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They are going to enjoy Christmas, dammit!

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Day One: I’m going to enjoy christmas dammit

Hermione knew that this Christmas season would be a challenging one. After all, it was coming on the heels of one of the most painful years of her life. Her parents, though they knew she existed, were invested in their new lives in Australia. They loved her, but that was the only thing they had in common any more. She wouldn’t see them this holiday season. She had already sent her Christmas card and hoped for one in return. 

Leaving Ron had been incredibly hard. It was certainly why she had put it off as long as she had. She didn’t miss the relationship with him aside from the lingering childhood friendship. She wasn’t cut out to be his wife and settle down in the way in which he hoped. But for this first holiday season, there was simply no way she could attend the festivities at the Burrow this year. 

As a result, it would be a fairly solitary Christmas. But like all challenges, Hermione was prepared to take it head on. She would participate in Christmas to its fullest and it would be fun, dammit. 

 

Narcissa had been dreading Christmas this year. Lucius would be off on the continent somewhere with his latest boyfriend. It was liberating to be finally out from under the marriage that was primarily a business contract. They had kept each other safe for decades, but Narcissa wasn’t sure that it had really been living. She was happy for her ex-husband, but that didn’t make her townhouse feel less empty particularly this time of year. And her sweet dragon was growing into his own. He would be spending the holiday in France with Astoria’s family. They would spend New Years with Narcissa, which was the only thing she was really looking forward to.

She realized that her emotional state might be more visible that she would have liked at Andromeda’s intervention. It was decidedly nice to be reunited with her sister, but she wasn’t sure that she wanted to be drug through the holidays. Knowing Andromeda, it was unlikely that she would have any say in the matter once the witch had made up her mind. 

 

Day Two: Ice Skating

 

Hermione was starting to feel cold. She’d been waiting on the ice rink for about ten minutes now and Tonks was nowhere in sight. It wasn’t a big deal. Tonks was often late, probably had tripped over her broom. But Hermione wasn’t in the best mood anyhow. So she was anxiously texting her friend. Got lost along the way? Surprisingly the response she got was immediate and made her heart sink: Teddy’s sick. Need a rain check. I’m sorry!  

Hermione sighed. She texted a short response, that she understood, of course. And then slowly made her way over to the exit of the rink. No point in freezing her ass off alone, really. 

She had almost reached the exit when she bumped into a body and both of them went tumbling to the ground. “Oh Merlin, I am so sorry!” Hermione blurted but fell silent when she looked up to see  just who had landed on top of her. “Narcissa?”

“Oh, Hermione!” Narcissa replied, equally surprised before pushing herself up more gracefully than should be allowed on ice and helped the younger with you as well. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you. Were you just leaving?”

“Tonks ditched me. Apparently Teddy is sick,” Hermione replied. 

 

Narcissa made an understanding face. “Yes, it would seem that the Tonks women have decided to just ditch us both today.”

Hermione took a moment to take in the witch now that the initial panic had passed. Narcissa looked tired and a little sad. While Hermione’s day might not be sunshine and roses, she simply couldn’t let someone suffer in front of her. So she decided to hedge her bets.

“Are you by any chance any good at skating?” She enjoyed the transformation from uncertainty to Slytherin confidence. And the smirk made her heart beat a little faster, though she couldn't say why. 

“Of course, I am.” Narcissa’s haughty tone lit up her face. “Come along, Miss Granger. It seems you need some assistance.”

 

Day Three: Christmas Shopping

 

Ever being the perfectionist, Hermione had wanted to get her Christmas shopping done early. After all there were a lot of people to consider by now. Just because she was going to spend the holidays alone this year, didn’t mean she didn’t have friends and family. Right now she was on her way to Quality Quidditch Supplies to buy some gifts for both Ginny and Harry. Hermione was still undecided if she should get Ron anything. And if she did , what would it even be?”

She sighed as she passed Flourish & Blotts where a pretty cover of a book caught her eye. Unable to resist, Hermione forgot about her current plans and instead approached the window to have a closer look. It seemed to be a new addition to a book she had read several times while at Hogwarts. 

Throwing all previous plans entirely over board, Hermione was already inside the shop before she even realized what she was doing. Once she crossed the threshold, there was no turning back. She inhaled the smell of parchment and old books. It was like heaven.

“Well, imagine finding you here.”

The voice was light with a compelling edge and Hermione was smiling before she had entirely registered that she was. Turning to see Narcissa was an unexpected delight after their time ice skating. The witch was funny and charming. Not to mention intelligent in a way that Hermione rarely encountered. 

“I was just out doing a bit of Christmas shopping,” Hermione said in sarcastic defensiveness.

Narcissa smiled the smile that suggested she knew far more than she let on. 

“Yes, I can see that,” she drawled. “Would you mind company? I am here to do the same. Though I am witch enough to admit coming in this store is just for me.” 

Hermione blushed, but warmed at the thought. She would love some company. 




Day Four: Christmas tree lighting

 

There weren’t many holiday traditions that muggles and wizards alike shared in London but the grand unveiling of the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square was definitely one of them. So Narcissa wasn’t going to miss it. Standing among the crowd of overly excited children and adults trying to calm them down, Narcissa just sipped her hot chocolate. It was just a few minutes now and then the tree would light up and look absolutely breathtaking. 

Narcissa almost jumped out of her skin when she heard a voice speak directly behind her. 

“Third time in as many days. Are you stalking me, Narcissa?”

The blonde turned around with an amused smile and ignored the brief wave of fear she had just experienced. “I think it is you who approached me, Miss Granger,” she teased in return. “If anyone is stalking someone then you are very clearly stalking me.” 

“Touché,” Hermione chuckled. “Do you mind if I join you? Harry couldn’t make it. And I’d rather watch it light up with a friend around.”

Somehow the thought made her heart skip but Narcissa ignored the sensation. “Of course. But don’t get any ideas. I’m not sharing my hot chocolate with you.” 

“Perhaps I can talk you into sharing mulled wine later if you are so protective of your hot chocolate,” Hermione answered with a wink. 

Narcissa smothered a reaction. Surely the lovey younger witch couldn’t be flirting with her, no matter how much she might wish it to be so. 

The music suddenly got louder and the crowd quieted down. Hermione stepped closer until their sides touched. Narcissa fought the instinct to turn and look at her beautiful companion. She couldn’t imagine a more magical moment in such a very muggle way. 

 

Day Five: Ministry Christmas party

 

Hermione was uncharacteristically excited about the Ministry Christmas Party. It wasn’t the sort of event that she generally enjoyed. She went, of course, because it was a part of her obligation to wizarding society after the war. She wanted to continue to be a force for good in peace times and show the level of reconciliation that was possible with just a little empathy. She had bought a special dress for the occasion. In her daily life, there weren’t many reasons to get dressed up and she was happy to take full advantage. 

There was something special about stepping out of the fireplace and seeing the wizarding world in their finery. And then with the beautiful magical decorations, the party was feeling like the perfect ending to what had been a very good week. Narcissa Black was an absolute surprise that seemed to color in the places that the holiday might not be so bright. She was astoundingly intelligent and such a good listener. Even now she found herself looking forward to seeing the witch this evening. 

She was talking to Harry when she finally caught sight of the blonde in a stunning green evening dress. For a moment, Hermione wasn’t sure that she even knew words any more. Her mouth was dry and her pulse was racing. She was entirely certain that she had never seen anyone as attractive as Narcissa Black in evening wear. 

“Hermione? Hey, Hermione!” Harry tried to get his friend’s attention. “Stop staring at Draco’s mom.” Harry was clearly amused. “I think you were about to drool.”

Hermione flushed furiously. “I don’t know what you mean… but well, I should go over there and say hello…”

“Right, sure. Go over there and be social like the good ministry worker that you are,” Harry teased. 

“Oh, shush, Harry…” Hermione grumbled before straightening her shoulders and walking over to the blonde. She came up behind Narcissa and said, “we got to stop meeting like this.”

The older woman jumped a little in surprise but looked rather pleased as she turned around and recognized the voice. “Why would we when each time we do my evening gets so much better, Hermione?”

Hermione seemed ready to panic at the flirtatious tone. She must be imagining things once again. There was no way Narcissa Malfoy would be flirting with her. “Always my pleasure. You look lovely…” she managed to get out relatively smoothly. 

“I think it’s time, Hermione, that we stop leaving our meetings to chance. I can think of no one I would rather go on my first sleigh ride with. Would you accompany me?”

Hermione did her very best to think through her gay panic. The blonde’s beautiful face was so hopeful and sincere. Hermione knew she needed to get her brain to form words, because she couldn’t keep Narcissa waiting. 

“Of course. I have never been on one either. We can share a first together.”

Narcissa smirked and Hermione knew she was in trouble.



Day Six: Sleigh Ride

 

It was uncharacteristically cold today, but as was to be expected, there was no snow in sight in good old London. Wrapped in her warm coat, Hermione waited in front of Rosa Lee Teabag’s cafe for Narcissa. Thankfully, the magical community didn’t have to rely on the weather for snow. Or so she had heard. 

Rubbing her hands together in an attempt to keep warm, Hermione rubbed her hands together. Just when she was considering heading inside, a gorgeous blonde came into view and Hermione found herself smiling. 

“Hey,” she greeted the older witch who was wrapped in a dark green cloak to keep warm. 

“I see you decided to be early for our little outing,” Narcissa smiled in return as she stepped close to Hermione. Leaning forward a little, Narcissa pressed a quick kiss to Hermione’s cold cheek, then offered her arm to the other. 

The two headed over to the newly set up sleigh ride area which only popped up during the winter months in Diagon Alley. Narcissa paid the wizard who was handling the tickets, much to Hermione’s protests. A moment later they were seated in a richly decorated sleigh, pulled by two beautiful black horses. There was no driver, thanks to the magical perks, and just when the horses appeared to start pulling the sleigh, they were transported into a winter wonderland. Hermione stared in awe. It wasn’t often you saw that much snow in England. 

“It’s beautiful…” she said quietly. 

“It is,” Narcissa whispered in return. 

Her voice was so low, Hermione turned to look at her. It was quite clear that Narcissa had not been looking at the snow. She felt the blush stretch down her neck. She wanted to have words as beautiful as the ones that Narcissa constantly conjured, but with the nearness of the witch she knew she didn’t have a chance. She reached out and took Narcissa’s hand, weaving their fingers together. She held her breath until Narcissa placed her other hand over their connected hands squeezing lightly. Hermione shivered slightly and leaned closer to the blonde’s warmth before returning her attention to the beauty around her.

Chapter Text

 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?”

“Hmm?”

“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. 

Chapter Text

Day 12: Bonfire and Stargazing

 

After such an emotional evening, Hermione felt like she probably should have felt some level of dread about seeing Narcissa again. But instead, she was giddy to see the blonde. While she wasn’t entirely sure what they were doing, she was certain that she wanted it to continue. Being the center of Narcissa’s attention and being physically in her arms was something that Hermione already knew she wasn’t going to be willing to give up any time soon. 

There was something particularly magical about walking up the winding path. Hermione wasn’t a beach person, but she couldn’t debate that Narcissa’s silhouette against the darkness and the jumping of the flames was one of the prettiest things she had ever seen. The sound of the waves lapping gently at the shore were so perfect that Hermione felt the need to pinch herself. 

“Good evening,” the blonde witch said, smoothly reaching out her hand. 

Hermione took it eagerly. “Hey,” she greeted Narcissa in return.

Narcissa smiled and laced their fingers instead of shaking Hermione’s hand. Giving Hermione’s arm a gentle tuck, Narcissa pulled her closer to place a kiss to Hermione’s cheek. 

“What are we doing tonight?” Hermione asked, her cheeks now warming up. 

Instead of letting go, Narcissa just continued to hold Hermione’s hand on hers. “Just wanted to steal you away from the city for a while… enjoy a bonfire night… and don’t have my sister and niece interfering all the time,” Narcissa grinned and gave Hermione’s hand a gentle squeeze. 

“So you want me all to yourself?” Hermione asked, her tone teasing as she leaned a little more against the blonde for warmth. 

“You could say that, yes…” Narcissa replied without hesitation. “Let’s get closer to the fire, darling. You seem cold…” They did. But much to Narcissa’s pleasant surprise, Hermione stayed as close as before. There were some other people scattered about but far enough away for them to feel alone. It was Narcissa again who broke the silence after a moment. “You know, darling, I could look into that ancient family curse for you… if you want. I’m sure my sister kept records of that wretched dagger’s history somewhere. Perhaps it’ll tell us how to heal the scar…” Narcissa’s words were soft and gentle. But when she didn’t get a response she turned her head to look at Hermione with a frown. Only to find the younger witch staring at her wide-eyed instead of at the fire in front of them. “What, darling?”

Hermione cleared her throat and lowered her gaze briefly, but then forced herself to look at Narcissa again. “Thank you… that would be great… if you could.”

“Of course. I would have done so much earlier if I had known about the scar not healing, Hermione…” Narcissa said gently. “I’m-I’m so sorry… about, well… everything. I-I still… sometimes wake up at night. Dreaming about that day… I should ha-“ The air was knocked out of her lungs with a soft oof as Hermione crashed into her for a tight hug. Even though it came unexpectedly, Narcissa circled her arms around Hermione in return immediately. 

“Let’s not ruin the night with this… let’s talk about this some other time, Cissa, okay? But I want you to know that I’m not blaming you for what happened there… or for what your sister did to me. You protected your son… and in the end you protected us all for him too. That’s all that matters.” Hermione rushed her words, trying to get them all out before her throat closed up. But holding onto Narcissa and having her face buried in her neck, kept her going. 

A strangled sob escaped Narcissa’s throat as she cradled the back of Hermione’s head to keep her close. “Thank you…” 



Day 13: Christmas Card

 

Hermione wanted to sleep in after the emotional evening with Narcissa. She didn’t regret it or her connection to the blonde witch. She couldn’t quite put it into words, but aside from being delightful company, Narcissa had managed to turn her world on its end. The sheer connection she felt for the blonde was making sleep hard. She didn’t consider herself an overly romantic person, but she couldn’t imagine staying in bed when it was so exciting that Narcissa Black existed. 

She made her way into her living room. She flicked her wand as she walked past the fireplace. It was the perfect sort of morning for a fire and a very large coffee if she was going to be awake anyways. 

Just as she was settling in to enjoy it, the rapping of a beak on her window interrupted the silence of her flat. With a sigh, she pushed herself up from the couch and padded over to the window. While she rationally knew that nothing was likely wrong, the sight of Harry’s owl at such an early hour made her heart beat a bit faster. She gently took it and quickly opened the letter. 

 

Hermione,

Stop panicking. There is no emergency. But I did want to compliment you on the lovely Christmas card. I knew you were close to the Tonks family, but I had somehow missed that you and Narcissa Black were dating.

That being said, you have approximately 3 minutes before Ginny floo calls you about it. I held her off as long as I could and owls only fly so fast.

Potter 

 

Hermione would normally smile at any letter Harry sent, but this one was a riddle. She simply hadn’t sent a Christmas card and she wasn’t entirely sure she was dating Narcissa Black. Of course, they spent time together every day. And then there were the lingering touches. But friends touched sometimes, didn’t they? 

She shook herself from her thoughts and attempted to prepare herself for the Ginny Potter Weasley onslaught. 

As it turned out, Harry had been correct. It was barely three minutes later when her fireplace lit up with green flames and a rather agitated-looking Ginny appeared in front of her. “Ginny…” she greeted her friend. 

“Don’t Ginny me! Hermione! Explain yourself!” The fiery redhead blurted in place of a greeting. 

“I have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about…” Hermione replied honestly. 

“That is a ton of thestral shit, Hermione Granger! When were you going to tell me that you’re dating Narcissa Black?!” Ginny replied with a huff. 

“Again… I have no clu-“ before Hermione could finish a Christmas card was shoved into her hands and she looked down at it. On the cover, the Tonks’ definitely had been the main focus. She couldn’t even remember when the picture had been taken but her and Narcissa were visible in the background. Smiling. Their hands touching. “Oh…” 

“Oh.” Ginny crossed her arms in front of her chest, expectantly waiting for an explanation. 

“So… I have no idea why this exists but… I am not dating Narcissa. We’re just… friends. I’m not even sure we are friends, but I’d like to think so. That picture just had awkward timing, is all… you’d be the first to know if I was dating Narcissa. Or anyone, for that matter.” She tried to keep her voice steady but somehow the idea of dating Narcissa made her heart skip several beats. 

Ginny didn’t seem convinced. “Could have fooled me… you two are looking rather cozy there…”

“Well, I suppose we were rather cozy. It was a nice afternoon…” Hermione protested. “But now that you’re here… you want some tea?”

Ginny huffed but nodded. “Fine… yeah, I’d like some tea.”

As Hermione prepared the tea, she thought that it was weird not getting to see Narcissa today. And that she’d send her an owl later. Perhaps they could meet up tomorrow and talk about this Christmas card. “Hey, Gin? Mind if I keep the card?” She asked and blushed when Ginny just laughed.  



Day 15: Mulled wine drinking 

 

Narcissa was perhaps a little surprised to have received an invitation from Hermione after Andromeda’s little stunt with the Christmas card. Narcissa was Slytherin enough to know when she had been set up. There was no way that one of Hermione’s friends hadn’t brought the rather intimate body language on display in the card her darling sister had sent to practically all of wizarding Britain. 

She felt shy when knocking on the door, but felt it fall entirely away when her eyes met Hermione’s charming green ones. She watched the younger witch pause for a moment before she lunged for her and wrapped her in a hug. The air was knocked out of her lungs, entirely unprepared for the impact. Nevertheless, she wrapped her arms around Hermione almost instantly. “Hey, darling,” she mumbled. 

Clearly embarrassed, Hermione pulled back and cleared her throat. “I’m sorry… I… well, I missed you…” she said before stepping aside. “Come on in…”

Narcissa chuckled softly and felt her heart melt a little bit at Hermione’s words. “We saw each other the day before yesterday, darling…”

Hermione blushed furiously. “Yes, well… still… thank you for coming.”

“Thank you for inviting me… I must admit, I didn’t expect that after, I mean, I’m sure you heard about that card…” Narcissa said nervously. 

“Oh… I, yes…” Hermione nodded. “Was the first thing I heard yesterday… Ginny was rather excited. But… come on in, first, Narcissa… I thought we would get comfortable on the couch first. Have some mulled wine, you know.”

“That sounds nice, darling,” Narcissa smiled as she shrugged out of her coat and relaxed a little. She felt certain now that Hermione wasn’t angry at Andromeda’s little stunt and that was all that mattered. Together they headed into the living room and Narcissa curiously looked around. “This is lovely… very cozy.”

“Thank you,” Hermione smiled as she poured the mulled wine into a pot and turned on the stove to warm it up. “Have a seat… I’ll be with you in a moment.”

Narcissa did as she was told and settled on the comfortable couch. Her eyes fell on the table in front of her which was decorated with candles. But that wasn’t what caught her eye. It was the Christmas card, carefully placed against a candle and on full display. Reaching out, Narcissa picked it up and couldn’t help but smile as she looked at it. 

“It’s a beautiful picture,” Hermione said quietly as she settled down next to Narcissa. The blonde jumped a little in surprise and Hermione chuckled. “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“I wasn’t sure how you’d take my sister’s little game…” Narcissa admitted while taking the offered mug from Hermione. 

“You thought I’d be mad?” Hermione asked and Narcissa nodded. “Well, I’m not. Although I was rather surprised…” Hermione smiled. “But we had a lovely afternoon and it’s not our fault what people assume when seeing it. I still wanted to keep it.”

“So… Ginny assumed that we-“ Narcissa trailed off and gestured a little with her hand before taking a sip of mulled wine so she could blame her red cheeks on the alcohol and warmth. 

“Oh, she absolutely did assume I neglected to tell her that we were dating, yes,” Hermione smiled. “I clarified things, of course.”

“You shouldn’t have… it would have been fun to roll with the joke and utterly confuse my sister…” Narcissa replied with the hint of a smile when Hermione chuckled at her words. 

“And that’s why you’re a Slytherin,” she grinned. “There’s still other people we can fool. I’m not even sure Ginny believed me.”

“So many possibilities… so many people to fool,” Narcissa grinned. She ignored the fact that it made her heart flutter that Ginny Weasley thought that she was dating Hermione Granger. 

Hermione tilted her head thoughtfully.  “I suppose we could,” she said slowly. “But wouldn’t it be far more gratifying to actually date, not just pretend.” 

Narcissa blinked several times trying to establish if her ears were deceiving her. 

“Hermione Granger,” Narcissa said in a near whisper. “Did you just ask to date me?”

Hermione smiled broadly. “I suppose I did, although one could make the argument we might already have.”

Narcissa looked at the brave Gryffindor tenderly. “Would you do me the honor of allowing me to court you, Hermione?”