The Trolls of Christmas
“James! Stop fooling around! Come and help me put the star on top,” exclaimed Rose.
James, who was mimicking Quiditch moves, by using Pig as the Quaffle, dropped the poor ball-shaped bird on the sofa and glanced at Rose.
“Nah, I think you can handle that,” said James. With that, he practically flew upstairs to his room.
They were at the Burrow for Christmas. The others would arrive by tomorrow morning. Accommodation was a very big issue in the Burrow. That is why, years ago, her father and his brothers, including Uncle Harry, pitched in to make new rooms causing the burrow to look more bizarre from the outside. Now, whenever there was a family gathering, Rose slept with Roxanne, Lily and Lucy in Aunt Ginny’s old room. The girls redecorated it last summer to fit their own tastes. Albus, James, Fred, Louis and Hugo slept in Uncle Ron’s old room with the ghoul in the attic. Victoire, Dominique and Molly shared one of the new rooms. Her Uncle George, Bill and Percy resided in their own previous rooms with their wives. Mom, Dad, Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny were given the other two new rooms. Uncle Charlie’s room was left empty most of the time. But, Teddy usually occupied it during Christmas and the summer, and sometimes, he had to share it with a guest. Grandpa and Grandma had their own rooms, as usual.
Rose glanced at the box of colourful ornaments and sighed. She dropped the large golden star inside the box and flunked herself onto the sofa. A soft muffled squeak came from under her, which startled Rose and made her jump. She glanced down and discovered a choking Pig trying to fly off to safety.
“Oh, dear! I’m sorry Pig. Didn’t see you there,” said Rose, apologetically, as she picked him up and stroked his ruffled feathers. She flopped back onto the sofa, with Pig in her palms.
“You know, I’m glad you didn’t run away, unlike some people,” huffed Rose, “I don’t know why, but people keep on running away from me since I arrived here.”
She was lying to Pig about that, even he knew that. He raised his eyebrows at her (if you can imagine such thing from a tiny owl with no eyebrows to raise). She knew that it was her bad mood that made her a spoilsport these days. And it wasn’t even her cousins’ faults. It was his fault. He was the who didn’t wish her before leaving for the holidays. He was the one who wouldn’t speak with her, or even look at her since “the incident”. When she randomly confessed Malfoy’s disinterest in making their lives hell to Albus, he just gave her a long look then ignored her. She had a suspicious that it involved Albus as well, even though he was quick to strongly deny that.
“There you are!” exclaimed Hermoine. She came over and took Pig from her, then started to leave.
“I almost forgot, Rose. Hestia is going to spend the rest of Christmas with us. She’ll be arriving tomorrow eve. This is good. Percy and his family wouldn’t be here this Christmas, so we have an extra room and you girls can have plenty of space. Alright?”
“That’s odd. She usually spends most of the time with Grandma Longbottom and she loves it there. Any particular reason why she is staying over?” asked Rose, confused.
“Said something about wanting to spend time with her friends. Also it would do good to give Neville some time alone with Hannah, especially when the Leaky Cauldron is probably full this of the year,” said Mrs. Weasley, with a shrug, and then she left.
Well, I’ll have some to entertain this whole Christmas break. Hopefully that will be distraction enough....She sighed.
“What did you do this time?” asked Albus, flopping beside her on the sofa.
“Pardon?” asked Rose, snapping out of her reverie.
“James ordered everyone to stay clear of your path; otherwise, you’ll blast faster than a Blast-Ended Skrewt would blast its ends.”
“When will that daft shut his trap?!”
“Whoa, he was right!” exclaimed Albus, teasingly.
“Shut up, Al. By the way, Hestia is going to stay with us for the rest of the break.”
Albus looked at her in surprise.
“Exactly my thought” was Rose’s reply. “Oh, well. At least Tristan is coming to keep you occupied.”
Tristan Wolfe is a half-blood. His father is a wizard and his mother is a muggle. They met during the war, when his father went into hiding. His mother’s family thinks that Katashi Wolfe is a Japanese video game developer (about which Tristan had to tell them in-depth, as they had no idea what that was). So every year they spend their Christmas with her mother’s family, which means magic or anything associated with magic is strictly forbidden. For the rest of the winter he has to sever ties with the magical world, which he hates. A lot. That is why, since their second year, he is allowed to spend every other Christmas with his friends. This year he will be staying over at the Burrow as he had during their fourth year and second year.
He was sitting on a cloud. It very fluffy. He tried to jump up and down to see if it was strong enough to hold him. What he wasn’t ready for, was to fall off the cloud as he was about to jump. The next thing knew, he falling at great speed. He was falling... and falling... and falling...
“Al! Wake up! Its’ Christmas!” exclaimed a very musical voice.
Albus opened his eyes and stared at a pair of twinkling sea-blue eyes. He yelled and sat up. This was a mistake, as Hestia, who was sitting on top of him, was thrown off the bed.
“Ouch!” cursed Hestia.
“Sorry! Are you okay?” asked Albus, throwing off his blanket and helping Hestia up.
“Of course not!” yelled Hestia, cursing again.
“It was your fault. What kind of person does that anyways?”
“The kind that wants you to wake up early on Christmas morning.” Hestia stood up and made a gesture of brushing off invisible dust.
“Anyways, I brought you your Christmas present. Merry Christmas!”
Albus thanked her as he received the gift. He dashed to his cupboard trying to find something suitable to wear, while Hestia idled around the room. Albus noticed that his siblings have already gone to breakfast without waking him up. Feeling betrayed he continued to dress up, while looking for Hestia’s gift. How he wished that his brothers had a little bit of sense in them.
Breakfast at the Burrow is always uproar, what with the large number of presents being exchanged and trying to get a decent amount of food in before your much- less -generous relative hog down the rest of the food. After spending four hours exchanging gifts and eating breakfast, the teenagers all ganged up for a game of snowball fight. The adults would either, sit outside and watch the fight, or they would volunteer to do the cleaning after a hectic breakfast.
In the midst of all this, Albus was completely and utterly frustrated. Not for the first time, he wished he had a smaller family. The only other person who was frustrated was Hestia. Both were frustrated because they couldn’t have a single alone time with each other. That is why Albus volunteered not to play snowball fight. Instead he signalled Hestia to take a walk with him.
“Isn’t winter beautiful?” asked Hestia, rhetorically.
“Hmm,” was Albus’s reply.
They were sitting on a bench beside a frozen pond. Close by, was a Muggle town. The pond, now transformed into a skating rink, was decorated with dim lights, and a large Christmas tree. They have been sitting on the bench for hours, making small talks, until night descended. Hestia opened her tiny black purse and pulled out a pair of skates and handed it to Albus, who looked at her in surprise.
“It was a gift from Rose. She told me her mother found it very handy, a long time ago,” said Hesta, as she pulled out another pair of skates.
After putting on his skates, Albus got up and held out his hand for Hestia. She took it and was pulled to the middle of the rink. They came to a sudden stop.
“Wha- ?” started Hestia.
“Hush! Listen,” whispered Albus.
A faint Christmas tune was flowing from one of the nearby pubs. Albus bowed to Hestia, and then got up. He took hold of her waist, as Hestia put one hand his, and the other hand on his shoulder. They started to skate slowly to the tune. They skated around the whole rink, all the time staring at each other’s eyes. It seemed as if they were engulfed into a world where nothing mattered but them; It was as if time had stopped just for them. The cold north wind that was blowing ferociously was breezing with gentle might and caressing Hestia’s shiny brown hair as they skated across the rink.
Suddenly, the music stopped. So did their dance. They had stopped under the Christmas tree, breathless, as the distance between them got smaller and smaller...
“Albus! Hestia! Guys where are you?” yelled a familiar voice.
They were brought back to reality, as they heard their names. Hestia, being the first to break contact between them, skated from under the tree to the source of the voice. She got there in time to see a huffing Rose.
“Rose!” Hestia yelled. Rose, spotting her friend, ran towards Hestia.
They were, later, joined by a very frustrated Albus, who was repeatedly looking daggers at Rose.
“Blimey! What’s gotten you pissed off?” asked Tristan.
Albus glared at Tristan. Didn’t he understand that he wasn’t in the mood to talk? Albus kept his head down and stared at the glittering coat of snow being disrupted by their footprint, as the pair was taking a stroll after a heart-warming and stomach-bursting dinner.
“Seriously, mate? What happened?” asked Tristan, prodding.
“Rose happened,” was Albus’s reply.
“Rose! She ruined everything for me and Hestia-”
“-when was there a ‘you and Hestia’? How come I didn’t know about it?” asked Tristan, accusingly.
“Nobody knows about it. Well, nobody knew about it. Except, you. Of course,” said Albus, uncomfortably.
“Ahan,” was Tristan’s reply.
“Look! That’s not important. What is important is the fact that I was inches away from kissing Hestia, when Rose barged in and, basically, ruined the moment. She can really be a troll sometimes!” huffed Albus.
“Yeah, well, for a smart girl, she can be dumb sometimes. For instance, she is completely blind about the fact that Malfoy fancies her and she, being-”
“-how did you know about that?” interrupted Albus.
“It’s a rumour. Nothing to worry about.” Said Tristan,casually. “ Apparently, Malfoy has an amazing musical talent, which he would never reveal (for obvious reasons). So, he was singing a song about some girl he could never get hold of. Someone interpreted the girl to be Rose.”
“Since when did you become a prattling hag?”
“Firstly a hag wouldn’t prattle- maybe, about her new warts or something- and secondly, Lily gave me this piece of information while we were chatting. She and her friends overheard some Slytherin girls talking about it and her made the assumption about Rose that-”
“- Second question: since when do you ‘chat’ with my sister-?”
“- AL! TRISTAN! WE JUST GOT LETTERS FROM HOGWARTS! YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS!” yelled Rose.
Albus and Tristan stopped walking. With casual smiles wiped off their faces, they yelled in unison, “WHAT!?!?”
Dear Mr. Potter,
Recently, an incident has occurred that has put a minor setback on students’ return to Hogwarts. The incident involved the demolition of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw dormitories by trolls. The Slytherin dormitories faced minor damages. Nonetheless, the dormitories need to be reconstructed for the new term. Further information on the trolls’ attacks and their method of access is still unknown. A team of Aurors are investigating on the incident.
For, now the Headmaster, Professor Adrastos, has declared that the school reopening must be pushed back by two weeks to give authorities the time to investigate and to reconstruct the students’ residences.
Professor Sebastian Thorne
Deputy Headmaster and Head of Slytherin House
After reading, Albus just kept on staring at the letter, trying to make sense of it.
“Well, this is interesting,” commented Rose, with a dazed look on her face. And Albus thought, this doesn’t even describe interesting, Rose. This spells trouble.