'Tis the Season of Giving
Summary: What she really wanted for Christmas was this book (yes, yes, what a surprise) but damn it all, why did Draco just had to buy the very last one! [Draco x Hermione]
Dedication: To Elle. Hope you find this to your liking!
A/N: This oneshot is set during Harry's fourth year. Kind of. It's a bit AUish.
Disclaimer: Rowling's not my last name. Not even close. So nothing of Harry Potter or relation to that fandom belongs to me. Period.
"Every gift which is given, even though is be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection."
This year, for Christmas, Hermione had a rather lengthy list of what she wanted (most of them were books, no shock there). She knew her parents and the rest of her family would pay attention to her list but she doubt she could say the same of Harry and Ron (especially Ron). Still, they tried and it was the thought that counts, right?
However, what she really and so desperately wanted for Christmas was this book (yes, yes, what a surprise) and this book was the new edition to a series she had closely followed ever since her second year at Hogwarts. The series was Mystical, Hidden Secrets of the Wizardry World and what drew her to that particular series that it mentioned places or events that the Muggle world either believed to fantastical or debatable over their existence. Atlantis was a prime example–Hermione found out it was originally a kingdom for pureblood witches and wizards seeking solitude from society and the rest of the world. But when a constant wave of Muggles began accidently poking their noses in the wrong places, the recluses simply cast the illusion that the city had sunk to the bottom of the sea, never to be seen ever again. The concealed city was still there, shrouded in magical mist, but the inhabitants of Atlantis don't encourage visitors so much. Still, Hermione hoped to visit Atlantis at least once and learn everything there is to know about that place. The book had said it was very possible that Atlantis was a highly advanced city and still possessed secrets that would make any ambitious or knowledge-seeking witch or wizard drool with envy and delight.
The Mystical, Hidden Secrets of the Wizardry World series was a perfect method for her to gain more information about the world of magic and intrigue around her and add more things she must learn onto her list. After all, you could never learn too much, right?
However, she had recently heard of their newest edition–Troy: Not Just a Tale From Homer–and since Christmas was just around the corner, she didn't want to slip this latest Christmas wish to her parents when they probably already have piles and piles of presents waiting at home for her. So Troy: Not Just a Tale From Homer would be something she'd just buy with her own money. Luckily for her, she had plenty of galleons, sickles, and knuts saved up for a purpose such as this.
"Hello, Hermione," greeted Ms. Fletcher with a 1000-watt smile on her face, "Here for some last-minute Christmas shopping?"
And that is precisely what brought her to Diagon Alley: To buy the book at Flourish and Blotts.
"Sort of," Hermione admitted with a small smile, inwardly hoping to herself that they still had some copies left of Troy: Not Just a Tale From Homer as she made her way over the bookcases. Since all the books in each section were categorized in alphabetical order, she quickly went to the H-J bookshelves and scanned over all the authors whose last name began with 'H'. She finally found series but much to her dismay, they were positioned at the top and nearly out of her reach.
They must have done some rearranging because last time I checked these books were in the middle!
Scowling up at the collection of books, Hermione stood on her toes and stretched her arm up so high that the tips of her fingers nearly grazed the cover of the novel. Grumbling at her ill luck, Hermione tried hopping and grabbing onto the novel but with no avail–she couldn't get a firm grasp on the book. Irked by her lack of success due to the unfavorable height difference between her and the bookcase, Hermione was about pull out her wand and summon the book when a pale, aristocratic but powerful hand came out from behind and lifted up the novel for her. Relieved and delighted over her enigmatic helper's gesture, Hermione began turning around to thank him or her.
"Oh, thank—" Her words died on the spot when she became face-to-face with Draco Malfoy, who was dangling the book in front of her.
"Looking for something, Granger?" he taunted, a devious smirk slithering across his triumphant face, "I'm surprised you didn't use the Accio spell to retrieve this." He earned himself a death glare from the fiery Gryffindor witch.
"For your information, Malfoy, I was about to use that spell before you butt in," she replied acridly, narrowing her eyes sharply at him, "Now, give me the book!"
"Get your own copy, Granger," came the snarky reply. Hermione resisted the urge to slap him.
"Fine," she snapped, whirling around, "Be that way." But when she looked up again, a gasp escaped her lips and Hermione's burnet eyes widen with horror and dismay. There wasn't another copy left–Draco had the last one! Why? Why was this happening to her? She had waited for so long for that book's upcoming release and now, she was going to lose it to Draco Malfoy, of all people!
Right now, he was probably dancing at her misfortune. His sneering smirk was practically audible.
"Oh dear, Granger," drawled out Draco, "Did I just take the last one? How unfortunate. Oh well, better go to the counter and pay for this—"
"Not so fast, Malfoy!" Hermione declared vehemently, spinning around on the balls of her feet to face him again, "I spotted the book first! You saw me reaching for it!"
Draco simply cut her a mocking smile, his icy grey eyes glinting with amusement. "Yes but I grabbed it first. I'm so much faster."
"No, you're just taller!" At this point, Hermione wasn't sure whether she should jinx him or wring his neck. Maybe both.
Draco shrugged, as if he didn't care about her last retort. "Nothing wrong with that, Granger. Tallness does has its many advantages, which is more than what I can say about your height–or lack thereof."
That does it. I'm going to cast a Shrinking Jinx on him. Then we'll see who has the last laugh!
"Very funny, Malfoy," she grounded out, her hand still clutching her wand fiercely inside the pocket of her robe, "Although I don't know why you're interested in that book. Have you even read The Iliad?" She wouldn't expect him to. Homer was, to her knowledge, not a wizard.
"As a matter of fact, I have. In Latin." Draco informed her, the taunting mirth in his eyes fading. "And before you ask me why a pureblood like me would bother reading Muggle works, let's just say my mother has different views than my father and wanted me to be a well-rounded individual. Despite my father's preaching, she told me there were many things I could appreciate and learn from the Muggle world." A far-off, distant look had glazed over his grey eyes and for a second, Hermione's ire was gone. Right now, Draco just sounded like a normal albeit conflicted, confused teenager.
"My mother was right." And as if snapping out of his reverie, he then fixated his scrutiny back on Hermione.
"So, sorry, Granger, but you can't have this book," he added, the fleer returning to his visage and he dangled the book once more over her head before bringing it back to his side. "Too bad, so sad."
Surely, Harry and Ron would forgive her if she used the Cruciatus Curse on this prick.
"That's just so typical Malfoy," Hermione growled, fist still clenching around her wand, "Grab the last copy and then tantalize me with it as means to boost your so-called superiority. Well, I won't allow an egotistical, spoiled, selfish prig like you attempt exert your power over me, Malfoy, so you can just take that book and shove it up your ass, providing if there isn't something already there to begin with!"
With that said, the Gryffindor witch promptly whirled herself around and marched straight out of the H-J section, fiercely determined to get out of Flourish and Blotts and far away from Draco as possible before her self-restraint snaps and she jinxes him into oblivion. Just leave it to Draco Malfoy to ruin her good mood and take the last remaining copy of Troy: Not Just a Tale From Homer away from her when she was the one who reaching for it first.
I really should have just punched him before I left. That would have wiped that disgusting, annoying smirk right off his face!
Grumbling to herself about all the potential ways she could get even with Draco, Hermione was just about shut the door to Flourish and Blotts when an arm shot out from inside and halted the door dead in its tracks and an unfortunately familiar voice called her name.
Exasperated and fuming, Hermione begrudgingly turned around, glaring daggers at him. "What is it now, Malfoy? Gloat again and Iwill hex you."
"Why do you want this book so much? Was it supposed to be a gift for someone?"
This time his mocking aura was gone and all there was left was a solemn, inquisitive expression.
She shook her head. "No, it was just going to be for me. It came out after I sent my Christmas list to my family and it'll be too much of a hassle for Harry and Ron and they probably already have presents for me." As much as Hermione loved her boys to death, she just couldn't trust them to find the right books for her. They tried doing that in their third year and the end result wasn't pretty. Besides, she wanted to save them from the added stress of finding the right addition and all. Yet all these musings quickly melted away when she then remembered who she was talking to again and let a frown grace her features as Hermione sharpened her uncompromising stare at him.
"But why do you care? I doubt you would have given the book to me even if it was intended to be a present." she finished curtly, trying to convey that she had better things to do than stand around and chat with him (let's see how he likes it when someone else is acting haughty around him).
Draco's impassive face soon changed again, returning back to his regaled self. "Now, Granger, I'm not that cruel."
"Could have fooled me," Hermione snarled, ending this conversation once and for all, "And good-bye, Malfoy. Enjoy your precious book!"
And she briskly walked away from him, like they never had a rather volatile, heated encounter not too long ago.
Huffing, Hermione dragged the second to last suitcase down the stairs and into the common room, relieved that at least Harry was around to help her. Ron was too busy packing–and she told him not to wait until the last minute!
"Thanks, Harry," she said after he delivered the last of her luggage, "I'll see you at the Burrows for Christmas. I won't be there for the whole day though–my parents would like to go skiing again and I don't really want to pass up the opportunity to spend more time with them."
"Understandable," Harry replied with a nod, "And have fun skiing, 'Mione. Just don't crash into any trees or innocent bystanders."
"Hah hah, very funny, Harry." The said boy simply grinned drolly at his female friend before he pulled something from his robe pocket.
"And before I forget, Hermione, here's your Christmas present," he added while handing her a somewhat neatly wrapped box. She accepted the gift happily, beaming. "But don't open it until Christmas Day."
"Just as long you promise to do the same," Hermione answered back prior to tossing her arms around his neck and hugged her dear comrade tightly, "And please, tell that to Ron as well. I caught him peeking through the wrappings of the present ten minutes ago."
Harry chuckled and nodded his head. "I will but I doubt he'll listen for long. By now, he probably already has a good idea what your gift is."
"Probably," Hermione agreed with a sigh, turning back to her suitcases. She cast a shrinking charm on the luggage and subsequently dropped them into a tiny pouch, closing the opening via tightening the string wrapped around it. She then pocketed the small bag into her robes, making sure they were secured. "Have a very merry Christmas, Harry."
"What about me?" Ron poked his head from the door and soon came filing down the stairs. He literally shoved his gift for her into her arms and judging by its size and shape, the present probably was a collection of chocolate frogs and other strange candies. Trust Ron and his sweet tooth to get her that.
"You too, Ron," she added quickly, the corners of her mouth twitching upwards in amusement, "And both of you, have a happy New Year."
She then gave Ron a hug and embraced Harry once more before exiting the common room and heading down the staircases to leave Hogwarts. Just when she was passing by the Great Hall, a tawny but magnificent golden-eyed owl flew out nowhere and dropped a package into her waiting arms. Startled, Hermione glanced up but the owl had already disappeared. Frowning, she looked back down at the wrapped item in her hands and after feeling it around for a few seconds, discerned that inside was a book. There was a little note on top and Hermione flipped it open, trying to recognize the handwriting before she read the message. But when she did, there was no need to wonder who the package came from. The note said it all.
Merry Christmas, Granger.
Merry Christmas, Elle. Hope you enjoyed my very first Harry Potter fanfic. And somehow, aspects of my mythology class slipped into this ficlet: Homer, Troy, The Iliad, and all that jazz.