Chapter 1 : A Stocking for Dobby
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Harry looked around at the happy gathering of Weasleys. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley sat on the couch, snuggled up under a comforter, giggling a bit. Ron and Hermione sat closely, legs pressed against each other at a desk, poring over a volume of Christmas stories together. As Harry watched, he saw Ron reach out and stroke Hermione’s hair with a gentle touch. Harry craned his neck to look through the doorway into the kitchen, where he could see George, his face covered in flour, getting ready to drop a handful of flour down Alicia’s blouse. Looking out the window into the garden, he watched as Bill and Charlie tossed a Quaffle around, flying low to the ground.
“Harry, what do you think of the new hairstyle?” Ginny’s voice pulled Harry out of his reverie.
Turning his attention back to the living room, he looked at Ginny with a slightly soppy smile on his face. Fleur had spent the last thirty minutes braiding Ginny’s hair with multiple intricate small braids breaking up the sleek straight line of her flaming tresses.
“Honestly, Ginny, I like your hair better when it hangs free and blows in the wind,” Harry said. Harry stood from where he sat near the fireplace and moved to Ginny. Sitting down on the floor next to her, he cupped her chin gently and kissed her delicately upon her upturned lips. Breaking the kiss, Ginny leaned into Harry and let him wrap his arms around her. Harry thought that he had never felt so perfect a moment.
With a loud clattering, Percy came careening down the stairs, carrying a load of boxes that covered his head.
“Time to hang the stockings!” he shouted, his nose glowing red from the chill of the attic. With a thump, Percy sat the box down and opened it up. Fleur went to the kitchen to get George and Alicia, while Ron went to the garden to gather up his two eldest brothers. When everyone had gathered, Percy handed out the stockings in the box, starting with the rather dated and slightly musty stockings of his parents. They reverently took their stockings and hung them from the mantel with hooks that Mrs. Weasley conjured seemingly from nothing. All the rest of the Weasleys followed suit, in descending order of age, with a slight pause as George hung up Fred’s stocking as well, then retreated from the fireplace with tears streaming silently down his cheeks as he went and embraced Alicia.
When all the Weasleys had finished hanging their stockings, Mrs. Weasley spoke up, “Alicia, we have a stocking made for you this year. Accio stockings!” A small bag with stockings hanging out of it shot into her hand from up the stairs. She handed Alicia a bright yellow stocking with a blue embroidered “A” on it. Alicia looked at the stocking disbelievingly, then went and hung it on the mantel. When she had finished, she walked deliberately to Mrs. Weasley and gave her a big hug.
Mrs. Weasley handed Fleur her stocking next; an elegant white stocking embroidered with a delicate “F” in dark blue silk. Fleur hung her stocking, then went back to stand near Bill, taking his hand. Hermione was the next to get her stocking from Mrs. Weasley, taking her rather traditional red stocking with white fur trim and hanging it next to Ron’s.
As Mrs. Weasley started to hand Harry his stocking, Harry stood up, straightened his back and said, “I have something that I would like to say. I’ve decided that instead of hanging a stocking for myself this year, that I’m going to hang a stocking for Dobby.” Harry reached into his robes, pulled out a tattered green sock with golden snitches on it and hung it on the mantel.
“Everything that would normally go into my stocking I would instead like to donate to S.P.E.W. House elves have been treated brutally for far too long and the events of the past year have opened my eyes. Dobby saved my life twice, giving his life for mine the last time. He always believed in me, despite being brutally treated by the Malfoys. Kreacher wasn’t treated any better by any of the Blacks, including, and it pains me to say this, Sirius. Yet, with kindness, Kreacher has turned out to be a fierce and loyal friend. I would like to help start a tradition of hanging a stocking each year for the forgotten house elves.”
Harry thought that he had never seen his friends so happy before. Newlywed, Ron and Hermione had still agreed to his invitation for Christmas dinner. Harry and Ginny had worked together to prepare a Christmas goose with all the trimmings. After a wonderful dinner, the four friends sat down and exchanged gifts. Harry had splurged, digging deep into his vault for extravagant gifts for Ron and Ginny. Ron looked with awe at his fully functioning tabletop Quidditch match simulator and Ginny looked shocked at her new emerald necklace and earring set.
“I’ve saved the best for last,” Harry announced, switching on the Wizarding Wireless Network.
The smooth voice on the W.W.N. announced, “It’s eight o’clock on WWN1 and here’s a special message from the man who saved us all, Harry Potter”
Harry’s voice came over the airwaves, “Hello, I’m Harry Potter. You probably know me as the boy who defeated Voldemort, but tonight I’m here to talk about something else. I’m here to talk about elfish rights. While it’s true that house elves enjoy serving and are loyal to a fault, it’s also true that too many wizarding families take advantage of these poor creatures. Beaten and cursed in their own homes, house elves endure without complaint because that’s what they know. I believe that House Elves should know a better type of treatment, that’s why I support the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. As most of you know, I don’t speak publicly very often, so I obviously feel strongly about this. I’m going to tell you the stories of three different house elves so you can see just how badly they were mistreated.”
As Harry’s voice went on to describe the lives of Kreacher, Dobby, and Winky, omitting the details of who actually owned the house elves, Hermione moved to embrace Harry in a fierce hug.
“Harry, S.P.E.W was going bankrupt, how did you know?” Hermione asked with a quavering voice.
“Ron told me, and we worked this out between us,” Harry responded, patting Hermione on the back. “Shh, now, this is important.”
Harry’s voice continued out of the wireless, “I have commissioned a special stocking at Gringott’s for S.P.E.W, and if you wish to donate, just drop your donation in the large green stocking in their lobby, or send your donation to S.P.E.W, care of Gringott’s. Please, hang a stocking for Dobby and show your support for elfish rights.”
The pug-nosed woman shrieked in rage, “Do you know what I caught your son doing? He was about to hang a stocking for Dobby, here in our house. Do you know what Narcissa would do if she saw that?” Her rage intensified as she threw the stocking at her pale-haired husband, “You need to talk to that boy and tell him what’s appropriate for his station as a Malfoy!” With a disgusted snort, she turned her back on her husband and left the room.
Draco looked at the stocking for just a moment before waving his wand, “Accio Galleons, Accio Envelope,” he incanted. A large bag of galleons shot toward his hand, followed quickly by an envelope. He addressed the envelope in a beautiful copperplate script with his wand, stuffed the galleons in it and went to post it. As he was tying the heavy envelope to the legs of three owls, he whispered, “For Dobby.”
“Daddy, I think we should hang a stocking for Dobby,” Lily said in her serious little girl voice. “It’s only right that all the other elves get treated as well as we treat Kreacher.”
“I agree, Lily, why don’t you help me hang this one?” Harry asked, grabbing the tattered green sock with golden snitches from the box of stockings. He lifted his grinning daughter up and helped her hang a stocking for Dobby.
A/N This was one of my first stories and written before I knew that George ended up with Angelina and Draco with Astoria. Thank you to the staff for featuring this on the Story Seekers podcast and to Alopex for nominating it.
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