Of Flying Stuffing and Lovers’ Tiffs
“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me- a baby gnome in a fanged tree! On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me- two hippogriffs, and a baby gnome in a fanged tree! On the third-”
“James! Al! Cut it out! Lily, darling, quick! Take these to the car for me, I have to go check on the stuffing… Harry! Where did you put the oven mitt?”
“On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me- four giant squids, three stinky trolls, two hippogriffs, and a baby gnome in a fanged tree!”,
“Boys, I wouldn’t test your mother. You know how short her temper is around this time of year!”
“But it’s the season of joy!”
“Be quiet, Al! Go get in the car.”
“But Dad, I’m singing!”
“Dad, I can’t find granddad’s present!”
“It’s alright, Lily, it must be around here somewhere…”
“On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, FIVE GOLD SNITCHES, Four giant squids, three stinky trolls, two hippogriffs, and a baby gnome in a fanged tree!”
“Al! James! Stop singing, for Merlin’s sake! Harry- where did you put that blasted oven mitt?”
“Er, mom, I think you need a fire extinguisher more than you need an oven mitt.”
“Don’t tease your mother, James!”
“Er, I wasn’t teasing-”
“Merlin’s pants, Harry, the stuffing’s on fire! Get my wand! Where’s my wand!?!”
“Thank you! Aguamenti! What the- James! What did I tell you about these fake wands!?!?”
“Uh- mom- we don’t have a stove anymore.”
“Where the hell is my wand!?!?”
“Just let it be, Ginny! Kreacher will take care of it.”
“Oh no, I’m not going anywhere without my stuffing! Now stop distracting me and find my bleeding wand! I’m going to kill whoever moved it! WHO MOVED IT?”
“Kids- maybe you should get in the car.”
“This sodding stove! What use is it!?! It burns down to ashes! Some heat-resistant cooking appliance that is! I’ll blast it to smithereens!”
“Honey- I’m going to get in the car too-”
“TAKE THAT, YOU NO-GOOD HUNK OF SCRAP METAL!”
“Er, dad, I don’t think we have a china cabinet anymore, either.”
“Be quiet, James.”
Lily shivered slightly as she walked with her family up to the door of the Burrow, the snow on the path crunching beneath her feet. They were all as silent as the grave as they stumbled towards their destination, though that might have been because they were all in fear of vomiting if they opened their mouths to speak, because of the putrid smell emanating from the small, covered bowl in her mother’s hands.
As they reached the front step, the door was thrown open and light poured onto the snow-covered lawn. The babble of voices could be heard from inside, and the enticing smells of Christmas dinner, which managed to overpower the stench of the burnt stuffing. In the doorway stood Lily’s grandmother; a plump, merry woman with a lined face that showed the many hardships she had borne throughout the years. But her eyes were merry now as she greeted the family with a large rib-cracking hug.
“Oh, Ginny, darling, it’s so lovely to see you! You’re late! Heavens- what is that smell? Harry, does that hair of yours never lie flat? Oh, James, John has been waiting for you- he’s just inside- and Al, my, my- you’re turning into quite a strapping young man. You look so much like your father… and Lily! You must tell me all about your first year at Hogwarts! But why are we all standing out here? Come inside, come inside!”
This was the fashion in which Lily and her family were ushered into the all-too-familiar house, all breaking out into grins as they were welcomed by their other family members with shouts of joy. James made a bee-line for John, and the two began to sing ‘The Wizard’s Twelve Days of Christmas’ at the top of their lungs. Al ran over to Rose, who was currently reading by the fire, and took away her book. Lily watched in amusement as Rose began to tear around the room, chasing her cousin down and screaming like a banshee.
Uncle George was setting off some of his famous fireworks, which Hugo and Genevieve, Lily’s younger cousin by one year, watched with bright eyes. Juliette was chattering non-stop to her older brother Jacques, who seemed to have brought along a date to the Christmas gathering… again, and whom Tante Fleur was watching like a hawk. Emily and Fred were in an intense wrestling match on the hearthrug, which Olivier and Patrick seemed to have placed bets on, because they both kept screaming odd bits of advice at the pair, egging them on.
Granddad Weasley was looking rather tipsy with his hat slightly lopsided and a glass of Grandma’s ‘grown-up’ eggnog in his hand. He greeted everyone with a loud yell and then joined James and John in their Christmas caroling. Uncle Percy was talking about something that was most-likely very boring. Aunt Penelope smiled encouragingly, and Uncle Bill listened with a slightly strained expression on his face. Tante Fleur was clinging to Uncle Bill’s arm, but obviously not taking in a word of what Uncle Percy was saying- she was too focused on watching Jacques as his date giggled into his ear.
Hagrid was squished into a small armchair, with Rowena, Neville’s five-year-old daughter, on his lap, apparently telling her a story. Neville had currently made his way over to Lily’s dad, and they were laughing together already, while Hannah greeted Lily’s mum happily, looking highly amused as she glanced down at the stuffing in her hands. Luna and Rolf were having the annual debate with Aunt Hermione, who seemed to be getting rather frustrated and kept repeating over and over, “But there is no such thing as the Crumple-horned snorkack!”
There was a delicious aroma coming from the kitchen, and Lily tip-toed over and popped her head in, breathing deeply. It was quite a relief after having to ride all the way over from Godric’s hollow with her mother’s stuffing. Inside the kitchen, Lily’s cousin Victoire was bustling around, stirring things and adding spices, as Grandma tried her best to get her out of the kitchen.
“Really, dearest- you cook all day in that restaurant of yours. You should have a little break- I normally cook for us all anyway… really kind, but you mustn’t trouble yourself-”
“Oh, but it is no trouble at all, grandmamma!” Victoire said graciously, and Grandma let out a sigh. “I absolutely adore cooking- and your foods, though good, lack a certain something… they are too bland, I think, which is why I brought this selection of spices from my own kitchen! See how much nicer that looks with garnish? Smell it, too. It’s like perfume!”
Lily bit her lip to keep from laughing as she ducked back out of the kitchen. It was then that someone attacked her from behind with a big hug, and she laughed as she turned around to see that Genevieve had come away from Uncle George’s fireworks. Lily hugged her back.
Lily had to admit that she was slightly envious of her younger cousin. Genevieve had her mother’s looks- the long, beautiful hair and the gorgeous blue eyes, the porcelain skin- but Lily liked her much more than Jacques, Victoire, or Juliette. Olivier was the other ‘French’ cousin- as she liked to call them in her head- that she liked. But he wasn’t as good-looking as any of his siblings, and had the Weasley red hair. But he was generally well-liked anyway. But Genevieve was good-looking, funny, and good at Quidditch. Lily sometimes found herself wishing she could be more like her.
“Oh, I’ve missed you, Genny!” Lily said as she pulled back from the hug. “What have you been doing all year without me?” She asked her cousin happily. “Oh, and what’s Jacques’s new girlfriend like- or is it just a ‘friend’?” Lily made air-quotes around the last word, a twinkle in her eye. Genevieve giggled and dragged Lily over to a comfortable spot on the floor.
“Oh, her name is Michelle, apparently. Mamma only just found out he was bringing her when she showed up on our doorstep right before we were about to leave. She wasn’t pleased. She was actually considering just asking her to leave, but Victoire talked her into giving Jacques another chance.” Lily sighed. Victoire was very sweet, and liked to do nice things, only sometimes the things she thought were nice and good-hearted were really just a nuisance for everyone but the person she was helping.
“So you haven’t really talked to her?” Lily asked Genny, leaning back on her hands comfortably. “I hope she’s not as mean as the last one- Jacques really messed up that time. Though I suppose it was partly Emily’s fault for slapping her…” Lily trailed off as she and Genny both remembered the incident last Christmas Eve, when Emily and Jacques’s girlfriend, (Lily couldn’t remember her name- the kids had just referred to her as ‘the devil’) had had an all-out cat fight… which Emily totally won. Though she had gotten in lots of trouble- Aunt Kate hadn’t been too pleased. Though Uncle George hadn’t really scolded her at all…
Victoire and Grandma came out of the kitchen, Grandma making protests as Victoire carried out a tray laden with appetizers. Lily licked her lips and exchanged a look with Genevieve. Both Grandma and Victoire were amazing cooks- Victoire had more spice and seasoning, but Grandma had that comforting, homey feeling that came with the delicious meals. Not to mention, sometimes the more exotic foods Victoire made were a little frightening.
Victoire was in the midst of saying something when suddenly the sounds of jingling bells filled the room as the front door of the burrow flew open, and in walked Teddy Lupin, his hair his favourite messy turquoise, and his face as welcoming and familiar as it had ever been. He stood in the doorway for a minute, a bag slung over his shoulder, and there were several cries of “Teddy!” which were all drowned out by a loud CRASH.
Lily’s head jerked up in surprise and silence fell upon the room as everyone turned to see Victoire, bright-faced, on her hands and knees, cleaning up the shattered plates she had dropped and piling the pieces back onto the tray. Teddy crossed the room in a few short strides and bent down to help, but Victoire slapped his hand away.
“I’ve got it- thanks.” She snapped, grabbing the tray and standing up rather quickly. Her face was still red, but she managed to exit the room gracefully, clinging to dignity she had left. Teddy remained where he was, frozen, with his hand still outstretched to something that wasn’t there anymore. After a second he straightened up and turned to grin at the now-silent room.
“Sorry I’m late!” He said in an overly-cheerful voice. “But I had some trouble lugging all these presents over from London-” But the rest of what he said was unheard as every child in the room shouted out in glee at the word ‘presents’. Even Juliette and Patrick approached Teddy eagerly as he opened his large bag, everyone now grouped around him in a large circle.
Lily accepted her messily-wrapped parcel with a big hug and a kiss on the cheek before she and Genevieve made their way over to the fire, sitting in the spot that had just recently been the wrestling ring for Fred and Emily. Lily played with the string on her package as the noise level in the room slowly returned to normal. She glanced quickly at Teddy, who had finished handing out presents, and was now hugging Lily’s dad, before turning back to Genevieve.
“What’s going on between Victoire and Teddy?” She asked in an urgent whisper. “I thought they were… you know… together?” The last Lily had heard, they had hardly been able to leave each other’s sight. They had been together since the middle of Teddy’s last year, though none of the kids had really known until James announced it at the beginning of the next year, two years previously. But their cold greeting today suggested anything but that.
“Oh, they had a terrible row.” Genevieve replied in earnest. Lily raised her eyebrows.
“What was it about?” She asked. Genevieve shrugged.
“I don’t know exactly, but it must’ve been something dreadful. You see, mamma thought I was upstairs, sleeping, but I had really snuck down to get some cookies from the pantry, and I was up on the shelf when Victoire came home sobbing!” Lily nodded and leaned closer. It wasn’t unlike Victoire to cry- she could be a bit over-dramatic sometimes. But what on earth could’ve gone wrong?
“Anyway- all that I really got was that Victoire had rowed with Teddy, and she said a lot of stuff about how he never had really loved her, and he didn’t want to be with her anymore, and she never wanted to see him again…” She trailed off, and Lily felt slightly sick. She had always thought that Victoire and Teddy were perfect for each other and would end up married- happily ever after- but apparently not.
She opened her mouth to say something, but was interrupted as Tante Fleur called Genevieve over.
“I’m coming, mamma!” Genevieve cried, leaping to her feet. Emily and Fred came back over, followed by Patrick and Olivier, and Lily let out a resigned sigh and got out of their wrestling spot. She made her way over to the kitchens again, shrinking out of the way as Grandma came through the door with another tray of appetizers. Lily slipped into the kitchen and took a seat at the table. Victoire spotted her and ran over for a hug. Her eyes looked a bit red.
“Oh, Lily, it’s so nice to see you!” She said happily. “Would you like a glass of eggnog?” Lily nodded eagerly, and Victoire bustled over to the counter to make it. Lily set the parcel from Teddy carefully on the kitchen table- there was a rule at the burrow, that nobody could open presents until they were all gathered around the tree as a family. It was slightly aggravating, and Lily hated the long wait until they could finally open the presents. It was her favourite part of Christmas, after all.
“Here you are, darling.” Lily looked up with a grin as Victoire placed a tall glass of eggnog in front of her, and licked her lips as she picked it up.
“Thank you!” She said earnestly, taking a big drink. It was wonderful eggnog- so creamy and delicious on her tongue. She drank deeply from the glass for a few seconds as Victoire went back to cooking. She licked away the eggnog mustache she had and looked over at the doorway just as it opened a bit.
She waved to Teddy, but he didn’t even see her. He was looking at Victoire as she carefully organized the fruit on the pie she was making. It looked delicious, and if Lily had been any younger, she would’ve thought that it was what Teddy was staring at with such a tender, wistful face. She watched him as he stared at Victoire, and a piece of hair fell into her eyes. His finger twitched, as though longing to brush it back, but Victoire ignored it, concentrating too hard on her dessert.
Teddy leaned in closer, and the door creaked. He flinched as Victoire started to look up, but Lily made a quick decision and purposefully knocked her glass of eggnog to the floor. There was the sound of shattering glass, and Victoire’s eyes passed right over Teddy without seeing him, and focused on Lily in surprise, as she sat there, holding her feet up in the air, as to avoid getting any eggnog on them.
“Oh, Lily, you’re so clumsy.” Victoire laughed, grabbing her wand and waving it a bit. The eggnog vanished from the floor, and the glass repaired itself, and floated back onto the table. Lily glanced at the doorway and saw with satisfaction that Teddy had used the distraction and disappeared.
“Would you like another glass?” Victoire asked, and Lily shook her head, grabbing her parcel again.
“No thanks, Victoire.” She said with a smile as she slid off the chair. “I was almost done, anyway.” Victoire shrugged and went back to fixing her dessert.
“Tell everyone that dinner should be ready in a few minutes!” She called after Lily as she slipped through the door. Lily nodded absentmindedly and made her way to the couch, weaving in-between her many relatives. She suddenly felt a big pair of arms grab her, and let out a scream of laughter as she was lifted into the air and spun around, before being set back down and hugged.
“Tiger-Lily!” Teddy said loudly, and Lily giggled.
“Teddy-bear!” She said back, and Teddy ruffled her hair, and she stuck her tongue out at him.
“Where are you going, munchkin?” He asked her with a grin. “May I take you there?” Lily giggled again.
“To the couch!” She said, pointing, and then positioned herself so she was standing on Teddy’s feet, and grabbed his hands to keep herself balanced as he began to walk towards the couch. When they finally reached their destination, they both collapsed onto the couch, and Teddy let out an over-dramatic sigh.
“Wow- last time I ever do that! You’re getting big!” He said, wiping his forehead. Lily stood up and put her hands on her hips, trying not to giggle.
“Oh no you don’t, mister,” She said sternly. “You are going to be my personal transporter until I can apparate- are we clear?” Teddy saluted her.
“Yes, ma’am!” He said, and Lily fell back onto the couch with a laugh.
“Good!” She said with a nod. Teddy gave her an expectant look and held out his hand. Lily raised her eyebrows. “What?” She asked him. He let out an exasperated sigh.
“I believe you owe me your travelling fee!” He said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Lily smirked.
“Alright,” She said slyly, “But I’m a bit short on galleons at the moment, so I’ll have to pay you in another currency, if you don’t mind.” Teddy shrugged.
“What kind?” He asked curiously. Lily’s eyes twinkled mischievously as she sat up straighter.
“I’ll have to pay you in tickles!” She squealed, and then jumped on Teddy and began to tickle him. She had known since she was very little that Teddy was extremely ticklish, so she wasn’t at all surprised when he suddenly became completely helpless and rolled off the couch and onto the floor, laughing hysterically.
“Stop it!” He gasped through his laugher. “Not fair! Not fair! On second thought- trip’s on me!” Lily just kept tickling him.
“Oh no, I insist!” She said smugly. Suddenly there was a loud whoop from across the room, and she glanced over briefly to see James and John running towards the spot on the floor where she was tickling Teddy.
“Everyone come tickle Teddy!” James yelled, and there was a great chorus of cheers, and a groan from Teddy, as twelve more kids piled themselves on top of him and began to tickle him. Even Patrick joined in, though Rowena left after a while because she kept getting squished by the bigger kids. Teddy was practically screaming in mirth as he started twitching and twisting like mad. Lily glanced up at one point to see Victoire watching from the kitchen door, but as she saw Lily look at her, she ducked back into the kitchen.
“Oi, you lot- leave Teddy alone! It’s time for dinner!” Grandma shouted from the back door. There were screams and cheers as everyone left Teddy on the floor, practically crying in gratitude to Grandma as Lily’s dad helped lift him off the floor, looking highly amused. Lily started to laugh as Teddy looked at her with narrowed eyes. She waved cheekily at him and he mouthed, ‘You wait.’
Lily giggled madly and shot off after her cousins and brothers, through the kitchen, out the back door, down the shoveled-out path, and ducked into the small shack in the backyard. Just like every Christmas for the past couple of years, the place had been magically enlarged from the inside, so that thirty-four people could comfortably sit around the table. There was also an enormous Christmas tree, with piles and piles of presents underneath, and a tall, marble fireplace, which had a fire roaring in the hearth.
“Okay, you lot- everyone find a seat!” Granddad called out over the table as everyone entered the room. “No pushing, either! James, John- absolutely not, you’re sitting on opposite sides of the table, and that’s final!”
Lily was shoved and pushed, despite her granddad’s warning, until finally everyone was seated around the table, and she found herself sitting between Albus and Olivier. She grinned at her cousin, and he leaned over to whisper,
“Look at my mamma- she’s sitting next to Michelle! Oh, she doesn’t look too happy. Ha, and look at poor Patrick- he looks scared for his life! I wouldn’t fancy having to sit there, either.” Lily followed his gaze and saw Patrick, not too far away, looking very uncomfortable, and seated between Victoire and Teddy, both looking slightly flushed, and speaking determinedly to whoever was on their other side, which happened to be Lily’s mother for Victoire, and little Rowena for Teddy, though she still looked mad at him for accidentally kicking her as he twitched on the floor.
“Okay, everyone,” Lily jumped slightly as she looked to see her grandma sitting directly across from her, right beside her mum. “Let’s all take hands- we’ll begin with Harry.”
Then, as was custom at every Christmas, everyone around the table took hands, and looked to the head of the table, where Harry was seated. He bowed his head, and everyone did the same.
“Lily and James Potter,” He said quietly, but just loud enough for everyone to hear. He looked over at James, who remained silent, as he was not yet of-age, and then over to Uncle Ron, who muttered another name aloud.
“Ted Tonks,” Another moment of silence, and then Rose was skipped, over to Granddad.
“Fabian Prewett,” Silence- Hugo was skipped, and Uncle Percy spoke.
“Bathilda Bagshot,” Lily kept her head bowed, wanting this boring part to get over. All the adults always got so quiet and teary-eyed, and it was quite boring. Albus, Lily, Olivier, Emily, Juliette, Genevieve, and Fred were all skipped, until it was Uncle George’s turn to speak aloud a name of one of the friends or family members that had died while opposing Voldemort.
“Fred Weasley,” John was passed, over to Uncle Bill.
“Mad-eye Moody,” to Hagrid, “Albus Dumbledore,” then to Jacques, “Regulus Black,” over to Rolf, “Benjy Fenwick,” to Luna, “Dobby” skipping Rowena, to Teddy, “Remus Lupin,” skipping Pat, to Victoire, “Severus Snape,” to Lily’s mum, “Sirius Black,” to Grandma, “Gideon Prewett,” to Tante Fleur, “Cedric Diggory,” skipping a confused-looking Michelle, to Aunt Kate, “Colin Creevey,” over to Aunt Penelope, “Amelia and Edgar Bones,” to Aunt Hermione, “Nymphadora Tonks,” to Hannah, “Alicia Abbot”, to Neville, “Frank and Alice Longbottom,” and back to Harry.
There was another long moment’s silence, and Lily wished they would hurry up. She really didn’t want to sit there for so long- all the adults would be so upset for a little while. She didn’t even get why Neville said his parents’ names, because they weren’t even dead. She hated this part- she didn’t know what she was going to do when she became of-age. There would be no dead people left! She let out a huffy breath.
She felt bad for Jacques and Victoire- they had had to select some random names of people they had heard stories about. Jacques didn’t even know who Regulus Black was, and Victoire hated getting the Potions Professor everyone hated. They were just names to them, like they were just names to Lily. Teddy was lucky- the name he got could actually mean something. Lucky- or so Lily thought.
“Thank you,” Lily’s dad finally straightened up, and Lily dropped Al and Olivier’s hands and grabbed her fork anxiously, as did all the other children. The adults, however, and Teddy, remained stationary for a moment. Lily noticed that Victoire had remained solemn as well, and she couldn’t help but think it was out of respect for Teddy’s parents. But all the children knew that the adults would become merry once more, after a few minutes, when they’d all move on and become happy again. Dad said they were being happy because ‘it’s what the others would have wanted’… Lily thought it was because they eventually forgot.
The dinner started out relatively quiet, and solemn- one reason why all the kids hated the stupid tradition. But after a while, a babble of talk began to break out, and then odd bursts of laughter- until finally the entire tent was full of talk and shouts, and the clattering of knives and forks as everyone dug into the delicious dinner.
“I made my famous stuffing!” Grandma said proudly, grabbing her bowl and scooping a large dollop onto random plates, whether the owner wanted any or not. Victoire jumped up as well, lifting up a pretty, flowery bowl.
“Oh, well, I hope you don’t mind, Grandmamma-” She said with a smile. “But I made some as well!” She also began to scoop some onto people’s plates. Lily’s mum also stood, uncovering her bowl.
“Er, I made some too…” Lily caught sight of several people within the vicinity wincing and eagerly taking either Victoire’s or Grandma’s stuffing. Lily herself was served some of Grandma’s, though Victoire practically dived across the table to get her brother to eat some of hers. James and John were making faces at each other from across the table, and neither of them took any stuffing.
“So, Al- when’s your next match?” Olivier asked, shooting Lily an apologetic look for talking past her. Al’s mouth was full of food, but he tried talking anyway, which only resulted in him spraying Lily with bits of mashed potato.
“Oh! It’s- oh, sorry, Lily-” he swallowed, “It’s the first Saturday of February. Why- are you commentating again?” Lily wiped the potato from her face, nose wrinkled in disgust, as Olivier answered back eagerly.
“Oh, you bet I am! You’re against Hufflepuff, right?” Olivier asked, scooping out some more potatoes. Lily’s stomach flipped a little as she thought about Sam, and wondered whether he’d go to the match as well.
“Yeah, so we’ve pretty much already got an established victory.” Al said somewhat cockily.
“You mean, as long as your dear beaters don’t mess things up!” Hugo had obviously been listening, which wasn’t hard to understand, as he was between his dad and Uncle Percy. Suddenly Emily’s head popped up from Olivier’s other side.
“Hey! It was entirely that stupid, big-headed Darcy’s fault!” She called over angrily. Lily watched as Juliet, who had been stupid enough to end up next to Emily, jumped in as well.
“He’s not stupid, or big-headed!” She protested, tossing her hair. “His head is perfectly normal, thank you!” Lily snorted, wondering if Juliette could get any stupider.
“Big-headed means conceited, not that he has a big head!” Emily snapped in frustration. “Though, now that I think of it…” Olivier laughed, and Al started to grin. Juliette seemed even angrier, and straightened up haughtily.
“That would be my boyfriend you’re insulting!” She said fiercely. Emily, who had been unfortunate enough to be drinking during this confession, choked and spat eggnog out over the roast pork. Luckily, Olivier managed to pull it to safety before it got too ruined. Lily watched in amusement as Emily turned to Juliette with wide eyes.
“You’re such a traitor!” She said in almost a whisper. “How could you? You’re supposed to eternally loathe the enemy- not date him!” Juliette smirked.
“You’re just jealous.” She shot back. Heads swiveled in their direction as Lily, Olivier, Emily, Al, and Hugo- who was still listening from around Uncle Percy- all burst out into insane laughter. Lily managed to finally stifle herself for a bit as she noticed that she had finished most of her first helping of dinner.
“May I have some more stuffing, please?” She asked loudly, and the entire room fell silent as all eyes were turned to her. At first she was confused, but when she looked across the table to where her Grandma and Victoire were seated, her eyes widened at her mistake.
The question that her Grandma posed may have seemed innocent to any outsider, but almost everyone seated in the room knew that the choosing of the stuffing was not a decision to be made lightly. In fact, in any given situation, it was best to let the stuffing-creators decide which stuffing you ate- therefore it would be the stuffing-creator that would suffer the wrath of the opposing-stuffing-goddess. But Lily had made the biggest mistake any stuffing-wisher could make- requesting the stuffing in the presence of both the stuffing makers.
“Um…” Lily said in a panic, as Albus snickered at her side. “Actually, I didn’t mean to say ‘stuffing’… I meant ‘pudding’! Yes, I’d like some pudding, please!” But there was no backing out now.
“No, dear- you said you wanted some stuffing, you can have some.” Her Grandma said sweetly. Lily bit her lip as Victoire looked at her dangerously. Lily felt herself begin to sweat.
“Yes, Lily- which stuffing would you like?” Victoire repeated her Grandma’s question. Lily gulped, mouth dry, eyes darting between the two angry women. Then she did something that surprised the entire table, and made her death certain.
“I’ll have some of mum’s.”
Her mother’s eyes widened in shock and delight as she jumped up from her seat and grabbed the bowl, which had so far gone untouched. Lily felt a pat on her shoulder and turned to see a grim-faced Olivier.
“I wish we had more time, little cousin,” He whispered to her, and Lily looked over at him in fear.
“What would you like engraved on your tombstone?” Al added, and Lily just glared at him. Olivier held up his and dramatically, as if picturing it in his mind, as Lily’s mother was too busy attempting to get the stuffing unstuck from the bottom of the bowl to pay attention.
“Lily Luna Potter- who saved many lives by proving the ‘anything Ginny Weasley makes is poison’ theory. May she rest in peace, and have her intestines restored in her after-life.”
Lily whimpered as her mum finally got a spoonful of stuffing and held it out over her plate. Lily watched as the stuffing stuck firmly to the spoon, and had a moment of relief when she thought that perhaps she would get out of eating it. But three minutes of hard spoon-scraping later, and the bit of stuffing fell onto her plate with a clunk, a solid clunk, which cracked the plate slightly.
All eyes were on Lily as she picked up her fork, and glanced up at the shining eyes of her mother. She looked over at her father whose jaw was set in a sort of determined look, and over to her Grandma, who had one of those ‘but-she-was-so-young!’ looks on her face, and to Hugo, who had wide eyes and was shaking his head back and forth very quickly, with a ‘don’t-do-it!’ expression. Then she did possibly the stupidest thing she had ever done.
She took a bite.
She chewed slowly, a loud crunching sound filling the room. It was possibly the most revolting thing she had ever tasted- its charcoal black crust not exactly helping with the appearance. It tasted like a combination of ash, salt, eggs, and fish. There was a pause as she stopped chewing, and Olivier looked at her nervously, and Al edged his chair away from her, most likely afraid she would barf… and then she swallowed it.
“Mmmm…” Lily said, unable to open her mouth for fear of vomiting, tears actually stinging her eyes.
“Awww, mum, look- her eyes are brimming with delight, it’s so delicious!” James called from one side of the table.
“Look- she can’t even speak, it’s just that good.” John added from the other side.
“Perhaps you boys would like some?” Harry said, grinning at them. Both turned rather pale and began to spurt excuses like, “allergic to stuffing- didn’t I tell you?” “oh, no- I’m so stuffed- couldn’t eat another bite!”
There was a loud ‘hmph!’ that could be heard all around the table, and everyone looked over to see Grandma with her arms crossed, looking at Lily’s mum’s stuffing with disdain. Victoire also looked slightly put out, and was pouting in her seat.
“You’d pick that over my good, famous stuffing?” Grandma asked Lily, almost snarling. Lily’s eyes widened as she opened her mouth to answer, but her mum cut her off.
“’That’?” she repeated. “What do you mean, ‘that’? What’s wrong with my stuffing?”
“Well, it’s not that it’s horrible, Aunt Ginny,” Victoire said with a shrug, obviously lying through her teeth. “It’s just, well- Grandmamma has been cooking for years… besides- I am a professional chef with my own restaurant. I’ve been schooled in the art of cooking- I know all the new techniques!” Lily was sure that she had never heard so many words emphasized so greatly all in one paragraph. She looked over at her Grandma, who looked like she was getting angry.
“Yes, dear, you may be ‘schooled in the art of cooking’,” Grandma said waspishly, “But, like you said, I’ve been cooking for years- since before your parents were even thought of! So I’d have to say that I do have a bit of experience on you.” She finished with the wave.
Almost everyone seated at the table looked at each other in fear. The wave was not something to be taken lightly- it was when a Grandma stated her point, and then finished it off with a short wave of her hand, which basically meant ‘this conversation is over- I am right, you are wrong- I may seem polite in what I just said, but really- I’m just better than you, but too great to say it to your face’. Victoire gasped and stood up.
“Yes, you have experience, I’m sure,” She snarled, “But since you’ve been cooking for so long, your senses of taste and smell aren’t quite what they used to be- not to mention, the young are more agile in the kitchen- which makes it easier to do more than one thing at once.” Lily gasped and Grandma’s eyes flashed as Victoire used the woman’s age against her.
Then Victoire did something totally unexpected and dangerous- as daring a move as a chicken nipping at the tail of a fox in its den-
She did the wave.
Grandma stood up as well, her face flushed in anger, practically radiating fury over the entire table. Everyone wriggled in their chairs, except for Victoire, who had already been standing, and was staring down her Grandma in defiance. The tension in the room was so thick; it could’ve been sliced with a butter knife. It was dead quiet around the table as Grandma finally looked away first, giving a little shrug. Victoire tossed her hair, victory in her air, and Grandma reached over to stir Victoire’s stuffing.
“It really is lovely stuffing,” She said, lifting the spoon and admiring it. Lily glanced nervously at Olivier, who was looking just as confused as she felt. She turned back to her Grandma, who continued. “It’s so…pretty!” Victoire beamed.
“Really- it’s almost like a beautiful gown.” Grandma stated firmly, looking up at Victoire with a twinkle in her eyes, pulling back the head of the spoon and turning to completely face her granddaughter. “Why don’t you try it on for size?”
Lily let a loud gasp as the stuffing hit the unsuspecting Victoire right in the face. Al clapped his hand over her mouth as everyone stared in horror at Victoire, who wiped it off her face and looked down at her hand. She let out a sigh and glanced back at Grandma. She went to sit down, and then, in one quick motion, she plunged both hands into Grandma’s stuffing, brought out two huge fistfuls and threw them at her grandmother, one after the other.
One hit Grandma’s eye- the other, her hair. There was a moment of silence as Victoire smirked, and Grandma fumed, until Lily’s mum suddenly stood up, bits of stuffing in her hair, as she had been in-between the two for the entire time. She grabbed a huge pot of soup from the middle of the table, and splashed it to her left and to her right, drenching both women.
Lily didn’t know who yelled it- it could’ve been James, John, Fred, Uncle George, Teddy- it could’ve been Uncle Percy for all she knew! But she didn’t really care. All she knew was that within three minutes, she was covered from head to foot in Christmas dinner.
She screamed and ducked underneath the table, crawling over to the other side, half-blinded by some gravy. Suddenly she felt a pair of arms pull her up, and found herself out in the open again, Teddy smirking at her.
“You should’ve known I’d get my revenge!” He cackled, and she started to scream again as he pelted her with handfuls of mashed potato. Suddenly Victoire jumped in front of her, using a tray as a shield.
“Oh no, you don’t!” She said, like a soldier protecting their fallen comrade. Teddy raised an eyebrow, and grabbed Victoire’s ‘shield’. She screamed and grabbed some random food off the table, pelting it at Teddy in a desperate attempt to save herself as he bore down on her with an evil laugh. He grabbed her wrists and she screamed even louder, though Lily noticed that she was also half-laughing.
Lily giggled madly as Teddy let go of one of Victoire’s hands and lifted his mashed potato-filled hand menacingly above her. Victoire shrieked with laughter, but before Teddy could do anything, she had grabbed some potatoes herself and smeared it all over his face. He sputtered, dropping his potatoes to clear his eyes, grinning down at the tiny figure in his arms.
Lily watched in amusement as he wiped the potato off his face and Victoire began to struggle against him. Soon she, too, was completely covered with potatoes, and glaring at Teddy, though a grin was breaking out over her face. Then it happened, so fast that Lily didn’t see it coming. Teddy swooped down in one swift motion and planted his lips on Victoire’s. Yells and the sounds of crashing plates continued all around- there were no fireworks, no dramatic music- Lily watched as they broke apart and stared at each other in awe, just two potato-strewn fools in an enlarged shack, and Lily had an inkling of understanding- that love wasn’t all about perfect stories and happy endings- sometimes it just was.
There was a loud bang, and the room finally did fall silent. Victoire jumped out of Teddy’s arms, flushing deeply, and everyone looked over to see Granddad with his wand out, standing on the table. Lily glanced around and saw that everyone was completely covered in food, and the entire table was a mess. But everyone- even Grandma- was grinning, and Victoire and Teddy were both glowing. But the happy moment was suddenly disturbed as Michelle emerged from underneath the table, looking completely untouched, except for one spot on her shirt.
“Oh, my good shirt is ruined!” She squealed shrilly, and Lily winced at how loud and annoying it was. “Oh, what is wrong with your family, Jacques? They’re all completely messed up! I swear, unless you-” But whatever she was going to say next would remain a mystery to Lily. Because, at that moment, the girl was hit between the eyes with a solid chunk of charcoal-black stuffing, and fell to the floor, unconscious.
Lily looked around with wide eyes, expecting to see Emily standing near her mum’s stuffing with a smirk on her face, but when her eyes found the girl, she wasn’t looking victorious at all, but rather quite shocked. Lily followed Emily’s gaze, thinking that it must’ve been Tante Fleur, and her mouth fell open as she saw who it really had been. Jacques was standing there, tossing a piece of rock-hard stuffing from hand to hand. He looked around and saw everyone staring at him.
“What?” He said with a shrug. “She was getting sodding annoying!”
The room burst out into laughter, and Lily joined in, wiping bits of food off her face. The adult wizards began to clean the room up with magic, and Michelle’s body was dragged over to the side. Tante Fleur and Grandma both brought out the desserts they had made, and once the table was clear again, they all ate happily, with no more arguments on whose dessert they would try.
After dessert, everyone gathered around the Christmas tree, as was tradition, and Michelle was revived and given a cup of hot chocolate from Tante Fleur, and an ice-pack from Emily. There was much laughter and talk, and Teddy and Victoire were holding hands the entire night. Presents were opened, stories were told, Michelle was taken home by a reluctant Jacques, and everybody had a marvelous time.
Lily sat in bed that night, too tired to write in her diary, but determined to do so the next day. She slowly fell asleep, and for once, her dreams weren’t haunted by obnoxious blonde boys, mysterious murders, scary librarians, avenging beaters, boys with nice noses, or Prank Wars. Nope- in fact, Lily didn’t have any dreams at all!
She was up all night with food poisoning.
I am SO sorry that it took me such a dreadfully long time to update. Spring was REALLY busy for me, and then I had finals in June, and then regents, and then I got a new character on Pottersworld, which is one of the main reasons for my procrastination, though it does give me fabulous inspiration. Okay- anyway, I'm sorry that this chapter probably didn't live up to expectations. It's not a very good reward for having to wait so long, I know. This is really one of those 'filler' chapters, which is another reason it took so long, because it was rather difficult for me to write. Next chapter they'll be back at school, with more news on the murder, some diary scenes (look at that- I almost forgot they existed!) and Lily's detention with Carter. I'm thinking about an interesting ending for the chapter, so prepare yourselves, just incase!
Now- reviews! I know, I don't deserve any! But you could just put a review that says something along the lines of 'update faster. write better.' but that'll be okay! xD Okay- thank you all for reading the chapter, and this extremely long A/N, and for being so patient with me. I'm SO grateful to you all- you don't know how much you all inspire me to write, even when sometimes it's 2:13 in the morning, and I have to get up at the crack of dawn to leave for a big 10 hour long trip, to go to a family reuinion, where I will be without internet connection, and yet I'm still staying up this late to write this very long A/N, which you will all probably just ignore anyway, or wish was shorter. :P Thanks for reading- any advice, comments, or suggestions, leave a review! :D
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