Jumpers and dragons

Ginny shifted fitfully in her bed, trying to find a comfortable spot, ready to cry from frustration and exhaustion. She was so tired and wanted nothing more than to fall into a deep dark sleep for hours, but her body, loudly and painfully reminding her of everything that had happened to her over the past 24 hours hours, had other plans.

A gentle knock sounded on her door. She sat up, her movements slow and careful, and grabbed her wand from her nightstand. Standing up, the cold floor burning cold on her bare feet, she stumbled the few feet to the door. In a completely detached moment, she wondered why she wasn't more concerned that there was someone knocking on her door in the middle of the night. She was just too tired to worry.

Ginny threw open the door, and was barely surprised to see Draco Malfoy leaning against the doorframe. She was surprised, however, to see that his face was still bruised and swollen. He hadn't healed himself. She frowned.

"Polite gentle knock? Zabini must have knocked your head harder than we all thought. Battering ram seems more your style," she said, crossing her arms over her chest. Her head was clearing a bit, shaking off the fuzziness from the exhaustion. She realized that she was standing in front of Draco Malfoy wearing an old, oversized flannel shirt she'd knicked from Charlie. Her hair was in disarray, she had to look rather haggard and terrible, and there she was, standing in front of him while he loomed in her doorway, with that intent, deeply penetrating look on his face.

He held up a small vial of purple liquid, offering it to her.

"Take it," he said, his voice rough. She shied away as he held it in front of her face.

"What is it?" she asked, wondering if he'd gone mad since she'd seen him a few hours ago, inspecting it with a sideways glare.

"Just be a good girl and take it," he said, unstoppering the vial. She scowled at him, but the intensity in his eyes entranced her. He leaned in closer, and touched the vial to her lips, and she obediently opened her mouth as he tipped it upwards.

An amazing tingling sensation flooded through her veins, and she gasped as the aches and pains seemed to dissolve away.

"What was that?" she breathed. She had to grab the doorknob to support herself as her knees grew weak with relief. Malfoy moved towards her, placing his hands on her hip, holding her steady.

"An inspired stroke of genius," he said. "Surely you've come to expect nothing less from me."

"You look terrible," she said, suddenly feeling very jittery as his hands were warm on her hips and his mouth was hovering somewhere near her temple and his breath was tickling along her hairline. "You didn't save any for yourself?"

"I thought I'd make sure that there was no long-lasting negative side effects by testing it on Zabini and you first," he said with a casual shrug. She grabbed the vial out of his hand and held it up, examining the contents.

"There's a bit left," she said, looking up at him. His eyes narrowing, he met her gaze with a troubled look.

"No easy solutions, no waving a wand to make everything better," he said, his voice hoarse. Ginny frowned, staring at him, trying to decipher the puzzle that was Draco Malfoy.

She tipped the vial and two drops of the purple liquid dripped onto her finger. She reached up with her finger and ran it along Malfoy's swollen bottom lip without taking her eyes off of him. As she withdrew her finger, Malfoy licked his lip.

"Better?" she asked her voice wavering. She was watching his face, looking for signs that it was healing. He shook his head.

"Not enough potion," he said, before he leaned down and took the tip of her finger into his mouth. Her eyes grew wide in shock as she felt his tongue swipe over the pad of her finger, and she let out a gasp. Just as quickly, he'd moved back, and she was left there, gaping at him. The thunderbolt caused by his touch was still ricocheting about her body, and she forced herself to blink - breaking eye contact and, with any luck, the strange power he had over her.

His lip was looking much better already, the cut rapidly fading and the swelling almost gone. Ginny's heart was pounding in her chest, and now that she could see that his lip had healed, she couldn't take her eyes off his mouth. It was almost magnetic.

"Feel better?" she whispered. His hands had wandered and were now warm at the small of her back, and he'd shifted his legs so now that he was pressed against her. How had he managed that?

"Much," he said, drawling out the word. Realizing the inevitable and lacking the energy to fight against it or logic it away, or convince herself that she should retreat for the various reasons her brain would furnish to tell her to run - not the least of which was the fact that they were standing in her doorway and she was wearing nothing but an oversized flannel shirt - she reached up and wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

"Perfect. That means you should kiss me now," she said, giving him a wicked grin.

He hesitated, as if hovering on the edge of a precipice and a dark look crossed his face, leaving her feeling momentarily confused. "Vixen," he muttered, before finally giving in and kissing her.

She pulled him close and he leaned down, pulling her hips closer to him.

He broke away from her lips, and she almost complained until he focused his attention on her neck, trailing her lips along her jawline until he reached the spot just behind her ear, and then her knees really became weak. As she gasped in delight, he moved back to her lips.

"You're shivering," he murmured after breaking the kiss, his breath warm on her neck.

"It's drafty in the hallway," she answered, logically. He nipped at her neck, and she closed her eyes, trying to concentrate.

"Mmm... I should probably mention that the potion, based on its ingredients, might have some side effects. You may begin to feel extremely relaxed, sleepy... a bit euphoric, really. Your inhibitions might be a bit... compromised," he said, and he kissed her again.

"Well, I am standing in the hallway, so scandalously dressed that I'm shivering, and snogging the infamous Draco Malfoy. One might wonder how much lower my inhibitions could get?" she sighed.

"Invite me inside," he said, a lazy smile on his face.

"You've just finished telling me that my judgment is probably impaired," she said, her voice light and breathy.

"I'll be on my best behaviour, I promise," he said, a tone to his voice that suggested otherwise. He held up his hands as if to demonstrate his intentions. She immediately missed the warmth of his arms around her and she started shivering again.

"Too late, you're freezing out here," he said decisively. He swept her up and marched into her room, kicking the door closed behind him as he passed, even as she protested, trying to squirm free of his grip. He dropped her on her bed and pulled the quilt over her.

Ginny scrambled into a sitting position, adjusting her shirt as he sat down next to her.

"Best behaviour," she scoffed. "If you hadn't just given me that miracle potion, I'd be cursing you right now."

Malfoy just smiled at her, a sideways grin that was illuminated by the light of the streetlamps glowing in through her window. His eyelids were growing heavy, and he stretched slightly, biting back a yawn. She slid over, making room for him.

"Best behaviour?" she asked, shooting him her fiercest glare - one he probably couldn't see in the dark of her room.

"You have my word as a Malfoy," he said solemnly, with a regal bow of his head.

"Well that means absolutely nothing to me," she said dismissively. But she lifted the quilt and patted the mattress anyway, inviting him in. He kicked off his shoes and slid in beside her, pulling her close as they laid back against the pillows with a satisfied sigh. She rested her head against his chest.

"I am risking exposure to all manner of infestations for you here, weasel - dust mites, bed bugs, fleas," he said, his chest a soft rumble beneath her head as he spoke.

"Incorrigible snob," she laughed. She was safe and warm and completely relaxed as the rhythm of his breathing lulled her. Her body had healed, and now all she had to do in order to finally get the sleep she was craving was close her eyes. But now it was her mind keeping her awake.

"You were completely out of control tonight," she said, her voice low. "Frightening, really."

"Yes," he said unflinchingly.

"And I knew that about you, I did. I've heard all the stories. I've been on the receiving end of some of your finer displays of temper. But tonight... I guess I never realized that you could turn so quickly on someone you seemed so completely loyal to."

"When someone betrays me, they lose all claim on my compassion."

"Have you been betrayed many times?" shed asked lightly. "How many enemies could a 17 year old overprivileged, rich, spoiled brat actually have?"

"More than you might think."

"And so you just attack them? With your fists?" she asked, persistent. She could feel him tense beside her, and she reached out, laying her hand against his chest, trying to soothe him.

"Only in special cases."

"And what's a special case? And don't smirk at me," she snapped, as she could feel him smirking. "I think that's a valid question. I need to understand the criteria for what makes you lose your mind, for what erases all sense from your brain, and transforms you into a wild violent animal."

"I didn't lose my mind. Look Weasley. Sometimes I get angry and violent. There's always a valid reason behind my actions. You may not like it, you may not agree with it, but there's always a reason that I deem acceptable."

He laid his hand over hers, a comforting gesture at odds with what he was saying.

"You know the story of the last time. You were unwittingly a victim of it, in fact," he said, his voice hard.

"David Carmichael. Claire's brother," Ginny said, closing her eyes and repressing a shudder. Memories of the night Claire had held her captive and exploited her biggest fear were still too fresh for comfort. "You attacked him because he kissed your girlfriend."

"Angelique. Her name was Angelique Aristide. She was my closest friend and I loved her longer than I can remember," he said, his voice soft. "And then she lied to me for months."

Ginny tried to ignore the strange twisting in her stomach as he spoke about his first love. It was surprisingly painful.

"Angelique and I, we basically grew up together. She was this delicate, sweet girl who followed us around, always wanting to get into as much mischief as us boys. And we all fell over ourselves to make her smile, make her laugh. She got us into more trouble because we were always trying to protect her, but... she was one of us."

"Our parents were friends. Our families all spent summers in the south of France - well, the children did, while the parents would pop up for a dinner or a reception once or twice before being called back to London. Angelique and I, we came from the same world, went to the same tedious, painfully dull events. It was almost as if it was fate, as if she'd been created specially for me. I don't know when I realized I loved her, because it seemed as if she was just a part of me."

"But then she fell in love with David Carmichael," he said, he voice turning cold. A heavy moment of silence passed. She could hear his heartbeat quicken. "The day I found out the truth... That was the first time - the last time, before tonight - that I truly lost control."

"You feel everything too much, Malfoy. Love, betrayal. Pain, joy, anger," Ginny said, her voice low. "It's too much."

"I feel it all for you," he said, his voice a whisper. She closed her eyes and burrowed further under the covers, sliding away from him, retreating from his comforting warmth as his words sent a tremor of fear through her body. "Oh no, you don't."

His arms followed her, pulling her back to him. He locked his arms in place, holding her tightly until she stopped trying to squirm away.

"Malfoy, stop! You're going to suffocate me," she complained with a groan, jabbing him with her elbow in retaliation.

"I'm not an idiot, weasel. I knew that if I said that, it would send you running in the opposite direction as fast as you could get squirm away. The same with telling you about Angelique. It was a calculated risk, little weasel. You need to know who I am. I want you to know who I am."

"Even if it scares me?" she asked softly.

"Especially if it scares you," he answered, a sharp, insistent edge to his voice. "Angelique ran. She destroyed me, and I scared her, so she ran away from me. Shut me completely out of her life."

"But you... Brave, foolish little weasel, you saw me at my very worst. And you ran towards me."

"You just finished telling me that I always run in the opposite direction," she whispered. "How do I manage to do both?"

But she already knew the answer. Instinct. In moments when there was no time to think, no time for her rational mind to take control, her instinct took over. And it sent her running towards Malfoy every time.

But that truth was too big to address and it was far too much for her to make real by speaking about it.

"Sheer stubbornness, I suppose. Isn't it exhausting, fighting against yourself all the time?" he asked, a welcome note of levity in his voice, easing the emotional tension between them.

He relaxed his hold on her, and she shifted herself off his body, settling next to him. He turned to face her.

"What happens now?" Ginny asked tentatively. "You're still a Malfoy, and I'm still a Weasley."

"I thought maybe we could try a date. A real one. Just you and I, doing something that normal adolescents who enjoy snogging and each other's company might do. A nice, uncomplicated evening," he said, reaching out and stroking her hair. His voice was enticing and seductively soft. She closed her eyes and tried to silence the voice in her brain screaming for her to retreat. Instinct.

"Malfoy, if you think that's even possible, I think I'd be willing to try," she answered, her voice barely above a whisper.

He leaned forward and kissed her softly, resting his forehead against hers. Ginny's body was tingling all over with his nearness, the tension almost crackling between them. She could see the shine of his eyes in the dim lamplight coming in through her bedroom window, and he was staring right at her. His fingers were trailing gently up and down her arm, creating a building tension between the two of them as they stared at each other in silence. She was afraid to move, to break the spell, unsure what would happen next but afraid it would all end.

But then he sighed, a long, drawn out sigh, before sitting up.

"I should go," he declared suddenly, shifting himself past Ginny so that he could stand up. She sat up, frowning. Why was he in such a hurry to leave? She bit back a shiver, missing his warmth beside her.

"Don't let me keep you from whatever it is that's so important to have you running off," she said dryly, feeling stung without really knowing why. Malfoy chuckled as he sat back down on her bed to put his shoes back on, and he glanced at her with a cheeky grin she could barely make out in the dark.

"My little ingenue. I'm not sure if I despise or adore how innocent you can be," he said, a hint of frustration in his voice. A moment passed. He pressed a kiss against her temple. "I promised you I would be on my best behaviour, Weasley. But I'm not sure how much longer I could keep that promise, lying alone with you half-dressed and both our inhibitions questionable after that potion."

Ginny felt her cheeks burn at his words and she buried her face in the blanket.

"And now I've sent you burrowing back down into the covers again," Malfoy said with a sigh as he stood up. "Not much of a lion-hearted Gryffindor, are you?"

His words had the intended effect. Ginny tossed aside the covers, and jumped up, elbowing him aside as she marched towards the door.

"Bashfulness is not the same as cowardice," she declared, swinging open the door for him. Light from the hallway flooded her room, and she took a moment to drink in the sight of a delightfully disheveled Draco Malfoy - his shirt in disarray, his hair completely mussed - as he swaggered his way over to her.

"Indeed, it is not," he said. He leaned over her, and she tilted her head up, expecting a kiss. He moved towards her but paused achingly close, pausing just a breadth away from her lips. And then pulled away as she reached up, trying to close the gap. She glared at him as he raised a knowing eyebrow at her, an arrogant half-grin on his face. She was burning, aching with anticipation for the kiss that wasn't going to come, and he was smiling at her over it.

"I'll see you at school, and when we're both thinking a touch more clearly, we'll arrange that date," he said. "Until next time, Weasley."

She slammed the door behind him, and he laughed to himself as he walked down the hall. He paused by the stairwell, listening, waiting for the the click of her door lock turning before leaving the hallway.


Ginny found herself almost skipping through the halls of Hogwarts on Monday, feeling light and energetic. Despite the frustrating end to their interlude late Saturday night, Ginny - no doubt aided by Malfoy's mysterious potion - had one of the best night's sleep in a very long time. She woke up Sunday morning and jumped out of bed with a sense of purpose. She tackled her neglected stack of books, throwing herself into her schoolwork with a vigour that would have made Hermione proud.

And now, after finishing her last class of the day, having survived Snape's class without earning herself a detention, Ginny should have felt giddy. But she hadn't seen Malfoy at all that day - not in the hall before classes, not during lunch, not in the library. She tried to convince herself that she wasn't looking out for him, but every time she walked around a corner, she became jittery with anticipation, entirely convinced that she would see him there. But the school day was now over, and she hadn't seen a glimpse of him.

Her mood was pretty black by the time she reached the Three Broomsticks. Hermione just shook her head knowingly as Ginny took over her tables in a huff. Ginny had met Hermione late Sunday afternoon to update her friend of everything that had transpired after Ginny had abandoned her in the street. Other than wondering out loud what ingredients Malfoy had used in his miracle potion and a quick reprimand reminding Ginny to be careful, Hermione had hardly commented at all.

"It's probably going to be a slow night, although the cold might bring a few out for some warm Butterbeer," Rosemerta said after dismissing Hermione for the night.

"Slower the better, I have a Potions essay I should get to work on," Ginny answered, with a petulant shrug.

"My tables are all finished, and so now I must go home before it gets dark," Hermione said, tossing her bar towel on the counter with a pointed glare in Rosemerta's direction. She wasn't happy with her new hours, especially now that Ginny had to work most evenings to cover. The two friends were always working opposite hours now. But Rosemerta was holding firm in her resolve and threatened to fire Hermione any time she tried to argue for her old schedule.

"Teenagers!" Rosemerta cried in exasperation. "I'll be in my office if anyone needs me, but only bother me when you've decided to be the pleasant, cheerful young ladies I originally hired."

Hermione left with a wave, and Ginny settled in behind the bar, setting up her books where she could keep an eye on the tables and the door, and set about working on her Potions assignment. She was in the middle of describing the properties of mandrake root when mixed with sage when the doors opened and in walked Crabbe and Goyle.

Ginny felt her mood brighten instantly. She glanced behind them, hoping to spot Malfoy looming by the door. She was still all jittery - had been ever since their almost-kiss two nights before, and she decided in that moment that, if she managed to corner Malfoy alone for a moment, she would more than make up for it.

Crabbe and Goyle glanced at each other warily as she jumped off her stool and walked towards them. She narrowed her eyes and playfully adopted her version of a hostile stance and then laughed as they flinched.

"Intimidated by a girl half your size?" she asked, delightful as they scowled.

"We're not certain that you are just a girl. Are you sure you're not part hyppogriff?" Goyle asked gruffly.

"I would have thought part harpy would have been the natural assuption," Crabbe said with a smirk.

"Oh, you shove two Slytherins one time and suddenly the whole world is terrified of you and accusing you of being a harpy," she said with a shrug. "Do you boys want a table? Is it just the two of you?"

"Actually, we're here to give you a message from Malfoy," Goyle said.

"If he sent you to deliver a demand that I meet him somewhere, I will curse his nose right off his face," Ginny threatened, her eyes blazing. Crabbe and Goyle both took a step back.

"No, it's nothing like that. Weasley, Draco was summoned back to London by his father," Crabbe said, leaning forward conspiratorily. Ginny felt a cold stab of fear in her stomach.

"Oh? What about school? There's still five weeks left this term," she said, struggling to keep her voice neutral. She didn't know what this meant - for Malfoy, for her... For them.

"Lucius Malfoy does not tolerate anything standing in the way of Draco meeting his demands. He goes where and when he is told."

"Do you know when he'll be back?" she asked, her throat suddenly tight. London was so far away.

"Whenever his father decides to send him back," Goyle said. "Probably not until after Christmas. The Malfoys always spend the holiday in the Alps, and come to Hogsmeade to host their annual New Year's ball."

"Oh, I see." Six weeks. He'd be gone for at least six weeks.

"Here - he asked us to give this to you. He didn't have a great deal of time - in fact, Tonks is the one that gave it to us, and she had to follow right after him," Crabbe said, handing her a folded piece of parchment paper.

"Thanks, I appreciate you taking on the role of owl," she said, taking it. "Staying for a drink?"

"Yes. I mean, we are an awful boring lot without Malfoy around. He sneaks away in the dead of night and his absence has left a dark hole in our lives and nothing could possibly fill the void except for our inevitable spiral downwards into hopeless alcoholism," Goyle said.

"So, you'll be at All Hallows where you have to dodge all the women throwing themselves at you all night?" she asked, rolling her eyes.

"Yes, of course, Weasley. It's like you don't know us at all! Wouldn't want to join us after you're finished here?"

"No thank you, gentlemen. Wouldn't want to cramp your style," she said, although the mere mention of that particular establishment was enough to make her want to shudder in revulsion.

They waved goodbye and wandered out of the restaurant. Ginny scanned her tables, decided that none of her customers would need her for a few minutes and ducked behind the bar.

Weasel,

Try not to miss me too desperately.

Stay out of trouble. Or else.

-Malfoy

By the time she finished her last table and Rosemerta returned from her office to send her home, Ginny was feeling a little blue. The weeks ahead just seemed so empty. She wouldn't be seeing Hermione very much now that they were working opposite shifts. The tentative friendship she'd been kindling with Blaise Zabini had been ruined. And she wouldn't be going to the Burrow for Christmas yet again, recalling that devastating note from her mother from all the back in September.

She tightened her scarf before stepping out into the freezing night air and sighed. Everything would be fine. She had been eleven when she first came to Hogsmeade, and had been living on her own since she turned fifteen. Just because everyone she cared about was far away from her, except for her closest friend who may as well be far away from her, didn't mean that anything had changed. In fact, it was an opportunity to refocus on school.

She had almost convinced herself, when a voice called out her name, and she turned to see Blaise Zabini running up the snow-covered street towards her.

"I've been calling for a few minutes - you were completely oblivious," he said when he reached her. "A lot on your mind?"

"No more than usual," she lied. "What brings you out in this cold so late?"

"A note from Malfoy. I'm assuming you know that he was called to London?"

"He sent me a note too," she said as Zabini fell in step beside her. "I didn't realize the two of you were on speaking terms again."

"He's offering me a chance to earn my redemption, which he is apparently feeling magnanimous enough to grant. He doesn't forgive very easily, so I decided to take it."

"Betrayal really does seem to be a sore spot with him," Ginny said pointedly, glaring at Zabini.

"We have Angelique to thank for that," he said quietly, almost under his breath. Ginny stopped and turned to him.

"He told me about her. He didn't say much about what happened, except that she lied to him."

"She devastated him. Truly broke his heart. The worst part is that their parents are such friends, and keep trying to force a reconciliation. He can't even look at her," Zabini explained. "But... I don't know, I don't think that's entirely fair to her."

"What do you mean?"

"We all grew up together and spent every possible moment as a group. It was almost as if she didn't have a choice besides Malfoy. He loved her desperately, and she didn't really have much say in the matter. Don't get me wrong, I know she really did love him. But the pressure from their families... There was no way she could split up with him. It had been decided long before they could walk that the two of them were to be soul mates, and luckily, Malfoy's feelings were amenable to that reality. Imagine being 14 or 15 and knowing that your future has already been decided for you. Angelique... it was the only way to break free."

"I can sympathize, but... there must have been a better way. I just can't imagine hurting someone you claim to care about because you're too afraid to make your feelings clear. Not to mention what happened to David Carmichael as a result."

"Not everyone has that wrought-iron sense of bravery that you do, Weasley," Zabini said. "She was a sweet girl who couldn't bring herself to break Malfoy's heart, and ended up shattering it instead."

"What a tragedy for her," Ginny said flatly. "Is all of this meant to be some kind of thinly veiled warning to me about the inevitable tragedy that awaits me if I don't escape Malfoy's clutches immediately? I thought you were done with all that nonsense."

"No, I was just making conversation so that I could walk you home without you noticing that this is what I'm doing. Malfoy's orders," Zabini said with a smile as Ginny glared at him.

"Part of your road to redemption?" she asked, annoyed.

"Until he knows why his father summoned him back to London, he's not taking any chances with your safety. Of course, he made me swear not to say anything, knowing that you'd be annoyed with his overbearing protectiveness, but I just can't be bothered with the pretense," Zabini said with a bored sigh.

She should have been angry. But she found the fog of loneliness that had been clouding her mood for the past few hours lift slightly. She wasn't really alone - Malfoy had seen to that.

"Goodnight, Zabini. I'll see you around school," she said, with a smile. She skipped up the stairs to her door, feeling much lighter. Unlocking the door and entering her chilly room, she dropped her bag on the floor and went over to her dresser to pull out one of her many Weasley jumpers. Picking the dark brown one her mother had sent her last year for Christmas, she yanked it over her head.

She sat down at her desk but couldn't concentrate on the last few inches of her Potions essay. Wrapped in the cozy familiar jumper that always reminded her of happy family dinners, her thoughts drifted to Malfoy. Overbearing, overprotective Malfoy who was now in London with his parents who, based on everything he'd said about them, weren't the warmest and friendliest of parents. She wondered who he had in London to keep him from feeling too lonely.

She played with the sleeve of her jumper. When she was little, she used to sit with her mum while she worked on that year's batch of Christmas gifts, her knitting needles flashing furiously as she bustled about, talking colours and patterns for the boys. Bitting her lip, she had a sudden thought.

Dashing back to her dresser, she reached into the back of the bottom drawer and pulled out her knitting needles.


It was the last day of class before the Christmas holidays and Ginny was sitting at a table near the back of the Great Hall during lunch, sighing over her books and trying not to stand up and curse every single one of the spoiled Slytherin fourth years who were whinging about being forced to go home for the holidays. Didn't they understand how much she would give to be in their place?

After a number of false starts and quite a few wool-related mishaps, she'd finally finished the jumper she'd made for Malfoy. She'd chosen to knit him a black jumper, as that was really the only colour he ever wore. With insight from Zabini as to how best to get it to him, she'd sent it off to him in London the other night with a note:

Malfoy,

I know your overprivileged, delicate skin will probably break into a rash when touching anything that isn't 100% cashmere, but I figured the colour choice will at least meet your exacting fashion standards.

Thank you for attempts to keep me out of trouble.

-Weasley

A hush had fallen over the Great Hall that made her look up. A magnificent eagle owl had flown into the hall and everyone was watching it soar overhead, wondering who the package it was carrying was meant for.

It dropped it into Ginny's lap, a small, thin rectangular box with a much larger envelope attached to it. She glanced up again at the owl, wondering if she could recognize who it belonged to, but it was already heading back towards the entrance of the hall. She snatched up her package, and darted away from the prying eyes of everyone in the hallway watching her.

Ginny ducked into an empty corridor and ripped open the envelope. A thick piece of parchment landed in her lap, and her hands started shaking with excitement as she realized what it was. She peeked into the envelope, wondering if there was a note or a card. But no, all that had been inside was the return ticket for the Hogwarts Express. She picked it up, staring at it and trying not to cry. She was going home for Christmas.

Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she turned her attention to the box. She untied the string holding the lid in place and gingerly lifted it off. A small card sat just underneath. She picked it up and opened it.

Thanks for the rash, little weasel. My skin is now as fiery red as your hair.

Don't ever take this off.

-M

Lying on a bed of gauze underneath the note card was a shining silver necklace. She picked it up, dangling it in front of her so she could take a good look at it. It was thin and delicate and incredibly beautiful. And then her eyes caught sight of the pendant.

It was barely the size of a Sickle, but she could see how detailed it was and could only admire the craftsmanship that must have gone into it.

It was a miniature pendant of a Hungarian Horntail dragon. As she inspected it, it thrashed its tail around violently and flapped its wings, pulling against the chain of the necklace. She rested it on her hand, which seemed to relax it. It stopped thrashing around, curled up into a ball and then stopped moving.

She leaned back against the wall, her heart swelling as she clutched her train ticket and her new necklace. How perfect of him. The most thoughtful gift she could have ever hoped for, and one that was basically a miniature representation of him - a dragon guarding its treasure. She was torn between annoyance at his arrogance and absolute giddiness over the thoughtfulness of his gesture.

She wrapped her arms around her shoulders, hugging herself tightly. She couldn't wait until New Years when he was back in Hogsmeade and she could thank him properly.


A/N:

First things first - you've met Angelique before (anyone remember when?). Her character is inspired (loosely) from one in HYD, but I can't tell you who yet, because that's a bit of a spoiler... and her background here is much different than in HYD.

Also from HYD: Ginny's homemade Christmas gift for Malfoy (in HYD, it was cookies made in the shape of his head - much cuter, one must admit), and his gift in return of a necklace (HYD it was a saturn necklace, which has a lot of meaning per their plot, but none in this story - hence the dragon - remember Crabbe & Goyle's theory that Malfoy is just like a dragon?)

Thanks for your patience as I've taken my time to update!