Mission I: The Alleged Santa
Objective: To prove, once and for all, that Santa Claus DOES NOT indeed exist.
Agent: James Potter, Age 9
Special Analysts: Albus Potter, Age 7. Lily Potter, Age 5.
Witnesses: Rose Weasley, Age 7. Hugo Weasley, Age 5.
The sun was shining brightly in mockery of the snow that had fallen fast and thick during the night. The Potters’ home looked like a freshly frosted vanilla cupcake with colorful lights and tinsels for sprinkles. The lights were currently turned off and the curtains were drawn open, beckoning the early morning light in. The inhabitants of the Potter’s household were preparing for Christmas; everyone was alight with excitement…with one significant exception.
“Morning, mum,” mumbled James Potter as he took his seat around the kitchen table.
“Good morning to you too.” exclaimed Ginny in an infectiously cheerful voice. “Are you excited for Christmas, James?” she asked as she flipped another pancake from the pan.
“Why not?” she turned away from the stove to look her oldest child in the eye, concern coloring her delicate features.
“Because Christmas is for babies like Al and Lily, who still believe Santa is real.”
“Santa is real!” argued Lily as she walked into the kitchen, “and I’m not a baby,” she added as an afterthought, sticking out her tongue at James as she took her seat around the kitchen table.
Ginny flipped the last pancake onto the plate and sat by James on the table. “Honey, Christmas is about more than just presents. Christmas is when you get to see your family and spend time with them, and remind everyone how much you love them.”
“But that’s what grownups do. What am I supposed to do?” James demanded, crossing his arms stubbornly.
“Well, you know that Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione are coming over so you’re going to be with your cousins tonight and all of Christmas day tomorrow too. You’ll get to play with them and wish them a Happy Christmas. And then you get a bunch of presents from Santa and from all of your relatives,” enthused Ginny.
“Mum, what am I getting from Santa?” interrupted Lily.
“Lily, you’re stupid. Santa doesn’t exist,” said James rudely.
His mum narrowed her eyes in disappointment but was saved from the task of rebuking him by the entrance of his father.
“James, mind your manners or Santa won’t bring you that miniature broom you wanted,” Harry scolded as he sat down for breakfast, Albus walking in behind him.
“Santa doesn’t exist, and I’ll prove it to you,” asserted James in a would-be calm voice. He stabbed his fork at his pancakes venemously and Ginny pulled at his arm in warning.
“Dad, does that mean I’m not going to get the presents I wanted?” asked Albus meekly.
Harry turned to Albus and patted him on the head. “Don’t worry Al, I’ll make sure Santa doesn’t forget you…and don’t worry about James, he’s growing up, and sometimes when boys grow up, they stop believing in Santa, but that doesn’t mean you have to.”
“Let’s eat,” interjected Ginny cheerfully, “and Lily, try not to spill syrup on your clothes, honey. I don’t have time to do laundry before Christmas tomorrow.”
The whole table was silent as everyone ate their breakfast. James was still glowering at his plate, Albus was smiling absently at nothing in particular, and Lily had taken great cares to keep her shirt clean, but still found a small trail of syrup dripping down her front.
James had finished his breakfast with unwonted haste and was the first to leave the table.
“James, don’t you want to help me make Christmas cookies?” asked Ginny.
“No,” replied James as he walked briskly up the stairs to his room.
Lily's gaze followed him until he disappeared around the corner. She turned and looked pointedly at Albus.
“What?” exclaimed Albus.
“Come on,” sighed Lily resignedly as she dragged him out of the kitchen and up the stairs after her.
“Al, Lily…” Ginny called after them.
“Sorry, mum. We don’t have time to help you with the cookies,” Lily called back in a superior tone.
Ginny looked questioningly at Harry who shrugged as he helped himself to another serving of pancakes.
“Poor James….Harry, we have to do something.”
“Sure," agreed Harry, eating his pancakes with a decided relish and absentmindedly eyeing the door his children had just disappeared through.
Al's hesitance notwithstanding, Lily had thundered up the stairs after James and was now dragging Al into James' room.
“James, me and Al wanna help too.”
They watched James mope around in his room, looking slightly agitated.
“You want to help me do what?”
“Find Santa of course!” asserted Lily as Albus nodded enthusiastically.
“Are we gonna go on a mission?” whispered Albus conspiratorially, “a secret mission?”.
He held his hands out in front of him, one inside the other, and rocked back and forth on the heel of his feet beseechingly.
“No, you can’t help, and we’re not going on any mission, and I’m not looking for Santa, I’m just gonna show you that he’s not real.”
James sat on his bed, his demeanor reflecting annoyance and frustration.
“Please,” whined Lily as Albus nodded yet again, “we’ll listen to you and be good lookouts and even tell you if mom and dad are coming. Please… pretty, pretty please?”
“What are we gonna do? How are we gonna find Santa?” asked Albus, seating himself next to James.
“We’re not looking for Santa!” growled James.
“But James, you promised,” pleaded Albus.
“Promised what? When?”
“When we were outside and you were hiding mom’s vase that you broke and you said if I didn’t tell on you, you would let me play with you,” said Albus, inching closer to James.
James looked thoughtful for a moment before a mischievous glint lit up his eyes and he looked at Lily’s and Albus’s expectant expressions.
“Fine, you can help… you promise to listen?”
Lily and Albus both nodded fervently.
“We’re gonna stay up all night and see if Santa really does come, and when he doesn’t, you’ll see that I am right,” said James, pointing his index finger at his chest for emphasis.
“James, really,” said Lily, placing her thin arms on her hips and glaring up at James, “how do you think we get our presents? They don’t just fall from the sky, someone’s gotta bring’em!”
“Lily, you’re such a baby, Mom and Dad sneak the presents here, Ted told me,” replied James, shaking his head at her apparent ignorance.
Lily promptly kicked James in the shins. “I’m not a baby! And Ted is an old meanie, he never plays with me when I ask him to!” and with that, she stormed out of the room with Albus on her tail.
Lily’s bellowing voice could be heard from two floors down. She was speaking in what she presumed was an authoritative tone.
“And it’s a secret mission, and you can’t tell anybody,” she explained to her attentive audience.
A girl in the audience raised her hand, Lily pointed at her, giving her permission to speak.
“Can I choose my own secret code name?”
Lily nodded supremely.
“Any other questions?” she demanded. Suddenly, the door burst open with a resounding crash.
“You told them!” yelled James. They were all sitting in Lily’s room, where Rose would spend the night. Hugo had set up his sleeping bag in Albus’s room after convincing his mom the he was old enough and that his fear of the dark had been vanquished.
“They wanted to help, and they promised to listen to you too,” replied Lily confidently, untouched by James’ anger.
Rose and Hugo smiled cheekily. “We wanna see Santa too,” replied Hugo, “and give him cookies.”
“We’re not gonna see Santa because there is no Santa!” replied James, stomping his feet severely as he stalked further into the room.
“We’ll see who’s right,” said Rose, smirking up at James.
James stared at her in disbelief and was about to retort when he was interrupted by a light tug on his Chudley Cannons pajama shirt sleeve. He looked down to see Hugo trying to get his attention.
“Mum says that Santa’s allergic to milk,” exclaimed Hugo waving his arms about for emphasis.
“No, Hugo,” chided Rose, “Mum says Fanta, our cat, is allergic to milk.”
“Oh.” Hugo’s face fell slightly and he sat back down on Lily’s bed. Lily held his hand and assured him that Fanta was an excellent cat regardless.
“Hey James, James…tell Rose your plan, James, tell her your plan!” said Albus excitedly.
James conceded with ill grace and sat himself down on the floor grudgingly. “Okay, but I’m in charge and you have to listen to me and you can’t tell anybody about our plan, especially our parents- it’s a secret,” they all nodded appreciatively and leaned in to listen, and with that he recited his plan and assigned a role to each member.
They were in the midst of discussion when they heard a faint knock on the door and Hermione walked in.
“Time for bed,” she announced. “And Hugo, don’t forget to use the bathroom before you go to sleep.”
She dropped a bag of clothing on the bed for her two children to change into and began to arrange the blankets.
“Mum!” Hugo whined. “I’m not a baby. I know when to go to the bathroom.”
“I know honey, I’m just reminding you. Now off to bed, all of you. You’ve got a big day tomorrow and I want you all to sleep well. We’re leaving to the Burrow early in the morning.”
James looked at his fellow conspirators significantly before making a show of leaving the room. Rose shook her head at his obviousness as they all whispered good night to each other and proceeded to their respective rooms.
‘Twas was the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, (with a few exceptions). The stockings were hung by the fireplace with care, in hopes of catching the real Santa who would soon be there.*
The night sky was visible through the hallway window and the moonlight cast an eerie shadow on five bizarrely clad individuals. They were each donning a bright red hat, with fluffy white trimming and a fluffy white pom-pom dangling ridiculously off the side of each of their heads. They were either embracing the coming holiday, or trying to blend in seamlessly with the surrounding decoration, the latter assumption being the more probable.
The first and tallest of the figures had reached the couch and was hiding behind it, his white pom-pom the only thing visible from the top of the couch.
James turned back and looked pointedly at Albus, “Baby Eagle, the coast is clear,” he whispered.
“But, Papa Lion, I thought I told you I wanna be Skinny Tiger, not Baby Eagle!” complained Albus, not bothering to keep his voice down.
“Shhh! Okay, you’re Skinny Tiger, just come already,” whispered James.
Albus crawled to the couch and crouched next to James.
“Lady Red,” whispered James, motioning at Rose to hurry up. Rose was more sensible than Albus and waited until she had crawled up to James’s ear before lodging any complaints concerning her code name.
“I am not Lady Red! I am Queen Amidala!” she insisted. Her mother had taken to reading an assortment of bed time stories to her every night, the story with Queen Amidala in it was one of her favorites.
James ignored her and addressed Hugo and Lily. “Okay, Flower and Watermelon, listen carefully” James paused for dramatic effect as Hugo smirked at what he thought was an ingenious code name, “you can’t leave the stairs, if you hear any of our parents coming you have to tell us and then we’ll all hide behind the Christmas tree. If something bad happens, run as fast as you can. If we’re caught, this was not my idea,” he addressed them solemnly and they nodded, fear was reflected in Albus’s eyes.
Rose rolled her eyes theatrically, “and what do we do now?” she whispered.
“Now,” said James, “we wait.”
They had all been staring fixedly at the fireplace for an hour, Hugo and Lily had long since fallen asleep, when it happened.
There was a flash of green flames in the fire place and the sound of a heavy object crashing onto hard brick. Lily jerked awake, and Hugo, who had his head rested against her shoulder, woke up as well.
“OH, CRAP! MY FOOT IS STUCK!” cursed a voice from inside the fireplace.
Lily clapped her hand over her mouth. “Ooooh! Santa said a bad wooooord!”
James shushed her and motioned for her and Hugo to join them behind the couch just as Santa, the white trimming of his suit dark with soot, stepped out of the fireplace.
He spotted the children and laughed heartily, “Ho, ho, ho, I say! Children out of bed?”
James stared fixedly at Santa, truly fascinated by this revelation. Albus was smiling toothily and Lily was swaying her head from side to side and humming tunelessly. Hugo simply stared at Santa with wide eyes and Rose smirked at James arrogantly.
“Alright then, you know that there are no presents for children out of bed! I’ll give you to the count of three.”
Lily dragged Hugo to his feet and pushed him ahead of her to the stairs.
Rose grabbed Albus and shook James who was still in shock. She dragged them both to the stairs.
The last of the white pom-poms had made it all the way upstairs just as another crash sounded and a second figure emerged from the fireplace. It was Mrs. Claus.
“You know, it’s a good thing the children left before you showed up. In all the story books that the kids read you’re supposed to stay in the north pole,” said Santa.
Mrs. Claus nodded as she opened her bag and emptied the presents into Santa’s lap. Santa proceeded to arrange them under the Christmas tree. He took care to hide them near the base of the tree.
“You know, these cookies are actually really good,” commented Mrs. Claus. She was sitting near the coffee table and consuming sugar cookies at an alarming rate. Santa glared at her.
“We don’t have time for this. You know we still have to do George’s and Luna’s before the potion wears off.”
Mrs. Claus nodded, grabbed some powder from a pot near the fireplace, and threw the powder into the flames.
Santa heaved a sigh, “Next time we’re making Ron and Hermione do this. My lungs are getting irritated.” He stepped into the fireplace and stated his desired destination.
Mrs. Claus watched until he disappeared, then rushed back to the coffee table and stuffed a stack of sugar cookies in her apron and followed him into the fireplace.
*taken from the poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christams” by Clement Clarke Moore
This is just a little one-shot for Christmas. Tell me what you think! any favorite quotes? favorite moments? i have another little one-shot entitled "Mission II: infiltration" coming up that's written with the next generation as children.
please leave a review *cue puppy dog eyes* pretty, pretty please...you'll totally make my day :)
edit: Mission III is in the works!