Dramione One-shot Special Challenge at the Dramione awards (Second Place Winner)

Due: December 19th 29th 2008 11:59Pm

Theme: Holiday & Winter 1,000 – 10,000 Words

Must include: a snowflake (not to mean snow), an ornament, fairy lights, and a kiss

Rating: PG or K+

Warnings: AU, Fluff

Paring: D/Hr

Summary: Hermione has a strange encounter with Draco, which leads to more than she could have ever imagined.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. Any original characters and the original plot are the property of the author. The Fanfiction author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


Holly and Ivy

Hermione loved Christmas Holiday. She enjoyed making gifts for friends and family. She particularly loved the good cheer and holiday carols. One of her favorites was "The Holly And The Ivy."

She even loved to decorate with crisp green ivy vines and holly braches sprinkled with vivid red berries. Green and red. A good combination, she had always thought. Unless one was thinking of House colors. Gryffindor and Slytherin were not so good a combination.

It was a few days before term would end, and there was to be a Christmas carnival. In order to promote Inter-House Unity, the girls on the planning committee had organized the event with a program of games, competitions, and prizes to enhance the festivities.

It had been Hermione and Ginny who came up with the Ornament Auction. It was quite clever really. A spin on the antiquated practice of Picnic Basket Auctions, where the ladies of the community would prepare a picnic lunch and the gentlemen would bid on the baskets. The bids would fund a charity, and the lucky lads would get to share the excellent food with whichever lady made the lunch. Except for this occasion, the girls of Hogwarts would craft ornaments and the boys would bid on them. As an incentive, each winning bidder would receive not only the hand-fashioned ornament, but also a kiss from its fashioner. The funds raised would go to The Children's High Level Group.

And so it was for this reason that Hermione found herself on the edge of the Forbidden Forest, clipping English Holly from an impressively large bush. The shinny leaves and striking red berries further lifted her sprits. Drawing in a frigid breath, she paused to marvel at the beautiful snowscape. Plump flakes fell from the darkening sapphire sky like puffs of white cotton. She let the breath go, adding her own frosty wisps, which billowed up and quickly vanished.

She had already gathered creeping ivy from the south side of the castle, and her basket of Holiday greenery was nearly full. Her ornament would be a musical one, a crystalline orb containing a holly ball that was twined with ivy and fairy lights.

Hermione shivered. It was bitterly cold, and her breath seemed to crystallize the second it hit the frigid air. Feeling the wintry wind bite through the Muggle snow jacket she wore, her hands began to rush at their endeavor.

"Ouch! Blast it!" A brilliant red bead of blood dripped from her finger into the snow. The bush had retaliated, pricking her finger in retribution for such rough treatment. She popped the stinging digit into her mouth.

"What's this?" came a low drawling voice from behind. "Isn't it a bit chilly to be out and about in such a thin… anorak?"

Malfoy. Hermione glanced at him over her shoulder and pulled the finger from her mouth.

"What's that supposed to mean?" She eyed him suspiciously, suspecting he had just insulted her studiousness.

Draco's own stare hovered on the finger she had pulled from her lips. "Did you hurt yourself?"

"As if you care," she snapped, annoyed with his intrusion. The blood was dripping freely into the snow, looking like crimson pearls on white satin.

"Here," he clipped, walking towards her, taking her hand, "let me see what you've done." He inspected the gouge casually, and then pulled an emerald green hankie from his wizard's waistcoat, wrapping it round the wound.

Surprised at the care he took and embarrassed by his actions, Hermione flushed nearly as red as her blood. "Malfoy, it's just a little prick, nothing to get excited about."

He smirked at her, mirth dancing behind his clear grey eyes. She wanted to die, realizing her choice of words and quickly pulled her hand from his grasp.

"Yes, well, even little pricks must be tended to, as I'm sure you must agree. Shall I accompany you to hospital wing? Madam Pomfrey will have you well mended in two shakes."

"It's nothing, really…" she started, but he was looking intently at her, most peculiarly, as if seeing her for the first time. It made her pause, return his steadfast stare.

He raised his hand, laying it carefully on the side of her cheek. "Close your eyes, Granger." The edge in his voice was softer now.

"What? Why?" She dithered, feeling like an idiot for the tiny tremble in two little words.

His thin wide mouth curled at one end and she quickly closed her eyes. Would he kiss her? Why on earth would Malfoy want to kiss her? She felt his warm palm slide up her too cool skin, his thumb brush gently over her eyelid. And then…nothing.

He removed his hand.

She opened her eyes, confused and slightly dazed.

"A snowflake," he replied to her unspoken question. "…on your eyelash."

She gazed into his face, and in it she found her own thoughts mirrored. Uncertainty mixed with expectation; wariness yet recklessness. It gave her such an odd, exhilarating feeling.

It unhinged her nerves and she knew at once he could tell. Draco's lip pulled up on one side ever so faintly, revealing his pretentious manner. Besides that, the twinkle of glee in his eyes confirmed his patented amusement at the quandary she was in.

Mortified, she dashed past him, murmuring her thanks.

Ginny had just finished making her ornament for the Auction. The redhead held the charmed trinket up to admire her handiwork.

"What do you think?"

Hermione watched as a small Quidditch broom zoomed hither and yon inside a glass globe containing a miniature Quidditch pitch.

"Do you think Harry will know it's mine? Oh, I hope so." She was practically quivering with enthusiasm.

Hermione giggled. "It's quite possible Ginny, since you charmed the tiny crowd to shout, 'Go Potter!'" She gave another small chuckle before her face became serious once more. "I do hope Ronald guesses mine… do you think I should drop a hint?"

"Hermione! We're not supposed to do that. It's to be secret until the reveal at the end of the Auction."

Hermione chewed her lip nervously. "I know," she whined. "I just…well, Ron can be a bit dense at times. You know, he's not the brightest flame on the candelabra…"

Ginny threw her head back and simply cackled. "You think?!"

Hermione put the finishing touches on her ornament of holly berries and ivy strung with fairy lights. She conjured a tiny swirling of snow to continuously sprinkle inside the mini scene, in time with the tinkling tune of "The Holly and the Ivy". So enthralled was she with her minuscule masterpiece that she did not see Lavender Brown prowling in the background. Nor did Hermione see the devious smile that spread across the baleful face like devil's snare.

The ornaments were collected with an air of great secrecy… of course some girls dropped hints for their crushes. Some girls even cheated and told their beaus which ornaments they made. Hermione was hoping her ornament would be plain for Ron to guess, since she loved holly, ivy, the song… Come to think of it she began to worry again he might not guess.

The students were assembled in the Great Hall, excitement crackling through the air like a magical current. Several Christmas trees lined the center of the Hall bursting with whimsical decorations. Merriment abounded all around as the boys' scrutinized the trees, commenting on which decoration they would bid for. It would soon be time for the auction to begin.

Colin Creevy's irritating high tenor voice rang out, causing an immediate hush to sweep the Hall.

"Greetings fellow classmates and Professors. It is with great anticipation that we begin Hogwarts' first Magical Ornament Auction!"

Polite clapping ensued as nervous tension rose. Hermione glanced at Ginny apprehensively, but the redhead was too caught up in the moment to notice.

The bidding began fast and furious. On and on it went, seemingly without end. Of course Harry had guessed Ginny's ornament and bid on it straight away, winning it easily.

Ron was not as lucky. He assumed, quite readily, that a certain decoration containing enchanted books and magical parchment was Hermione's. And before anyone could cast silencio, he'd bid his entire purse on it.

Ron jogged up to the platform like he'd just won the Quidditch World Cup. He motioned for Hermione to follow his lead, confused as to why she hadn't. It was then that he was nearly bowled over by a blur of blonde hair and purple ribbons. Lavender Brown had nearly sucked his lips off, and she wasn't finished. Gasping for air, Ron managed to speak, "What the…"

"Oh Won Won!" she cried before devouring his face again.

Amongst the spectators, Ginny chanced a sideways glace at Hermione. The brunette was looking away, disgust in every line of her frown.

"All right, all right you two! A-hem…er… let's keep going, we've only a few more ornaments left," Colin sputtered out, clearly embarrassed by Lavender's enthusiastic display.

Ron somehow extricated himself from Lavendar's clutches and staggered back down the stairs to join his group.

"Hermione," he pleaded, "I didn't know that book ornament was Lavender's, I swear! I thought it was yours. Honest!"

Hermione stared at the floor, trembling with indignation.

Ginny turned on Ron. "Save it Ron. Can't you see she doesn't want to talk about it?!" She nodded toward the stage. "Besides, Creevy's on to the next one. I suggest you pay attention." The irony in her final statement could not have been more explicit.

"This next trinket is a fantastic creation. Take a look, gentleman, if you will at the fine handy work… the exquisite detail…the fine craftswitchship of this spectacular ornament! A clever witch indeed constructed this pretty bauble. Shall we start at eight sickles?"

Several boys jumped into the mix including Cormac McLaggen, Seamus Finnigan and Terry Boot.

"Ron," Ginny whispered, jabbing her still dazed brother in the ribs, "What is Hermione's favorite Christmas carol?"

"Uh…er, it's something about mistletoe?"

Ginny shook her head, heaving an exasperated sigh. "What did she tell you she had to gather from the castle grounds? Oh, Ron! Think!" she whispered sternly into her brother's ear.

"Bugger! Is it…wait, it's coming to me… Ivy! Yes, 'The Holly And The Ivy'… That's Hermione's ornament!"

Harry's eyebrows shot up. "I say! The bidding is fierce!"

"Quite," replied Ginny with a sour grimace. "It's up to, what, sixteen sickles?"

"Harry, spot me the coins, yeah? I'll pay you back as soon as I can. You know I'm good for it."

Harry hesitated but a moment before agreeing wholeheartedly. "Sure thing, Ron. Get on with it, then."

"Eighteen sickles!" shouted Ron with renewed vigor.

Seamus shrugged and shook his head conceding to Ron. Cormac, however, was determined.

"Twenty," spouted the Gryffindor second string keeper, not bothering to wait for Colin to up the bid.

"Twenty-five," snarled Ron.

"Twenty-five sickles… do I hear thirty? Thirty? No? Twenty-five then, going once, going twice— ah, thirty to the bloke behind the tree, there. Thirty sickles…Do I hear thirty-five? Thirty, going once… going twice…"

"Blimey! Who is the bloke behind the tree who outbid me?!" Ron practically moaned in defeat. At once, a wild look came into his eyes. "Three galleons!" he shouted, determined not to lose.

Hermione's brown eyes widened. "Really! This is quite unnecessary."

Harry winced at the latest bid. "Ron, mate, I…er… don't have that much on me."

From the look at McLaggen's face, neither did he.

Creevy, on the other hand, nodded, visibly impressed with such a high bid. "Three whole galleons! Any others? Three galleons to Ronald Weasley, going once, going twice…"

Beyond the tree, Draco smirked, shaking his head, for he knew he could outbid anyone present. Figuring he should end the haggling and gather his spoils, he bid for what he knew would be the final time. "Twenty galleons." his calm, low drawl sounded, echoing round the Hall.

For a moment no one moved or uttered a sound. Finally, coming to his senses, Colin shouted, "Twenty galleons! That's nearly one hundred pounds!"

Ron shut his eyes and groaned inwardly. Harry sucked in his breath and Ginny smacked her forehead.

"Going once, going twice… Sold to Draco Malfoy for twenty galleons!" Colin was supremely pleased.

Draco parted with the horde of students and stepped sprightly to the platform, as the onlookers stared after him in silent shock.

Hermione looked down at Ron who had plopped onto the floor, head bent, and fists gripping his flaming hair. She supposed it mattered not that Ronald guessed incorrectly, or that he'd spent all his money on Lavender Brown's ornament. It didn't matter because Malfoy could never be outbid. She walked in a surreal haze to the platform and ascended the steps.

A strange muffled sound was buzzing in her head. For the life of her she could not understand why on earth Draco Malfoy wanted her ornament so badly. Was this some malicious joke? Just some elaborate scheme to humiliate her in front of the entire school? She recalled the day before at the forest's edge. He'd seemed so different, if only for the briefest of moments. Had she imaged the softness in his voice, in the way he'd caressed her check? Reaching the place where Draco waited, Hermione pivoted toward him and stood with hot tears clouding her vision.

"Why did you do this?" she choked out. Her mind raced. "Is this another cruel trick, Malfoy? Are you trying to make a fool out of me again?"

Draco moved closer, his thumb catching a teardrop that spilled down her cheek. He left his palm to rest on the side of her face, much the same way he had when he'd wiped that snowflake away at the edge of the forest. And his gaze held that same peculiar look she'd noticed that day in the chilly twilight.

"I knew of no other way to get close to you. Or to kiss you."

She shook her head faintly, confusion bowing her brow. The words were his; she had watched his mouth move as he spoke, but she could scarcely believe they were true. Draco moved even closer, placed his free hand on her hip, glided it round to her back and pressed her flush against his body.

"It's just one kiss, and if after, you never speak to me again, at least I'll have that… and your ornament, to remember you by." He smiled. Smiled! She'd never before seen a genuine smile on Draco Malfoy's countenance.

Before she could speak, he closed his eyes and pressed his lips to hers. Soft, warm.

His close proximity was so foreign, so thrilling, she felt her arms lift, without hesitation, to encircle his neck. He smiled again, against her mouth, and she sighed. At that tiny encouragement, Draco increased his hold on her; his tongue probed her top lip lightly. The zinging in Hermione's belly was unexpected, unfamiliar; yet it felt completely natural to part her lips, let her own tongue welcome his carelessly, sweetly.

The rushing torrent of blood in Hermione's ears gave way to wolf calls and low whistles, bringing her back to reality. She broke the kiss, stepping back, pushing away from Draco's light grasp. Turning to the crowed, she noticed one face standing out among the throng of students. Ron's slack jawed, befuddled expression caught her eye, and satisfaction made her smile radiantly. Glancing quickly at Draco she noticed he was smiling too.

Something else she couldn't help but notice when Colin handed Draco his prize, was that the tiny fairy lights twinkled brighter. The snow swirled more merrily, the tune played more sweetly, and the green ivy and red holy berries glowed vibrantly within the shining glass ball.

Maybe, just maybe, at Hogwarts, red and green go together after all.

The End

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A/N: A VERY special thank you to my good friend Jim (aka Quidditchref) for beta-ing and contributing the picnic basket auction tie-in. xx YBG

anorak:

1. a hooded waterproof parka: a warm thick waterproof hip-length jacket with a hood

2. U.K.: obsessive enthusiast: a boring, unfashionable, or studious person, especially somebody who is excessively devoted to a hobby or interest (humorous). You can be interested in something without becoming a total anorak about it.

20 galleons = 100 UK pounds = 200 US dollars (roughly)