Presented to you by The DG Forum's Christmas Challenge: And The Stockings Were Hung...
"Weasley!" His tone was urgent, demanding—annoying.
"I'm thinking! I'm thinking!" The redhead had her back against his as they both writhed against the bonds that bound their wrists together.
"Well, think quicker!" he hissed, feeling her elbow dig deep into his kidney.
The two young Aurors, Ginny Weasley and Draco Malfoy, both sat helpless on a dirty cellar floor; their faces smeared with dirt. Bound together with their hands behind their backs, Ginny was using her thumbnail to try to slice through the thin rope that held them.
"There!" she exclaimed triumphantly with a grunt, pinching loose a knot from their bonds.
"There?" Draco strained against the rope as he turned to glance over his shoulder at the redhead's handiwork. "You undid one knot, Weasley! We're still tied up like a pair of pigs for roasting."
Ginny dug her elbow into Draco's rib, eliciting gleeful satisfaction from his grunt of pain. "Hey, one knot is progress. I don't see you doing anything to get us out of this mess."
"Yes. I'm offering much-needed management to enable our escape."
Ginny rolled her eyes and winced in pain as the thin rope cut into her skin. "Okay, two down—" she untied another knot and went about working on another "—and I don't know how many more to go."
"That's encouraging." Draco warily eyed the door. "We need to get out of this before he gets back."
"Don't you think I know that!" Ginny snapped, jabbing her elbow into Draco's kidney again. "Maybe if you helped a little."
"How?" Draco felt as though he had gone through an intense boxing round with the redhead.
Draco blinked several times and then turned to look at Ginny. "Why, Freckles, I had no idea."
"Rub your wrists along the rope while I try to dig out the knots!" Ginny all but growled at him, gnashing her teeth at his innuendo. Realisation then dawned on Draco and he made a face at the back of her head.
"You want me to bleed for you?"
Cursing to himself, Draco began to strain against the bonds, letting the thin rope cut into his wrist. Tiny rivulets of blood began to drip down onto forearms, eventually staining the dirt floor below.
"There, is that good enough, you vampire?"
Ginny just nodded, using Draco's blood as she tried to wriggle her wrists free from the bindings. "I should be at home right now," she sulked. "Hanging up Christmas stockings by the fireplace."
"Sounds like quite the arduous task," Draco drawled. "Aren't there fifty of you?"
"Ha-ha." Ginny grimaced as she forcefully began to try to slide a slender wrist out of the bonds. "It just figures that on Christmas Eve I'm stuck with your pasty white arse chasing down an escaped Dark Wizard who has a predilection for Muggle knots."
"What's so funny?" she hissed, turning her head towards his shoulder as she wrenched a bloody hand free.
"Those are some big words coming from you, Freckles." Ginny immediately stiffen against him, bristling with indignation. "But it was my pasty white arse that saved yours, if you haven't forgot."
Ginny let out a hollow laugh and spun around, working on the last knot to free her other hand. "Oh, I haven't forgot. I also haven't forgot that it was you who called me out here; it was you entered the house without backup; it was you who tripped the silent wards, and it was you who taunted the particularly hairy man to 'do something about it'."
Draco tilted his head to the side and smiled. "Ah, yes. He didn't especially like that, did he?"
Muttering expletives under her breath, Ginny finally undid the last knot and began working on Draco's bonds, digging her nails into his freshly cut flesh.
"Dammit!" he swore, slipping his mangled wrists out of the bloodied bonds. "There, are you happy? My blood saved us."
Ginny dropped the cord to the ground before absently rubbing at her bruised wrists. "We still need to find a way out of here—" she glanced about the dark cellar for an escape route "—and we don't have our wands."
"Don't worry, Freckles." Draco calmly wiped the dirt off his trousers. "I'll get you home, safe and sound; ready to participate in your holiday cheer."
"Stop calling me that!" She shot Draco a scathing look, and he smirked.
"Would you rather me go back to calling you Weasley?"
"Yes. Yes, I would." She placed her hands upon the cold stone walls, searching for a way out. After finding no hidden seams in the walls, she let out a disheartened sigh.
"Why so glum, Freckles?" Draco asked, trying the door he knew was locked.
"Why so glum?" Ginny shot him a murderous glare. "We're trapped in a cellar on Christmas Eve, most likely to be tortured to death by a Dark Wizard!"
Draco merely shrugged and walked past her towards the back of the room. Putting his palms flat against what looked like a sheet of metal, he began to push upwards. "Exactly, why so glum?"
"Why you—" Ginny's words were cut short when she heard what sounded like a latch opening, the grating of metal, and a small pile of dirt pour onto Draco's shoes.
"Why don't you just shut it, Weasley, and help me pull this up?"
"How did you know that this was here?" she asked, helping him pull up what looked to be a small door with a pulley and a rope.
"Ye of little faith, Freckles," Draco admonished with a grunt, lifting the metal door all the way up. "This is food cellar, and in a large building as old as this, it's bound to have a dumbwaiter." He sat back on his heels and tested the pulley out, finding it functional. "I told you I'd get us out."
Suddenly, the sound of footsteps echoing down stairs gave the Aurors a turn for pause, and both exchanged worried glances before jumping to their feet.
"Quick!" Draco hissed, searching the floor until he found what he needed. "Get behind the door and I'll draw him out." Picking up a decaying two-by-four, he handed it over to Ginny and pointed at the door. "When he steps through the threshold you hit him with this."
Getting into position, Ginny held the wooden plank in her sweaty palms, waiting for the door to open. Spell muttered, the door swung open and in walked a very dark and very hairy wizard. Seeing Draco at the back of the room, untied and alone, the man took a step forward with wand raised. Swinging blindly and forcefully from behind, Ginny hit the man in the back of the head, sending him sprawling out onto the floor; knocked out cold.
Draco immediately picked up the discarded rope and ran over to where the wizard lay, quickly binding his hands behind his back as Ginny searched his pockets for their wands. Finding them, she handed Draco's his and then properly (and magically) bound the incapacitated man. When the wizard finally came to, Draco ordered the man to lead them out of the cellar and the house without activating any malicious wards. After some painful convincing on Draco's part, the Dark Wizard led them outside into the cool winter air.
"You know," Ginny began, drawing in a breath of icy air, "I get the distinct feeling that you meant to drag me out here." She cocked an eyebrow at the blond, waiting for him to respond as snow began to deposit all around them.
Scoffing, Draco yanked the prisoner down the set of stairs onto the snowy, vacant path. "It's our job to hunt Dark Wizards, Weasley, no matter the season or the holiday. Why else would I call you out here?"
Ginny looked sideways at Draco, not entirely convinced, but shrugged off the feeling. "So, do you want to search the rest of the house first or take him in?"
Draco pointed his wand at the prisoner, directing him to take a seat on the snow-covered curb. "What about your sentimental need to hang stockings by the fire?"
"I can do that after we turn this hairy bastard in and look for his friends."
"Right." Draco nodded slowly, folding his arms over his chest. "Why don't you just admit it, Freckles?"
Ginny blinked. "Admit what?"
"Admit that you love the chase." He bent down to smirk in her face and she emulated his stance, standing up on her toes so that her nose was precariously close to his.
"Admit that you don't want to be alone on Christmas Eve... Blondie."
Draco let out a derisive laugh. "You think I did this all to be alone with you?"
Draco muttered darkly to himself and then uncrossed his arms, letting them dangle at his sides. "If you thought that, then why did you come?"
There was a pregnant pause, and Ginny lowered her gaze, worrying her bottom lip with her teeth. Raising her chin defiantly, she cast Draco an equally supercilious smirk.
"Maybe I just live to prove you wrong." She shrugged indifferently. "Or maybe I'm the only one who will come save you and haul your pasty white arse out of trouble."
Draco pursed his lips together and scowled, gripping his wand tightly. After a moment, however, the blond found himself grinning despite himself. "Well then, Freckles," he said in a surprisingly husky voice, leaning downward until his mouth was dangerously close to hers, "my arse certainly appreciates your efforts."
A dreadful moan erupted from beneath them, causing both Aurors to glance down at their quarry.
"Dear Merlin!" The hairy rolled his eyes with another moan. "Would one of you two please Obliviate me? I don't want to watch you two flirt!"
As though finally realising that they were not alone, Draco and Ginny immediately stepped apart, avoiding eye contact altogether.
"Right." Ginny cleared her throat, pointing her wand at the prisoner and directing him to his feet. "We had better take this guy in."
Draco glanced at his watch. "It's just past midnight, Freckles. I guess you missed out on all the Weasley Christmas Eve festivities."
"I suppose I'll have to make my own festivities tonight."
Directing a decidedly smug smile Draco's way, Ginny grabbed a hold of the prisoner's arm and shoved him into Draco. Letting out a sharp oomph, Draco caught the man and grimaced, directing a patented glare Ginny's way.
"Fa-la-la-la-la!" the redhead sang, winking at Draco before she Apparated away with a loud pop.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Challenge: Tackle a non-typical facet of the holidays, which means the common sights (like mistletoe, Weasley sweaters, and candy canes) that feature strongly in Christmas fics are to be avoided. That said, the drabble/story must include one common Christmas element: all stories must mention or feature "Christmas stockings".