Day 7: Christmas concert
Their sleigh ride had been beautiful and Hermione had wanted more. So despite being the nervous one she had gathered up all courage and asked Narcissa by the end if she wanted to join her at a concert the following day.
Narcissa’s response hadn’t exactly been a surprise but she still felt a weight fall off of her shoulders when Narcissa said yes.
So now they arrived together in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral and Narcissa felt a little out of her element. When Hermione offered her arm, she readily took it.
The inside of St. Paul’s was stunning and the duo looked around in awe. Countless candles surrounded them as they headed towards their seats.
Hermione watched with rapt attention as Narcissa slid into her seat. She imagined most people wouldn’t be able to tell how out of place the blonde felt. The witch’s posture was just a little too stiff and her smile a little too wide. Narcissa rarely smiled when she relaxed, instead she smirked which set off butterflies in Hermione’s stomach.
Hermione settled next to her. She sat close enough that they were nearly touching and she could feel the warmth of the body next to her. She struggled to keep her eyes off the blonde as she took in the beautiful old church. There was just something about Narcissa that Hermione didn’t think she could ever tire of.
When the opening chords of Adeste Fideles rang out, Hermione was enraptured with the tender look and tear-brimmed eyes. As delightful as Narcissa undoubtedly was, Hermione could now see the carefully concealed pain. It was a pain that she wanted to comfort in some way.
Her internal debate about how to best do so was cut off by a hand resting softly on her knee and a gentle squeeze. Narcissa glanced at her with such a look of awe and adoration that Hermione forgot language entirely. She covered Narcissa’s hand with her own, not wanting the witch to remove it.
It was all too easy to sit in the midst of such beauty, reveling in the closeness of such an amazing witch. It made Hermione wonder how much of the magic of everyday things she had been missing out on before she began spending time with Narcissa.
Day 8: Baking
It had been impulsive to invite Hermione to her new townhouse, but Narcissa had a craving to see the witch in her space. She had read a newspaper that introduced her to the idea of a Gingerbread House . As the images in the periodicals didn’t move, Narcissa was a little fuzzy on some of the details. Hermione had seemed most eager to come assist her in muggle cooking.
Narcissa had some doubts about Hermione’s knowledge after the last two hours. They were both covered nearly head to toe in flour, which the younger witch refused to let her magically remove because it might interfere with the chemistry. Whatever in the name of Merlin that might mean.
She couldn’t quite be mad when Hermione looked so adorable with flour smeared across her cheek and forehead. “Hermione?”
“Have you ever actually done this before?”
Narcissa thought she had asked quite gently, but by the way that Hermione’s head snapped up she might not have been successful.
“I mean… not from scratch. Not since I was a child. But I read a book,” Hermione squeaked.
Narcissa smirked. “I see. Tell me, Hermione, how does magic interfere with baking?”
Hermione smiled shyly and looked up through her lashes.
“It doesn’t, strictly speaking. As far as we know. Really, there hasn’t been enough research.”
Narcissa noticed that the witch had been subtly backing out of the room and was attempting to get to her wand.
Narcissa summoned both of their wands to her open hand. She greatly enjoyed the open look of shock on the younger witch’s face.
“I have no idea what you were expecting, Miss Granger. But I would hate to interfere. Shall I at least get a towel? I fear we won’t be able to read the cookbook with so much flour on it.”
Narcissa smiled broadly as Hermione’s laughter bounced off the walls of her once lonely townhouse.
Day 9: Christmas tree shopping
“You must be getting tired of seeing me every day, Hermione,” Narcissa announced herself as she approached the younger witch at their designated meeting point in London.
Hermione turned her head to look at the blonde with a wide smile. “Don’t be an idiot, it doesn’t suit you, Narcissa,” she replied, her voice gentle. “Do I look like I’m getting tired of your company?” She wasn’t sure if it was the cold reddening Narcissa’s cheeks or if she was blushing but either way it made Hermione’s heart skip a beat.
“Very well, then… thank you for offering your help though. Never had to pick out the tree myself. That has always been Lucius’ and Draco’s thing…” Narcissa offered up an explanation while she looped her arm around Hermione’s offered one.
“I’ve been choosing my own tree for years now… so I’ll happily help out. They have the best trees here. Before you say anything, no this isn’t a magical shop. They still have the best trees though,” Hermione said as they entered the fenced off area. “How big do you want your tree to be?”
“It should go into the living room… I’ll have to be able to set it up by myself… so not too big, really,” Narcissa replied.
“Nonsense, I’ll help… a tree should be as big as your ceiling allows,” Hermione shook her head and changed direction to head towards the biggest trees.
“That’s what Draco always said too,” Narcissa chuckled. “But fine… with your help I can go for one, I suppose.” She could have just used magic to set up a tree of any size by herself. But she had hoped Hermione would agree to help. Despite having spent so much time with her now, Narcissa still feared she wasn’t going to see Hermione again. Her arm around Hermione’s tightened a little.
“Are you cold?” Hermione asked but Narcissa just shook her head.
“I’ll be alright, darling.” As long as she could keep finding excuses to spend her time with Hermione, she would be.
Day 10: Decorating the tree
Hermione had thought that picking out a tree with Narcissa was the height of fun, but watching the blonde in the candlelight surrounded by her precious things was heart-stopping. She couldn’t help staring at the witch as she stooped over boxes looking for a particular ornament. Hermione knew she must have been lost in thought as she was humming quietly to herself. It was one of the most endearing things she had ever witnessed.
“Hermione, would you come here for a moment?”
Hermione was in motion at once and trying very hard not to stare at the blonde. When Narcissa held out a delicate glass butterfly, Hermione took it carefully. The glass was warm in her hand and she could feel the blonde’s magic licking at her skin. Hermione felt her heart flutter in her chest. The magic danced through her and it was the most amazing thing she had ever experienced. She tried to get her feet to move but was frozen by the intensity of it. She almost jumped out of her skin, when a soft hand touched her shoulder. She looked up into understanding eyes.
“You are so sensitive, Hermione.”
Hermione nodded, still not able to form words.
“I made it with my own magic in a time when I wasn’t able to be myself. So I shaped my magic into something that represented hope.”
Hermione looked back at the beautiful ornament in her hand. It was somehow even more beautiful now.
“Hang it on the tree, won’t you?”
Hermione nodded. It was rare that she didn’t have a host of words, but this felt too precious to ruin the moment with language. She barely dared think of the significance of the object in her hand and the request for her to put it on the tree.
She held her breath as she placed it gently on the tree. It looked even more magnificent amongst the branches and lights. While amazing, it was nowhere close to the witch who had created it. Hermione hoped that this might be one of many moments that she might hold Narcissa’s hope.
Day 11: Making Christmas decorations
“Aunt Cissa!” Tonks beamed at the blonde when she opened the door. “We’ve been waiting for you!”
Narcissa smiled at her niece and pulled her into a hug. “I had a chat with Draco and you know how I get… saying goodbye took a little longer. But he says hi.”
“Next year I expect his ass to be here, tell him that next time,” Tonks just chuckled softly and led her aunt into the kitchen where Teddy and Andromeda were sitting at the table making cut-out snowflake ornaments. “Look who is here!” She announced Narcissa.
Andie looked up and a wide smile spread across her face. “Cissa!” She got up and went over to her sister to give her a hug while Teddy was too engrossed with his snowflake to pay her any attention.
Narcissa hugged her sister back tightly. “Good to see you,” she mumbled before pulling back with a smile.
“I found more glitter!” Hermione announced as she entered the kitchen again and her eyes fell on Narcissa. “Oh! Hi!” She blurted, barely hiding her excitement while Tonks just giggled and accidentally destroyed the snowflake ornament she had been working on.
“Hermione…” Narcissa breathed. “I didn’t know you’d be here too. What a pleasant surprise!”
“I bet it is…” Andromeda mumbled under her breath which earned her a subtle elbow to the ribs from her younger sister. “Rude…” she huffed and turned her attention to Tonks’ ornament in an attempt to rescue it. Which was probably hopeless.
Narcissa just prayed that Hermione hadn’t noticed any of that. Walking up to her, Narcissa placed a kiss to Hermione’s cheek in greeting. “It’s so good to see you.” She had just seen her yesterday, but apparently, she was useless.
Hermione blushed at the proximity and the kiss. Raising her arm, she nervously tucked some hair back behind her ear causing her sleeve to ride up and reveal her old scar.
Except it didn’t look old at all, Narcissa noted. With a small frown, she reached out and gently wrapped her fingers around Hermione’s wrist to have a closer look. The blonde couldn’t help but frown. She remembered that horrible day. “I would have hoped this had healed by now…” she said quietly so the rest of her family didn’t hear.
“Some things don’t heal,” Hermione said simply. Narcissa couldn’t help noticing that the witch hadn’t met her eye when she spoke.
Narcissa’s heart froze in her chest. She didn’t need to know what Hermione looked like when she cried to know that it was coming. She considered making some excuse to her family but chose to give Andy a meaningful look instead. She slipped her arm around her. With a concerned expression, Andromeda pointed towards the bathroom. Narcissa understood and with a gentle but firm touch to Hermione’s lower back guided her out of sight and behind a locked door. “I’m sorry… I shouldn’t have brought it up. I just…” Narcissa began to speak, her voice gentle. But then she heard Hermione sob and Narcissa was at a loss for words. She took a step closer, wrapping her arms around Hermione and pulling her into her embrace.
The gentle embrace only caused another sob to escape Hermione’s throat and she buried her face in Narcissa’s neck and shoulder as she clung to the blonde as she cried her heart out.
“I’ve got you…” Narcissa mumbled quietly as she held the younger witch in her arms, soothingly stroking through her hair. “I’ve got you…” She continued to whisper sweet nothings until she noticed that Hermione had stopped shaking. Reluctantly she pulled back and cupped Hermione’s cheeks, affectionately wiping away the streaks of tears with her thumbs. Her own heart was aching from Hermione’s pain. “Whenever you want to talk about this… you come to me, darling? All right? Promise me…” she demanded as gently as possible. She was pleased when Hermione nodded slightly, her face still cradled on Narcissa’s hands. “Good. Let’s clean you up… and then you’ll have to help Tonks not messing up some ornaments. I want some for my windows that aren’t entirely messed up, okay?” Again, a small nod and a hint of a smile. “Let me take you out tomorrow… get your mind off things? There’s a bonfire happening… I won’t accept a no,” Narcissa added and was pleased when Hermione smiled.