A/N: This was written for d/hr advent 2012. My prompt was reindeer. Happy Holidays!
Hermione was busy attacking a pile of paperwork on her desk when a paper airplane unexpectedly flew in through the door to her office. With narrowed eyes, she watched it sail around the room in lackadaisical loops and show-offy figure eights before finally circling above her and landing soundlessly on her desk. For a while, she just sat there frowning at it. Without even reading it, she knew exactly what it meant. It meant working another night, and a holiday at that. It was her own fault. She should have let everyone go home early instead of insisting on a full workday. It was Christmas Eve after all; there was no reason to still be at the office when the rest of the Ministry workers had probably gone home hours ago.
However, holiday or not, there was always important work to be done. Hermione made up one-third of the Committee for the Care and Protection of Magical Creatures, a special division of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures that was created as a result of an intensive and very persuasive air raid on the Minister of Magic, infamously known as the Interdepartmental Memo Blitz of 2000. Ever since she had founded S.P.E.W. during her fourth year at Hogwarts, Hermione had a passion for protecting magical creatures against the injustices of the Wizarding World. Not long after finishing up her eighth year at Hogwarts, she managed to land her dream job. And all it took was sheer determination and 672 paper airplanes.
Many questioned why the famous war hero and smartest witch of her age wasn't at a higher level job in the Ministry, but Hermione was happy with her career and her accomplishments. She had successfully passed the Werewolf Discrimination Act and even created a law giving house-elves the right to wages and time off if requested. As of yet, no house-elves had taken advantage of this law, but Hermione was confident that they would eventually. Change took time. And a lot of work. And with only two co-workers to help her fight for fair treatment for all beings, beasts and spirits in the Wizarding World, there was plenty of work to go around.
Hermione shared her office with two of her former schoolmates. While Draco and Lavender were probably the two least likely people she ever thought she would end up working with, they all got on well enough. Sure, they bickered quite a bit, but it was without malice, and for the most part, without hexes. Draco had grown up a lot since Hogwarts. He was still rather snarky and had that same stupid smirk plastered on his face, but he was no longer a bully and didn't hold onto the same prejudices he once did. He even played Quidditch on a regular basis with Harry and Ron. Insulting his former nemeses, particularly Ron, was probably still Draco's favorite pastime, but it was more like good natured ribbing now. And Lavender? Well, she was still Lavender, but Hermione was a lot more tolerating of her than she used to be. Hermione looked at her two co-workers and sighed. The odds of getting either one of them to take this assignment were slim at best. They were both good workers, but they didn't often go above and beyond, and when they did, it was accompanied by a lot of whining and complaining.
Lavender looked up when she felt Hermione staring at her. Noticing the interdepartmental memo in Hermione's hand, she immediately said, "Sorry, Hermione. I can't do it. Won Won and I are announcing our engagement at the Weasleys' Christmas Eve Party tonight."
"Ron asked you to marry him?" said Hermione in shock. She felt her heart sink in her chest. It wasn't that she still had feelings for Ron, but he was the last of her friends to remain single, and if he got married, then it would just be her. Poor, lonely, pathetic Hermione. She would no longer be seen as the intelligent, hard working, independent woman she was so proud to be. She would be reduced to the spinster aunt. The woman who couldn't get a husband. Completely unfair and utter rubbish, of course, but a reality nonetheless. The future looked bleak indeed.
"Well, he hasn't ask me yet," admitted Lavender, "but he's going to. Tonight, I think. I saw a ring in my tea leaves."
"Oh," said Hermione, audibly sighing with relief. "Well, I wouldn't get your hopes up then. Divination is hardly a reliable form of magic, now is it?"
"Divination is too reliable," Lavender insisted with a huff. "Just because you're not gifted with the sight doesn't mean it isn't a legitimate form of magic."
"I'm just saying–"
"I know exactly what you're saying," Lavender interrupted, giving her a shrewd look, "but I wasn't talking about Divination anyway. When I said I saw a ring in my tea leaves, I meant I saw an actual ring in my tea leaves. Ron must have hidden it there for safe keeping."
"Oh," said Hermione again, but this time in defeat.
"So, you see, I can't possibly do whatever it is you wanted me to do."
"You don't know he's going to ask you tonight though," persisted Hermione, determined to not get stuck working another holiday. "Knowing Ron, he could wait years before he finally proposes. So, you could still–"
"But I do know it's tonight," interrupted Lavender, looking smug. "That I did read in my tea leaves."
Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Out of curiosity, what was it that you wanted me to do?"
Hermione looked down at the memo in her hands and read it with knitted brows. "Round up reindeer apparently."
"Well, that wouldn't be my job anyway. I do pretty. Fairies, wood-nymphs, sirens, unicorns, pixies... I'm beauty, and you're beast. It's not that hard to remember," she said, looking Hermione up and down with a critical eye.
Hermione scowled and unconsciously tried to smooth down her wild mane of hair. Noticing Draco smirking about it, she snapped, "Fine, Draco can do it."
"Nuh uh," said Draco, quickly shaking his head. "I don't do beasts either. I'm in charge of spirits."
"That's easy to remember too," declared Lavender. "Because he's pasty."
"I am not pasty!" Draco snapped. "I happen to have prized Alabaster skin."
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest one of all," chanted Lavender, magicking her hand mirror to float over to Draco.
Draco angrily swatted it away, but it continued to bob near his face annoyingly.
Clearing her throat to get their attention, Hermione said, "Yes, it is true that we may be in charge of different divisions, but we are also a team. And with an office this small, it is important that we all work together and support each other."
"So, what you're saying is that you want us to do YOUR job," said Draco, crossing his arms across his chest while Lavender nodded in agreement.
"What I'm saying," said Hermione, getting angry, "is that it's my bloody turn to get a night off!"
"But why do you need a night off anyway?" asked Lavender. "It's not like you have anyone special you need to get home to. You don't even have a boyfriend, let alone a fiance."
"You don't have a fiance either," Draco pointed out.
"But I will. And I do have a boyfriend."
"I don't know," said Draco, pretending to consider it. "Weasel is more of a pet. The scruffy kind that always insists on muddying up your best robes. And since Hermione has that ugly cat, I'd say you're pretty much even."
"And what about you?" Lavender retorted. "I heard you were dating Astoria Greengrass. With a personality like hers, you may as well be dating a corpse. Isn't there some kind of rule about not dating clients, Hermione?"
"I didn't know you were dating Astoria Greengrass," said Hermione, looking almost as shocked as when Lavender had announced her pseudo engagement.
"I'm not anymore," said Draco, giving her a curious look. "It was my parents' idea, and it was rather was like dating a corpse."
"Perfect," said Lavender. "Draco's available."
"What?" said Hermione, a bit flustered and flushing slightly.
"Draco's available to chase reindeer."
"Oh," said Hermione, quickly pulling herself together. "Of course, that's what you meant. Well, I guess that settles it then." She folded the paper airplane back up and threw it at Draco.
"It most certainly does not settle it," Draco protested, returning the airplane. "I'll miss the annual Malfoy ball, which I have never missed. Ever."
"You are welcome," Hermione replied, gliding the airplane back to him.
"Mother's going to Avada me," Draco muttered under his breath.
"Mama's boy," coughed Lavender into her hand.
Glaring, Draco grumbled, "Why do we have to deal with this anyway? Reindeer aren't even magical creatures."
"Because, for tonight at least, they are magical creatures. Someone thought it would be funny to feed them an entire case of Flying Whizbees on the night before Christmas."
"It's a brand new product from the Weasley twins that allows you to fly for hours on end."
"Bloody hell. You mean I have to waste my entire night looking for flying reindeer?"
"Why can't we just let it wear off?"
"We can't have reindeer flying all over London on Christmas Eve. What will the Muggles think?"
"That Santa Claus is coming to town?" Draco drawled, causing Lavender to snicker.
Hermione glared. "This is not a joking matter. Do I need to remind you two of the importance of the International Confederation of Wizards' Statute of Secrecy?"
"No," Draco mumbled. "But why does it have to be our department that has to handle this? Why not the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad or the Obliviator Headquarters or the Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee?"
"I don't know." Hermione shrugged. "The Obliviators are dealing with it now, but Harry requested that our office take over and bring in the reindeer safely."
"This is from Potter?" Draco said, scowling at the memo. "Figures. He's always interfering in everything."
"He is not. Now, enough with the conspiracy theories. We need to get you ready."
"It's too cold to be out rounding up reindeer," Draco whined.
"I should think you would be used to the cold. Don't you still live with your parents?" Hermione quipped.
"Yes, I do. As well a large number of house-elves who are competent enough to keep the Manor heated in a proper manner despite our cold hearts and icy temperaments," replied Draco sarcastically.
"You better not be abusing your house-elves," Hermione warned.
"Please," Draco scoffed. "I love magical creatures. Why else would I work here?"
"I rather thought it was Ministry ordered," Hermione replied offhandedly.
"Ooh, that's what I thought too," Lavender chimed in.
"It was not," insisted Draco, offended. "I didn't do anything wrong."
Hermione gave him a look that said otherwise.
"I didn't do anything wrong that was punishable by law," Draco amended.
"Then why are you working here?" Hermione asked, narrowing her eyes. "I know you don't need the money."
"I told you already. I love magical creatures."
"Cut the crap," said Hermione. "I think we all know that's not true. We did take Care of Magical Creatures with you."
"He was complete rubbish at it," agreed Lavender.
"I got an 'O' in that class for your information," huffed Draco indignantly.
Ignoring him, Lavender turned to Hermione. "Remember that time he got that little scratch from the Hippogriff?" She put her hand to her head dramatically and exclaimed, "It's ripped my arm off! It's killed me! Catch me Crabbe. I'm about to faint from all of the blood."
Draco crumpled up the airplane he was still holding and threw it at her. "That was a serious attack."
"I know," agreed Lavender. "It gave me a serious attack of the giggles."
"It's really none of your business why I'm working here," Draco said haughtily.
"I know!" exclaimed Lavender. "Maybe he has a crush on you, Hermione."
"That's ridiculous," replied Hermione uncomfortably, refusing to look at Draco.
"You're right," Lavender agreed, nodding her head. "It's more likely that he has a crush on me. Sorry, ferret boy. I'm taken. Practically married."
"You mean your tea leaves are practically married," he sneered.
"You're just jealous of Ron's and my relationship," retorted Lavender. "All you have is a string of floozies who only care about your money. You'd be lucky to marry a down to earth girl like me."
"I'd rather marry your tea leaves. Kind of like your boyfriend."
"Ha, ha," replied Lavender, throwing back the crumpled airplane and hitting him in the head. "That comment was almost as slick as your hair."
"Can I put a yodeling spell on her so what comes out of her mouth is only half as annoying as what's coming out now?"
"You are so immature," huffed Lavender. "How old–"
Hermione expected Lavender was about to say, how old are you, but what actually came out was, "how olda lady, olda lady, olda lay hee hoo!"
"Yodeling. The most annoying sound in the world, and yet it's still better than her regular voice." Draco laughed.
Pointing her wand at him, Lavender wordlessly (and yodel-lessly) slapped him with a mime hex. Draco's laughter immediately turned into a silent scream, and with a horrified look on his face, he started pantomiming like he was trying to get out of an invisible box. Hermione closed her eyes and let her head fall to her desk. Sometimes it was better to let them just get it out of their systems, but it wasn't very pretty to watch or listen to for that matter.
"Just another day in the office of the Committee for the Care and Protection of Magical Creatures," came an amused voice from the doorway.
Hermione looked up and saw Harry smiling at the antics of her co-workers. Lavender was yodeling something angrily at Draco, and while Hermione couldn't say for sure, she was fairly certain it was something vulgar. And Draco was pretending to saw off his ears.
"Finite," said Hermione, flicking her wand at the two of them. Giving them a warning look, she added, "And I mean finite."
Lavender and Draco grudgingly broke apart and went back to their respective desks.
"He started it."
"She started it," said Draco at the exact same time as Lavender.
Hermione held up her hand as they both continued to glower at one another. With a sigh, she asked, "Hi, Harry. Did you need something?"
"I was just going to update you on the reindeer situation."
"You can tell Draco then. He graciously volunteered to handle it," she said, smiling cloyingly at Draco.
Draco scowled in return.
"Draco's handling it?" Harry questioned her with a concerned look on his face. "By himself?"
"I am perfectly capable of handling a few reindeer," answered Draco, offended.
"Like you handled Buckbeak?" said Harry sarcastically.
"It's killed me! It's killed me!" Lavender yelled, reenacting the Buckbeak incident again for Harry's benefit.
Hermione held up her hand again to keep Draco from hexing Lavender even though she did kind of deserve it. "It's okay, Harry. I trust Draco. He'll do a fine job."
"But you usually handle this sort of thing," Harry insisted.
"I know," said Hermione, "but I haven't had a holiday off in years and–"
Harry cut her off. "Hermione, I really think it's imperative that you go with him. In this type of situation, it's likely that some kind of memory modification will have to be done or something equally difficult, and do you really want Draco performing those type of spells on Muggles?"
"Hey!" exclaimed Draco.
"I mean, I'm sure he could do an adequate job," continued Harry, ignoring Draco and talking straight to Hermione, "but do you really want to settle for adequate when you could do the job perfectly and without incident yourself?"
"Well, I suppose–" began Hermione.
"Great!" exclaimed Harry, clapping his hands together. "Then it's settled. You and Draco can round up the reindeer together."
Hermione slumped her shoulders in defeat. So much for her night off.
Noticing the look on her face, Harry said encouragingly, "Don't worry, with your intelligence and Draco's... shining beacon of hair, you'll find them in no time."
Draco glared at him, but Hermione couldn't help smiling a bit. Draco did have shiny hair.
With a giggle, Lavender started singing, "Draco with your hair so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight? And then all the reindeer loved him!"
At that point, Lavender started laughing so hard, she fell right out of her chair. Although Hermione suspected that Draco might have had a hand in that. He did happen to know an excellent chair tipping spell.
"Well, I suppose I should be going," said Harry. "Ginny will be wondering where I am. Have you told Draco about the undercover part of the assignment yet?"
"Um, no," said Hermione hesitantly, not looking at Draco. "I was just about to get to that."
"Oh, well, I can wait then," Harry replied with a twinkle in his eye.
"What about Ginny?" asked Hermione pointedly. "Won't she be wondering where you are?"
"She won't mind," said Harry dismissively. "As long as I give her details." His eyes were twinkling really obnoxiously now.
Hermione rolled her eyes but didn't argue. While she was perfectly capable of handling this herself, it didn't hurt to have backup or witnesses. Just in case. Taking a deep breath, she pointed her wand at Draco.
"What the..." Draco watched in shock as his clothes began to shrink and transform into a style most unfitting for a Malfoy. With a shirt and vest, short pants and stripey socks, his new outfit (despite being a truly obnoxious shade of green) could only be described in one word – cute.
"Sorry," said Hermione, lowering her wand and casting another spell.
"Not the shoes!" exclaimed Draco in horror as his shoes turned a matching hideous shade of green, and even worse, began to curl up at the toes. "Those were dragon hide!"
Harry and Lavender were laughing so hard, they were clutching their sides.
Hermione gave them a scolding look and turned the wand on herself. As a finishing touch, she transfigured two sheets of parchment from her pile of paperwork into little hats. Standing on her tiptoes, she placed one on Draco's head and said as cheerily as she could, "Did I mention we were going undercover as Santa's helpers?"
"No, you most certainly did not," he seethed in a very un-elf-like manner. "And in case you were under the very wrong impression that I would be okay with this, let me inform you right now that I am not. I do not wear pointy shoes."
"But they match your pointy face," cracked Lavender.
"I do not have a pointy face! I have classic features. Like a Greek god!" Lavender's magic mirror started hitting him in the head again, trying to catch his attention and every time he saw his reflection, he got angrier and angrier until he finally vanished it.
"Hey! That was my favorite mirror."
"Maybe we should be going, Lavender," said Harry, backing toward the door. "Draco's face is turning a disturbing shade of red."
"Elves are supposed to have rosy cheeks, didn't you know?" Lavender started laughing again.
Harry grabbed Lavender's arm and pulled her out the door with him. "The reindeer were last seen heading toward Cudham," he yelled as soon as they were safely out of wand shot.
Hermione looked tentatively at Draco. His normally pale face was an alarming shade of red. She was afraid the blood may have rushed to his head too quickly. "You're not going to faint on me or throw up, are you?"
"No!" he barked.
"Good. Because we really don't have time for that kind of nonsense. There are reindeer flying all over London."
Draco's only response was to glower at her.
"Alright then," said Hermione, ignoring his poor attitude and getting back to business. "You go home and get your broom, and I'll gather up the supplies we need. Meet me back at the Atrium in a half an hour."
Not even waiting for an answer, Hermione quickly headed to the lifts and went down to level three. After picking up the supplies she needed, she ducked into the Loo to freshen up. Taking a toothbrush from her handbag, she squirted on some toothpaste and diligently brushed her teeth for exactly two minutes. She then flossed thoroughly, and in the spirit of the holidays, rinsed her mouth with peppermint-flavored mouthwash. What did this dental display of exuberance have to do with catching reindeer? Absolutely nothing. Nor did it have anything to do with catching a snarky, shiny-haired co-worker. Because that would be silly. Ridiculous even.
He probably still saw her as the bushy-haired, beaver-toothed girl he knew from school. They were only spending one of the most magical nights of the year together because of work. And because Harry had insisted. So what if she did have butterflies? It didn't mean anything. And so what if she was practicing good oral hygiene? Her parents were dentists, for Merlin's sake. Looking at herself in the mirror, Hermione let out a sigh. She attempted to tame her hair, but it was no use, it was just as wild as ever. So, she settled for changing the color of her dress with a flick of her wand. Green really wasn't her color. She looked much better in red.
"You're late," she snapped when Draco finally met her at the Floos.
"Unlike you, I had to go all the way back home. I... Hey," said Draco, eying her up and down. "Did you do something different to yourself?"
"Are you ready?" Hermione asked impatiently, feeling uncomfortable under his gaze.
"I think we should go through together," said Draco, not taking his eyes off her. "So, we don't get lost."
Hermione took one look at the single person fireplace and said, "Alright."
They squeezed into the tight place together and stood so close that Hermione was too nervous to breathe despite her minty fresh breath. After a long while of just standing there, she finally had to, and ended up taking in a deep breath of air. "Are you wearing cologne?"
"Cudham!" Draco shouted, grabbing her by the waist and throwing down the Floo Powder.
After climbing out of the fireplace and leaving the old Wizarding pub they landed in, Draco and Hermione found themselves walking on a seemingly deserted winding road. There were no Obliviators in sight. Hermione suspected they were probably already off drinking spiked eggnog and getting Obliviated themselves. Ready to get to work, Hermione pulled out her wand.
"Let me see your broom," she demanded.
Draco proudly held it out, and Hermione immediately transfigured it into a child's toy hobby horse.
"That was a classic Firebolt!"
"And now it's a hobby horse," she replied calmly.
"This is even worse than the shoes," Draco fumed. "There are three things you do not mess with. A man's broom, a man's wand and a man's... wand."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "I'll transfigure it back later. You can't very well walk around with a broom. That would look ridiculous."
"And walking around with a horse on a stick doesn't look ridiculous?"
Hermione looked him up and down as if appraising him and finally pointed her wand at his head, changing his elf hat into a red child's cowboy hat. "There. Now you look like a cowboy."
"Are you frigging kidding me!"
"If someone sees you, they'll think your an elf holding a toy that you made. It's not that difficult to understand."
"There's nobody here!"
"Would you be quiet!" Hermione hissed. "Someone might hear you."
"Like all of the people not here?" he asked sarcastically.
"Just get on your horse and round up some reindeer!"
"What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to corral them. I brought magic rope and some reindeer moss containing an antidote."
"Oh. Well, alright then."
Draco mounted his trusty steed, took the magic lasso that Hermione handed him and flew off into the night. After twenty minutes, he came back empty handed. "I can't see anything with all this fog," he complained, hovering above her.
"Your shiny beacon of hair not helping?" Hermione couldn't resist asking.
Draco was about to retort when he nearly got knocked off his broom horse by a reindeer running him over. Twirling the lasso high above his head, he threw it, only to have it land on himself in a tangle. After several hours and expletives, Draco finally got the hang of the lasso and started catching reindeer. When Draco had brought her the seventh reindeer, Hermione told him there was only one more to go. The last one was proving difficult though, as it kept dodging out of Draco's reach every time he got near it. Hermione couldn't help giggling when she heard Draco shout, "I'm not playing any more of your damn reindeer games!"
An hour later, a bedraggled Draco handed Hermione the last reindeer. "I finally caught him hiding up on the rooftop over there."
"You mean her," Hermione corrected.
"How do you know it's a her?" Draco asked, bending down to get a better look.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Because of the antlers. Males lose theirs in the winter."
"So, you mean that all of Santa's reindeer were female? Even Rudolph?"
"Rudolph?" said Hermione, a horrified expression overtaking her face.
Draco looked at the reindeer and counted them. "You forgot the most famous reindeer of all?"
"I was going by the original poem," huffed Hermione defensively. "Rudolph wasn't added in until 1939."
"So, there's still one more out there?" Draco whined.
Hermione shrugged sheepishly.
Hermione was about to apologize when "Rudolph" landed right next to them. They both grabbed the reindeer and held on tight.
"Quick! Give him the antidote!"
"You mean her."
"Fine! Give HER the antidote!"
"I don't have any left. I only brought enough for eight reindeer."
"Bloody hell! Rudolph went down in history! I thought you were good at that subject!"
"I am! I told you the original poem only had eight reindeer! That other story was written over one hundred years later. For a department store promotion!"
"Would you stop spewing out useless information and do something? I can't hold Rudolph forever!"
"What do you want me to do? And stop calling her that!"
"Use your bloody wand! Are you a–"
Hermione kicked him with her pointy shoe.
Draco was about to yell a very different "f" word, but changed his mind when he saw Hermione's face. "Fuuu... udge!"
Standing there in his pajamas with wide eyes was a little boy. "Who are you, and what are you doing with all of these reindeers?"
"It's reindeer," Hermione automatically corrected. "The plural of reindeer is reindeer." Seeing Draco roll his eyes, she quickly added, "but that's an easy mistake to make. I'm... Hermi and this is... Dra... dle. We're Santa's helpers."
The boy looked at her skeptically. "His name is Dreidel? Like the Hanukkah game?"
"Yes, well," said Hermione, getting flustered while Draco just stood back and shook his head. "Santa is an equal opportunity employer."
"Charlie Dougan says Santa doesn't exist."
"Well, Charlie Dougan is on Santa's naughty list, so I suppose he would say that," huffed Hermione, angry that anyone would spoil Christmas for a child like that. "He better hope his parents can do better than socks this year is all I can say."
"Shouldn't you be in bed?" Draco asked.
"I wanted to see if Santa really did exist," he admitted.
"Well, now you know. Santa does exist."
"I don't know..." said the boy hesitantly.
"What more proof do you need? You have two elves with reindeer standing on your front lawn."
"You could just be regular people wearing funny clothes. Or, you could be a cowboy," said the boy, looking at Draco's hat.
"Well, I'm not. I'm an elf. I work for Santa. And I'm apparently Jewish."
"Sorry, I'm just not buying it," said the boy, crossing his arms across his chest. "Maybe Charlie is right, and I am too old to believe in Santa."
"What!" exclaimed Draco. "How old are you, six?"
"Six and a half," the boy corrected.
"What's your name?"
"John Michael Corrigan," said the boy, puffing out his chest.
"Well, John Michael Corrigan, what if I were to tell you that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was standing right here? Would you believe in Santa then?"
John Michael looked skeptically at the reindeer Draco was holding. "I don't see a red shiny nose."
"Are you sure about that?" asked Draco, discreetly casting a charm on the reindeer's nose that made it glow red.
"Wow," said the boy in awe. "How did you do that?"
"Magic," answered Draco, letting go of the reindeer to fly off into the night. With the heavy fog that had rolled in, soon all you could see was a glowing red light bobbing in the distance. "So, you'd better get back to bed if you want Santa to come."
"Yes, sir!" exclaimed John Michael Corrigan, raising his hand in salute before running back to his house.
"Merry Christmas!" Draco yelled after him, and then after thinking about it, added, "And Happy Hanukkah!"
Hermione gave him a look.
"What? Does that sound weird coming from an elf named Dreidel?"
"Yes. Hanukkah ended over two weeks ago."
"I happen to believe in keeping the spirit of Hanukkah with me all year round."
Hermione smiled and impulsively threw her arms around his neck.
"Is this part of that S.P.E.W. thing? Because despite what I said, I'm not a real elf, you know."
Hermione shook her head, her eyes shining up at him. "What you did for that boy..."
Draco shrugged in embarrassment. "Every kid should believe in magic."
"It was the most wonderful thing I've ever seen."
"You do realize I just violated the International Confederation of Wizards' Statute of Secrecy, don't you?"
"Of course I do, but you did it for all the right reasons. Happy Christmas, Draco," said Hermione softly.
Draco leaned in closer and smiling, whispered, "Happy Hanukkah, Hermione."
"Mum! Dad!" yelled John Michael Corrigan, bursting into the house. "I just saw Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!"
"John Michael Corrigan!" scolded his mother. "Santa isn't going to come if you don't get back into bed."
"That's what they said!" exclaimed John Michael Corrigan excitedly.
"Who?" asked his mother.
"The elves snogging on our front lawn."