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I was not framed until 1957 and on that day it snowed.

Until then, I was a painting upon a canvas, but a painting without a frame.

There was no use to a painting without a frame, paintings without frames were homeless, magic-less and practically lifeless. They could tumble from the canvas on which they were painted at any moment. To me, being frameless was just another reminder of my worth; to me it represented not only my value when living, but my value in death; I was nothing when I was frameless.

Until 1960, I was a painting without a name; I was not given a place sit, nor was I given glory or fame. I did not have a job, as most paintings did, nor did I have a place upon anyone’s wall. No, in 1960 I was sitting upon the ground in a dusty corner of the store, covered in a drab, lifeless piece of cloth passed by every day by customers and store keepers alike. There was no room to display me, I had been told, but this was a lie.

Who would want a painting of a woman barely anyone knew, anyway?

I remember the day I was painted. A woman asked the artist who I was and he told her I was just some woman he had seen in the street wearing a large pink dress. Such lies that man told! How he was ashamed of his own Mother was almost appalling, and the treatment I’d suffered at his hands was ghastly; I spent years upon a flat table top beneath the piles of those who’d been repainted into existence with far greater status than myself.

I often wondered why he painted me in this dress; it was not his favourite, but it was mine. I wondered this almost as much as I wondered why he would even bothered painting me into existence in the first place. It seemed like a waste of valuable paint to me, I was stuck here, doomed to rot about in the corner of stores, and beneath piles of other paintings, for no reason at all. There was only one of me, after all.

My son was a foolish man, even I knew that. He’d paid very little attention to me whilst I was living; I thought it strange that he’d pay so much attention to me in death. Perhaps it changed him; he did die shortly after I had, three years to be precise, on Christmas Day, and, that year, it did not snow. He lived such a short life, I was sad when they cleared out his studio, removing those paint covered easels and handprint-smeared art smocks he loved so dearly. He may not have loved me, but he had loved his art.

They carefully carried me out of the store, and just down the street into another store. It was here that I was framed, finally I was given purpose. The joy was of course short lived, as I was covered and placed in the corner of the store where I would remain for four years, where a rather unlikely fellow would find me. I first noticed the strange number of buckles on his boots, it was all I could see from beneath the large cotton cloth. As it transpired, he was also wearing rather unconventional midnight blue robes adorned with small golden stars; the overall affect was quite startling.

The cloth was suddenly lifted from my frame, light flooded into my eyes, blinding me momentarily. Upon opening my eyes I was greeted by two twinkling blue eyes. This man with his long white hair and beard looked friendly enough, despite his clothing giving off a slightly eccentric air that vanished with a simple look into his eyes. He was smiling, as though he’d found something he’d been looking for, something it’d had taken quite some time to find.

‘I’ll take this one,’ he said politely to the storekeeper. ‘She will be perfect.’

‘Perfect?’ I asked. ‘For what?’

‘Forgive me, I’m Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Due to an unfortunate and unforseen incident we find ourselves in need of a new guardian of the Gryffindor Tower. Would you be interested in the position?’

‘You’re offering me a job?’ I asked, stunned.

‘Indeed I am,’ he replied with a chuckle. ‘I think you’ll find the students to be a delightful group of youngsters. Bear that in mind when selecting your passwords to enter the tower.’

‘Then I shall take you up on your offer, I imagine it is better than sitting on the floor of this place all day.’

‘I imagine the conditions will be far better,’ he said, picking up my frame. ‘Plus, you’ll have some room to move.’

‘That sounds delightful,’ I replied. ‘When can I expect to begin?’

There was a sparkle in his eyes, ‘As of now.’

There was the light tap of a wand upon the top of my frame, I blinked by instinct and when I opened my eyes I was greeted by a large group of students surveying me with distinct curiosity. There was a strange glimmer of hope in their eyes, as if they too were hoping for the best, their gold and maroon ties hung limply around their necks, creating a bright contrast against their black cloaks. Many were smiling and cheering, I noticed small melting snowflakes on their shoulders. It had been many years since I had seen snow, in fact, the last time I had seen it was the day I was framed.

I noticed another crawling into my frame, it was not a student but another woman like myself.

‘Why hello there!’ she said joining me in my frame.

I was rather taken aback at this behaviour, was I supposed to have invited her in?

‘Hello,’ I replied, unsure of anything else to respond with.

‘I’m Violet, I reside in the Great Hall, welcome to Hogwarts!’ She seemed to cram far too many statements into her sentences; they were awfully difficult to follow but her friendly charm and bright smile won me over.

‘I’m…’ But before I could introduce myself she cut me off again.

‘Would you like a wine?’ she asked, waving several bottles of wine she held in her left hand at me.

I smiled, it had been a long while since anyone had offered me a drink.

‘That would be lovely,’

‘I’m beginning to like you already, my dear Fat Lady.’

‘I’m beginning to like it here already,’ I replied.

Suddenly I remembered the students were waiting for a password to be set.

‘The password you need to gain access to the Tower is “Snow”,’ I called to the students.

With a loud cheer the students begun to move forward, each stating the new password needed to gain access to their Common Room. They passed through with a cheer and smile, something I had not had the pleasure of seeing for some time. They did not know my name, they politely greeted me as “The Fat Lady” and who was I to correct them among all this celebration? I had been given a name and a home all on the same day, I realised smiling proudly to myself, and it was here amid those bright happy smiles and festive cheer that I came to the conclusion - Christmas truly was, the most wonderful time of the year.

 




A/N: This was written as a sort of AU response as to how the Fat Lady came to guard Gryffindor Tower, I hope you enjoy this small insight and a big Seasons Greetings to all who read this!

Many thanks to blueirony who beta-ed this for me so brilliantly!

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