1. Blue Christmas by Embellished
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns all things Harry Potter.
A/N: “Blue Christmas” is one of my favorite cheesy Christmas songs, and was the inspiration for this story, or at least for parts of it. I hope that you enjoy it and have a wonderful holiday season!
As a boy, Draco Malfoy loved everything about Christmas. The winter weather suited him—ice skating, tobogganing, and building snow dragons were some of his favorite activities, especially when he could return afterwards to the warmth of the Manor, decked out in all of its holiday finery. On Christmas Eve, he and his father would always set out into the forest for the Yule log. They would wander about, speaking of what Draco imagined to be manly things, until they agreed on the perfect tree. Lucius would allow Draco to cast the spell to fell it, his small hand on the wand under his father’s larger one. Draco could never sleep that night for the anticipation, even well after he learned the true nature of Saint Nicholas, for Christmas at the Malfoy Manor was marvelous. The family would gather to exchange gifts, all uncharacteristically dressed in their night clothes. Then there would be the Christmas Feast, where Draco could always find all of his favorite foods. And, although Draco would never admit it, he even enjoyed Boxing Day, the one holiday the house-elves were given each year, when he and his mother would take over the kitchen, cooking and baking together all day.
Draco’s enthusiasm for the holiday leveled out a bit as he left for Hogwarts and matured into manhood. The war, too, had a sobering effect. It was hard not to think of his missing father, and harder yet to keep his mother from dwelling too much on his death. Still, Christmas was Draco’s favorite time of the year, and he usually looked forward to it with great anticipation.
But this year was different. This year, the fairies around the Manor didn’t seem to shine as brightly as usual. Draco’s trek into the forest, which had never been the same without his father, was downright miserable this time; he returned damp and covered in mud, with the first tree he could find that might possibly suffice. Although he usually enjoyed giving gifts nearly as much as receiving them, he took no joy in his mother’s delight at the necklace he had painstakingly designed to her taste. Even the Blitzen she gave him couldn’t capture his attention, despite being the newest top-of-the-line racing broom, still available only in Germany. He merely picked at the feast, pushing his food around on his plate without enthusiasm. Sippy had brought him hot chocolate afterwards, knowing that no matter how much he ate, he always had room for chocolate, but it sat cold and untouched on the table before him.
Now, as he sat in the drawing room with his mother, contemplating the burning Yule log (which, upon reflection, seemed much too small to last through Epiphany), and the Christmas tree (prematurely brown), Draco contemplated the reason for his distinct lack of Christmas spirit. It was all Ginny’s fault. If it wasn’t for missing her, he would have been able to enjoy the day.
Ginny Weasley had somehow wormed her way into Draco’s life the previous spring. Narcissa had unexpectedly started sneezing butterflies due to an allergic reaction to Flutterby Bush pollen. Draco had rushed her to St. Mungo’s. He had been sitting in the waiting room for nearly half an hour, flipping through a year-old copy of The Well-Dressed Witch, when a concerned looking Ginny Weasley came in with someone who was very, very orange from head to toe. Draco, stifling a laugh, watched as she spoke to a Healer, who quickly ushered the orange person away. Draco was startled when Ginny burst into peals of uncontrollable laughter as soon as the door swung closed behind them. She collapsed into the chair next to Draco, and laughed so long and hard that Draco wondered if he shouldn’t check her into the hospital as well.
Eventually, Ginny calmed down. “You would think Ron would have figured out by now not to trust the twins with anything!” she said to no one in particular.
Draco, supposing that she must not have recognized him, raised a questioning eyebrow.
“My brothers Fred and George,” she explained with a smile. “Everything is a prank with them. This time they charmed Ron’s Cannons hat to turn him orange. He’s so angry that he’s going to miss their first game today because of it. I told him to just go anyway—to pretend like he meant to show team spirit—but he was too embarrassed to do it.”
“I can see why,” Draco said dryly. It was one thing to cheer one’s team on, but quite another to make a spectacle of oneself doing so.
Ginny shrugged. “Oh, he just takes himself too seriously. He’d have much more fun if he could just go with the flow. One Christmas, Fred and George made my hair light up like a Christmas tree, and I kept it that way for the whole day. It was quite festive!” Draco smiled at the mental image, which he unexpectedly found oddly appealing.
Ginny looked at the clock. “It will be ages before they get Ron cleaned up—it always is with Fred and George’s pranks, and all the brouhaha interrupted my breakfast. I’m going to go up to the tea room. Would you like to join me?”
Draco was shocked by the invitation. She surely must not have recognized him, or she wouldn’t have had the audacity to even suggest such a thing. All of Draco’s pureblood pride fiercely protested that he should stay right where he was, but he was inexplicably drawn to Ginny, to her complete openness and lack of self-consciousness. Besides, he already knew much more than he ever wanted to know about last season’s fashions. Despite himself, Draco set the magazine aside and followed her up the stairs.
After that, Draco had found any excuse he could to run into Ginny. He suspected she did the same thing. Eventually, he had asked her out, and they had spent as much time together as they could manage ever since. A month ago, Ginny had told him that she loved him, but although the thought sent pleasant shivers down his spine, Draco hadn’t managed to say it back. He was still unsure of his feelings. Now, Draco was glad he had never said anything, because everything had fallen apart the week before.
At Narcissa’s invitation, Ginny had come to the Manor to help decorate the tree. Draco had been rather surprised at the invitation, as his mother had never trusted anyone else’s judgment in such matters before. But she had invited Ginny nonetheless, and Ginny had come. Much to Draco’s surprise, she produced ornaments of an elegance that would have put Professor Flitwick to shame.
As she chatted amiably with his mother, Ginny spoke enthusiastically about the upcoming Christmas celebrations at the Burrow.
“What?” Draco asked, startled. “I thought you would be spending Christmas here!”
Ginny looked at him in alarm. “Really? You never said so.”
“I’m saying so now,” Draco said commandingly.
“I’m afraid that’s out of the question,” Ginny responded firmly. “I must spend this Christmas with my family. This is the first time we will all be together since Bill and Fleur’s wedding! Even Percy will be there.”
Draco looked at Ginny with disbelief. Was she really turning down Christmas at Malfoy Manor? Surely it would be the grandest Christmas celebration she would ever experience. Ginny looked away for a moment, and he was sure she would agree with him. But then she looked up at him through her eyelashes, and said shyly, “You could join us, if you want.”
Draco was used to getting what he wanted, when he wanted it, and not getting it immediately must have caused his brain to stop working. He must not have thought before speaking, for if he had, he would undoubtedly have kept his mouth firmly shut. Instead, he said, “You want me to celebrate Christmas at your shack with those blood-traitors you call family? You must be kidding! You should come here instead. It’s not like they will miss you there.”
The words had barely fallen from his lips before Draco realized he had made a dreadful mistake. He and Ginny had had their share of fights, of course, and Ginny had always fought fiercely against him. This time, however, she was deadly calm. She looked at him for a few moments, then reached up and unclasped the necklace he had given her for her birthday. She looked at it regretfully, and held it out for him.
“If that is how you feel about me and my family,” Ginny said evenly, “then I am sorry to have wasted your time.” Draco held his hand out reflexively, and she dropped the necklace into it.
“Thank you for your hospitality, Mrs. Malfoy,” Ginny continued, turning to Draco’s mother, who he had forgotten was still in the room. “I hope you understand why I must leave so soon.”
Narcissa nodded, and took Ginny’s hand, squeezing it lightly. “It was a true pleasure, Miss Weasley. I hope I will see you again soon.”
“Indeed,” Ginny said with a sad smile, and a brief glance at Draco, before Disapparating away.
Draco stared for a moment at the place where Ginny had been, then down at the necklace in his hand, before storming out of the room. He hadn’t felt right since.
His thoughts returning to the present, Draco stood abruptly and began pacing in front of the fire. Just thinking of Ginny made him angry all over again. How dare she walk out on him? He had always been the one to break up with his past girlfriends, and he wasn’t done with Ginny yet. He was still fascinated by all the different colors of red and gold in her hair, by the way she could laugh at herself even in the most embarrassing situations, and by the fierceness that showed in her temper, her determination, and mostly in her passion. No, Draco was not nearly finished with Ginny Weasley, but she had left him anyway.
Draco had nearly built up a full head of steam when his mother snapped him out of his thoughts.
“Draco, will you please sit down!” Narcissa said with irritation, looking up from her needlework.
Draco, being accustomed to the repercussions of not following his mother’s orders, sat.
“Thank you,” Narcissa said. “You were beginning to drive me mad.”
“Sorry, Mother,” Draco said dutifully, then turned to stare at the fire once more, intent on returning to his brooding.
“That’s quite all right, dear. You’re sitting now. But it is high time that you stop moping about.”
“But…” Draco began.
“No,” Narcissa interrupted. “I’ve let it alone long enough, hoping you would get over it, but you have been such an unpleasant companion that you have almost spoiled my Christmas. I won’t have you spoil Boxing Day as well.”
Draco gaped at his mother. It had never occurred to him that she wouldn’t find his black mood totally justified. “But Ginny…”
“Ginevra did exactly the right thing,” Narcissa said firmly. “How you could have said such a thing to her, I don’t know.”
“I…” Draco started to defend himself. Then, faced with his mother’s stoniest glare, he stopped to think about what he had said to Ginny, rather than focusing on how she had reacted. She had never invited him to meet her family before, and considering their pasts, doing so must have been a big step for her. He remembered how nervous he had been when she had met his mother—they had run into her unexpectedly in Diagon Alley one day, or he might never have introduced them. Then, instead of acknowledging her effort, he had managed to insult Ginny and every member of her family in one fell swoop.
Draco dropped his head into his hands, suddenly feeling nauseous. If possible, he felt worse than he had before. Now, not only was Ginny gone, but he had to live with knowing that his petty anger had driven her away.
Narcissa set her sewing aside, and came to sit next to Draco on the settee. “Oh, Draco,” she said, rubbing his back lightly with one hand. “Moping really doesn’t become you. You need to make a decision.”
Draco looked up at his mother questioningly.
“Your first option is to decide that you meant what you said to Ginevra, and that you are better off without her, then get on with your life.”
Draco gasped. The suggestion, made so calmly, caught him by surprise, and caused a leaden weight to settle in his stomach.
“The other option,” Narcissa continued, and Draco was mildly disconcerted by the ghost of a smirk on her lips. “The other option is to apologize to Ginevra, then make absolutely certain that next Christmas, you will be together.”
Draco stared blankly at Narcissa for a moment. Whatever could she mean?
Narcissa smiled, pulling a small box out of her pocket. She handed it to Draco, then stood. “I’ll leave you to your decision, then,” she said. “But whatever you decide, I expect to see you in the kitchens tomorrow morning at nine o’clock sharp, and in much better spirits than you have been in today.”
Draco looked at his mother, then at the box, then back at his mother. He was still confused, but trying not to let it show, he nodded.
“Good night then, dear,” Narcissa said, kissing Draco’s forehead before leaving the room.
Draco watched Narcissa leave the room, then turned curiously to the velvet-covered box in his hand. He flipped open the lid, and gasped at the flash of diamonds and sapphires that confronted him.
It was his Grandmother Black’s engagement ring.
What did his mother mean by giving him this? Did she intend him to propose marriage to Ginny Weasley? What an absurd idea! Draco had honestly never thought of it before. Sure, he enjoyed Ginny’s company immensely, but he had always assumed he would eventually tire of her, as he had with all the other women he had dated, and then he would move on. But then he realized that he had been dating Ginny exclusively for nearly eight months, which was four times as long as any of his previous relationships had lasted. And even if he did decide that he couldn’t live without her, marrying Ginny would just be so… messy. He’d be related to her oaf of a brother, and to her pudgy mother, for Merlin’s sake! He’d probably even have to be polite to Potter. Draco shuddered at the thought. No, marriage was definitely out of the question. He would just have to find a way to rid himself of thoughts of Ginny, and move on a little earlier than he had planned.
Draco continued to sit in front of the fire, playing idly with his grandmother’s ring. It really was a lovely piece of work—intricate enough to be visually interesting, but delicate enough not to be gaudy. He imagined it on Ginny’s hand, then mentally shook himself. He was going to forget her. He really was.
But, as is the way of things, the more he tried to not think about Ginny, the more he did. He remembered the curve of her neck, and the way she would gasp when he kissed her in just the right spot. Then there was the way she would tease him about his fastidious grooming habits one moment, then straighten his tie the next. But most of all, he remembered the way he sometimes felt happy, merely because Ginny was in the same room. Just imagine what life would be like if he could be with her all the time!
Suddenly, the idea of marriage didn’t seem so farfetched. There would definitely be drawbacks with such an arrangement. He would have to apologize to Ginny, for one, and Draco had always hated admitting he was in the wrong. But if it meant that he wouldn’t have to spend another day like today, maybe it would be worth it. He looked up at the crackling Yule log, which seemed much cheerier than it had earlier, and the flames reminded him of Ginny’s hair. Draco looked back down at the ring, and clasped it tightly in his fist, coming to a sudden decision.
Taking a deep breath, Draco Apparated to the lane just outside the Burrow. He was surprised to see that the house was much bigger than he had expected. It had certainly been put together in a haphazard way, but it was oddly cheerful and welcoming. Without conscious thought, his feet started carrying him to the door.
When he arrived at the doorstep, Draco nearly turned around again. But then he remembered how miserable he had been for the past week, how not even Christmas could make him forget Ginny. She was worth whatever tortures he would have to endure by coming here. Bracing himself, and praying desperately that anyone but Ron would answer the door, Draco knocked.
It seemed like an eternity before the door opened, but then there she was. Ginny stood before him, the light from the room behind her making her hair a halo around her face. Draco released the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.
Ginny stared at him, mouth agape, for a full thirty seconds. Draco nearly made up his mind to turn around and go, but then her face lit up in what must have been the most beautiful smile he had ever seen, and she threw herself into his arms.
Draco hugged Ginny to him as tightly as he could, filled with the warmth and contentment only she could bring. As she let go and led him into the house, Draco knew that everything would turn out right. When he asked Ginny to marry him, she would accept, and he would never again have to miss her so desperately. And even if it had to be here, among her mob of ridiculous relatives, they would be together the next Christmas, and every Christmas after that.