You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com
A Christmas Carol by momotwins
Format: Short story collection
Chapter 1: Still, Still, Still
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
A/N: Everything you recognize belongs to JKR. This is my first attempt at writing Lily and James the first, so hopefully it didn't turn out too badly. This collection of stories is going to feature several HP characters, and each chapter is its own piece, so this is all the Lily/James I have.
Begin the Christmas fluff!
“Hurry up, James, we'll be late!”
Lily Evans Potter stood impatiently at the door with her infant son bundled up in her arms. She glanced down at him. Only his little face was visible in the hat, snowsuit, and blanket that were keeping him warm. He was asleep against her shoulder. At only five months old, little Harry spent a great deal of his time sleeping. She hoped he would wake up when they got to the church.
James came stumping down the stairs in a pair of Wellies and a heavy coat. “I could be listening to Quidditch right now on the wireless, you know. Harry's too little to have any idea what's going on. Can't we just-”
“No.” She rolled her eyes at her husband in exasperation. “I want Harry to have a proper first Christmas. Get a move on.”
The church wasn't far from their little cottage, and they strolled down the snow-covered road together. James seemed to relax as they walked, forgetting about his Quidditch match, and put an arm around Lily, reaching up to tickle Harry's chin with his other hand. She could hear the choir singing in the church, the carol faint on the night air, growing stronger as they got closer.
Still, still, still, one can hear the falling snow.
The children of the parish were doing their yearly Nativity Play, and Lily and James sat at the back to watch. They weren't very good, but that was a traditional part of Nativity Plays, and Lily smiled at the little ones as they struggled to say their lines, or said them in overly loud, nervous voices. They were all trying so hard, God love them.
James seemed to find the entire thing very amusing, and Lily had to put her foot down hard over his to stop him laughing when the children stuttered over their lines.
“How will you feel when it's Harry up there messing up his lines?” she hissed, and that shut him up.
The carol service followed the Nativity Play. James had never been to a carol service before, and didn't know the songs that were sung, but he stood next to Lily, holding Harry so that she could hold her candle and sing. Harry had finally woken up, and was looking around with wide green eyes, staring at his mother as she sang.
Sleep, sleep, sleep, 'tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.
“Have we had enough proper Christmas yet?” James asked a few carols later. “Harry's starting to fuss.”
Lily reached over to her son, who immediately made a swipe for her finger and started gnawing on it. He was cutting his first teeth, and went from zero to fussy ridiculously fast. She took the baby away from James, cuddling him close, and they left the church.
Bathilda Bagshot was just coming in as they left. They stopped to talk for a few minutes; Bathilda loved children and doted on Harry. Harry did not like being delayed in the cold, and protested in a loud cry.
“Better get the little dear home,” Bathilda said fondly, shooing them out. She was leaning heavily on her cane, clutching a slightly mouldy fur coat tightly at her chest. Lily reminded herself to bring over a potion for Bathilda's painful joints.
“Happy Christmas,” Lily said as they left.
“Happy Christmas, my dears.” Bathilda waved to them and then hobbled into the church.
James took Harry back as they walked, holding him against one shoulder and reaching out to take Lily's hand with his free hand. The night was peaceful, the sound of the carol service echoing faintly on the street, and Lily listened to the music and allowed herself a moment to be thankful for her beloved little family.
Dream, dream, dream, of the joyous day to come.
Chapter 2: Let it Snow
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
(A/N: Pure Teddoire fluff ahead!)
Oh the weather outside is frightful
Diagon Alley was all dolled up for Christmas. Wreaths and garlands of greenery hung from every possible spot, and brightly coloured glass baubles nestled among their branches. Cheerful bells tinkled from the shop doors as the patrons of the wizard shopping district in London went about their holiday shopping. One figure moved through the snowy streets with an elegant pace in her high-heeled boots, her cloak swirling around her ankles, and entered the Leaky Cauldron.
Victoire Weasley shook out her long strawberry blonde hair, hoping her hat hadn't mashed it too much. It was simply too cold outside to not wear the hat. She stamped the snow from her boots and smiled at Hannah Longbottom behind the bar, then scanned the pub for a familiar face.
One never knew if that face would be familiar with Teddy Lupin, but she hoped he hadn't done anything silly to his face so that she wouldn't know him.
Someone waved from a table over by the fire, and she made her way over. She was relieved to see he looked perfectly normal, and perfectly like himself. His light brown hair and brown eyes were their natural colour, though he could change them at will, and often did, to the delight of her younger cousins, who treated Teddy like a parlour trick. He didn't seem to mind, but she thought it did not befit his dignity as a grown man. He was out of school now, after all, and too old to be playing childish games.
“I wasn't sure you would make it,” she said as she sat down next to him, tucking her ankles together and to one side of the chair in the ladylike manner her mother had taught her, and smoothed out her school robes.
“Mais oui,” he said in a terrible accent, but she appreciated the effort and smiled at him.
Teddy reached across the table and took her hand.
When we finally kiss goodnight
“I went to see your dad today,” Teddy said, regarding her seriously. He reminded her quite strongly of her uncle Harry when he gave her that look.
“Why did you do that?” she asked, nonplussed.
“So I could ask you this.” Teddy pulled something out of his pocket, and she recognized it immediately as he set it on the table in front of her. Her eyes widened. Teddy popped open the box and the ring caught the firelight, sparkling enticingly in front of her.
It wasn't a diamond.
She hated diamonds, always had. They were a cold stone, colourless and hard and unyielding. Her mother loved them, but she'd never quite seen the appeal. She wasn't sure she'd ever even mentioned her dislike to Teddy, but he'd known somehow. He always knew things no one else ever seemed to, especially about her.
It was a ruby, brilliant and warm, a Weasley red that caught the firelight and burned with shades of orange fire buried deep within the stone.
“Will you marry me, Victoire?” Teddy asked softly, watching her face as she stared at the ring.
“You...” She had to swallow before she could speak. “You asked my dad's permission?”
“And he gave it?” She tried not to sound surprised, but this was, after all, the father that had told her she would not be allowed to date until she was thirty. She'd gotten round that by the time she was fifteen, of course, but still.
Teddy smiled, as if he knew what she was thinking. “Yes, he approved.”
“Oh, Teddy.” She put a hand to her mouth, still staring at the beautiful ring he'd chosen for her. It was as if he had read her mind and given her what even she didn't know she'd always wanted.
“Are you going to say yes?”
To this man? And that ring? Did he think she was stupid? She looked up at him and smiled. “Yes, of course, yes.”
Teddy leaned forward and buried a hand in her hair, pulling her toward him until their lips met.
The fire is slowly dying
Chapter 3: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
“George?” Angelina opened the door a crack and peered around it. No one seemed to be home. She walked through the small flat, listening to the mournful Christmas jazz coming from the wireless in the kitchen. It was the only acknowledgement of the holiday that she could see in the flat. There was no tree, no decorations, no cards. Only the dreary grey sky out the small windows.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light
The shop downstairs was open and bustling with last-minute Christmas shoppers, and George's little brother Ron had cheerfully told her that George was upstairs getting ready to spend Christmas at the Burrow. Angelina had been checking up on George weekly ever since the war had ended earlier that year, and had thought to make a quick stop in on him before she went home to her mother's for the holiday, but George was nowhere to be seen.
She knocked once on the bedroom door that had once belonged to both twins but now was George's alone. The mound of blankets on the bed indicated George was under there somewhere, hiding. She went in and pulled back the edges of the covers until she found him.
“Hey Angelina,” he said in a hoarse voice. She could see he'd been crying, and she thought her heart would break all over again. He didn't have to say why, she knew exactly what was wrong.
It was his first Christmas without Fred.
Angelina crawled into the bed next to him, and George slid over, making room for her, before pulling the blankets up again over both of them, so they were in a warm cocoon together. Angelina laid her head on the pillow next to George, watching his face.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, make the yuletide gay
He sniffed and gave her a crooked smile. “Sorry. I couldn't seem to drag myself out of bed today.”
“It's okay, George. We all miss Fred.” She put a hand on George's cheek, and he closed his eyes and let out a weary breath.
“I don't think I can handle the Burrow right now. I'm supposed to go home today,” he said, sniffing. “I can't do it by myself. I need Fred back.”
Angelina could feel tears welling up as she watched her friend. George's misery was heart-rending. She didn't know what to say to soothe him, so she scooted closer and put her arms around him. George tucked his head into the crook of her neck, and she held him close.
“I don't know how to be just George,” he said in a whisper, as if confessing a deep, dark secret. “I've never been by myself like this. What do I do without Fred?”
She hugged him a little tighter, and he wrapped his arms around her. She couldn't imagine how hard it must be on him, to lose his twin. There hadn't been a moment that those two had been apart, not since their conception, and now he would go the rest of his life as a half of the whole he'd once been. She couldn't bear to think of it.
“You just have to hang on for everyone else's sake, then. We can't lose both of you. I can't lose both of you,” she added in a voice barely above a whisper.
Here we are as in older days, happy golden days of yore
George looked up, and she kept her arms around him. His face was inches from hers, and she could see all the tiny details that made that face so different than Fred's in her eyes, though they were so alike.
His eyes were clear as he studied her face, then he leaned forward and kissed her.
She'd kissed Fred any number of times at Hogwarts when they'd gone out, and had expected George's kiss to be an echo of his twin's. It wasn't. George's kiss was as different as he was similar to his brother. She kissed him back gently, knowing he was still hurting inside, and hoping she could help him heal just a little bit.
But the kiss quickly became something more, and she forgot about her empathy for George's pain, and he was kissing her as if he'd forgotten it too. She kissed him not for his sorrow, not because he was Fred's twin, but because he was George.
When they finally broke apart, he put his forehead against hers for a moment and took a deep breath.
She looked up into those liquid blue eyes, and felt something shift inside her. He was looking at her as if he'd never really seen her before. She'd dated his twin. She'd thought about asking George out, but she'd always thought it would be weird to go out with him after she'd been with Fred. Maybe he'd thought the same about her. But now it seemed the clear path for both of them.
Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow
“What just happened?” she whispered.
“I think we kissed.” George kissed her again, briefly this time. “It seemed a lot like that.”
“Smart-ass,” she said.
George settled down onto the pillow next to her again, the blankets still tented over their heads. “Are you okay, Angelina?”
His long face was drawn, his eyes sad again. “No. I'm not sure what I am any more, but I'm definitely not okay.”
“Yeah,” she agreed softly. “I know.”
“Stay with me,” he said suddenly, his eyes entreating her. “I don't want to be alone.”
This time she burrowed into his arms, and he held her close. It wasn't like when Fred had held her, but the difference was good.
“Happy Christmas,” she whispered.
“Yeah right,” George said thoughtfully, and there was an echo of his twin in his voice. “Happy.”
“It's okay to be happy, George. I know you're always going to be sad about Fred, but it's okay to be happy sometimes, too.” She didn't know what made her say it, but the urge to see George happy again was strong. It wasn't fair that he should suffer the rest of his life, that they both should suffer because Fred was gone. She wanted him to smile, to laugh again the way he used to.
His hand was stroking her arm, and he said mildly, “I know.”
They stayed there for a while, hiding from the world, safe together under the blankets, and then Angelina made him get up and get dressed to go home to his family. He seemed a little more like his old self as he whistled along to the radio, waving to her as she left the flat. She knew he still missed his twin, but maybe she'd given him something new to think about. She'd certainly given herself something to think about.
“Happy Christmas, Angelina,” Ron called cheerfully as she passed through the shop.
“Happy Christmas, Ron.” Angelina went outside and stopped in the middle of the snowy road. She looked up at the windows above the shop for a moment, thinking about George's kisses, then set off down the street.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas now.
Chapter 4: Mele Kalikimaka
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
Sirius Black had a new hideout.
He'd wanted somewhere isolated. Somewhere away from large pockets of wizards. And most importantly, he'd wanted somewhere warm. Warm and sunny, that was the ticket. He'd been in the dark and cold too long.
He'd found the perfect spot, too. There was hardly anyone around, and those who were around were not inclined to bother him or ask questions. And it was very warm.
He stretched out on the narrow beach and stared up at the blue sky overhead. Buckbeak was hiding in the foliage behind the sand, unaccustomed to the strange surroundings, and Sirius smiled blissfully into the sun that warmed his face. He'd been cold so long.
It was always cold in Azkaban. Even in the height of summer, the number of dementors in the island fortress made the prison as cold as winter. It seeped into one's bones along with the despair and hopelessness that the dementors emanated, sucking all warmth and life from the insular prison world.
But here in Kalaupapa, there were no dementors, and there was no cold.
He wasn't in the colony itself, of course. The American Muggles had made it a national park now, though certainly not a busy one. The small peninsula of Moloka'i had been chosen for its inaccessibility, the cliffs forming a natural barrier between the contagion of the small colony and the rest of the island. There were only a handful of elderly patients still living there, a small population of full-time residents, and visitors were relatively rare thanks to the difficulty in reaching the peninsula and the Muggles' regulations for visiting.
It had been a prison of sorts at one time. Banished to the Makanalua Peninsula for contracting the disease, the sufferers were trapped there, and it was only a little over twenty years ago that the law keeping them there had been repealed, though that was twenty years after the Muggles had finally found a cure. Most of the surviving exiles of Kalaupapa had chosen to stay, so disfigured were they by the ravages of leprosy that they could no longer rejoin the outside world.
Sirius had a lot of empathy for them. He didn't think he'd ever be able to rejoin the wizard world after his extended stay in Azkaban. It had changed him too, both his mind and his body. Twelve years in Azkaban had destroyed most of the handsomeness he'd never fully appreciated, and left him haunted and dissipated.
He'd traded one prison for another, but this one had no walls to confine him, no dementors to destroy all hope and happiness, and no cold emptiness to suck the life from him. No, this prison had palm trees, and beaches, and no one around for miles. No one to jar him from his moment of solace.
It was Christmas. It didn't seem it, in the bright sunlight, the warm air, and the solid walls of green vegetation that surrounded him. It was as if the island was alive, breathing the life back into him that had been stolen by Azkaban. He thought he wouldn't mind staying here forever, right on this beach, all heartaches and tragedies of his past and all the unfairness of life forgotten for the moment, with the slack-key guitar melody from the village echoing in his head.
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
Buckbeak didn't like it here, and soon Sirius would have to go back to England, to his godson, who looked so much like James. Back to war, and cold, and hiding from his own people, his own kind. Back to yet another sort of prison.
But for now, he was content, sitting on the beach with a wand and a hippogriff his only companions. No guards. No walls. Only a prison in his mind, but that was something he was used to. The prison that had held him, had changed him, over those twelve long years had built its walls up in his head, keeping him inside even now that he was out. He could feel those walls eroding in the sunlight, in the crashing of the waves against the shore.
It felt so good to be warm again.
(A/N: This doesn't fit anywhere in the canon timeline, I'm afraid, but the image of poor Sirius on a beach in my home state for Christmas came to me while listening to songs for this challenge, and it was so strong that I had to write it. Like Harry, I hope Sirius went somewhere warm when he went into hiding, and I think the old leper colony of Moloka'i had a poetic justice for him. I imagine this taking place his first Christmas out of Azkaban, which would have been during Goblet of Fire, so as you see, it doesn't fit canon... But I like it.
The version of Mele Kalikimaka I have in mind is not the Bing Crosby/Andrews Sisters one, but the one by Cyril Pahinui, son of the brilliant musician Gabby Pahinui, all of whose sons are talented musicians in their own right. Cyril gives the melody an almost meditative air that feels very soothing. It's a beautiful song.)
Chapter 5: White Christmas
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
The house was too quiet.
Molly Weasley wasn't used to quiet. With seven children around, it hadn't been quiet for this long in about thirty years. But no one was here, and she didn't quite know what to do with herself.
The tree was up. Trimming it alone had been strange. No one tugged on her dress, or tried to climb the tree, or told her where to put each ornament as she pulled them out of their tissue paper. No one had demanded cookies, or candy, or pie, or any other kind of food. No one had pulled her away, needing her attention or tattling on a brother, causing it to take all day to get the tree finished. There was no one around at all. They all had their own lives now, their own trees to trim.
She'd put the ornaments on the tree by hand. She had done it that way since the first year she'd been married, the first Christmas she'd spent away from her family. Her mother had always done Christmas décor with her wand, but there was something very satisfying about doing it without magic. She'd almost forgotten it needn't take all day, when no one was distracting her every five minutes.
She missed the distractions.
She could hear the crack of someone Apparating into the front yard, and glanced at the clock to see Arthur's hand spinning toward “home.”
She went to the door to greet her husband. His hair was greyer now, and there was less of it, and his face had more lines around the eyes and mouth from all the smiles and laughs of their years together, but he was still the same boy she'd fallen in love with at Hogwarts.
Arthur kissed her when he came in. “Isn't it lovely to have the house all to ourselves again?” he said, tossing his coat onto the couch. Operating the coat-tree by the door was something that had escaped him all these years, much like the correct function of the laundry hampers. She despaired of ever teaching him to turn his socks right-side out before he put them in the wash.
Molly hung his coat for him as he took in the tree.
“It looks beautiful,” he said, putting an arm around her shoulders when she came to stand next to him.
“It hardly took me any time at all,” she said, and he seemed to notice the dejected tone in her voice.
He looked at her in surprise, and adjusted his glasses on his nose. “I thought you were pleased to have all the children out from underfoot? You said it was very peaceful, and you were going to take up quilting.”
“That was the first week,” she admitted. “Now I'm bored.”
Arthur laughed. “You're bored?”
“I want grandchildren,” she said determinedly. “This house is too quiet. It needs children again.”
“I'm afraid you'll have to speak to Bill and Fleur about that,” Arthur said, his eyes twinkling. “That, my dear, is something over which I have absolutely no control.”
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,
The snow was falling softly over the Burrow as Molly bustled around the kitchen, checking on dishes and charming a knife to chopping some vegetables. Arthur was at the stove, presiding over a large turkey that had been cooking since that morning. He'd been very little help otherwise, though the poor man had tried. After she'd fixed the damage he'd done to the potatoes to the best of her ability, she'd set him to watching the turkey.
The children would all be coming home for Christmas Day, she'd made sure each of them promised. Bill had spent the last two Christmases at Shell Cottage with his wife, but this year he'd promised her they would be at the Burrow for Christmas dinner. She was eager to have all the children at home again.
The wireless on the counter opposite the stove was playing a Celestina Warbeck retrospective, with a few new pieces by the ageing singer.
“Here's a Muggle favourite by Celestina, White Christmas...”
Arthur, for once when listening to Celestina, perked up. “Muggles?”
Molly rolled her eyes, waving her wand at the spoon resting in the pot of gravy so that it began slowly stirring. Arthur was leaning back against the counter now, not paying any attention to the turkey, humming along somewhat tunelessly to the song. He didn't know the tune, but that wasn't stopping him.
As she passed by to grab an iron trivet off the wall, he reached out and drew her into his arms, leading her into a slow dance in the middle of the kitchen.
“Arthur, the turkey-”
“Hang the turkey.”
He was holding her very close, and she put her head down against his shoulder and closed her eyes, smiling as they danced. “Oh, Arthur...”
No one interrupted them. Maybe there were positive aspects to having all the children grown and out of the house after all.
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,
Molly smiled benevolently at her children, all gathered around the table and busily eating. There was a blessed din hovering over the kitchen, filling the room with the sound of family. She wished they would all come home to stay, though she was sure she'd want to throw them all right back out a week later. It really was a pleasure to only do laundry for two people again.
Harry was there, of course, staring at Ginny every chance he got while she joked around with George. Molly thought it wouldn't be long before she would be planning a wedding for her little girl. Ron and Hermione were sitting together, Hermione blushing prettily. Molly took a sip of her wine and tried to restrain her matchmaking tendencies. Let them work it out for themselves.
Maybe she'd just drop a tiny little hint to Ron later, though.
She was so happy to have them all back home, even though Charlie had clearly not cut his hair since she'd done so for him at Bill's wedding, and Bill was still wearing that horrible earring, that she decided to hint about something else too.
She turned to Bill, who was sitting next to her with Fleur on his other side. “I'm so glad you came by, dear.”
He smiled at her, his mouth full of turkey. She'd almost grown accustomed to his scarred face, though she couldn't read it as well as she used to.
“The house has been so quiet lately, with just me and your father rattling around in it.”
Fleur was eyeing her as if she suspected where this conversation was going and wasn't sure she should allow it.
“I miss having children underfoot,” Molly said wistfully, swirling her wine in the glass. “Your father and I aren't getting any younger, you know.”
Bill smiled at her blandly. Arthur was watching her from the other end of the table, and rolled his eyes at her.
Hang it, she thought. “If only there were some grandchildren to come visit me in my old age.”
Fleur suddenly flushed bright pink. Molly's eyebrows went up, and she turned questioningly to her eldest son.
“Well, Mum, I think we can help you out with that,” Bill said, taking a sip of his wine. His eyes were sparkling as he turned to his wife, putting an arm around her shoulders. “Fleur is due in May.”
The table was plunged into silence, and everyone turned to look at Fleur.
“Oh wow,” Ginny said softly.
Molly leaned forward to throw her arms around Bill, knocking over the gravy boat. Charlie managed to grab it before it bounced off the table, and suddenly the kitchen was filled with sound again as Bill's siblings rushed to congratulate him and Fleur.
Arthur was still watching her from the other end of the table. She caught his eye and smiled brightly at her husband, and he laughed, then got up to offer his own congratulations to Bill and Fleur. Molly clapped her hands together with joy, then turned to Charlie, who shook his head at her.
“Don't even ask, Mum, there'll be no grandchildren out of me in the near future.”
She laughed and leaned over to kiss his cheek.
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,