All characters belong to JK Rowlings and I make no money from the writing or publishing of this story
'I'm just going keep on waiting underneath the mistletoe.' He would wait there forever if it meant finally obtaining that long awaited snog from the witch who plagued his every thought.
A Kiss Under the Mistletoe
(Written for Granger Enchanted's 'Love Actually'
Christmas Challenge 2010)
12 December 1817
Some people thought Hermione Granger lived a charmed life. Hermione Granger used to think that as well, but no longer. The truth was, she used to believe that she did, although she lived half of her life in secret, because few knew the truth about her.
The only daughter of Viscount & Countess Richard and Cornelia Granger, possessed charm, grace and beauty. She also possessed something that very few people in her parents' world were aware of…magic.
Her magical ability occurred earlier than most, and though her parents were surprised that their only daughter possessed magic, they did not try to suppress her abilities. Instead, they stoked the fires. They encouraged her to go to a magical school at a time when few women obtained an education. They even supported her when she left for a year to help fight in a war against an evil Dark Lord, sustaining her friend Harry Potter, even if they did not understand the cause of the war, or the extent of the evilness.
Nevertheless, they drew the line when she told them that she wanted to marry a poor but humble wizard named Ronald Weasley. They told her if she married such a man…a man without property, prospects, position, or most importantly, peerage, they would cut her off, and annul her dowry.
She was undeterred. Though still underage in the Muggle world, she was an adult in her parallel, wizard world, and did not need her parents' permission to marry. She and Mr. Weasley planned to meet at a posting station in the village of Hampstead on the twelve of October 1817. Mr. Weasley never appeared. In his steed, he sent an Owl, telling her that marrying her would be insupportable without her dowry, as he had no money to his name.
She was heartbroken.
That was a mere two and a half months ago. Her parents welcomed her back into the fold. Her father offered to make a match for her. Her mother told her that they would pay for a Season for her. Surely, their beautiful, bright, (and rich) daughter would attract a perfectly good Muggle at some ball or banquet or concert or play. Nothing was too good for her in their opinion. However, she declined. She no longer wanted to marry, not a wizard, a Muggle, a peer – anyone. Hermione Granger would remain a spinster all the rest of her days.
She was not prejudiced against Muggles, far from it, but she knew if she married a Muggle, she would be hindered by the society that hindered all Muggle women. She would be forced to put her magic behind her, forced to bow down to her husband's wishes and wants.
Likewise, she held some notoriety in her own world, so she would forever wonder if a wizard really loved her for her, or if they loved her for her role in the defeat of the evil Dark Lord Voldemort.
What of her wants? What of her wishes? She would rather remain alone forever, and have her magic, than married a Muggle, and be forced to give up the very essence of her soul. She would forever remain single, than marry a wizard who married her only for the fame of being married to the best friend of Harry Potter.
It was a double-edged sword, for which she stood on the edge, a fine line to walk, to be sure.
Sitting alone, staring at the never-ending rain that often accompanied December in London, she hardly noticed as her father walked into the breakfast room of their London home with a heavy cardstock envelope in his hand. The wax seal had already been broken, and he was waving the card in the air as he entered the room, staring at his wife first, and then at the sad form of his daughter.
"Guess what I have here, my darlings," he said as he sat at the end of the table. His wife stood and filled his plate for him from the sideboard, as a footman filled a china cup with a cup of coffee for the viscount.
"What is it, my lord?" his wife asked, sitting to her husband's left as she placed his plate in front of him. She looked over at her daughter, who did not even turn from her place in the window seat.
"Hermione," her father said, "do you not wish to hear the good news?"
Hermione turned in the seat. "What father?" she asked without emotion, without flare, without affect.
He sighed. "This melancholy has lasted long enough, I say," he said to his wife. Speaking louder, he said, "Your cousin, the Duchess of Westfield, has invited you to join her and her husband, as well as many others, to their family seat in the county of Westfield, at the estate of Westfield, for a family Christmas. Of course, your mother and I shall have to decline, as we have already accepted an invitation to visit my eldest sister Gertrude and her husband, the Marquess, but I see no reason why you should not go, my dear."
Hermione's cousin, Lucinda, married the eighth Duke of Westfield, two years prior. He was a perfectly nice Muggle. She was a perfectly nice Muggle. They were all perfectly nice Muggles. The problem was, Hermione did not want to be around perfectly nice Muggles right now, although, she hardly wanted to be around perfectly nice wizards either.
She looked back out at the rain, shrugged her shoulders, and said, "I guess I could go."
Her mother smiled at her husband and said, "It is decided, then."
Terry Boot waited for his cousin's carriage to arrive, with a frown on his face. He was not looking forward to this Christmas. If it was up to him, he would spend this Christmas alone, with a bottle of Firewhiskey his only company, but instead, he allowed his cousin and his cousin's wife to talk him into attending their two-week long Christmas house party.
It would be full of marriage minded misses…Muggles even, Merlin help him. As if he ever wanted to marry. Even if he did ever want to marry, he would never do so now, for the only woman he could ever consider spending a lifetime with had married a man that was so completely wrong for her, that surely the world had tipped off its axis at the very thought of the two of them together.
For this woman was smart, beautiful, talented, and she lacked for nothing as far as social graces. The man she married was a total buffoon. An idiot. He could never stimulate her, or keep her in the way in which she deserved. The only thing they had in common was their friendship with Harry Potter, and that alone must be the reason Hermione Granger consented to marry Ronald Weasley.
When Terry Boot heard of the lunacy of their marriage, he left the magical world and vowed never to return. Watching as this cousin's carriage approached, a black lacquer monstrosity, with the ducal coat of arms on the side, four black horses in the front, Terry smirked and laughed at the blatant show of money.
He smacked mud off his right boot, then his left, before he climbed into the carriage, to sit beside his cousin, the Duke of Westfield. "Tell me again, why have I decided to join you at your house party for Christmas this year," Terry asked. "It is sure to be a bore."
"Oh, do stop being a prig," Bradley Hurt, the eighth Duke of Westfield, told his cousin, Terry Boot. "Besides, it might be fun, or rather, a lark."
"There will be nothing but Muggles there," Terry said with a bit of a sneer.
The duke laughed. "And who are you, Prinny himself? When you are named the Prince Regent, you shall be able to look down upon people, but until that time, cousin, keep your highbrow, magical opinions to yourself. Just because you possess magic, and the rest of us do not, does not make you superior, cousin!"
"My goodness, I did sound a bit like a bore," Terry said with a laugh. "It is only, I am used to wizards and witches. I might not know how to act."
Bradley laughed and said, "You mean you might eat your pudding with your knife or something similarly horrific?"
Terry laughed as well. "Where is your charming wife? I do believe I like her better than you."
Instead of answering, the duke knocked on the roof of the carriage and told the coachman to stop outside a three-story townhouse in the fashionable district of Mayfair.
"Why are we stopping here?" Terry inquired.
"To answer your question, we are picking up Lucinda's cousin," Bradley replied. "She is to join us on our journey, and our house party. Well, your journey really. Lucinda is awaiting me here. We are staying here for the night, and will join up with you tomorrow, before the rest of the guests arrive."
The carriage stopped and Bradley opened the door. Terry placed his hand on his cousin's sleeve. "What? What is the meaning of this? You surely are not leaving me to ride alone in a carriage with some Muggle I have never met! For one thing, think of the unseemliness of it! The chit's mamma will insist on a marriage by New Years! For another thing…well, she's a Muggle!"
The duke laughed, pulled his sleeve from his cousin's clutches and said, "Oh really? That's shows how much you know, my dear cousin. You shall have a perfectly sound chaperone, for my wife's great Aunt Miriam is traveling with her cousin, and well, you shall see that all is not as it appears."
Bradley walked up to the door. Terry grimaced, but he knew for propriety's sake, he should exit the carriage and meet the girl and her great-aunt outside the carriage door.
Soon, Bradley was walking down the steps of the townhouse with an elderly woman by his side, her arm tucked in his. Behind them, a woman walked, covered head to toe in a cranberry coloured wrap, a fur-lined hood covering her face.
"Madam," the duke said, "I would like you to meet my cousin, Lord Terry Boot, Mr. Boot, this is Mrs. Mohr, my wife's great aunt. Mrs. Miriam Mohr, my cousin, Lord Terry Boot." Terry took the elderly woman's hand and bowed over it, even as he helped her into the carriage.
His back was turned to the younger woman. He hardly cared to make the acquaintance of a young Muggle woman. Truthfully, there was only ever one woman he was ever interested in, and as far as he knew, she married another man this past October. Damn his cousin and his interfering ways!
He felt his cousin's hand on his arm, even as the duke said, "Lord Boot, may I introduce you to my wife's cousin, Lady Hermione Granger?"
Terry froze, unable to turn around, even when he heard her say, "Your cousin and I are familiar with each other, your grace, but surely you are aware of that fact."
Terry turned slowly, as if in a dream, and stared into the warm brown eyes of the only object of his affection, unbeknownst of course, to her…Hermione Granger. Perhaps this would be a Happy Christmas after all. Too bad there was to be a chaperone in the carriage with them!