Everything In Its Right Place

Chapter 7

Autumn cooled into winter, and Hermione purchased a Christmas tree the first week of December. When Draco arrived, she asked if he would like to decorate it – Muggle style.

"Stand around all afternoon, hanging ornaments?" he said, incredulously. "That's house elf work."

"This is the problem! Outdated notions…Wizards too lazy to do anything without a wand, engaging a slave race to do anything they fancy themselves above…"

"Merlin's beard! Calm yourself. We'll hang the ornaments, no wands, no indentured servitude, alright?" He shook his head at her.

"Hmph," she grumbled. "Untangle these," she said, thrusting a snarl of fairy lights at him.

He went to work without complaining, and they strung lights and tinsel around the tree. She opened her box of ornaments, and smiled.

"This is the best bit. Just hang them wherever you like!"

He picked up an ornament, and eyed it with contempt. However, he said nothing, and they went about hanging the ornaments. When they were finished, she had him place a star atop the tree.

"Now we plug it in. Would you like to do it?"

"And risk being electrocuted by Muggle madness? Absolutely not."

"Oh fine," she said, plugging in the cord, then moving back to stand beside him. "Isn't it lovely?"

They both admired their work. "Too much red and gold," he said. He waved his wand, and the ornaments changed to deep green and sparkling silver.

Hermione laughed. "I'll allow it, but I have to make improvements of my own." She waved her wand, and changed his black jumper to deep ruby. She smiled at him.

He did not smile back. His eyes looked infinitely sad.

"My parents immigrated to France. They finally have society more in line with their beliefs," he said, disgustedly. "And my colleagues don't….and no one that I knew in school….you're my only friend, Granger."

Hermione felt her eyes welling with tears. She didn't know what to say to him, so she took his hand. He stiffened, but slowly relaxed.

So they stood, holding hands, in the glow of her Syltherin Christmas tree.

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