James could feel the light beating on his eyelids and he could hear the crinkling of wrapping paper as he slowly awoke from his deep sleep. ‘Christmas!’ thought James excitedly, quickly opening his eyes. But when he looked around and realized he wasn’t in his room it finally hit him – his parents weren’t here. Usually on Christmas, James woke up, looked around his room, and there was a small package at the end of his bed. Then there was usually a trail of candies and small gifts leading down the stairs, to the main living room. His parents had been doing this since before he could remember, and they had expanded the ritual to Sirius when he joined the Potter household. Last year was the only year James had ever spent Christmas away from home, and the only reason he did was because his parents went to Scotland to visit his uncle. He wished he could go back in time and spend his final Christmas with them. But this year there was no small gift at the end of his bed, there was a pile of gifts, but it wasn’t the same a that one, tiny, gift leading his to the other gifts, leading to happiness, leading to his parents.
Slowly, he pulled the curtains away from his bed, and he could see Peter already contently munching on chocolate frogs. Remus was opening the customary sweater from his parents, but when James met Sirius’s eyes, he knew they were thinking the same thing. James’s eyes welled with tears, when he saw the look of helplessness on his friend’s face. Leaning over the edge of his bed like he was fixing his blanket, James quickly wiped the tears from his eyes. Sitting up again James looked at Sirius who was currently holding a small package in his hands, staring at it, trying to will the gift to open itself.
Plastering a smile on his face James grabbed a present from under his bed and threw it to his best friend. “Hey Sir, open this one. It’s from me,” James said in an attempt at cheerfulness.
Sirius looked at James, and decided he was going to try to make the best out of the day, if not for himself at least for James. “Thanks James,” answered Sirius, catching the gift and unwrapping it quickly. “JAMES! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU…HOW DID…..OH MY GOD, JAMES! THIS IS…THIS IS….YAY JAMES!” yelled Sirius suddenly bursting with true happiness.
“Yes, Sirius, it’s a broom. I figured you needed one after all, the other one didn’t make it out of the lake, after our last, well, experiment with new forms of entertainment,” responded James laughing at the look of utter excitement on his friend’s face. After their Sirius giddy outburst the boys were able to push the Potters out of their minds for at least a few hours. After all the presents had been opened, Sirius was trying on his new cloak from Abbey and munching on the candy Lily had given him, James was busy trying to clean his filthy broom, Peter was still eating candy and messing with the joke shop stuff James and Sirius had bought for him, and Remus was stuck in the book Lily had given him about new, experimental potions.
Meanwhile in the girl’s dorm, Abbey and Lily were opening the presents they had received. James had eventually gotten Lily a pair of bright blue chandelier earrings and another pair of bright green chandelier earrings. Abbey had gotten Lily a book on charms and candy from Honeydukes. “Abbey! I love this bo - What’s wrong, hun?” asked Lily worriedly looking at the crest fallen look Abbey’s face.
“Oh nothing,” answered Abbey.
“Ok well, Sirius didn’t get me a present. I mean I know I’m being shallow, but still we have been going out for a while, and well I just thought…” To Abbey’s surprise, Lily was smiling from ear to ear, and she was smiling like a five year old receiving her first broom. “What are you happy about? This is a tragedy here!” exclaimed Abbey.
“I think you’re over reacting,” Lily said still smiling excitedly, “I bet he’s giving you a really good present.”
“You think so?” asked Abbey curiously.
“Yeah, he would never forget your present. Sirius is too good for that. He’s probably planning something real romantic or something; he’s charming like that.”
“And how would you know, exactly?”
“After you spend enough time with James, you spend enough time with Sirius.”
“Yeah that makes sense. Well let’s go see if the boys have opened their presents,” said Abbey pulling on Sirius’s red hoodie, with BLACK on the back, over her head. The girls headed down to the common room, to see if the boys had woken up and gotten their presents yet. When they came down stairs, they found all four boys gathered around a game of exploding snaps.
“Merry Christmas guys,” said Lily stepping into the room, and wrapping a blanket tighter around her shoulders.
“Merry Christmas, Lily!” exclaimed James excitedly.
“Did you like your present?” asked Lily sitting down next to James.
“Yeah! It was great the old Nimbus needed some work,” laughed James putting his arm around her, drawing her to him, “Thank-you.”
“No prob, did you like yours?”
“Yes! They were so beautiful! I’m very impressed, I am going to have to say, very impressed indeed,” laughed Lily.
“Merry Christmas, Sirius,” said Abbey a bit pointedly.
“Oh Merry Christmas, Ab. Thanks for the cloak, I really needed a new one,” replied Sirius casually walking up and giving her a kiss.
“So what did you end up getting everyone for Christmas?” asked Abbey, again a bit pointedly.
“Well, I got Peter candy and stuff from Zonko’s, I got Lily a book on new potions and that new book “Hogwarts, A History,” I got Remus a book about transfiguration and stuff from Zonko’s, and I got James some new Quidditch gloves because he has ridiculously massive holes in the palms of his old ones and of course I got him candy from Honeydukes. Why what did you get everyone?” asked Sirius innocently.
“Did you forget anyone?” asked Abbey angrily.
“Um…no, that’s everyone I can think of. Why?”
Abbey was livid, she was so angry she couldn’t see through Sirius’s stupid little stunt. “Leave me alone, Sirius,” said Abbey angrily marching out of the common room hugging his hoodie to her. As Abbey marched out of the room, Lily turned to Sirius with a shocked expression on her face while James just laughed and smiled at the look of amusement on Sirius’s face.
“Well, she’s mad,” commented James, smiling at Sirius.
“What did you do!?” exclaimed Lily.
“You’ll see,” smiled Sirius, “But, Lils, can you help me a little bit?” asked Sirius nervously.
“Depends on what you want,” answered Lily suspiciously. So Sirius and James preceded to tell her what they needed her to do, but they left out some of the more important parts of the story, so she would also be surprised.
An hour later Lily decided she should try to find Abbey, make sure she was ok because she hadn’t come back sense she stormed out of the common room earlier in the day. Lily wandered around the corridors, and she finally found her outside sitting my the lake. “Ab,” whispered Lily stepping up behind her. Abbey turned her face to Lily, and for the first time in her life, Lily saw Abbey cry. “Oh, Abbey. It’s ok I promise. He would never forget about you,” said Lily bending down and giving Abbey a tight hug.
“But he acted like he forgot about me,” said Abbey, sniffing back tears. ‘Wow thought Lily she’s really shaken up,’ thought Lily, slightly confused because it was painfully obvious Sirius had not forgotten about Abbey at all.
“No, no, honey, it’s going to be ok. I bet he has something really sweet planned for tonight.”
“How would you know?” asked Abbey angrily looking at Lily.
“I’m just guessing, James and Sirius work on the same wave length. It just sounds like something I could see them doing.”
“Are you sure?”
“Almost positive. Now come now, we don’t need any of this crying business,” said Lily trying to cheer up her friend. “Now come on we need to go to lunch.”
“I’m not sitting next to HIM,” stated Abbey, bitterly wiping the tears from her eyes.
“Abbey, I really think you’re over reacting,” said Lily exasperatedly, “He didn’t forget you, now if you don’t have a present or an explanation by the end of the night, then I will personally kill him. Come on Abbey, let’s go get some lunch and I’ll even sit between you and Sirius. Ok?” persuaded Lily.
“Fine, fine, fine, but I will not speak to him.”
“Ok, whatever floats your boat. Just come on inside.” So the girls slowly made their way back into the castle, Abbey reluctantly shuffling behind Lily. When they reached the Great Hall, Abbey stubbornly planted her feet and refused to open the huge doors.
“I am not hungry,” stated Abbey, crossing her arms in front of her chest, “I’m going back to Gryffindor tower.”
“No you’re not. Abbey, I’ll levitate you,” threatened Lily dangerously. A look of horror flashed across Abbey’s face as she thought about being forcefully levitated into the Great Hall in front of her friends and the teachers. Abbey silently gave in because she stepped forward and opened the door without one more glance in Lily’s direction.
“Hey Abbey,” Sirius said as she entered the Hall, standing up to give her a kiss Sirius walked in her direction, but instead of being met with the usual sweet kiss, Abbey coldly ignored him and sat down a bit down from where Sirius had been sitting. Staring straight ahead of her Abbey talked to the only person she could see – Peter.
“So Peter, what did YOU get for Christmas?” asked Abbey pointedly. From behind her Sirius, was containing his laughter at his girlfriend’s attitude. ‘She is the most stubborn person I have ever met,’ thought Sirius taking a seat one down from Abbey. Lily just came in from the Great Hall doors and reluctantly sat down between Abbey and Sirius, throwing James and Remus exasperated looks that clearly said she’s driving me crazy. All three boys were laughing quietly, especially watching Peter squirm under the wrath and interrogations of Abbey Knightly.
“Well Peter at least you weren’t FORGOTTEN by the people you THOUGHT cared about you,” continued Abbey bitterly.
“Um, yeah, I….um….well…” squeaked Peter, as he wide eyed tried to escape the intense conversation with Abbey, “I don’t…well…you see…” tried Peter again giving James and Remus desperate sideways glances as his breathing grew shorter under Abbey’s intense stare.
“Um, Abbey, so what did you get for Christmas?” asked James evilly. Lily threw him a glare that clearly said what is fucking wrong with you, the girl is distraught.
“You know what James that’s a good question,” responded Abbey angrily, “Maybe you should ask your mater here.”
“No, not Remus the other one, and not the short squeaky one either,” snapped Abbey standing up and marching angrily out of the Great Hall.
“Sirius, this surprise thing better be good because she is really pissed off at you,” said Lily seriously, “She was actually crying when I went outside – crying. Abbey never cries.”
“She was?” asked Sirius startled.
“Yeah, and I mean like really crying, not just a trickle here and there. So Black, you better have a damn good reason to put her through this bullshit especially on Christmas.”
While Sirius and Lily talked, James was struck by how much Lily reminded him of the mother. Both cared for the people around them, but especially the ones they loved. Both were stubborn as a cow. Both worked for perfection. Tears prickled the back of James’s eyelids as it finally struck him how much he missed his mother, especially during the holidays. Leaning down like he was tying his shoe, James wiped his eyes on the table cloth cover.
“Um, I’m going to head for the common room, I’ll see you guys later,” said James hurriedly scrambling up from the table.
“Do you want me to come with you, James?” asked Remus worriedly, the only one to take notice of his friend’s behavior.
“Yeah, that would be great, Moony,” replied James relieved to have someone with him. The boys headed out to of the Great Hall, and up to Gryffindor tower in silence. Reaching the fat lady they said the password, sugar dumplings, and entered the deserted common room. Sitting down in their favorite chairs by the merry fire, Remus finally turned to James.
“Prongs, what’s wrong? You’ve seemed a little distant today. I know you’re dealing with the holidays in a new way this year, but there seems to be something else wrong,” said Remus seriously. James didn’t respond right away, he just stared intently into the fire; the flames reflected in his chocolate eyes.
“He killed them,” stated James, not looking at Remus.
“Who killed who?”
“Voldemort. He killed my family. He’s taking my life away from me.”
“I know James. But he hasn’t taken your life away. You have to understand, you can live your life and make the most of it while you have it.”
“But what if he wants to kill me too?”
“Well he wants to kill all of us. So we are going to have to try to fight him as best we can, but we also can’t let him strip our lives away from us. He’s igniting fear in all of us, did you know Peter is actually calling him You Know Who? It’s going to be a few hard years, but we are going to need to fight as well as we can. We can’t keep worrying about Voldemort coming after us.”
“But what if he comes after Lily?” asked James turning toward Remus for the first time, “She’s so much like my mum, that I think Voldemort will see her as a threat. And I know that Lily would fight as much as mum did. Remus I can’t lose her.”
“James you aren’t going to lose Lily. She’s stronger than you think.”
“But you don’t understand Remus. I love her.”
“Yes I know, we’ve been over this before. And I love her too – like a sister and I never want to lose her or you or Sirius or Peter. You guys are like family to me.”
“Aww, Rem, we love you too,” said James sarcastically, laughing weakly. He felt a little better now that he was able to talk to someone about his concerns, as much as he was a guy and hated to discuss his ‘feelings’ it was still nice to talk to someone.
“Shut up, James,” laughed Remus. They sat there for awhile, talking about Quidditch and Christmas until Peter, Lily, and Sirius reentered the common room. Lily sat next to James, and he put a protective arm around her shoulders holding her tightly to him.
“James, hun, I’m not going anywhere,” said Lily laughing.
“I know, but it’s cold,” answered James with a smile.
“Oh, is poor baby Jamesie cold? Does mummy Lily have to give Jamesie a blanky?” asked Lily mockingly in a patronizing baby voice.
“Too bad,” replied Lily briskly changing into her normal voice, “You’re a NEWT level transfiguration student, you can transfigure your own ‘blanky’ if you must have one.”
“But-but-but Lily!” whined James like a five year old stomping his foot and pouting, “But I want one!”
“Oh grow up.”
“Lily, it’s almost five o’clock do you think you could get Abbey out of the dormitory for a few moments?” asked Sirius suddenly a bit nervous.
“What? Oh! Oh my gosh, yes, sorry Sirius I hadn’t been keeping track of the time,” replied Lily jumping up and hurrying up the stairs to the dormitory. “Hey Abbey,” said Lil when she opened the door to the girl’s dorm.
“Oh hey Lil, what’s up?” asked Abbey who was sitting cross-legged on the bed, painting her fingernails lime green and reading a Quidditch magazine. She was more controlled now, but she was still completely pissed off at Sirius, and if she didn’t have a present or some sort of explanation in a day, well, things were going to get ugly.
“Can you go with me to the library? I need to go pick up this book for a potions essay, and I don’t feel like going alone,” said Lily matter of factly.
“Sure.” When the girls stepped out of the portrait hole, Sirius and James quickly ran up to the girl’s dormitory (we already know they have ways of getting up there) and began putting Sirius’s plan into action. While Peter and Remus ran to the room of requirement and also began to set up for the other half of Sirius’s plan.
“James I am so nervous,” said Sirius shakily, “What is she turns me down, or doesn’t listen to me?”
“She won’t, it’s ok Sirius. She loves you and it will be ok,” reassured James.
“But what if it isn’t?” complained Sirius nervously gnawing on his short nails, “What if she thinks I’m stupid for asking her?”
“Sirius,” said James firmly turning to his best friend, “It will be ok. If it isn’t you can…well I don’t know what you can do, but you can do something bad to me. Ok?”
Thirty minutes later the girls came back to Gryffindor tower to find a deserted common room. Lily and Abbey chatted casually as they made their way up to the girl’s dorm.
“Well, the potions test was pretty hard, but I think I did ok,” said Lily.
“Yeah, well I don’t think I did great. I might scrape by a A. I’m not so good at – OH MY GOD!” gasped Abbey as she threw the door open to the dorm. There were rose petals sprinkled all over the floor, and hanging from her four-poster was three beautiful dresses. “What the fuck?” said Abbey
“Language Ab, language,” corrected Lily teasingly. But she was actually rather surprised and impressed with the display in front of her. Walking over to her bed, Abbey saw a note with a deep red rose inside the parchment.
Surprise! Hope this brightens your Christmas. Try on the dresses and pick one to wear for a night out tonight. Meet me down stairs in the common room at seven o’clock.
“Lily! Lily! Look at this! He is so sweet!” squealed Abbey excitedly jumping up and down.
“What happened, to I hate Sirius Black?” asked Lily laughing and taking the note.
“Well, he already redeemed himself.”
“You better hurry up missy; he’ll be waiting for you soon.”
“Which dress do you like?” asked Abbey laying all three on the bed. One was black coming to just below her knees, with a slightly low cut halter-top, but it was generally modest. It had a black piece of fabric that came across her abdomen and pulled together at her side with a red flower. The second dress was bright red and spaghetti strapped with a black ribbon across the top. It was tight and form fitting, but went to half way down her calf. The final dress was a simple black dress, with spaghetti straps and a straight cut top. The top pulled into a point at the waist, and the bottom flared out to just above her knees with tool under the skirt.
“I, personally, like the black one with the flower. But I like the red one for you. Here try it on,” said Lily excitedly handing her the dress.
“Yeah I like the red one too, I also like the plain black one. I’ll try them both on, and you can tell me what you think.” Abbey changed into the black one first, which she looked amazing in because it really made her blue eyes stand out. But Abbey could probably wear a garbage bag and still look gorgeous simply because she was exceptionally beautiful.
“I love it! But try on the other one just for grins,” said Lily.
“Ok, I kind of like this one,” said Abbey checking herself out in the mirror, turning every which way to see what she looked like from every angle.
“My, my does Miss. Knightly actually care what she looks like?” asked Lily mockingly.
“When I’m going to spend a “night out” with Mr. Black, then yes, I do care what I look like. He deserves the best if he’s going to go through all this effort.” Abbey gently took off the black dress, and slid into the red one.
“Abbey!” exclaimed Lily, at a lose for words, “You look…you look…wow…you look…”
“Is it bad?” asked Abbey worriedly.
“No, no Abbey you look stunning.” And she did, Abbey looked stunning in the red dress, it brought out all her perfect features, and added to her already spicy personality.
“I really like it,” said Abbey happily. Shortly after, she headed for the dormitory door with a black ribbon around her neck, and her long brunette hair flowing down her back. Lily followed her, in her sweatshirt and James’s sleep pants, hugging a blanket around her shoulders. Lily hurried ahead of Abbey to make sure Sirius was in the common room. Reaching the common room she found Remus and James sitting on thr couch grinning happily, and Sirius was no where to be seen.
“Where’s Sirius?” asked Lily. At the sound of his name Sirius stood up from his place in his armchair in a black tux. “Wow, you clean up well Sirius.”
“Thanks Lily, glad you think so,” said Sirius smiling at Lily. “Where’s Ab?”
“Oh yeah, Abbey!” yelled Lily up the stairs, “Your Prince Charming is waiting!” Right on cue Abbey slowly stepped down the stone stairs in strappy black heels. She took one look at Sirius and smiled brightly.
“Well, you clean up good,” said Abbey stepping up to Sirius and giving him a light kiss.
“I…you….wow…Abbey…you look…wow….stunning,” tried Sirius as she goggled at the dazzling girl in front of him. Even James and Remus were staring at her.
“James! James! Focus James!” said Lily snapping her fingers in front of his face to get his attention, “Eyes off this is Sirius’s girlfriend, you had your chance. Come on leave them alone.” Sirius led Abbey out of the portrait hole and into the basically deserted castle toward the room of requirement, nervously playing with the contents inside his pocket.
Lily collapsed on the couch leaning against James, truly happy for her best friend. Pulling a Quidditch magazine to her, she fingered through the pages until she found an article that caught her interest. “And what exactly do you think you’re doing, Lily?” said James smiling at the girl leaning against him.
“I’m reading a damn book. What does it look like I’m doing?”
“Well, your Christmas isn’t over yet.”
“What do you mean?” asked Lily suspiciously looking up at James’s questioning eyes.
“I mean what I said; your Christmas isn’t over yet. One of those dresses is for you, and I have plans for the evening. We may not be truly going out, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a nice Christmas dinner together does it?” asked James.
“No he’s kidding,” said Remus laughing at Lily’s delighted expression.
“Oh, James I’m so excited.”
“Well, go get ready. I’ll meet you down here in forty five minutes, good?”
“Perfect,” responded Lily sprinting excitedly for the girl’s dorm.
“Well you made her Christmas,” said Remus with a laugh as he and James headed up to their dorm.
“Yeah, she gets easily excited if she likes you. I’ve found now that she likes me it’s easier to make her happy.”
“It does help.”
In forty-five minutes, Lily was putting the final changes on herself before she headed down to the common room. She had chosen the black dress, with the red flower, and she was tying her favorite necklace, the one Topher McKinley (remember him? Yeah long time ago I know) had given her so long ago, around her neck. The necklace was one of her favorites and she wore it all the time, well, it was beautiful the red satin ribbon matched the flower and the large diamond sparkled in the light. It also reminded her of a happy time, when her biggest worry was where she was going to go with Topher that evening. Sighing with excitement Lily, opened the door and slowly stepped down the stone stairs toward James, who was waiting excitedly at the base of the stairs.
“You look beautiful,” said James giving Lily a light kiss on the cheek as she walked up to him.
“Well, you don’t look too bad your self, James Potter,” said Lily looping her arm into his, and looking up into his ecstatic face. James was wearing a nice black suit and black shirt with a red tie, but the top button of his shirt was unbuttoned and his tie was a little lose. “So where are we off to, exactly?”
“And how are we going to get there without going through the main doors?”
“I have my ways.”
“Whatever you say, just lead the way.”
Meanwhile, while James and Lily were making their way to Hogsmeade, Sirius and Abbey were eating dinner together, laughing and joking like they usually do.
“Whatever, dumbass. I am so much better than James. Just because he comes up with all the plays and makes all the big plays, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t suck,” said Abbey jokingly.
“Have you ever played against James?” asked Sirius laughing at Abbey.
“No, I’m a freakin’ chaser and he’s the seeker. I doubt he can even play chaser.”
“Think again, that kid can play anything relating to Quidditch. He is such an amazing flyer he made three spots on the team second year. But he could dive so they pulled him as seeker.”
“But I’m still better than he is, right?”
“Um…yeah of course baby,” mumbled Sirius jokingly squeezing her hand in his. They sat in silence for a while finishing up their dinners when Sirius looked up seriously. “Abbey?”
“Yeah, Sir?” questioned Abbey a little startled by his suddenly serious tone.
“Do you love me?”
“Of course I love you. You know that.”
“No I mean really love me. Like want to spend the rest of your life with me, love me?”
“Sirius what are you talking about?” asked Abbey nervously. She did want to spend the rest of her life with Sirius, she wanted him to be the father to her children, and she wanted to wake up every morning in his arms. But at the same time she was only sixteen, and being tied down didn’t really appeal to her right now, but she had a feeling Sirius wasn’t the kind to tie her down.
“I’m talking about spending our lives together.”
“Yes, I definitely want to spend the rest of my life with you, Sirius.”
“How can you be sure?”
“I can’t, but I just know. I love you and I just have this feeling we are always going to be together.”
Sirius looked up into her crystal blue eyes, twinkling with love and happiness, as he pulled out a small black velvet box from his pocket.
You like? You hate? You love? Tell me. love to hear from my reviewers! I’ll leave you at that. Next chapter WILL be up sometime next week, I promise, cross my heart, and hope to die. (that is unless my computer wigs out on me again, which is possible, but I am going to at the very least have it done by next week)
Well I decided I don’t want to beg for reviews any more so I’m not going to. But if you have an extra minute drop in a review, I would love to hear from you. And thank-you to my first time reviewers, and old faithful reviewers of the last chapter. Plus, if you want another reviewer to one of your stories, I try and usually do review at least one of my reviewers stories. I actually suggest it all of you authors, I’ve found some of my favorite stories by reading ones from my reviewers. For example, Julesy, one of my newby reviewers, reviewed me, I read her story, It Started with Insults, loved it, and am now a faithful reader. Seriously try it. Anyway, that was just a side note. Thanks guys rock on.