"I want to know why they put us in charge of this Christmas pageant!" Hermione asked to no one in particular. "If they think that Malfoy and I can work together on this for even a second without trying to murder each other, they're delusional!"

She took a huge bite of her chicken salad sandwich, chewed with angry gusto, and swallowed. "I mean, why? Why Malfoy of all people? Isn't it bad enough that I have to look at the asshole everyday as it is?" she said, throwing the remainder of her uneaten sandwich onto the wrapper. She then crossed her arms and sighed so hard it lifted the bangs from her forehead.

The others thought her tirade was over. Lulled into a sense of security by the brief second of silence she gave them, they were annoyed when she started babbling again.

"I hate him! He's just going to sit there with that damn smirk on his face, saying smart-ass remarks just to piss me off, refuse to lift a finger to help, and of course that means I'll end up doing all the work and being the jerk he is, he'll no doubt take the credit…"

Harry, Ron and Ginny all continued eating their lunch, mentally rolling their eyes. Ever since the Minister had informed Hermione that morning that she and Draco Malfoy were to be in charge of the yearly Christmas pageant, Hermione had been in a nasty mood.

Ginny was thankful that she didn't have to work with her. Poor Harry and Ron on the other hand, had to put up with her all day, every day- forever and ever, amen. She had turned into a stressed out, psycho bitch and they were all happy that Malfoy was the target of her anger and frustration and not them.

When Harry and Ron had first learned that Malfoy had taken up a position at the Ministry, they were shocked, but determined to not let it get to them. They were no longer children, and so decided to put their differences behind them and try to act like adults- only Hermione couldn't do this. In fact, it seemed to them as though her hatred for him had only intensified over time.

They couldn't have been more wrong. She didn't hate him, and that's why she went out of her way to make them think that she did. She found herself actually liking the bastard, much to her horror. Now, it's not like she enjoyed his company every second of the day though. Most of the time, he was a royal pain I the ass- just like old times.

It irked her to no end that she had to share a very small office with him. Theirs were the only two desks in the room, and for eight hours a day- sometimes longer- she had to look at him, talk to him, put up with his shitty attitude and constant bragging. More than once, she thought about taking her letter opener and ramming it into his head just to get away from his continuous chit-chat.

He never shut up! Either he was complaining about having to do actual work, making fun of some new employee's lack of fashion sense or he was going on about his sexual conquests from the night before. She hated that most of all. Why did he think she wanted to know how succulent so-and-so's naked breasts were, or how loud he made some girl scream his name? It just wasn't proper talk for the office.

She told him over and over to cease with the sex banter, but he just gave her that stupid smirk and accused her of being jealous. As if! Like she would ever be jealous of some simple-minded, obviously desperate woman who jumped into the sack with him just because he was rich- and a tad good-looking! No, she was not in the least bit jealous. Well, maybe a little… NO, not at all! He was an asshole, and she should hate him!

She sighed to herself, picking at the edge of the sandwich wrapper. She wondered why he just couldn't always be an asshole. That would make it so much easier! There were times when he could down right fun and almost charming. Those times were far and few in between, but they were there. It was during those uncharacteristic moments that she found herself wondering what it would be like to sit with him in a private romantic location. How would feel to kiss him? Would it be as wonderful and passionate as she imagined?

And she did imagine it- quite often, but she would never let anyone find that out! So she pretended to despise him, thinking maybe she could fool herself into hating him like she did back at Hogwarts.

"Well, Hermione, "Ginny said, sucking her pumpkin juice through a straw. "Why can't you just let him sit there and do nothing? What's the big deal?"

"Yeah," Ron added. "You know you're going to totally take over the entire thing anyhow- you have a habit of thinking your way is the only way. You never even consider that the other person's ideas might be better than your own."

The look she gave him was enough to shut him up. "Well, Ron," she said with a sneer. "Give me one example when an idea of yours was better than mine." No answer from him. "Thought so!"

Ron shot her a hateful glare, and shoved a huge spoonful of hot pasta into his mouth, not caring that it was burning the hell out of his tongue. Ever since their botched year-long relationship ended, she had been a total jerk towards him, and he was getting pretty sick and tired of it. Someday he was going to tell her exactly what an annoying know-it-all, frigid, anal retentive, obsessive compulsive, bossy bitch she really was.

"You do know that you, Ginny and Ron are going to put on a skit, don't you?" she said to an astonished Harry.


"I won't take no for an answer! I need all the help I can get. Who knows how this pageant is going to end up, what with Malfoy trying to make decisions." She rolled her eyes, and the others tuned her out as she once again went on a Malfoy bashing rampage.

Draco sat in his office, listening to the Christmas music that was being piped in. He loved Christmas; all those wonderful and deserving gifts, all that white, fluffy snow, cuddling with a sexy woman in front of a fireplace drinking wine… for some reason, that person always had the face of Granger- how very curious!

Sleigh bells ring
Are you listening?
In the lane
Snow is glistening
A beautiful sight
We're happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland

He tapped his foot, leaning back in his expensive chair, and putting his arms behind his head. He grinned at the ceiling, thinking about how much fun it was going to be to harass Granger. At first he wasn't very excited about working on the pageant with her. After all, they already spent more than enough time together; twenty more hours a week was bordering on being hellish.

Gone away is the bluebird
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song
As we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland

He hummed along to the song- which happened to be one of his favorites. Sure that Hermione would try to take over the entire project, he decided that that was not going to happen. He could be as bossy as she could, and it would definitely piss her off when he refused to do everything her way. He loved the way she looked when she was furious; all flushed, chest heaving, eyes crackling… she was almost attractive at those times- almost.

Hell, who was he kidding? She was down right delectable! The most beautiful woman on the face of the earth! Oh, yes! He desired her, but he also loved to pick on her. What they said about little boys picking on the little girls they liked was true- he was living proof of that! He smiled to himself, noticing it was almost time for her to come back from lunch. Almost torture time!

In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say: Are you married?
We'll say: No man
But you can do the job
When you're in town

Oh, yeah. He had some major plans for fucking with her in the coming weeks. It's not like he had to try very hard though. For some reason, all he had to do was look at her cross-eyed and she flipped out on him. He did that sometimes; just stared at her for no reason until she couldn't take it any longer and threw something at him. One time, she pitched a paper weight at his head. He ducked at the last second, and it hit the wall where it made a huge hole. He had looked at her, astonished.

She was leaning over her desk, cleavage showing, her hair a mess, her lips curled with fiendish glee. To Draco, she had never looked more sexy. She gave a sharp laugh and told him that next time she wouldn't miss. Oh, yes, he absolutely loved to make her life hell.

He especially loved to cause her misery with his tales of all night sex with gorgeous women. He could tell it made her very uncomfortable when he described in great detail what he did to them. He often wondered if she was still a virgin. She had to be! She was so damn uptight all the time! What she needed was a good fuck to loosen her up a bit. Not that he wanted to be the one to do it- that would be just too (wonderful) weird.

Later on
We'll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
The plans that we've made
Walking in a winter wonderland

Hermione stalked into the office, right on time. Having finished lunch, she was ready to get directly to work. Walking past Draco's desk, she grunted when she heard him singing merrily. "What the bloody hell are you so happy about?" she snapped.

He stopped humming, and looked over at her innocently. "I heard you coming, and the very thought of being in your presence made me want to sing for joy."

'God he's so annoying!' she thought. 'Look at him, with his feet on the desk and that silly looking smirk on his lips!'

He looked away as she stomped behind her desk and plopped herself into her chair. Deciding he wanted to infuriate her, he spun his chair around and blew kisses at her. She rolled her eyes, and started fiddling with some papers. Getting up, he went over to her neat and tidy desk, leaned over and sang to her in a surprisingly nice voice.

"In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman
Until the alligators knock him down"

Hermione looked around in a panic, hoping that no one was out in the hall to hear him making an idiot out of himself. She jumped to her feet in shock as he slid onto her desk, his hand over his heart, batting his eyelashes and gazing at her like a love sick calf. He was very close, almost close enough to kiss. For a crazy minute, she almost leaned in and actually made a move- that is until he started singing again at the top of his voice:

"When it snows
Ain't it thrilling?
Though your nose gets a chilling
We'll frolic and play"

"For the love of God, Draco! Shut up! Someone might hear you!" She shoved him hard, knocking him from the desk and sending him to the floor. She looked over the desk, and saw that he was lying on his back, smiling up at her. To her horror, he flipped over and got on his knees, singing even louder:

"The Eskimo way
Walking in a winter wonderland
Walking in a winter wonderland
Walking in a winter wonderland"

From the doorway, came clapping and whistles. Fred and George were standing there, grinning from ear to ear.

"Encore! Encore!" They said together.

"I've never seen such an obvious, sickening display of love in my life," Fred said, sticking his finger down his throat and making retching noises.

"I never knew Malfoy had such a wonderful singing voice! I was falling in love," George said. "Look at them! They're so adorable together!"

"Hermione, I'm shocked that you've kept this secret for so long! Who knew you and Malfoy were all lovey dovey!" Fred and George made loud kissing noises, pretending to make out with each other.

Hermione looked from Draco, to them, and then back to Draco, who was still on his knees. They looked at each other in horror. He jumped up, and she cleared her throat, trying to think of something to change the subject.

"Hey! I love this song!" George said, singing along to 'Frosty the Snowman'. He stopped after one line, not knowing the rest of the lyrics. "I know my voice is not as sexy as Malfoys…" Hermione shot him a dirty look and he shut up.

"Is there something you needed?" she asked, watching from the corner of her eye as Draco swept past the twins and out the office door, mumbling something about the twins being total nutters if they thought he was in love with her.

They shrugged at Draco's sudden departure. "We want to be in the pageant," Fred said with a happy grin.

A smile spread across her face. "You do?" she said, rushing towards him and jumping excitedly into his arms. "Oh, I'm so happy!"

"Whoh!" Fred said, putting his arms up in the air. "I don't want Malfoy to come back and see me feeling up his girl." He really didn't want her to let go, but he was afraid George would see the naked look of desire that was clearly on his face. "He might get angry."

The smile faded and she back away. "I am not- nor will I ever be- Malfoy's girl. He likes cheap whores with giant boobs who can't string together two words to make a coherent thought, not women who have brains and- less than giant boobs. What you walked in on was one of his many attempts to infuriate me."

She sat back down in her chair. "I absolutely despise him and I'm pretty sure he feels the same about me." She picked up a folder and took out a sign up sheet. "He loves to torture me until I come completely unglued and threaten to kick his ass, that's all. He's a bastard and I hate him. With his stupid silky hair and his pretty eyes and that smirk…" She dipped her quill and paused, looking at the silent twins. "What?"

"Nothing," Fred said. "Nothing at all." He knew that look. She really was in love with Malfoy. He hoped he didn't look too disappointed.

"Why don't you just shag him? You know you…"

Fred gave George a small elbow to the ribs, telling him to keep his mouth shut. "Anyway," he said, focusing on Hermione. "We have an amazing idea for the skit we want to do…"

Hermione stopped dead in her tracks, looking as mad as hell. She crossed the room in what seemed like two giant steps and slammed her hands down on the table, knocking over a container of silver glitter. "Damn it, Malfoy! I thought I said that we were putting the Christmas tree over there?"

"You did."

"Then why is it in the corner?"

"Because I thought it looked stupid where you wanted it, and I decided to over ride your dumb decision, and put it in the corner!" he shouted.

"Well, I think it looks ridiculous there, now put it where I said!"

"No!" he said, pulling out his wand.

No?" she asked, pulling out her wand as well.

"Have you gone fucking deaf, Granger? I said NO!" He stood up suddenly, meeting her eye to eye. He was not going to back down, not ever. It was fight to the death- over a fucking tree.

She was 'this close' to flipping out and blasting him into next week, or better still- strangling him to death with a string of lights. The past week had been pure and utter hell. All he did was get in her way, and constantly tell her and everyone else within ear shot that she didn't know what the hell she was doing.

So far, every order she gave was dismissed by Draco, and replaced with one of his own- which he said was better than hers. He hated the way she wanted to decorate, said the scenery was so ugly it made his eyes bleed, the costumes were grotesque and not fit for even house-elves to wear, the quality of the music made his ears run for cover up his ass… it was never ending!

They glared at each other over the table. Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and waited for all hell to break loose.

"You really don't want to piss me off right now, Draco."

"Oh, yeah? Why's that?" he asked.

"Because I'm running out of room in my backyard for all the bodies."

"You want to kill me, Granger?" he asked, his smirk starting to form.

"More than anything, Malfoy," she said with an evil grin.

"For Merlin's sake! Do us all a favor would you? Just snog and get it over with?" Ginny shouted from the stage. "We all know you fancy each other!"

"That's what you're problem is with me, isn't it, Granger?"

Hermione cocked her eyebrow, confused. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"You want me, don't you?" He saw the tiniest hint of panic flicker behind her eyes. He was just teasing her, but could it be that she really did want him? "Admit, it. You would love for me to lean over this table, take your angry but beautiful face in my manly, strong hands and caress your tender lips with mine."

She quickly recovered from her shock, a devious smile blooming over her features. "You know what I think, Malfoy?"


"I think it's you who wants to kiss me."

He betrayed no emotion, his face was like a stone wall. "I would rather kiss Hagrid's humungous hairy ass than kiss you- it's more attractive."

Hermione lost it. Putting her hands under the table and screaming obscenities, she flipped it over, sending the glitter and paint jars flying. "I hate you, you asshole! Ahhhh!" Her screams echoed from the small back room, across the stage and through the theatre.

The room erupted in pandemonium. The Draco worshippers and the Hermione lovers took sides and began to fight with each other. Fists were flying and insults were being hurled.

Draco ran for cover. He almost fell over trying to get away from her as she sent fake presents and paper mache gumdrops whipping towards his head. Draco backed up in shock as she stepped over the mess and approached him, holding a huge strofoam candy cane like a bat, looking murderous.

She was almost upon him when a snowball soared through the air and smacked her dead in the face. The room went very still as she whimpered, wiping the melting mess from her eyes.

Draco looked up to see who his savior was and was surprised to see it was Ron Weasley.

"Someone had to calm her down," he said. "Even though I hate you, Malfoy, no one deserves to be bludgeoned to death with a candy cane."

"Ron! I can't believe you did that!" Hermione wailed. "How could you!"

"How could I?" he asked in disbelief. "Everyday you come in here, barking orders and treating people like shit and… I hate to say this but Malfoy is much better at being in charge than you are! Everyone thinks so!"

Draco looked shocked, but pleased. He saw everyone- some reluctantly- nodding their heads in agreement. "Well, Granger," he said arrogantly. "It looks as if the peasants have revolted and placed a new king on the throne- me."

She stood there, snow melting down her face, seething with anger. "We were both put in charge of this fiasco, Malfoy and I won't be taking orders from you!"

"Okay then," he said as if trying to calm a disgruntled three year old. "But can I suggest on thing?"

Hermione really didn't want to hear what this 'suggestion' was. Whatever it was, she knew it was going to piss her off. "What?" she snapped.

"Please, go get a fucking massage, take a pill or buy a vibrator… something, ANYTHING to relieve some of that stress you're carrying around." He cut her off as she was about to bite his head off. Leaning forward, he whispered rather loudly, "If you don't care for vibrators, I can offer you a night of casual sex with me. I promise to go easy, you being a virgin and all."

There was a deafening crack as Hermione's hand connected with the side of Draco's face. "You disgust me! Like I would ever let your very small flaccid penis anywhere near my vagina!"

There were snickers and a loud snort of laughter from Harry and a few others.

"She's done it now," Ginny said to Luna. "She's gone and insulted his manhood."

Draco smiled, her bright red hand print standing out on his pale cheek. "Small, eh?" he said, fumbling with his belt. "I'll show you just what a huge monster it is"

Hermione gave a small squeek and covered her eyes. "Malfoy! Don't!"

"Afraid it might turn you on, Granger? Scared you'll take one look at it and never be able to stop thinking about the pleasure it could give you? Why not have a look? That way you can imagine it as you lay alone in your bed at night fingering your little virgin hole!" He did his trousers back up as she fled from the room, crying.

Everyone was either pretending to look at the floor, whispering to another person, or glaring at him. He actually felt kind of bad about what just happened, and for a brief second, thought about running after her. He decided against it. After all, he didn't want to appear weak. "What the bloody hell is everyone just standing around for?" he shouted. "We have work to do! Clean up this mess! Get that scenery in place! Potter! You and Weasley are up. Let me see what you've come up with."

Hermione ran from the theatre, down the hall and out the side door. She ran a few steps more, collapsing against the brick wall, taking huge gulps of frigid air. The tears were freezing to her eyelashes and her nose was starting to run, but she didn't care.

Lifting her face to the darkening winter sky, she let the sparkling, light snowflakes drift onto her flushed skin. It looked so pretty, the way the snow was illuminated by the moonlight; all glittery, pure and white. It made her cry even harder.

The door opened and Fred came running out. "Are you okay?" he asked tenderly, wiping away her tears with his finger. "Malfoy is a prick. You shouldn't let him get to you the way he does."

She smiled gratefully at him. "I know I shouldn't, but…"

"But, you can't help it, can you?" he said, taking off his cloak and wrapping it around her shoulders. "You know he's in love with you, don't you?"

Hermione frowned up at Fred, shaking her head. "He doesn't love me. He can barely tolerate my existence."

He shivered and blew hot air into his cold hands. "He loves you. He just doesn't know how to show it." He sighed, wondering how to explain the inner workings of Malfoy's mind. "He's been brought up to hate people like you, so imagine how he felt when he found himself falling for you. He was probably scared, a little disgusted and more than a little disappointed that he wasn't able to make those feelings just disappear."

Hermione noticed he was shaking from the cold, so she moved closer and cuddled up to him.

Fred flinched, feeling a tad bit nervous for some reason. Sure he had hugged her before, but nothing ever this intimate. It felt very nice. He cleared the frog that had suddenly developed in his throat. "You see, he doesn't want to love you, and it's pissing him off that he can't stop, so he's lashing out with degrading remarks and anger in hopes that maybe he can force his feeling to be something other than what they are."

He twirled a piece of her hair, loving the way it curled around her finger. "He's also afraid that if he tells you that he loves you, you'll just laugh in his face, and he's not willing to face that kind of rejection." Fred realized that he was not only talking about Malfoy now, but he was also talking about himself.

Hermione said, almost too softly to hear, "I think I love him you know."

Fred's heart plummeted, and he was glad her head was down so that she couldn't see the hurt on his face. "Yes, I know. Anyone with one good eye can see that you two are crazy for each other." He felt sick. How could she be in love with someone who did nothing but treat her worse than a dog? Couldn't she see that there was someone else that loved her- someone who would treat her with respect and kindness- someone that at that very moment was holding her close?

"Would you do me a favor, Fred?" she asked, looking up at him.

"Would you talk to him for me?"

"Talk to him?" That was the last thing he wanted to do. "Sure. Anything for you."

She embraced him harder, burying her head in his shoulder. He could feel her breasts pressed against his chest, and he hoped to God that she couldn't feel his 'growing' desire for her. She looked up at him again, with the biggest brightest smile. Large, delicate snowflakes were falling in her hair, her cheeks were rosy and her eyes were sparkling- she looked so beautiful to him.

"You're wonderful, you know that?" she said, and suddenly his lips were on hers, and she was kissing him. It was soft and sensual, and it made her head swim.

He stiffened, realizing what he had done and quickly pulled away. "I'm sorry! I don't know what…" He was mortified.

Hermione, whose body was still tingling from his amazing kiss, waved it away. "You don't need to apologize, Fred. We were just caught up in the moment." She was wondering why he seemed so nervous and quickly cast aside the notion that maybe he somehow had developed feelings for her. "Um, so you'll talk to him for me?"

Fred, who had thought maybe the kiss would bring her to her senses, sighed in defeat. "Yes. When did you want me to talk to him?"

"Maybe after rehearsal tonight?" She took Fred's hand and pulled him towards to door. "I think the sooner the better, don't you?"

He thought never was better. "Sure."

She opened the door and gave him a peck on the cheek. "I'm not going back inside. I think I'll just go home for the night."

"Don't want to face him, huh?"

"Would you?"

"I guess not." He wanted to pull her close and kiss her, but he knew she would never let it happen again. She wanted Malfoy, not him. "I'll take him for coffee tonight, and try to talk some sense into the little ferret."

"Thanks, Fred. I owe you."

He stood in the doorway after she Apparated home, breathing in the cold air, trying to get his feeling in check. For some reason, Hermione fancied Draco, God only knew why. He, Fred, was the complete opposite of Malfoy, so there was probably no way in hell she could ever love him. She was just so… so different from other woman, and he really couldn't blame Draco for being in love with her. He just wished she had better taste in men.

"What?" Draco said, getting up to leave. He, Fred and George were sitting in the coffee shop around the corner from the theatre. At first, he had been wary of taking Fred up on his offer. After all, he was a Weasley, and Weasley's were sneaky- especially this one.

"Sit down, Malfoy," Fred said, pulling on his arm.

"I will not! How dare you accuse me of loving Granger!" He was trying with all his might to get out of Fred's grip. "That is the most absurd thing I've ever heard!"

There was a ripping sound as Draco's sleeve was rent from his shirt. "Now look what you've done!" He aimed his wand at the tear and fixed it.

"You're causing a scene, Malfoy," George said. "Now sit back down and listen to what we have to say or we'll kick your ass!"

Draco narrowed his eyes at them. He had never been good at Muggle fighting, and decided that listening to their nonsense was better than a black eye. "Fine!" he said, sitting back down and frowning. "I'll hear you out and then I'm going to go home, have a good laugh and drink myself silly."

George looked at Fred and shook his head. When his brother had told him that Hermione was in love with Malfoy, he had thought it a joke. After noticing that Fred wasn't laughing… that he was dead serious, he began to think the girl wasn't as smart as everyone thought her to be.

"So, as I was saying," Fred said. "We know that for some time now you have had… shut up, and let me finish!" he said as Draco opened his mouth to protest. "You can deny it all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that you love her and…" He swallowed hard, not liking the taste of the words. "She loves you."

Draco looked as if he had been punched in the gut. "Wh… what did you say?" He was sure he had heard wrong. There was no way in hell that Hermione Granger loved him!

"I said," Fred snapped. "That she loves you. Merlin knows why she would love a shit-head, fuck-tard like you, but she does!" He rubbed his temples, a sudden massive headache coming on.

George sat there, looking from a flabbergasted Malfoy, to his strangly jealous sounding brother. Could it be that he had missed the signs? Ignored the fact that Fred seemed to fancy Hermione? Nah! Couldn't be! If he did, he would have told him- they never kept secrets from each other.

Draco, who wanted to believe more than anything that Granger did love him, was about to let his pleasure show, when the little voice inside his head told him that would be a terrible mistake. 'It's a trick you idiot!' it said. 'They're trying to make you look like a fool. They hate you, remember?'

The twins were shocked when Draco stood up, brandishing his wand. "Do you think I'm stupid?"

"Do you honestly want me to answer that?" George said.

"I know what you're doing."

"What we're doing?" Fred said, trying not to explode. "What we're doing is trying to make Hermione happy. She wanted us to talk to you, to tell you how she felt…"

"You lie!" Draco shouted. The other patrons were looking over their shoulders at him, frightened. "You're just saying this because you want me to go to her, tell her I love her too and then you lot can have a jolly laugh when she tells me to fuck off!"


"Just shut the hell up Weasley! I won't fall for this. I WON'T!" He chuckled though nothing was remotely funny. "Tell me that Granger loves me! Granger! You couldn't have thought of some one more plausible?" He put on his cloak and turned to leave.

"Malfoy, wait!" Fred said, grabbing his arm. "What am I supposed to tell her?"

Draco paused but didn't turn. "Tell her whatever you want, but don't tell her I love her because that's simply not true!" He wrenched his arm away and fled the coffee shop.

The twins looked at each other. "What a cowardly fucking prick he is!" George said, shaking his head. "Come to think of it, they're both cowards! Hermione's just as bad as he is."

The waitress came over, chomping on her gum very loudly, slapped the bill on the table and told them 'Happy Holidays'. George continued, "I can't believe how totally stubborn they are!" He drained his cup, and pulled his hat down on his head. "This was a complete waste of time."

"Now what are we going to do?" Fred asked, slipping on his gloves. He glanced out the front window and he frowned, not really wanting to venture out into the snow.

George thought for a second, and then a devious grin spread across his face. "I know exactly what to do."