Through the Chimney

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Part II -

Hermione Granger threw one last jumper into her daughter’s suitcase and then closed it with an audible sigh. She hated that they wouldn’t be home for Christmas, and by the look on her little girl’s face, she knew that little Ivy hated it too. Nevertheless, it couldn’t be helped. Hermione’s work was important to her, and her employer, Greg Goyle, was sending her to some village in Ireland to examine an ancient locket that a man had discovered among his grandfather’s things upon his death. The man claimed the locket belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw herself! Therefore, Hermione was being dispatched on Christmas to see if the man’s claims were authentic.

She loved her work. This assignment was the type of mission that she would normally have been very keen to do, but it was Christmas! Why send her away at Christmas? She knew that Goyle was the greedy type, and he wanted the large finder’s fee they would obtain for acquiring this object for the Ministry of Magic if it proved to be truly from one of the Founders of Hogwarts, but still … it was Christmas!

Looking over at Ivy, her eight-year-old daughter (who was reading quietly in the corner of the room), her heart swelled with pride and joy. Though she was conceived from a short-lived relationship with a man whom Hermione didn’t love or marry, and who was now dead, the little girl never lacked for anything.

For one thing, all of the Weasleys loved and doted on her as if she were a part of their family. Her ‘Uncle Harry’ took her almost anywhere she ever wanted to go, let her experience almost everything she ever wanted to experience, and try everything there was to try.

Then there was Draco Malfoy.

When Ivy was born, Hermione allowed Adrian to name her godfather in what she thought was a benevolent act of fairness. She never thought in a million years that Adrian would name Draco Malfoy in that role! Adrian died four years ago, and since then, Draco began slowly to show Ivy more and more attention. At first, it irked Hermione, because he mainly gave her presents – expensive presents – and played with her as if he were a child himself.

Then he began to teach her things about purebloods and magical history, and although Hermione didn’t mind her daughter learning about her background, she was afraid that Draco might indoctrinate her daughter with anti-Muggleborn rhetoric. Therefore, Hermione decided to lessen their time together.

Also, Hermione was beginning to feel rather uncomfortable around Malfoy (if truth were told) and that irked her a bit, too. It wasn’t as if she was annoyed by his bigotry or snobbishness. Those were things she had gotten used to over the course of knowing Draco most of her life. It was other, new feelings that were making Hermione feel uncomfortable as of late.

For instance, when Draco would innocently touch Hermione, on the hand or the small of the back, she would find her breath catching or a tingling feeling in the pit of her stomach. She noticed that he seemed to watch her with a fierce intensity that was never there before, and every time his gaze fell upon her, she felt hot and the hair would stand up on the back of her neck.

One time he stood behind her and whispered something in her ear and she felt like melting into a puddle on the floor.

And there was no reason for it! She didn’t even like the man! Yet she felt oddly attracted to him – and she hated herself for being attracted to him. Furthermore, she knew he wasn’t attracted to her and if he ever got wind of the fact that she found him attractive (MERLIN HELP HER!) he would never, EVER let her live it down!

Therefore, it was probably a good thing she was putting some distance between them this Christmas. Yes. A very good thing indeed!

And while it was true that Draco had spent every Christmas Eve with Ivy since her father died (which was what her father had done when he was alive), the fact that Ivy couldn’t see Draco this Christmas Eve had nothing to do with that fact that Hermione didn’t want Draco to see her daughter any longer. She wrote to him and told him that she was going to be out of town the day before Christmas Eve, therefore he couldn’t see her daughter FOR Christmas Eve, or even on Christmas day for that reason alone. End of story. Simple. Easy.

Well, at least, one would think. However, nothing was ever simple with Draco Malfoy. She had a vague feeling that she hadn’t heard the last of him on this matter.

Right on cue there was a knock on the door. Hermione turned to Ivy. “Sweetheart, why don’t you go ahead and dress for your recital? We have to leave soon, and when we get back, we have to go straight to Ireland by Portkey, so we’ll be in such a rush. I’ll go answer the door.”

Standing tall, she rushed to the foyer and pulled back the front door, already knowing in her mind that it was HE.

“Greetings, Granger,” he acknowledged.

She knew he was angry by the way he appeared at her door, her letter clutched in his hand and the look on his face, which was something between angry and evil. No, Draco Malfoy wasn’t about to give up easily. Without a smile or a greeting in return, she opened the door.

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