Word Count: 684
Rating: PG-13 this part
Prompt: Day 4 traditional - fireplace, bookshelf
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns them, not me. This is for mischief's sake, not profit.
Author's Notes: This is for slythindor100 's Christmas challenge picture prompts. Sequel of Part one, Part two & Part three
"This is Draco's study." Narcissa opened the door and ushered the two Gryffindors inside.
Hermione's eyes were wide with wonder as she took in the cosy fireside and the Christmas tree, gaily decorated with popcorn garlands and shiny baubles. She squinted at the bookshelves behind the tree which were filled with tomes she knew by heart, 'Ancient Egyptian Runes' by T. Thoth Aler amongst them.
"Who would've thought?" said Ron wonderingly, walking up towards the shelf whose colour contrasted sharply against the wreaths below and above it.
The portrait that presided over this holiday cheer, however, was busy sneering at the red candles below him. "This is why I loathe Christmas!" he grumbled, fingering his beard. "Meddlesome Muggle customs!"
Narcissa glared at him, crossing her arms. "Phineas Nigellus, I will have you know that…"
"Never mind, Narcissa, come closer," said the wizard imperiously.
Hermione nudged Ron's elbow and the two walked up to the table beside the desk. Ron shrugged and sat down, staring intently at the biscuits and scones which were on plates next to the teacups.
"Excuse me for the interruption," said Narcissa, sitting down with an elegant motion.
Hermione lifted her eyebrows, cocking her head slightly towards the shelf.
"Phineas Nigellus keeps me abreast of developments on 12 Grimmauld Place," Narcissa said, and took out her wand.
"Really?" Hermione narrowed her eyes at the portrait.
"Indeed. He's been quite useful." Narcissa swished her wand at the tea jug which obediently flew up in the air towards each of their cups; it poured the piping hot liquid, tilting its neck as delicately as its owner.
"Your letter said you had information to share," said Hermione between sips of tea, her nostrils flaring as she inhaled the rich aroma wafting up from the porcelain cup.
"My friends told me about Mr. Potter's strange adventures." Narcissa gazed significantly at the painting, lifting her eyebrow.
Hermione nodded whilst she grabbed a hot scone. "Bill mumbled something the other day about strange goings-on at Gringotts."
"That's one of the reasons I went to get Malfoy," Ron said and then patted his stomach, eyeing regretfully the biscuits. "I think they are both connected."
Narcissa nodded her assent. "The fact they so easily shared Draco's wand suggested to me similar avenues to explore, that's why I arranged the loan of Phineas Nigellus' frame."
Hermione stared at the tree; she could have sworn it had more baubles before. Shrugging, she dismissed the idea from her mind and said briskly, "Those incidents worry me because their magic could turn on Harry and Malfoy at any moment."
Narcissa put down her cup of tea and looked sharply at them. "As a precaution, I charmed two jewels with an ancient Celtic shield."
"But how will you get them to wear those jewels?" said Hermione in exasperation. "I've been trying for ages to get Harry to listen to my pleas and stay home."
"Harry's stubborn," said Ron, nodding in acknowledgement.
"My son is also stubborn." Narcissa fingered her napkin, staring at the desk on which there were several ancient figurines. "He's grown cautious and often will test to see if there are charms or curses present, but there are moments when he lowers his guard." She lifted her eyebrow at Hermione.
"I bet it happens when he's with Harry," Hermione said contemplatively, remembering their confrontations at Hogwarts.
"Exactly. So I had Kreacher take them a baked treat which had the charms inside. I am sure Draco will be tempted to wear the jewel he found in such an intriguing fashion."
"And if Harry's with him, he's bound to do whatever Malfoy does!" Ron said triumphantly.
Hermione frowned, pointing at the bare tree. "What in Merlin's name happened to the decorations?"
"The portrait informed me the boys are coming here and their intent, so I had a house-elf undecorate the tree, so to speak." Narcissa pointed at the door. "And since you have finished tea and the wards have just informed me of their arrival, I'll take the opportunity to show you around the gardens, if you are so inclined."
"Indeed," Hermione said simply, sounding impressed.Part five