malfoy!"