Chapter 1 : It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
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At least, that's how the saying goes, right? But, seeing a clear night sky rather than watching snow fall and being in a bare, cold hotel room rather than in a brightly lit living room, surrounded by decorations and a tree, this is not a wonderful time of year and it does not feel like Christmas. It's just like any other bad day.
Technically that is true, it's not Christmas yet. But it's getting awfully close and I should be at home by now, not with my team because of a game. I should be with my family and my boyfriend.
Although, some boyfriend Harry is. I have always known that he's not exactly the best at showing his feelings and I'm okay with the fact that sometimes I'll have to coax a conversation out of him, while there will be other days where just giving up will be the best thing to do. But he's not an emotionless robot who tells me nothing; he can be really sweet sometimes and he always tells me what he thinks is simple and honest, not even realizing how much it means to me. Like 'I love you'; I don't think I'll ever get used to him saying that to me.
So, why send me such a... cold letter?
I practically sent Harry an essay, telling him about my disappointment over having to stay here in Wales until Christmas Eve and not being able to see him and my family, I told him about the game and all of the preparation for it, I told him what I wished we could be doing and what I hoped we could do when I get home. Harry normally responds pretty quickly, maybe the next day if he has Auror training. I know for a fact that Harry's training has finished for Christmas because Ron - yes, my brother - sent me a letter to ask about my coming home and told me, so getting Harry's letter over twenty-four hours later confused and hurt me a little, but those four words written in the center of the parchment, in his usual messy scrawl but without the usual stories to tell, now that upset me.
I'll see you soon.
His letters are never very long; mostly about his day, training with his partner Theo and that he misses me. But this is different. Why would he only put that?
I refuse to cry over it, and him, I'm much stronger than that, but it has put me in a sour mood and Christmas is really starting to suck. And this room is just depressing without a tree or even just a decoration or two to feel festive. There's no point in me buying anything now, I leave in a couple of days.
Maybe I just need to get out of the room for a bit. That might help.
I just put my thick coat on - it may not be snowing, but it's still December and cold outside - when a knock sounds at my door and, frowning, I pull it open. I force a smile when my fellow Chaser Jessie is stood in front of me, smiling brightly and almost bouncing with excitement; I am genuinely happy she's here and don't want her to know that my thoughts are not as cheerful as hers seem to be.
"Oh, good, you're ready," she exclaims, grabbing me by the arm and dragging me out, shutting my door for me.
"Ready for what?" I have to ask.
"Christmas shopping. I saw the loveliest little shop on our way here, we have to go," Jessie tells me, looping our arms together and leading the way. "We may be stuck here, but that doesn't mean we have to slack when it comes to buying presents."
I try to keep a straight face, but the look she gives me, full of humor and a little mischief, makes it so hard. "Of course," I agree with her. "It would be wrong to give others the little stuff when we expect the most amazing presents."
"So wrong," she laughs.
Really, Jessie loves her family and always tries to get them things that she knows they'll love, but competition is rife among them; they've been trying to best each other when it comes to giving gifts ever since she turned thirteen and started buying presents herself. Like me, Jessie has a big family, the youngest of three sisters and a brother, which I pretend is still way too small compared to my six brothers.
I almost stop in my tracks at the thought, but I don't correct myself; this may be our second Christmas without Fred, but he's still included.
Seeming to understand, she just knows me so well after so much time together, Jessie rubs my shoulders soothingly and turns left, promising me the best time tonight.
I really hope she's right.
I walk back to my hotel room with only two thoughts clear in my mind; I don't know who to give the dream catcher to, which is the only present I actually bought while we were out, and the eggnog at the café we spent most of the evening at was a very good idea.
I'm still not very happy with Harry about the note he sent me, because it really wasn't a letter, and I still wish I was at home, but I feel a little better about my situation in general. I can find out what's going on with Harry and it's not like I'm missing Christmas Day with my family. It's just two more days; I can do this.
Jessie leaves me in the lobby, wanting to talk to another teammate before going back to her room, so I wonder the hotel alone, aimlessly walking until I get to my room - I even make circles in the elevator, which I have to stop pretty quickly due to dizziness and nausea. I'm vaguely aware that this is the eggnog's magic at work.
It takes me a few moments to get the key to turn in the door, which I definitely blame on the alcohol until I realize that I genuinely cannot turn the lock, like it's stuck from the inside. And I can't understand how. A soft click comes from the other side of the door and I step back, not at all amused by the fact that I survived a war but might die thanks to whoever managed to get into my hotel room.
Only after I've stood in the corridor like an idiot for almost ten minutes to find that nothing has happened and I probably made the clicking noise because I finally got the key to turn, do I take a deep breath, open the door and step inside.
"Am I a Gryffindor or not?" I mutter to myself.
I expect the place to be pitch black; I turned everything off before I left and I imagine a murderer would want that element of surprise. So, I am pleasantly surprised to see that, though the lights I turned off are still off, the room is bathed in light coming from the decorations that line the walls and cover the little, but adorable, Christmas tree in the corner, by the window. The sky is dark now, but still clear of snow. Not inside; I move over and reach out to let soft flakes melt on my hand. It disappears before it reaches the floor, leaving no trace behind.
I trace a Santa Claus figure on the tree. "Who did this?" I ask, as though he can answer me.
"Merry Christmas," a voice calls out.
I jump and frown at Santa for a second, then I realize that he doesn't have my brother's voice and I'm not drunk enough to talk back, so I turn around. Ron stands in front of me, Hermione by his side, and both give warm smiles my way. They seem to be expecting something from me, a word or two maybe, but it takes a while for me to actually form a word, never mind coherent sentences like I want. All I can do is gesture to the room and all the... Christmas stuff that has suddenly shown up, along with my brother and best friend.
Hermione laughs lightly. "Do you like it?"
"Yes," I promise, finally speaking. "Was it your idea?" Hermione shakes her head and I turn to Ron, who copies her. "Then who?"
Ron frowns, torn between confusion and amusement. Like I should know exactly what's going on here. Then it starts to click.
"Well, it was Harry's, of course," my brother says. "He read your letter and wanted to give you your Christmas. He wanted it to be a surprise."
"Then where is he?" I demand.
The demand is like a charm, breaking them apart to form a path and let my sometimes useless, occasionally hard to talk to, but mostly brilliant boyfriend through to walk to me. His smile is wary, like he knows in some sort of trouble, but his eyes are alight with amusement and the knowledge that he will be forgiven... eventually, anyway.
"I thought that I would bring Christmas to you," he murmurs, watching me for a reaction. "You sounded really down in your letter and I wanted to make you smile. I thought if I wrote more than I did in that letter, you'd figure it out."
"Hence the 'I'll see you soon'," I say, and it may only be slightly mocking.
Harry nods seriously. "I meant every word."
"I see that," I chuckle, pulling him to me for a hug. He accepts willingly and holds me close. His hair has grown and it tickles my neck, his aftershave fills my senses; I breathe it all in, thankful to have him with me. "I love you, Harry."
"I love you, too," he whispers, pulling me closer. Then he let's go and kisses me lightly on the lips. I have to laugh, though I appreciate the gesture; he's still uncomfortable with public displays of affection in front of my family. He ignores it. "Merry Christmas."
I let some more snow fall onto my hand, and then drop it onto his head. "Best Christmas ever."
"Good," Ron calls out, clapping his hands together and stepping back. "Now we can eat."
Hermione rolls her eyes and follows my brother, but I know he's only moved away because he doesn't want to see what happens next.
As soon as the opportunity presents itself, I lean up to press Harry's lips against my own. His response to the second kiss is much better now that no one is watching.
It's the most wonderful time of the year, the saying goes.
This is pretty close.
A/N: Merry Christmas, Lululuna. I hope you enjoy this one-shot. :D
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