Title: You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Word Count: 1824
Warnings: Brief mention of sensual topics. First person POV. Fluff.
Summary: Most people love Christmas. They enjoy every moment of the day, and spend the other 364 days of the year looking forward to the time it will come again. And then there are those of us who think that whoever invented Christmas should be dragged out into the street and Crucio’ed.
A/N: Thanks to dianoram for looking this over for me, and thanks to everyone who nominated me to participate in the fest. I had a lot of fun writing this one! :) Happy holidays!
"I don't get it."
Granger turns to me with raised eyebrows.
"What don't you 'get', Malfoy?"
"This whole thing. It doesn't make any sense."
"Watching 'The Grinch Who Stole Christmas' is one of my favorite holiday traditions, so if you're going to make fun of it..."
"I'm not making fun of it. I just don't understand the point of the story."
Granger looks up towards the ceiling for a moment, as if searching for the patience to put up with me. I barely notice, however, because she does this on a daily basis.
"The point, Malfoy, is that the Grinch learns the true meaning of Christmas."
"And that's what, exactly?"
Granger pinches the bridge of her nose and sighs in exasperation - yet another thing she has done almost every day since we started living together.
"I shouldn't have to explain it to you," she snaps. Then she abruptly stands and storms off in the direction of the kitchen.
I trail after her and find her angrily banging pots and pans together in the cupboard as she grumbles something about making dinner. Which is clearly a cover-up because we both know she can't cook worth a damn and she will spend the evening scraping her burnt attempts from the bottom of the fry pan while I heat up one of those atrocities of Muggle innovation - a frozen pizza - and beg her to reconsider getting a House-elf. She'll flat-out refuse, I'll mope, and then we'll glare at each other while we eat our pizza, followed by a passionate round of make-up sex for dessert. Usually on the kitchen table. I'll admit it's a bizarre ritual, but it works for us.
The ominous sound of Granger turning on the oven brings my attention back to the matter at hand.
"Granger, why did you show me that cartoon anyway? Were you trying to imply something?"
"I...I don't know what you're talking about," she stammers, avoiding eye contact.
Granger is many things, but a good liar she is not. She would have made a terrible Slytherin.
"Look, if you're trying to draw some sort of comparison between me and this Grinch character..."
"I am not drawing comparisons. Now you're just being paranoid."
"Well, my favorite color is green. He is green. Can you see my logic here?"
Granger gives an unladylike snort as she fishes around in the refrigerator and emerges with a whole chicken and a handful of potatoes.
"Malfoy, I was just trying to show you one of my favorite Christmas shows from when I was growing up," she argues, as she plops the soon-to-be-incinerated bird into a roasting pan. "You're reading too much into it."
"So this isn't about you trying to send me some sort of subliminal message about why I'm like the ‘Grinch Who Stole Christmas’?"
"No, it's not. I know you're not particularly fond of the holiday..."
"Aha!" I crow triumphantly. "So you do think I'm the Grinch!"
Granger groans and tosses the doomed chicken into the oven, letting the door swing shut with a resounding clang.
"Never mind," she mutters. Then she pulls a paring knife out of a drawer, goes over to the sink, and starts hacking into the potatoes with a little too much zeal for my taste. Having no desire to meet the same fate as those poor, helpless tubers, I decide to keep my distance.
We’ve had this argument before. In fact, we have it every year, right around this time. You see, most people love Christmas. They enjoy every moment of the day, and spend the other 364 days of the year looking forward to the time it will come again.
And then there are those of us who think that whoever invented Christmas should be dragged out into the street and Crucio’ed.
"Okay," I say in a conciliatory tone. "I'll admit I'm not a big fan of Christmas. But I'm not as bad as the Grinch or anything."
"Oh really?" she whirls around and I flinch because she's still holding the knife in her hand. The only thing scarier would be if she was holding a wand instead. "Let's evaluate the evidence, shall we? Christmas Eve, three years ago, you threatened to hex the entire Weasley family."
"Granger, it's the Weasleys. Surely my threatening to hex them didn't come as a shock to you."
"Yes, but you throwing a temper tantrum over the Christmas pudding sure did."
"Can you blame me? I've told you a million times before - they tried to kill me by hiding a coin in my pudding. I nearly choked to death that night!"
"Malfoy, plenty of families hide coins in the Christmas pudding, for good luck. It's a tradition!"
"It was a deliberate attempt on my life!"
Granger closes her eyes and takes a deep breath before proceeding.
"Okay, how about that first Christmas you spent with my family, two years ago?" she says accusingly.
"Ugh, don't remind me."
"How do you explain your behavior on that occasion? You refused to kiss my cousin Gertrude when you were caught under the mistletoe with her."
"She's your cousin!"
"You didn't have to snog her, Malfoy! A simple peck on the cheek would have sufficed."
"Granger, have you seen your cousin Gertrude lately?"
"So she's not the most attractive member of my family, but honestly, Malfoy. Running away in terror was hardly an appropriate reaction to the situation. I don't think my aunt and uncle will ever forgive me for it." Granger huffs and hacks at another potato. By now, there are peels littering the floor and half of the kitchen counter. It's like a potato massacre. "And then there's the whole issue about the Christmas tree..."
"We don't have to have a Christmas tree," I argue.
"Malfoy, everyone has a Christmas tree except us."
"Not everyone. Not Jewish people. Or Buddhists. Or starving children in Africa."
"Seriously, Malfoy? Now you're trying to make me feel guilty about wanting a Christmas tree!?"
Granger turns to give me "The Look". I am convinced that if she would have given Lord Voldemort "The Look" five years ago, it would have saved Potter a whole lot of trouble because Voldemort would have simply laid down his wand, curled up in the fetal position, and cried for his mother. Thankfully, however, I have built up a small amount of resistance to "The Look" over the past few years.
"I'm allergic to pine," I say with a sniff. "Do you really want me to walk around with itchy, watery red eyes all holiday season? It's hardly attractive."
"Like I've said before, we could get a fake tree..."
"Fake? Malfoys do not own anything fake. It goes against everything our family stands for. No fake fur. No fake diamonds. No dodgy little fake trees."
Granger throws her hands up in the air.
"See, this is what I'm talking about! It's like this every year. You are just like the Grinch. You complain about every holiday party we have to go to, you don't like any of the traditions--"
"Well, there is one tradition I like," I say with a sly grin, but Granger scowls and shakes her head.
"Malfoy, you dressing up like Father Christmas and asking me if I've been a naughty girl is not my idea of a holiday tradition!" she shouts. Then she stuffs her potatoes in a pan, shoves the pan in the oven, and stomps out of the kitchen, leaving our dinner to what will surely be a fiery demise. When I hear the sound of her sniffling in the next room, I know I've finally pushed her too far.
With a despairing groan, I walk out of the kitchen and follow her into the living room. She is standing in front of the window, watching the snow fall down and cover the trees outside. I go to stand behind her, gently resting my hands on her shoulders.
"I'm sorry, love," I whisper, kissing the top of her head. "I'll try harder this year, I promise. I know how much it means to you."
She sighs and places her hands on her belly, which is growing bigger by the day.
"It's not about me," she says. "Next year it won't be just the two of us anymore. I want the holidays to be special for the baby. Some of my favorite childhood memories occurred at Christmastime, and I want it to be the same way for our children."
I close my eyes and nestle my chin in her curls.
"Yes, well, I didn't exactly have the same experience growing up," I mutter. I don't have to explain, because she already knows how it was for me. Most of my holidays as a child were spent with the House-elves, while my parents were out partying with the upper-crust of Wizarding society. All the lavish and expensive gifts I received on Christmas morning couldn’t make up for the fact that my parents often weren't there to see me open them. Usually, they were still in bed, nursing hangovers after drinking too much champagne the night before.
Granger spins around and wraps her hands around my neck, drawing me out of my reverie.
"Well then," she says, "why don't we start building some good Christmas memories, for your sake as well as the baby's?"
I smile, but I'm still cautious about what she has in mind.
"What do you mean?"
"Well...how about having a Christmas party at our place this year?"
At the hopeful look in her eyes, I can't help but give in. After all, she is carrying my child. I think I can manage to make a few concessions.
"Okay," I agree, "a party it is."
"With a Christmas tree?" she pleads, and I let out a sigh.
"Fine, you can have your silly plastic Christmas tree."
"And we can invite the Weasleys?" When I hesitate to respond, she adds, "If you say yes, I'll let you dress up as Father Christmas again and have me sit on your lap and tell you what a bad girl I've been this year...after the dinner guests leave, of course."
I scowl and decide that my wife would have made a very good Slytherin, after all.
"All right, all right, you can invite the Weasleys. Just don't expect me to be nice to them. I do have my limits, you know."
If there's one thing Granger has learned after being married to me, it's how to pick her battles. So she doesn't push the issue any further. Instead she smiles and presses her lips to mine in a lingering kiss, so at first, neither of us notices the fire alarm going off in the kitchen. By the time we rescue our dinner from the oven, it’s charred beyond recognition, but for once, I'm spared from the horrors of frozen pizza.
This time, we go to our bedroom and skip straight to dessert.