Chapter 1 : A Merry Christmas
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Silence filled the common room on this frosty Christmas Eve, only breaking with the crackling of an inviting fire. The room had been wonderfully decorated by the house elves, appeasing every occupant of the Gryffindor Tower. A massive Douglas fir stood proudly in the corner, ornamented with countless shiny, multicolored baubles and twinkling fairy lights. Strands of garland were draped over almost everything and sprigs of holly adorned many random places but they did so perfectly. There were even a few pieces of mistletoe hidden in well chosen places. These spots were avoided like the plague though. No one knew if they were enchanted or not and not many dared to try and find out.
Another sound interrupted the silence...the turning of a page. A girl was nestled up in one of the comfy armchairs in front of the fire, deeply engrossed in a thick book filled with Christmas tales and carols. Her hair, hues matching those of the fire, hung in loose curls around her face. A hand would occasionally come up and brush some strands from her eyes so she could continue reading. She was completely at peace with the world on this joyous night.
Somewhere in the castle, the clock struck twelve. Christmas had finally come. Seventeen year old Lily Evans looked up from her book, emerald eyes dancing. She carefully marked her page before standing and setting the book down on a waiting table. She quietly slipped up into her dorm, retrieving a small box from under her pillow before coming back down again. She approached the tree with a thoughtful look gracing her delicate features. “Where to put you?” she muttered softly to herself, fingering the box within her hands.
“How about right here next to me?” suggested a voice from behind, his tone teasingly.
Lily froze for a moment before a small smile slipped onto her face as her eyes rolled. She turned to face a grinning young man named James Potter. “What are you still doing up, James?” she questioned curiously. She had thought everyone had gone to bed quite a while ago.
James shrugged as he lowered himself down in a chair around the tree. “It’s Christmas,” he said simply. “Figured I’d head outside and look for jolly old St. Nick.” He grinned his lopsided grin. “Haven’t seen him yet but I’m pretty sure I saw one of his noble steeds. Handsome fellow, that one was.”
Lily couldn’t help but let out a small bout of laughter. Knowing James, he was probably serious about that too. “Now that would have been a lovely sight,” she commented.
His hazel eyes sparkled and James grinned. “It is. Maybe he’ll be out again later,” he hinted in a mysterious fashion. “Now that I’ve told you why I’m up, it’s your turn. Why aren’t you snug in your bed, eagerly sleeping away the wait til Christmas morning?”
Lily bit her lower lip in thought, her eyes wandering to the box still in her hands. “Well, I suppose I could tell you,” she admitted and walked over to sit on the edge of his chair. She set the box on her lap and opened it up, revealing a Christmas ornament. It was a picture frame, just a tad smaller than a normal frame, with miniature candy canes going around the border. “Every year I hang a Christmas ornament on the tree they set up in here right after the clock strikes twelve, making it Christmas morning,” she explained. “It’s my way of helping people celebrate one of my favorite times of year.” She pointed to a small ornament featuring a trio of snowmen that looked like they were made from s’mores ingredients. “I hung that one in second year. That was the year that Kami and Nikki introduced me to s’mores so I asked my mum to send me one of those ornaments. I hung it up and the house elves leave it there so it stays.”
James smiled and looked down at the frame. “There’s no picture in there,” he pointed out. Having a picture-less picture frame wasn’t very useful.
“I know. I haven’t put one in yet. I’m gonna take one in the morning when we’re all opening presents together so we can remember our last Christmas at Hogwarts,” Lily said with a thoughtful smile. “And maybe, one day, if any of us ever have kids in Gryffindor, then they’ll look at the tree and be able to say ‘Hey! That’s my dad and his friends!’ or ‘That’s my mum and her friends!’”
A dreamy look floated over James’s face. “That would be pretty awesome,” he agreed. He gave the tree a once over. “So where are you going to hang that one?”
Lily looked over the tree herself and shrugged. “I’m not sure yet. I can’t find a spot I like very well,” she muttered and began to circle the tree.
James nodded in understanding before examining the tree himself, trying to aid Lily in the hunt for the perfect spot. He paused and looked up towards the top of the tree. “What about right there?” he asked and pointed to a bare spot just large enough for the ornament.
Lily appeared from the other side of the tree and followed his pointed finger to the spot. It was the right size and she knew she’d be able to see the picture clearly from that height but there was one problem. “I’m not tall enough to reach that,” she reminded and stood on tiptoes for a second to prove her point.
James merely grinned and offered a shrug. “No problem,” he told her and quickly swept her up into his arms, placing her upon his shoulders.
Lily squealed in surprise and her legs locked around his torso to make sure she was steady. She felt his arms wrap themselves around her legs and she knew he wouldn’t let her fall. “Thanks, James,” she said with a smile and ruffled his messy black hair.
James couldn’t help but grin. She used to think that messing up his hair on purpose was stupid and annoying but now she was the one doing it. How the world has changed.... “You’re welcome, Lily Flower,” he told her and moved closer to the tree. “Now try and hang it.”
Lily nodded and reached forward with the frame in hand, placing it gently onto the spot James had found. It fit there like that spot was made for it. She smiled and tapped James on the head. “It’s up,” she reported with a yawn. She was starting to get tired.
James reached up and took Lily around the waist, setting her down beside him. His glasses had been knocked off in the process though and had skidded across the floor. He was blind without his glasses. “Hey, Lily? Do you think you can get my glasses or something please?” he asked.
Lily was confused for a moment before she noticed James was squinting at her. She laughed lightly and took him by the arm. She looked over the floors before spotting them at the base of the window nook. She gently led him over there and scooped up his glasses in her hands. “There you are,” she said and placed the glasses on his face. “Good as new.”
James smiled and readjusted his glasses briefly. “Thank you,” he told her with a nod. “I would have been searching for a while.”
“It was my pleasure.” Lily noticed that they were rather close. She made to back up a little ways but found that she couldn’t. “What’s going on?” she thought aloud and gave James a puzzled glance.
James was about to say that he had no idea when he looked upward. A blush began to creep to his cheeks. “Um....there’s a....” He couldn’t get the words out so James pointed instead.
Her eyes followed his finger once more and felt her cheeks growing hot as well. There was a small patch of mistletoe hanging above their heads. Lily took a deep breath and looked up at James in a somewhat awkward manner. “Well, it is a Christmas tradition,” she said carefully, her eyes downcast to her fidgeting hands.
James nodded and ran a hand through his hair nervously. “Right. Of course,” he said in what he hoped was a calm and collected fashion. Even though this was something he had only dreamed of, James was a nervous wreck. Once Lily had looked up, he hesitantly lowered his lips onto hers.
They stayed like that for much longer than either of them thought would ever be possible. Lily was the one to pull away, feeling a bit breathless. That had felt....really good. She never would have imagined the feeling she felt inside her to be connected to anything even remotely relating to James Potter.
James, on the other hand, felt like he had died and gone to heaven. His lips were still tingling from contact. He could walk on water right now if he felt the need to do so. It was a truly magical feeling.
Lily smiled shyly at the look on James’s face. She glanced outside and then sat down in the window seat. She looked up at James, wondering if he’d join her.
He did. James came down beside her and he leaned against the wall, still in his joyous state of happiness. There was no need to tell her how he felt right now. It was written all over his face.
“It’s beautiful,” Lily said quietly, staring out at the snowy landscape that was the grounds of Hogwarts.
James nodded in agreement though he wasn’t looking outside. “Beautiful indeed,” he commented and pushed a strand of hair from Lily’s face, tucking it behind her ear.
Lily knew she was blushing once more but she didn’t care this time. She just continued gazing out of the window until, eventually, she fell asleep.
James chuckled quietly but quickly stopped when she fell against his chest. He checked to see if she was actually asleep and she was. He smiled and readjusted her position so she’d be more comfortable. Then he carefully slipped his arms around her waist, holding her close. She muttered something in her sleep, causing him to hold his breath, before curling up in his arms. “Night, my Lily Flower,” he said softly and kissed the top of her head. “And Merry Christmas.” And just like that, James fell asleep with Lily tucked away in his arms.
Sometime during the night, Lily stirred for a moment from her sleep. She was about to sit up when she noticed a light weight against her head and two strong arms wrapped around her waist. She smiled and glanced up at James, having to stifle her laughter when she saw his glasses askew. She pulled up a blanket that had been laid over their lower bodies and covered them up a bit further. “Merry Christmas, James,” she yawned and closed her eyes, falling back into sleep once more.
Had Lily stayed awake for a few minutes longer, she might have heard the slightest jiggling of bells and a faint spell of jolly laughter. She also might have noticed that the picture frame they had hung upon the tree earlier was no longer empty. A picture of James and Lily sleeping peacefully was now inside with three simple words written neatly at the bottom of the picture:
A Merry Christmas
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