"What are you doing?"
Draco froze when he heard the shriek. Confusion flashed in his gray eyes as he looked up before it was quickly concealed. "What does it look like I'm doing?"
"That's not the proper way to wrap Christmas gifts," Hermione said in exasperation. She walked into the sitting room, placing the packages she had been carrying on the sofa before she sat on the floor.
"Yes, it is," he said matter-of-factly.
"Put the wand away," she instructed briskly, "and I will show you the proper way to wrap gifts."
"Stop harping on the 'proper way to wrap gifts'," Draco's voice became slightly shrill as he imitated her. "This is the right way. Mum taught me the charms when I was ten and refused to allow the House Elves to wrap my presents to my parents."
"It's cheating," Hermione declared primly, her eyes flashing with amusement when her boyfriend of nearly two years glared at her. "And it's not nearly as fun as the Muggle way."
"It is not cheating!" His gray eyes narrowed as he scowled at her. "And how is something as mundane as wrapping gifts fun? And need I address the ridiculous idea that anything Muggle could be considered fun?"
"So disbelieving," she sighed dramatically, her lips curving into a smile as she patted the floor beside her. "Sit here and I'll prove it."
"You just want me beside you," Draco smirked as he set his wand down and moved to sit beside his girlfriend. "This floor is uncomfortable. If you refuse to use a cushioning charm, can we at least use a pillow?"
"God, if I'd known you whined this much, I might have said no when you asked me to dinner that first time," Hermione grumbled as she waved her wand and said the cushioning charm. She refused to admit that it was much more comfortable with a bit of cushion beneath her bum because Draco was smug enough on normal occasions.
"Malfoys do not whine," he said loftily. "And you would have said yes because I am irresistible and you adore me."
"Smug bastard," she muttered as she began to gather the materials needed to wrap the gifts. She was careful to keep the small box hidden from his view, her hand shaking slightly from nerves as she tucked it between her leg and the chair.
"Yes, I can see where this is more fun than simply waving your wand, saying a word or two, and being done with it all," Draco remarked as he watched her gather rolls of colored papers and ribbons. It was only their second Christmas together, the first since Hermione had moved in the previous summer, and he had to admit he was curious about her holiday traditions. The twenty-five year old wizard leaned closer, watching carefully as she removed some paper from the roll and placed a book in the middle. Lips curving into a slight scowl, he muttered, "I don't understand what you're doing."
"I can't believe you've never wrapped a present," Hermione admitted, wondering if it was a sign of some sort. She loved the holidays, some of her favorite memories consisting of wrapping gifts and decorating her home as a child. Draco had never even wrapped a gift, sulking because he was unable to use magic to quickly decorate their home. She looked at Draco, seeing the curious gleam in his pale gray eyes amidst the confusion, and she realized that she didn't care if it was a sign or not. She loved Draco Malfoy and wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. While that realization would have caused disbelief and denial not even two years ago, it was now a simple fact of life.
"Well, if you'd quit muttering to yourself and show me what the bloody hell you're doing, I'll try wrapping a blasted present!"
"There is no need to be rude!" Hermione said sharply, her pleasant mood fading quickly as Draco glared at the wrapping paper and ribbons. She moved the paper over the book, pulling too sharply, listening as the paper ripped.
"I hate not understanding," Draco told her quietly, his eyes staring at the rip in the paper. "I didn't mean to snap at you."
"Maybe this was a bad idea," she sighed softly, her finger moving along the rip before she removed that sheet of paper and tossed it to the side. She wasn't sure if she was talking about trying to share her fondness for the holidays with Draco or if she meant what she had planned for later. It was no secret that her boyfriend was not overly fond of Muggles or their ways.
True, he had refused to join Voldemort, but that had been more about self preservation and maintaining his wealth and family name than it had been about doing the right thing or a sudden affection for Muggles. Perhaps she was foolish for believing he might be open to celebrating the holidays in the ways she had grown up with, but she had honestly thought it would be wonderful to share her enthusiasm with the man she loved. He seemed sincerely curious, but he had a bad habit of being a stubborn prat who never wanted to do anything unless he did it well so she was uncertain that he would enjoy this as much as she had hoped.
"What are you doing?" Draco asked as she put the roll of paper down and reached for her wand. He saw the disappointed look in her eyes and suddenly felt like a complete arse. Taking her hand in his before she could pick up her wand, he looked into her eyes and said, "Don't tell me you're all ready giving up, Granger. What about showing me the 'proper way of wrapping' and proving me wrong in my accusation that nothing Muggle could possibly be that fun?"
"Is that a challenge, Malfoy?" Hermione arched a brow, her lips curving into a slight smile as he smirked.
"Merely a question, love," Draco drawled, pleased that the sad look had left her eyes and had been replaced with the determined gleam he found unbelievably sexy.
"I think I'll be able to show you easier if you're closer," she informed him primly. She scooted over, settling between his spread legs, doing her best to ignore her customary reaction to feeling his body against hers.
Hermione placed the book on the floor between their spread legs. Looking at Draco, she slid into her 'teacher' voice. "This is our present to your Father. It's easy to wrap because of the shape so it is a good first example. Since it is for Lucius, you should select a paper that suit's the recipient. I decided this wrap was best because it's masculine and simple."
"And this is better than a simple charm?" Draco asked in disbelief. "It will take forever to wrap all the gifts you've bought for those insipid friends of yours!"
"That we bought," she reminded sweetly. "Your name will be going on the card along with mine. Besides, you selected Harry's gift as well as Ron's. I do believe I shall have to be sure they know to thank you for their…"
Draco caught her words with a kiss. He'd been fighting the urge to kiss her since she arrived and began scolding him. She was adorable with her hair put up in that unruly mass of curls and her cheeks pink from the heat of the fire in the hearth. He had been awaiting an opportunity to steal a kiss, and what better than stopping a conversation that included two of his least favorite people?
Reluctantly ending the kiss, Hermione scolded, "Stop distracting me, Draco. We shall continue this conversation later." She then turned back to the wrapping lesson. "Once you have selected the paper, you must determine the size of paper necessary to wrap the gift. The best way is to place the gift on the paper like this." Hermione was thankful she'd selected a small book to wrap because there was only so much room on the floor as she laid the roll of paper down and put the book on the edge. "You then wrap the paper around the gift to see how much is needed. Once you've determined that, it is time to cut the paper into the right dimensions." She placed the scissors in Draco's hand, her fingers moving along his palm in a gentle, teasing manner as she urged him to begin cutting the paper.
"This is the simplest way?" Draco questioned as he cut the paper. "I would think this was rather complicated for most Muggles."
"Well, there are those who simply cut a bit of paper and wrap the gift without caring about using too much paper or possibly having gaps if the paper is too small. There are also those who simply buy items and place them in gift bags. While a gift bag is festive, it lacks something in my opinion. I much prefer to wrap my presents and show the people I love that I care, though gift bags are ideal for oddly shaped gifts that are difficult to wrap."
"Trust you to do things the most complicated way," Draco smiled, the words actually a compliment because he had grown rather fond of Hermione's quirks since they'd begun dating two years ago. Sometimes she annoyed him, other times she infuriated him, but most the time she just provided him with a contentment and happiness he'd honestly never expected to experience.
"If you're going to do something, you should do it well," Hermione replied. "Now, we have the paper cut. You can set the remainder of the roll to the side for future use. You always want to place the object face down if required. In this case, we'll place the title of the book towards the floor."
"Once we complete the wrapping, the front will be smooth while the back will show the tape and edges. It is much nicer to unwrap a gift and find it in the proper position," she declared. Seeing the humor flash in his eyes, she warned, "And don't say anything about me being fussy or anal if you do want to finish our earlier conversation and not find yourself sleeping on the sofa."
"I wasn't going to say a word."
"Liar," she muttered fondly before moving his hands to hold the edge of the paper. "If you happen to be wrapping a gift that is in a box or protective covering, it is always wise to place a strip of tape along the inside edge. However, if the gift is damageable, like this book, never use the inside strip. You'll risk ruining the gift when the tape is pulled away."
"Okay. So you select the gift, choose the paper, measure, cut, then paste. Is that all?"
"Well, now that we've finished taping the gift, it is time to add any special decorations. Since this is for Lucius, we don't need to use any ribbon or decorations because he'd probably hex us for making the gift too frilly," Hermione remarked dryly.
"I don't know. He might use the ribbon for his hair," Draco teased before his lips moved along her neck.
"Draco!" Hermione couldn't contain the giggle at the mental image of Lucius wearing Christmas ribbons in his hair. Feeling his lips on her neck, she shuddered as the amusement faded and was replaced by lust. Her eyes found the small box sitting by the chair, her eyes gleaming with many emotions as she contemplated exactly how to go about this plan. Gathering every bit of courage and hoping that everything went well, she moved away from Draco. "It's time for you to try wrapping one on your own."
"And you can't be in my arms while I'm doing this silly task?" Draco arched a brow, sensing that something was wrong. She was chewing her bottom lip, something she only did when she was nervous.
"I need to observe your actions to insure that you have learned the proper way to wrap a present," she told him before handing him the small box. Looking into his eyes, her voice was steady and did not betray her anxiety as she asked, "Now what do you need first?"
"A shag would be nice," he said, "but I assume you mean wrapping this gift first. In which case, according to my knowledgeable teacher, I choose an unwrapped gift and then determine who the gift is for and then I select the appropriate paper. Though I'm still a bit confused why the paper matters since they'll only be ripping it off on Christmas and tossing it in the rubbish."
"Select the paper, Malfoy." Hermione ignored his mutterings about silly Muggles and time consuming methods, watching as he stared at the box with a frown. Innocently, she asked, "What's wrong?"
"I don't remember buying anything this small," he replied. Looking up, he asked, "What did we buy that would fit in this size box?"
"I don't remember either," she shrugged. "Perhaps you should open the box and see what it is, that way we'll know who receives the gift."
"I still don't see how this could be considered fun," Draco muttered as he began to open the box. As he pulled the lid up, his eyes widened as he found himself looking at a ring.
"I do believe that gift is for you, Draco. That is, if you'd like it," Hermione whispered, her bravery leaving as soon as her lover looked at the ring she'd bought him.
"Hermione, what?" he looked up and met her eyes, seeing the love and vulnerability in them. She had moved to her knees, her lower lip pink from all the biting, and he could see that her hand was shaking as she reached for the box.
"I love you," she said as she took the ring from the box. Not looking away from his eyes, she asked, "Will you marry me, Draco Malfoy?"
"Bloody hell, woman," he laughed softly, shaking his head as took her hand in his. "You always have to do everything first, don't you? Traditionally, it's the men who propose, you know?"
"Damn it, Malfoy! Is that a yes or a no?" she demanded, not giving a knut about tradition.
Draco reached for his wand, "Accio coat." He watched as his coat came across the room towards him. Not releasing her hand, he used his free one to find the small box that he'd had in his coat pocket for weeks. Pulling it out, he watched her eyes widen and heard her gasp. "Granger, I've got something I've been planning to ask you for weeks."
"Oh." Hermione cringed at her less than eloquent response.
"But first, let me put this ring on," he smiled as he slid the ring she was holding onto his finger, leaning forward and kissing her gently before holding out his own ring for her. "So, what do you say?"
"I don't believe I heard a question," she teased softly.
"Infuriating wench," he growled softly, his eyes flashing with love and affection. "Will you marry me, Hermione?"
Instead of answering, she leaned forward and kissed him passionately, her fingers tangling in his hair as she deepened the kiss. After releasing his lips, she smiled, "Yes, I'll marry you, Draco."
"Of course you will," he smirked as he slid the ring onto her finger. "After all, I'm quite the catch. Not only handsome, intelligent, and witty, but I can also wrap gifts the Muggle way."
"Really? I do think you should prove your adeptness at that claim," she said as she moved to straddle him. "Later."
"Much later," Draco agreed as he moved his hands beneath her shirt and began kissing her neck and face.
"Just remember something, Draco." Hermione looked at him, her fingers brushing a lock of blond hair from his forehead, a smile on her lips and mischief in her eyes as she said smugly, "I asked you first."