Title: Before The Last Snowdrop Falls
Word Count: 1921
Summary: Lucius attempts to brighten his own Christmas by ruining Hermione’s. Can Draco swoop in to save the day?
A/N: Much thanks to teenage_hustler for the brilliant beta work!
Draco let his fork fall with a metallic clang onto his plateful of half-eaten spaghetti. “I don't normally beg for anything from you, Weasley, but I beg your pardon?”
Weasley gave him a sad nod. He was wearing the most morose expression that Draco had ever seen on him, which was really saying something, since the last time the Chudley Cannons came second in the League Weasley practically bawled his eyes out. Admittedly on that occasion, Draco couldn't really see his eyes, but that’s just a technicality.
“She has been cursed?” Draco repeated slowly, enunciating each word properly, just in case hearing his own words being repeated back at him would cause Weasley to die of shock, or something.
“Alright then,” Draco continued, when Weasley failed to answer him, “when is she coming back?”
Weasley shrugged. “I don't know. Probably never.”
Draco nodded slowly. “Never,” he echoed. Well, he’d expected Weasley to tell him that she would come back when she was feeling better about things. He’d been hoping for some time around Christmas Eve, as that would give him three days to figure out how to make amends for something he wasn’t really sure he had done in the first place. But really, even if he had done something wrong, this sort of treatment was totally uncalled for.
Weasley stared blankly back at him, apparently unable to understand Draco’s hidden question.
“Would you like to tell me why, or should I start making wild guesses?” Draco eventually snapped.
“Oh, right!” Weasley snapped his fingers in realization. “Well, one, she was cursed by your father, after all; two, the curse did something to her—” Weasley grimaced lightly before continuing, “—hair; and three, Hermione thinks you had something to do with it.”
Draco's lips parted slightly in disbelief, shock, surprise and other equally unpleasant emotions. “So my father did something to Granger's hair and she is pissed at me because she thinks I had something to do with it?” he summarized.
Weasley nodded and stood up, apparently ready to leave. “That's about it.”
“Wait a second, Weasley,” Draco said sharply, halting Weasley in his quick retreat out of his office. “What exactly did my father do to Granger that is so serious that she cannot fix it?”
The redhead sighed wearily. “It's...complicated,” he finally said, after a pregnant pause.
Draco frowned and mentally catalogued all the spells that his father could perform, since the Ministry had decided to put a limit on him, for something that would apparently destroy Granger's hair -not that he would have thought that Granger’s hair could be destroyed any more than it already was- but came up with nothing.
“My father can't really perform any complicated spells at the moment,” Draco defended half-heartedly, “So you can tell Granger that she's got the wrong man.”
Weasley had the gall to snort at that. “Lucius shot a spell directly in her face that transfigured her hair into sn-” he cut himself off quickly, realizing that he'd already revealed more than he was supposed to.
Draco smirked to himself. To think that Granger couldn't deal with fixing a simple transfiguration spell gone wrong. His mirth must have shown on his face, for the corner of Weasley's lips actually tipped up in a smirk.
“It's more complicated than you think,” he murmured, glee apparent in his eyes. “If I were you, I'd find her a counter-curse as soon as is humanly possible.”
“How can I fix something I know nothing about?”
Weasley let out a bark of laughter. “I don't know, but you have until, well, the last snowdrop falls, so to speak.”
“Evening, Father,” Draco cheerfully greeted his paternal parent before sinking into the armchair opposite Lucius, who looked for all intensive purposes to be idly flipping through the Prophet. “Anything interesting in the news?”
“Cut to the chase, Draco,” Lucius replied with a small smirk.
Draco shook his head in amusement. There was never any need to strive for small-talk with Lucius Malfoy. “Fix it.”
Lucius' smirk grew. “She went straight to you, then?”
Draco shook his head. “Far from it,” he replied, “she has decided that the best thing to do would be to put some distance between us, since she somehow thinks that I have something to do with what you did to her hair. I believe that she is in midst of flipping through every transfiguration spell in the books.” he paused as a thought came to him. “Speaking of which, what did you do to her hair?”
Lucius' smile was self-satisfactory, to say the least. “Tell the chit to save it. The spell is one of my own.”
Draco sighed and rubbed his temples. “Will you teach me how to fix it, Father?”
Lucius shrugged elegantly. “If she needs it to be fixed, all she has to do is to come to me and say ‘please’.”
Draco groaned. The task of convincing Granger to beg Lucius for anything was in itself impossible. His father was out to torment her.
“But you can fix it?” Draco clarified, narrowing his eyes into suspicious slits. For all he knew, his father could have had no idea how to reverse the spell.
Lucius smirked again. “I can if she comes to me fast.”
“I need to see Granger,” Draco stated matter-of-factly, waltzing into Potter’s office as though he owned it. “It's a matter of life or death.”
Potter looked up from his terrifyingly large pile of paperwork, and Draco spared a moment to congratulate himself on his exceptionally splendid judgement when he decided to decline the offer to become an Auror.
“You found a counter-curse for Hermione's hair?” Potter asked, hopeful.
“Of course I have, Potter,” Draco answered.
Harry peered doubtfully at him over the rim of his glasses.
Draco sighed. “Well, sort of. I know how to fix it, but Granger is definitely not going to be pleased. I need to get her to ask my father for help.”
Potter laughed outright. “Impossible,” he rasped out between wheezing breaths.
Draco shrugged, choosing to ignore Potter’s apparent asthma attack. “I need to speak to her, Potter. Time is of the essence. Where is she?”
Potter, to his credit, calmed down relatively quickly. “Sorry, I'm not authorized to reveal such information,” he replied in his best snotty Auror tone, revelling in Draco’s less-than-euphoric scowl.
“Can you at least tell me what my father did to her hair?” he asked, petulantly.
“Granger,” he called out as he made his way through the sludge and thin layer of snow surrounding The Burrow. “Granger, I know you’re out here somewhere. It’s time to stop playing games!”
“Playing games?” a cantankerous female voice screeched. “Your father cursed me!”
Draco scanned the area and tried to determine where her voice was coming from. She sounded close, but he couldn’t spot her anywhere. He frowned. He needed to keep her talking.
“Don’t be so melodramatic, Granger,” he said condescendingly, “It’s probably nothing.”
She sat up from where she was lying, a couple of feet away, and although he tried to contain his laughter, he couldn’t. He now understood why his father had decided to pull such a stunt.
Granger, though, was quite obviously not amused by the situation. “When you are done with laughing, Malfoy, I would like to know how to fix this,” she snarled, glaring at him.
Draco sobered up slightly. “Granger, can you…” he started, trying to be serious, before cracking up again and spluttering out the rest of the sentence between breaths, “Can you shake your head for me?”
She pointed to her hair. “Draco Malfoy, I have to give a sodding speech at the Ministry’s Annual Christmas Eve Ball in less than five hours, and I cannot show my face in public if I have bloody snowdrops growing out of my head.” She drew her wand out, training it at him. “So unless the next few sentences coming out of your mouth are counter-curses for this ridiculousness, you can keep it to yourself.”
Draco smartly kept silent.
“You don’t have a cure for me?” she screeched, her eyes bulging.
“I do,” he said quietly, “But you won’t like it.”
She sighed, tired. “Malfoy, I have been lying outside in the cold for the better part of a day, trying to blend into the snowdrops on the ground so that Fred and George wouldn’t be able to carry out experiments on these sodding snowdrops under some ridiculous guise that it is marketable. I am cold, tired, hungry, but right now all of that is tolerable, so long as I find out how to fix my hair.”
Draco tried not to stare at the few stalks of snowdrops that grew from her scalp. “You have to ask my father for a cure,” he told her, and at her indignant look, immediately reminded her, “I was told by Potter that Lucius told you that if you don’t fix it before all the snowdrops fall, you won’t be able to do anything about it.”
She glared at him. “Your family is twisted. All of you are mad!”
“I know,” he said, finally daring to take a few steps towards her. “You chose the wrong guy to get shackled up with, Granger.”
She snorted, but he noticed, to his relief, that she wasn’t frowning any more. “You’re hanging on by a thin thread, Malfoy; a very thin thread that is almost snapping.”
“Tosh,” he muttered as he pulled her into his arms, ignoring the snowdrops on her head. “You would never ditch me. Besides, it’s almost Christmas, and doing that would be highly un-Christmassy of you.”
“Ah, Miss Granger,” Lucius greeted a tad too cheerfully as Draco came into the library, Granger following reluctantly behind him, “How positively wonderful is it to see you!”
Draco heard Granger growl and grabbed her just as she started to lunge at his father. He gave her a look, silently reminding her why they were here.
“Mr. Malfoy,” she gritted out, her fists balled tightly, “it would be highly appreciated if you would undo what you did to my hair.”
Lucius sneered. “I’m afraid you’ll have to say the…” he paused and turned to Draco, looking thoughtful. “What is it the Muggles call it again? The ‘magic’ word?”
“Father,” Draco gave him a warning look, “I’m not sure I’ll be able to restrain her if you infuriate her any further. Fix her, please.”
Lucius gave Draco a look. “The ‘please’ is supposed to come from her.”
“Don’t push it,” she hissed.
The three stared mutinously at each other.
“Come on, Granger,” Draco cajoled, “You know he didn't mean to hex you.”
Draco winced. “And he did fix in the end, didn't he?”
“It's Christmas Eve, Granger,” he tried, “Christmas is about happy feelings and forgiveness?”
Still more silence.
Draco sighed. “He said he was sorry.”
Granger turned back to face him so quickly he nearly fell over. “He did not!”
He cracked a smile. “Well, fine, he did not,” he said, moving forward to envelope her in a hug, “But he meant to, if that means anything.”
She snorted, but relaxed into his embrace. “The day he apologizes to me is the day we all die of ridiculousness.”
“Are you still angry?” he asked softly.
“At Lucius, yes,” she admitted before she sighed, “But you're right. I shouldn't be angry on Christmas.”
He grinned. “Then I don't suppose you’d be opposed to a good Christmas Eve shag or two, would you?”