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Mother Christmas by Pipperstorms
This was to be up for Christmas, but real life intervened.
Think of the Children by Pipperstorms
AN: Well, here we go. Merry Christmas to all, and happy holidays to those of you who have another holiday. I have no idea how it turned out as long as it did. I hope you enjoy it as much I enjoyed writing it. A very special thanks to JLHufflepuff for the beta. :-)
“No. Oh, no. Absolutely not!” Draco bellowed at his best friend who was currently lounging on the couch as if he had not just made a ridiculous request.
“But Draco,” Blaise mocked with a smirk, “think of the children!” The dark- haired wizard tried to contain himself, but at the scowl he received, he fell to the floor in a fit of laughter. “Oh mate! If you could see your face right now!”
“I hardly think this is amusing,” Draco sneered, picking imaginary lint from his black dress shirt. “Your request is completely unreasonable.”
Blaise Zabini slowly righted himself back onto the leather couch of Draco’s study. Shaking his head, he reached for his coffee with a sigh.
“You’re going about this all wrong, Draco,” he said, taking a leisurely sip from his mug. “I mean, it isn’t really about you, is it? It’s about those kids.”
Pinching the bridge of his nose, Draco pushed his desk chair back. His hair was already a mess, having been ruffled continuously as he had worked through out the day. It was December twenty-fourth, and he was exhausted. There were always more society functions to attend, and work, which included balancing the finances of several multi- billion Galleon corporations, had not ceased simply because of the approaching holiday. If anything, Draco’s workload had increased the closer he had gotten to Christmas. And now there was this.
“Who talked you into asking me?” Draco asked suddenly, turning towards his childhood friend.
Blaise shifted in his seat uneasily, eyes not meeting the silver ones he knew were glued to his head.
“Well, Pans at first,” he began.
“I knew Longbottom was going to make her soft,” Draco muttered more to himself than to Blaise.
“And then Luna said she thought it’d be a wonderful idea too.”
Draco, who had since been staring at the papers on his desk, jerked his head up in surprise.
“Don’t tell me,” he sneered, “you’ve fallen for Loony?”
“Draco, come now she isn’t tha–”
“She was warning me about creatures in the poinsettia plant for Merlin’s sake!”
Blaise once again toppled to the floor with mirth, as Draco gawked at him in horror.
“Sweet Merlin, man! Pull yourself together!”
“But don’t you see?” Blaise choked out between fits of laughter. “That’s what makes her so amusing!”
Slowly, Draco backed up, pinning himself to the wall as if trying to avoid catching whatever disease had overtaken his once sane – well, all right, mostly sane – best friend.
“Right…” Draco said as he began inching towards the door. He really didn’t want to witness this. But before he could make it, the door of his study burst open. A woman with curly red hair came rushing in, her cream colored sweater and ruby skirt a blur of motion.
“Malfoy, you have no idea how much we appreciate this!” Just as quickly as she entered the room, the woman threw her arms around him, squeezing him tightly enough to knock the wind from his lungs. This, of course, was a complete and utter shock for Draco, who as of yet had agreed to do nothing.
“Easy there, Red,” Blaise warned, calmly interrupting as he stood from the floor and began brushing off his pants. “Scrooge here says he won’t do it.”
Instantly, the arms that had been holding Draco let go, and the woman backed away awkwardly.
“Oh,” she whispered, refusing to meet anyone’s gaze. Nervously, she brought a hand up to her mouth to chew delicately on her nails. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled around her hand. “I shouldn’t have come in here li –”
“Now, hold on,” Draco sighed, putting his hands out in front of him. “Ginny, it’s not that I wouldn’t do it. I’m just very busy. As it is, I’ll probably be late and…” he trailed off vaguely.
“No!” Ginny said, perhaps a bit too loudly. “No, of course. I should have known. I just thought…”
Blaise observed them carefully, his hands clasped behind his back.
“Come along, Red,” he called to her gently. “We’ve got a few more people we can ask right? What about Harry, or your brother? You have eighty of them, don’t you?”
Ginny laughed weakly at this, a small and embarrassed smile coloring her face. She walked towards the door with her eyes glued to the floor.
“I’ve already talked to everyone. It’s too short notice or something…” she whispered sadly. “It’ll be okay, though, and we’ll just come up with a story for the kids.” When she looked quickly to see both men staring at her, her smiled faltered, and her eyes were shining with what would soon be tears. “Blaise, I’ll meet up with you later. Malfoy, I’m sorry I disturbed you.” And then she bolted from the room as fast as her small-heeled shoes could carry her.
They both watched her go, and, minutes, later when he was sure she was nowhere within hearing range, Blaise cuffed Draco up side the head.
“Way to go, you arse,” he muttered disapprovingly.
Draco turned to him incredulously.
“First of all, how was I to know I was the last option, and second, you never said she was involved?”
Blaise sighed wearily as he moved to grab his cloak.
“Of course, she’s involved with it, you moron. She runs the whole bloody thing. Which you would know if you bothered to spend more time with her. Think about it, Draco. Would it be so hard for you to do something nice for someone without getting something in return?”
“Where are you going?” Draco asked, guilt eating up the gray of his eyes.
“I have to go help set up. It’s going to be a long night. And knowing the rest of them, I’ll probably have to break the news. I’m probably the only one who could do it without breaking in to tears, or swearing.”
Draco then watched as the second person of the evening left his study, disappointed. He returned to his desk, stopping on the way to pour himself a shot of Firewhisky, before returning back to work.
“I really appreciate all the work you have put into this,” Ginny announced to the group of people sitting around her.
They were an unlikely group – Pansy Parkinson and Neville Longbottom, Blaise Zabini and Luna Lovegood. But Ginny had realized just how much she had to learn about them all. Each of them had stepped up to help her this year, to help throw what was sure to be the best Christmas these children had seen in a while. Luna and Blaise had done all the decorations, while Pansy and Neville had cooked and cleaned. She had thought up games and organized it so that each and every one of the children would have something to open. She was proud as she thought of all the smiling faces she would see tonight. Those were rare sometimes in this building. Although God knew Ginny tried her best, it wasn’t always easy running the play center at the Children’s War Memorial Orphanage. The only thing that would be missing tonight was Father Christmas.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like me to kill him?” Pansy inquired, breaking through Ginny thoughts.
“Huh? Oh no, no. He had work to do, and we should have known better than to disturb him.”
Blaise snorted in a very undignified manner.
“You'd think he would have learned something by now.”
Ginny just nodded with a fake smile. No, she thought, she should have been the one who’d learned. Ginny had always known what Draco was like. She had known when they had first started dating, and known it all too well when she had agreed that perhaps, 'just being friends', was better for them. Oh yes, Ginny had learned something - never count on a Malfoy.
Two hours later, Ginny was finally getting a chance to sit down when one of the children came over to tug on her sleeve.
“Miss Ginny?” the small girl with pin straight brown hair asked meekly. “I thought you said Father Christmas was going to be coming tonight? I wanted to give him my Christmas wish.”
Ginny fought hard not to cry. It was true. She had told each and every one of these seventeen children that Saint Nicholas would be making a special appearance tonight. Most of them had yet to realize the time and the absence of a certain jolly elf.
“Well Gabrielle,” she started, pulling the small girl up into her lap, “you see, Father Christmas is very busy this time of year. You know that, don’t you?”
The little girl nodded to show that she understood, but Ginny could also tell that the girl understood something else. She knew Santa would not be arriving.
“I’m sorry Gabrielle,” Ginny whispered, “Father Christmas…”
“Got a little bit misplaced finding the correct building. Ho, ho, ho!”
Ginny snapped her head around at the sound of the voice behind her. There, dressed in full Father Christmas costume, complete with magically attached beard, was Draco Malfoy. He winked at her, with another hearty laugh, before bending down to eye level with the little girl.
“Hullo, Gabrielle,” he said warmly, “and what would you like for Christmas this year?”
For the next hour and a half, Draco played his part beautifully, having Ginny write down the wishes of all of the children, which he intended to have his House-elves buy later that night. The stores would open when they heard who was buying; he was not in the least concerned. He spent time laughing and allowing children ask him all sorts of questions about himself, which he answered flawlessly.
When the very last child had been seen to and shipped off to bed, he pulled Ginny towards him.
“I’m sorry,” he muttered. “I’ve been a wanker of late and I wanted to apologize.”
Ginny pulled away uneasily, tucking her hair behind her ear as she moved to start clearing up.
“Apology accepted, although you don’t owe any. Draco, you didn’t have to do this, but thank you. The kids, they really loved it.”
“That’s the thing,” Draco said, again reaching his hand out to her. “I want to owe you things, Gin. I want a second chance.”
Ginny gasped, dropping the mug she had been holding to the floor, where it shattered. She turned towards the man still wearing an older man’s cap and snowy white beard.
Draco raised his wand above them, and with a quiet pop, a small bit of mistletoe appeared on the ceiling. Another flick of his wand and the beard vanished from his face. He pulled Ginny to him once more. This time he was met with no resistance.
Cautiously, and with his eyes fixed upon her honey-colored orbs the whole time, he lowered his lips to hers. It was soft and almost pleading at first, but the tentativeness of it lasted only as long as Ginny allowed. Soon, she was responding with desperation, as if fearing it were to be the last time they’d do something like this.
Draco was the first to pull away, however, when he felt tears coming from her eyes.
“Gin?” he whispered worriedly. “Gin, what’s the matter? I…”
“No,” she said, reaching a hand up to brush at her eyes. “No, it still feels the way it always did.”
Confused, and slightly dejected, Draco pulled back further.
“I’m sorry, Ginny,” he mumbled, “I shouldn’t have expected –”
“Hush, you fool!” she laughed, before pressing her lips to his.
“Miss Pansy?” came a small voice from the top of the stairs.
Both Pansy and Neville, who had been just about to share in some Christmas cheer of their own, turned to see the smallest girl in the orphanage looking down at them.
“Well, I was just wondering, if Miss Ginny were to marry Father Christmas, would that make her Mrs. Father Christmas or Mother Christmas?”
Pansy did her best to cover her laugh of surprise, but was saved from answering as Blaise and Luna walked from the kitchen.
“Why do you ask that, Gabby?” Blaise inquired, with as straight a face as he could muster.
Gabrielle sucked her bottom lip into her mouth in extreme concentration.
“Well,” she began, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose, “it’s just that I just saw them kissing under the mistletoe, and I was wondering. That’s all.”
All four adults now had to suppress their shocked laughter, but it was Luna who recovered the quickest.
“Don’t worry about it tonight, Gabrielle,” she said with a wistful smile, “I believe Father Christmas was just granting Miss Ginny’s Christmas wish.”
The small girl scrunched up her noise, a question still on her mind.
“But isn’t Father Christmas too old for Miss Ginny? I liked her blond friend from before.”
Still laughing, Neville took the little girl into his arms, and spun her around, caring her back up the stairs. “I believe it’s past your bed time, and your daily allotted question quota.”
The little girl giggled at his words.
“Come on, now, let’s get you to bed, or Father Christmas may not be able to get you your present for the morning.”
Blaise watched them go with a smirk, before excusing himself from the rest of the group. With as much Slytherin stealth as he could muster, he snuck around the corner to view the main room. The scene before him induced such a smirk that even Draco Bloody Malfoy would have been impressed. But from where Blaise stood, it appeared as though Draco had enough to be amazed about at the moment. Various pieces of a Santa suit, along with a cream sweater and crimson skirt lay scattered about the room. Blaise couldn’t help but laugh. With a shake of his head, he turned away.
“Merry Christmas to all,” he whispered, “and to all a good night.”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.