Third Year: December; Two Days Before Yule
“A shite!” Hermione said through a mouthful of giggles. Pansy and Hermione clung to each other. Giggles overwhelming their petite bodies. Daphne sputtered in amusement, which only made them laugh harder. Tracy and Millie shook with inconsolable laughter.
“I can’t breath,” Tracy said between laughs. Millie shook with silent giggles. Hermione fell off the couch, rolling around on the carpet, arms gripping her stomach, laughing so hard she cried.
“What in the bloody hell happened to you?” The girls looked up, stifling giggles to see Theo and Blaise standing near the entrance to the common room, amused looks on their faces. Pansy bit her lip, doing everything she could to hold in her laugher, and succeeded, if only for a moment. Laughter bubbled from between Pansy’ lips, which in turn, caused the other four girls to begin giggling again. The boys looked at each other, confusion evident on their faces.
“Don’t ask,” Pansy said between heaving breaths and giggles. Blaise gave Theo a look that clearly said, “these girls are nuts!” Theo only nodded before turning around hurrying away, Blaise following at his heels. As the girls began to calm down they started moving away from the common room and towards Daphne and Pansy’ room. The girls were still tittering on about nothing as the collapsed on the two beds that occupied the room.
“Ok, enough craziness,” Daphne said through deep calming breaths. The girls all nodded and sat up. Daphne turned to Tracy, a curious look upon her face. Tracy coloured deeply. Daphne gave her a sly smile. Pansy snickered at the blush blossoming on Tracy’ cheeks.
“So Tracy, tell us about your little adventure last night,” Daphne pressed. Tracy blushed deeper.
“Well?” Hermione asked the blushing girl. Daphne, Pansy, Hermione, and Millie all stared at her in anticipation. Tracy held her tongue as long as she could, but the pressing stares of her four best friends was to much for the girl to handle.
“Oh alright,” she said with a groan. The other four girls squealed with excitement. “So, I don’t know. He was sweet. I mean it was just a little kiss, It was-” she was cut off by Daphne. Who let out a loud scream.
“He kissed you!” Daphne shrieked. Tracy blushed again and nodded slowly. Pansy gasped, Hermione blanched. Mille hugged the girl in question while Daphne shrieked again.
“Did he really kiss you?” Hermione asked, hesitation and utter fascination evident in her voice. A smile slid onto Tracy’ face.
“Yeah ‘Mione, he did,” Daphne smiled at Tracy before prodding her in the arm.
“Tell us everything,” she said. Tracy nodded and continued.
“We were down by the kitchens. You know Dumbledore, hanging mistletoe everywhere he can, the tosser. Anyways, he held my hand and we were walking along the corridor and he just leaned over and kissed me. Nothing huge, just a sweet little kiss,” Daphne sighed contently, Tracy sent an affectionate eye roll her way.
“Do you think,” Pansy started, “he’ll get you jewelry for Yule?” Daphne and Millie both gasped, seemingly appalled. “What?” Pansy asked the two gaping girls. Tracy bit her lip nervously. Hermione looked uncomfortable. “What? What did I say?” Pansy asked, clearly confused.
“You can’t just ask her that!” Daphne hissed. Pansy looked crestfallen, and gave Tracy a small hug. “Sorry,” she muttered.
“It’s alright Pansy,” Tracy began, and at Daphne’ skeptical look continued, “really you guys, it’s ok. She was right to ask I guess. It’s a perfectly acceptable thing to ask. I don’t know Pans,” she said, turning to the girl, “He is a perfect choice. Mother would ecstatic, and I really like him. It’s just quite premature right now,” Tracy explained. Pansy nodded.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he did though Tracy. He’s from a really good family, he’s a year older, you’re the perfect candidate, and he seems completely infatuated with you. Why the hell wouldn’t he give you jewelry for Yule?” Millie argued. Daphne nodded in agreement. Hermione sat quietly, contemplating the current situation.
“I still don’t get it,” she said suddenly. Daphne raised an eyebrow.
“Don’t get what?”
“The whole, jewelry thing. It’s so confusing,” Hermione complained. Daphne smiled and opened her mouth to explain but Tracy cut her off.
“It’s a pureblood thing. A royal pain in the arse. But a lot of families still do it. It’s sort of like a betrothal. You know. They did it a long time ago, like kings and stuff. To like, join their kingdoms together and the goal is to stay powerful. Anyways it’s sort of like that, just it’s joining families and maintaining a pure bloodline is the goal. Anyways, jewelry is like and early engagement. Like a betrothal it can be broken off, not that ever happens now. But if one of the pureblood guys finds a good girl, a girl he likes but also a girl that will be an acceptable match, someone that is okayed by his family, he can give her jewelry. If she accepts it she will pretty much be engaged to him unless things change. She will have to meet his family and get his parents approval and vise versa with him and her family. Anyways when they are both given their family's approval they are pretty much tieing the two houses together. Honestly, though, a lot of pureblood families are laying off the whole betrothal engagement thing. It is a bit old fashioned. But some still do it, like mine and Calebs. Like Draco and Millie, Vince and Greg.” Hermione nodded, her face was filled with interest and a hint of disgust.
“So pureblood families sort of just sell off their kids?” She asked hesitantly. Tracy laughed. “Pretty much yeah.” Hermione blanched. Daphne rolled her eyes adoringly at the girl.
“But Caleb Warrington though. What a romantic!” Pansy said, a dreamy expression on her face. At that, all the seriousness of the conversation disappeared and they all started to giggle again. After what felt like ages of laughing and small talk Hermione said something that made the happiness dissipate.
“Daphne?” Hermione asked, her voice shy and quiet.
“Can I stay with you tonight?” Daphne looked up, worry in her eyes. Hermione only ever asked to stay with Daphne when something really bad had happened. Hermione looked nervous. She was chewing her lower lip and wringing her hands together. Daphne straightened up and gave the other girls a warning glance. Tracy and Millie both nodded silently before saying quick goodnights and disappearing back into the common room. Pansy move herself towards Hermione and took the silent girls hand. Hermione sniffled and turned away from the other two girls.
“Hermione?” Daphne began. “What’s going on? Why do you want to stay here again?” Hermione sniffled again. She bit her lip hard trying to hold back a sob. “Hermione, please tell us what’s going on? Was it Potter? Brown? Patil? Weasley?” Hermione cringed when Daphne said Weasley. Pansy frowned.
“What did he do?” Pansy asked. Hermione let out a sob. Pansy immediately wrapped the crying girl in a hug.
“He cornered me in the library. Started spouting off nonsense about how I’m betraying my house by being friends with you and how I don’t deserve to be in Gryffindor. I told him it was a load of rot. But then he started saying things about my dad and how he probably didn’t really die. That he probably left because I was a pathetic excuse for a child. Brown and Patil were there to. Just laughing and egging him on. Why do they hate me so much. I haven’t done a thing to them and yet they hate me. Tease, mock and berate. I don’t understand,” she said through heavy sobs. Daphne shook with rage, while Pansy held the girl tight trying to stop the flow of tears.
“Those tossers. What a load of shite. Hermione none of that is true. They’re nasty people. We love you. Don’t worry about why they don’t like you they don’t deserve to be your friends.” Pansy told the crying Gryffindor. Daphne nodded in agreement.
“And of course you can stay with us tonight. Stay as long as you want, we don’t mind at all,” Hermione sniffled loudly and before hugging both girls tight and thanking them profusely. And so Hermione spent the night with Daphne and Pansy. After she calmed down the girls fell onto more cheery topics and spent the rest of the night giggling and chatting.
Hermione awoke with a start early the next morning. She rubbed her sleep deprived eyes and sat up. She was surrounded by blankets, quilts, and pillows that lay on the wonderfully transfigured bed she had slept on. Hermione glanced at the clock and moaned softly, realizing that she had only fallen asleep an hour earlier. Daphne and Pansy both lay in their beds sleeping sound and as not to disturb them with her struggles to fall back to sleep Hermione slipped out of bed and quietly left the room. The fire in the common room glowed dimly, casting eerie shadows across the room. The only sound was the water of the Black Lake lapping up against the large window on the back wall of the common room. Hermione edged her way around the furniture as quietly as possible. She planned on sitting in front of the window to watch the inhabitants of the lake till she felt tired again but her plans were interrupted when a voice called out to her.
“What are doing up so early?” Hermione whirled around. But breathed a sigh of relief to find Draco sitting in one of the arm chairs. He sat, book in lap, patiently wait for an answer. Hermione blushed and bit her lip.
“Nothing, I just couldn’t sleep is all,” Draco raised an eyebrow at her before standing up and walking over to her. She looked down at her feet as Draco stood in front of her.
“Hermione,” he said. Taking her chin in his hand, he slowly brought her face back up to look him in the eyes. “You’re lying. Something’s bothering you. Tell me,” He said, his voice soft but demanding.
"I just couldn't stop thinking about something Weasley said to me," she said quietly. She hoped Draco couldn't see the tears in her eyes. She looked up at him, and when he saw her brown eyes swimming with tears his face softened.
"What did he say 'Mione?" Draco asked. Hermione just shook her head. As the tears started falling slowly from her eyes Draco pulled her into a tight hug. They stood their, Draco’ arms wrapped around the petite girl, letting her cry into his shirt for quite some time. When the flow of tears finally ebbed Draco released her from his grip. He tentatively took Hermione's hand and pulled her onto the couch. She collapsed next to him. He pulled her into him and wrapped an arm around her. Hermione snuggled into his side.
"I'll kill Weasley. Don't listen to him 'Mione. He's a wanker," Draco said. Hermione gave a watery giggle.
"Thank you for always being there for me Draco." Hermione whispered. Draco smiled to himself before planting a kiss on the top of her head.
“I’ll alway be here for you Hermione Granger,” Draco waited for a moment to hear a response from the girl but smile to himself when he realized that she had fallen asleep, curled into his side. Before he knew what was happening he too was falling victim to the powers of sleep.
"Should we wake them up?" Pansy asked Theo. Theo smirked and shook his head.
"How the hell did this happen?" Theo asked Pansy. She shrugged and turned to look at Draco and Hermione sleeping on the couch. She knelt down next to the sleeping pair and stared observantly at them. Draco had his arm wrapped protectively around Hermione's waist. His face was half covered by Hermione's curly hair. Pansy smiled despite herself. Those two were made for each other. Theo nudged her softly. Pansy raised her hand to shake them awake but we interrupted by Draco’ voice.
“Do you always stare at people in their sleep Pansy?” Draco drawled sleepily. Pansy flushed, and Theo chuckled. Hermione was starting to stir and slowly sat up. Upon seeing Pansy and Theo standing in front of her and Draco next to her, his arm still protectively around her waist, Hermione blushed profusely. Pansy giggled and winked at the blushing Hermione before holding out her hand and pulling the girl off the couch.
“Let’s get you back to my room,” Hermione only nodded and followed Pansy away back towards her dorm. Theo watched the two girls disappear into Pansy and Daphne’ room before turning to Draco.
"Ok bud. What the hell happened?" Theo asked Draco. Draco smiled to himself. Theo raised an eyebrow at him.
"Well I couldn't sleep so I was just reading but the fire when she came down. She was really upset over something Weasley said to her and she was crying. So I comforted her. Then we just sort of fell asleep, and yeah that's what happened." Theo grinned at his friend. Draco felt heat rising up his face.
“Tonight’s the Eve of Yule. Are you going to give her her present?” Theo inquired. Draco blushed harder.
“She won’t know what it means. But yeah,” Draco said. Theo smiled at him before pulled the serious mask back up.
“You should go clean yourself up. You’re a blushing smitten mess Draco,” Draco rolled his eyes in response, but did as Theo suggested and hurried back to his room. After splashing water on his face Draco collapsed on his bed, and small box in his hand. He pulled the top off the box and stared at the ice blue, diamond encrusted bracelet that sat nestled inside the box. Hermione’ Yule present sat in that box, sparkling up at Draco.