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Christmas Day comes invariably sooner than anticipated as it does every year. I’m laying in my huge four poster bed staring lazily out the ornately decorated glass windows to my right where the snow is stubbornly refusing to give up. It’s been trying to become a full fledged snowstorm it seems with its sudden bursts of energy but it can never quite manage it. I involuntarily laugh at it.

“Do you usually laugh at nothing when you’re all alone?” Clover’s voice asks from behind me.

I shift around to face her where she is propped up against the doorframe with a small bundle clutched in her grip. “You really need to stop sneaking up on me. You’ll know all my secrets before it’s all said and done.”

“Where’s the fun in waiting for you to tell me?” Clover smirks as she steps inside and places herself at the foot of my bed. I grumpily release myself from the covers and traipse over to where she is sitting. “Happy Christmas,” she says after a moment. She hands me the little brown parcel she’s been holding onto like it’s the sun.

“Clover,” I say whiningly, “what is this?”

“Your Christmas present,” she says edgily. “If you don’t want it…I’ll just take it back.”

“No, no,” I say hurriedly. “It’s just…well, why are you giving it to me now?”

Clover blushes unexpectedly. “I don’t want the others to see it.”

“Oh,” I say curiously. If it’s something she doesn’t want her own brother to see it must be something pretty atypical of Clover. I look at her once more and she gives me a small smile and a shrug so I tear apart the paper until a little silver frame is sitting in my lap. It’s a pretty plain picture frame, and its only decorations are four fleurs-de-lis, one in each corner. I look up at her questioningly.

“Watch,” she commands. As I stare down at the picture in the center that moments before was blank, it dissolves into a picture of Clover and I playing poker in which I’m tossing my cards onto the ground in disgust while Clover looks rather pleased with herself.

“Clover, I-” I begin but she motions for me to keep watching the frame. The poker picture transitions into one of the two of us walking back from Hogsmeade, hand in hand. It’s a rather cutesy picture and I’m surprised she allowed it to be put in, but I like it so she seems happy.

This process proceeds for at least five more pictures – pictures that include our kiss by the lake and a few funny ones of either me or her making a face at a camera that I can’t remember ever being around us. “Clover, how’d you get these?” I ask breathlessly as it finishes.

“I’m magic,” she grins. “Do you like it.” It strikes me as humorous that she seems completely confident that I like it and yet still asks me if I do. She’s just trying to follow the proper protocol for giving someone a gift.

“I love it,” I say following along. “I really, really do.”

“I knew you would.”

“Of course you did,” I smile. I lean over and pull out her present from underneath my bed. “Here you go,” I say tossing it to her. “Happy Christmas,” I finish lamely trying to follow her own made up gift-giving process.

She reaches for it and pulls apart the gift wrap gently looking up at me through shadowed lids. She pulls out a snow globe and rolls it around from one hand to the other. I picked it out carefully from a few other trinkets not because of its outward appearance, but what it does. It’s a genuinely plain looking glove with a carved wooden bottom and a glass dome on top. Inside the dome is Hogwarts castle amid all its trees and in front of it is the mirrored glassiness of the lake.

“What is it Remus?” she asks finally.

“Okay,” I begin. “It’s a snow globe with a little charm placed over it. I bought myself one, you see?” I hold it up so she can view it. “If you shake yours,” she shakes it and little snow flakes fall around the castle, “then the snow will fall in my globe too.” I pause. “It’ll let me know you’re thinking about me…or I could let you know I’m thinking of you.”

She looks at it and runs her hand over the glass. I’m beginning to wonder if I just made a huge mistake in giving it to her. “Remus, it’s beautiful.” She looks up and I see her eyes are shining with tears. “It’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.”

I don’t think Sirius would be pleased to hear that but I’ll take it. I reach over and enclose her in my arms where she leans her head against my shoulder like we’ve been doing it for years. “Thank you,” she whispers.

As we pull apart I ask, “What are we going to tell the others when we don’t have presents for each other?”

“Let them wonder,” she says slyly.

Suddenly an owl begins pecking furiously at the window. Apparently he’s not a big fan of the snow whirling around him. I rush over and open the window where he quickly plops onto the bed shaking snow of his wings as he does. I unfasten the letter attached to his foot, and I know what it is even before I read it – my mother isn’t coming for Christmas. I toss it aside on the floor as if it means absolutely nothing to me although I know it has ruined my day.

“Remus?” Clover asks gently from beside me. “She isn’t coming,” she determines after a second. I shake my head.

“Hey, it’s okay,” she says.

“Clover, will you be my girlfriend?”

Wait…what? Where did that come from? I panic. I had not meant to do that.

Clover bites her lip. “Weird timing,” she comments.

“Yes,” I reply. I think I got caught up in my own bad feelings that I was feeling kind of invincible to more heartache. I guess I was wrong.

“I’ll think about it.”

Well, at least there wasn’t any messing around with Clover wanting to ask me first which would seem pretty normal for her. Also, that wasn’t a complete shutdown was it?

I must look pretty downcast because she repeats herself.

“Okay,” I say shrugging. I don’t know what else to tell her.

“Okay,” she says agreeably. “I’ll see you down there.”

“Right.” She exits with her robe swishing around her ankles as she walks.

If only my thoughts could make my love come running back to me every time because every time she walks away it feels like the last time.

“Remus!” Sirius yells exceedingly loudly up the stairs. I run at a deadbolt sprint out the bedroom and into the hallway where I find him dashing up the stairs. He stops and he looks somehow ironic with his hair tousled and pajama pants amidst the fancy Potter décor.

He has one hand still on the banister and his fingers play across it restlessly in a brief second. His eyes meet mine and I know immediately something has gone terribly wrong.

“Clover has gone,” he says calmly as if not speaking killing words.

“It’s Christmas,” I observe as if speaking about the weather.

“It looks bad this time,” Sirius says and his face crumples. He bends his head and I place a hand on his shoulder hard as if to draw him back to more realistic pain. For some reason, he doesn’t seem to feel it and I too am numb to any human connection. “Voldemort called her to him about an hour ago.”

An hour ago she was sitting in my room handing over my Christmas present. Did she know then? “Did Peter go with her?”

“Yes,” he pauses, “I think so. I can’t be sure.”

We stand in silence for a few moments more before Sirius breathes the words I’ve been thinking all along. “She’s all I have.” I realize that’s all either of us have anymore and it could be snatched up in a without a moment’s notice. Our very capability of living could disappear like a wisp of smoke in the night.

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