Title: The Christmas Coin
Word Count: 945
Prompt: Christmas pudding
Warnings: None… fluff?
Summary: Hermione’s serving up some Christmas pudding this year.
A/N: Thanks to M and T for listening to me!
The Christmas Coin
There are neat rows of Christmas pudding lined up on Hermione’s counter, ranging in portion size. She’s proud of herself—she’s always been a big fan of any organizational system that is practical and efficient—and, since she’s alone, smirks to show it. She’d like to see anyone bollocks up handing this out, she’d like to see—
A floorboard squeaks behind her and she turns, knife still clutched in one hand. It is Draco Malfoy standing there, wearing a smirk to match her own. For a moment, they stare at one another. The look feels like a question; Hermione, not sure of the answer, feels uncomfortable and unusually shy. Then he nods in the direction of her hand and the moment’s gone.
“Are you going to do me like what’s-her-name?” he asks.
His question startles Hermione. She scowls at him for good measure, shooting a glance over his shoulder. The children are in the other room with their parents waiting on pudding; Malfoy should know better than to talk in such a foul manner, Hermione thinks. She happens to know that, despite everything, Ron would still love a crack shot at him.
Accordingly, she lowers her voice. “Do you like whom?” she hisses.
Malfoy rolls his eyes and gestures at her knife again. “You know, that French woman. ‘Let them eat cake!’” He affects a high-pitched French accent before striking one finger dramatically in front of his neck.
Hermione puts down the knife. “Don’t be silly. This is Christmas. I don’t know how your lot does it, but blood isn’t really appropriate here, now is it?” Malfoy stays looking at her and her next sentence smacks of self-conscious babble. “Marie-Antoinette, by the way. That’s who you mean.”
He waves a hand at her and inches closer, angling to see the pudding behind her back.
“Let me eat cake,” he quips.
“Pudding,” she corrects. “It’s pudding.”
She knows what’s coming next and thinks about diverting his attention, but she’s momentarily distracted by the smell of his cologne this close up. This is troubling and happens too often. It’s all the more troubling because she knows precisely what it means, what sort of masochistic little fool it makes her; she’s glaring at the top button on his shirt when he speaks next.
“My, my,” he tuts, lip twitching up. “How… neat.”
Hermione raises her chin and nods succinctly. It is neat and she’s pleased he’s noticed, sarcasm be damned. She’s pleased right up until the moment she sees his hand dart towards the bowl closest to him, one of the little ones. Squeaking, she catches his wrist.
“I have a system,” she says, tightening her grip on his wrist.
“Just a bite,” he tries, but he’s no longer looking at her blasted pudding.
Hermione thinks of many things, then. She thinks of the whole last year, of being enemies and coworkers and begrudging friends. She thinks of this and hears the laughter of her friends from the other room, faded now that her concentration is elsewhere. Anyone could walk into the kitchen and see her standing so close with—
Bloody hell, she’s still holding his wrist. She drops it too abruptly, flushes, and finds his top button again. It seems closer now, much closer.
“Granger,” he says.
Hermione doesn’t gulp exactly. Steeling her shoulders, she glances up; catches his gaze. There’s something strange there, something different but not quite foreign. It softens his face, gentles his expression. She means to smile, means to do something, but then he is moving, closing the distance, and his mouth finds hers.
She sees it coming in the way that she’s imagined it days, weeks, months from now. She sees it coming in the way that the actual moment throws her so much she stumbles half a step back, landing the palm of one hand right smack into one of her perfectly arranged tiny bowls. Her hand sinks with a wet squelch, pudding oozing around her fingers. At least it’s turned out moist, too moist maybe, and Merlin, Draco Malfoy is kissing her, secret and stolen and sweet, and—
He steps back, ghosting his hand down her arm to her pudding-free hand. She is very thankful for her dress to hide her other hand behind. Something cold and metal is against her pointer finger; she goes very still.
He’s having trouble meeting her gaze, which is very unlike him. “Merry Christmas,” he murmurs, before squeezing her fingers. Then, quick as lightning, he darts behind her and grabs a bowl, pausing in the doorway to wink at her.
“Thieving bugger,” she mutters, but any force behind her words is killed by the heat she can feel in her cheeks, by the pounding of her stupid heart.
To hide them both, she turns and wrenches her hand from the bowl, but not before pulling out what she’d touched. She uses her wand to clean up the mess before glancing at the object in her palm.
Hermione Granger is proud of many things. She’s proud of organizing and this is organization at its finest. Each child, she’d planned, should have something from inside the pudding. This bowl has a silver coin.
Malfoy laughs at something in the other room, the sound rich and sudden. Hermione chews at her lip and stares at her palm, as a slow warmth creeps through her.
“For luck,” she murmurs to the coin, smiling to herself.