Draco/Ginny; When Draco gets put out by Ron he pays him back by kidnapping Ginny and taking her into the Forbidden Forest. While there Ginny makes the bold decision to show Draco the love of Christ...
Season of Love
Draco Malfoy stepped onto the golden grass of the Hogwarts lawn. His pale blue eyes scanned the area. There were many students wandering about, but he was looking for a particular student...and there he spotted him--Harry Potter. Draco smiled maliciously and then quickly put on his menacing look and turned back to his two bodyguards, Crabbe and Goyle. "Crabbe, Goyle, come on." He snapped.
They followed him around as though he were the king. Perhaps they thought he was. Or perhaps they were just afraid of his father. Or perhaps they were afraid of Draco himself, as he was becoming more like his father every day. More than anything else in life the blonde-haired boy wanted to win his father's approval.
Draco marched over to Harry. He was with his two best friends: Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Draco stopped in front of them and crossed his arms in front of his chest. "Hello, Potter." He said venomously.
Harry sighed. "What do you want, Malfoy?"
Draco's thoughts froze. He didn't really want anything. He just wanted to pick on or make fun of Harry. It was one of his hobbies. "To tell you how dumb you look in those glasses." He said finally, mentally kicking himself for how stupid it sounded.
Ron raised an eyebrow. Hermione looked up from the book she had been reading. "You can talk, Malfoy."
Harry smiled. Ron laughed. It was their sixth year. Every year Hermione became more and more like Ron and Harry--especially toward Draco. They loved it.
Draco's expression turned sour. "At least I'm not a mudblood."
Mudblood. Ron very much disliked the term. As tears welled up in Hermione's eyes he stood and advanced on Draco, boring down on him. "You'll wish you hadn't said that, Malfoy."
Ron pulled back his fist to punch Draco, but Crabbe stepped in the way and grabbed his wrist, twisting it back down. Ron winced in pain. Goyle then shoved Ron to the ground. The three bullies laughed and left Harry and Hermione to help Ron up.
"I really don't like him." Hermione said, glaring after him.
Ron rubbed his chest where Goyle had shoved him. "I know. I wish that someday he won't have those two numbskulls around to save his sorry ass."
"Ronald Weasley! Please, don't swear. Even when discussing a Malfoy." Hermione reprimanded.
Harry sighed. "Whenever that day comes, Ron, just don't get yourself hurt. Malfoy can be pretty mean on his own when he wants to."
The weather was very mild, considering it was a week until Christmas. The students began to worry that it wouldn't get cold in time for the holiday, but that weekend a blizzard hit Hogwarts, burying it in three feet of snow. Very soon kids were packing to leave for the Christmas vacation. Harry stayed at Hogwarts every year because he really did not like the people he lived with (and they didn't like him, either). Hermione and Ron would always find some way to stay as well to keep him company. The past few years Ginny had found a way to stay, too.
The Monday after the big snow as everyone was getting ready to leave, Ginny was outside, standing by herself. She was watching the dream team. The trio. The three best friends. Harry, Ron and Hermione. Ron came running out of Hogwarts, tripping in the snow and falling on his face. Harry and Hermione laughed, but Ron carried on, yelling something out as he tried to reach them. Whatever the news was, upon hearing it Harry and Hermione turned to each other, laughed, cheered and hugged. As they hugged Harry picked Hermione up and spun her around, but the snow caused him to topple over, her beside him. They laughed even more when Ron came stumbling over and tripped on Hermione, landing on top of Harry. Then they began to make snow angels. Ginny watched, enviously. She liked Harry Potter. She liked him a lot. She wished against wish that she was the one he was spinning around instead of that Hermione Granger. Sure, Hermione was nice and smart and pretty...but maybe that was why Ginny disliked her. It was too much competition.
"Hey, Ginny! Do you want to come have a snowball fight with us?" Hermione called just then.
Ginny sighed. Why did Hermione have to be so kind to her? It made the competition even more difficult. She decided to go on over and play with them. It would get her closer to Harry anyway...
So Ginny joined in on the snowball fight. She tried to get Ron and Hermione mostly. Ron and Harry had a war going for a while when Harry accidentally got some snow in Ron's ear. Then Harry managed to hit Hermione right square in the middle of her face and she swore that she would take him down. Harry was armed with snowballs and was advancing on a snowball-less Hermione. Ginny and Ron stood by and watched as Hermione flipped her curly, brown hair out of her face and charged Harry, tackling him and taking him to the ground. She then tickled him so that he dropped all of his snowballs. Ron laughed. "Hey, no fair! Tickling isn't allowed!" He climbed up behind Hermione and poked her sides, causing her to fall over beside Harry in the snow.
"Let's get 'er, Ron!" Harry laughed and helped Ron tickle the helpless Hermione.
Hermione was laughing hysterically while screaming, "Stop! Stop! Ginny, help!"
Ginny couldn't stand the sight anymore and she went inside.
Draco sat in the Slytherin Common Room, fretting. Crabbe and Goyle were gone. They went home for Christmas. Draco was supposed to go home, too, but at the last minute his father had business to tend to and Draco was told to stay at Hogwarts. He wondered how long it would be before Ron tried to punch him again and actually hit him. The Christmas break was a long one. Could he survive that long? He shook his head. Get it together, Draco. You're a Slytherin. No way a Gryffindor is going to beat you up, he told himself. With that new confidence he stood up and left for dinner.
The Great Hall was a beautiful sight. It always was around Christmastime. Twinkling lights were everywhere: decoraations, floating candles; Christmas trees and more graced the walls. Any students that stayed were jabbering excitedly about the break. Everyone enjoyed Christmas break.
Draco took a seat at the Slytherin table. He didn't really know any aside from Pansy Parkinson, the very girl who had a crush on him. He flashed her his most dazzling smile and then began eating. He heard her whispering and giggling to her friends and cackled inwardly. He enjoyed leading her on.
After the meal he got up to leave and ran into Harry, Ron and Hermione, who were leaving as well. Totally forgetting that he didn't have his bodyguards he immediately let out a sarcastic insult. "Watch where you're going, Potty, Weasel and mudblood."
Hermione made a growling noise and stomped the floor with her foot before running off down the hall. "Hermione!" Harry called as he quickly ran after her.
Ron looked at Draco with hatred. "Now you don't have your bodyguards to save you, Malfoy."
The thought suddenly dawned on Draco, but before he could turn to run a fist hit him right in the nose. He fell to the floor, blood pouring out of his nose and staining his hand. "Ah!" He screamed. "Help! My nose! Ah!"
Professor Snape, the foreboding head of the Slytherin House, immediately ran to Draco's rescue. He bore down on Ron. "That will be fifty points from Gryffindor, Weasley. Now go to your Common Room." He said with hatred.
Ron stood straight and tall. At his age he was about as tall as Snape. "Yes, Sir." He said through clenched teeth.
Draco watched triumphantly as he turned down the hall. But his mouth fell open when he saw Ron turn around and smile at Draco. Though he'd lost Gryffindor fifty points, he was still happy about punching Draco, which angered him. He didn't want to give Ron any satisfaction.
"'Tis the holidays, Severus." Headmaster Dumbledore came on the scene. "No need to take fifty points from anyone." He looked down at Draco. "It is just a minor nose bleed. Nothing Madam Pomfrey can't fix."
Snape was turning red. "But-but, Headmaster, Weasley punched Malfoy!"
Dumbledore seemed to be thinking that over for the first time. "Ah, you're right. Well, I shall be sure to talk to him about restraining his manly urges then." He chuckled to himself. "Manly urges...ah, well, go enjoy yourself, Severus. 'Tis the season to be jolly!" He began to hum the tune to "Deck the Halls."
Snape nodded reluctantly. "Yes, Headmaster," he said before turning and striding down the hall.
Draco found himself in the hospital wing that night. Ron had broken his nose. It would be mended by morning. But he couldn't sleep. Not while he knew that Ron had gotten away with that. And that old windbag, Dumbledore, letting him get away with it...and then making Professor Snape look like a fool! Draco fumed. He had to get back at Ron. He would get back at Ron. But it had to be good. It had to be something that would ruin Christmas for him. But what? He racked his brain, but fell asleep before he could think of something.
Draco was mocking Harry again. He laughed. He tried his hardest every chance he got. But this little red-haired girl stepped in front of Harry. Ginny Weasley. "Leave him alone!" She protested.
"Look, Potter needs his girlfriend to save him," Draco scoffed.
Crabbe and Goyle laughed behind him. Ron stepped in front of Ginny and glared at Draco, a fire kindled in his eyes. "Leave my little sister alone, Malfoy."
Leave my little sister alone... Draco's eyes shot open. Sunlight was seeping in through the window and onto his bed. He grinned wryly. He knew what he could do to make Christmas miserable for Ron Weasley.
The day wore on. It was a sunny day, but Hagrid predicted that a blizzard was coming. Most kids ignored his warning, however, and went outside to play in the snow. Ginny watched Harry, Ron and Hermione goof off until they went into Hagrid's hut for some hot tea. She went to the Gryffindor Common Room and took out her diary.
That night after dinner Draco waited for Ginny to come around the corner. His plan was stupid, but he was going to carry it through. He wanted his revenge.
He waited and waited. Where was that Weasley girl anyway? He heard the voices of Harry and Hermione talking and quickly flattened himself against the wall. They passed by the passageway he was in. Ron was with them. For a moment he just wanted to slug Ron, but he waited. His chance was coming. In fact, it came just then. Ginny crept along silently behind the trio. She was spying on them or following them. Probably both. Draco saw his chance. He took his wand out from inside his robes and whispered an incantation, pointing it at her.
She stopped and fell over, fast asleep. He quickly caught her and carried her to the courtyard. He crossed the courtyard and made his way to the Forbidden Forest with only one thought on his mind: he couldn't get caught. As he passed Hagrid's hut he heard Hagrid's over-sized dog, Fang, barking from inside. "Now, now, Fang. I know thar's a blizzard comin'. Ya don't need ta go yappin' abou' it," Hagrid said in response.
Draco sped up and finally was inside the Forbidden Forest. He stopped at a fallen log and set Ginny down, sitting on the log to catch his breath. He grinned. "At last! Safe inside the Forbidden Forest."
He heard a long, drawn-out howl and shivered. Maybe "safe" wasn't the proper word...
He could only sit there for a certain amount of time before the chill and fright of the forest got to him and he decided to start going. He heaved Ginny up and groaned. "I can't wait until she wakes up and can walk for herself. I'm a Malfoy. I'm not supposed to do manual labor."
Approximately an hour later Ginny opened her eyes and let out a spine-chilling scream. Draco screamed as well and dropped her. He realized what had just happened and turned red at his idiotic behavior. "What are you doing?" He yelled at the girl on the ground, who was looking up at him in fright and surprise.
"What am I doing? What are you doing?" Ginny gasped.
Draco shrugged. "Kidnapping you."
Ginny's mouth fell open. "Kidnapping me? Why?"
"To give your brother a miserable Christmas." Draco smirked.
Ginny nodded. "Wait...which one?" She had seven brothers.
"Ron of course! You nimrod..."
Ginny stood and glared up at him. "You really have no right to call people mean things."
Draco snorted. "Whatever. Who gave you the right to tell me that?"
"And who gave you the right to kidnap...where are we?" Ginny looked around at their frightening surroundings.
Draco crossed his arms over his chest. "The Forbidden Forest."
"The Forbidden Forest? Are you crazy?!" Ginny exclaimed.
"No, I'm just angry! And if you don't watch it I'll get angrier!" Draco snapped.
The howl of a werewolf reached their ears. Ginny crumpled down on the ground and hugged her knees close to her body. She began to whimper. It was dark and scary and she was away from her family and Harry. She was with a psycho Slytherin and the weather was really cooling off. Tiny snowflakes were beginning to flutter down on them.
Draco looked down on the girl crying in front of him. His first thought was, How babyish! It's only a forest. But then he began to feel sorry for her. Draco, you're kidnapping her! You're supposed to be cruel and cold-hearted toward her. But...you aren't trying to get back at her. You're getting back at Ron. There's no need in being cruel to her, too. She didn't do anything to you. But while Draco was pondering this over he didn't see Ginny slip past him. As she sped up in her escape, however, she cracked a twig and Draco snapped out of his thoughts. "Hey!" He called as he ran after her. Forget being nice to her! Little git!
Ginny couldn't run very fast and Draco soon caught up with her. He grabbed her wrist and pulled her back. The momentum caused her to run right into him. He looked down at her and she up at him and then they both blushed and she pushed away from him. "Can you please just let me go back?" She pleaded.
Draco set his jaw firmly. "No." He grabbed her wrist. "Come on."
They trudged deeper and deeper into the forest. Ginny used every chance she got to get on Draco's nerves. She would jabber endlessly, mostly about Harry. She would stop abruptly, which would pull on his arm and pull the muscles in it. She would trip him. She would kick leaves onto him. She would repeatedly sing the school song over and over again. She put dirt in his hair. He was getting really annoyed and finally turned around suddenly. She ran into him and then took a step back. He held up his hand and almost hit her, but stopped right before his hand touched her face. She closed her eyes and swallowed. "Let that be a warning." He said fiercely.
They walked for five minutes more and then stopped in a clearing. Draco had brought plenty of supplies for being out in the wilderness during the winter. He had a warm jacket, hat, gloves, food and a thermos with hot chocolate in it. He also brought a couple of blankets to cuddle up in. He had forgotten a rope, but he took out his wand and performed a charm that bound Ginny to a tree near to where he would be sleeping. He took a drink of the hot chocolate and then wrapped the blankets around him.
"Oh, are you just going to leave me here to die? It's freezing out here and I'm not wearing anything other than this skirt, shirt and my shoes!" Ginny complained.
"Please? Please? Draco, please!"
Draco shamefully fell asleep to the cries and pleas of the frozen girl.
Ginny had a hard time finding sleep. If I ever get out of this I'll give that stupid Draco Malfoy the worst Christmas he'll ever face! She thought.
The wind grew and blew around her. The snow fell thicker. She had to continually stomp her feet in order to keep them from freezing. The hours passed. Each breath became more difficult for her. At the rate she was going she would be dead by sunrise. Tears filled her eyes. She wouldn't get to share one last Christmas with her family...with Harry. A tear fell from her eye and froze on her cheek. She passed out and knew no more.
Sometime that night Ginny awoke. At least, she thought she did, but she may have been dreaming. The snow was piling around her. The forest was dark and foreboding. But suddenly...from somewhere behind the trees she saw a light coming toward her. It was a beautiful, glowing, white light. Was it Heaven? Ginny had heard of people seeing a white light when they were on the verge of death. But what was that? She heard singing in the distance... the singer had a clear, beautiful voice. "Where a prayer could be enough our hands open up to give a little more. Crowded hearts make room. Kindness falls like the snow. Tenderness, like a row of dominos."
Suddenly a choir joined in with the lead female singer. "Season of love: a chance to shine in the darkness; to be hope, to give joy. All over the world it's Christmas. Love is the season."
They repeated the last part once more and Ginny saw a beautiful lady dressed in white with shining golden hair coming toward her. "Virginia." The lady said in a deep, resounding voice.
"I'm so cold." Ginny heard herself say.
"I know. Dear, this is Christmas. It is the season of love. Show love to those around you."
"I can't show love to Draco! Look what he's done to me!"
"Nothing that love cannot fix." The lady said. She waved her hand over Ginny and warmth spread through Ginny's entire body.
Ginny saw the lady disappear and she closed her eyes again in slumber.
"Wake up, Weasley."
Ginny opened her eyes the next morning. Standing in front of her was Draco. His arms were crossed in front of his chest. "Good. You're awake. We have to go deeper into the forest because now everyone at Hogwarts knows you're missing." He said.
As he undid the charm that kept her tied to the tree she immediately wanted to kick him right below the belt and to yell and scream and tell him how much she hated him and that she was going to run back to Hogwarts and have him thrown into Azkaban for kidnapping her. But she remembered something...season of love. She sighed. "Okay."
He raised an eyebrow. "Okay? What kind of stunt are you trying to pull?"
She shook her head. "Nothing. Look, if you want to go into the forest then let's go already."
Draco stared at her speechless for a moment and then grabbed her wrist. "Let's go."
Ginny was grateful to be able to stretch her limbs and bring feeling back into her legs, but what she really need was a warm blanket and a hot drink.
The day was grey and cloudy, with snow falling in spurts. Draco and Ginny walked all day, only stopping so Draco could eat. He still didn't feed Ginny anything, nor give her any warmth, but she did not complain. By the time the sky darkened Draco began to wonder what happened to her. She had said and done more in the couple of hours they had walked the previous night than she had all that day.
Finally he stopped in a nice little clearing. He performed the charm on Ginny again and then built a fire. It took him about half an hour to find some dry wood, but then he just had to perform another charm with his wand and a big, warm fire was soon burning in front of him. He sat down with a piece of bread and sighed. In three days it would be Christmas. That meant only four more days of being in the Forbidden Forest. He decided that without a doubt it was the scariest place in the world.
Draco was brought out of his thoughts by the quiet coughing of Ginny. He sighed. How she had survived the night, he didn't know. He looked back at her. She was asleep somehow. He wondered if it was because her body was shutting down. He shivered. He didn't want to murder anyone. That would put him in Azkaban for sure. He picked up one of his heating blankets (again, another charm) and put it on her. Hopefully that would keep her alive, at least. He sat back down and resumed eating.
Ginny opened her eyes slowly the next morning. She felt warm and safe, oddly enough. At least...she did until she saw it. Leaning over Draco, sniffing at his chest, was the most hideous and strangest creature Ginny had ever seen. She remembered learning about it in Care of Magical Creatures. The famous Roman naturalist, Pliny, described it as "a wild beast of great swiftness, the size of a wild donkey, with the legs of a stag, the neck, tail and breast of a lion, the head of a badger, a cloven hoof, the mouth slit up as far as the ears, and one continuous bone instead of teeth..." A Leucrotta. Muggles didn't believe that Pliny ever saw one, but he had. Ginny recalled that the beast could imitate the human voice and often used it to lure men into isolated places where it killed and ate them. Ginny's mouth fell open and she almost screamed, but stopped. Maybe she wanted to watch the Leucrotta kill Draco. It would serve him right for how he treated her! But then...she remembered the strange beings that sang that song...
She screeched wordlessly, stopping the beast, which was leaning over to take a bite out of Draco's chest. Her cries may have been inane, but Draco heard her and awoke. He saw the Leucrotta above him, drool dripping from its huge, continuous bone; its glowing eyes fixed on him. He screamed and bounced up out of the heated blanket. The Leucrotta wasn't going to let its breakfast get away that easily. "Sit down." It said, sounding exactly like Ginny. "You need to sleep." It cooed.
Draco stared at it as though it were deranged. "Sit down? Are you mad?"
If the Leucrotta wasn't mad before, it was after Draco said that. It picked up a log and threw it at Draco, knocking him down. It then turned toward Ginny. "I'll eat you instead!" It said in a voice identical to Draco's.
Ginny screamed. There was no way Draco was going to save her. He was a Slytherin. She had wasted her breath saving him.
But before the beast could take a bite out of Ginny, Draco ran up and jumped on the back of it. He grabbed its two huge, bat-like ears and pulled on them. The Leucrotta screeched and tried to swat him with its arms. It rammed its back against a tree, knocking Draco off of it. It then ran toward Ginny again. Draco bounced up and grabbed his wand out of his robe. He yelled out the anti-binding charm and Ginny was free. She dove out of the way of the Leucrotta as it lunged at her. It hit the tree instead and got its head stuck inside the hollow. Draco was gathering up his stuff. He looked at Ginny. "Come on!"
For some reason Ginny followed him away from the campsite. They ran through the forest for what seemed like an eternity to the exhausted and cold Ginny. Finally Draco slowed to a stop and put his hands on his knees, panting for breath. Ginny collapsed on the ground, breathing just as heavily. When they had caught their breath Draco asked, "What was that?"
"That was a Leucrotta. Hagrid taught us about them in Care of Magical Creatures." Ginny answered, wishing she had more information to give him, like Hermione probably would.
Draco shook his head. He shivered. He had only been wearing his pants and his shirt, which he had unbuttoned half-way. His hair was messed up and Ginny caught herself thinking that he looked quite hot. Virginia Weasley! You've been out in the cold too long. You're starting to go crazy! She thought.
Draco buttoned his shirt, put on his robe and smoothed his hair. "All right. I think we're far enough into the forest."
Ginny nodded her agreement. They had only walked for less than two days and already they were running into things as vicious as the Leucrotta. What terror would they find if they went further? She shuddered at the thought.
The remainder of the day was spent building a shelter. Draco told Ginny she had to help and she didn't argue. Although she guessed that the shelter would be for Draco only, that song was playing through her head non-stop. She knew Christmas was the season of love. Maybe Draco had never had someone show love to him before. She knew it was important that people be shown love. Thus, she helped him with the shelter.
When it was completed it was really nothing special. Basically it was a bunch of logs bound together (with a binding spell) against a quartet of tree trunks, with more logs piled on top. One of the logs served as a door and opened up so Draco could go in and out. There was a hole in one of the logs on the top for smoke from the fire to go out of. When Draco put out the fire he could easily cover the hole with a bunch of branches.
Draco stood with his hands on his hips and looked at the shelter. "I guess this will be my new home for the next three days."
Ginny sat on a large rock and looked at the shelter. She gulped. There was no way she would survive three days in the cold and snow. Speaking of snow, it was falling thickly all over them. The sky was darkening and Ginny wondered if Hagrid was telling everyone back at Hogwarts that a blizzard was on its way.
"Hey, Weasley," Draco interrupted her thoughts, "thanks...for saving me...I guess."
Ginny managed a smile, in which her teeth chattered. "Thanks for saving me, too. And please, call me Ginny. Everyone else does."
Draco didn't manage a smile. He just nodded. "All right...Ginny."
They were quiet. Ginny got the courage to ask a question. "D-Draco...can I sleep in the shelter, too? Please? I promise I won't run away! I'll cook and clean--whatever you need me to do. Just don't make me sleep outside. It's too cold."
As if to prove her point the snowflakes got bigger and the wind howled through the branches and blew hard against them.
Draco looked at her hard. He looked at her for a long time. Can I trust her? She looks so cold and tired. She's still quite lovely, of course, but--Draco Malfoy, you take that back! Never ever refer to a Weasley as "lovely" again! "All right. You can stay in the shelter," he sputtered, if only to make himself stop thinking the thoughts he had been.
Ginny could have hugged him just then, but she decided against it. She stood and went inside the shelter with him.
The next couple of days went by slowly and soon it was Christmas Eve night. Ginny and Draco had been bonding, oddly enough. Ginny had learned how to cook many things, due to her mother's swell cooking. They ate salads and she toasted the bread Draco had brought. He allowed her to eat with him after she saved him from the Leucrotta. He even let her drink the hot chocolate out of the thermos. At night he would sleep on his side of the room (by the fire) and she would sleep on her side of the room (in the cold, creaking corner). Before they went to sleep, however, they would sit around the fire and Ginny told Draco stories (many of which she had heard from her brothers). Some were scary stories (Fred and George) and both would feel quite afraid after those so she would tell a funny story (Fred and George again). One time she got Draco to laugh out loud for a long time and it pleased her for some reason.
Christmas Eve they ventured out into the snow (they found it up to five feet) to hunt for some real food and Draco told Ginny that he had hunted many times before and knew what he was doing and stuff, though he really just wanted to impress her. He had no idea what he was doing. They found an odd-looking pheasant with an injured wing and went on a wild chase after it that ended in a snowball fight when they had lost it. Ginny tried to end the snowball fight the way she had seen Harry, Ron and Hermione end theirs only a few days ago, but it didn't work the way she planned. She tackled Draco and started to tickle him (he did drop his snowballs), but he was stronger than she and turned the table so that he was on top of her. He would have tickled her longer than he did, had he not seen the pheasant a couple of yards in front of them and jumped up to go after it. In the end Ginny caught it and Draco killed it and they took it back to the shelter, Ginny promising to make it taste as yummy as she could for their Christmas dinner (she had figured out by then that Draco didn't plan to bring her back until after Christmas).
Yes, things were starting to change for both teens.
Meanwhile, at Hogwarts the Weasleys and Malfoys were fretting over the whereabouts of their children. Several of the teachers had split up to find the two kids--some going into the forest and some into Hogsmeade. Dumbledore assured everyone that the two missing kids would be just fine. Ron had other thoughts.
"I just know that little git Draco kidnapped her! Why else did she disappear right after I punched him? He's just a poor sport. He's full of revenge." He fumed as he sat down on a chair in the Common Room.
Harry opened his mouth to say something but Hermione beat him. She bounced up. "Ronald Weasley! You did the very same thing! Stop judging him and pointing out his mistakes! Open your eyes and see your own mistakes."
Ron stared at her with an open mouth. He closed it and stood to face her. "You're the one who always judges, Hermione. I don't think you have a right to be judging me!"
"I'm not judging you!" Hermione snapped back. "I'm just telling you that you did the exact same thing as Draco!"
"I would never do something he did and how dare you accuse me of it!" Ron yelled.
"I'm only trying to help!" Hermione said, desperately.
"Oh, a lot of help you are!" Ron turned to go.
"Ron, don't!" Harry jumped up and called, but Ron kept going. "Come on, Harry. Leave her alone; she might judge you, too," he called angrily behind him.
Harry clenched his fists. "I'm not going, Ron."
Ron turned around. "What? What do you mean?"
"I mean I'm not coming with you. We're best friends. But I'm also best friends with Hermione. And right now I happen to agree with her." Harry said firmly.
Ron shook his head at them. "Sure. Sure. You're just staying with her because you and her are...because you like...bloody traitor!" He hollered and turned to leave again.
"Ron, please don't!" Harry called after him.
Ron kept going and this time didn't turn back. Harry sat down on a chair. "He'll be back. He's just stressed. I mean, it is a family emergency..."
Hermione sat down next to him and was quiet for a moment and then suddenly threw her arms around him. "I'm so sorry, Harry!" She cried. "I didn't want Ron to be mad at you! I don't want him mad at me, but I had to tell him that and--oh, I'm just so sorry!"
Harry put his arms around her. "It's all right, Hermione." He sighed as he smoothed her hair. "It's just...this whole thing is stressing everyone out, I think," he decided.
The Weasleys and Malfoys were in the Great Hall bickering as well. Little Professor Flitwick stood by watching helplessly.
"None of this would have happened if your son hadn't physically assaulted mine," Lucius Malfoy was saying.
Arthur Weasley looked ready to physically assault Lucius. "Your son shouldn't have been such a derogative term!" He exclaimed.
"And besides," Molly Weasley piped, "there is no way you can justify a kidnapping. That was way uncalled for." She blew her nose into her handkerchief.
"No one asked for your input," Narcissa Malfoy snarled.
Angry talking immediately burst forth after that. The Weasley children exchanged glances. Fred sighed. "We're going to go do something fun and productive."
They turned to go, George saying, "I heard that Snape is standing out in the cold by the forest waiting for Hagrid. Let's go throw snowballs at him."
"That's productive enough..."
Ginny looked through the peephole they had created on the door of the shelter. Draco needed to relieve himself. She watched for him to return. I can't quite put my finger on it, but for some reason I'm enjoying my time with him. When he loses his "bad self" he really can be a nice, fun person. If only his father didn't teach him how to hate. He could be a wonderful, handsome person. We could be together then. That would be... Ginny stopped dead in her thoughts. What was I thinking? Am I...in love with...Draco Malfoy?
Draco trudged back to the shelter. A million thoughts were racing through his mind. He didn't really have to "relieve himself," but he needed time to think and he had a hard time thinking when he was around Ginny. He couldn't explain it, but for some reason when he was around her all he could think about was her. It's odd, really. I came into this forest wishing the days away until I could take her back and see the look on that Weasley's face. But...now I don't think I'm ready to go back. I enjoy being with Ginny. She's so kind and compassionate. She hasn't spoken ill of me since the first night and I have to wonder why. I've treated her so poorly. I wonder...if I asked her would she stay with me a little longer? I just want to be with her and I know my father would... Draco stopped walking and felt his bottom lip drop open. Oh no. Am I...I'm in love with a Weasley.
Draco came into sight. Ginny smiled and flung open the door to the shelter. She ran out and tackled him, managing to take him down into the snow. They laughed and he turned so that he was on top of her. "What was that all about?" He asked.
Ginny felt her cheeks growing red. "I...do you want to make snow angels?"
Draco raised an eyebrow. "Snow angels? What are those?" Ginny's mouth formed an O. "Draco Malfoy, you've never heard of snow angels?"
"No." Draco shook his head and got off of Ginny.
She immediately began flapping her arms and legs. "Now...if I can only get up so that I don't ruin it..."
Draco reached down and grabbed her hand. He pulled her up out of the snow and let her land beside him. Carved out of snow in the ground before them lay a perfect snow angel. Ginny clapped her hands. "It's beautiful."
Draco wasn't looking at the snow angel. He was looking at Ginny. "Yes, it's beautiful."
She turned to him and her smile faded. He stared at her and she stared at him. Suddenly from out of nowhere Draco was taken down by the same Leucrotta that had tried to eat them before. Ginny screamed. "Draco!"
While Draco wrestled with the beast, desperately trying to stop it from tearing apart his flesh, Ginny searched for something she could use. She spotted a sturdy branch. Mustering up all her strength she grabbed the branch and whacked the Leucrotta with it. He fell backwards and knocked into the shelter completely demolishing it. Ginny hurried to Draco. "Are you all right?"
He nodded and stepped in front of her. The Leucrotta was coming back. It stopped in front of Draco. "I never saw such tender flesh as that human's," he said, sounding like Draco and pointing at Ginny.
Draco reached into his robes and took out his wand. "If you want her, come and get her."
The Leucrotta snarled and fixed a most hideous look on its monster face. It charged Draco. Before he could perform any spells the beast knocked his wand away and then him. Ginny immediately turned to Draco. "Draco!"
The next few seconds seemed to happen in slow motion. Draco saw the Leucrotta heading towards Ginny. Its wide mouth was open as wide as it could get. It would chomp her head off! She wasn't moving and couldn't move out of the way at the rate that thing was going. A thought crossed Draco's mind, but he would never do such a stupid thing! Risking himself so that Ginny could live? That was ridiculous to ask of a Slytherin--especially the son of Lucius Malfoy. But something inside of Draco wouldn't let Ginny die that easily. Without even thinking he leaped and pushed her out of the way. Something sharp and cold bit into his left arm, up where his biceps were. It was the teeth. The monster had him in its mouth. It was holding him by its teeth. He felt his blood run cold and his head swim. Then, from out of nowhere, he heard the voice of an angel reciting a spell.
A flash of light cracked the dark sky, which was dotted with snowflakes. It struck the Leucrotta and knocked it away from Draco. It hit a tree and with such force that the tree split in two and toppled over. The Leucrotta didn't move, but its frightful eyes were wide-open, surprise etched into them. It was dead.
Draco somehow stood to his feet, but was quickly tackled again by Ginny. This time it was a hug. She sobbed into his bloodstained shirt. "Oh, Draco! Are you okay? I thought the Leucrotta was going to eat you! I thought you were going to die!" She looked up at him, tears spilling from her glassy eyes. "I thought you were going to die in my place."
At that moment Draco just wanted to take her in his arms and kiss her and hold her close. He wanted to tell her just how much he loved her. But as they leaned closer they suddenly heard a crashing through the bushes. Expecting another Leucrotta they turned to face it with bravery, Ginny readying Draco's wand. But instead of a Leucrotta crashing through the bushes it was Hagrid! "Thar ya be!" He exclaimed when he laid eyes on them.
Ginny dropped the wand and gave a cry of delight as she ran to him and let him hug her. He smelled strongly of pine and smoke and she figured that he had been hunting for them since they disappeared.
"I been lookin' for ya since ya disappeared!" He announced, then turned his gaze on Draco. "Ah'm really gonna give you a good talkin' to, Malfoy."
Ginny grabbed his arm. "Oh, please go easy on him, Hagrid! Please. He took good care of me. He really did. He looked after me." She relayed to him all about the Leucrotta and Draco's sacrifice.
Hagrid stared at Draco with shock and guilt. "Ah'm sorry, Draco. Din't know you woul' do somethin' like tha'."
Draco just nodded. The pain in his arm was growing stronger and he felt ready to pass out. "Just please don't tell anyone--especially my father. He would kill me."
Hagrid shrugged. "Okay, if tha's what you be wantin'. Don' know why, though. Ya deserve a hero's medal aftar tha'."
Hagrid went on about how he had misjudged Draco and he never saw that coming and Draco deserved an award from the Ministry of Magic. Draco tried to listen patiently, but suddenly collapsed and passed out, remembering no more.
Draco slowly opened his eyes the next morning. There was a slight pain in his left arm, but it hurt no more than a bruise. The first thing that he saw was the concerned and compassionate face of Ginny. She smiled. "Merry Christmas."
He smiled at her. "Same to you."
"Yes, Merry Christmas, Mr. Malfoy."
Draco looked past Ginny and saw Dumbledore coming toward him. "Dumbl--Headmaster. I didn't see you there."
Dumbledore stood beside Ginny. "Oh, no. Of course not." He smiled. "And how are you doing this merry morning?"
Draco sat up. "I...guess I'm all right."
Dumbledore nodded. "It would appear so."
A thought struck Draco. He gulped. "Headmaster...will I have to go to Azkaban?"
Dumbledore smiled. "Heavens, no. Why would we send you there?"
Draco strained his brain to figure out what the heck Dumbledore was talking about, but he was just too tired. He lay back down to rest.
Ginny paced the floor in the Great Hall. She was there with everyone else. They were waiting for Draco, though most quite ruefully. Dumbledore was absentmindedly humming "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." He seemed the only merry one. Harry and Ron were casting dark looks at each other. Hermione looked ready to cry. And if looks could kill not a single Malfoy or Weasley would be alive.
Draco entered then and immediately Narcissa ran to him and scooped him in her arms. "Mother! Father!" He exclaimed.
"I'm so glad you're all right," his mother cooed as she stroked his hair.
"Yes," Lucius added with little emotion.
"We aren't," Arthur muttered.
"Dear. It can wait until we get home," Molly reprimanded.
But it was too late for that. Lucius turned on Arthur. "Too bad that Leucrotta didn't finish off your daughter. What did you say happened again, girl?" He turned to Ginny.
But before Ginny could answer Arthur attacked Lucius. A big brawl soon broke out. Everyone was yelling and screaming and some cursing. Dumbledore watched with a sad gaze. "On Christmas, too." He muttered.
Ginny heard him and realized what was going on. "Everyone!" Her small voice piped.
The commotion settled down and everyone turned to look at her. She cleared her throat. "It's Christmas. It is Christmas day and here we all are hurting each other! This is not the time for that. If there ever is a time to be cruel and horrible Christmas is not that time!"
"Tell that to the little git who kidnapped you, Ginny. Go on, tell him off!" Arthur exclaimed.
Before the fighting could start up again Ginny yelled out, "NO!"
Everyone stared at her in surprise. She blinked back the tears in her eyes. "Father, Mother, Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy, students, teachers...Christmas is a time to love regardless of how everyone else treats you. Do you see me beating up Draco because he kidnapped me? No. Because I learned. I learned that Christmas is the season of love. So please...stop this foolishness. At least for Christmas." She sighed.
It was quiet for a moment and then Ron walked over to Hermione. "I'm sorry, Hermione," he said sheepishly.
She brushed away a tear and swung her arms around his neck. "I'm sorry, too, Ron."
Harry approached them. "I'm sorry as well."
Ron hugged him. He turned to Hermione. "And...I don't know, Hermione. I love you." He blushed.
She giggled insanely and jumped into his arms. "So do I!"
Arthur turned to Lucius and extended a hand. "Sorry there, Malfoy. No hard feelings I hope."
Lucius merely looked at him. "For you, perhaps."
Instead of lashing out irrationally Arthur just nodded and turned to his wife and kids. They enveloped each other in a huge family hug. Ginny saw Draco while she was being sandwiched by Fred and George. He was standing with his family and Snape--the only four who weren't hugging and laughing. She smiled at him. I do love him. I really do. She diverted her gaze to his father, who was watching the Weasleys with disproval and hatred. Her smile faded. But I can never tell him. Never. She closed her eyes tightly, trying to stop the tears that threatened to come out.
Draco watched Ginny being hugged by her family. He looked at his father and mother and then at Snape. He sighed. He missed Ginny and her love already. But I'll never be able to tell her how much I love her. What would my father say? He would disown me. He might even kill me if he's angry enough. He really hates the Weasleys. Well, I'll always love you, Ginny. Even if you don't know it. A tear rolled down his cheek and he quickly wiped it away before his father could see it.
Dumbledore watched the scene. His gaze wandered from Harry, who was being plastered with kisses from Hermione, to the Weasleys, who were all squeezing the breath from each other, to the professors, who were all laughing gaily, to the Malfoys, who were watching with disgust, to Draco, who was wiping away a tear, to Snape, whose arms were crossed over his chest. The expression on his face was unreadable, but Dumbledore had seen it before. He sighed. "Yes, Ginny, Christmas is the season of love. But let that not hinder us from showing love year 'round. Especially to those who need it most. After all, that is the origin of Christmas--love for those who needed it most."
Don't save it all
For Christmas day
Find a way
To give a little love everyday
Don't save it all
For Christmas day
Find a way
'Cause holidays have come and gone
But love lives on
If we give on
We've gotta give love
Author's Notes: Well, how was that for unbelievably sappy and cheesy and emo-ey? I wrote it several years ago, of course. For Christmas of 2002, to be precise, so re-reading it before posting it here was about the hardest thing I've ever done. My fingers are just itching to change nearly everything in a means to make it better, but I honestly can't do that. Showcasing this along with a fic I've written in the last month shows that I'm improving as a writer and, by God, I'm proud of it.
I'd like to point out that my absolute favorite line (yes, sometimes even I choose favorite lines of my own conscientious making) is easily "I'm a Malfoy. I'm not supposed to do manual labor." Priceless Draco-tude. I hope you appreciated the thought and decisiveness that went into that simple line.
Merry Christmas, everyone. :)