All characters belong to JKR
Written for Granger Enchanted Christmas challenge. Prompt: Christmas is the darkest part of her year, who could possibly show her that her bad memories are past and that he is her Christmas gift forever.
A Silent Night
Sometime life disappoints us. Sometimes we disappoint life. In my 29 years on this planet, I have been disappointed, and I have disappointed others. No more. I refuse to be disappointed. It was Christmas Eve, and I had a bad feeling that this evening would end one of two ways: either I would be disappointed, or I would disappoint someone very dear to me. Life was all about taking chances, not that I usually took any – no, I usually took the easy way out, but this time, things were going to be hard, and you know what, I think she's worth it, and I know for a fact that I am as well.
I sat at the table in her small flat and watched as she took off her shoes in the other room. She then removed her earrings and disappeared to the other side of the room. I continued to watch from my perch on the chair, watching her through the kitchen, through the sitting room, into her bedroom. She reappeared, still in her pretty, red dress, crossed the open door, and disappeared again. She crossed back over and then finally came out of the bedroom. She walked through the living room, in her bare feet, picking up cups and plates on the way. She walked into the kitchen, didn't even look my way, and deposited the dirty dishes in the sink. She grabbed a large trash liner from under the sink, shook it out, and attached it onto the back of one of the kitchen chairs. She went back into the living room to gather more plates and cups.
I had tried to speak with her all night, but she kept avoiding me. It was irritating. Finally, I grabbed her arm, pulled her to the side, and said, "When the party's over, and all your little merry-making friends are gone, I will have an important discussion with you." I didn't leave it open to debate.
She seemed nervous, almost as if she sensed what I had to say and was dreading it, or something more sinister, but then she smiled that smile, which never fails to melt my heart, and asked me if I wanted more eggnog. I hated eggnog. I told her yes.
Now she walked back into the tiny kitchen, behind my chair, touched my shoulder, but didn't say a word. She bent forward and picked up a plate with a dirty fork, which sat in front of me. She took it over to the sink. She walked back to the sitting room, grabbed an ashtray, said, "Disgusting," and emptied it into the trash liner.
She placed the dirty ashtray in the sink and I finally said, "Hermione, it's time we have that talk."
Then she disappointed me. She ignored me.
She always did.
She wouldn't even turn around and face me. Whoever said Gryffindors were brave surely had never witnessed such a blatant display of cowardliness. She was liable to be thrown out of the 'goody-two shoes' club for this! I untied my tie and pulled it from my neck. I balled it in my fist and threw it across the room. Perhaps that would get her attention. She shuffled back into the other room, stepped over my tie, back into kitchen, her arms full of the last of the dirty dishes, and said, "Give me that glass." She started putting dishwater in the sink. She pointed to a glass on the table.
I ignored her.
I never did.
"Hey," she said, "will you hand me that glass?" She turned back toward the sink and began to wash the dishes.
"Leave them until tomorrow," I said.
"I can't get to sleep in I leave them," she said. She walked over to the table, picked up the glass, which I wouldn't give to her, and placed it in the sink with the other dirty dishes.
"Why, will they stay up all night talking, and keep you awake?" I asked, though I found no humour in my statement.
Neither did she, so she didn't respond.
"Turn and look at me."
I stood up and walked toward the sink. When I was an arms length from her I said, "Turn and look at me, please."
She sighed. She kept her arms in the water, and looked down. "Not tonight, Draco."
"Maybe never. I just don't want to talk."
"Well I do. I want to talk about what's going on between us. It can't wait any longer. We need to clear the air, once and for all, and get on with our lives one way or the other." There, I made my intentions clear. I laid it on the line. Let's see what she has to say about it.
She turned around so suddenly that I took a step backwards. Soapsuds splashed all around us. She screamed, "What do you want from me? It's Christmas Eve! You know how hard this night is for me!"
I shook my head, rolled up my sleeves, and said, "Nothing. I don't want anything from you, so never mind. I'll dry." I walked to the sink and grabbed a clean towel.
However, she apparently no longer wanted to wash the dishes. She walked through the little kitchen, through the sitting room, and disappeared in her bedroom. She closed the pocket doors that separated the two rooms and said, "Show yourself out, Malfoy. Happy Christmas."
I leaned against the counter and folded my arms. There was nothing I wanted more than to have a Happy Christmas, but that sentiment would never come true, as long as Hermione Granger wasn't having one.
The first problem was that I loved her. The second problem was that she probably didn't love me in return.
The biggest problem of them all was that she might not be capable of loving anyone, not anymore, not since last Christmas. I walked over to her living room couch and sat down. I placed my feet on the coffee table, something she hated, and I cursed the day that Hermione Granger met Ron Weasley, I really did. But more than anything, I regretted the day, last Christmas Eve, when the stupid wanker left her, and left her all alone, and incapable of loving.
Last Christmas her bloody fiancée of five years, the love of her life for the past ten years, her secret crush since she was twelve years old, the Witless Wonder Weasley, whose first name shall not be named, left her, and on Christmas Eve. When he told her that he had fallen in love with another, he said that he figured if he couldn't be honest with her on Christmas Eve, then when could he be honest?
That was the biggest pile of shite I had ever heard.
Regretfully, I remember that night as if it happened, well, tonight, instead of a year ago. They had just had their big annual holiday bash, right here in this very flat. Since I was their upstairs neighbour, and her co-worker, and since we had all decided years ago to let bygones be bygones, she invited me to their little soiree.
It was one of the worst nights of my life, because it was one of the worst nights of her life.
The prat didn't even wait to tell her after their guests had left. He took her into their bedroom, (the very bedroom in which she was now hiding) closed the pocket doors, and then he told her he was in love with someone else, and he wanted to be fair to both of them, so he was leaving her that night.
It was the most cowardly thing I had ever seen a man do, and I have seen many cowardly things in my time. I have done many cowardly things in my time, but this beat them all.
The next thing everyone in the other room heard was the sound of her heart breaking, in the form of a strangled cry, which pierced the night, and seemed to seep through the solid oak doors. If I had to pinpoint a title for that night, I would call it 'Silent Night', because after that cry, everyone in the living room stopped talking. Some of us stopped breathing. Potter turned off the Christmas music, and when Weasley walked out of one of the doors, Potter walked up to him and said, "I thought you were going to wait until after Christmas!"
"I couldn't wait. I had to do this. I needed closure. Don't I deserve a Happy Christmas, with the woman I love?" the weasel responded. I wanted to hex the man, right then and there, but I was in a room full of former Gryffindors, so to keep the peace, I held my wand tight, but I never drew it.
Then Harry Potter, the man I loved to hate, did something, which for one second made me admire him, and if I were truthful, which usually I'm not, I would admit that I still admire him for it to this day.
He looked through the open door, (as did I) and he saw Granger on the bed, no longer crying, broken and despondent, and then Scarboy pulled back his fist, and in good old Muggle style, which would make his Mudblood mummy proud, hit the ginger-haired man square on the nose. It broke it instantly.
Weasley held his nose; blood pouring all over the ugly red jumper he had on, picked up his bag, and left immediately. The rest of the guests, the poor clueless bastards, stood there in total shock until Potter and the girl Weasley made everyone leave.
That was when I took my chance and I slithered, the way snakes sometimes do, into her room, which was lit by a single lamp by her bed. I stood against the far wall, next to the window, so that I was cast mostly in shadow.
Potter didn't notice me when he came back in the room and sat by her side. He held her, and patted her hand and told her that it would be all right. I wondered why he felt the need to lie to her. She only said one thing to him, the whole time we were in there with her. She said, "He left me on Christmas Eve, Harry. I would never, ever do that to him."
To which Potter responded, "I know, I know." He looked toward the corner of the room, saw me, and gave his head a small nod. I didn't know what that nod meant, but I took it as an invitation to stay. I sunk down to a sitting position, and after an hour, with her still in a catatonic state, Potter and his little woman finally left her alone.
To my surprise, that was when she started to cry. I almost ran out of the room to pull Potter back in the flat. What was I to do for a weeping woman? I knew she was in pain, but how could I help her? I figured that I had snuck in the room, so I could just sneak my arse back out, but as I approached the door, quietly as I could, she said, without raising her head from her pillow, "Please stay."
I did. I stayed right where I was.
Then she said, "Come hold me."
I held her. I put my body on the bed beside her and I held her. That was so out of character for me. I don't think I've ever been on a bed with a woman before and not had sex with them. It was a humbling experience. That's the only way I can explain it. And as much as it embarrasses me to admit, I was glad that he left her. I was overjoyed, actually. Not at her pain. I wasn't that much of git anymore. I mean, I'm still a slimy git, sure, but I'm not an outright bastard. I knew she had feelings, and I knew she was sad. The reason I was happy was because she was finally free, and I was holding her.
Because damn it all to hell, I loved her madly. You see, I know that one statement makes me sound pitiful. While we're on the subject, I might as well go all out and tell the complete truth. I've loved her for over a year now, and I was going to tell her as much tonight, but she's hiding in her bedroom, so what can I do?
It probably started as admiration when we started working together. We both worked for the Ministry of Magic, but in different departments. One day, our departments were having a joint meeting, and I was late, as I was apt to be. Much to my painful chagrin, when I entered the conference room there were only three seats available around the large rectangular table. One next to my boss, who hated my guts anyway, and would not be pleased that I was late, one was next to Harry Potter, and hello, we all know our history, and the third was next to her.
She smiled at me, and pulled out the chair next to her, sensing my dilemma. I sat next to her, and from that moment on, I thought of her in a different way.
I didn't fall in love immediately, because that sort of thing just happens in paperback romance novels. I didn't loved her from afar. I hadn't love her since we were kids, though she looked pretty that one time at the Yule ball fourth year at school, but because I spent the next three years after that hating her guts and plotting her and her friends demise, I could definitely say that I hadn't love her for years.
No, my love for her came gradually. It started at that meeting which was on November 15th last year, and as I stated, it started as admiration. It became stronger on December 1 the same year, when she saw me in the lifts in our building, (I live in the flat above hers) and she invited me to her Christmas party. Then, on that December 12th, she came upstairs, knocked on my door, and gave me some god-awful biscuits, which she stated were supposed to be reindeers, but I swear they looked like a map of the United Kingdom, and they tasted even worse, but the point was, I was hooked.
I denied my feeling at first, even though I was the only one who knew about them. I chastised myself, raked myself over the coals, and called myself stupid. Seriously, how could I even entertain thoughts about liking her, let alone feeling something more?
Right before her disastrous Christmas party, I saw her out shopping. She was in a Muggle department store, in the men's department, looking down at two different sweaters. One was nice, cashmere, silver, quite expensive, and one was ghastly, red, man-made cotton knit, I'm sure, with a silly little candy cane emblem on the front.
I stood behind her, she still didn't know I was there, and finally I said, right in her ear, but quietly, "If you're buying one of those for me, I suggest the silver one. It'll bring out my eyes." She turned slight, and her gaze held amusement. "However," I continued, "If one is for Weasley, then I think the red one would look smashing with his hair."
She smiled at that point.
She turned toward me and placed the silver one up to my chest. She held it by the shoulders, propped it there by itself, and smoothed it out with her hands. I had to swallow hard and blink, or I might have done something embarrassing, like shudder or pull her into my arms and kissed her until her knees buckled.
The gentle caress of her hands across my chest, even through the material of the sweater, and the suit jacket I had on, sent all kinds of visions through my head, and none of them were of sugarplums.
She said, "The silver does match your eyes." Then she removed the sweater from my chest, and she folded it and put it back on the table. She placed the ugly sweater right beside it. She turned back around and said, "How about this one?" She pointed to a royal blue jumper.
I said, "Granger, I think that's a woman's jumper. Someone put it on this table by mistake."
"I put it there, while I was looking at these two. I like it. I was going to buy it for myself, but then I had to remember that it's Christmas, and I should buy for others. It's better to give than to receive."
I picked up the blue sweater and said, "Yes, I've heard that rubbish before, but I have to say, I've always been twice as happy to get presents as to give them." I was only being honest with her, but she must have thought I was joking, because she laughed, and I fell just a tad bit more in love with her that day.
I picked up the blue jumper and mimicking her actions from before, I held it up to her shoulders. I let it rest there. She looked down at the blue jumper, and back up to my eyes. I realized that I still had my hands on her shoulders, and though I was only looking at her, directly at her, right in her eyes, and not at the sweater, I said, "Beautiful."
She blushed. I fell in love a bit more.
What sent me totally over the moon was two days before her party from hell, when she knocked on my door and said, "Malfoy, I bought too many ornaments, shall I put some on your tree?"
I let her in my flat, and said, "No tree, Granger. I'm a pagan and I don't hold such holiday rituals in high regard."
She frowned at me. I fell a bit deeper. Then I smiled at her and she smiled back. I was almost all the way there. She said, "You really don't have a tree?"
"I didn't see the reason to bother with it." That much was the truth. I was invited to the Manor for Christmas day, well, no, that's not the truth. My attendance was expected at the Manor, and I had two invites from beautiful women who both wanted to share my Yule log, to put it bluntly, for later Christmas day, so I didn't see the need for a tree. Moreover, I was spending Christmas Eve at her party, didn't she recall? Why would I need a tree?
I soon discovered I needed a tree because Hermione Granger wanted me to have a tree. She shook her head in dismay, ordered me to stay put, and came back a moment later with a small tree in her hand. She decorated it, and even allowed me to place two ornaments on it, though she moved one. That was when it happened. I was completely, utterly, and hopelessly in love with the witch. The next day when I saw that she had placed a present under the tree, I was even more enraptured. Especially when I saw that it was the silver sweater. I smiled. I had already wrapped the blue one for her, and it was on her kitchen table at that precise moment.
And I swear…the moment I realized it was all out, full-blown love, was when I knocked on her door for her Christmas party, wearing my silver sweater, and I saw her in the pretty, blue one, and she smiled again. And that's not even the cherry on top. The pivotal moment was a few minutes later when Weasley walked through the room in the stupid red Christmas jumper with the candy cane on front. I almost laughed aloud! More importantly, I fell completely in love with her.
A few hours later, I was on the bed holding her, the pretty, blue jumper wrinkled and mussed, the silver one she got me soaked with her tears, and my heart broke for her, what little heart I had.
Now, a year later, my heart was still breaking for her and still full of love as well, and her heart still hadn't healed. Just as Weasley justified telling her a year ago that he was leaving her on Christmas Eve, (Because after all, if he couldn't be truthful to her on Christmas, when could he, the stupid, rotten bugger.) then the same holds for me. It was Christmas Eve, I think I've waited long enough, and if her heart isn't receptive to my love, then I guess I'll be disappointed.
But I had to tell her.
Mind you, I'm not some lovesick fool. I've never daydreamed about the day I'd whisk her off her feet and make her mine. I'm not some sick stalker. I don't go through her rubbish, and I don't have a lock of her hair under my pillow. I'm in love, but I'm not sick. I haven't loved her from afar. Over the past year, I'm sure she's known how I felt. I almost told her a few times. I've held her hand when she's been sad, I kissed her finger once when she burned it, and put lotion on her sunburned back for goodness sakes, and I didn't even try to cop a feel!
I've been a perfect gentleman, but more than a friend, and she's a smart woman. She has to know. That has to be why she's refusing to speak to me. She will not hinder me. I'll tell her tonight, or perhaps be hexed trying, but she'll hear me out!
It's something I can't deny any longer. I love her. I really do. I have for over a year, and knowing that Christmas Eve has come again, and that she's still in pain, a year later no less, still breaks my aforementioned little, tiny heart.
I've wanted to tell her all day. I was going to wait until tomorrow, Christmas day, but when she knocked on my flat door this evening, and announced, "Get your bum down to my flat in an hour! I'm having my annual Christmas party!" Well, it threw me for a loop. It also messed up my plan. Nevertheless, I would do anything for her, so I dressed in my nicest suit, and I waited until it was time, and then I knocked on her door, and now here I was, waiting to tell her how I felt, and she wouldn't even come out of the bloody bedroom.
I sat through four hours of her stupid friends, playing stupid games, singing stupid carols, opening stupid gag-gifts, (I received a tie that lit up), and waiting for everyone to leave so I could finally tell her, and now she's hiding from me.
I kicked at her coffee table, planted my feet on the floor, determined to throw open the doors, and tell her to her face that she was in bloody poor form, and oh yes, I love her, when she opened the doors instead.
"Draco?" she asked.
I should ignore her. I really should. On the other hand, perhaps I should start picking up the trash that was still strewn around the room…boxes, ribbons, paper and tags. She hadn't cleared up all the dirty dishes yet, either. I could do that. Why should I talk to her just because she suddenly wants to talk to me? Why should I do her any favours?
"Yes," I answered. I was a sucker in love, what could I say.
She walked toward me and with her eyes downcast, she said, "I'm sorry."
"For what?" I asked my voice cracking. Was she going to say something horrible, like, "I'm sorry, but I know you love me, and I don't love you?" It never dawned on me until this moment that something like that might be a possibility, I mean, seriously people, I'm freaking awesome.
She crept closer and for some reason, I felt the need to put up my guard. She reached out for my hand, pulled her own hand back for a second, and then reached out again and took my hand in hers. "I'm sorry I've waited this long to tell you something."
My heart was officially in my throat. I wondered if I would choke on my own heart. What was she to tell me? Why couldn't I tell her that I loved her before she told me her bad news? If I told her that I loved her first, and then she wanted to tell me something awful, she would at least be the one in the wrong, for making me have a bad holiday experience.
She took one more step toward me, and I swear, I froze, and not because her bloody flat had a draft, which it did. When she reached for my other hand, and was holding both of mine in hers, I turned my head slightly and said, "You're scaring me, Granger."
Then the world famous, fall in love with her smile, graced her face and she said. "I love you, Draco. I have since last Christmas, but I didn't know how to tell you. I was going to wait until after the holidays last year, and then tell Ron that it wasn't working out with us first, tell him that I no longer loved him, and then I was going to tell you that I was having feelings for you after that. I was going to take my time and do it right, but Ron had to ruin it all."
"Then, I was afraid to tell you for the longest time, because it was just too soon, don't you see? Everyone would have thought I was on the rebound. You would have questioned my sincerity."
I was totally gobsmacked, I must say. I stood there in shock! Imagine what I felt as she continued. "I probably fell in love with you truly, or at least I started to fall in love with you, right before Christmas last year. Oh Malfoy, please, don't look so shocked!" She let go of my hands and crossed to the other side of the room.
"I know this is unwelcome, and I know you only think of me as a friend, but I can't deny it any longer. I know you've wanted to talk to me all night, and I figured it was to tell me that my blatant feelings were unwarranted, unwelcome, and repulsive to you. I know you have to know how I feel, I mean, all the little touches, the excuses to see you, the way I look at you sometimes. I know you don't reciprocate my feelings, I mean, why would you?"
She walked through the pocket doors and sat on her bed. I felt compelled to follow her, just as I did last Christmas. She said, "I've been a basket case, and my feelings a muddled mess, and I mean, who in their right mind would want to take me on, right?"
I wanted to scream her an answer…me! I want to take her on! I didn't even know what that euphemism meant, but if it meant take her by the shoulders and kiss her for days on end, then I wanted to take her on right here and now.
How could two intelligent people, in fact, the two most intelligent people I've ever known, me being the first, and her being the second, be so incredibly dense, and let's call a spade a spade…stupid?
She loved me!
Well, bully for her, because I loved her, too. You've all spent the last ten minutes, (fifteen if you're a slow reader) reading how much I love her, but did any of you out there imagine that she might love me in return?
I said, "Are you sane?" Granted, not the most romantic thing I could say, but I had to be certain before I proceeded.
She looked confused. I shook my head, pulled her to stand and said, "Never mind. Granger, you're so stupid, but don't fear, because apparently its something that's catching, because I'm stupid, too."
She caught her breath, and waited for me to continue. "I wanted to tell you all night, no, all year, that I love you and here you are, you stupid ninny, and you've wanted to tell me the very same thing! How could we both be so stupid?"
"Well, in your case…" she started. I put my hand over her mouth.
"Don't ruin my moment," I scolded. "Gads, Granger, we're a hopeless pair."
"I guess so," she said humbly. She sat on the bed and I sat beside her. I took her hand and my thumb rubbed the top. Then I did something, which I had done several times in the last year, but which meant so much more now. I kissed her hand. I closed my eyes, kissed the top of her hand, and then placed both our hands over my heart, which I no longer doubted existed, because Hermione Granger could never love someone without a heart. It just wasn't possible.
"Happy Christmas, I guess," she said with grin, and then she bit her bottom lip.
"Allow me," I said. I leaned over, and touched her top lip with my finger, which caused her to release the bottom lip from her teeth. I rounded her lips twice with my finger before I leaned forward and pressed my mouth to hers.
All I can say was that it was worth the wait. I felt happiness and lightness in my soul, as well as heaviness in my chest, although to feel lightness and heaviness at the same time was an oxymoron, but who am I to question the ways of love?
I pressed my lips a bit harder, and opened hers with minimal pressure. I still had one of her hands in one of mine, and I reached for her neck with the other, before I rested it in her hair.
She tilted her head slightly to the left, and her other hand came to my cheek. It was the most intense kiss I've ever felt, and also possibly the most profound. She suddenly seemed timid, as she drew away from me, and she said, "What now?"
"Well now, we get to have a very Happy Christmas, Hermione."
"I'd like that." I leaned forward to kiss her again, but she leaned away, so I frowned. She said, "By and by, you really should have told me sooner that you loved me."
"I would say the same to you, but what's the use? I have a feeling that I should probably keep silent right about now, if I want the kissing to continue," I said plainly. And after that moment, it was a silent night. Maybe even a holy night.
The End and Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!