A Bewitched Shrub
Author's note: Well... some of you asked, and I couldn't say no. After all, thatpottergurl asked oh-so-nicely for Draco's point of view, and pointed out that, in the spirit of the holiday season, I should be generous. So, here it is. The companion to the strangest thing I've ever written.
Draco Malfoy hated many things.
He hated chocolate frogs, because biting into a squirming bit of chocolate made him feel slightly queasy. He hated Hufflepuffs, because they were so sickeningly nice to everyone. He hated the Tutshill Tornados simply because they were awful (certainly not because they beat his favourite Quidditch team, the Falmouth Falcons, nearly every time they played against each other). He hated milk. He hated peas. He hated wool. He hated hippogriffs.
It was usually quite easy to avoid the things he hated; he didn't eat the foods he disliked, he avoided the people he didn't like, he kept the wireless off during winter, and he conveniently didn't check the Quidditch section of the newspaper on days after the Tornados played – and inevitably beat - the Falcons. This policy of avoidance made it much easier to deal with the things he could not tolerate.
He was in a perfectly cheerful mood when he walked into the Great Hall for breakfast one wintry Thursday. It was nice and cold – the way he liked it – and his timetable was promising. It showed a double Transfiguration lesson for the afternoon, and an Arithmancy class. It also featured a morning History of Magic class, but even that didn't get Draco's spirits down. He took his usual place between Crabbe and Goyle at the Slytherin table and poured himself some tea – without milk, of course.
He half listened to Crabbe and Goyle make bets on their double Potions lesson that was to take place the next day – Crabbe bet two Galleons that it would be the day Snape made Longbottom cry. Goyle bet two on Snape taking no less than fifty points from Gryffindor. Draco watched a couple of third-year boys trading chocolate frog cards. He ignored Pansy, who was trying desperately to get his attention.
He was halfway through buttering his toast when the doors of the Great Hall opened and sudden noise poured in. Everyone went silent as Ron Weasley and Harry Potter walked through the doors and towards the Gryffindor table. Weasley was deep in a very animated, one-sided conversation, gesticulating wildly. Potter, on the other hand, looked simply mortified. He was bright red, trying to get over to the table quickly and not attract any more attention – as if it were possible. Every eye in the hall was on him.
There was a rather large sprig of mistletoe, directly above Potter's head, hovering in mid-air, and – to Draco's utter dismay – it was positively shrieking. The sudden silence in the Great Hall only served to make the plant seem even louder, its echoing cries filling the hall.
"May your days be merry and bright!" it wailed, bellowing the last word loudly and off-key. Potter sank into his seat at the Gryffindor table across from a startled looking Granger and buried his face in his arms as Weasley continued to talk at him. The students in the Great Hall suddenly began talking again, louder than before. Crabbe and Goyle began changing their bets – Crabbe bet Potter would get detention the next day in Potions. Goyle bet Potter would get murdered the next day in Potions. The calm expression that Draco had been wearing all morning morphed more into a scowl by the second as the plant above Potter's half-hidden head continued to howl.
Draco hated holiday music.
By the time he was seated at his desk in History of Magic, Draco was in a very bad mood indeed. Professor Binns, of course, had not so much as blinked when the magical mistletoe began its unnecessarily mournful rendition of We Wish You a Merry Christmas in the middle of his lesson; in fact, he didn't seem to have noticed the class at all. The time Draco normally would have spent sleeping in class was spent throwing irritated glances over at the Gryffindor side of the room, where Potter was looking in horror as his mistletoe sang song after annoying song and Weasley was shaking with suppressed laughter. His jaw clenched as Pansy began humming along next to him, and his fingers started itching, as though they longed to wrap around her neck.
If he had thought Arithmancy would be any better, he was sorely mistaken. It seemed that, like Pansy, many people in the school were now humming or singing Christmas songs under their breath. Peeves had even taken to making up his own rather rude lyrics to the tunes, bellowing them at the top of his lungs. Unlike the rest of Slytherins, Draco was not even remotely amused by this. By the end of Thursday's lessons, Draco was desperate to get away from the rest of the school. He retreated into the Slytherin common room, hopeful that the dungeons would be his safe haven.
A troublesome scene met his eyes when he entered the common room. A Slytherin seventh year was imitating the enchanted mistletoe, following each Slytherin around in turn, shrieking bits of Christmas songs at them. Draco's housemates roared with laughter at the display. Draco quietly slipped past his classmates, completely unnoticed as he headed for the dormitory, which, thankfully, had a silencing charm around it. He slipped into bed fully dressed, closing his eyes and trying to block out all memories of the awful day.
He dreamt of Potter, who was singing Jingle Bells at the top of his voice.
He hated those Weasley twins.
On Friday, things were getting out of hand. Care of Magical Creatures was even worse than usual, and for once, this had nothing to do with any of the magical creatures. For the first time, Draco did not join in on terrorizing the miserable looking Potter, whose mistletoe was singing Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow for the third time in two days. Hagrid looked rather confused as he tried to give his lesson on billywigs, shooting curious glances at Potter the entire time, as though he wasn't quite sure what was going on. Still, he trudged on, speaking to the three or four students actually listening. An hour later, after Defence Against the Dark Arts, Draco felt quite sure he had just failed the surprise quiz on Shield Charms. The only good thing to be said about the lesson was that some of the amusement over the mistletoe had worn off. The laughter and taunting had subsided slightly, at any rate.
By the time the bell signalling afternoon break had rang, Draco's mind was set – something had to be done about this stupid, singing plant. Ideas zoomed through his head, ranging from killing Potter, to locking him in a broom cupboard, to…
There's an idea, he thought, watching Potter get up from where he had been sitting with Weasley and walk away quickly, carefully avoiding meeting anyone's eye.
Without fully thinking things through, Draco followed him.
The sound of the loud, off-key singing led him to an empty corridor. He walked quickly, determined to do what needed to be done before he lost his nerve. If no one else in the school was logical enough to figure out how to silence the plant – or simply not annoyed enough by it to try– then he would simply have to be the one to do it.
He peered around a suit of armour to find Potter staring anxiously at him, hand in his robe pocket, most likely curled around his wand. They looked at each other wordlessly for a moment, as the mistletoe slowly sang the last verse of Winter Wonderland.
"Malfoy," said Potter cautiously, clearly wondering what the other boy was doing in front of him, standing there without speaking.
"Potter," Draco answered, and even his nerves could not outweigh his hatred of the plant's screeching cries.
"In the meadow, we can build a snowman," the mistletoe sang in an annoyingly cheerful tone.
"Your plant is still singing," he continued, through gritted teeth.
"I'm well aware," Potter sighed, looking very much as though he had been diagnosed with some horrible, incurable illness. Draco ignored this. He watched the mistletoe for a moment as it finished its song and started another.
"Deck the halls with boughs of holly!"
"Right," he continued, steeling himself for what he was about to do. "We've got Potions next and I absolutely refuse to do badly in another class because of a bewitched shrub." Before Potter could even begin to think of a response, Draco stepped forward and pressed his lips against the other boy's surprisingly soft ones. Potter tensed immediately, but Draco only had one chance to do this – he was certainly going to do it right. His hand went to the back of Potter's neck to keep him firmly in place, though he wasn't attempting to pull away.
Their lips stayed together slightly longer than was necessary. Draco told himself he was simply making absolutely sure it was working. When he could no longer hear the echoing wails, he slowly pulled away from the Gryffindor, taking his hand away from his neck and stepping back to survey the mistletoe.
"That seems to have done it," he said as it dropped to the floor with one last feeble whine. It stayed there, motionless and – finally – quiet.
Potter looked stunned. He swallowed and opened his mouth wordlessly. He looked down at the plant, then back up at Draco, who smirked at him, his good mood rushing back at an almost alarming rate.
"See you in Potions then, Potter," he said cheerfully, and, without another word, walked away.
Crabbe and Goyle were already sitting in the Potions classroom when Draco entered and took his place between them. They were waiting eagerly for Potter to enter the classroom so Snape could begin docking points and giving detentions. Their faces fell in utter disappointment when the door opened a few moments later and Potter walked in, quietly taking his seat on the Gryffindor side of the room.
"But," said Goyle stupidly, "where did it go?"
"It's a mystery," Draco said seriously, trying not to look too pleased with himself.
Draco shot a furtive glance over at where Potter and his friends sat. Weasley was looking amazed. Granger looked annoyingly knowing. Potter's eye met his for a split second before he went red and buried his face again.
Draco turned his attention to the front of the room, where Snape was calling for silence, and told himself firmly that the comfortable warmth he felt when he recalled what had just happened had nothing whatsoever to do with Potter, merely the satisfaction of a job well done.
And he even almost believed it.