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A Very Gryffie Holiday by Gryffindor Collaboration

Format: Short story collection
Chapters: 17
Word Count: 35,753

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Contains Slash (Same-Sex Pairing), Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, General
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Lily, James, Bill, Percy, Neville, Fred, George
Pairings: Harry/Ginny, James/Lily, Remus/Tonks, Ron/Hermione, Other Pairing

First Published: 11/24/2010
Last Chapter: 02/24/2011
Last Updated: 02/24/2011


Ever wanted to know what your favourite Gryffindors get up to during the holiday season?  Well, wonder no more, as we explore the many and varied antics that the silly season can inspire.

The Gryffindor House holiday collaboration 2010

Awesome banner by Sarah_Bee at TDA!!

Chapter 4: A Very Gryffie Holiday: It's All About Family

He glided through the castle, going through walls, ceilings and floors as he pleased, all the while trying to avoid the boisterous exuberance of the students. They were louder, more energetic than usual, and even though the snow was falling outside and they were stuck indoors during breaks, he knew their enthusiasm would only increase. It was that time of year. It was Christmas.

Nick hated Christmas. Way back when he’d had a life to look forward to, he had loved it, with all its pomp and glamour. Christmas in the de Mimsy-Porpington household had been a significant occasion, with his nanny going all out to decorate the nursery. What his parents had thought Nick had no idea, as he’d barely known his parents before their untimely death, but his nanny and governess had certainly promoted the Christmas spirit. Yes, way back then, Nick had loved Christmas.

It all changed when he’d been seventeen. Almost a man then, he had graduated from the nursery and private schooling and was being taught in the ways of the world by the men of his estate. They had procured a gun for his sporting use, trained him in swordplay for demonstrations and jousting, and found a servant girl for his bed. He had even been invited to the main table for mealtimes, a recognition by his parents that he was nearly ready for his responsibilities, his role as eldest son.

That winter, he had come home from a hunting expedition with some other young men from neighbouring estates, only to find the household staff and local mayor waiting for him. There had been a terrible accident, he was told. His parents’ carriage had overturned, and as the horses panicked they had stampeded over the wreckage, killing both occupants and the coachman in the process.

It was Christmas Eve.

Lord of the house, Nick had gone inside and ordered that all Christmas decorations be removed. There would be no celebration of the season this year, he determined, nor any other year. As far as he was concerned, Christmas had been cancelled for good.

He wasn’t sure if that was when he had turned away from doing the right thing, if it had led to the circumstances that had ended in his death, but things were never the same after that day. And Nick had never once celebrated the festive season since then. What, he reasoned, was festive about it? Just a silly excuse for people to get together and drink too much, usually resulting in family rows and shouting matches and more than one person getting injured from wayward curses. It was a cynical view, he realised, but he didn’t care. There would be no more Christmases for him.

When he had moved to Hogwarts Castle he had generally taken to the dungeons during December. The Bloody Baron tolerated his presence without embracing it, and he was able to avoid the decorations, the carol singing and the excitement of the students. The arrangement suited everyone, because he was well aware that no one in the castle above would welcome his sullen moods.

This year would be no different, Nick thought. Why would it? Just another month of keeping to himself and wallowing in self-pity. He was good at self-pity and it was an indulgence to wallow in some every now and then, and it wasn’t like anyone would miss him.

Or so he’d thought. He came across some suits of armour that had been enchanted to sing carols and dipped down a floor to avoid them, keeping a keen eye out for anything that might vaguely resemble mistletoe or any other sort of decorations. What he hadn’t counted on, though, was the students refusing to leave him be.

“Nick!” He heard his name being called and opted to ignore it, gliding through the nearest wall away from the voice. Its owner, however, seemed unperturbed. “NICK!!”

Nick was still doing his best to get away but this student sounded persistent. “NICK!!!”

Or maybe it was two students. Nick thought he recognised the voices … oh, no, it was the Weasley twins. This could only end in tears.

Sure enough, he soon found himself face to face with both Fred and George Weasley, who clearly knew about the secret passage that led here on the second floor. Nick hadn’t thought that any students had known about that one since the group of boys known as the Marauders some twenty years earlier. Then again, there was some resemblance between the Weasley twins and that other group – the penchant for trouble, the eternal optimism, the good nature of it all. They were good eggs, he thought, even if he wasn’t really in the mood for them just at that moment.

“There you are, Nick,” Fred said with a grin. Or was it George? They were so alike Nick had awful trouble telling them apart.

“Why so glum?” asked the other. He had a bit more of a cowlick, Nick realised, though he still had no idea which twin it was.

“I was just making my way downstairs,” Nick said stiffly, raising himself to his full height, which was rather higher than these two second-years could reach. “So if you’ll kindly excuse me …”

“Not so fast, Nick,” the first one said, still smiling. “We know what you’re up to.”

“Avoiding everyone,” the other continued, “sulking away in the dungeons.”

“Even the Bloody Baron is getting tired of your bad mood,” the first one told him. “Avoiding Christmas, of all things. What’s got into you?”

“If you please,” Nick said, “I do believe that is none of your business.”

“Too right it’s our business,” the second twin said. “You’re the Gryffindor ghost, and you’re bringing the whole House down.”

“So George and I,” the first twin said, “thought we’d try to instil some of the Christmas spirit in you!”

Well, that sorted out one thing, at least, thought Nick – he now knew which twin was which. For this conversation, anyway. However, he objected to their mission.

“How I choose to spend my time is not your concern,” he repeated in his most formal manner. Really, these young upstarts really did need to learn their place. He’d have to have a word to the Baron about that, he thought.

The twins, however, were not to be dissuaded. “Come with us, Nick,” Fred said confidently. “You might be surprised.”

Sighing, Nick decided that it would be easier to just do what they asked. He had a feeling that he’d just be pestered and pestered until he did, so he might as well get it over with.

The boys led him all the way up to the seventh floor and the Gryffindor common room. “We heard you don’t like Christmas much,” Fred said as they paused by the portrait-hole, “so we thought we’d try to win you over.”

“Show you the season from our point of view,” George went on. “Cos it’s all about family, you know?”

“Well,” Nick said delicately, “I do recall that my family are not available to be called on.”

“We know that,” George said, giving him a sympathetic smile. “But you’re the Gryffindor ghost, aren’t you? So that means that all of Gryffindor is your family now.”

“Mistletoe,” Fred told the Fat Lady. That must have been that week’s password, because she grinned and opened obediently.

Nick gasped. The whole of Gryffindor House was encamped in the common room, clearly waiting for him. There was a banner on the far wall that boldly proclaimed this to be Nearly Headless Nick’s Christmas Party, and the room was ablaze with light and sound and colour.

“This is for you, Nick,” George said with a smile.

For the first time in several years, Nick was unable to speak. The idea that the students would band together to throw him a party like this was almost overwhelming.

Charlie Weasley, seventh-year prefect and elder brother of the twins, took control. “We thought you needed cheering up,” he said above the cheer of the other students, “so we threw this for you. You might want to take particular notice of the wall hangings …”

Nick glided over and looked where Charlie was gesturing. In place of the usual scarlet and gold silk hangings, the students had attached parchment to the walls, each sheet telling a story of that person’s favourite thing about Nick – things he had done for them, perhaps, or jokes he had told, or words of comfort in a time of need. Looking around, he realised there were far more than just seventy tales affixed to the wall … some students must have written more than one. Or maybe …

“We wrote to some past students and asked for their stories, too,” Charlie explained. “People from Bill’s class, for example, or even as far back as Mum and Dad’s time. Everyone we knew who’d been a Gryffindor.”

Nick was astonished. Even Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall had contributed to the collection. Every wall was completely covered with stories, anecdotes and general praise. If he could have blushed, he would have.

“You see, Nick,” said Heathcote Barbary, a fifth year Nick often saw playing around with various musical instruments, “while nothing can really replace your real family, sometimes an adopted family can make a decent substitute.”

Fred Weasley bobbed back into view. “So we’re your family now,” he said, grinning broadly. “The Gryffindor family. And we wouldn’t be what we are without you.”

Nick was, once more, speechless. He did, however, put a hand to his eye to wipe away where a tear would have formed were he still able to form one. Finally, with seventy beaming faces watching him, he found his voice.

“Thank you,” he said hoarsely. It wasn’t much, but it was absolutely heartfelt. And, from the looks on the students’ faces, he was sure they understood.