A Note from the Author: As you know from my penname, my name is Grace Ledger, not J

A Note from the Author: As you know from my penname, my name is Grace Ledger, not J.K Rowling. I am not J.K Rowling. I did not write the Harry Potter series and I do not own anything. Despite how much I wish I did, I don't. Anyways, this little idea popped into my head and I decided to put my idea to better use than rattling around in my head. I hope you enjoy it and please, as always, leave a review after reading. Reviews seriously are what keep me writing. They are the sunshine in my day. So, please leave a review. Thank you!

December's Hope

It was a fresh, crisp December afternoon. The snow had freshly fallen, frosting the trees and bushes with a coat of white. The air was frosty and bit at anyone's none and cheeks if they so dared to step out of the heated walls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Only four students took up this dare – Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Draco Malfoy.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione had eagerly slipped on their mittens, coats, scarves, and caps and hurried outside at the first glance of the freshly fallen snow. Despite Hermione's constant nagging about the need to study for exams, she had followed Harry and Ron outside with a smile on her lips. It was in fact a beautiful day. She thought it a shame no one else was outside to enjoy the beauty of it all.

However, there was someone else.

Draco Malfoy had gone outside to escape; to escape the exams, to escape the two bumbling fools that went by the name of Crabbe and Goyle, and to escape the memory of a death that had taken place exactly seven years ago that date. Despite the numbered years, the memory of that death was still engraved upon his memory and every year, Draco would find an escape just to sit and reflect. It was nice to finally get some peace and to get away from the high expectations and just disappear into his thoughts.

As he sat, his back against a tree, he heard laughter. Instantly recognizing it as the laughter of his three enemies, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, Draco stiffened. Of course when he had come outside to get away from everything, the Golden Trip had to ruin it! Of course, in Draco's mind, they had ruined practically everything for him.

Draco listened to the laughter, the sounds of footsteps crunching against the crisp snow, the screams, the shouts, the playful threats, and the sound of snowballs hitting against bodies.

"Ronald, you are going to regret that!"

Smack!

"Hermione, I suggest you start running; Ron doesn't look to happy!"

Harry laughed at the scene playing out before his eyes. Ron had hit Hermione with a snowball. She had gladly returned the favor only, her snowball happened to land right against the back of Ron's head. He had glared at her and Harry could have sworn smoke was going to come out of his ears and nose.

Hermione gladly took up Harry's suggestion and ran. She ran into the forest with Ron hot on her tail.

"Ron," Harry hissed, "Stay here. She'll get bored and come out eventually. Then you can get her."

"Oooh!" Ron nodded, "Good idea!"

Hermione was still racing through the woods laughing when she came across a boy sitting against a tree. His blonde hair made him instantly recognizable.

"Malfoy?"

"Mudblood!" Draco scoffed, clearly displeased at her interrupting his thoughts.

"What are you doing out here?"

"Don't see how it's any business of yours," Malfoy jeered.

"I…I was just asking," Hermione said before doing something that surprised both her and Draco – she sat down next to him.

"What are you…what are doing?" Draco demanded, his eyes wide.

"I am tired and I am going to sit down."

"I was here first!"

"Well that's mature," Hermione rolled her eyes.

"Look…could you just…could you just leave me alone?" Draco asked. Hermione picked up on his tone of voice. It was almost pleading, begging. She never imagined Malfoy begging. Malfoys, after all, have much more dignity than that.

"If you want," Hermione shrugged and stood.

"Wait…" Draco interjected, grabbing onto her coat, "You…you can stay if you want."

"You…you aren't planning to like hex me or something, are you Malfoy?" Hermione teased.

"Nah," Draco shook his head, "Unless you start being all annoying and start talking to me and stuff."

"Alright," Hermione smiled, "No talking."

"No talking."

"None at all."

"Of course not," Draco shook his head.

"Nope," Hermione agreed, smiling.

"Nope," Draco found, to his surprise, that a small half of a smile was playing at the corners of his lips. He quickly covered it up with a scowl but not before Hermione saw.

"So the ferret can smile!"

"Shut up," Draco shot her a look, "It can happen."

"I've never seen it."

"Yeah well not a lot of people have. Consider yourself lucky."

"If you say so," Hermione smiled, "So why are you out here?"

"What happened to the 'no talking' arrangement?"

"Hey, you were the one that smiled!"

"You were the one that talked!"

"Good point."

"Yeah, remember what I said; I will hex you if you get annoying. Don't doubt that I won't."

"Oh of course you will. After all, you are big, bad, Draco Malfoy!"

"Are you mocking me?" Draco asked, quirking an eyebrow.

"What if I am?"

"Are you?"

"Maybe."

"Then I just might have to hex you."

"Okay. Do it," Hermione dared.

"What?"

"Do it. Hex me, Malfoy."

Draco looked Hermione over before coming to a conclusion.

"You're not worth it."

"Or you just don't have it in you."

"If this were any other day, Granger…" Draco threatened.

"Did you just call me Granger?"

"Yeah. So?"

"So, you've always called me mudblood."

"I'm just full of surprises today, aren't I?" Draco smirked, "So what were you three goodie goods doing over there?"

"Snowball fight. Ron is going to kill me."

"I'd like to see that!" Draco scoffed, "Weasley couldn't do a thing!"

"Says the boy who couldn't hex a mudblood!"

"Don't call yourself that," Draco found himself saying before quickly adding, "And if this were any other day, I would!"

"Okay," Hermione nodded.

"So why is Weasley on the prowl?"

"I hit him with a snowball."

"You know," Draco shot her a glance, "If you make a smaller snowball, it will fly faster and will have more of an effect. The large ones don't do much damage except give you a bruise the next morning."

"Since when are you an expert on snowball fights?" Hermione asked.

"I used to have them," Draco shrugged.

"Oh," Hermione didn't prod, instead she asked, "So you make a smaller one? Like this?"

"Yeah," Draco nodded at the ball in Hermione's hands, "Like that."

"And if I were to stand…over here," Hermione stood up and walked a few feet away from Draco, "And threw it…" she said, tossing the snowball so it hit Draco square in the shoulder, "Like that?"

"Granger," Malfoy glared at her, then his shoulder, then back at her, "You're dead!"

"Oh is big, bad Draco Malfoy going to hex me? Oh that's right…he can…" Hermione was interrupted as a snowball hit her on the shoulder, "Malfoy! This means war!"

Soon, the two were flinging snowballs back in forth in an all out battle. When they were utterly exhausted, they both fell back against the tree, laughing.

"Surprising," Hermione said between laughs.

"What?"

"You can laugh too."

"Like I said, it happens. Not too often, but it happens."

"Where did you learn how to have a snowball fight like that?" Hermione asked.

"Years ago," Draco began, "We used to have them every day during winter."

"We?"

"Yeah, we."

"Who's we?"

"None of your business!" Draco snapped.

"It was just a question," Hermione said quietly turning away.

"Look, if you really want to know," Draco sighed, "My sister and I used to have them."

"You have a sister?" Hermione's eyes widened.

"Used to," Draco shrugged, "Not any more."

"What…what was her name?" Hermione asked, a little worried that he might be angered and bite her head off again.

"Elizabeth – Lizzie. She would be fourteen this year."

"Would be?"

"Yeah, would be. God, I can't believe I am about to tell you this! I've never told anyone before," Draco ran a hand through his blonde locks; "Lizzie was my sister. She was seven when she died."

"Oh, Draco," Hermione's voice was soft, caring. She realized that it was the first time she ever called Malfoy by his first name.

"Yeah. We were close. Three years apart. I remember we used to have snowball fights ever winter. She was…she was such a brat! She was always getting herself into trouble. Father was constantly punishing her and mother, well mother was tired of her. She put me in charge of watching her. Said she was too much to handle. And that was true! Lizzie would…Lizzie would make a mess of everything, she'd get crayon everywhere and she loved to play outside and would track dirt all over our house. She would never listen either. You could tell her something and…and she'd look at you and do the total opposite. She used to make me so…so angry! Just thinking…just thinking about her makes me angry!" Draco's voice cracked.

"Draco…"

"I loved her, Hermione," Draco shook his head, "I'd have given my life for her. She caught a fever when she was seven. She got so sick that the doctors told us she'd die soon. I prayed that I could go in her place. She was…she was so full of life. I…I'd have taken every bit of her suffering for her if I could. I'd have taken Father's punishments, I'd have taken Mother's scoldings, I'd have taken the fever if I could!"

"Draco…" Hermione's eyes flooded with tears and she noticed Draco's did the same.

"She died seven years ago today. Mother was off at a party and Father was off at a meeting," he didn't say it, but Hermione knew who his father had been meeting with, "She died with me at her side. She…she told me she loved me…she…she said never to forget her…and…and she told me to stay out of…out of trouble…" Draco finally broke. He began to cry. Hermione put her arm around his shoulder and held him as if her were Ron or Harry or even Neville for that matter!

"Draco…do you know where she is right now?"

"Mother says she's in heaven. Father says there's no such place."

"You're Father is wrong," Hermione said firmly, "She is in heaven, Draco. She's looking down at you and you know what? She's pleased with you. She's pleased that you love her, she's pleased that you didn't forget her, and she's pleased that you stayed out of…well, she pleased with you for loving and remembering her."

"I miss her, Hermione."

"She's still with you, Draco," Hermione whispered, "She'll never leave you as long as you keep her memories alive in your heart."

"That…that's got to be the sappiest thing I've ever heard," Draco laughed through his tears, "But thank you."

"You're welcome."

"I bet Pothead and Weasel are worried about you."

"Yeah. I'm surprised they haven't called a search for me," Hermione laughed, shaking her head, "They worry too much!"

"They just care about you."

"I guess," Hermione shrugged, "Will you be alright?"

"Yeah," Draco nodded, "I'm gonna go inside in a moment. I'm freezing my arse off out here!"

"Okay," Hermione laughed, "Bye, Draco."

"See ya around, Hermione," Draco raised a hand goodbye as she walked away.

"Bloody hell! Snape's test was worse than a crucio spell!" Ron complained as he, Harry, and Hermione exited the classroom together the next day.

"If you would have studied, Ronald, it wouldn't have been so hard."

"No one asked you," Ron snipped, "Ms. Booky McBookster!"

"Mature, Ronald, very mature."

"Both of you!" Harry rolled his eyes, "Why do I put up with it?"

As the threesome walked down the hallway, they came across Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle.

"Ew, you'd think with all the money his dad has, he could afford a new face," Ron scoffed.

"Ronald!" Hermione hissed, jabbing him in the ribs with her elbow.

"Mione!"

"Oh look who it is, boys," Draco sneered, "It's the Golden Trio!"

"A Scarface, a Weasel, and a Mudblood!" Crabbe jeered before Draco backhanded him in her head, "Ow! Malfoy!"

"Granger," Draco nodded towards Hermione.

"Malfoy," Hermione nodded in reply.

"Come on you fools!" Malfoy shouted at Crabbe and Goyle.

The six parted and went their separate ways. Hermione looked back towards Draco only to find he was glancing back at her. They both smiled at each other but as soon as their smiles appeared, they disappeared. Malfoy made a face at Hermione who returned the favor before they both turned back to their friends.

The next day, Draco walked into his dorm to find a small gift wrapped in brown wrapping and tied with a piece of string. Draco unwrapped the gift to find that it was a small picture frame with the words "My Guardian Angel" around it. There was no card but Draco knew who it was from.

"Granger," he said, smiling to himself.

That night, Hermione walked into her dorm to find a small envelope on top of her bed, resting against her pillow. Glancing around, she lifted the envelope off the bed and opened it. Inside was a small piece of parchment with the words "Thank you" scrawled across them. It wasn't signed, but Hermione knew who it was from.

"Malfoy," she said, smiling to herself.

A Note from the Author: Please leave a review and let me know what you thought.