Disclaimer: I got a pizza clock for Christmas. I do not own Harry Potter. :P

A Red and Gold Scarf

Part I: Contract Killer

In. Back. Loop. Threw. Pull. Push. In. Back. Loop. Threw. Pull.

And so her hands went, gaining speed with every stitch, her eyes focused on the red and gold pieces slipping in and out, up and over, the two long silver needles.

They remained quiet, watching while she watched her stitching as if there was nothing more important in the world. Only Harry and those with Muggle parents recognized the soft humming noise escaping from her lips to be an off key version of Silent Night. Ron sat impatiently, taping his fingers on the table, trying to keep himself from asking the obvious question.

But as she remained focused on her work instead of on him, he couldn't help himself.

"Bloody hell Hermione," he snorted loudly in the otherwise quiet common room. "I thought you'd given up on all that SPEW nonsense by now!"

Every set of eyes made a quick venture up from what they were doing to Hermione and back down again. It was up to her disposition whether they would have to retreat to their dorms or if they could remain in the commons without being disturbed.

To the room's relief, her brown eyes remained neutral, still following the flow of the strings. "It's not for S.P.E.W, Ronald." Hermione was calm, cool, and in a fairly good mood. It looked like Gryffindor would be spared the Weasley/Granger fight for tonight.

Ron made an extra effort to contort his face in an upset gesture. "Oh," he said, unable to come up with a cleverer response. "Alright then." He turned back around to his essay.

"So, plan to stay here for the holidays?" Harry asked quickly, before his friend had time to conjure up a smart remark.

"Reckon so," Ron said, oblivious of the real reason that Harry had asked him. "What about you 'Mione?"

Hermione hid a grin at her friend's short-term memory. "I suppose I'll be staying as well then. After all, I couldn't leave you two to your own devices."

Both boys smiled. "But we've no mysteries to solve," Harry pointed out.

"Exactly," Hermione smiled, leaning back peacefully into the couch. "I'm looking forward to actually having a holiday this holiday."

Ron smirked. "Yeah right, like you'll spend a day of it without twelve rolls of parchment in front of you."

"I won't," she promised cheerfully. "I really want to enjoy Christmas this year."

"Can we hold you to that in court?" Harry asked jokingly. As usual Ron took the joke too far.

"Yeah!" he said, suddenly delighted with the idea. "We should make you sign a contract!"

"Ron-"

It was Harry, for once.

"My word's not good enough for you?" Hermione asked, eyebrow raised playfully.

"No." Ron said bluntly, fumbling through his belongings for a piece of parchment. "It'll have to be a contract. Something to make sure you don't go spoiling our holiday as well-"

Hermione sighed with slight affection, and went back to her knitting.

A few moments later, Ron's shuffling came to a halt. He looked hesitantly at Harry, confirming that all he had in front of him was a large potions book (to appease Hermione) with a smaller book on Quidditch hidden inside it.

"Er- you wouldn't happen to have some spare parchment, would you 'Mione?" Ron asked foolishly.

Hermione emitted an amused snort. "You want me to lend you parchment to make a contract saying I won't do any school work over the holiday, because you can't just take my word for it?"

Ron, unaware of the meaning of a rhetorical question, stared confusedly, "…Yes?"

Harry tried to hide his laughter, to no avail. Hermione used her eyes to let Ron in on the joke.

"Fine then," Ron mumbled, grabbing up his essay and heading upstairs.

Once he was out of sight, Harry turned to his brunette friend.

"Hermione, you know you can go home for the holidays if you want to. We'll be fine."

Last Christmas, when Hermione had attempted to spend the holidays with her own family, the trip had been cut short when Mr. Weasley was nearly killed. It was understandable that she would feel guilty about leaving again.

"It's not that," she said quickly, knowing what Harry was referring to, and preferring not to think about it. "I mean…maybe a bit…but Christmas is for family and friends. Besides, it'll be more fun with the two of you anyway." She smiled warmly.

Harry wasn't convinced. He could never understand why Hermione didn't spend as much time as she could with her family, instead of wasting it with them. Still, when Hermione had her rather large mind set on something, it stayed set, and he knew it would be pointless to pursue the argument any further. Their corner of the common room went silent again, but for the snapping of the wood in the fire and the clicks of Hermione's needles.

"It's done!" Ron exclaimed sometime later, making his way to Hermione's couch so unnoticeably it seemed like he had appeared out of thin air. Hermione yelped and flew backwards in surprise.

She grimaced to see it was just Ron. "RON," she said angrily, taking her dropped knitting back into her hands. "You made me lose two stitches!" She examined her work closely and frowned. The loops had completely submerged themselves back into the last row of the thread. There was no way to fix it now.

Ron, ignoring her anger, was still beaming with pride. "Here!" he said, shoving his parchment onto her lap. "The contract!"

She narrowed her eyes and put her needles down to examine what Ron had given her.

"I, Hermione Jane Granger, do hereby forfeit my right to be an overworked know-it-all, a pretentious prat," she stopped. "Ron!"

"Oh just go on!" he insisted.

She sighed. "…and a generally annoying individual. By signing this contract, I agree that I will abstain from reading, writing, and any other activity that could be construed as work or education. With the time that I gain from this activity, I will have holiday fun. I will no longer answer questions no one else has the answer to. I will forget about the house elves. I will not use the word the term "Honestly." I will do my best to be as un-Hermione-Granger as possible, and instead, act like a normal human being. I agree to these conditions from Wednesday at 5 o'clock until 12 o'clock Christmas day. " Hermione looked up at him. He had to be kidding.

"So, are you going to sign?" Ron asked anxiously.

"Do you realize in the time it took you to write this, you could have completely finished your essay?" Hermione said.

"Exactly," he grinned, "You wouldn't want all that time to go to waste, would you?"

Hermione, realizing that because of Ron's stubbornness, any protests would be futile, moved to the table at which Harry was sitting and picked up a quill.

She filled in the space where Ron had crudely and quickly written Xwith her own signature.

The second she had finished, Ron grabbed the paper up from her. He strode victoriously to the notice board and posted the piece of paper up with one fierce stab of the thumbtack.

"Hear ye, hear ye!" he announced over the commons in a boisterous voice. Hermione quickly sunk into the couch, beet red, and Harry laughed near hysterically.

"As of five o'clock tomorrow evening, Hermione Jane Granger is under contract, yes, that's right contract, to act like a normal human being, to not touch a single book, quill, or parchment, to not make any pretentious comments, to not answer any educational questions, and to have fun in which there is no educational value. The contract will last until 12 o'clock Christmas night. It is up to all of us to keep her on the straight and narrow until then, and if all goes as planned, we might actually end up with a person of a sensible level of intelligence on our hands."

A loud cheering broke out among those in the common room, Lee Jordan let out a large whoop, and the shrunken Hermione became indistinguishable from the crimison couch on which she was hiding.

Ron smiled smugly and sat down on the couch beside her. "Well, that went well."

"You are not getting a Christmas present," she mumbled angrily.

"This is my Christmas present," he said, smile still plastered to his face. "And it looks like we're going to have a happy holiday after all."

Sadly, little in the world meant more to Hermione then the written word, and there was her written promise, posted on the common room notice board where anyone could see, and she had no intention of breaking it. Of course, this meant she would have to get all her work done before the break, and she worked furiously for the last few days of the term. But there's only so much one person can do, and as the last day rolled around, she could only write the assignments down dejectedly in her small notebook and wonder how she would ever get them all done.

"That's all," Professor Flitwick smiled, closing the book in front of him.

As the class broke out in cheers, shoving their belongings into overstuffed bags, Hermione scrambled to finish as much schoolwork as she could before the contract began. She was oblivious to her surroundings until her book seemed to close itself and her paper "flew" away.

She looked up desperately to see Ron and Harry holding her things.

"Harry?" she asked disappointedly.

Harry shrugged. "You did sign the contract."

She grumbled unhappily as she followed them, empty handed, to the dorms.

"This'll be great," Ron guaranteed excitedly as she trudged, arms crossed over her chest.

"I'm sure," she sighed.

They entered the common room to find Ginny standing over a large pile of books and papers.

"I think that's the last of it," she said, brushing her hands off on her skirt, as if the books might have infected her.

"Ginny!"

Another apathetic shrug. "You did sign the contract."

"Really," she tsked superciliously.

But Hermione, busy making displeased glares at Harry and Ginny, failed to notice as Ron shoved her belongings into a large metal box.

"Securate," he said, calmly, and tapped the box with his wand, like some sort of magicians parlor trick.

"Now, that's just cruel," Lee Jordan noted from a nearby chair, shaking his head slightly. "Like taking a fish out of water all at once, without even giving it time to adjust."

"This is different," Ron protested, "Water is good for fish. Books are bad for people, makes them haughty know-it-all's and such."

Hermione let out a "hmph" but could manage no more of a protest, after witnessing her prized possessions being locked away.

"It's for the best," Ron guaranteed. "And you can have them back right after the holiday. 'Course, by that time you'll have had so much fun, you won't want them back."

Hermione smiled, though skeptical, "I'm sure." This holiday would certainly be interesting.

Author's Notes: Exciting! ;P So ends part I of this four part Christmas fic. Parts 2-4 are written, but not edited, and should be up relatively soon…of course, reviews would get them up faster O:-). I hope you liked it, or didn't hate it beyond all reckoning! :D My first HP fic since the summer :O Although I appreciate constructive criticism, please keep it story/writing style oriented. I'm well aware that my grammar is atrocious ;P

Reviewers, of all kinds,are sprinkled with holiday joy, and also candy! :D!

Flamers are fed to the monkeys :(

Happy holidays, best wishes, warmest regards, and lots of love,

Soragirl

JULY 16!!! W00T!

Oh! On a related note! Everyone who hasn't already done so, should go to and click on the paper clips (FAQ), then click on the envelope that reads "About the Books", then on "FAQ POLL" and vote for "Will Ron ever be anything more then good friends with a girl?" We must know! :D Obviously, the question of the importance of Neville in the prophecy is VERY important, and probably what we all really want to know, but because it's so important, she won't be able to answer it straight out. She'll only be able to say "Yes! It is important!" or "No, you people read too closely into things" Remember Mark Evans, people! ;) So anyway, vote for "Will Ron ever be anything more then good friends with a girl!" We could very well get a straight answer once and for all! :D

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