All I Want

Kneazle

Disclaimer: I don't own HP. "All I want for Christmas" is by Mariah Carey. 'Priest' is a manga/graphic novel created by Min-Woo Hyung. Both The Snow Queen and The Ice Maiden are by Hans Christian Anderson.

Summary: Christmas is in the air! Hogwarts is in a celebrating mood and you're welcome to join in with the joys of the prefects getting ready for the Yule Ball! H/Hr

*

I don't want a lot for Christmas

There is just one thing I need

I don't care about the presents

Underneath the Christmas tree

I just want you for my own

More than you could ever know

Make my wish come true oh

All I want for Christmas is you

*

December 5, 2003, 7:54 am

            I sat on the Gryffindor bench next to my best friend, Harry Potter, engrossed in another one of my very large texts. However, it wasn't the school text that I was reading, oh no. Instead, it was a Japanese manga that I had smuggled in. I couldn't let my friends know of my anime and manga obsession, because I'm sure they wouldn't understand why I like such violent 'comic books' like Priest. It's quite bloody, you see.

            Anyways, so engrossed, as I was in the latest volume that I had, I had failed to notice Headmaster Dumbledore standing up and addressing the school in a vociferous, wispy, voice.

            It wasn't until Harry nudged me did I realize that Dumbledore called a prefects meeting. Oops.

            The lot of us – Harry and myself from Gryffindor (Ron gave him prefect badge up for being on the Quidditch team), Draco and Blaise from Slytherin, Justin and Hannah from Hufflepuff, and finally Susan and Terry from Ravenclaw – stood and followed him through the same door that Harry went through in our fourth year for the Triwizard Tournament.

            I followed Harry, jamming a piece of buttered toast into my mouth as I raced after the group, my book bag trailing on the ground as I tried to shrug it onto my shoulders and finished the page I was reading.

            I managed to make it into the chamber before Dumbledore closed the door. He winked, and I blushed, moving to my place next to Harry, who was chuckling silently.

            "Now, I have gathered you all here because I want you eight to come up with the Yule Ball's decorations," he said, his eyes twinkling. Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle. I couldn't help it; I stared, my jaw open.

            Then, I came to my senses. "Yule Ball?" I asked. I was sure that I hadn't heard anything about that. Then again, I do tend to give my undivided attention to Ivan. And Heero. And Tenchi, Kenshin, and, not to mention it, Squall from Final Fantasy.

            Dumbledore's damn eyes twinkled again. Bloody Christmas thing that he and Santa share. "Oh? Did I forget to mention that? Ah yes, we're having another Yule Ball."

            Cricket. Or, er, considering it's Christmastime, snowflake. Snowflake.

            It was dead silent before Draco Malfoy blurted out, from his position against the stonewall with his arms and ankles crossed, "You're not bloody serious, are you?"

            "I'm always serious, Mister Malfoy," replied the twinkle. Er, Dumbledore. Stop STARING Hermione!

            "And you want us to come up with decorations?" added Blaise in his sexy accent, except it was in the same tone as Draco's – disbelief!

            "Er… yes." Dumbledore raised his eyebrows. "I did mention that, didn't I? I think I did. Ah, old timer's."

            My jaw hit the floor.

            I couldn't help it. Really, I couldn't.

            "Do you want a theme?" I heard the words escape my lips before my brain could catch up with the rest of me. What a bloody stupid thing to ask.

            "AH!" Dumbledore exclaimed. "I was waiting for someone to ask that!"

            I was on the receiving end of a-many glares. Death glares. Radar glares. Eep.

            I meekly inched closer to Harry and bowed my head. Dumbledore, of course, in his exhilaration, didn't notice. Or chose not to.

            "I was hoping for something along the lines of the Muggle, 'Frosty the Snowman' theme."

            I stared at Dumbledore with barely obscured horror. Susan and Harry echoed my look.

            "You're crazy," were the first words out my mouth, which yet again, ran away from my brain.

            "They do say that old age makes people go crazy, yes," Dumbledore, answered me solemnly. "I take it that you don't like my idea, Miss Granger?" 

            "Not particularly," I murmured. "Why don't we just do a Winter Wonderland? Not too hard with charms and the likes."

            "Bor-ring," was heard from the Slytherin side of the room. Harry shot a glare at Draco.

            "What do you have in mind, Malfoy?" he asked, with narrowed eyes, as a hand went to my shoulder to offer sympathy that was not needed, but taken just because I wanted it.

            Draco pushed himself away from the wall and began, in his drawled voice, "Why don't we just do that Brother's Grimmy story?"

            I rolled my eyes. "Brother's Grimm. Take Muggle Studies."

            Draco frowned and corrected himself. "That Brother's Grimm story, about that Ice Princess?"

            "Well, which do you mean?" I sighed, frustrated. "Do you mean The Snow Queen or The Ice Maiden?"

            Draco looked perplexed. "Umm…"

            I frowned and went into lecture mode. "For starters, both stories are written by Hans Christian Anderson, not the Brother's Grimm, and The Snow Queen is about a piece of a looking-glass and the Snow Queen who makes herself known to a little boy named Kay. She was made of ice and snow, and the story goes on to talk about Kay being taken and dead by the Snow Queen and his grandmother, Gerda, looking for him.

            "However, The Ice Maiden is about Rudy, a young man and the Ice Maiden, who is a type of goddess who controls winter. She wants to capture Rudy, which she does, but then he escapes. The end."

            Everyone was staring at me. God, you'd think they were used to me sprouting nonsense like that by now. It has been seven years, anyways.

            "Well, you did ask," I replied saucily. I crossed my arms and pouted.

            "Right," Blaise drawled. "That rules those two out."

            "What!" Draco protested.

            Harry snickered and Terry looked occupied with Susan's shoes.

            I pursed my lips.

            Justin timidly suggested, "I say we go with Hermione's idea."

            A chorus of "aye" echoed the chamber and I allowed a small smile to squeak onto my face. Ah, the joys of being a know-it-all.

            "Well, then!" Dumbledore clapped gleefully. "Now that that is settled, you've got three weeks to start planning. It's for the twenty-fourth, Christmas Eve. Enjoy!"

            And then he was gone (with a wink, a tweak of the nose and whoosh!).

*

December 9, 5:45 pm

            "This isn't going to work, you know," I mentioned to Harry for the millionth time as we sat with the other prefects in the prefect common room. Around us were papers strewn about the tabletops, and the others were lounging on the floor, chairs, and Blaise was idly swinging his feet as he sat on one of the tables.

            "She's right, Potter, just accept that there is no way we'll ever figure out how to enchant mistletoe to float above the heads of potential snogging partners," Draco said wearily from his perch on the floor at Susan's feet.

            Harry sighed. "Yes, but that's what I'm saying. We're not allowed to ask the teacher, and we can't do it, but I know some people who can."

            I sat up, next to Harry on a small loveseat, and widened my eyes. "You're insane. We are not asking them. No. No, not at all. NO."

            "Please?" Harry pouted. Damn it.

            "No."

            "Who?" asked Justin interestingly. He bit his quill and sucked.

            Harry grinned. "The Weasley twins."

            Draco echoed my thoughts. "No."

            "Why not?" Susan asked.

            Draco sat up. "The Weasley Twins. Isn't that enough of an answer for you? Right there? Gryffindor pranksters? We could get into serious trouble if something backfired."

            I nodded along with Draco ferociously. Justin and Susan paled.

            Harry finally sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. I tried very hard not to stare. This was beginning to look a bit weird… I think I was starting to fancy my best friend.

            "Fine. No Weasley Twins. So when are we going to start with the decorations?" he asked instead.

            Hannah twirled a feathered quill in her hands, making a funky pattern. "During the day of the dance. There aren't any classes on the 24th, anyways, or for that whole week. But people do need to eat."

            "Said the girl who claimed Sirius Black could turn into a potted flower," muttered Draco to no one in particular. "Thank you for the obvious, Abbott."

            Hannah's lower lip trembled and I shot Draco a glare, which he only raised an eyebrow at.

            Damn those sexy eyebrows. Damn those sexy bad boys in general. But then again… I let my eyes wander to where Harry sat next to me and forced all coherent thoughts to try to make sense. Then again, my mind was in global meltdown.

            Oh crap. I was in serious shit.

*

December 12, 12:56 am

            "Ginny!" I moaned as she, Parvati and Lavender crowded around my bed. "I'm in serious shit here."

            "No you're not," replied Lavender, looking up from her now green-and-red fingernails. She was getting really festive, I noticed.

            "Why?" I asked, pouting. "I think I'm falling for my best friend! I was staring at Harry's chest."

            "Is it good?" asked Parvati, and the three girls giggled. I sighed.

            "I am a bookworm! I am not supposed to go… all… goo-goo eyed at some gorgy bloke that wanders along my path and then stop and stare and drool," I finished, falling backwards on to my bed.

I had only planned to talk to Ginny about what was going on, but then Lavender and Parvati came in mid I-fancy-Harry and then it took off from there, becoming a full-out girl's night and party with make overs and facials.

"Still," Parvati waggled her eyebrows at me, flipping her long, dark brown hair over her shoulder. "Is his chest yummy?"

I tossed my Priest graphic novel at her. "You're not helping!"

"Sure we are," replied Ginny, in a soothing, Mrs. Weasley voice. I shuddered. "Look, Mione, so you fancy the bloke. It's not that bad, is it?"

"Oh, yes it is!" I replied, sitting up now. "One, Harry's my best friend. Any attempt of telling him that I fancy him and him rejecting me could end up being the end of our friendship. I don't want that. Two, your brother."

"My brother?" Ginny frowned. "What about Ron?"

"He's bloody protective, that's what," Lavender butted in; she had removed her socks and was now painting her toenails blue and yellow (Ravenclaw colours? What?) And brought out a stenciling kit to make little dreidels on her big toes.

Ginny frowned. "What?"

Parvati and Lavender and I stared. "How could you not know? Like, if Ron was gay, it would make sense, but he's not, 'Cos he's dating Luna, but still," I tried to explain. Ginny just stared.

"Oh, for God's sake, Hermione, you're bloody bad at this. Give this girl something to do with school and she aces it, but the second she talks about boys she gets flustered," Lavender moaned. Turning to Ginny, the blonde continued. "You're brother," she said slowly as if she was talking to someone dim-witted (well, it was true sometimes), "is very protective of his friends. That includes Hermione and Harry. And if Hermione dated Harry, Ron would think of it as a betrayal and never talk to them again."

"Oh," was all Ginny had to say before she turned her face up and let out a long, "GROSSS!"

I just shook my head. Fat bloody help this lot was.

"What am I going to do? And then there's the Yule Ball," I said.

"Yule Ball?" the three girls looked seriously interested now.

"Oh, bugger," I moaned, "I wasn't supposed to tell you about that, and now I have, and you two are the biggest gossipers and I'm dead! Malfoy's going to killlll meeee!"

Lavender crawled over towards me on my bed and patted my shoulder awkwardly. "We won't tell anyone, swear it, Mione."

"We won't?" Parvati looked confused. Lavender shot her a glare over her shoulder.

"No, we're not," she repeated firmly. "And if we do, you have every right to snap and yell and curse and holler at us once you're out of the Infirmary and once Malfoy is done with you."

I grimaced. "Gee, thanks, for your words of support."

Lavender smirked and buffed her now dry nails. "No problem."

*

December 15, 11:36 am, Charms

            "Did you know that the last part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is coming out on Wednesday?" asked Dean, folding up his London Times newspaper as the Gryffindors sat on their side of the classroom in Charms.

            For some odd reason, Professor Flitwick hadn't been able to stay to teach his class thanks to an emergency that required his assistance. I personally thought it was because the slime that Fred and George left two years ago was beginning to show signs of it's own ecosystem.

            "Is it really? I saw the first two back home over the summer," I said, inputting something to the conversation.

            "I heard this one is going to be a blast," Seamus added. Ron, Lavender, Parvati and Draco and Blaise, who had just wandered over, looked confused.

            "What are the Gryffindorks talking about now?" Malfoy asked, genuinely interested.

            I cleared my throat and pointed to the full-page poster of the Return of the King on the back of the newspaper's entertainment section. "Lord of the Rings," I said, in a way of explaining.

            Malfoy's eyebrow rose. "What's that? Another evil Death Eater plot to rule the world?"

             I snickered along with Harry but carefully turned it into a cough when Ron glared at us. "It's, uh, a movie. The third and final part of a movie." I sighed. "I would give anything to go and see it opening night. Of course, I can't, because of school… but still."

            Seamus and Dean shared a look before fluttering their eyes and swooning. "Oh, Aragorn, save me, save me!" they mimicked together.

            I threw my Charms textbook at them and smiled satisfyingly when the two teens moaned with pain. "Shut up, you two, before I sic Gollum on you."

            Seamus choked on his laughter. "Oh, yessss, yesss, my pretty Hobbitses."

            Harry and I rolled our eyes while Ron continued to exclaim in the background, "what? What's going on? Hello? Someone?"

            "Bueller?" inputted Blaise. There was a shocked silence before the Muggleborn and Muggle-world people in the class burst out laughing.

            Malfoy rolled his eyes. "Anyway, Gryffindork prefects, you're meeting in the library at lunch to talk about the you-know-what."

            Lavender and Parvati turned to stare at me while I did my best to ignore them. Harry and I nodded, agreeing with the time Draco had placed down. At that moment, Flitwick entered the classroom with apologies, and the lesson resumed for all five minutes before lunch began.

            Terry tapped his parchment thoughtfully before starting slowly, "You know… we could put up some of the decorations already."

            Everyone at the table perked up at Terry's suggestion. For the past two hours (all prefects had the afternoon off) the group had been sitting at the table in the library, running out of suggestions and ideas. They had been silent and tired for more than half of that time.

            "How?" Susan asked, sitting straighter in her wooden chair. I nodded enthusiastically, hoping that it was a great idea. He was a Ravenclaw; it should be a smart one.

            "We could put some of the decorations up already and charm them invisible with a time release on them," he said.

            Draco shook his head. "It won't work. None of us are that powerful – yes, that includes you, Boy Wonder – and there is no guarantee that the time release and spell wouldn't wear off early."

            "Still"—Terry tried again.

            I shook my head. "Malfoy's right. We can't promise it, and we don't want cut-out snowflakes falling on someone's head at breakfast, do we?"

            "No, no, we don't," the group, agreed wretchedly together, before slouching in their seats again.

            I stirred. "Well, we might as well work on the food and drinks, and music, shall we? If we work on that we might get some ideas that we'll all agree on."

            Blaise and Draco nodded, and Harry whispered a, "Great idea, Mione," while the others pulled out pieces of blank and not doodled on parchment.

            "Like what?" asked Hannah.

            "Uh… punch."

            "With alcohol, please," winked Draco. Blaise chuckled.

            "Actually…" I trailed off. Every face was turned to me. "We could have a special punch for the seventh years only. Most of us will drink responsibly, and if we don't want to drink, we've got the other punch."

            Draco looked as if he could kiss me. Not like I'd stop him, but it would've been better if it were Harry. "Brilliant, Granger, brilliant!"

            "We just charm the ladle that only seventh years at a certain age can drink it. A bit like, well, the Goblet of Fire, actually," I finished lamely, glancing at Harry who just smiled encouragingly. I felt myself drowning in those wonderful green orbs.

*

December 18, 4:45 pm, Quidditch Pitch

            "Hermione!" a voice carried on the wind.

            I was spending some quality time with myself, skating on the lake near the edge so that the squid wouldn't get mad and break the ice, when I heard the voice. I knew Ron was at Quidditch practice and Harry was banned, still, and was hanging up posters for the Yule Ball. So, it couldn't have been who I wanted it to be.

            But, it was.

            It was Harry.

            With skates in his hands.

            Oh, my God.

            Now, I realize that I'm beginning to sound a bit like a flake, or a tart, really, but I don't mean to. It's just, well, it's Harry. I can't really explain it. I just go really mushy when he's around and my heart rate speeds up and it's barely scientific this feeling that I get.

            But it's Harry. My best friend. My really, really good-looking best friend. Bugger. I wasn't supposed to think that.

            "Oi, Hermione," Harry said when he neared me, "Mind a skating partner?"

            "Not at all!" I replied, skating near the edge and then jumping onto the snow near him. I hobbled towards Harry and squatted down beside him. "I never knew you skate."

            "Neither did I," he laughed. I did too, shaking my head.

            "Really, Harry," I began in my best teacher voice. He just smiled and winked at me.

            "I saw you skating out here," he began, "And I thought that you could teach me. If you don't mind, that is. I would never impose on you."

            "Sure. I don't mind," I replied, standing and helping him up. Together we hobbled back on the ice, his mittened hand in mine. I felt like I was floating, and wondering dimly if anyone preformed a wingardium leviosa on me.

            I started off easy for Harry, going in large circles and helping him gain his balance first before actually starting to do some sharper turns. But, like Quidditch, Harry was a natural and together we were skating around the ice talking.

            "We're not getting very far with this Yule Ball thing, are we?" he sighed. "I wonder how the previous prefects managed. Maybe I should owl Remus and ask him."

            "You could," I nodded, "but I'm pretty sure Remus was more preoccupied with spiking the punch or making a prank to really participate with the committee."

            "Oy, that's calling the kettle black," Harry laughed, pushing me slightly. I looked indigenous.

            "Mr. Potter! Are you trying to tell me something about yourself?" I asked, shocked. "That you're not paying attention at these Very Important meetings with capitals?"

            Harry laughed and wrapped his arms around me. "Oh, yes, Ms. Granger. I'm telling you my deepest, darkest secrets in cryptic messages."

            "Written in the snow." I finished.

            "What?"

            And then I pushed him. Harry landed in a large snow bank, laughing, as he lay sprawled in the snow.

            "Now, Ms. Granger, that wasn't very prefect-y. Or nice," he called out as I skated in circles near by.

            "'Course it wasn't," I declared, skating by, "But you're there, and I'm here, so I believe you can't retaliate."

            Open mouth, insert foot, duck snowball. Only I didn't do the last part. The snowball hit me with enough force I tumbled backwards onto the ice, probably bruising my tailbone. But I didn't care, as I was laughing and pointing a finger at Harry.

            "That's it, buddy!" I shouted. "Snowball fight!"

            We scrambled over to where out shoes were collecting snow, and tossed our skates away before Harry lunged at me and knocked me into a pile of snow.

            I grabbed some and shoved a handful down his jacket, making him jump in shock and glance at me.

            "Playing dirty, huh?" he said, before tossing and pinning me in the snow. He took a handful and shoved it down my jacket, making me squeal.

            "Harry!"

            "Hermione!" he replied in the same voice, laughing. Then, suddenly, he stopped. Then, suddenly, Harry was leaning down towards me, and I could smell peppermint – he must have ate a candy while skating – and I felt the hint of his lips touch mine –

            "HERMIONE! HARRY! Oy, you two!" Ron's voice was unmistakable. I sighed and Harry groaned as he rolled off me, standing and brushing off snow from his jacket.

            He held out a hand to me, which I took, and then began gathering my stuff up.

            What had happened just there? Was Harry going to kiss me? Me, bookworm Hermione?

            Oh man. I was falling hard for my best friend.

*

December 20, 8:36 pm

            "HE DID WHAT?" echoed throughout the girl's seventh year dormitory. I covered my ears and frowned.

            "Ouch! Lower the decibels, girls," I moaned. "And yes, Harry almost kissed me. Or he did." I frowned some more. "I felt his lips, but then Ron came."

            Lavender, Parvati and Ginny all groaned. "What an opportunity missed!"

            "Yeah, you're telling me," I replied darkly. We were sitting on the floor this time, while Lavender stood near the closets, tossing clothes around. Ever since the announcement of the Yule Ball, she had been going through her clothes looking for something nice and festive to wear.

            She wanted to "sparkle." Her words, not ours, although I had suggested, "shine."

            Ginny sighed. "My brother has crap timing. Always has. When he was a baby he used to carry that teddy bear around"—

            "The one Fred and George transfigured into a spider, hence his arachnophobia," Parvati interrupted.

            Ginny nodded. "Right. Well, his hand-eye coordination sucked back then and he tried to eat his food once, only he didn't open his mouth. Fell onto the bear and he didn't notice, for like, twenty minutes. And there was this other time…"

            "Gin, we really don't want to hear about Ron's embarrassing moments, although they're quite useful to have for blackmail purposes, I'm not listening to another one," I said smoothly.

            Ginny smiled. "Well, okay. But if you want to have some real blackmail material all you need to do is ask."

            I saluted her. "Will do, Captain."

            Ginny smothered a giggle.

            "So, what are you going to do now with the Harry Project, Mione?" asked Lavender, holding up a purple halter-top to her body.

            "Too tacky," Parvati said, looking up briefly from Teen Witch magazine. Lavender pursed her lips, looked at her reflection in the mirror and tossed it onto her bed.

            "I really don't know," I replied, biting my lip. "I don't. I really want to finish the ideas for the Yule Ball, but that's not going as well as we'd all hoped, and then there's Harry…"

            "Why don't you worry about the Ball now, and then wow him at the Ball later?" suggested Ginny.

            "Mmm, good point," I replied, tapping a finger against my lips. "Anyways. Make sure to keep everyone out of the Great Hall after dinner on the 24th, okay? We don't have much time to set up."

            "I think Dumbledore is setting up a cafeteria or something for the rest of the school to eat in while you guys get the whole day to work," Ginny answered, hesitantly. "At least, I think he said that."

*

December 24, 7:58 am, Great Hall

            "Okay, now we've got, in exactly two minutes, twelve hours to turn this Hall into the most amazing, brilliant, wintry wonderland," shouted Draco to the eight prefects who were blearily rubbing at their tired eyes.

            "And we still have no bloody clue what we're doing," I inputted icily from where I stood next to Harry.

            Draco nodded. "Right, well, Blaise and I think we've got a solution."

            My eyes automatically sought the Slytherin out. He stood lounging against one of the walls. I sighed. This was going to be a lot of work.

            "Well, what is it?" asked Hannah.

            Draco bristled. "Well, since we've only got so much time… we decided that each set of prefects are going to go to a separate corner and do what they want. But it has to be winterish."

            I pursed my lips as I nodded slightly. It could work. "Anything goes?"

            "Anything," replied Draco.

            "Great!" I said brightly. "When do we start?"

            "Now."

8:34 am: 11 hours, 26 minutes to go until the Yule Ball

            "So, Harry," I started, chatting amiably, "What colours do we want to use? And what are we going to do?"

            We were placed in the front across from the Slytherin side, back in the corner where the Triwizard tournament door was located. The Slytherins were by the entrance, Hufflepuffs at the back with the Ravenclaws.

            "Not a friggin' clue," grinned Harry.

            Well, I thought, we'd have to change that, wouldn't we? So, with a swish and flick, a portable CD player appeared and music began blaring from the speakers. The rest of the teenagers cheered – it was, after all, Muggle and non-Muggle music mixed together – and soon we got into the groove.

            Harry and I decided on a fantasy-like Wonderland. It was going to be frosty with a bit of Tolkien-estique Lothlórien look. By ten, we had planned what we were going to do and by eleven we started with the snow.

            Once it was charmed and really, really cold around us, Harry and I began to assemble the gazebo-like dome that would hold some tables and chairs underneath it.

            I stood on the uppermost rung of a ladder Blaise had brought it and was currently not using, while Harry was below, holding the ladder in place.

            Of course, I realized later I should have let him charm the leaves and tinkering fairy lights in place with me holding the ladder… but I didn't know at the time, so I was screwed.

            "Enjoying yourself, Potter?" Draco's voice floated over the music.

            Harry turned his head to glance at Draco. "Why?"

            Draco's reply: "Because you can look up and see Granger's knickers."

            I must have slipped when I heard that, because seconds later I had tumbled down from the ladder into Harry's arms.

            "Thanks," I replied breathlessly, staring into his green eyes. Harry smiled gently at me and helped me to my feet, keeping an arm around my waist to make sure that I didn't go into shock and fall onto my arse like an idiot.

            "I think I'll do the hanging from now on, Mione," his deep voice rumbled with suppressed laughter as he took up on the ladder, swishing and flicking.

            I silently moaned in my head. Bugger.

12:23 pm: 7 hours, 37 minutes to go until the Yule Ball

            The dome had been set up, and the lights were near finished by the time the prefects demanded lunch.

            Everyone was taking a well-deserved break, sitting in a circle in the middle of the Great Hall on the floor.

            "Things are looking good," nodded Draco thoughtfully. He glanced at the Hufflepuff creation, which was an ice-covered room, with chairs and tables that were made of ice (but charmed not too be cold when you sat on them, or get you wet from your body heat). Hannah and Justin also had managed to create a second floor that was a skating rink. Couples could skate, or go into the darker corners if they were brave enough. Hannah jokes that Snape would be spending most of his time there, looking for couples snogging.

            The Ravenclaws were making a paradise; there were pine trees with snow frosting the branches, fog on the ground to swirl around couples' legs, and the canopy of tree branches and leaves protected those sitting on bark chairs and tables from the everlasting snow that was falling steadily – or would, once Terry and Susan managed to finish it.

            Slytherin was pretty nice, itself, with a gothic Christmastime façade. They had kept Hogwart's stonewash background but had added dark mahogany furniture with candles lighting dim areas around the tables and had hung wreaths and sprinkled other leaves and flowers like holly and mistletoe on the mantel of a giant fireplace that Draco and Blaise had obviously worked very hard to create – I figured it was one of the first things they made.

            The furniture wasn't completed by any of the prefects, but there were enough pieces for the others to know what they were going to create.

            "We're going to need to agree for the middle, where everything meets," Harry said suddenly; swallowing the piece of ham sandwich he had been eating, curtsey of the House Elves.

            "Yeah," Blaise said out loud. "Why not the fog from the Ravenclaw forest, the mistletoe and holly from ours, the icy look from the Hufflepuff realm and your lights, potter?"

            The vote was cast and we smiled. Finally, I thought, we're getting somewhere.

            Draco stood, clapped his hands once, and then smiled – evilly, I surmised – before saying, "Back to work people… only six or so hours left, and there are a lot of charms and transfigurations and work to be done. Not to mention, I want this done by five at the latest, so we all have time to go back to our Houses and get ready."

            Hannah and Susan pouted. "Five?" Susan nearly wailed, "It'll take me hours to get ready."

            Draco sneered before answering, "Then we'd best be working hard, don't you think?"

            I sighed. Suddenly, this Ball wasn't turning out to be so much fun.

3:46 pm: 4 hours, 14 minutes to go until the Yule Ball

            Harry wiped a hand across his forehead, smearing dirt and paint on it. I ogled and tried very hard not to reach and brush his hair away from his forehead so I could see the paint and dirt.

            "What is it?" Harry asked, amusedly. Oops. I suppose I was caught then.

            "She's ogling your goodies!" shouted Blaise and Draco together from their side of the Hall.

            I turned and glared, before turning back to Harry and saying in what I hoped was a calm voice, "You've got dirt on your forehead, you know," I pointed on mine for clearance, "right there."

            A familiar sweep of déjà vu fell over me as Harry bowled over laughing. "That's the exact same thing you said to Ron when we first met!"

            I blushed and turned back to admire the Great Hall. Finally done, with refreshments that would appear at 7:30 (once again, thanks to those wondrous House Elves), we were left to return to our Houses and get ready.

            "I think we did a great job, don't you?" I asked genially. Harry gave a tiny, "Hmmm," while planting his hands on his hips and nodding his head.

            "Yes, I think so," he finally replied. "The Great Hall looks pretty damn good."

            "Of course it would," Draco answered, coming up behind us. We turned and saw him, Blaise, Terry, Susan, Hannah and Justin all looking dirty but pleased with their efforts.

            Terry frowned as he looked over their work, especially the Hufflepuff skating rink. "Think this'll all hold before midnight strikes?"

            Draco nodded and said in his most snobbish voice, "It's not going to turn Cinderella on us, Boot – it wouldn't dare. Besides, we all put so many charms and that on it that old Flitwick and McGonagall are going to have a hard time removing it, 'cause I sure as hell am not."

            I stifled a giggle before yawning and stretching. "Well, love to stay and chat about our recent accomplishment, but we girls do need to get ready."

            So with a few murmured goodbyes, the prefects split up and we returned to our respective Houses to prepare for that night.

*

7:56 pm, 4 minutes to go until the Yule Ball, Gryffindor Common Room

            "Oh, my God," squealed Lavender as I stepped down the girl's dormitory steps and into the harsh candlelight of the Common Room, "You look amazing Hermione!"

            I blushed and ducked my head, silently appraising myself. I did look good, I knew it, and was going to cordially accept all compliments.

            I decided to go with a bit of generations-gone-by cheer, and wore a scarlet, velvet over dress from the Renaissance period. Underneath my dress, the shift was gold, with matching slippers on my feet and piping along the scarlet.

The sleeves were long and billowy, with gold underneath the clung to my arms and ended with a point over my middle finger. The dress clung to my figure, and with its elaborate square-cut neckline and empire waist design, I felt like a princess.

            My hair was swept up in a complicated twist of my chestnut hair, with gold ribbon threaded through to flatter my hair colour.

             "You look amazing, Mione," Ron sighed, as he looked me over. "I feel so proud. My little girl is growing up."

            "Shut up, Ron," I laughed well humouredly, as he wiped pretend tears from his eyes.

            "Anyway," he continued, as all traces of tears disappeared, "I've got to swing by Ravenclaw to pick up Luna. See you two at the Ball. Cheers."

            Then he was gone, in a flurry of red, midnight blue, and silver.

            Leaving me with Harry. In a suddenly empty Common Room.

            "Oh, hey, Hermione," Harry began, in an 'oh-hey, I-forgot-something' voice. I forced a sigh of regret away from my lips so Harry wouldn't know how upset I was that he was leaving me alone while he went to pick up his date, "I want to give you your Christmas gift already."

            Great, I thought darkly, does that mean you won't be here tonight?

            He sat down on his haunches in front of the Gryffindor Christmas tree, pushing aside gifts until he pulled out a very flat, colourfully wrapped gift.

            "Here," he said softly, letting his fingers linger over mine. Or was that wistful thinking?

            I sent one eyebrow up at his gleeful expression, but tore at the paper and blinked. What the…?

            "Famous Night Out?" I asked.

            Harry looked like he was bouncing in his expensive, those-have-to-be-designer dress shoes. "Yeah. Famous Night Out. Know what a Famous Night Out is?"

            "No Harry, or else I wouldn't be asking," I answered dryly. His expression dimmed a little.

            "You don't like it?" he asked.

            I forced a smile. "I do like it – if I knew what it was – and I'm sure you thought it was a very great idea…"

            Harry took the thick, flat piece of paper back. "If you don't like it, I think I can return it…" his voice was muttered and down, and I felt horrible.

            "No, Harry, really, just tell me what a Famous Night Out is," I pleaded, placing a hand on his shoulder and hoping that he didn't shrug it off.

            Harry sighed. "It's a ticket."

            "Ticket?"

            "For two people to get to see a movie, plus food," his eyes rose from the paper and met mine. "I thought… well, you were talking about how much you wanted to see The Return of the King, and how you wouldn't be able to since you were staying here over break… and…"

            He shrugged while I remained mute in fascination.

            "I went to Dumbledore and asked if I could get you the tickets to see the show – it's all in there, the time, the movie, the location… and I got a portkey from the Ministry so we could go tomorrow morning and spend the day in London"—

            Harry would have continued in his miserable voice had I not interrupted him by throwing my arms around his broad shoulders and hugging him tightly.

            "Oh, Harry! You have no idea how much that means to me!" I gushed, squeezing the life out of him.

            I glanced up to see his wide emerald eyes gaze happily down at me.

            "You serious?" he asked.

            I giggled. "Yes! And I'd love to go to see it with you! All day in London! And with Dumbledore's permission – oh Harry, this is the most brilliant gift anyone has even given me!"

            "Even better than books?" he teased.

            I pondered. "Well, yes." Then, shyly, I ducked my head back into his chest and thought about my growing crush on him. All I wanted for Christmas, besides spending time in London with Harry, now, was a kiss.

            "C'mon, let's go to the Ball and see what everyone thought of our hard work," Harry said – regretfully? – a bit later, pulling slightly away as we walked down the silent halls.

            The closer we got to the Great Hall, however, the louder the music and voices became, echoing slightly around the Entrance Hall and going through the solid oak doors.

            We grinned and entered the Hall, gasping at the sight. Finished in broad daylight, the Hall had looked decent, but now – in the night – it looked simply magical. There were no others words for it.

            "Oy, Potter!" crowed Blaise from where he was standing with a tall girl with short black hair at his side – a Ravenclaw, from her blue and bronze robes – "How's about giving us a kiss?"

            Draco, on his other side with his friend Pansy, grinned and whooped.

            "What?" Harry frowned, before looking up. It seemed Draco and Blaise had planned a little prank, before they left the Great Hall to get ready for the Ball. Every couple that passed under the mistletoe they placed last up would have to kiss.

            Harry blushes a bit and I looked at the floor.

            "You don't have to, you know, do it properly. A peck on the cheek is fine too," I said stiffly.

            Harry frowned, his eyes looking into mine, and with a gentle hand, he slipped two fingers under my chin and tilted my chin up.

            "All I wanted for Christmas was to spend time with my best friend," he whispered. I heard him so clearly over the music. It receded into the background, along with the voices.

            "You got your wish then," I whispered back. I felt his breath on my face, and smelled the sweet cinnamon-and-mint combination of a sweet he must have ate.

            "No, I haven't," he answered, "Because all I wanted was to kiss you."

            And then he did. Harry ducked his head and pressed his lips against mine, tasting, giving, taking.

            And when he pulled back, (both of us unaware of Draco and Blaise and Ron's loud voices cheering us on for more) he gave me a small half-grin and whispered, "Now I've got all I wanted. How about you?"

            "Oh, yes," I replied just as breathless. "All I ever wanted."

*

I won't ask for much this Christmas

I won't even wish for snow, and I

I just wanna keep on waiting

Underneath the mistletoe

I just want you for my own

More than you could ever know

Make my wish come true

All I want for Christmas is you

*

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Share the joy and spread the Pumpkin Pie love all around! Read, review and enjoy, Kneazle [Dec.23.03]