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Lily's Defender by Snapegirl
Chapter 31 : Christmas Surprises
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 2

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Christmas Surprises

by Alethea27

A/N: Thanks to reviewer Victoria3Ben for the idea of transfiguring a sweater for Tuney.

"You can turn this information you gathered about Warty and Mundungus Fletcher over to Barty Crouch, Leif," Marius said. "We'll let him handle it from here."

Black Leif nodded and silently left the room. They heard the floo sound and knew he was on his way to the Ministry.

"What if Dumbledore goes to the Wizengamot and has everything buried, Grandpa?" Severus asked. "He's got enough power to do it."

"He won't be doing anything of the sort, Sev," Marius assured him. "Not unless he wants to be the very first Hogwarts headmaster to be dismissed from his post. The Board definitely won't tolerate a headmaster who condones thievery." He smiled and clapped Severus on his shoulder. "Let's not worry until we need to, Sev. As soon as Leif comes back we're going to decorate the Christmas tree."

Severus smiled. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve. He had finished Lily's picture and Gran had helped him mat and frame it and she'd stated it looked like a picture you'd buy in an expensive art gallery. She had conjured a box for him to put it in and wrapped it beautifully with a wave of her wand.

Leif returned and reported to Marius that Mr. Crouch was going to send his men out with a warning to keep their eyes open for Warty and/or Mundungus Fletcher. Both of them were to be arrested on sight.

Everybody helped decorate the eight-foot Christmas tree in the living room, including the Magnusson's, and Arlo and Mitzi. The tree was magical and remained alive even after being cut down and when Christmas was over, it would be replanted and continue to grow. Mitzi kept everybody well-supplied with spiced eggnog and cookies. When the tree was finally done, Marius noxed the lights and everybody stood back to admire their work. The different colored fairy lights shone brightly and with the ornaments, tinsel, and garland; the tree was quite spectacular. As always some of the ornaments used were ones that Eileen and Toby had collected and were part of Severus' childhood. They were always placed on the tree in their memory. They sat in the living room with only the light of the Christmas tree and the light coming from the lit fireplace.

"I think this will be the best Christmas ever," Severus remarked, thinking about all of his friends and Lily especially.

"I think you're right, Sev," Marius added. He sincerely hoped Mundungus Fletcher would be caught soon and Potter and Black implicated. Hopefully they would end up being expelled or at least suspended for a time.

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

Lily woke up Christmas Eve morning excited. She couldn't wait until tomorrow! She took a shower, got dressed and went downstairs to breakfast. Petunia was sitting at the table with a glass of orange juice and a bowl of cold cereal.

"Where are mum and dad?" Lily asked.

"How am I supposed to know?" Petunia snapped. "They were gone when I got up."

Lily got the pitcher of orange juice out of the refrigerator and poured herself a glass and put the pitcher back. She got a box of cereal and a bowl out of the cupboard, took her juice, and sat down by Petunia. She poured cereal into her bowl, took the bottle of milk sitting by Petunia, poured it over her cereal and began eating. "Tuney, I'm sorry I'm a witch and you're not, but I can't do anything about it," Lily said.

"You could stop being a witch and not go back to that Hogfarts or whatever."

"I can't just stop being a witch. It doesn't work like that. If I didn't use my magic it would build up and that would cause things to start exploding. Do you remember the tree branch that fell on you when you made Sev angry that time?"

"Yes, the little twerp," Petunia hissed.

"He's not a twerp, Tuney. That was accidental magic and it happened because he lost control of his magic when you made him angry, That's what would happen if I didn't use my magic; I wouldn't be able to control it. They don't just teach us spells at Hogwarts, but how to control our magic too. Besides some of my classmates are just the same as the kids in your school; some of them are spoiled brats, bullies, and snobs."

Petunia seemed to be considering what Lily was saying surprisingly. The slamming of the front door and hearing their parents' voices brought both girls to their feet. Paul and Cinthy walked out into the kitchen. "Oh girls! I'm so sorry. We meant to be home long before this," Cinthy apologized. "I'll get breakfast started immediately."

"Where did you go?" Lily asked.

"We went over and talked with Agatha's parents and they've agreed to keep their religious views to themselves. Petunia, I don't want you to say another word to Agatha about Lily or Lily's school. I have no idea what kind of trouble we might get into if this Ministry of Magic thought we were breaking our agreement with them."

Petunia started to complain, but Cinthy held up a hand to stop her. "And Lily, never do any magic where the neighbors might see it."

"Mum, I can't do any magic outside of school until I'm seventeen or I'd get in serious trouble," Lily said.

"Well, I'm just warning both of you," Cinthy replied bending over to get her frying pan and other pots out of the cupboard in preparation for starting breakfast. Paul helped her with breakfast. He scrambled eggs while she fried the bacon, potatoes, and sausages. Petunia help by brewing the tea and Lily set the table and made the toast.

They sat down to eat when an owl tapping at the window interrupted them. "I'll get it," Lily said, seeing at once it was the Dailey Prophet owl. She opened the window, ignoring Petunia's complaints about being cold and put some Knuts into the pouch he carried and took the paper from him. She closed the window and opened the paper. The headlines were about the capture of a thief named Warty and his accomplice, Mundungus Fletcher. They were both accused by Department of Magical Law Enforcement, who'd gotten a tip, of possibly being the ones responsible for the theft of the emeralds out of the Slytherin hourglass at Hogwarts.

"Something interesting in the paper?" Paul teased.

"A few weeks before we left for Christmas vacation the emeralds started disappearing out of Slytherins' hourglass. Nobody knew how they were being stolen because all the hourglasses have a special locking charm on them that only Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall know how to take off. Even a seventh year couldn't take it off. Anyway there was an article in the paper about uncut emeralds flooding the black market and Professor Slughorn who's head of Slytherin House and Professor McGonagall figured out that somebody was stealing them. They brought in Magical Law Enforcement, but they couldn't figure it out either, but today there's an article about the capture of two men they think might have been responsible for it, but I don't understand how they could get into the school."

"Well, my guess would be that someone was letting them in or they were hiding within the school somewhere," Paul said.

"Oh dear me!" Petunia exclaimed pretending to be shocked. "You mean your precious, perfect Hogfarts has thieves? What a shock!"

"It's no different than any other school, Tuney. It has good kids and bad kids," Lily said in defense.

"There are always a few rotten apples in every barrel," Cinthy said.

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

Marius put down the paper, a satisfied smile on his face. The Potters were about to experience the fickle finger of fate once Fletcher started taking. He imagined Albus would try and go to bat for his godson and his friend, but Barty Crouch was heading the investigation and would not listen to any of Albus' excuses.

"What are you smiling at, Marius?" Vesper asked. "Oh yes, I do recognize that Slytherin smile when I see it," she teased him.

"I'm merely happy that those two miscreants, Warty and Mundungus Fletcher, are in custody and we can get this whole thing with the emeralds cleared up."

"If Potter and Black are guilty; will they be arrested?" Vesper asked.

"I don't know what the authorities will do as they're underage and unlike the Muggles, we don't have a special containment for juvenile offenders."

"I suppose if they are accused; they'll try and point the finger at someone else," Vesper commented.

"I expect so, but we'll see."

Severus came into the dining room just as they finished speaking. "Good morning, Sev. Did you sleep well?" Vesper asked.

"Yes I did, Gran. Could you help me wrap Dorian's gift later?"

"Of course," Vesper replied. "What did you get Dorian and your other friends?"

"I got Dorian a new pair of dragon-hide gloves for Quidditch. I couldn't help but notice his were a little on the shabby side after the first game. I tried to tailor my gifts to my friends' interests. Irene, Reg, and Remus all like to read so I got them books. Pete likes Astronomy so I got him a Lunascope. Tav is our Seeker and Caddaric is Hufflepuff's so I got them each a practice snitch they can use at home. Jane's our Keeper and I noticed she was wearing a guy's helmet at the first match so I got her the latest in female helmets that are endorsed by the Keeper of the Holyhead Harpies. You know I asked for a cutting from your rare Red Russian Sipapodd and I've been growing that for Alice since Herbology is her favorite subject. Emily was the hardest to buy for, but she mentioned to Jane that she likes poetry so I bought her a book of poems by the Muggle American poetess, Emily Dickinson."

"I'm sure they will be thrilled with your gifts knowing the care you took to get them something that they're interested in."

Marius smiled. He was proud and more than pleased at the effort Severus put into things whether it was his schoolwork or gifts for his friends. "You'll be happy to know that MLE arrested Warty and Mr. Fletcher early this morning." He handed Severus the paper.

"That was fast," Severus said in amazement. He took the paper from his grandfather and opened it to read the article on the front page.

"When Barty Crouch puts his mind to something it's usually a done deal," Marius remarked.

"Well, I hope Professor Slughorn puts Pothead and Black on permanent Slytherin cleaning detail without magic with Clive in charge for the rest of the year," Severus said.

"They will be lucky if that's the worst punishment they do get," Marius said. "Considering the worth of the emeralds they helped steal, they may be expelled."

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

James was awakened to the sound of his mother calling him. He opened one eye and glanced at the clock and saw it was only ten o'clock. Merlin! What was his mum thinking waking him so early? There was a knock on his door. "Come in," James called.

Sirius came in, looking scared. It was a very unusual reaction for Sirius. He was pale and sweating and had a copy of the morning Prophet tucked under his arm.

James smirked and said, "Well, you look upset for somebody's who's probably going to make out like a bandit tomorrow morning."

"Magical Law Enforcement caught Dung and that other guy he mentioned, Warty," Sirius said tossing the paper on James' bed. "Dung's going to spill his guts I'll bet to save himself from going to prison."

"So what if he does, Siri? I told you before, he can accuse us of stealing whatever he wants and nobody's going to believe him. Do you really think MLE is going to believe him over two Pureblood heirs of the wealthiest, most powerful, and influential families? He's a thief for Merlin's sake and a Half-Blood to boot."

"But what if they use Veritaserum on us?"

"They aren't allowed to use it on kids, Siri, use your brain!" James scoffed. "Anyway, if they do question us we'll just say we had him take the emeralds out for a prank on Slytherin and we were going to have him put them back, but Dung double-crossed us and stole them instead."

"What if they ask why we didn't tell any of the professors?"

"We'll tell them we thought Dung was playing a prank on us and we were waiting for him to return them. We didn't realize he had stolen them until we saw the article in the Prophet about MLE saying the black market was being flooded with uncut emeralds."

Sirius plopped down in a squashy red armchair. James' entire room was decorated in Gryffindor colors with Quidditch posters decorating the walls. A Gryffindor banner hung on the wall over the headboard of his bed. "You know that might just work. I mean I feel sorry for Dung, but he is a thief."

"It will work if we just stay cool, calm, and don't panic."

"Is Dumbledore coming over for Christmas?" Sirius asked.

"Of course and I can't wait to see what he bought me for Christmas."

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

Bartemius Crouch, his mustache bristling and a forbidding look on his face, leaned over a quivering Mundungus Fletcher. "How did you get into Hogwarts, Mr. Fletcher?"

Two Aurors dressed in their red and blue trimmed robes stood by the door for added intimidation.

"Told ya. I disguised meself and came back with the kids who were in Hogsmeade. Once I got inside I hid in a room that looked like nobody'd been there for a long time and waited until everybody were asleep and then went to them hourglasses and took the emeralds."

"Howe did you know how to get them out?"

"Long time ago Warty showed me this unlocking charm he used in the goblin jewelry store to unlock their jewelry cases. He most likely forgot he ever shown it to me. I figured them hourglasses had the same kind of lock and tried it. I only meant to take enough to get me by until a couple of other deals I was workin' on paid off."

"Why didn't you take the diamonds in the Hufflepuff hourglass? I would think they would be more valuable than the emeralds."

Mundungus snorted. "That's cuz you don't know anything about jewels. Diamonds is real hard to cut and you gotta have an expert do it cuz if you ruins them they's worthless. Emeralds is softer to cut so all you's need is somebody that's done it before."

"What about the rubies and sapphires? Why didn't you take them along with the emeralds?" Mr. Crouch asked, his eyes narrowed

"They ain't that much in demand so not much profit there," Mundungus said confidently.

"Your story makes sense, Mr. Fletcher," Bartemius said.

Dung nodded. "Told ya."

"Except for one fact …the emeralds were disappearing before the Hogsmeade weekend," he concluded. Mr. Crouch walked around the table and leaned down next to Mundungus and said softly, "I have a nice cell in Azkaban that is waiting for an occupant and the Dementor's are waiting for a new prisoner …"

Mundungus paled drastically. "You …you wouldn't send me there?"

"I could be persuaded to let you serve your sentence in the Ministry cells, but I will have the complete truth from you first."

Mundungus bit his lip. Would those two rich nobs come forward and admit it was their idea? He liked Sirius well enough, but that mate of his was another story. Mundungus cleared his throat. "Okay, I'll give you the real story. I met this kid, Sirius Black, in the park across from Grimmauld Place last summer. He was a good enough kid, always talkin' about this mate of his, Jimmy Potter and the pranks they played on these other two kids, Silly Lily and Snivellus. Anyway a few weeks back I get this owl from Sirius saying he and Jimmy need my help with a prank they was gonna play. I was curious so I sent Sirius an owl saying I was interested and I knew me a passage from Honeydukes that would get me into the castle. It comes out on the third floor and they had to be there to let me in. So I get in and they stash me in this old classroom only it's all fixed up with furniture that Potter said his elves brung from his house. They brung me food everyday too. He gave me a cloak that made me invisible and told me to watch out for a Mr. Filch, his cat, and somebody names Peeves." Mundungus looked peeved for a moment and then continued, "He forgot to tell me the teachers lookin' round at night. I just about got pinched by one old bat! Anyways I tried the unlocking charm Warty shown me and it worked so every night I goes and takes about ten emeralds out of the hourglass until one morning Sirius comes with the paper and shows me the news about you guys investigating the black market emeralds. Guess I got a bit greedy. Anyway he told me I needed to stop so's I did and he let me out the secret passage that night."

"You're accusing James Potter and Sirius Black of instigating this entire theft?"

"Yeah! They said they wanted to get back at some bloke named Snivellus whose grandpa I don't like because he gave me community service with this old bitch who claimed I stole her purse and she worked me like a bleedin' house elf!"

"Are you referring to Lord Prince and his grandson, Severus?"

"To Prince, yeah, but I don't know his grandson's name. Sirius and Jimmy just kept callin' him Snivellus. They wanted me to pinch the emeralds because they belonged to this Snivellus' house and they were ahead in points or somethin' I guess."

Bartemius turned to the Aurors. "Take Mr. Fletcher back to his cell."

"You're gonna honor the agreement, ain't ya?" Mundungus said. "I told you everything I knows."

"I'll honor the agreement, Mr. Fletcher,' he replied smoothly. Once the Aurors had taken Mundungus away, Bartemius made his way to the Minister's office. He had total access to her and went through her reception area without any objections from her secretary, Clarissa. He knocked on the door of her inner office and heard her say, "Enter, Bartemius."

He came in and immediately cast a silencing charm over her door. "We have a situation, Minister."

"Have a seat and tell me about it," Minister Bagnold replied.

Bartemius sat down crossing one leg over the other with his hands resting on the arms of the chair. He related what Mundungus Fletcher had told him.

The minister narrowed her eyes thoughtfully as Bartemius told her the facts. "So, Fletcher said he stole the emeralds because Potter and Black were jealous of the Slytherins because they were in first place and Gryffindors were in last place?"

"That's what he told me. Apparently they have a feud going with the Prince's grandson who's in Slytherin and wanted to get even with him by attempting to put Slytherin in last place. What do you like me to do, Minister? I would advise doing nothing until the students return to school."

"An excellent idea, Bartemius. I'm sure they've read the Prophet and are aware of what's taken place just as I'm sure they have identical stories already lined up in case they are questioned. It would be better to wait and allow them to think they've gotten away with it and then spring it on them when they're least expecting it."

"I'm sure the Potters and Dumbledore will put up a fight about their son and his godson being accused of the theft of the emeralds," Bartemius commented. "They'll claim since Mr. Fletcher is a thief he's also most likely a liar."

"You have enough evidence to do a Priori Incantato to confirm one or both of them did the spells Dissendium and Claudo needed to open and shut that passageway," Minister Bagnold suggested. "You can point out that doing the spell on their wands can clear of them of any wrongdoing if they do put up a fight against it."

"Very good, Minister. I will do as you suggest," Bartemius replied.

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

Lily had an idea about the sweater Petunia wanted their mum to buy her. While Petunia was helping Cinthy with Christmas baking, Lily stole quietly upstairs to Petunia's room and found a Marks & Spencer Christmas catalogue lying on Tuney's bed. Some of the sweater prices did amaze Lily, but she supposed it was quality stuff therefore it cost more. She looked in the hallway closet where her mum kept the stuff that was to go in the charity bin and found an old sweater of Tuney's. She took it and the catalogue into her bedroom. She ripped out a page with different sweaters on it and put that and the old sweater in a bag with a note to Vesper with Tuney's size and coloring and asking her to transfigure the old sweater into one of the ones on the catalogue page. She sent Guinevere with the bag to Mirrorvale. She hoped it could be back by tomorrow morning. She went back downstairs to help her mum and Tuney with the baking. She helped Cinthy make her special chestnut dressing and stuff the turkey with it. Both she and Tuney helped their mum with their dinner of pork chops, salad, mashed potatoes and green beans and chocolate brownies for dessert. After Lily and Petunia washed and dried the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen, Lily went back upstairs and was delighted to find Guinevere and Callista waiting in her room. They each had hold of a box wrapped in brown paper. Lily took it from them. "Callista, why don't you stay here tonight and you can fly back in the morning?" Lily said to the owl that seemed to agree and willingly followed Guinevere into her cage. Lily gave them both owl treats and got fresh water for them. She took the brown wrapping paper off and found a beautifully wrapped gift with a Marks & Spencer sticker on it. If she hadn't known better Lily would have sworn it came directly from the store. She hid it with her other gift for Tuney and went downstairs to watch her parents open their gifts.

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

Christmas morning was the only morning James voluntarily got up before eleven o'clock. He grabbed his robe and put on his slippers and then raced downstairs into the living room where gifts were piled high under the Christmas tree, most of them with his name on them. He spotted a long, thin package and pulled that out first whooping. "Wicked!" He exclaimed as he tore the paper off it and saw the Striker racing broom he had asked his parents for. When McGonagall let him on the Quidditch team again, he'd wipe the floor with Longboob. Nobody could stop him on this - not his team mates or the opposition! He'd fly them right off the pitch!

Charles and Mavis walked into the room and smiled as they saw the expression on their son's face. They sat down and watched as James ripped into his other presents; the most expensive and fashionable clothing, wizarding candy of all kinds; new dragonhide gloves and kneepads for Quidditch. Jamie refused to wear a helmet; he didn't like his hair getting smashed by the helmet. James got up after opening all his gifts, leaving ripped paper and ribbons lying all over. "Dazzy!" He bellowed. When the elf popped in he pointed at the mess on the floor and said, "Clean that up."

"Yes, Master James. Dazzy be cleaning this up right away,"

"I'm going to fire-call Siri and see how he made out."

"Don't talk too long, Jamie. Breakfast is in a half-hour and your godfather will be over soon," Mavis said.

"I wonder what he got me. I hope it's something good!"

"Albus has always bought nice gifts, Jamie," Charles pointed out.

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

Lily woke up early on Christmas morning. She looked at her clock and saw it was 6 am. She jumped out of her bed and peeked out the window and to her delight she saw it was snowing with big, fat flakes. She got her robe and slippers on and took Tuney's gifts out of her closet. She couldn't wait to see the expression on Tuney's face when she opened her present containing the transfigured sweater. She came out of her room and knocked on her parents' bedroom door. "Mum! Dad! Wake up, it's Christmas morning!"

"Coming, Lily," her father called sleepily.

She then knocked on Tuney's door. "Tuney, wake up! It's Christmas morning!"

"I'm coming," Petunia answered grumpily.

Lily hurried downstairs and put her gifts for Tuney under the tree and then sat impatiently waiting for her parents and her sister to come down. When she heard them coming down the stairs she jumped up and said, "Happy Christmas, Mum, Dad, Tuney."

"Happy Christmas, Lily," Her parents both responded.

"Happy Christmas," Petunia mumbled.

Lily pulled all the presents out from under the tree and put hers in one pile and Petunia's in another. "You open a gift and I'll open one, Tuney," Lily said.

Petunia nodded and tore off the bow and wrapping paper from the first box. She opened it, folded back the tissue paper and gasped as she the sapphire blue sheath dress inside. She took it out of the box and held it up to her. It set off her blond hair and would showcase her long, slim legs.

Lily gave a cry of delight. "Tuney, you look just like Jean Shrimpton or Patti Boyd!"

"Thank you, Mum and Dad for this dress. It's beautiful," Petunia said.

"You're welcome, Petunia," Cinthy replied. "And you do look lovely in it."

"Me next," Lily said. She tore the wrapping paper off a box that was about the same size as the one Petunia had just opened. When she tore away the tissue paper she too gasped. The chiffon dress inside was a deep magenta color with a scoop neckline, ruched cap sleeves, a flower-ribbon waistband of a lighter magenta color, and with a bubble hem and came to just above her knees. "Mum, Dad, it's beautiful and it's an older girl's dress!"

"You're both growing up, Lily. I can't believe you're going to be thirteen next month," her mum said a bit wistfully. "And Petunia will be sixteen in March. It seems only yesterday we were bringing you both home from the hospital."

They opened the rest of their gifts. Petunia found a pair of shoes to match her dress and they were actual high heels – her first pair, plus a full make-up kit and a small bottle of Chanel #5. Lily also received shoes that matched her dress that had small heels on them. She got cologne and a tube of pale pink lipstick plus her first pair of pantyhose. In addition they both got their Day Out With Mum packages; both girls having the same packages as last Christmas and each got an assortment of either magical or Muggle candy. Lily handed Petunia her gifts and said, "Open the bigger box first, Tuney."

Petunia squealed as she spotted the Marks & Spencer sticker on the wrapping paper and tore off the wrapping paper, yanked off the lid of the box and threw it aside. Inside was a chocolate brown, cowl-neck, cashmere sweater. Petunia gave a delighted cry and hugged it to her. "It's beautiful, Lily! Thank you!" She sobered. "But how could you could you possibly afford this? I know it was very expensive."

"You're welcome, Tuney," Lily said with a smile. "Mum and Dad allowed me to take out a little of my money at Gringotts that Professor Hardbroom had to pay us, to buy gifts and I exchanged some of it and it turned out to be a lot." She was delighted to see how happy Petunia was with the sweater. She was glad that the barrettes she bought for Petunia would go well with it. When Petunia saw the barrettes she gave another delighted squeal. The barrettes were fake gold filigree with small crystals on them.

Petunia's gift to Lily was a book entitled, Things to Do on Your First Date, a bottle of pale pink nail polish that matched her lipstick and a certificate that said she was entitled to a session of nail and toenail polishing. She'd also given her a spare pair of pantyhose. "You can never have too many pairs," she advised.

"Thanks so much, Tuney," Lily said and then on impulse gave her a hug. This time there was no derogatory comments or religious artifacts included with her gifts.

"Well, why don't we get dressed and I'll start breakfast," Cinthy suggested. She was very pleased that Petunia had made no mean remarks to Lily or given her any derogatory gifts.

Christmas morning breakfast was always special. This year they had Belgian Waffles topped with strawberries and whipped cream, bacon, sausages, and Cinthy's homemade cinnamon rolls.

As they ate and talked, Lily thought maybe the talk she'd had with Petunia had opened her eyes and made her realize that despite her being magical, she and Petunia weren't that much different.

"Happy Christmas, girls," their father said raising his teacup.

"Happy Christmas, Mum and Dad," Petunia and Lily both replied, raising their juice glasses

Page ~* ~*~*~* Break

Severus woke up Christmas morning and scratched Grey's head. He was stretched out next to Severus on his bed. "It's Christmas Day, Grey," he whispered to the cat. He threw back the covers and got up to get Grey's Christmas gifts. There were new toys for him to play with, a box of special cat treats that Grey loved from the Magical Menagerie. Severus had also bought him a new collar that made him look very dignified. There was a knock on his door and he heard his gran say, "Sev, are you awake?"

"Yes, Gran," Severus said. He threw on his robe and put his slippers on, got his grandparents gifts, and opened his door. Vesper wore a long velvet robe of deep green velvet edged with lace that Marius had given her for a Christmas present. "Are you ready to open presents?"

"Always, Gran," Severus answered with a grin. Grey followed him out and Severus closed his door.

"My, don't you look handsome, Mr. Greymalkin," Vesper said noticing his new collar. It gave her great comfort to recall what Bowen Morgan had told her and Marius. The three of them went downstairs where Marius was waiting in the living room with Arlo and Mitzi. The Princes had always remembered their elves on Christmas morning.

Marius and Vesper had opened their gifts to each other on Christmas Eve night. Marius wore his new pocket watch on a gold chain and he was drinking one of the teas Vesper had bought him. One of his gifts to Vesper had been sapphire earrings, a pendant, and a ring in an antique setting. They both watched in enjoyment as Severus opened his gifts. The majority of his gifts were clothes, including Muggle-style shirts and pants, and robes because he was growing so fast, but Marius had given him a set of crystal stirrers plus a brass cauldron; he reckoned Sev was old enough now to take proper care of them. Vesper had given him a potion book titled, Lost Potions of the Ancient World and two others; one about Ancient Runes and the other about beginning Arithmancy. Severus had mentioned he was thinking about taking those classes as his electives next year.

Severus gave his grandpa a book on ancient Roman law and his gran a jeweled hairclip.

Mitzi who loved to cook had gotten a copy of The Gourmet Witch's Christmas Feasts and Festivals by Freda Huskpuller. They also had gotten her a Master Chef set of pans, a brown fur-lined winter cloak and matching boots. Arlo had also gotten a fur-lined winter cloak with matching boots and since he enjoyed wood carving in his spare time, they had bought him a full set of carving knives.

After all the gifts were opened Severus fed Grey his tuna and saucer of milk. Breakfast was traditional full English. Everyone ate heartily. Severus saluted Mitzi. "Mitzi, you've outdone yourself this year."

She gave a slight bow and said, "Thank you, Master Severus."

"You're welcome, Mitzi." Severus replied. He wondered how Potter's Christmas was going and figured the spoiled brat had probably gotten the broom he was so desperate for his parents to see. He hoped it was defective and tossed Pothead off on his bum the first time he tried riding it. It would serve him right for almost knocking Lily down.

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

Albus arrived at Potter Manor around midday and of course was loaded down with presents for James. Amongst the ones he gave him was a broom polishing kit from Quality Quidditch Supplies. "Your parents informed me that you would be getting a new broom for Christmas." He also gave James a big box of assorted jokes from Zonkos. "Now you have to promise me you won't use these at school. Most of them upset Mr. Filch greatly."

"I promise," James said, but he was already thinking of ways he could use them on the Snivellus, Silly Lily, and all their other stupid friends.


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