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Old January 4th, 2012, 3:10 pm
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Location: Scotland or wherever Remus is!
Age: 19
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Soon

My entry for the 2011 Holiday Calendar.

Soon

It still looks just as it did when he was young. Of course, nothing can stop the slight changes time must bring but, overall...

The grass is crispy with frost and he can feel it crunching beneath him as he makes his way to the swings. He knows there's no point in doing it, but his fingers automatically wrap themselves around the cold metal of the things, all the same. A part of him wishes he had worn gloves.

Of course, he certainly doesn't expect to see her when he glances upwards. But there, there, on the bench opposite from the park. She simply sits, watching the world with an almost heavy air.

Something twists painfully inside his stomach. Guilt. An all too familiar emotion.

And he silently prays for, longs for more time-anything. And he suddenly wants to have attended his father's funeral and...and told her about The Book. Not the contents, obviously, but the name and exactly what is signified; what it meant-

“Mum,” Severus Snape calls out and half runs towards her, for once not caring at all, the wind stinging his cheeks. He pulls his left sleeve down firmly as he goes.

***

“...It’s horrifying.”

“Come on, it's festive!”

"Yes...still horrifying, though."

Sirius rolls his eyes. "Oi, Prongs, at least back me up, mate!"

James blinks, looking between Lily and Sirius with an over exaggerated cautious air.

“Well...it's traditional,” Peter chips in, rummaging through a box of Christmas decorations, to which Sirius gives a great cheer.

“It looks like a beheaded hippogriff.” James claps a hand to his mouth and looks around wildly, “I do beg your pardon, no idea who said that, must've been-”

“Don’t blame poor Remus when he’s not around to defend himself,” Lily interrupts.

“Where is he anyway?” Sirius asks.

“Haven’t the foggiest, mate. Probably in hiding from people with an unnatural fondness for Muggle Christmas songs and who can’t be bothered decorating their own flat by themselves.” Automatically, James braces himself for the punch and the customary, “Get lost, Potter!”

But his best friend, seemingly oblivious to all insults at this time of upmost festivity, merely whistles ‘Rockin’ around the (very small and quite clearly drooping on one side) Christmas Tree’ and hurries off, in the search of all things...tinsel-y?

Lily shakes her head but she's smiling in spite of herself. “Barking mad,” she mutters, carefully casting her wand over the tree in an attempt to salvage it. James and Peter share a knowing grin.

***

Remus honestly can’t believe it. This year, he’s finally sure that he’s cracked it: he’s got a present right. Well, for one person. It’s a start, at least. He pats his pocket, just in case and is pleased to hear the satisfying jangle and clink. Of course, he’s sorry to have missed part of the chaos but they’ll help him catch up, no doubt.

***

Lily is the first of them to hear the doorbell. The little tree is still leaning slightly to the left but she thinks it really is an improvement compared to the monstrosity she was previously faced with.

She opens the door and is met with a rather cold looking Remus Lupin. “Remus!” She rises onto her tiptoes for a moment as she hugs him. “Where have you been?”

“Um, I walked here,” he replies, crossing the threshold. It’s not strictly a lie, to be fair. “Still no snow,” he adds, as a distraction.

“You’re cold enough for there to have been.”

No,” comes a low groan from below. Remus peers round Lily to witness an utterly destroyed James, sprawled on the floor, covered in gold tinsel. Peter stands over him with a sympathetic look, mouthing, “I tried, I really did.”

“No Christmas,” James continues, mumbling into the carpet. “No songs, no snow, no Sirius bloody Black, no-”

“Speaking of Sirius...?” Remus prompts.

“With a bit of luck, buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” Lily laughs at this and James seems to perk up a little.

Remus raises an eyebrow, a trait he seems to have borrowed from McGonnagall for quite some time. “You’re a trooper, Peter; I don’t know how you coped with this for the whole morning.”

“Easy: I’ve had loads of practise.” Peter smiles broadly, glad that it’s almost Christmas, overwhelmingly glad to be with such good friends, glad to be Peter Pettigrew. For now, he’s happy.

***

Sirius is sitting on the pavement, pointing his wand towards the sky when Remus finds him. “What on earth are you doing?” he asks and Sirius starts, looks behind his shoulder and beams. “Moony! Finally!”

Remus sits down next to him. “I’m trying to help the snow along a bit,” Sirius explains.

“You do know spells to do with weather are really-”

“Tricky? Yeah, I have been sitting here for a year.

A comfortable silence follows, broken only by Sirius humming what Remus recognises to be ‘Lonely this Christmas’ and fleetingly remembers his father jokingly dancing with his mother to it in the kitchen. A small smile creeps onto his lips, something that Sirius is quick to notice.

“What?”

“Hhm? Oh, nothing. ...Listen, do you want a Christmas present early?”

Sirius pauses dramatically. “Now, there’s a question.”

“Do you want it early?” Remus repeats, smirking.

“I’ve never had an early Christmas present before...Wait. It’s not a book or anything, is it?”

Remus snorts. “Do you want it or not?”

Again, Sirius takes a second or two to answer. Eventually: “Okay, go on, then.”

Remus reaches inside his pocket and throws the keys to Sirius who catches them easily. He can practically hear the cogs whirring in Sirius’s mind and he enjoys the moment of recognition that soon lights up his eyes.

“No way. No way. How did you-? You sneaky little-”

“It was hardly rocket science. You did write a million Muggle Studies essays on them and what-have-you.”

“Yeah, but I-”

At the rapidly widening grin on Sirius’s face, Remus backtracks a little, suddenly afraid of building it up too much because... “It’s a bit rusty, though,” he says quickly, in one breath. “I mean, it’s a bit old ‘cause it used to be my uncle’s and the brakes squeak and-”

“Shut up, Moony,” Sirius says fondly. “Thank you, alright?” He makes to hug Remus and their heads nearly collide. Sirius throws back his head and barks a laugh which is abruptly cut short when he notices a continuous flurry of snowflakes landing on the ground. He glances at Remus and spots his wand being tucked away again under one of his sleeves. Remus stands up, slowly stretches and-

“Race you!” Sirius shouts gleefully, practically leaps up and hurtles off. Vaguely, he can hear Remus call back, “You got a head start, cheater!” and he laughs breathlessly.

The snow is falling thick and fast. Remus is privately quite proud of his work. He is just beginning to appreciate it when, without warning, he slips on some ice and falls spectacularly. He flushes and looks up to see Sirius standing over him, doing his best to control his laughter. “You uncoordinated...Here.”

He pulls Remus up by the hand and Remus stumbles again and quite unexpectedly (for the both of them); Sirius tilts his head to one side and kisses him.

They jerk back, stunned, unbelievably unsure as to how to respond. “Wh...what?!” Remus finally forces out.

Sirius, cheeks unfamiliarly warm, clears his throat. “Er...Merry Christmas?” he tries, hoping that it will be enough.

***

Peter has left in a mad dash for some last minute Christmas ‘shopping’ (“My Mum, how does anyone forget their own Mum, for Merlin’s sake?!), leaving James and Lily solely responsible for the lighting of Sirius’s tree. James previously insisted that they try doing a Charm on them to make them flash in multicolour. When Lily replied that the ones Sirius had bought from the Muggle corner shop did this already, James logically reasoned that: “Well, our way will be more...bright.” Lily couldn’t really fault.

Now, they sit on their knees, having already cast the spell, waiting for-

“James, pass me the plug, will you?” James, brain frantically catching up on this new terminology, does so.

“Do you remember the days of ‘Potter’ and ‘Evans’?” he asks her casually as she looks for the socket (yeah, that’s what it’s called).

Lily makes a small noise of amusement. “I think I’ve tried to erase them from my mind,” she says. There is a clicking noise and the tree shines with every colour imaginable. “Ah-ha!”

James doesn’t know precisely what makes him say it. Perhaps it’s the way the lights are dancing across the room or the heavy promise of the War being temporarily excluded from all conversation or the way Lily’s hair has, throughout the course of the day, fallen messily around her face. James always thought this kind of thing was methodically planned out but the words simply tumble out of his mouth: “I think I’m in love with you.”

She looks at him, green eyes searching for...something, presumable. It’s the first time the Word has been uttered by either one of them. “I think that I quite possibly love you, too,” she murmurs and moves closer. Privately, James momentarily muses that mistletoe would’ve completed the scene. Then again, mistletoe or no mistletoe, he wouldn’t change this day, this moment, for the world.

***

In the familiar, snowless corridors, the Map lies-not forgotten, just left. They’ll be back. Soon.


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