Even though it was the holidays for us; Mr. Malfoy was called into the ministry for consultations quite often.
We passed the days lazily, playing wizard's chess and other games. Sometimes we would just enjoy tea in one of the gardens and talk. I didn't really write anything because there wasn't anything to write.
Finally, we had reached Christmas Eve without any more incidents involving Mr. Malfoy.
That night Narcissa asked me if I would like her to send the house elves to pick up any gifts from my family.
I thanked her for the offer but told her Shadow would bring them in the morning and that she would be bringing some presents for them from my family as well.
Since I was already on my way to my room I continued and left Draco to try and explain about my special pet.
When I awoke on Christmas morning; Shadow was purring loudly next to me. She looked quite pleased with herself.
Since I didn't see any presents in the room with me I assumed she must have brought them to the main sitting room. I hoped the house elves had found them and would sort them out since I know she would probably just leave them all in a mess.
It was a few more moments before I woke up enough to remember that Shadow was a brilliant cat but she was still a cat, and as such she may have left the presents anywhere she had felt like.
I reluctantly got out of bed and got dressed, if Mr. Malfoy discovered gifts scattered around his Manor it probably wouldn't be a very happy Christmas.
When I finished dressing I discovered Shadow already draped across my shoulders, I honestly have no idea how long she had been there for.
As I opened the door to the hall I almost collided with Draco who looked like he was about to knock on my door.
He said he woke up worried that my cat was going to leave the presents in the cellar or someplace equally strange and he was unable to go back to sleep until he found out if they were in my room or not.
He felt bad about waking me up so early though and had apparently been standing there with his arm raised to knock for about five minutes.
I had dejectedly told him that I had no idea where she had left the presents and asked how long we had before his parents awoke.
He guessed an hour minimum since his parents were early risers, it was currently around 5am.
In order to search everywhere we enlisted the help of the house elves and even then, it took half an hour to locate them.
We found some presents on the foyer floor right next to the door, one on the dining room chandelier and all of Draco's presents were located in the thankfully unlit fire place of the main sitting room.
Draco said it would be fine for us to open our presents right away, he usually did in the rare circumstances when he was awake before his parents.
I told him if we got in trouble I was blaming him.
He was perfectly fine with this which led me to believe he was being honest.
From Draco I received a book on shields and defenses. Even though I can create shields wandlessly, I was grateful. The book contained information on what shields are strong and weak against, this information is invaluable.
From Draco's parents I received a lovely Slytherin green, floor length dress. All silk with a near invisible vine pattern woven in. I decided I was not allowed to gain much weight in the next several years so I could wear the dress forever.
Yes, magic could be used to adjust the size, but too much and it would warp the pattern. I didn't mind if I got taller, the dress would look good on me if it were shorter, it was just the waist and stomach area I was worried about.
From Briar I received a "home meditation kit" All I had to do was sit on the included mat and tap it with my wand to encase myself in a zen bubble. There was a plant in the kit that wasn't mentioned in the instructions, I am going to assume that it was Briar's doing.
Grandfather gifted me a lovely book bag that was embroidered with the Slytherin house crest. Of course, it wasn't just any book bag, the note he included said there were several hidden pockets and I should have fun finding them. One of these pockets even includes an expansion charm that should be difficult to detect. I haven't found all of the pockets yet, haven't had time, but I bet they will have useful items in some of them.
Draco received a new racing broom from his parents, a zen tree from my twin, and from my Grandfather he got a wand that when activated would shoot muted spells at him so he could practice counter spells and defense techniques.
I gave Draco a tiny silver pensive that could be carried on a chain. It holds a limited amount of memories but this way he can keep what is important to him close.
This was about the time that Draco's parents joined us, it was also the time when my furred abomination gave Draco her own present.
The look of shock on his face as Draco asked "Art, why has your cat given me a baby bird, does she expect me to eat it?" was priceless.
Before I could answer him, Mr. Malfoy pointed out that it was an eagle owl hatchling.
It was fuzzy and covered in pin feathers still, but it was definitely an owl. It wouldn't be useful for a while, but I figured that any creature picked by my weird cat would definitely be special in some way.
Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy received exotic cheeses from Briar, some exotic muggle & wizarding chocolates from me and three bottles of at least three century old wine Grandfather had stored in our cellar.
I find it amazing that all three presents work well together despite us not actually coordinating on them.
I feel the need to point out that Draco did receive presents from other people, I just didn't feel like documenting what they were. His parents were opening their other gifts when a house elf arrived to inform us that breakfast was ready. I pretended not to notice that some gifts were quickly hidden out of sight as we headed to breakfast.
False ignorance was the polite thing to do after all. Grandfather did make sure that Briar and I were quite aware of old family politics, most of it involves ignoring things that could cause problems.
For example, usually only dark followers would call Voldemort the dark lord, most others refer to him by you-know-who. I don't see what is so scary about a name, but you never mention things like that, it is rude.
So, I politely pretended to ignore the hiding of gifts that I am sure are banned in some places.
This old family political knowledge is quite handy, it will become even more useful if Draco or his parents start inviting me over for holidays more often.
I would have to strategically decline just enough to not seem rude while not accepting enough to make them believe Grandfather wanted an arrangement set up between myself and Draco.
I know Grandfather would leave these things up to me as and just laugh it off if I cause a misunderstanding. He thinks eleven is old enough to make and learn from one's own mistakes.
I wonder how Draco would feel if I told him he was a bit of a replacement brother for me, or more like a secondary brother. He is too similar to me and far too single-minded to ever be considered a possible match for me. He is a bit of a puppet as well, I can see that he has been raised to think and act in a very particular manner.
I feel like I am going off topic, but I don't want anyone that may figure out how to read this to misunderstand mine and Draco's relationship. Nor do I wish to look back on this and misunderstand myself.
Today was definitely a wonderful Christmas.
The remaining days of the holiday have seemed to fly by uneventfully. Draco snuck me out to go flying a couple more times. It was cold but completely worth it. I still laughed, but it wasn't the same as that first time. It never had the same type of abandon to it as that first time, even if it was still freedom. I never did see that carefree smile on Draco's face again.