Chapter 1 : O Christmas Tree!
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In all honesty, it wasn't the fault of the next generation of Potters and Weasleys that were to blame for this. You’d think that the adults would notice a certain pattern happening but apparently everyone was completely clueless when it came to who was the cause of the problem.
There was that time that James had spilled a bottle of Veritaserum in the cake, which caused everyone to tell the truth for several days after the Healer’s at St. Mungo’s told them they would be fine once the stuff got out of their system. Albus and Lily had lost all of the presents one year, something that no one was happy about. Louis and Dominique had tried putting up streamers once by enchanting them to hang themselves and instead almost strangled Victoire.
Victoire had set the entire kitchen on fire one Christmas while she tried to cook turkey and Teddy had gotten the Burrow stripped clean of all furniture and clothing the Christmas after. Everything was found three hours and no one was sure whether it was a robbery or Teddy was just really forgetful. Rose and Hugo were the only ones left that hadn’t screwed up Christmas and that was because she and Hugo had never been put in charge.
This year was Fred and Roxannes year. They had graduated Hogwarts in July and this was their first Christmas as adults.
It had been going well so far, they’d cleaned the Burrow while everyone had been out all day doing who knows what. Every time someone had come close to the Burrow, either Fred or Roxanne had bolted outside and shooed them away, threatening them with several jinxes and burning their presents in front of their eyes.
Fred had cleaned the house wearing a pink frilly apron, that he’d originally bought for Roxanne, while Roxanne cooked the large dinner wearing a black and red apron that said, “The Chef is hotter than ghost peppers,” that Fred had bought for himself.
There had been a fifteen minute argument on who would wear which apron before Roxanne arm-wrestled Fred for the black and red apron and won.
Fred had put on the pink frilly apron while mumbling swears and Roxanne had skipped into the kitchen with her “absolutely kickass apron,” as she liked to call it.
While Fred went around the house dusting the furniture, putting away laundry, fixing beds and doing more laundry, Roxanne was in the kitchen cutting up vegetables, fruits, turkey and various other things that she would need to prepare dinner.
Once she’d finished with the turkey and shoved it into the oven, she prepared some salads and gravy. She rushed out into the back when she heard yelling coming from Fred. The sight that met her eyes was one that she had not prepared herself for. Roxanne had thought that Fred was injured or stuck somewhere but instead, he was covered in chicken food, had chickens pecking at his legs and garden gnomes pummeling him with their little fists.
“Roxanne help me! They’re trying to kill me!” Fred yelled in a high pitched voice. Roxanne was in absolutely no state to help Fred out however, she was too busy leaning against the door frame, bent over laughing so hard that tears were streaming down her face. Every time she came close to calming down, Fred would squeal in pain and Roxanne would lose it again.
Finally, after almost ten minutes of laughing, Roxanne managed to pull herself together with a hiccup and helped her brother out.
“Repello!” Roxanne cried, waving her wand in a wide arc. The gnomes flew off of Fred and over the fence, the chickens were thrown off balance and all you could see of them was little chickens trying to stay upright. All that was left was Fred standing in front of her with bight marks all over his legs and little bruises that were forming on his arms. “Scourgify,” Roxanne said calmly, pointing her wand at Fred. The chicken feed flew off of him.
Before her stood a very unamused Fred who glared at her as her lips twitched and Roxanne attempted to keep a smile from coming on her face. Roxanne rolled her eyes at her brother; he could get annoyed at the dumbest things. It’s not like she wasn’t going to help him!
“Would you like me to help you clean up the yard, Fred?” Roxanne asked, rubbing her hands up and down her arms to keep warm.
“The sooner I get out of the freezing snow the better,” Fred replied shivering.
“Is that a yes?”
“I didn’t say no, now did I?” Honestly, the sass that boy gave her sometimes.
Roxanne ran inside and grabbed a coat. Together, she and Fred fed the chickens, made sure that the garden gnomes would not be making a return visit and put in place any of Grandpa Arthur’s trinkets that had fallen off of their hook. That had taken another half an hour to do; Grandma Molly would skin the two of them alive if they didn’t fix up her shed properly.
Fred locked the shed and when they turned around, smoke was coming out of the open back door.
“EEEEK!” Roxanne squealed, gripping her hair, her shriek getting higher and higher in octave until only dogs would be able to hear it soon. Unlike Roxanne, Fred had decided to actually take action and do something about the burning turkey.
Fred had kicked off his boots as soon as he stepped inside and raced for the kitchen, Roxanne catching up to him as he yanked the oven door down and more smoke poured out and into his face. Fred coughed and waved a hand in front of his face to get rid of the smoke.
When he pulled out the turkey with oven gloves, there was a bonfire going on at the top. “Where’s Granddad Arthur’s fire extinguisher!” Roxanne wailed, running around the kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off.
“Forget the fire extinguisher and use your bloody wand you moron!” Fred bellowed, slamming the turkey down on the kitchen counter and attempting to put out the fire with his covered hands. While Roxanne patted her clothes looking for her wand, Fred took out his own and with a swish of his wand, water burst from his tip and onto the turkey. With a hiss, the fire went out and everything slowly began to calm down.
Roxanne got rid of all of the smoke in the house, along with the smell of something burning while Fred closed the door to the backyard. Once that was done, they stood next to each other and stared down at the turkey in front of them in silence.
“Do you think everyone will still eat it even though it’s burned?” Roxanne asked quietly. Fred frowned and inspected the turkey more closely.
“Well, it looks like only the top is burned so maybe if, I don’t know, we cut off the top or something like that then no one will notice . . . as much,” he added after a pause. “Give me a knife.”
Roxanne hurried to get a knife from one of the drawers and then handed it to Fred. She wouldn’t dare accio a sharp object to herself, knowing her, something horrible and tragic would probably happen. Fred stuck his tongue out of the side of one mouth and furrowed his eyebrows as he slowly cut away the piece of the burnt turkey and threw it out.
“What are we going to tell them if they ask us where the rest of it is?” Roxanne asked once Fred had put the knife down.
“I’ll tell them I got hungry and ate a piece of it,” Fred replied. The turkey was put aside and then the two of them got to work on getting the remaining things ready. The work got done a lot quicker with Fred helping Roxanne, in one hour; the table had been expanded to fit all of the Weasley’s and the Potter’s, the table cloths were put down along with the silverware. Fred and Roxanne walked in and out of the kitchen, bringing in food and setting it down on the table.
The fire was crackling its normal orange colour instead of the emerald green that it did when it was used for flooing. And then the turkey was brought in and placed at the center. It was very clearly overcooked. Maybe everyone would just conveniently go blind when they looked at it Roxanne thought hopefully.
“Do you think they’ll notice?” Roxanne asked as she stared at the setup before her.
“Maybe they’ll be really amazed by all of the other food that they won’t notice the turkey until they eat it,” Fred replied after a pause.
“Are we done?”
“Yeah, we’re –oh, shit, we need to put up the Christmas tree!” Fred yelled and bolted up the stairs to get the Christmas tree down. While he was pounding up to the attic, Roxanne went looking for the ornaments that Nana Molly usually kept downstairs so that they wouldn’t get broken being brought down from the attic.
Fred sent the tree floating into a corner in the living room while Roxanne waved her wand at the bags or ornaments, sending them flying past her one by one.
Fred struggled to keep the tree standing long enough to use his wand to stick it to the floor so that it wouldn’t move while Roxanne fought with all of the knotted bags as she tried to open them. As far as she knew, there was not a spell that could untie knots.
After fifteen minutes of intense swearing and grunting, Fred had gotten the tree standing, and Roxanne had untied the knot of one bag. She set about wrapping the lights and tinsel around the tree as fast as she could while Fred hung ornaments with his wand and by hand. Once the first bag was empty, the two moved onto the second one and once that was empty, they moved on to the other bags until all of the ornaments had been put up.
“Erm Roxanne, where did you get these?” Fred asked, holding up some of their dad’s Weasley’s Spontaneous Fireworks. They weren’t so much spontaneous as they were planned. It would’ve been a huge problem if the fireworks went off at any moment. They were set to go off at a set time and called spontaneous because everyone else was startled by them when they went off seemingly at random.
The prototypes had in fact been the ones that were actually spontaneous. Their dad George still had some of the prototypes lying around the joke shop and at home, which made it a problem to keep the store shelves from falling over and the house from blowing up. The thing that worried Fred the most was that he couldn’t tell which one was the prototype and which ones were the real ones.
While the real ones were harmless when they went off, the prototypes were really, really not. They were known for catching fire every time they went off.
“Dad gave them to me,” she replied absentmindedly as she crumpled up plastic bags to throw away. The knots hadn’t really been untied as much as Fred and Roxanne had just ripped open the bags. “I thought we could hang them near the bottom of the tree and see everyone freak out when they see these bangs go off after dinner.”
“You sure these aren’t the prototypes?” Fred asked.
“Yes, I’m sure. Now would you relax?” Roxanne replied, rolling her eyes at her brother. Fred had a constipated look on his face, he still wasn’t sure whether the fireworks were safe or not but he didn’t want to be a killjoy either. In the end, the latter won and Fred handed over the fireworks.
Just as Roxanne finished hanging the last firework, everyone barged in through the doorway, apparated or fell out of the fireplace, one after the other. It seemed that everyone decided they were coming back no matter what Fred and Roxanne said. There was no last minute check to make sure everything was ready, no last minute check to make sure the oven was turned off. Weasley after Weasley poured into the house without stop along with the three Potters.
Fred and Roxanne were forced to sit down at the dinner table with the rest of the family and shot each other nervous looks as their cousins, aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents sat themselves down at the dinner table. There was no lull in conversation as food started being passed around and piled on plates.
Rose was at one end whining about how she hadn’t had time to look into Flourish and Blotts properly. Ginny was forcing Harry to eat broccoli because he was skin and bones. Dom, Victoire and Louis were having an animated conversation in French; Aunt Fleur had a look on her face that suggested she was eating something questionable and when Roxanne saw the piece of turkey on her plate, she understood why. Everyone else was watching the rest of the family in amusement.
Everything went fine all through dinner. Eventually Fred stopped worrying about the fireworks and Roxanne relaxed about the turkey. It seemed like this Christmas was going to end with everyone enjoying themselves instead of at the Ministry having to explain why the Burrow had a backyard full of Crup’s.
And then it happened.
It started when Hermione asked in a voice louder than everyone else’s if they smelled something strange in the air. Fred and Roxanne took a deep breath and made the same face as they indeed smelled what Aunt Hermione was talking about.
Roxanne didn’t know how to describe it, the answer was on the tip of her tongue but she couldn’t remember what it was. It was like when you threw a log into the fire and it started . . .
Fred whipped his head around and looked at her in horror. And then it hit Roxanne.
“THE CHRISTMAS TREE!” the two of them yelled out in horror. They shot out of their seats and ran to the living room as quickly as they could, the rest of the family following behind them as fast as possible.
It was chaos. There were fireworks in the air, the room was incredibly warm and the Christmas tree was on fire and slowly being burned to a crisp.
“Where’s the fire extinguisher!?” Roxanne screamed hysterically yet again.
“Forget about the bloody fire extinguisher and get our wands!” Fred roared, slapping himself as he searched for his wand. Roxanne searched her pockets for her own wand as well but didn’t find anything. That’s when the panicking ensued. Everyone’s wand was either at the dinner table or in their coat pockets in the closets.
Fred and Roxanne trampled family members in their hurry to get to their wands –which they figured out was at the table next to their plates. By the time that they’d shoved their way into the kitchen, grabbed their wands, and then fought their way back to the Christmas tree, the fire had spread to the entire wall behind the tree.
“Aguamenti!” Roxanne and Fred both cried. Water shot from their wands and put out the Christmas tree while Aunt Hermione put out the rest of the fire with a swish of her wand.
The panicking stopped when the fire went out and everyone went quiet as they stared at the charred Christmas tree in front of them and the burnt wall behind it. It was silent for another moment and then everyone sighed in relief.
At which point the burnt wall crumpled and gathered in a pile of burnt wood on the ground.
There were enchantments to keep the entire structure standing but everyone stepped outside of the house anyway just to make sure that they weren’t crushed if the spells didn’t hold and the Burrow collapsed on itself..
“That could’ve turned into a disaster,” Hugo said sarcastically. Roxanne shot a dirty look at him, it’s not like it was her fault that dad had given her the prototypes instead of the real fireworks that didn’t explode at random times. Then again, it was her fault for thinking that putting fireworks on a tree would end well.
“What are we going to do about the Christmas tree?” Roxanne asked everyone. She thought she heard Hugo mutter something like, “Priorities: you have them straightened out,” but chose to ignore it.
“Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure the giant gaping hole on the side of the house is the bigger issue here.”
A/N: It's Christmas time and you know what that means! Family time, presents, dinner, Christmas trees -or in the case of Fred and Roxanne- setting things on fire! This isn't perfect but I hope that it's cheered you up a little or made you smile! Feedback is always wanted so let me know what you thought!
disclaimer: I do not own the song O Christmas Tree, that right belongs to Ernst Anshutz.
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