Chapter 27: Christmas at the Malfoys (Part Two)
Christmas Eve dinner had been a quiet affair marred only by Harry's insistence on kissing me in inappropriate locations, i.e. at the dinner table between every bite. I'd tried explaining time and time again that he should stop being so touchy-feely in public (and more importantly; in front of my parents), but it didn't seem as though it had sunk into his thick Gryffindor skull yet.
Additionally, the glaring contest across the butter dish between father and Arthur Weasley had been cause for some concern. Fortunately, Severus was able to coax father into light conversation. Consequently they passed the meal enjoyably enough, subtly insulting each other and everyone around them.
On the other hand, poor mother had been practically surrounded by Weasleys. She had seemed content enough though, complimenting Molly Weasley on her 'well developed' eldest sons and giving both Bill and 'Charlie' sultry looks over her wine glass. The important tidbit here is that the Weasleys had actually not named their son Charles, but 'Charlie'!
We gathered in front of the Christmas tree (not to be mistaken for any of the other Christmas trees scattered around, as this tree contained actual presents and not simply boxes filled with dark magic contraband cleverly hidden from the aurors) while house elves passed out wine and glasses of pumpkin juice. "Let us start the event with our guests," Mother began, while gesturing for the unwelcome interlopers to exchange presents.
My parents had gone the old fashioned route of not bothering to actually shop for gifts, and had provided Galleons in small velvet sacks. I'd not had time to actually buy anything for any of the Weasleys either, and truthfully couldn't be bothered, so I'd just used the manor to supply my gifting needs. Truthfully, I'd had a surprisingly good time picking out my gifts (my method being that the perfect gift was whatever I found too ugly to continue its stay in the manor.)
Ginny Weasley gave a small yelp as she set off one of the hexes on the small (and wretched looking) gilded mirror I'd given her. Oops. Perhaps I should have removed some of the hexes on my gifts? At the time I'd rationalized that the whole family was basically a herd of aurors. They probably liked getting around nasty curses. The room was soon filled with the sound of spell work as Arthur and Bill Weasley pooled their talents together to de-hex their gifts while Charlie took the easier route of leaving his in the box after a quick 'thank-you' sent my way. Disappointingly, Lupin managed to de-hex both his and the one I'd specially picked for Black. There went that permanent contraceptive hex!
"Mate," a Weasley twin stated, leaning over with his brother to show me the lump of gold and jewels that was supposed to abstractly represent 'rebirth'. In my eyes, the 'sculpture' represented what it actually was: a half melted pile of ugly goo that had previously been pretty, pretty gold. I hate it when people with no artistic talent try to con money out of people with no artistic eye. (i.e. mother). "This isn't real, is it?"
"I'm afraid it is, hideous isn't it?" I responded.
"But…are all these rubies and diamonds and is this solid gold?"
"But this has got to be worth thousands of Galleons," a twin argued.
"Our joke shop…we can actually start it..." the other trailed off and they moved to a corner to whisper heatedly. With a shrug, I turned away to see that Molly Weasley was just about to open my present to her, a tall box which she was eyeing uneasily.
I'd been looking forward to this! After the lovely tea, I'd known just what to get a sweet woman like her. Hopefully her happiness at my thoughtful gift wouldn't cause her to cry too much.
Looking a bit unsure, the red head carefully loosened the ribbon. At this, the box gave a shake before bursting open to reveal a gasping house elf. I'd even spelled Blitzy's skin to shine red and green in honor of the holiday season. Though, this had rather made her look like a demented Christmas ornament.
"A…house elf?" Molly Weasley asked, sounding just as shocked as I could have hoped.
"Yes Mrs. Weasley. She can help you around the house. I imagine your family doesn't help out as much as they could," I replied, without adding and this way you can focus on making cakes to send me instead of feeding your wretched brood, as it might be considered a bit rude.
"Yes, well, thank you, Draco. I've always wanted a house elf! And it's quite… er… lovely…" Mrs. Weasley trailed off and I knew it was just to stop herself from crying at such a thoughtful gift. I settled back, satisfied.
The rest of the gift giving exchange was a bit of a blur. I had my usual amount of useless, but oh-so-fun trinkets from my parents, and Potter was quite speechless as he opened my gift for him: a new wardrobe (really though, that was more of a gift for those of us who have to look at him.) I was told that his gift for me would be given in private. This meant, of course, that it was something so horribly unsuitable that my parents would frown terribly. I couldn't wait!
The Christmas eve party was in full swing not two hours later, and after several rounds of champagne and mulled wine, everyone was red cheeked and merry.
Well, except for Severus Snape. Three glasses of wine hadn't mellowed him one bit, and he remained as dour and sarcastic as ever, snapping at any passers by. His book had returned, accompanied by my present: a reading light. It allowed the user to clearly see the book without causing any visible illumination. Thus, Severus could read and lurk in the darkness, ready to spring upon unwary passers-by at-the-same-time!
In opposition to the professional introvert in the corner, the party had become a rowdy affair. I blamed the Weasleys. They'd even bribed the band my parents had hired! Instead of the classical sonatas we ought to be enjoying, there was loud, erratic music, which involved a lot of incomprehensible singing on the part of the lead singer of the band and caused a lot of loud, erratic dancing on the part of the Weasleys.
If stomping around the room while spilling drinks all over yourself, the floor and the house elves could be called 'dancing'.
"Want to join them?" Harry asked while gesturing toward the ballroom floor. I let my eyes rest on a very energetic Black, who was trying to start a line dance with the few house elves that hadn't yet fled in terror.
"No," I shuddered. I, like my parents and Severus, had not ventured onto the dance floor. Of course, neither had Harry and the Weasel, but that was mainly due to their disturbingly prolonged fascination with the appetizer tables.
"Anyway, if I recall correctly you can't dance to save your life."
"True, but I thought you could dance while I could just shuffle my feet about and give you a good groping," he replied with a grin.
"And you think that would be appropriate?" I countered.
"Why not?" He leaned down and whispered, "Besides most of them are pissed." He then slipped a loose arm around my waist and playfully tugged me toward the dance floor.
"Mate, quit trying to grope your boyfriend and hide us quick!"
Great. The Weasley Twins. Hadn't I seen enough of them this weekend?
They pushed Harry and me apart to duck behind us. Being that they were both of the muscular variety, and I was unfortunately not, it was not working out for them as well as they had obviously hoped.
"What did you do now?" Harry quirked an eyebrow at the twin hiding behind him.
"Nothing." The twin stoutly assured him.
"Well, nothing much," his bother argued. "Problem is he's got no sense of humor."
"Not that that should stop any curious lad, right Fred?"
"Right!" replied the twin behind me (Fred, apparently, though it was harder than usual to tell since both twins were attired in what they considered 'dress robes'. Unfortunately, the robes were open to reveal that they'd chosen neon as the color of choice for their cummerbunds.). He then pulled out a familiar looking book. Oh no. They'd stolen Severus' 'Most Potente Potions' book from which he'd been studying all day!
They squatted down over their stolen loot and began reading, carrot colored hair blocking my view of the text.
"I bet there'll be loads of useful stuff in here!" Fred crowed, while nudging his brother to begin reading.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife," George read aloud.
"But…what's a wife got to do with potions?" A perplexed Fred asked.
"Well…he's into dodgy stuff right? Maybe if you're evil you marry just so you can chop her into bits for potions and that's how you get the fortune?" His brother replied in a thoughtful air.
"No mate, look, it says Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin on the inside sleeve here. Are you sure we stole his potions book?"
"'course!" George affirmed, snapping the book shut to point at the clearly labeled book: Most Potente Potions. The Master's Addition. Now with 10 more fermenting!
A shadow fell over us.
"I do not pretend to know the depths of the idiocy that has currently engulfed your feeble minds, but I would return what you have stolen if I were you. And, I would do so now." The deep voice barreled through us, bringing with it promises of dark corners and unspeakable acts. I know I wasn't the only one who shivered. (Though maybe I was the only one who did so because the voice was so darn sexy.)
Severus Snape towered over us, robes swirling, eyes blazing and his scowl just a tad more pronounced than usual. I heard rustling as the twins hastily stood behind me, and I waited for the excuses and apologies to begin, but after a short silence there was instead…giggling. Perhaps they were suffering from such fear that it was inducing spastic laughter?
"Finally!" Fred crowed. The twins smirked at the potions professor, pointedly looking up at a clump of mistletoe hanging above his head.
Severus followed their glances to the sprig just inches from the top of his head. He glared, obviously finding many faults with its greenness and festivity.
"Mistletoe?" He sneered. "Next are we to be regaled by your wondrous adventures as to spiking egg nog and switching stockings? How…droll." He made a move as if he was actually going to box their ears, but aside from his robe swaying, nothing happened.
"Can't move, can you?" George laughed.
"What. Have. You. Done?" Severus snarled, his face livid.
"It's just mistletoe, Professor," Fred replied stoutly before leaning toward George to stage whisper, "though we shoulda rethought the target, he'll probably be there awhile…I mean, who'd wanna kiss him?"
"Is there problem?"
As if on cue, a concerned looking Remus Lupin approached the group, his 'responsible professor' mask firmly on at the sight of two snickering twin terrors and a homicidal looking potions master. He'd been dancing with Ginny Weasley, and was probably the only one aside from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley who had actually been dancing. Even I'd had to admit the patient way he'd been teaching the young girl the steps had been sweet. Severus scowled more fiercely at his presence.
"No Sir!" Fred assured Lupin.
George continued. "It's all part of Christmas. Mistletoe, you know? Poor Professor Snape must have accidentally walked underneath a patch that appears to have been mysteriously charmed."
"Don't know how that happened, but it looks like he's stuck!" Fred mused.
"Yeah, just one of those strange occurrences," George finished.
"This brings me back. I remember the Marauders used to do this kind of stuff. There was always a… trick to it." Lupin had the audacity to smile about the situation, his brown eyes softening as he reminisced.
The werewolf stepped closer to our potions professor, which caused Severus to stop growling at the twins to frown uneasily at the other man.
"What are you doing, wolf?" he bit out.
"Oh, well, erm… if you'll just hold still I'll get you free in a jiffy, Severus." Lupin smiled again, but there was something off in his eyes…something I didn't trust, and wasn't he leaning a little too close to the professor?
What happened next must have been a horrible accident. That was the only explanation. For Remus Lupin suddenly leant forward and somehow his mouth slipped and latched onto Severus'. They kissed for what was the most horrible minute of my young life. I moaned in dismay at the assault my poor professor was suffering. I knew the others felt the same, for Harry gave a whimper, while the twins stopped guffawing long enough to emit squeaks.
Lupin pulled back from my professor with a loud 'smack' as their lips separated. He smiled again. "There! That should have done the trick! Can you move now?"
Severus seamed flabbergasted, and his kiss reddened mouth opened and closed silently. He looked almost like a dear caught in the headlights until black rage settled over his face. "Of course I'm still stuck you idiot! What were you thinking?"
"Oh," Lupin scratched at his light brown curls in confusion, "I was sure that would do the trick. Maybe I should try again, just to be sure?"
"If you seek death." Severus readied his hands threateningly before him.
There was now snickering from the twins, who apparently bounced back from horrific sights quite quickly.
"That's what's so brilliant. Kissing doesn't make it stop!" Crowed George.
"We wanted to see how far people would go," Fred replied before George elbowed him. "Not that we had anything to do with this mysterious occurrence."
Severus, apparently having realized that though his lower body was immobile, his hands had been free the entire time, drew his wand, and with a casual flick blasted the mistletoe, sending it to the floor in smoky ruins.
A large, twisted smile took over the pale man's face, revealing a row of slightly crooked teeth. He took a step forward, taking aim at the boys and hitting two for the price of one with a hex I'd never heard of (fervescio), which sent them to the ground, shaking and moaning about the heat.
No one else in the room had apparently noticed anything amiss, despite the quivering, moaning balls of freckled skin that was the Weasley twins. But then, he'd said it so quietly, and hexed them so efficiently I wondered if I was seeing things.
Lupin then made the mistake of smiling and murmuring something about 'no hard feelings, Severus?'
That was when I learned that adults went down just as quickly as teenagers under fervescio. Ha! Some Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher he was turning out to be! Where was his defending now?
Severus lifted his book from the floor between bony fingers, looking disdainfully at the twitching people around us before turning to me. "Enough. Draco, you are on your own for the evening. However, feel free to come to my bedroom tonight if the other party goers become… too much."
"Oh ho!, Snivy, is that a general invitation?" crowed Black, who had apparently decided helping Lupin stand was more important that teaching our house elves the 'electric slide'.
At that, Severus turned and efficiently hexed Black, who went down even faster than Lupin.
"Too hot…" he gurgled from the floor, trying to pull his shirt off without actually using any buttons. As a bonus, he'd landed directly on his friend, so again Severus had managed two for the price of one.
Severus exited the room in great haste, knocking over a house plant and a bust of Morgana on the way out. The twins, apparently having recovered (though if that was the case, they should have been doing something about putting their shirts back on and zipping up their pants), pulled out a piece of paper.
"Right. We'll have to make it so they can't move their arms next time." One said while the other nodded. They wandered away enthusiastically writing notes despite the occasional body tremors. I pulled Harry away from the pile on the floor that contained his major adult role models and shook him slightly.
"Your pervy professor Lupin just kissed my godfather!" I stated, horrified.
"I know," Harry replied, a haunted look coming into his eyes. We relived the Awful Occurrence together.
"That was…" he trailed off.
"Disturbing," I finished for him helpfully.
He dropped boneless onto the nearest couch, a surprisingly comfortable dark leather number (which may or may not have contained any actual leather, depending on the mood mother was in when she bought it). I stepped past the coffee table laden with Christmas Crackers to join him.
Harry shuddered, looking tormented. He obviously felt bad about the improper behavior displayed by his godfather and friend.
"You know how some couples have 'wish lists'…" he began in a strained voice.
"Not just couples! I make a wish list every year for Christmas," I assured him.
" No. Er…not a gift wish list. A…I guess…a sexual wish list. You know? Most couples do it as a joke and pick celebrities and people from books and stuff? Good for a laugh and no one takes it seriously, because it's impossible anyway." His face was turning red.
"Oh," I replied, not having heard of this strange practice before. What would be the point? My 'wish list' of impossible people would be empty as I couldn't imagine anyone turning down a Malfoy!
"And umm…so Sirius and Remus, I'm sure you've noticed they're together?"
"Sure, they're together all the…oh." I understood what he meant and blushed slightly. They were together as in together in a relationship.
Poor professor Lupin! Even an accursed werewolf deserved better than Sirius Black!
"Well, apparently Sirius and Remus got drunk in a pub and were joking around about this with friends and they both made lists. You know, with a few celebrities…and other 'impossible to get people'." Flustered, he pushed a hand through his black hair, causing it to spike on one side. "And they found they both had listed Snape!"
"Exactly! With Remus, I know it's because he's always felt bad about how they bullied Snape when they were at Hogwart's… but Sirius… I don't know what he's thinking! It's just disgusting! I mean, why would anyone want to sleep with that greasy git?"
"What?" I said, shocked and insulted. I hate it when people call Severus 'greasy'. He can't help it that his hair has a natural shine that might be mistaken for 'greasy' in the wrong lighting. Like sunlight.
"Severus is not the disgusting part of this equation! Your pervy caretakers want to paw my poor godfather! Oh, it is hard for the beautiful!"
Harry stopped messing up his hair and turned to me. His face was still red, and his dress robes were slightly mussed. "What?" he squawked.
"You heard me," I replied, miffed.
"Draco…" Harry said in a strained voice. "Snape is a repulsive individual. I'm not just talking about his personality here."
"He is not!"
"Pftt! Little pug noses are for peasants. Severus has a real nose, a man's nose! A nose that can differentiate between ingredients with just one sniff! You've heard, I'm sure, how important that is for potion making."
"No, no I haven't. I have never heard of anything about that and I'm pretty sure you're making that up."
I didn't let the comment, which was disturbingly close to the truth, stop my persuasive argument. This was for a Slytherin! More importantly, a Slytherin who still spoke to him! "Well, you probably hadn't heard of it because it's such an old saying. And… a pureblood one at that, but, it's true, all the masters had large and imposing noses."
"…Right…okay…whatever. Then, what about his hair? I'm sure you've noticed the fact that he stopped washing it after he hit puberty. A neat freak like you has to be bothered by that! After all, I remember that you used to take hours after Quidditch in the Slytherin showers."
"Yes, but, I was worried about smelling like sweat, Slytherin uniforms retain moisture due to the illegal anti-bludger charms. Wait, how did you know about that? Were you spying on the Slytherins?!" I asked in outrage.
Harry fidgeted and averted his eyes slightly. "No I wasn't. It's…common knowledge."
"Ha! Likely story! Well, sucks to be a cheating Gryffindor like you, but Slytherins never discuss game plans in the showers." I retorted honestly enough, for Slytherins had no 'game plan' besides 1) disabling opponents by grievous bodily harm and 2) cheating without being caught. "Anyway, Severus does wash his hair. It's just that his hair is extremely glossy. It's a sign of health."
"Glossy? There's a word for his hair and 'glossy' is not it. And what about his skin? Those crooked teeth? His frightening beetle-like eyes?"
"Pale was once considered the sign of a well bred person and everyone needs a few…distinguishing characteristics. Shows that he's a person of quality."
Harry sighed, apparently realizing that I had won the argument. He stood and muttered "I'm getting a drink…no, drinks. Many drinks. I'll be right back."
I settled back on the couch, wrestling with a Christmas Cracker to pass the time until Harry came back to concede my victory in the argument. It was then that I realized that I could see my parents across the ballroom floor. In fact, if I leant to the right slightly to peer around the branches of a Christmas tree, I had a very clear shot of them lounging on a couch against the opposite wall. I stared. Something was…off.
My parents were sitting casually and chatting with one of the older Weasley boys. That was surely not cause for alarm? It was not the oldest boy, but the second, 'Charlie'. Adults sitting on a couch talking together…nothing out of the ordinary, right?
I squinted. And sure, Charlie was bright red, but that was normal for Weasleys! I mean, whenever I talked to the Weasel he was always red and sputtering and shouting and hexing himself.
But it was rather disconcerting that my parents were both leaning so close to Charlie.
I watched mother take a sip of wine and reach casually over to playwith the boy's hair, as if that was a normal thing to do with a young man half her age. But Mother was the least of his worries, for he really should have been concerned about father blatantly feeling up his thigh.
I blinked, hoping the scene would change.
Nope. My parents were still double teaming a Weasley. And the Weasley was apparently too stupid to run away. I watched as father ran a hand along the dragon tamer's broad shoulders and leaned closer to whisper something in his ear. Charlie blushed more brilliantly and looked down at his wine. Mother and father exchanged a predatory glance over his head.
I almost felt sorry for the Weasley.
As feeling sorry for a Weasley was too horrible to contemplate, I decided to take action.
I moved a foot to the left on the comfortable leather couch.
The festive Christmas tree now completely blocked my parents from sight.
"Here you are," Harry announced as he approached me with glasses in hand, seeming much more composed. He handed me a small crystal glass containing something white and creamy. He smiled and took a sip, and I hesitantly followed suit. Ooh! Egg Nog!
"Don't mention it. I'm on my second. It really helps." He set his glass down and with a very naughty smile pulled me back until I was lying back in his arms on the couch, one of his legs propped on either side of his body.
As the tree still blocked the Horrible Sight from my new position, I didn't really mind. Plus, Harry wasn't soft, but he was nice and warm, rather like a personal heater at my back.
"Too bad we can't scandalize your parents!" he murmured into my ear, before he turned to try to look around the tree that would never be moved again.
"No! No, we don't need to see them. They're ummm…I'm sure they're leaving soon," I assured him quickly. They probably would be moving on soon, to take their prey away to do perverted things in a private location.
"Why would you want to see them anyway? Do you want to scandalize them?" That's right, Draco! Divert and Attack!
"Of course," he replied cheerfully, if a bit slurred now that his second eggnog was nearing its end.
"All part of my plan," Harry assured me conspiratorially.
"Well, I figured purebloods take forever to get used to new ideas, so I thought molesting you in front of them would eventually give them a clue. Also, it'd keep you too busy to get engaged to others. Smart, eh?" Harry beamed at me proudly.
"That's a horrible plan! They'll kill you," I told him.
He snorted. "Naw…they'd try…again, but they'll fail. Besides, you're more important than a few paltry death threats."
"Really?" I asked, looking into my now empty cup as a warm feeling rushed through me at the words.
"Yep," Harry downed the rest of his cup and set it aside.
"You too," I whispered.
He gave me a quick hug and I settled back, watching the white fairy lights twinkle and letting the sound of conversations swell and ebb in the room. It was nice and peaceful, being surrounded by Harry on Christmas Eve with the sounds of people making merry around us.
Harry's voice rumbled in my ear as my eyes began to droop, "Although I don't know if we should have had any of the egg nog, the twins were at it earlier…probably three times as potent as anything else here…"
And that was the last thing I remembered before I passed out.
"Draco…Draco, wake up."
"Mrrmghm," I replied, trying to pull my nice warm blanket more firmly over me. The blanket was surprisingly resistant to being moved so I cracked open one eye. Harry's face came into view and I realized that he was my blanket and I was still on the couch.
"Good morning," he said with a smile.
"Morning," I replied as it hit me that the party was over and there was light just beginning to stream in from the window across from us. We had slept on the couch all night? I was never drinking egg nog when the Weasleys were nearby again!
"Draco," Harry said quietly, pulling me from happy thoughts of our house being Weasley free by afternoon. He pulled a small wrapped box from a pocket. "This is from me…I wanted to give it to you when we were alone."
I carefully slid the crisp red paper off, finding a jewelry box, which held a simple gold ring.
"It's a promise ring," Harry whispered.
"Promising what?" I asked with a saucy smile.
"That we'll be together forever."
"Even when I'm old and yet still disturbingly sexy?" I slipped on the ring.
"Pfft. You'll probably age like your father. I, on the other hand, will probably get hairy and spotty."
"I could handle that," I replied with a wink. I gave him a quick kiss. "Happy Christmas Harry."
"Happy Christmas Draco," he replied with a happy smile, but his green eyes were twinkling a just a bit too much and I knew something was up. "Oh, and Aperio!"
"What?" I asked in confusion, before I realized that I was suddenly very, very cold and very, very naked. "Ack!" I squeaked, spotting my clothing which was now neatly folded on the floor, as opposed to being on my person.
Harry grinned, but looked slightly sheepish. "It did work! Umm…I should probably mention that it wasn't just a promise ring."
"You did this on purpose? You…you're no Gryffindor at all!!" I jabbed a finger in his chest and yanked a couch pillow to cover my lap.
"But this will be brilliant Draco! Just think, your parents will have to accept our relationship now!" he cajoled, looking penitent and ever so sorry, but I noticed it didn't stop him from trying to ogle me through the pillow.
"Well…maybe…" I thought about it, not quite following how a naked Draco equaled parental acceptance.
But the idea of naked +Harry did have many perks.
I came to my decision.
"Well…okay…but I demand a ring that makes you naked-on-command as well!"
I want to thank my readers and reviewers - you really encourage a person to go that extra mile (in my case the 'extra mile' is to actually finish the thing - this is the first time I've actually finished a story!)
I also want to again thank Cimmerian Sorceress for being such a superb beta for this fiction – She really has done a great job on this fic, making it much better that I could have ever done alone!