After breakfast had been presents in the drawing room. Then they had all played games, some of which Harry had never heard of, but had enjoyed immensely. They had had a snack for lunch, then sat around talking and, at about two thirty, Narcissa had excused herself to go and get ready for dinner. Draco had dragged Harry off at three and it was now half past and everyone was back downstairs.
Harry had let himself be arranged in the drawing room while they awaited the new guests. He could tell Narcissa was a little nervous about what was to come and so he played the perfect partner to the prodigal son. The fact that Narcissa was trying to build bridges with the disowned member of her family spoke volumes to how much had changed. Harry only hoped it went well.
It wasn't long before Fossy appeared in the doorway.
"Auror Nymphadora Tonks," the elf said in her high squeaky voice and then stepped out of the way.
Harry couldn't help grinning as Tonks stepped into the room. Her hair was as pale as the Malfoys with a red and green streak down one side. She was wearing a very smart, knee length dress, which was rather out done by the red and white candy striped tights she was wearing underneath it. Her shoes were flat pumps, which, with what Harry knew of Tonks, was probably a very good thing.
"Aunt Narcissa," she greeted with a smile, "thanks for the invitation."
As she walked towards Narcissa she almost tripped over the carpet, only correcting at the very last moment.
"I'm so glad you could come," Narcissa said as the two went through the ritual of cheek kissing.
It was a little stilted, but Harry could tell both women were trying. Tonks then produced what looked like a box of chocolates from somewhere that Harry had not noticed and gave it to Narcissa.
"Thank you," Narcissa said, "ah, Honeyduke's Special Collection; you clearly know my weaknesses."
[Must have talked to Aunt Andromeda,] Draco commented, [those are mum's favourite.]
[Why do you never tell me these things?] Harry bemoaned and Draco mentally laughed at him.
"Wotcher, Boys," Tonks greeted as she turned to the rest of the room, "not been getting into any trouble I hope."
"Us?" Harry asked. "Now why would you think that?"
Sirius laughed loudly.
"And Cousin Sirius," Tonks said, "my, don't you clean up well. Wotcher, Remus."
Then she plonked herself down on the sofa next to Remus and accepted a glass of champagne from the house elf with the tray, which she promptly almost dropped. It seemed when Tonks was nervous she was even more clumsy than usual.
"So did everyone get what they wanted from Father Christmas?" she asked with a bright grin.
"Well Remus didn't wrap himself with a bow..." Sirius started to say and Remus promptly hit him.
"So sorry," Remus apologise, "he's been dead for two years and it does strange things to the brain."
Sirius looked scandalised and everyone else laughed, which broke the ice nicely.
Next to arrive was Snape, who swept into the room looking impeccably turned out in all black as usual. His only nod to the season was a sprig of holly on his lapel.
"Narcissa," he greeted, taking her hand and kissing her fingers, "thank you for inviting me."
He had brought an odd shaped black bottle, sealed at the top with something gold, which he gave to Narcissa.
"Thank you so very much, Severus," Narcissa said as she held up the bottle, "this will go down very nicely after dinner."
[What is it?] Harry asked.
It really was useful to be able to ask all the stupid questions silently.
[Very nice herbal liqueur,] Draco replied, [made by monks in the south of France. You'll have to try a little bit later, it really is good.]
Harry had never really seen Snape in any environment where the man didn't look at least a little tense, but it seemed he was at ease in the Malfoy drawing room. He couldn't help wondering how many times Snape had been there and for what reasons in the past.
Snape even greeted them all politely before accepting a drink, definitely not champagne, from a house elf. Clearly he had been there enough that his preferences were known. The fact that the house would most likely have been a venue for Death Eater meetings more than once was not something Harry wanted to think about.
"Oh my, isn't this lovely," were the first words Hilde uttered when she arrived several minutes later. "So lovely to meet you again, Mrs Malfoy," she said as she crossed the room.
Harry had to wonder when the two had met before.
The pair did some very continental air kissing before Hilde produced her gift. Harry was getting the message that it was traditional not to turn up empty handed and food or drink seemed to be the preference. It wasn't as if Harry had ever been particularly up on social etiquette, in the Muggle or Wizarding worlds. Hilde had brought a bottle of what Harry guessed was wine.
"Oh, you shouldn't have," Narcissa said and seemed to genuinely mean it, "I will have this put on ice immediately."
"Don't be silly," Hilde said, "I raided Dad's old wine cellar. It's not like anyone uses it since he died. It was nice to have an excuse."
Harry had never really thought of Hilde as anything except a lovely woman from the Ministry, but she was clearly as pureblooded as most of the rest of the room, given the way she was dressed. While not as elegant as Narcissa, Hilde fitted right in.
"Ooh, bubbles," she said when offered a glass. "I do hope I wasn't too late," she added as she sat down, "the Floo network gets so busy at this time of year."
"Of course not," Draco said, "you are perfectly on time."
"As always," Harry added. "How has your Christmas been so far?"
"Well I went up to visit my Gran in her nursing home this morning, helped out with all the oldies," Hilde said. "We do our own family Christmas tomorrow when she doesn't have to work."
"Your Gran works in a nursing home?" Harry couldn't help it, he had to ask.
"Owns and runs," it was Narcissa who answered; "Morgana Hall, the foremost home for elderly witches and wizards who wish to enjoy their dotage."
"Granny Lux always has loved looking after people," Hilde said, "and she took it over just after the second world war when the previous owner, Mrs Pinkerton, died. I get roped in to play Christmas games all morning every year. You would not believe how spritely some of the oldies are, even if a few of them are losing their marbles."
The mental image of Hilde being chased around by an aged wizard in a game of Blind Mans Buff made Harry smile.
It was another five minutes or so when Fossy reappeared to introduce the final guests.
"Mr and Mrs Edward Tonks," she announced and then stepped out of the doorway.
Where Narcissa's hair was pale, Andromeda's was brown, but there was no doubting they were sisters; both tall, both striking. Andromeda also bore a stunning resemblance to Bellatrix, although her face was very much kinder and she smiled as soon as she saw Narcissa.
"Oh, Cissa," she said and all but rushed across the room, "it has been far too long."
The sisters embraced and Harry couldn't help himself, he lowered his mental barriers just a little. Gold tinged everything around the them as the estranged women reunited.
"I have missed you, Dromie," Narcissa said. "I am so sorry I did not break away before."
"We all had our roads," Andromeda said, pulling back, tears clearly glinting in her eyes. "Come here, Ted, you must meet my little sister."
Imagining Narcissa as anyone's little sister wasn't something Harry could quite manage.
"Very pleased to meet you," Ted said and there was a little stiffness there; it was clear Ted was not quite as forgiving as his wife.
"And I you," Narcissa replied. "Please, make yourselves comfortable and I will introduce you to everyone you don't know."
The couple took seats on the second sofa and accepted drinks.
"This is my son Draco and his soulmate Harry," Narcissa introduced as if the whole world didn't know that, "Remus Lupin and of course you know Cousin Sirius and Dora, but I'm not sure if you've met Severus before. Everyone, my sister Andromeda and her husband Ted."
"Nice to meet you," Draco said, the epitome of the polite Slytherin.
Harry flashed his soulmate a mental image of what he had seen when Narcissa and Andromeda met, just to make sure Draco knew how genuine the reunion was.
[It's not Aunt Andromeda I'm worried about,] was all Draco said.
Harry just hoped dinner would go smoothly.
* * *
The previous afternoon and evening had gone surprisingly well, so much so that everyone had stayed except Snape and Hilde, who had taken their leave late in the evening. The liqueur that Snape had brought had indeed been lovely, but Harry had stopped himself from having more than a taste because he hadn't wanted to do anything silly like blow up all the icicles on the stairs or such like.
When he woke up on Boxing Day it was still dark outside. The room was all shapes of black and grey in the darkness and slight reds and pinks over where the fire was glowing in the grate. The bed was warm, Harry was comfortable and Draco was sprawled on his front next to him, making the most delightful little snoring noises. Harry simply had to smile into the gloom.
The only blip in the whole of the previous day was Ted, even Snape had gone out of his way to be pleasant. It wasn't that Ted was ever nasty, it was just there was clearly something bothering the man. He seemed to be struggling with his clearly buoyant personality, which he must have passed on to his daughter, when it came to matters that concerned Malfoys.
Harry decided there and then to have a quiet word at some point today, before anything got out of hand.
That settled, he snuggled further down in the bed, turned on his side and reached out to gently squeeze Draco's bottom. His soulmate mumbled something, but didn't move, so he did it again.
[Too early,] Draco's sleepy mental voice said.
[Are you sure?] Harry asked and flashed a rather salacious mental image at Draco.
Draco groaned, but finally lifted his head.
[You want to defile my childhood bedroom?] Draco asked as if this was an affront to his dignity.
So far they had done nothing in the room except sleep. The bathroom was a whole other matter, but Draco hadn't seemed remotely worried about that.
"Definitely," Harry said aloud, "and I'm pretty sure you do too."
"Sometimes I hate you," Draco said, slamming his face back into the pillow, but Harry could hear the lie. "I'm never going to be able to look at Dragie again."
Dragie was Draco's stuffed dragon that had been sitting proudly in the middle of the bed when they had first arrived. Draco had had to beg his mother not to tell any embarrassing stories about the toy, which, when stroked along the back scales belched out sweet smelling smoke. Some day Harry was going to get those stories out of Draco's mum, and now that he knew of her weakness for Honeyduke's chocolates, he was pretty sure he had a method.