Chapter 9 : Tis the Season
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No more than just a broken heart ago
I made a promise to myself I'd never
Trust someone again
Judging from my rough and rocky past
The days leading up to Christmas day flew by in a whirlwind of snow and owls. From the moment Lily and James had reached their homes they begun sending owls back and forth to each other from morning to evening. James spent so much time answering Lily’s letters that took him a long time to notice that his best friend was acting strangely.
James had noticed that Sirius had been going out a lot during the evening but this was the first time he had noticed how quiet Sirius had been. Thinking back James realized that the change had appeared the day they left Hogwarts for Christmas break.
On this particular ride home the six of them, Lily, Sirius, Dominique, Peter, Remus and himself, had shared a compartment. Occasionally Frank and Alice or some of their other friends would visit the group and of course member of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. It was then that James had first noticed how quiet Sirius was compared to his normal talkative self.
Sirius had spent a lot of time staring out the window with a pensive look on his face, but James had simply contributed it to the fact that Sirius had never like the holiday because it reminded him of his family. However, there was one tiny detail that James had pushed to the back of his mind; Sirius had been acting oddly towards Dominique. Normally there would have been at least one if not two fights between Dominique and Sirius within the first hour of the train ride, but this time there were none.
Dominique had spent the whole train ride either writing in a journal, reading, or staring at the window. Sirius on the other hand kept glancing at Dominique.
Wait a minute! James stood up knocking over the chair he had been sitting in Did something happen between them? James ran to his bedroom window which faced the backyard. Looking across the moonlit lawn he saw a set of large tracts leading into the forest. It couldn’t have, could it?
James crept quietly down the hall and down the stares towards the back door. Silently he undid the lock pulling the door open. Slipping trough the barely open door James followed the prints into the woods. The prints lead James to the edge of clearing. In the middle of the clearing was a small lake. James looked around to see if he could spot Sirius, he found him across the lake sitting on a boulder.
“Padfoot?” James asked walking up to his best friend, Sirius turned to acknowledge James’s presence but didn’t say a word. “Padfoot what is going on?” James climbed up onto the boulder taking a seat next to Sirius still he said nothing.
James looked down to see what Sirius was holding. In Sirius’s hand was a warn photo album with smiling, moving pictures of him and his friends. There was one in particular that caught James’s eye. It was a picture of Dominique and Lily by the Lake at Hogwarts. Remus had taken it the year before. Sirius’s hand was resting on the picture of Dominique.
“Sirius tell me what happened.” James put a comforting hand on Sirius’s shoulder
“I kissed her.” Sirius said looking into the distance
“Yes.” Sirius voice seemed sad. Before James could ask another question Sirius retold the events of the night before they left Hogwarts from the moment Dominique and him had left to after their kiss.
“I didn’t want to let her go. I just wanted to stand there with her in my arms and I don’t understand why. It was just a kiss it wasn’t suppose to mean anything!” Sirius felt so confused, “I mean I have kissed so many other girls and nothing like this ever happened not even close. I don’t know what is going on!” Sirius buried his face in his hands.
“I know what is going on,” James said with a sigh, “You’re falling for her.” Sirius’s head shot up, “I am not saying you are in love with her, but you like her as more then a friend.” James laughed ironically, “Remus and I were wondering how long it would take. Heck we even thought of starting a bet back in our fifth year!”
“What! You though I would fall for her back then?” Sirius was in utter disbelief, “Why on earth would you think that! We were always at each other throats!”
“That’s just it the two of you spent so much time together arguing and pulling pranks that it was only a matter of time before this happened. It was either that or one of you would have killed the other.”
“At this point I think I would take death.” Sirius lay back on the rock
“I thought that too at several points with Lily, but mine was for different reasons.” James lay back as well looking up into the clear starry sky. “The question now is do you want to pursue Dominique or just wait and see if your feelings disappear?”
“Half of me wants to be with her. The other half, however, wishes it would all go away.”
“Well if you want my advice I say just take the leap and go for it. Look at me and Lily.” James said with a big smile
“Yeah well incase you haven’t forgotten that took a good five years and I have what less then six months!”
“I am not saying you should ask her out every other day!”
“Prongs it was more like every five seconds.”
“Shut up!” James punched Sirius in the shoulder, “Listen I have never known you to back down from a challenge, and Dominique Watkins is one hell of a challenge. But I think that for you Padfoot, this challenge would be worth it.”
“I guess, but I will have to wait for the start of the new term before I can do anything.”
“No you don’t.” James sat up with a big grin on his face
“What are you talking about Prongs?”
“My parents decided to throw a small New Years party! They are inviting Remus and his family, Peter and his family, Lily and her family, and Dominique are all invited!” James could barely contain his excitement
“I don’t know if I can do this.”
“Just use some of your Sirius Black charm, no girl can resist that.”
“Um Prongs this in Dominique we are talking about.”
“Good point. We’ll think of something else.”
“The ‘we’ is what I’m afraid of.” Sirius commented as he jumped off the boulder
“Hey! I made a lot of mistakes while trying to woo Miss Evans. You could benefit from those.” James pointed out as he joined Sirius on the ground
“We’ll see. Right now all I want to think about is a nice warm bed. I’m freezing!” Sirius wrapped his arms around himself.
“That’s the best idea you’ve had all night Padfoot.” James said through chattering teeth
“Shut it Prongs.” Sirius punched James in the shoulder his old smile returning, but quickly faded away; “Oh crap!”
“What’s wrong?” James asked
“I just remembered I haven’t gotten Lily’s or Dominique presents!” Sirius buried his face in his hands
“What! I thought you bought them the last time we were in Hogsmead?”
“I couldn’t find anything!” Sirius said falling back onto the boulder
“You’re just lucky I have to go to Diagon Alley tomorrow. I ordered Lily’s gift a month ago from a store there and it is just now ready.”
“That is great!” Sirius’s relief was short, “But I don’t know what to get for them! That was my problem last time.”
“Well I can help you find Lily’s gift, but as for Dominique’s gift your going to actually have to use that brain of yours.” James tapped Sirius on the head to emphasize his point
“Your one to talk.” Sirius replied giving James a good whack on the back of the head to prove his point
“Ow! That hurt!” James rubbed the back of his head, Sirius just shrugged. “I’ll race you back to the house.”
“Fine, but the winner has to go swimming in the lake tomorrow!” Sirius yelled running after James who had taken a head start.
Christmas Eve was a mad house at the Evan’s. Petunia was near to having a nervous breakdown, Mrs. Evans had spent all day in the kitchen cooking, Mr. Evans helped the girls clean the house, and Lily and Dominique were ready to commit murder. Petunia had been ordering the two girls around all day calling them ‘lazy freaks’ because they didn’t move fast enough; and all this was over a guy.
Mr. and Mrs. Evans had invited Petunia’s fiancé Vernon Dursley and his parents over for Christmas Eve dinner. Lily and Dominique had arrived home to the news that Petunia was engaged. The first thing both Dominique and Lily thought was: is this guy sane?
“Are you two done yet!” Petunia’s voice screeched up the stairs, “They’ll be here any minute!”
“If she yells at us one more time I am going to turn her into a bug and squash her!” Dominique fumed as she placed her hair into a ponytail
“All I can say is this Vernon guy, who ever he is, can take her with my blessing.” Lily commented putting on some eye shadow
“Hey maybe they will move to another country or better yet another planet.”
“Don’t get my hopes up Dominique!” Lily threw a make-up brush at Dominique who stuck her tongue out in response
“I still can’t believe I have to wear this cursed dress!” Dominique looked at herself in Lily’s full-length mirror
“Yeah well you’re not the only one. I think mum wanted us to look our best.”
The day before Mrs. Evans had taken all three girls to the mall to buy dresses for the evening’s dinner. They must have gone to a bazillion stores and tried on more dresses then Lily and Dominique cared to remember before settling on the three they had purchased.
“Here Lily take this and stand by the window.” Dominique handed Lily a flower from the dresser vase then grabbed the camera
“Why are you taking a picture?”
“It’s for our scrapbook.” Dominique took a few pictures, “And ones for James.”
“What!” Lily blushed furiously
“Well all boyfriends need one pretty picture of their girlfriend all dressed up and I am just helping a friend out.” Dominique snapped a few more pictures
“Right. Now its your turn.”
“It is for our scrapbook. I want at least one picture of this as proof that for one night of her life Dominique Watkins was wearing a Muggle dress.” Lily smirked as she took the pictures And one of these is going to Sirius. I’m just not telling Dominique that.
“Girls get down here! The Dursleys have just arrived.” Come Mr. Evans voice from down stairs
“Well here we go.” Dominique rolled her eyes as the two left Lily’s room
Dominique and Lily made it downstairs just in time to hear the doorbell ring.
“I’ll get that.” Mr. Evans came into the hallway, “You two go into the sitting room.”
“Yes Dad.” Lily and Dominique joined Mrs. Evans and Petunia in the sitting room
“Good evening. May I take your coats?” Mr. Evans’s voice drifted into the room. “I’m Mr. Evans Petunia’s father.”
“It is a pleasure to meet you. I am Mr. Dursley; this is my wife Mrs. Dursley, and you know our son Vernon already.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Dursley and it is wonderful to see you again Vernon. Now if you will just follow me this way the rest of the family is in the sitting room.”
Mr. Evans entered the room followed by a very beefy young man with no neck and short cut blond hair and his fat wobbled as he walked. Both the young man’s parents were on the larger size but nowhere near the size of their son. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley had a pleasant and friendly look about then, their son however, was a different matter.
The moment Vernon Dursley spotted Dominique and Lily his lip curled as if they were veil creatures. More then likely Petunia had warned him ahead of time that Lily and Dominique were witches.
“And here is the family. This is my wife Mrs. Evans.”
“It is a pleasure to finally meet you.” Mrs. Evans said with a cheery smile as she shook their hands
“And this is our youngest daughter Lily.”
“Pleasure.” Lily shook each of their hands hiding the disgust on her face as she shook Vernon’s hand
“And this other lovely girl is a friend of Lily’s from school, Dominique Watkins. She is spending the holidays with us, then again she is pretty much our third daughter.”
“It is nice to meet you.” Dominique shook everyone’s hand then resumed her spot next to Lily.
“If you will please be seated I will go and finish getting the dinner ready.” Mrs. Evans gestured to the open seats.
“May I be of any help?” Mrs. Dursley asked, “Preparing Christmas meals is a large order.”
“That would be wonderful.” Mrs. Evans and Mrs. Dursley headed into the kitchen talking merrily about their cooking nightmares.
Vernon settled himself next to Petunia as Mr. Dursley and Mr. Evans become engrossed in talk about their work. This left Lily and Dominique to their own devices. Deciding against trying to strike up a conversation, Lily and Dominique joined the women in the kitchen.
Dinner went smoothly enough the adults were getting along splendidly. In fact they were getting alone so well that they were already planning holiday trips together. Petunia on the other hand look extremely upset over the possibility of both families spending holidays together.
“So Lily I understand you and Dominique both attend the same boarding school?” Mrs. Dursley asked suddenly shifting the attention to Lily and Dominique
“Yes we do.” Lily replied simply
“What is the name of the school?” Petunia nearly dropped her fork
“Queen Ethelburga’s College in North Yorkshire.” Mrs. Evans answered quickly before Mrs. Dursley had a chance to notice the panicked expressions on Dominique and Lily’s faces.
“Queen Ethelburga’s is a wonderful school!” Mrs. Dursley exclaimed “How do you like it there?”
“It is a great school.” Dominique replied
“We are going to miss it.” Lily added
Mrs. Dursley spent the better part of dessert asking numerous questions about life at ‘Queen Ethelburga’s’. Dominique and Lily simply changed the names of their classes at Hogwarts to match those that were taught at Muggle schools; such as Potions to chemistry, History of Magic to History of England, and Ancient Ruins to language. Mrs. Dursley was thrilled, but Petunia was fuming.
Although Petunia had been saved the embarrassment of her sister’s awful secret being reviled, Lily had once again out shown her, and in front of her fiancés parents. Petunia wished Lily and Dominique would just disappear from the face of the planet. Petunia had a hard time concealing her enthusiasm when the night came to an end.
The next morning Lily awoke to a light tapping on her bedroom window and the smell of pancakes and bacon wafting through the house. Rubbing her eyes Lily sat up looking towards her window. Perched on the windowsill were James’s two owls carrying a large package in between them. Quickly Lily jumped out of bed and opened the window. The owls flew to her desk with a soft chirp. Lily untied the package before running downstairs to fetch a bowl of watch for the owls.
As the two owls drank their fill Lily crept silently across the hall to Dominique’s room. Opening the door without so much as a squeak, Lily tiptoed over to Dominique’s bed package in tow.
“Merry Christmas Dominique.” Lily shook Dominique shoulder gently.
“Morning.” Dominique replied with a groggy smile.
“The boys presents arrived and it is almost 7:30.”
“I wonder what they got us this year.” Dominique pondered as she sat up moving over slightly to give Lily more room. Lily opened the package and handed Dominique her presents, as she did so they both kept an eye on the clock on Dominique’s nightstand, which now read 7:28am.
Back in their fifth year the Marauders, Lily, and Dominique started a small tradition. They would send each other gifts on Christmas morning and open them at exactly 7:30 that morning. It had been Remus who had suggested the idea; Lily figured it was his way of trying to stop the consent fighting between her and James and Sirius and Dominique. In a way it had work.
“OPEN!” Dominique yelled as she torn the wrapping paper from her first present. “Awesome!” Her first present had been from Remus; he had given her a book on Aurors. The book entitled, So You Want to be an Aurors, talked about everything from their training and job hazards, which there were many, to daily life, and even some personal stories from famed Auroras. The best part was this was the exact book Remus a caught Dominique reading one day in Hogsmead, but she hadn’t had enough money to by.
“Look what I got from Remus.” Lily held up a small statue of a unicorn surrounded by fairies. The fairy’s wings actually flittered and the unicorn would throw its head back playfully. “I love it.”
From Peter they both received an assortment of Honeydukes finest chocolates and candies. From Sirius Lily received a beautiful set of new quills. James had sent Dominique a broom servicing kit with a small joke note scolding her for having never buying her own in the first place. The biggest surprises came with the last two presents they opened.
“Oh! Oh my!” Lily gasped placing one hand over her mouth
“What is it Lils?” Dominique leaned over to get a better view of what was inside the little box Lily was holding. “I think ‘oh my’ is an understatement.” Dominique said as she stared in awe at James’s gift. Inside the little box was a beautiful silver necklace with a silver heart, but that was not the amazing part. Inside the silver heart hung a perfectly sculpted diamond lily.
“Would you just open Sirius’s present.” Lily laughed after finally coming out of her state of shock.
“I almost forgot about it.” Dominique laughed picking up her last gift as Lily made her way over to her mirror to admire her necklace.
“He-he remembered.” Lily turned around to see Dominique staring wide-eyed down at the large box in her hands.
“What did Sirius get you?”
Dominique set the box down and slowly pulled out two good-sized books. One was a collection of all the best Muggle fairytales, while the other was a collection of Wizards fairytales.
“How did he know?” Lily asked sitting back down on the bed
“He saw me reading one of my Muggle books one night.”
Lily looked down at the books with a pensive expression on her face.
“Dominique what happened between you and Sirius before we left Hogwarts?” Dominique said nothing, “I know something happened. Sirius and you have always traded small presents, nothing like this. Now what happened?”
“We pulled a prank on Filch together. We tied Mrs. Norris up and Filch caught us. We ran from him and hide behind a statue. I was yelling at Black for getting us caught. Filch was about to find us so Black kissed me to keep me quiet. While after Filch was out of hearing range he pulled away and I pulled him back, then I slapped him and ran away. There were no sparks, nothing. I just got caught up in the moment and he just happens to be a good kisser, but nothing more.”
“I wonder if that is all Sirius felt?” Lily whispered as she looked at the books in Dominique’s hands
“Did you say something Lily?” Dominique asked as she put the lid back on the box
“Nothing. Hey what’s this?” Lily asked looking into the box that the presents had come in there was a letter at the bottom of the box. “It’s from James. His parents are throwing a small New Years party for his friends and family and we are invited! I wonder is Mum and Dad will let us go!” Without another Lily ran out of the room to her parent’s bedroom.
While Dominique lay on her bed waiting for Lily to come back she heard a small tapping on her bedroom window. Looking up she saw Nadia’s small tawny owl. Rushing to the window Dominique let the owl in. Once it had landed on her desk Dominique untied the small package and practically tore open the letter opening the letter first:
Merry Christmas! How are you? I am doing fine. I miss you so much! What are you doing for Christmas? We are having dinner with the Blacks and the Malfoys again. There is even going to be a New Years party again this year! I wish you could be there! Parties are never fun without you. While I have to go Mum is yelling for me to come downstairs. I’ll write again soon!
Dominique opened the small box; she unfolded the tissue paper inside reveling a silver heart shaped locket that had a D and N inscribed on the front. Carefully opening the locket Dominique smiled to see the last picture taken of the two of them together. A single tear trickled down her cheek as she read the inscription on the opposite side: Together Always. Dominique had to fight back tears as she clasped the locket around her neck.
“Merry Christmas Nadia.” Dominique whispered
A/N: And if you are wondering yes Queen Ethelburga’s College is a really boarding school in Northern Yorkshire. It is a private school for children between the ages of 11 and 20.
Song: Trace Adkins “Then there was You”
Amazing Image by Carnal Spiral @ TDA
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