Lily sat on her sleigh bed in her room staring out the window truly happy for the first time in months. She heard a knock at the door.
“Come in.” James came in and sat down at the end of her bed.
“Great! It’s so nice being home.”
“Well you certainly look happier. Al and I were really worried you know.”
“You haven’t been acting like yourself, Lily. I mean you just seem so…depressed.”
“I know. These last few weeks it’s just been hard to think…positively. I mean, even when nothing is going wrong I just feel…alone.”
“Well, you know Al and I are always here, but if it’s going to be girly stuff I’d prefer you talk to Rose.” Lily laughed.
“Thanks Mum.” She gave him a big bear hug. “I’m going to go find Dad.”
“Okay, if you’re up for a game of chess later let me know.”
“Okay.” She jumped off the bed and headed down the stairs. Her Dad sat reading the newspaper on the sofa. Sitting down next to him and laying her head against his arm, she waited patiently until he put the paper down and put his arm around her shoulder.
“Have you ever….done anything really…stupid…that made everyone hate you or make fun of you?”
“I have--several times, in fact.”
“How did you get through it?”
“Well, mostly by realizing it didn’t matter what they all thought of me. Ron and Hermione were always there for me as well. That helped.”
“Yes, and Mum.”
“Daddy, did you fancy Mum when you first met her?” Harry squirmed in his seat.
“Um, well….actually I was pretty thick about the whole thing. Didn’t realize how I felt about her until sixth year.”
“Sixth year! Well, then I suppose there’s still some hope for me.”
“Don’t tell me you’ve already found some bloke to fancy?”
“Dad!” she pushed him with her shoulder. “He’s not ‘some bloke.’ His name is Sharpe and he’s really nice.”
“Sharpe! Poor kid. Mum must not have liked him too much. Kinda like that poor Scorpius kid.”
“Scor’s sweet, Dad! His name isn’t all that bad. Besides, he’s a great guy and one of my best friends.”
Harry laughed, holding up his hands in defeat. “Okay, okay! I’m sure he’s a Prince.”
“Well, a bit of an annoying one at times, but yes.” She smiled thinking of how hard Scor had tried to cheer her up the past few weeks. A twinge of guilt pricked her conscience. Perhaps I should make it up to him somehow?
The next day Lily talked her parents into taking them to Diagon Alley. Lily had decided to get Scor and Sharpe presents as well as her brothers and cousins. Diagon Alley was crowded with frantic Holiday shoppers looking for gifts. Snow drifted past settling on the shop rooftops giving them a festive look. Bright lights and decorations adorned the shop windows. Lily clapped her mittened hands together. Harry took James and Albus to “look at Quidditch supplies” somewhere in the direction of the jewelry store while Lily and Ginny headed off toward Uncle George’s shop.
Lily always loved going to Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. There were so many things to look at and Uncle George always gave her a little “something extra.” After her Mum had finished greeting him and gone off to look for last minute gifts for James and Al, Uncle George took Lily aside and showed her a small box.
“What is it?” Uncle George’s eyes sparkled with mischief.
She lifted the lid and stared in awe at two identical silver rings. “They’re Body Swappers. They allow you to switch places with another person for one day. We were working on them before he died.”
Lily fingered one of the silver rings trying not to notice the change in her Uncle’s mood.
“They sound excellent”
“I thought they might come in handy for you. James said one of your roommates was bothering you a bit. Perhaps these would help you teach her a lesson!” Lily looked at the rings, devious thoughts coming to her mind.
They arrived home later that evening exhausted but cheerful. She took her gifts up to her room to wrap. She had bought Sharpe a pot of ever-blooming Christmas roses because Scor had said Zabini liked roses. Scor’s present had taken longer to decide on. Eventually, she had chosen a Basic Blaze box of Weasleys’ Wildfire Whiz-bangs and a set of two-way mirrors Uncle George had told her were patterned after the ones her grandfather and Sirius Black used as boys. After wrapping both boys’ gifts and sending them with the family owl, Cissaro, she went downstairs to join the others in hot-cocoa and carols.
Lily woke up early Christmas morning. She shrugged out of her sleeping bag and tried not to step on any of her cousins as she made her way to the tree. A hand clasped her ankle.
“I don’t think so Lil.” Teddy’s tousled aqua head rose up out of the sea of sleeping bags.
“Awww come on Teddy, just one!”
“Nope, you have to suffer just like the rest of us.” He smiled as he rolled up his sleeping bag and deposited it in the corner. They made their way to the kitchen and Teddy started making coffee with a wave of his wand. She loved coming to the burrow for Christmas although it was a bit crowded with so many cousins. Grandad Weasley always had some new muggle device to show them, Grandmum Weasley always had plenty of delicious food to feed them, and her cousins always kept her busy playing chess or Quidditch. She wondered if all families were as big and boisterous at Christmas time as her own. She thought of Scor and Sharpe and decided probably not.
“Teddy, when did you and Victoire start going out?”
“Her seventh year, why?”
“Just wondering.” She looked out of the frosted window.
“You got your eye on someone?”
“Well, let me know who he is so I can go break his neck.”
“I can’t have anyone stealing away my little sister’s heart, now can I?”
“Don’t worry. I don’t think he wants to steal my heart.”
“That way is it?”
“Yeah, I don’t think he notices me at all.”
“Well, don’t worry about it. You’ve got plenty of time for blokes later.”
Other tousled heads started making their way into the kitchen for coffee. Victoire went over and kissed Teddy on the cheek before helping Grandmum Weasley start breakfast. Lily sighed dreamily thinking of Teddy and Victoire’s upcoming wedding. She wondered if anyone would ever feel that way about her.
After everyone was full of eggs, bacon, and toast, they all gathered around the tree and Granddad Weasley started passing out parcels. Lily soon had a pile of gifts and wrappings surrounding her. A knitted sweater from Grandmum Weasley, a box of DVD’s Granddad Weasley had magicked a little screen onto that played the movies when you tapped them, lots of candy from her cousins, and a set of Smart Answer quills were among the pile of loot. Soon the tree sat barren in the corner and everyone around it was laughing, showing off gifts and sharing candy. Granddad Weasley appeared from behind the tree carrying a small box wrapped in green paper.
“Here’s another for you, Lily. Must have gotten pushed to the back.” She took the box and held it in her hands, butterflies swirling in her stomach. She had already opened all the gifts from her family. She tore off the wrapper and lifted the lid of the velvet box. She gasped when she saw what lay inside.
“Wow Lily, who gave you that?” Hugo leaned over to get a better look at Lily’s newest acquisition. She held it up light glittering off of it. As it turned, she saw an engraved scorpion on the back, the sharp point of its tail raised high, and thought perhaps Sharpe has noticed me after all.
A/N: Thanks to all those who have reviewed. I appreciate your encouragement.
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