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A Very Gryffie Holiday by Gryffindor Collaboration

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

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

Summary:





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 9: A Very Gryffie Holiday: A Spot of Christmas Cheer, part I

Author’s Note: First of all, thanks to my wonderful beta and big bro, theelderwand, for his help with this tale. Couldn’t do it without you! Secondly, this is a loose sequel to my story “Yes, Ginevra, There is a Santa Claus.” It takes place during the Christmas one year later, but you don’t need to read that story to understand this one. Finally, while this is fiction and based on the Harry Potter world, there are elements of truth to this story. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which ones.

Disclaimer: They’re all JKR’s. I’m just reveling in the fact she lets us borrow them.





 

“ – and you should have seen the size of the Horntail they had, Mum! It was totally wicked! And Professor Kettleburn got permission for us to go right in the pen with the Welsh! I mean, we were only three feet away from her. If she would have spit fire right then we all would have been toast! How cool is that?”

Knitting completely forgotten in her hands, Molly Weasley listened in horror as her second eldest son described in vivid detail the “completely wicked” field trip he had just returned from. Professor Kettleburn had arranged for some of the more dedicated Care of Magical Creatures students to visit the Dragon Reservation in Northern Scotland on the first day of Christmas Holidays and, not surprisingly, Charlie had been the first to sign up. Always interested in providing her children with as many educational opportunities as possible, Molly had heartily given her permission. Had she known at the onset the details about this trip as she was learning them now, however, she would have thought twice about it.

“In the pen!” she cried, clutching at her heart. Despite the warm fire dancing in the hearth, the room suddenly felt chilled. “Completely unprotected!”

“Yeah!” Charlie replied, his eyes alight with enthusiasm as he totally missed the terror in his mum’s voice. “Awesome, isn’t it! And we got to watch a nest of Firetails hatch! They came out spitting fire like you wouldn’t believe!”

“I can’t believe Professor Kettleburn would allow that! I thought he would have more sense! I will have to owl the school first thing in the morning,” said Molly firmly, setting down her knitting and rising from her rocking chair to write herself a note.

“Muuuum!” Charlie wailed, jumping off the couch to follow her as he finally realized how his tale was affecting her. “No, don’t, please! It was the best class I’ve ever had! Don’t ruin it!”

Molly paused, a brightly colored square of Pastyparch in her fingers, and turned to look at her son. She had to admit, the normally rather reluctant scholar was extremely excited. He usually only exhibited this level of enthusiasm when talking about Quidditch, but right now his bright blue eyes were begging her to just once leave it alone.

Molly sighed. “Oh, all right, Charlie. I won’t owl the school. But I am thoroughly investigating any future class trips.”

Breaking into a huge grin, Charlie gave her a hearty kiss on the cheek. “Thank you, Mum! You’re the best!”

Unable to resist her sixteen-year-old’s charm, Molly smiled back at him as she shook her head. “Now, off to bed with you! It’s well past midnight. The others have been asleep for hours.” Which she knew was probably completely untrue. The whole lot of his brothers, plus Ginny, were probably waiting up in Charlie and Bill’s room for the gruesome and terrifying details of the dragon trip, but she wasn’t going to tell him that she knew that. There were some secrets a mother just knew when to keep.

“Sure thing, Mum,” said Charlie, still grinning from ear to ear as he scratched absently at his arm. “And maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you about how the Firetail almost ate Kenny.”

“Charles!” she cried, swiping at him with a handy dish towel as he winked cheekily and ran up the stairs. Dropping the towel on the counter, she replaced the pad of Pastyparch next to the pot of Floo power and shook her head again. “They’re going to be the death of me,” she muttered, smiling slightly. “The lot of them.”

*****

“Rise and shine, Weasleys! Breakfast time – now or never!”

Arthur Weasley watched his wife bellow up the stairs at their sleeping children and couldn’t help smiling at the muffled responses that floated back. It was, after all, bright and early on only the second day of Christmas Holidays. One by one, their brood stumbled down the stairs in nightclothes and various stages of bed-head, eyes half open.

“Mum, do you realize how early it is?” asked Bill, running a hand through his longish hair.

“Yeah, and we were up for – OW!” Ron started to complain grumpily, but broke off when one of his brothers stomped on his foot. Arthur sipped his tea to hide a laugh as his nine-year-old hopped on one foot, rubbing his toes. Molly and he were fully aware their seven children had stayed up much of the night talking in Bill and Charlie’s room. Bill was back from his first few months of training with Gringotts to be a Curse Breaker, Fred and George had started Hogwarts for the first time this year, and there was of course Charlie’s adventure at the Dragon Reservation. They’d had a lot of catching up to do.

“Of course, dear,” Molly answered Bill’s question as she bustled around the kitchen, completely in her element. Arthur secretly wondered if this early breakfast wasn’t her little payback for the giggles and whispers that had filtered into their room until the wee hours of the morning. “But we have far too much to do to lie in bed all day and this food won’t be hot for long.”

“Mum!” whined most of the children.

“You are an evil, evil woman,” grumbled Fred as he shuffled to his chair, George trailing half-asleep behind him.

“Thank you, love,” his wife replied, kissing the eleven-year-old’s cheek as she set the plate of toast on the table.

“Ew, Mum!” cried Fred, pulling away from Molly as his face turned red.

“Don’t you have to work today, Dad?” asked Charlie through a giant yawn as he scratched absently at the neck of his pajamas.

“Yes,” he answered his son, reveling in this time when they were all here, together, as a family. “But your Mother wants to go into the Alley to do some shopping and so I’ll be dropping the lot of you off at The Leaky Caldron on my way.”

“We’ll be driving there?” Percy spoke for the first time, a slightly disapproving tone to his voice. “Why can’t we just Floo in?”

“Running low on powder,” answered Arthur. He didn’t say it was also an excuse for him to proudly pile his rather large family into the slightly used Ford Anglia he’d purchased a few months ago. He’d been waiting for them all to come home so they could try it out, and he had to admit the thought of driving through the streets of London like a Muggle rather thrilled him. And maybe he could try out a few of those “enhancements” he’d been working on. Of course, he wasn’t going to say any of that out loud; Molly was suspicious enough as it was.

“Not to mention the last time we Flooed to the Alley with all of you, Fred and George managed to make Ron exit the network in Naughty Nettie’s Necessities,” said Molly, throwing a glare at their twin sons. Ron blushed bright scarlet at the mention of the incident and tried to disappear into his chair.

“That was wicked,” said Fred fondly, lost in the memory and securely out of Molly’s reach.

George didn’t say anything. He was still sitting at the table with only one eye open, his food untouched.

“Well, hurry up then, everyone!” Molly urged, gesturing for the family to eat. “We’ve got a busy day ahead of us!”

“Mummy, can we stop by Madam Malkin’s and look at the Christmas robes, just for fun?” asked Ginny hopefully. “The advertisement in the Daily Prophet said they even have some that light up!”

“I suppose, if we have time,” his wife said, smiling at their only daughter, and this time he really couldn’t help laughing out loud at the groans that rose from all the boys – well, all accept George who apparently still wasn’t awake.

*****

“That was exhausting!” cried Fred, flopping down on his back in the snow.

“And humiliating!” added George, copying his twin.

“Why do mothers have to take so long shopping anyway?” grumbled Ron as he leaned against the side of the shed. They’d been gone all morning and had visited more shops and stores than he’d even known existed before she’d finally agreed it was time to Floo home. Not that his Mum had bought much, given they weren’t the wealthiest family. That was probably most of the problem – she’d wanted to make sure she was getting the best deal before she’d bought anything, which meant more running around. Ron couldn’t recall his feet ever being this sore before.

“I think the real question here is why did she feel the need to take all of us along?” Charlie chimed in, plopping down in the snow next to the twins.

“Because she obviously doesn’t trust the lot of you at home alone,” finished Bill rather superiorly.

“The lot of us?” asked Fred, head cocked slightly.

“Too good to be counted among us now, Mr. Curse Breaker?” added George, crossing his arms.

“You know, if memory serves, you were dragged along with us,” said Percy suddenly, stepping forward from where he’d been standing next to the shed wall, just listening to his brothers.

Bill’s jaw dropped and Ron hid his head in his arms so Bill and the twins wouldn’t see him laughing as he secretly cheered Percy on. His bookish older brother and roommate might be a bit of a snob, but he was still a Weasley. Sometimes even Percy could nail you where you stood.

“Well, that was…I could have stayed home…” Bill stammered, still staring in shock at Percy as the rest of them broke into hearty laughs, the twins even rolling around in the snow in glee.

Suddenly, a snowball nailed Charlie right in the ear.

“Hey!” he cried, glaring at Ron.

“It wasn’t me!” Ron denied quickly. “It came from – ” He broke off as another one pelted him in the back of the head. “Ouch!”

“Where’s my wand?” asked Bill suddenly, grabbing at his pocket. He immediately turned to glare at the twins.

“Hey!” they cried as one, holding up their hands.

“We’ve got our own wands now,” said George.

“So we don’t need to steal yours anymore!” finished Fred.

Another snowball raced through the air from nowhere and this one caught Percy square in the chest. It was followed by the unmistakable sound of girlish laughter.

All six of them shared a glance and then turned and bellowed, “GINNY!” as they jumped to their feet. Instantly, the giggling turned into a half-delighted, half-terrified shriek accompanied by the sound of racing footsteps.

And just like that, the biggest snowball fight in Weasley family history was on.

*****

“All right, all of you stop right there!”

Water and melting snow dripping off heads and boots and bedraggled red hair, Fred froze in the kitchen doorway with all six of his siblings at the sound of his mum’s voice.

“Do you realize I just mopped this floor?”

“But, Mum, we’re wet…” whined Fred in his most pathetic voice, scratching harshly at the spot on his back that had been bothering him all afternoon.

“…and cold,” added George, throwing in the wounded puppy look for good measure. Fred noticed he seemed to be afflicted with an attack of the itches as well as he rubbed his foot against the opposite knee.

“And no one is moving one step further into this house until all those wet clothes have been blasted dry, which won’t happen while you’re wearing them so strip.” His mum folded her arms.

“Mum!” they all whined.

“I mean it.”

And Fred knew instantly that she did, as did all his brothers and his sister. Grumbling and groaning, they started pulling off boots and hats and sopping wet jackets and socks before throwing them into a huge pile on the floor. He was struggling to extract his head and arms, which seemed to be stuck, from the confines of his soggy jumper when he felt a hand clamp gently onto his shoulder and drag him away from the others.

“Fred, what’s this?” his mother’s muffled voice drifted in through the jumper still wrapped around his head. His t-shirt had become tangled in the jumper and ridden up his back as he tried to pull it off, leaving his skin exposed., which he could feel her fingers gently examining.

“No idea, Mum,” he said thickly through a mouthful of blue wool. “A little help?” he asked, wiggling his arms that were sticking straight up over his head to make his point. Suddenly, the wet, itchy mess was pulled off his head and he was free again.

“Oh, fresh air!” he cried dramatically. “How I’ve missed you!”

“Hush, Fred, and hold still,” his mother chided gently, her voice distracted as she continued to examine his back.

“You’ve got green spots on your back, Fred!” said Ginny in an awestruck voice as she came up behind him.

“Oh, I’ve got some of those, too,” George added proudly, pulling up the leg of his jeans to show the place he’d been scratching earlier.

Fred watched his mother’s eyes widen as a frown settled on her face. “Come here, George,” she ordered at once, and George looked rather crestfallen.

“It’s just a little spot or two,” he grumbled as he walked over.

“Yeah,” added Fred, feeling like they were about to get in trouble for something they really didn’t do this time. Seriously, why would they purposefully make green spots appear on each other? “You should see the ones on Charlie’s back,” he threw out, crossing his arms as he turned around to look at his mother.

“They’re all over,” agreed George, nodding fervently.

“We noticed them when we were stuffing snowballs down his shirt,” finished Fred.

“That was you two?” cried Charlie, narrowing his eyes at Fred and George. “I’m gonna…!”

Fred never found out what Charlie was going to do to them as his mum crossed the room and spun him around, pulling the back of his t-shirt up hastily.

“Oooooh,” chorused everyone in the room, eyes going wide or jaws dropping. Charlie’s back and shoulders were completely covered in a rash of raised, green dots.

“Sitting room, please,” his mum said, and Fred thought her voice sounded rather faint. “Everyone. Sit there and don’t move. I’ve got to make a Floo call.”

*****

“DRAGON POX*?” Molly Weasley cried loudly. George cringed just a little at his Mum’s tone of voice as he sat there in a shirtless row with his brothers on the sofa, little green spots dotting skin here and there. The grandfatherly Healer, however, took it right in stride.

“I’m afraid so, Molly,” Healer Winkworth said as he repacked his magical bag.

All of them?” she asked again, clearly in denial.

“Well, you said none of them have had it before, and that they’ve spent the last two days in each others’ company, so I would say they’ve all been exposed. Young Charles must have somehow been infected while on his school trip to the Dragon Reservation and it just spread from there.”

Charlie tried to disappear into the couch as all five of his brothers glared at him while Ginny just whimpered from the old armchair she was curled in, already dressed in her nightgown and hugging the rag doll she’d received for Christmas last year.

“Are we all gonna die?” Ronnie asked from where he sat beside George, sounding much younger than nine and terrified.

The Healer laughed. “Of course not, son,” he said, tapping Ron’s nose. “Dragon Pox is rarely fatal these days, and even then it’s only the old and infirm that need to worry. You are all strong, healthy lads and a lovely young lass. In two or three weeks you’ll be back to normal.”

Two or three weeks! George thought, sharing a horrified look with Fred. They were going to be sick for the whole holiday! The only news more dismal than that would have been learning Snape was coming to stay as well.

“Now, Molly, you know I’ll have to cast the Quarantine Spell before I leave. It will remain open until Arthur arrives home, but then it will seal itself. You’ll be able to send and receive messages and goods through the Floo, but no one without a Healer’s mark will be able to come or go and no one will be allowed to leave the house until the disease has run its course.”

“What?” cried George, unable to stop himself. He was joined by explosions of outrage and disbelief from his siblings.

“Quarantined!”

“FOR CHRISTMAS!”

“That’s not fair!”

“Mum, he can’t do that!” cried Bill desperately. “I was supposed to have a date this Friday!”

“And Dad promised to take us all to the lighting of the Christmas Tree at the Ministry this weekend!” added Fred furiously. “It’s the first year he’s been able to get tickets!”

“And we don’t even have our own Christmas tree yet,” little Ginny added, her lip quivering as she tried to hold back the huge tears that were filling her eyes.

“You can’t do this!” raged George, anger filling him as he glared at the Healer, especially since the man was making Ginny cry. “You can’t lock us in here! That can’t be legal!”

“All right, everyone, that’s enough!” his mum finally bellowed, cutting through all their protests. “I’m sorry, Healer Winkworth. Of course you’ll have to set the spell, I understand completely. And I can’t thank you enough for coming on such short notice.”

“I do believe I’m becoming rather used to that with your family,” the old man said with another laugh. “I’ll send the potions and skin tonics through the Floo in about an hour, Molly. Until then, I suggest pajamas for the lot of them and a big pot of hot broth.”

More depressed than he’d ever felt in his young life, George let himself flop back into the couch as he watched the Healer disappear through the fireplace. This was going to be the worst Christmas ever.

*****

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was building snowmen when the owl came. He liked to do that on occasion; he found it very therapeutic, and with most of the students home for the holidays, he had first claim on the snow.

He was just putting the finishing touches on one that bore a remarkable resemblance to the Potions professor, complete with hooked carrot nose, when the ball of grey feathers crashed right into its head.

Stooping, he gathered up the exhausted owl before fixing his snow creation with a flick of his wand. “Bringing me post already, Errol,” he said as he gently tucked the elderly little bird into one of his many pockets after relieving him of a letter. “And only the second day of Holidays,” he added with a chuckle. “What’s that delightful family of yours up to now?”

He tore open the envelope and pulled out a letter, instantly recognizing Molly Weasley’s neat writing on the parchment.

Professor Dumbledore,

I’m writing to let you know that the children may be late returning for Winter Term. The children, all seven of them, have come down with Dragon Pox and our family has been quarantined until the disease has run its course. I will keep you posted.

Sincerely,
Molly Weasley

P.S. Could you send Errol right back as Arthur will be needing to alert the Ministry of his absence for the next few weeks.

Smiling slightly, Dumbledore shook his head. “Dragon Pox,” he said to Snow Snape. “Seven in one blow. Well, now, I believe I need to have a chat with Fawkes about a change in our holiday plans,” he added conversationally as he wrapped the scarf warmly around Snow Snape’s neck. He patted its head affectionately, then turned and headed back up to the castle.

*****

“Did you manage to get them all into bed?” asked Arthur as his wife came down the stairs and into the kitchen.

“Yes, although I almost had to use sticking charms on Fred and George to make them stay. They insist they’re fine even though they’re both running a temperature of about a hundred and one now. In fact all of them except Percy and Ron have started on the fever.” Molly shook her head, sinking wearily into a chair and summoning a cup of tea. “Did you finish the letter?” she asked.

Arthur sighed. “Yes, although I doubt it will make much difference. They wouldn’t grant me leave with pay last year after being injured on the job; why would they grant it now when I’m simply quarantined at home and not ill but unable to leave?”

Molly felt the now all too familiar stab of anger that surfaced whenever her husband was treated so callously by his superiors, but she schooled her face not to show it, knowing it wouldn’t help anything at the moment. “Maybe they will be reasonable, given that it’s the holidays and all?” she said as hopefully as she could.

“Maybe,” he muttered, completely unconvinced. Molly sighed. They were just starting to recover financially from the previous year; two or three weeks without pay again could set them back to square one.

“We’ll be fine, Arthur,” she said firmly. “We’ll make do again, just like we do every year, and things will work out.”

“Of course you’re right, dear,” replied Arthur with an attempt at a smile. He picked up his finished letter and walked over to the window. Errol, who had just returned completely exhausted, cringed slightly at the sight of another envelope, but dutifully, if somewhat lethargically, took it in his beak. “We’ll make it work,” he said, watching as the wobbly owl took off into the night before turning back to his wife and the warm kitchen. He sat back at the table and Molly busied herself fetching him a warm cup of tea and reheating the dinner leftovers she had saved. Consequently, neither one noticed when Errol was joined in flight by a bird the color of flame who escorted the elderly owl off in a direction quite opposite from that of London.

*****

“This is stinky,” grumbled Fred from his bed, arms crossed grumpily as he stared at the ceiling.

“Completely,” agreed George, glaring furiously at the closed door as he lay in his own bed across the room.

“I don’t understand why we can’t get out of bed!” added Fred hotly. “As if moving about the room would make the spots any worse.”

“Because she said so,” replied George in a sing-song-voice.

“Napoleonic power-monger,” muttered Fred darkly.

“Yeah, ‘cause lying here all day really helps take our minds off how hot it is…!” George yelled to the closed door.

“…and how awful we feel…!” echoed Fred.

“….and how much these bloody spots itch!” they finished together.

“Gah, I can’t stand it anymore!” Fred cried, ripping the blankets off and sitting up in bed, scratching desperately. George immediately copied the actions of his twin.

Suddenly, a muffled pop filled the room and both boys found their hands incased in bright purple mittens, stuck firmly to their wrists.

“I warned you boys to stop scratching those spots,” their mother’s tired voice floated up to them from downstairs. “And watch your language!”

“Muuuum!” the twins whined in unison, flopping back on their beds.

“Nice going, Fred,” said George angrily.

Fred’s only response was to clumsily chuck his pillow at his twin’s head, which he instantly regretted, because now not only was he sick and miserable and itchy and had his twin mad at him, but he also didn’t have a pillow.

******

“MUUUUUUUUM!”

Molly sprang out of bed at the sound of her thirteen-year-old’s terrified screams, wand already in hand as she rushed up the stairs, Arthur right behind her.

“MUM, I CAN’T MAKE IT STOP!”

Arriving at the landing of the fifth floor, Molly pushed harshly past her two eldest sons who were frozen in the doorway of Percy and Ron’s room and right into a nightmare.

Because the attic bedroom was completely on fire.

Percy, panic showing clearly, was holding a sobbing Ron tightly with one arm and trying in vain to put out the flames that danced all around the room with the wand in his other. But as soon as he’d get one doused, Ron succumbed to another bout of sneezing, spitting sparks in every direction. It was all the older boy could to do just to keep his brother from setting himself on fire.

As her husband instantly stepped into the room, water already spraying from his wand, Molly turned to Charlie and Bill. “Go get the potions Healer Winkworth left now!” she ordered them, before starting to help douse the flames.

They were back in record time, the rest of their siblings trailing behind them this time with wide, frightened eyes. Swiftly, she took the bottles of potions Bill offered her and selected the right one.

“Shh, Ronnie, it’s okay,” she soothed, brushing the terrified nine-year-old’s hair gently as she eased him away from his brother. “Just drink this and the sneezing will stop. You’ll be just fine.”

Crying so hard he was literally gulping for air, Ron choked down the potion as tears poured down his green spotted face. He sneezed once or twice more, sending out small flames that Arthur instantly doused, but finally all that escaped was a small tuft of smoke. Then he crumbled into her arms, sobbing. She held him tightly, rocking him back and forth just like she had when he’d been much smaller.

Suddenly, Percy sank onto the smoking remains of his bed, pale and shaky. Still rocking Ron, Molly watched Arthur go over to him, handing him his undamaged glasses before placing a firm hand on the teenager’s shoulder. “You did really good, son,” he said gently. “Kept your brother from getting burned at all. I’m proud of you.”

Gulping, Percy nodded, but was apparently still in too much shock to speak.

After a while, Molly became aware that Ron was mumbling something through his tears and she pulled back from his slightly. “What was that, dear?”

“I…I…ruined the room! Sorry…sorry…! Burned everything…! Sorry!”

The words came out in jumbles between gulps for air as he tried to calm his sobs and regain control.

“Oh, Ron, don’t worry about that,” she said quickly, holding him tightly once more. “Your father and I can fix the most important things. Besides, weren’t you trying to convince me the other day it was about time for an update on your room? Something about some wonderful Quidditch team you admire?”

He pulled back again, still shaking but this time looking up with slightly hopeful eyes. “The Chudley Canons?” he whispered.

“We’ll have to go shopping once you are all better,” she assured him with a nod and a gentle smile, and for the first time a small one of his broke through his tears.

“Yeah, ‘cause you’ve just proved that orange is a smashing look for this place,” said Fred quietly from the doorway, voice still more frightened than teasing.

“I dunno, it’s gotta beat charcoal brown,” added George, looking around with wide eyes.

“Are we all gonna start burning down our rooms?” asked Charlie, green spots standing out vividly on his pale face.

“Of course not,” said Molly, getting back to business now that Ron was pulling himself back together. “Healer Winkworth left fire retardant potions for all of you to take when the fire sneezing started, which I think it’s safe to assume has. So, if you’d all please line up…”

She’d never seen them all line up so quickly for a potion, but then again, the smoking walls and charred furniture of Percy and Ron’s room did make for rather excellent motivation.

*****

“Mummy?”

“What is it, Ginny?” asked Molly tiredly, stepping into her daughter’s room. The Dragon Pox had been running strong in her house for the last week. They’d passed the “annoyingly itchy but I really don’t feel sick” phase, and the “sneezing fire” stage, and were now right in the heart of the “everyone just feels miserable and lousy stage.” No one felt good, tempers were short, and everyone seemed to want her attention at once; it was taking a toll on her.

“I don’t feel good,” Ginny whispered, her little voice harsh and dry from coughing.

Molly sighed. She hated seeing her children sick, more than almost anything in the world.

“I know, sweetheart. I know,” she said gently, sitting down on the edge of Ginny’s bed.

“Will you tell me a story?”

Molly smiled. “I supposed there’s time for one story before I need to go check on your brothers. What story would you like?”

“The one about Harry Potter.”

“But you know that story by heart! You always ask for that one. How about a different one this time?”

“Oh, Mummy, please? It’s my favorite one,” Ginny begged, her eyes pleading and of course Molly relented.

“Very well.”

Sliding closer to the little girl, Molly tucked Ginny and her doll in more securely. She smoothed a hand over her daughter’s splotchy forehead.

“Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was an Evil Wizard who’s name we do not say. He did many, many bad things and hurt many people…”

Speaking softly, Molly told the well rehearsed tale, lowering her voice after a while as she watched her daughter’s eyes growing heavier. When she finally reached the end of the tale, Ginny’s eyes were completely closed. She flicked the lamp out with her wand, leaving only the windows of the magical dollhouse Ginny had received last year for Christmas, a mystery Molly still couldn’t explain, glowing to act as a nightlight. She was just turning to leave the room when a small voice stopped her.

“What happened to him?” Ginny whispered.

“What, Ginny?” Molly asked, startled that Ginny was still listening and still awake.

“What happened to Harry Potter? After he defeated the Evil Wizard and made everything good again?”

Molly paused. She’d never really thought about that. “I don’t know, love,” she answered honestly. “I suppose he went to live with his relatives.”

“And do you think they love him?”

“I’m sure they do, Ginny. They’re his family after all.”

“That’s good,” Ginny replied sleepily. “Everyone needs a family.”

Molly smiled. “Yes, dear, they do. Now you need to sleep.”

Ginny’s reply was mumble as the small girl was already on her way there, but Molly could just make out the words, “Goodnight, Harry Potter.”

*****

Arthur glanced up from his paperwork as he heard his wife coming down the stairs. In the almost week-and-a-half they had been stuck at the Burrow he had heard nothing from the office. It was really starting to worry him, but he also wasn’t sure what to do about it. Inquiring about the letter he had sent off was just as likely to cause more problems than not. And then there was the growing stack of bills that wouldn’t get paid anytime soon on the mantle, and the sparse Christmas presents he and Molly had managed to pull together before the Quarantine had been set. He also knew his children were extremely disappointed about missing the lighting of the Ministry Christmas Tree on Friday night, not to mention the fact they didn’t even have a tree of their own to help lift their spirits.

He sighed deeply. He hated this. Hated this worry, and the fact that year after year his children were left wanting.

“Are they all asleep?” he asked quietly as Molly entered the kitchen and sank wearily into one of the other chairs.

“Finally,” she said with a nod, dark circles under her eyes. “I really think today was the worse of it. Hopefully, they’ve all turned a corner now and they will start feeling better instead of worse.”

“Which means we will get to see the return of the short tempers, the awful attitudes, and the bored-out-of-their-skulls whining.”

His wife just nodded, letting her head sink onto her arms on the table. “Who’s idea was seven of them anyway?” she mumbled through her dressing gown.

“Well, if I recall right, I think it was kind of a mutual decision,” Arthur replied, unable to stop a rather cheeky wink.

“We must have been drunk,” mumbled Molly again, not lifting her head. “And this just might have to go down as the worst Weasley Christmas in history…”

Arthur shook his head, chuckling slightly. He glanced up at the family clock that sat on the mantle, all nine hands pointing firmly at home. And suddenly, something struck him, as though with the force of a blow. He stood up.

Home.

It was only one day until Christmas Eve, and he was Quarantined with a house full of sick, cranky children, but… He had seven wonderful children, and the most wonderful wife in the world, and they were all home, with him and there was no where else he would rather be.

He glanced at the clock one more time, reading every single name in gold lettering, and suddenly that stack of bills sitting next to it on the mantle didn’t seem nearly as important. Nor the lack of a Christmas tree or presents.

And now he knew exactly what to do to prove it.

“I don’t know, Molly,” he answered, some of the twinkle back in his voice. “Let’s not count Christmas out just quite yet.”




Can Arthur manage to save Christmas for his family? Check back after the queue reopens for part two and find out.

And in the meantime, a very Merry Christmas to everyone!


* I have taken some liberties with my portrayal of Dragon Pox for two reasons. One, I needed it to fit the story in my head so I shamelessly used what I wanted and left out what I didn’t. Two, the information out there about this magical disease is rather contradictory and confusing, so I figured I couldn’t make it any worse, right?

 


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