Draco ignored Pansy’s pouting and dragged her along. What were the teachers thinking, hanging up all these mistletoes around the castle? There were so many, it was so hard to avoid them all. Also, it was only November 17th! Couldn’t they at least have waited until December?
Cursing under his breath, Draco turned to the corridor that was still mistletoe-free. Well, at least it had been this morning.
“Oh, come on,” Draco groaned as he suddenly found himself and Pansy standing beneath a gigantic ladder. Filch was on top of it, fumbling with the fateful plant Draco had come to loathe.
Since he was a child, he had been very superstitious. Ignoring the mistletoe wouldn’t do it. It was bad luck. And Pansy knew this very well, judging from her smug expression. She had been taught the same by her parents, but, unlike Draco, she chose to try her luck. At least she usually did.
“Well, go on,” she said, grinning at him. Exhaling loudly, Draco pinched the bridge of his nose.
“This is ridiculous,” he grumbled.
“I’m waiting.” Pansy’s grin only widened when Draco huffed and blew his hair out of his face.
“Alright, alright.” He leaned over to her reluctantly, but panicked, when she suddenly closed her eyes. She couldn’t be serious! Dear Merlin! Hastily, he planted his lips on her left cheek and immediately started walking again. There! Surely that would count!
“Hey! Draco,” he heard Pansy call after him. Nope, he would keep walking! He would keep walking and avoid these bloody mistletoes this time! Getting back to the Slytherin common room couldn’t be that impossible!
“… no, I remember you specifically told me- Ouch!”
“Hey, watch where you’re going!” Rubbing his nose, Draco glowered at the person he had just collided with. The Weasel. With Granger in tow. Magnificent!
“You bumped into me,” Weasley said in an accusing tone.
“Whatever, Weasel! Now get out of my-”
“Oh, mistletoe,” Granger interrupted him, pointing at the ceiling.
You’ve got to be kidding me!
Draco looked up, then back at the other two standing in front of him. Oh, damn it!
“Come on, let’s just go,” Granger said, taking Weasley’s hand.
“We can’t,” he whispered. “We have to kiss.” Granger rolled her eyes at him, but Weasley’s face turned serious. “No, we really have to kiss. It’s bad luck if we don’t.”
Huh. Weasley wasn’t as dumb as he looked after all. With an exasperated sigh, Granger pulled him down and kissed him for much longer than was necessary. When Draco cleared his throat, they finally stopped.
“What, you want one, too?” Weasley asked, arching his eyebrows.
“Well, I was standing under the damn thing, too, wasn’t I?”
Understanding hit Weasley’s face and Draco would have loved to take a step forward and slap him. His dumb face was just so infuriating. Before Draco could do anything, however, Granger shoved her boyfriend and he stumbled forward.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Weasley asked, turning his head.
“Well, obviously, you two are the ones with the superstitions. And I already kissed you, so you can go and kiss him.” The way she said it was so nonchalant, it made Draco gape at ther. Okay, so he definitely didn’t want to kiss her. But did she understand how revolting it would be to kiss the Weasel? Well, of course not. She did it willingly. On a regular basis. Yuck!
When Weasley turned back around to Draco, his face was so pale, Draco thought he might faint.
“Ugh, let’s just get this over with,” Draco murmured.
“No, please, Hermione, no, please don’t make me do this!”
“I’m not making you do anything! You were the one who said you have to kiss under the mistletoe.”
“She’s right,” Draco said through gritted teeth. He closed the gap between them and wrinkled his nose. “Just… hold still.” Draco placed both his hands on Weasley’s shoulders and tried to ignore the way his bottom lip was quivering. His lips looked very chapped.This was going to be worse than he had thought!
If he hadn’t already cheated when he had kissed Pansy on the cheek, Draco would have done the same with Weasley. But he couldn’t cheat fate twice in one day! Ugh!
Just a quick peck. Light. Very light. Lips barely touching. Yeah, that wouldn’t be so bad, right? Ugh, if only it weren’t Weasley!
“Merlin, Malfoy, just do it already,” Weasley groaned. Clicking his tongue once, Draco stood up on his toes and gave Weasley the quickest kiss in history of all kisses.
“Ugh! Now excuse me, I need to go wash my mouth,” Draco declared and started hurrying off.
“Ron. Ron? Are you okay? Are you crying? Oh, you’re gagging. Come on, stop it!” Granger’s voice slowly died down behind him as Draco ran down the stairs to the Dungeons. No, wait, he couldn’t walk down that corridor. There were at least three bunches of mistletoe down there. The one on the left had only one. That he knew of. And he’d have to walk through half the castle again. But one was still better than three. Okay then.
As he walked, Draco kept his eyes to the ceiling. He wouldn’t let himself get into another situation like that. Yuck! Weasley! Disgusting! He’d probably never forget it. November 17th, the day he had kissed Ron Weasley. Why? Why??
He wiped his lips with the back of his hand and began running when he spied the bunch of mistletoe he had been dreading. Luckily, no one else was in the corridor. Heaving a sigh of relief, Draco slowed down when he suddenly heard footsteps approaching.
“Potter!” Draco narrowed his eyes. “Wandering the corridors all alone?”
Why couldn’t it have been Potter? Why couldn’t he have bumped into him under the mistletoe? This really wasn’t fair! Draco was doing everything, but still he had the worst luck! This was just infuriating! And honestly, it was kind of Potter’s fault he’d had to endure kissing Weasley. If Potter had been with his stupid friends, it might have gone very differently.
“Why aren’t you with the rest of your little trio? Tired of being the third wheel?”
“I am, actually.”
This was no fun when Potter was being honest.
“What about you? You look a bit ill. Are you okay?”
Draco tried very hard not to think about his lips touching Weasley’s. This would probably haunt him for a very long time. Instead, he rolled his eyes.
“How sweet. Nice to know the Saviour cares.”
Potter was about to respond, when his gaze fell to the ground.
Draco followed Potter’s gaze and almost choked. Was that mistletoe? Growing, actually growing out of the cobblestone while they were standing there? But mistletoe usually grew on trees!
“You can’t be serious,” Draco muttered. This was insane. But… he was with Potter. This would be the perfect opportunity to steal a kiss without having to reveal his feelings for the stupid git. “Ugh, can this day get any worse?” Draco moaned. Yes, yes, act like this is the worst thing that could have happened right now! He watched as Potter slowly examined the plant.
“Yeah,” Draco said, trying to sound as displeased as possible.
There was a brief silence, in which they both avoided the other’s eyes.
“Well, since we’re not exactly standing under it… Let’s just ignore it,” Potter babbled. Draco’s heart fell. This was his opportunity! Why was Potter being so difficult?
“We can’t just ignore it. It’s bad luck,” he mumbled. He felt so stupid. Potter was probably seeing right through him. From the corner of his eyes he saw the Gryffindor shuffling his feet, while his eyes were still glued to the ground.
“That’s just some stupid superstition, isn’t it?” Potter said with an arched brow.
“It’s not,” Draco insisted. “People… people have died after ignoring it.” It was utter bollocks. And Potter probably knew it. Draco considered just walking away. Potter was right, they weren’t standing under the mistletoe, so the rules probably didn’t apply here.
“Oh.” Potter paused while Draco suppressed the urge to kick the mistletoe. “Well, if it’s that serious… we better not risk it.”
Draco’s head snapped up. What? Had Potter just… What?
“Ritual of Oak & Mistletoe”, another painting for my recent show at Gallery Nucleus. This one was inspired by the actual druid ceremony of cutting mistletoe from a sacred oak and performing animal sacrifice to produce an elixir with healing powers. Mistletoe is actually a parasitic plant that sometimes grows in strange spherical formations (known as “witches brooms”) in the boughs of trees – it’s really incredible looking and not hard to understand why it would be thought to have magical properties. In my work for this show, I replaced livestock and other commonly-sacrificed animals with animals that we consider to be pests in urban areas; animals whose lives are often viewed as unimportant relative to our human comfort and desires. Goodnight, sweet pidge 🐦💖