Disclaimer: I own none of the characters, etc. Everything Harry Potter related was created by the great J.K. Rowling. I am not making any money off of this and I only do it for fun. And feedback. But not money.
Warning: This fic is plotless, unbeta'ed and has a *mild* slash warning.
My usual beta is on vacation and in interest of getting this out in time, I didn't bother to try to find a replacement. Hopefully I'll have her look at it when she gets back, but until then, beware mistakes.
The slash is nothing big. I wasn't even going to put in a warning, but then I remembered that some people can get really offended about this type of thing. There is no relationships to speak of, only a brief kiss between two boys.
This is a story in response to the 7Q Christmas challenge. It must include the following:
1. Somebody must say "Merry Christmas" in a foreign language.
2. Dobby must knit/have knitted someone socks.
3. Someone must kiss someone else for the first time under mistletoe - and we're not talking a peck on the cheek ;-)
4. Someone must bake something.
5. Someone has to give a quill as a gift.
6. There must be a snowball fight.
7. Someone must say the line "You're looking quite nice this evening. Either that, or someone spiked the egg nog."
To look them over, you would think that I would be NOT writing a MWPP fic for once. Well, you'd be wrong. That seems to be all I write.
Full author notes are at the end.
Most people had left for the holidays and the common room was empty, but Lily didn’t mind. The quiet gave her a chance to catch up on some things she had been putting off for too long. Besides, there was nothing nicer, in her opinion, than to curl up by a crackling fire while a snowstorm was blowing outside.
Sitting in a comfy, oversized armchair, all her things spread around her, she signed her name with a flourish and put the card down on the table. She flexed her hands - they were cramping after all the writing she had been doing, and stretched before picking up another card and preparing to write a message.
Halfway through that card Sirius entered the common room and went to sit directly opposite from her. Lily smiled a greeting, but went immediately back to the card to complete her thought. Sirius sat waiting patiently until Lily paused and lifted the quill from the card then he grabbed the last blank card on the table.
“Happy Christmas!” he read. “Happy New Year! Joyeux Noël! Bonne Année! Feliz Navidad! Próspero Año Nuevo! Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva i s Novim Godom! … Uh, something that looks like Chinese characters. And another non-Roman set of letters which I can’t make out.”
Lily snatched the card out of Sirius’ hands and he looked up at her in the wide-eyed innocence face he used whenever he knew someone was annoyed with him. “I’ll give you a hint,” she said, trying to ignore the expression. “It means ‘Happy Christmas’.” She signed the card.
Sirius considered that for a moment. “Nah,” he said at last. “I don’t think so.”
“I suppose that would be too logical for you,” she said. “I mean, it says ‘Happy Christmas’ in all of the other languages, so obviously it can’t mean ‘Happy Christmas’ in the languages that you don’t understand.”
“Think about it,” Sirius said. “How many people reading these actually know all six languages? What if one of these weird looking ones really says something like ‘Death to all who read this!’ or ‘Sirius Black is the almighty leader of the universe!’ Who’s to say otherwise?”
“I sincerely doubt Unicef would do something like that,” Lily said dryly.
“You see, that’s what they want you to think. They lull you into a state of false security, then - Bam!” Balling his right hand into a fist, he punched the other one to drive the point home. “You won’t know what hit you.”
“Are you trying to tell me that the seemingly benign Unicef is actually a nefarious organization with what? Plans for world domination?”
Sirius nodded vigorously.
“Do you even know what Unicef is?” Lily asked.
“Not a clue,” Sirius admitted, not sounding the least bit chagrined.
“I thought so.”
Sirius waited patiently for a few moments - or at least waited as patiently as Sirius could, which actually involved him bouncing up and down energetically - then asked, “Well, aren’t you going to tell me what Unicet is?”
“Unicef,” Lily said, stressing the correct pronunciation, “is a charity that advocates children’s rights across the world.”
“Then why exactly are they trying for world domination?” Sirius wondered.
“I don’t know,” Lily said. “Maybe they aren’t.”
“I’m beginning to think you’re right,” Sirius said, grinning. Then, growing tired of the direction their conversation was going, he asked, “So what are you doing with those cards anyway?”
“They’re Christmas cards. I’m sending them to my friends,” Lily answered, finishing her message and signing one of them.
“I guessed as much,” Sirius said. “Why are you doing that, though? You saw everyone yesterday before they left and if you really wanted to keep in touch with them, why didn’t you just owl them?”
“They’re for my Muggle friends,” Lily explained. “I’ll owl the lot of them to my parents and then they’ll send them off for me by Muggle mail. Actually, I was supposed to have finished them last week, I just, er, forgot.”
“Well don’t worry about it. Christmas is still four days away. You’ll have plenty of time to get the cards to your friends,” Sirius said.
Lily smirked. “You’ve obviously never experienced Muggle mail. Trust me, they won’t get there until well after Christmas.”
Sirius stared at her, dumbfounded. “Exactly how long does the Muggle post take?”
“Certainly longer than four days, especially as Muggle postmen don’t work on the holidays.”
“But what if you have a really important message and you need to get hold of them that day?” Sirius wondered. “What do they do then?”
Lily smiled at him. “Just because we don’t have magic doesn’t mean we can’t get along. That’s when the telephone comes in handy.”
Sirius, unlike many wizards his age, or indeed even those twice his age, was quite familiar with the workings of the non-magical world simply because he didn’t like being ignorant about anything if it were at all possible, but still he shook his head at the complicatedness of the Muggle system. “I wouldn’t fancy being a squib,” he said.
“Sirius,” Lily reminded him, “squibs still live in the magical world. They just can’t use magic themselves, remember? What you mean is you wouldn’t want to be a Muggle.”
“Lily, one,” Sirius ticked him thumb off, “my parents were both wizards. When a non-magical person is born to two wizards, he or she is called a squib. Hence, if I had no magic, I would be a squib. Two - ” he ticked off index finger, “if, in some kooky, impossible scenario, I happened to be born to two non-magical parents, then I would not know about the magical world and would be accustomed to doing things the Muggle way. Three …” he hesitated. “Or am I at four?”
Greatly amused, Lily said, “No, you were right the first time. Three. Please, continue.”
“Three.” This time Sirius held up the middle three fingers of his right hand. “If is some extreme and very, very, very, very, very unlikely scenario, I did happen to be a squib, there would be no way I would remain in the wizarding world for people to pity me and make fun of me. I would leave it and live as a Muggle. Undoubtedly I would find a way to be successful there while in the magical world I would only be able to do menial, pity work. In those rare and doubtful circumstances, I would have to live as a Muggle.”
“Well, I stand corrected then,” Lily said.
“Good. Are you finished those cards yet?”
“Just about,” Lily told him. “Why?”
“Because I’m supposed to be kidnapping you right now, that’s why,” Sirius said lazily.
Lily looked up at him in askance. “You’re kidnapping me?”
“You’re not doing a very good job at it,” she commented, going back to her final Christmas card and starting to write the message.
Sirius shrugged. “That’s because I haven’t started yet.”
“So why are you kidnapping me again?” Lily asked.
If she hadn’t been concentrating more on the card and only half-listening, Lily probably would have noticed Sirius shifting uncomfortably. “No reason,” he babbled. “I’m just bored and thought you could use a change of scenery. I mean, you can’t be holed up in the common room all day, now, can you?”
“Mm hmm,” Lily murmured, finishing the final card. Then she thought about Sirius’ answered and asked, “Where’s James?”
This time Lily noticed Sirius’ look, which was akin to having been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “Here’s … not here,” Sirius said evasively.
Lily fixed him with a stern gaze that she had learned from Professor McGonagall. “And just where might he be?”
“Hogsmeade?” He made it come out as a question.
“Why is he in Hogsmeade?” Lily asked.
“Yes, I’m sure James goes to Hogsmeade all the time without a reason.”
“Actually,” Sirius said thoughtfully, “he does.”
“Let me rephrase that. I’m sure that James goes to Hogsmeade all the time without a reason and without you,” Lily said.
“That he does not do,” Sirius admitted.
“So why’s he there then?”
Sirius sighed. “He’s getting your Christmas present. It was supposed to be a secret. I wasn’t supposed to let you find out. Do me a favour and don’t tell Prongs, okay?”
“Sirius,” Lily said, helplessly, “it’s not a surprise that James is getting me a Christmas gift. In fact, the only surprise would be if he didn’t, in which case I would probably have to kill him. The surprise is what he’s getting me, and that’s what you can’t tell me.” She tilted her head slightly. “What’s also the surprise is that he waited until now. I can’t believe he waited until now,” she grumbled.
Sirius shrugged. “That’s James for you.”
Lily got an avaricious glint in her eye and, scooting over to the edge of her seat, eagerly asked, “What’s he getting me?”
“You just told me I wasn’t allowed to tell you.”
“Please,” Lily begged. She liked knowing what she was going to get, but so far this year hadn’t even received a hint.
Sirius mimicked zipping his lips shut, locking them and throwing away the key. “Nuh-uh. No way. You’re not getting it out of me.”
“Puh-lease!” She pouted, but Sirius remained firm.
“No. And I’m kidnapping you so that you won’t intercept James when he comes back and weasel your present out of him early.”
“Would I do that?” Lily asked.
“You did it for your birthday,” Sirius reminded her. “Now, am I going to kidnap you or what?”
“Can we swing by the Owlery? I have to send these to my parents,” Lily said, trying to think of a way to either trick Sirius into giving the gift away, or allowing her to be present when James returned. Perhaps if she soothed him into thinking she was going along, she could slip away. Besides, she really did need to send the cards off.
“Then let’s go.” She stood up and gathered the Christmas cards then giggled as Sirius did his best to try to frog march her out of the common room by himself.
It didn’t take long for Lily to borrow a school’s owl and send the cards to her parents to mail to her friends, which was a good thing because one of the owls kept eyeing Sirius shiftily. Sirius protested that he didn’t know why the owl was suspicious, but Lily wasn’t quite sure that she believed him.
After running out of the Owlery, having been chased by the owl, which had apparently decided to do something more than give Sirius nasty looks and had started to dive at him, Lily turned to Sirius and asked, “What now, o my kidnapper? Where are you taking me?”
Sirius stopped and cocked his head to the side. “You know? I didn’t actually think that far ahead.”
Lily snorted. “Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. You aren’t that good a kidnapper, I’m sorry to say.”
“Oh well,” Sirius said philosophically. “How ‘bout we stop be the kitchen while I think about my next move. I’m hungry.”
“Sounds good to me.”
The house-elves were their normal obsessive-compulsively helpful selves - no sooner had Sirius and Lily tickled the pear in the picture and entered the room then close to half a dozen of them milled around the two visitors, trying to please them.
“Don’t mind if I do,” Sirius said, taking a proffered cookie from ones of the elves. “Er, Nod is it?”
The elf nodded, his huge unblinking eyes looking solemnly up at Sirius. Lily took one too and after taking a bite, her eyes lit up. Too impatient to wait until she had swallowed, she opened her mouth to speak, a couple of crumbs falling out (two house-elves, one with a broom and one with a dustpan, cleaned it up quickly and quietly). “I know what we can do!” she exclaimed. “Let’s make shortbread.”
The elves stopped and stared at her, scandalized “No, miss,” one of them piped up when she regained her voice.
“Why not?” Lily asked, highly affronted.
“That is not right,” she continued. “We is supposed to bake for you. We is not good house-elves if we does not serve you.”
“But baking’s fun!” Lily protested. “And I haven’t done any Christmas baking in years, not since I came to Hogwarts.”
The elves didn’t look like they were going to budge. Many of them were shaking their heads and some of them were muttering to each other darkly.
Sirius looked around the room and thought quickly. “Actually, I’m in the mood for some sticky buns. Would you mind making some? I’ll be back in a couple of hours, if you don’t mind.”
Considerably more cheerful, the elves got to work. Sirius grabbed Lily’s wrist and started to pull her out of the kitchen.
“But - ” she started to protest, trying to shake his hand off.
Sirius gave her a meaningful look. “Not now, Lily,” he hissed. She allowed him to drag her out.
“But I want to make shortbread,” she protested when the picture had closed behind them and the elves were out of sight.
“I know, but you were only going to distress them if you insisted on making it in there,” Sirius said.
“Well how else am I going to make it?” Lily asked.
Sirius grinned. “The Muggle Studies room. We had a unit last year on cooking Muggle-style. There’re ovens in there.”
“Then what are we waiting for?” Lily asked, gripping Sirius’ shoulder in excitement. “Let’s go!”
They raced through the halls up to the Muggle Studies room, narrowly avoiding a run-in with Peeves and Filch, the former having decided to wreak havoc by melting all the ice sculptures - a feat that was supposed to be impossible - and everyone knew not to cross Filch when he was dealing with Peeves. Whispering could turn into a capital offence during those times.
Although technically off-limits to the students over the holiday break, as long as they didn’t break anything or otherwise sabotage the room, no one would care. The Muggle Studies teacher was an oddity in that she actually liked Sirius. In her eyes, he could do no wrong. (Often times at staff meetings the other professors would sit and stare at her in disbelief and wonder if they could have some of the stuff she was on.)
“Okay,” Lily said, her voice gaining authority. “You turn the oven on, we need it at 300°, and get the trays, bowls, measuring cups, pastry cutter, and everything else we need like that. I’ll get the ingredients.”
Sirius started rummaging through the cupboards while she raided the fridge, coming back less than a minute later empty-handed. “Okay, change of plans.” She took out her wand and conjured up the ingredients.”
“Isn’t that cheating?” Sirius asked.
“If we’re going to do that much by magic, why don’t we just conjure up the cookies?”
Lily sighed. “Firstly, we’re not just making cookies, we’re making shortbread. Shortbread’s better. Secondly, I only conjured up the ingredients because we couldn’t get them otherwise. Thirdly, we are going to do the rest of it the Muggle way, so no more from you.”
“Yes ma’am.” He saluted her.
“First,” she said, walking over to the sink, “wash your hands.”
“Why?” Sirius grumbled.
“It’s the golden rule of Muggle baking,” Lily informed him, turning on the tap. “You always wash before you start.”
“Never learned that in Muggle studies,” Sirius said, but he washed his hands.
“Okay,” Lily said, looking at the things spread out on the counter. “Do you know how to measure ingredients?”
“Yeah,” Sirius said slowly, “I think so. You just pour them in until they reach the mark on the side of the glass, right?”
“Right,” Lily confirmed. “You get the fl- actually, you get the icing sugar, and I’ll get the flour.”
“Because flour is so dangerous and everyone knows that I can’t be trusted with it,” Sirius said sarcastically.
Lily smirked and answered, “That’s probably true, but I actually did it because the flour has to be sifted and I’m not sure that you know how to do that. Icing sugar, on the other hand, can just be poured in. You want one cup.”
“Sure,” Sirius said, “you have to sift it. That’s why I’m not allowed to touch the flour.”
Rolling her eyes, Lily said, “Just get to work, you idiot.”
Surprisingly enough, Sirius was accommodating. While Lily started sifting two coups of flour into the mixing bowl, he poured a cup of icing sugar and then shook the measuring cup to level it. When he was satisfied that he had enough, he took the bag and poured the sugar into his mouth.
“That’s disgusting,” Lily said, looking at him out of the corner of her eye and cutting the butter in at the same time.
“No,” Sirius said, swallowing. “It’s good.” He held the bag out to her. “Want some?”
“No thanks,” Lily said.
Sirius shrugged. “Your loss.” He tilted some more icing sugar into his mouth. “So, what do you want me to do?”
Lily paused. “Actually, it’s more of a one-person job for now. Sorry.”
“You don’t have to apologize,” Sirius said, sounding amused. He hopped up onto the counter and started to swing his legs. “I don’t care.”
“Pet did,” Lily reminisced. “Whenever we used to bake with Gran, she always had to be doing the important job.” She frowned slightly, and added, “I didn’t exactly get to make shortbread often, but whenever we had it, it was delicious.”
“You seem to remember the recipe,” Sirius commented.
“It’s not exactly a difficult one,” Lily said, kneading the dough. “Two cups of flour, one of butter and icing sugar. Elementary potions are more difficult than this.”
“Mum didn’t bake,” Sirius said. Lily sharply turned to look at him, quite surprised. He was staring off at the ceiling and not paying her much attention. He rarely talked about either of his parents. He never had, but since they had died, he managed to avoid bringing them up even more. “She didn’t cook well, either. Neither did my father. I guess that’s partially why I learned to cook, it was the only way to get decent food. My grandmother taught me. She wasn’t a good baker, either. I guess it just doesn’t run in my family.” Then, catching himself, he looked down again, plastered a large smile on, and his tone brightened. “Know who’s a good baker? Mrs. Potter. She makes apple pies to die for.”
“I’ve had her baking before,” Lily said lightly, concentrating on the dough in her hands. “I’ve got to get some of her recipes.”
“Oh, I’m pretty sure she cheats,” Sirius said cheekily. “At least partially.”
“As you said, it still turns out good in the end,” Lily reminded him, “and isn’t that what counts?”
Sirius shovelled some more icing sugar into his mouth and Lily asked in disgust, “How can you keep eating that? Doesn’t it make you sick?”
“Lil, it’s sugar. Sugar is good.”
“But - ”
“Sugar good,” Sirius repeated firmly.
Shaking her head, Lily changed the subject. “So how did you get stuck on Lily kidnapping duty, anyway? I would have thought that you would have jumped at the chance to go to Hogsmeade with the others.”
“A couple reasons,” Sirius said, “the first being that McGonagall caught me there last night and I’ve got already got detention for when the term starts up again. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to risk getting caught again so soon afterwards.”
“Exactly when has that ever stopped you before?” Lily asked, not maliciously, but genuinely curious, if a little amused as well.
“True, it’s seldom,” admitted Sirius, “but since Moony also had to finish his Christmas shopping, and Wormtail insisted on going with Prongs - not that he would be any good at Lily-kidnapping - I got the duty of keeping you from ambushing James when he returns with your present.”
“So basically you drew the short straw,” Lily surmised.
“I suppose you can say that, but I hardly consider this a hardship. I mean, I got sugar.” He held up the near-empty bag proudly.
Lily laughed. Then she stopped and said, “Wait a minute, you said Remus hadn’t finished his Christmas shopping? It’s Christmas Eve. Are we thinking of the same Remus here? Because the Remus I know would never have left it off until the last minute.”
Sirius looked uncomfortable. “He had planned on finishing it at the last Hogsmeade weekend, but they changed - I mean his plans - and he was sick for it.”
“Oh,” Lily said, also avoiding Sirius’ eyes. “I forgot that.” There was an uncomfortable pause. “The dough’s ready,” she said at last, rummaging through the drawers. “Do you know where there’s a rolling pin?”
Reaching up awkwardly, Sirius opened the cupboard behind him and pulled one out.
Taking it, Lily scrunched up her face and asked, “Who keeps a rolling pin in a cupboard?”
“Muggles, I’d guess.”
“No one that I know,” muttered Lily. “While I’m rolling this out, you look for some cookie cutters.”
“They’re in the second drawer on your left,” Sirius told her, not moving. “I saw them when you were looking for the rolling pin.”
“Well, would you mind getting them out?” Lily asked, a little impatiently.
Sirius hopped down from the counter and went around Lily to get the cookie cutters out of the drawer. “There,” he said, putting them down beside her. “Happy?”
The shocked look on his face made it clear that Sirius hadn’t been expecting that answer, at least not in that tone of voice. In jest, it was to be expected, but Lily was honestly dismayed by the cookie cutters.
“Why not?” Sirius asked, confused.
“Look at them,” Lily exclaimed, waving an arm at the offender pieces of metal. “They’re so boring.”
“How are they supposed to look then?”
“Hold this,” Lily ordered, handing Sirius the rolling pin. Dusting her hands off on her robes, she reached into her pocket and pulled out her wand.
“More magic, Lily? I thought we were finished cheating.”
“I’m not making plain old circle cookies,” Lily said in disgust. Muttering a few words under her breath, she quickly transfigured the ordinary cookie cutters into half a dozen Christmas shapes.
“That’s better,” she said, satisfied now. Sirius handed her back the rolling pin and she put it down on the counter. “Pick a cutter and let’s start,” she said.
Sirius chose one that was in shape of a bell and pressed it into the centre of the dough.
“Sirius!” Lily yelped. “Haven’t you ever cut cookies before?”
“Sure I have. I told you, in Muggle studies.”
“Well you’re doing it wrong,” she said helplessly.
“Exactly how many ways can there be to cut cookies?” Sirius wondered.
“Only one right way,” Lily said, matter-of-factly. “First, you put the cutter in some flour.” She demonstrated using the neat sprinkling of flour beside the dough. “Then you put your cutter down near the edge so that you can get more cookies without having to re-roll the dough too many times.”
“So that’s why you were pouring flour out all over the counter,” Sirius remarked. “I was wondering.”
“Why did you think I was doing it?” Lily asked.
“I don’t know,” Sirius admitted. “No reason, I guess.”
“Well, there is a reason,” Lily told him. “It keeps the dough from sticking to the cookie cutter.”
Sirius poked at the dough in the cookie cutter and ended up mangling the bell before getting it onto the tray. “Okay, so I’ll do it your way.”
For the next ten minutes they happily cut out the cookies until they had filled up the tray and Lily placed it in the oven. “Tempus narbit,” she incanted, casting a spell that would let her know when the cookies were ready.
Lily threw the remainder of the dough that couldn’t be made into cookies into the bowl and looked around the kitchen and the mess on the counter. “Do you feel any particular need to clean?” she asked Sirius.
He snorted, spilling a bit of icing sugar on his robes. “You’re kidding, right?” he asked. “I didn’t even help you bake. There’s no way I’m helping to clean up.”
“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.” Taking another look, Lily came to a decision. Rolling up her sleeves, she announced, “I’m cheating.” She used her wand and magicked all of the mess away, including the nearly empty bag of icing sugar right out of Sirius’ hand.
“I wasn’t finished with that,” Sirius said indignantly.
“So? Besides, you’ll want to save room for the cookie dough.”
“It’s the best part,” Lily promised. She picked up the bowl and, cradling it in her arms, hopped up onto the counter. Sirius pulled himself up beside her. “Want some?” she asked, holding out the bowl to him.
He pinched a piece off the ball and stuck it in his mouth. “Mmm,” he murmured, closing his eyes.
“Better than icing sugar, isn’t it?” Lily asked, putting some dough into her own mouth.
“Much,” Sirius agreed, licking his lips. He reached out and grabbed more cookie dough.
The door to the classroom opened, and they both looked over, not overly concerned to be caught. As it turned out, it was James who entered.
“What are you guys doing here?” James asked.
“Making shortbread,” Sirius answered. “How’d you find us?”
“Map,” James answered, holding up the piece of parchment.
“Why are you back so soon?” Lily asked.
James came fully into the classroom and closed the door behind him. “Soon? I’ve been gone for three hours,” he said, puzzled.
“Three hours?” exclaimed Lily. “But - I thought - ” She looked over at Sirius, hoping he could explain.
“I didn’t go searching for you immediately after the others left,” he said. “Otherwise you might slip off and ambush James after all. Be proud of me; I managed to keep myself entertained for two hours all by myself.”
“Very good, Padfoot. You’re growing up,” James said dryly. Lily and Sirius had remained on the counter, eating the dough, obviously too comfortable to move. By now, James had walked over to Lily.
“Kiss,” she instructed him, leaning forward and pointing to her lips.
He obeyed, kissing her gently. “You taste good,” he commented.
“It’s the cookie dough.” She took a bit of dough and held it out for James. He dutifully tasted it.
“Very good,” he said approvingly.
“Get a room,” Sirius said nonchalantly. “You couldn’t wait five more
minutes to come back, could you?”
“Why?” James asked, narrowing his eyes suspiciously. “What happens in five minutes?”
“We would have been finished the cookie dough and wouldn’t have to share it with you.”
“Technically we don’t have to share it,” Lily said, bringing the bowl closer to her. “We can eat the rest of it ourselves and ignore him.”
“Too late. You’ve already given some to James,” Sirius said.
“Just a taste,” Lily protested.
“You know, I am right here,” James said pointedly. “You don’t have to talk about me as if I weren’t in the room.” He saddled up on the counter beside Lily.
Sirius snatched the bowl out of Lily’s hands and put it on the other side of him, as far away from James as possible.
“Hey!” Lily whined. She reached over to try to get the bowl and ended up sprawled across Sirius.
“Honestly,” James said, shaking his head. “Can’t I leave you two alone for three hours?”
“You’re just jealous because your woman prefers me,” Sirius said in a macho voice.
“What?” James asked, finding it all very amusing.
“Excuse me?” Unlike her boyfriend, Lily’s voice was bordering on shrill and her eyes were blazing.
“Hey,” Sirius said defensively, “I just call them as I see them. You’re the one on my lap.”
In one fluid motion, Lily smacked Sirius across the cheek, grabbed the bowl, rolled off Sirius, and ran over to James.
“Oww,” Sirius said, holding his face where a red mark was forming. “James, your girlfriend is violent.”
“A word to the wise - next time don’t call her my ‘woman’. That’s what’ll get you slapped.”
“You also lost the cookie dough,” Lily said, taking great pleasure
A markedly mischievous glint appeared in Sirius’ eyes and he leapt off the counter and with long strides, started for Lily. She squealed and hid behind James.
“How did I get in the middle of this?” James lamented.
Sirius rushed Lily knocking James over in the process. The cookie bowl went flying, but thankfully stayed upright. Without checking to make sure the Head Boy was okay, Sirius scrambled for the bowl, grabbing it at the same time as Lily. A brief tug-a-war ensued, but it was put to an irrupt stop when Lily’s magical buzzer went off. She let go of the bowl and Sirius fell back.
“The cookies!” she said, getting up and rushing over to the oven. Conjuring up oven mitts, she pulled the trays out and placed them on the stovetop to cool off.
“Aha!” Sirius exclaimed, leaping up triumphantly. “I got the cookie dough. I am the ultimate champion of the world!”
“Don’t be a prat, Sirius. You only got the cookie dough because I gave it to you,” Lily said, still fussing over the cookies.
“I think not. I think you gave up just because you knew you couldn’t win and didn’t want to bear the disgrace of losing to yours truly.”
“You’re right about one thing,” Lily said. “It would be a disgrace to lose to you. I mean, losing to James is perfectly acceptable. At times,” she added, glaring at her boyfriend, who had by now picked himself off the ground and was dusting off his robes. “Occasionally losing to Remus or even Peter is completely understandable. Losing to you, on the other hand, would be humiliating.”
“Ha ha,” Sirius said dryly. “That still doesn’t change the fact that you did lose.”
Placing her hands on her hips, Lily said, “I did not. Tell him James.”
James looked at his feuding friend and girlfriend. “If I do,” he asked, “do I get a cookie?”
“Of course,” Lily said brightly.
“Okay. Padfoot, Lily won, not you.”
“Traitor,” Sirius muttered darkly.
“You’re looking quite nice this evening,” Sirius commented when Lily came down the stairways later on that day, and entered the common room where he, James, Remus and Peter were waiting in some of the chair by the fire.
She looked at him with skepticism and expectantly waited for him to finish. There was no way he was going to leave it as a compliment. She wasn’t disappointed, either.
“Either that,” he continued, “or someone spiked the egg nog.”
James leaned across the couch and slugged Sirius in the shoulder.
“Ow,” Sirius said, rubbing the spot. “What was that for? It hurt.”
“Good. That was for insulting my girlfriend.” He turned to Lily and added, “You look very lovely this evening.”
“Thank you, James,” Lily said sweetly. She kissed him on the cheek.
“Oh, he’s just saying that because he’s getting some,” Sirius said.
“Sirius,” Peter asked suddenly, “how long has it been since you were on a date again?”
Sirius looked a little embarrassed, but his voice sounded off-handed when he answered, “I don’t know, a couple of weeks, maybe a month.”
Remus looked at Peter thoughtfully. “You know, I don’t think our friend Padfoot here has had a date since Alice McNamara dumped him.”
“Hey,” Sirius protested lamely, “she didn’t dump me, it was mutual.” They all knew he didn’t particularly care, nor had he been hurt by the break-up, or they probably wouldn’t have been teasing him about it so much. The surprise in that break-up hadn’t been that it had happened, but rather that it hadn’t happened earlier. Everyone knew, including Sirius and Alice, that things just weren’t working out between the two of them.
“Wasn’t that at Hallowe’en?” Peter asked.
“You know,” Remus commented, “I think you’re right. And it’s Christmas now, so that would be, what, two months?”
“All right, all right, I get it,” grumbled Sirius. “Although I don’t see either of you going on dates.”
“Excuse me,” Peter said, sounding more than a little indignant. “I’ve been going out with Selma for almost three weeks now.”
“Okay, okay, so I’m the only one who doesn’t date here. That’s not the point. The point is - ” Sirius cut off. “What is my point again?”
James laughed. “You weren’t even making a point.”
Continuing, Remus said, “We were trying to prove to you that you shouldn’t be giving James dating advice considering the fact that you don’t even have a girlfriend. Oh - and for the record, I haven’t been out in a date for longer than you have.”
Suddenly bored of the way the conversation was going, Lily stood up. “Is anyone else getting hungry?” she asked. “Let’s go down for dinner.”
“Excellent,” Sirius said, also standing up. “I’m starved.”
The others got up too, but when Sirius and Lily reached the common room entrance, Peter stopped and bit his lip. “Uh oh,” he said.
“What?” Lily asked uncertainly. In Hogwarts, you could never tell what an “uh oh” might mean, but it was never a good thing.
“Look up,” Peter said.
They were standing under the mistletoe.
“Who put that up?” James demanded. “How long has it been there?”
“Some of the fourth year girls decided to decorate the common room earlier,” Peter informed him.
Looking carefully at the mistletoe, Remus added, “And I don’t think it’s been there for long. It looks like they’ve enchanted it to seek out people.”
“And it was our bad luck that it sought out Lily and Sirius,” James said glumly.
“I’m not calling it bad luck here,” Sirius said. “After all, I get to snog with Lil.”
At the death glare from James, Sirius shrank back, his hands out in front of him in the universal sign for surrender, and said, “Kidding, just kidding. Really, Prongs, you can take me entirely too seriously at times.”
“We don’t have to do it, you know,” Lily said, speaking of the kiss.
Remus shook his head. “This isn’t one of the traditions that you want to mess with, Lily.”
“What, that old story? It’s just a superstition, isn’t it?” Lily asked, although she wasn’t quite sure of herself.
The four boys, all of whom were from wizarding families, exchanged uneasy glances. “I don’t know,” Peter said slowly. “I remember my mum telling me a story about a friend of hers. Kissed her sweetheart under the mistletoe, but they didn’t bury it later. They had a horrible break-up right after that.”
“Peter!” Lily said, exasperated. “In case you’ve forgotten, Sirius and I aren’t going out.”
“It could mean the end of the friendship as well,” Remus pointed out.
“And it’s not just that,” James added reluctantly. He didn’t like the idea of his best friend kissing his girlfriend. “If you don’t honour the mistletoe - well, that’s not something you don’t want to do. I mean, sure a lot of it is superstition, such as the sun not coming back, but there’s also the evil spirits. I know it sounds stupid, but I’ve heard things - or rather overheard things, Mum sometimes tells Dad about the things that she sees or hears about at the Ministry. I’d not like to repeat them, to be honest.”
“I’ve heard things too,” Remus added. “It’s one tradition you shouldn’t consider breaking.”
Sirius and Lily faced each other. “Well then,” he said.
“This is awkward,” said Lily.
“Oh, just kiss her and get it over with,” James said testily. Knowing that Sirius and Lily were only kissing out of necessity wasn’t helping his jealousy much. It really made him feel worse knowing that they had to do that and he had to watch.
“Okay,” Sirius said. With one last cautionary look at James, he took Lily in his arms and, dipping her slightly, kissed her. The seconds ticked by noticeably, and they continued to kiss. Finally, he broke away. Reaching up, he plucked one of the berries off of the mistletoe and the sprig, happy that it had had its kiss, slowly started to creep across the ceiling again, seeking out two more victims.
“What was that?” Lily asked, mildly shocked.
“Yes, Sirius,” James said, although his voice came out strangled, as though he were trying to restrain himself from hurting his friend, “what was that?”
“Well, if I had to kiss Lily, I was going to do it properly,” Sirius said. His manner suggested that the answer was obvious and he couldn’t figure out exactly why anyone was even asking the question.
“We’re talking about my girlfriend here!” James said.
“Relax, Prongs. You know it meant nothing.” Then, as an afterthought, looking over his shoulder he told Lily, “No offence.”
“None taken,” she said.
“That’s not the point, Padfoot.”
Figuring out why James was so upset, Sirius said, “I think it’s the attack of the green-eyed monster.”
Having felt left out of the conversation, Peter picked an inopportune time and comment to re-enter. “Lily has the green eyes, not James,” he reminded Sirius in a self-important manner.
“I think he’s trying to say that James is jealous,” Remus told Peter under his breath, trying to spare the smaller boy’s feelings.
“Oh.” Peter coloured slightly.
“Okay,” James admitted. “So maybe I’m jealous. But I have every right to be, if you ask me. I mean, you were snogging with my girlfriend!”
“It was just a kiss, James,” Lily said.
James waved his hands wildly. “It was more than a kiss! It was a lot more than a kiss.”
“Good God,” Sirius muttered. He marched over to James and, taking the other boy’s face in his hands, firmly kissed him on the lips. James was too stunned to move.
When it was over, Sirius stepped away and said, “There. That kiss meant just as much as Lily’s meant. Now I’ve kissed both of you. You’re even now. We’re even. She’s even. Everyone’s even. Or do I have to kiss you two as well?” He glared at Peter and Remus, who both quickly shook their heads. “Now, if everyone’s satisfied, let’s go down to dinner.” He marched out the portrait hole without a look back.
Falling in beside James, Lily whispered to him, “You were being a little unreasonable there. That was the only way he could get you to shut up. You know nothing would ever go on between myself and Sirius.”
A little abashed, James answered, “Yeah. I know. I’m sorry, I guess. I mean, I knew it didn’t mean anything, it … Well, I … I was just being - ”
“Stupid about it?” Lily suggested.
“Yes.” James gave her a weak smile.
“I guess I understand why,” Lily said. “If it had been one of my friends you were kissing, I’d probably be jealous too, even if it was just under the mistletoe. But you were going on unnecessarily about it.”
“Will you tell me what you got me for Christmas?” Lily countered.
“Not on your life.”
“Hmm.” Lily thought it over for a minute. “I guess I’ll just have to settle for a kiss then.”
James laughed, but obliged.
“Oy! Love birds!” Sirius called out from the hallway. “We’ve already had enough of a show tonight. C’mon, let’s go eat!”
“Whatever you decide to do, please decide quickly and don’t leave me hanging open like this!” the Fat Lady put in, sounding grumpier than she usually would after only being left open for a brief time. She normally had a lot of patience - which was a good thing because their housemates didn’t always treat her with the utmost respect, to say the least.
“I’m sorry,” James apologized sincerely. “We didn’t mean to.”
Holding out his hand, which Lily took, they walked through the entrance and closed the portrait behind them. It didn’t take them very long to reach the Great Hall, but that was most likely because Sirius kept on bounding ahead, then chiding the others for not keeping up with him.
There were a few others already eating; although the Hall looked empty, probably half the people who had stayed for the holidays were present. As the five Gryffindors made their way to their table, Narcissa Mason started throwing a hissy fit, causing a mild disturbance at the Slytherin table. It would have been more interesting had she not thrown one at least once a week, usually because someone had failed to notice her new robes, or had somehow messed up her hair, or something else along those lines. Needless to say, not many people had a high opinion of her.
“I wonder what the princess is crying about this time?” Lily said darkly as they sat down and started to eat.
To her surprise, Sirius put down his roll and began to snigger.
“What?” Peter demanded eagerly. “Do you know?”
“I was talking to Macha earlier today,” Sirius said.
James interrupted. “Why were you talking to Macha?” he wanted to know. Macha was a Slytherin in their year, and she and Sirius weren’t exactly friends.
In disgust, Sirius said, “The princess has been carrying on like this all afternoon. Macha was around, so I asked her if she knew what it was about.”
Everyone knew that Macha Hutchkiss despised her younger housemate and would be more than willing to complain about her, even to a Gryffindor.
“So, what’s the princess’ problem?” Lily asked.
“Well, I think she had a moment of insanity - at least she got it in her head that she wanted something special from Malfoy this year,” Sirius began.
“And what could top last year’s emerald pendant?” Lily asked cynically. “Did you see it? It had a rock the size of my fist.”
“No, not that kind of special, she wanted something heartfelt, a personal gift. Something Malfoy would have to put a lot of thought into. So he - well stupid is the only way to describe his behaviour. He took her words at face value, which was mistake number one. I mean, we’re talking about Narcissa Mason here. That girl changed her mind at least a dozen times an hour over what colour looks best on her. Why on earth would Malfoy believe for one minute that she would actually settle for something that cost less than a leg and a foot?”
“Well?” James asked impatiently. “What did he get her?”
Sirius laughed again. “A quill. Can you believe that? A big ugly peacock feather quill. He said something about a peacock being just about as pretty as her - an apt analogy, if you ask me, but not something to which you should really compare your girlfriend. Oh - and he also made her a pair of socks. That was his big gift - a quill and a pair of socks.”
“What?” Peter, James and Lily shouted, more or less in tandem. Even Remus, who until this point hadn’t been following along with the conversation, much preferring to eat than listen to the latest gossip about Narcissa Mason, looked up.
Lily voiced what they were all thinking. “You’re kidding, right?”
Placing his hand over his heart, Sirius said, “I solemnly swear that I am not. It’s the honest truth.”
Lily began to giggle uncontrollably. “Lucius Malfoy gave his girlfriend socks and a quill for Christmas?”
“Yes.” Sirius was taking great pleasure from this.
James was guffawing quite loudly, Peter was in hysterics, and even Remus was laughing quite hard.
“What I can’t believe is that Malfoy would actually sully himself enough to knit a pair of socks,” James said when he had calmed down enough to speak.
“That’s the best part,” Sirius said. “He didn’t. He didn’t even have the sensitivity to knit his own pair of socks; he got his house elf to do it for him.”
“That sounds more like the Malfoy we know and hate,” James said.
“Wait a second,” Lily said, a little confused. “Why has she already opened her present? Christmas isn’t until tomorrow.”
“Oh, Malfoy came to Hogsmeade and they made special arrangements for her to be able to visit him today. Seeing as they won’t be together tomorrow, she opened her present today when she was with him,” Sirius explained.
“So Lucius Malfoy got his girlfriend a quill and a pair of home knitted socks that he didn’t even knit himself,” Lily summed up. “James, never get that for me.”
Looking scared at that idea, James quickly said, “Don’t worry. I have more sense than that.”
“You don’t want a quill for Christmas?” Sirius asked. “Damn. There goes my present for you.”
“Cute, Sirius,” Lily said in a voice that suggested that what he had said was, in fact, anything but cute, “but I already know what you got me, and a quill it wasn’t.”
“How do you - you peaked, didn’t you!” Sirius accused. “You went into my room and found your present, didn’t you!”
“Sort of. I told you, I’m not very good with surprises.”
“Did you have enchantments set up around your presents so that we couldn’t peak, Sirius?” Remus asked.
“Actually, I lied,” he admitted. “It was too much trouble to actually set up, so I just told you guys that if you went looking for your presents you would be tripping off a curse.”
“That’s not fair,” Peter protested.
“Why not?” Sirius asked. “It worked, didn’t it?”
“Not in Lily’s case, it didn’t,” said Remus.
“I didn’t hear about this supposed curse until now,” Lily told him.
“But would it have stopped you if you had?” Remus asked.
“Maybe,” Lily said. “Probably.”
Putting his arm around Lily’s shoulder, James said, “Lily would have to have fallen for it in the first place.”
As she leaned into him, Lily responded, “James, your entire room is booby trapped. If I had heard Sirius had cursed the presents, I would have believed it.”
“Shh,” James said in an exaggerated whisper. “I’m trying to help you here.”
“Oh, like they’d believe that I was the only one not to fall for Sirius pretending to curse his gifts,” Lily said. The thought was appreciated, but unnecessary. She shoved her plate away, and immediately the remains of her dinner disappeared. “Is everyone ready to go?”
Eyeing his empty plate, Peter said, “No, I think I’ll get seconds.”
“Mmm,” Sirius said. “That sounds good. Seconds for me, too.”
Remus pointed to his plate, which still had food on it. “I’m not finished yet.”
“I’m finished,” James said, also pushing his plate away. “Where do you want to go?”
Lily shrugged. “I don’t care. Let’s go for a walk.”
“Okay. See you later.” This was to his friends. He and Lily left.
Outside the snow had stopped falling. The stars were shining and the moon, less than half-full, was looking down on the snow, giving the landscape a beautiful bluish tint. It was still cold out, so Lily summoned their winter coats down from their rooms, and they wrapped themselves up tightly.
They walked in silence, the only sound coming from their boots crunching as they stepped on the snow. Lily breathed out softly, watching as her breath crystallized in front of her.
“It’s beautiful out tonight,” Lily said. They had stopped by a couple of trees, just out of the sight from the castle so that they could have privacy in case anyone came along.
“It is,” James agreed. He leaned in and kissed her.
Out of nowhere, a snowball came flying at them, hitting them both in the face, and forcing them apart. Not bothering to look for the source, Lily clenched her hands into fists and yelled, “Sirius!”
But when she turned around and saw Sirius’ mouth hanging open in genuine shock, Peter looking at Remus in amazement, and Remus doubled over laughing, she realized that for once - maybe even the first time - Sirius hadn’t been the instigator. “He’s just a bad influence,” she muttered, “corrupting everyone he meets.”
James, on the other hand, had wasted no time trying to figure out who had thrown the snowball. As soon as it hit him, he was bending over, gathering up snow of his own. He belted Remus with a snowball at about the same moment Lily realized that he had been the one to hit them.
Remus stopped laughing and began to sputter, causing James to crack up. He was laughing long, either, since Sirius, always one to get right into the spirit of things, threw a snowball at James. Not wanting Peter to feel left out, Lily threw one at him.
Within seconds a snowball fight had broken out. It lasted until quite a while later when Sirius and James teamed up to massacre the others. Even though they were outnumbered two to three, they still managed to pelt out ten times more snowballs than the other three combined. Finally, Lily, covering her head with her hands, yelled, “I give up!”
“Me too!” Peter said immediately.
Lowering a snowball, Remus said, “I guess I do too.”
“Ha!” Sirius exclaimed. “We won! We are the ultimate champions of the world!”
James, his cheeks rosy from being outside, but his eyes sparkling, asked, “Was there ever any doubt?”
Knowing that the boys would get even bigger heads, if that were even possible, if she didn’t do something, Lily said, “Fine, boys. If that helps you sleep at night, far be it for me to tell you otherwise. Let’s go inside. My hands are numb.” The last bit was true; the snow had soaked right through her mitts.
Taking her hands in his, James rubbed them, trying to warm them up. “That better?”
Sirius groaned. “The lovebirds are at it again. Let’s go get some hot cocoa from the kitchens.”
James waved them away. “You guys go ahead. Lil and I will me you back in the common room. Bring us back some cocoa, will you?”
“Sure thing,” Sirius said as they took off.
“What if I wanted to go to the kitchens, too?” Lily asked.
“Trust me,” James told her, “you’ll like this better.” He grabbed her hand and started leading her back to Gryffindor Tower.
Almost having to jog to keep up, and having had her curiosity peaked, Lily asked, “What is it?”
“It’s a surprise,” James told her. He refused to say anything else until they reached the common room. “Wait here,” he told Lily before running up the stairs to his room.
Sitting down by the fire, Lily spent the few minutes it took for James to come back downstairs drying off and wondering what James was up to.
She looked up when she heard him come back down the stairs. He was running down so fast that she was afraid he was going to trip. In his hand he held a small gift-wrapped box.
“Merry Christmas,” he said breathlessly, holding out the gift for her to take.
Lily looked at him in astonishment. “What’s this?” she asked.
“I didn’t think you’d want to wait another day, so I’m giving you part of your Christmas present now,” James told her. “Sirius and the others knew, that’s why they went down to the kitchens - to give us some time alone.” He rocked back and forth on his heels impatiently. “Well? Open it.”
Needing no further urging, Lily tore into the wrapping paper. Inside was a jewellery box that opened up to reveal a matching necklace and earring set. The necklace was a string of matching pearls and the earrings were tear shaped, mad of gold with a small pearl resting at the bottom of each.
Her mouth hanging open slightly, Lily breathed, “They’re beautiful.”
Beaming, James said, “I hoped you’d like them.”
“Like them? They’re gorgeous.”
He took out the necklace and carefully put it on her. “I saw them in Hogsmeade back in October, but didn’t have enough money with me. The next time I went, they had been sold, so I had to have them specially ordered. That’s why I got them today - they weren’t in yet.”
“And here I thought you had forgotten about me,” Lily said.
“Never,” James said, kissing her cheek. “Merry Christmas Lily.”
“Merry Christmas James.”
Monday, December 24, 2001
I've taken a little bit of creative licence with the Unicef cards. Not being from England, I don't know how the greetings go on them. I can only use the Canadian ones as an example. Even then, I don't think any of them actually say 'Happy Christmas' or 'Merry Christmas', but rather 'Seasons Greetings' or 'Peace on Earth'. You'll have to stretch your imaginations a bit. http://www.unicef.org is the official page. If you'd like to buy their cards (and I'd suggest you do - it's for a good cause, and they're pretty) go their and then go to your regional page.
I really don't know any language besides English, unfortunately, so I apologize if I've gotten one of the greetings wrong. Okay, so I'm pretty sure Joyeux Noel is right, but at the same time I'm pretty sure the Russian (Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva i s Novim Godom) is wrong. I tried looking it up, but I found several variations. Even then, I have a sneaky suspicion that it translate roughly into "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" instead of just "Merry Christmas". Or "Happy Christmas".
To anyone who can write house-elves, congratulations. It's *hard*.
In the baking scene, I skipped the requisite flour-fight scene. Sorry guys, but I'm sure practically every other story that has a baking scene has one, so go find one of those instead.
I can't think of much else. Merry Christmas to everyone out there who celebrates it. Happy Holidays!