Written for the Marauder's Advent 2020 hosted by Frumpologist!
Character I was given: Remus Lupin
Random Prompt: Crimson and Gold
He could admit that perhaps hate was a strong word but he certainly wouldn't have placed the holiday amongst his favorites. As a child, his parents never put a large amount of effort into the day. They had a small tree that was decorated and his mother made ham, but gifts were hard to come by and often the only gifts he received were necessities. Socks and underwear, hand me down robes, used books… He appreciated every gift his parents gave him, never complained of the lack of holiday magic in the day. However, when he became friends with James, Sirius, and Peter and saw the massive holidays the Potters put on; he envied them. And all too often envy finds its way to resentment, so Remus resented the day.
Was it petty jealousy carried over from his younger years? Perhaps. Was it the absolute hypocrisy of humankind to act with kindness to one another for a month and then forget that kindness the rest of the year? Definitely.
The problem wasn't that Remus hated Christmas. He had come to terms with it being his least favorite holiday years ago, it never bothered him to turn down too-thick egg based drinks and not listen to high pitched wailing accompanied by bells. No, the problem was that Hermione Granger loved Christmas.
And he loved Hermione Granger.
Their first Christmas spent together had been relaxed. They had gone to Harry and Ginny's for dinner, opened a few modest gifts they got for one another and spent time relaxing in their sparsely decorated home. SInce that year, however, Hermione had made it known how much she loved Christmas. The decorations, the food, the colours, the smells, the bloody fucking carols. On repeat, he would listen to his witch hum a Christmas carol, sing the words, listen to the record, play the wireless… If he had to listen to Celestina Warbeck wailing sexual innuendos about a fat man in a red suit one more time, Remus thought he might chuck the damn radio out the window.
So it was his muggleborn, Christmas loving wife that put him to task on "the best display of Holiday decorations you've ever seen!" Because not only was Remus tasked with decorating their home, but their home would host the Christmas Party this year. A thought that gave Remus a splitting headache to even think of.
"Oh hush," Hermione said, when Remus had voiced his apprehension with the plans. "You're just being a grumpy old man."
Remus scowled, pulling the tangled strings of fairy lights from the large plastic storage container Hermione had kept them in. "I am not grumpy!"
"Whatever you say, Mr Grinch."
Remus rolled his eyes, huffing as he pulled at the mass of lights, "You know, we could just use magic for this."
"It's not the same!" Hermione insisted, "The lights just don't glow the same way! Besides, how are we going to explain magical fairy lights to the neighbors?"
Hermione nodded, "These aren't all for inside of the house! Some of them will go outside!"
"You want to hang fairy lights outside?" Remus asked.
"Of course! I have a few other decorations as well! I'm glad my parents let me have some of this old stuff! Oh! I think the reindeer are in the attic still…" Hermione jumped up from her spot on the floor and made her way down the hall.
"The… The reindeer?" Remus shook his head, muttering to himself as he attempted to untangle the lights. The knots seemed to grow even more massive and after a few of the colourful bulbs popped loose, he gave up and went into the kitchen to make some tea and possibly a nip of firewhisky. Merlin knew he'd need it.
Twenty minutes later, he could hear thumping coming from the attic as Hermione descended the stairs, dragging a trunk behind her full of more decorations. Remus wrinkled his nose up as she opened it up, pulling item after item from its depths.
"I had forgotten about this!" She said, reaching deep into the trunk, "I put an extension charm on it to try and keep it all in one place…"
Remus' eyes grew wide as she pulled out tons of small boxes containing little ceramic houses, snow globes filled with glitter, a small train that looked ancient (but she swore would still work), several meters of fluffy green garland with crimson and gold flowers, at least a hundred different baubles- all different shapes, sizes and colours. Bows and wreaths and tinsel and knit stockings…
Within an hour it looked as if the North Pole itself had visited their little cabin in Yorkshire and vomited on every surface. Everywhere he looked there was red, green, gold, white, silver, blue… All clashing horribly against one another and demanding attention.
"This is… This is a lot, Hermione." Remus said, swallowing hard. "Surely we don't need to put all of this out?"
"What? And let Ron and Susan have the most festive party so far? I think not. Ron doesn't even like Christmas!" Hermione huffed, gathering her hair on top of her head and securing it with an elastic.
"And I do?"
"We all know you're a bit of a Scrooge McDuck-
"Excuse me, a what?"
Hermione rolled her eyes, "Exactly. But if you would just try to get into the spirit, I bet you would find you like it."
"And what's in it for me?" Remus asked, arching an eyebrow as he looked around his cluttered living room.
Hermione smirked, "I'll let you unwrap a gift on Christmas Eve."
"Not good enough," Remus tutted.
"How would you know? You haven't the slightest idea what the gift is."
"Because," he said, crossing the room and stooping over to place a kiss against her lips. "I know you. So while I'm certain you've gotten me a very lovely volume of spell books I've asked for, it's not good enough for me to agree to turning the place into Whoville."
"You don't know Scrooge McDuck, but The Grinch is recognizable?" Hermione chuckled.
"Ah, but the Grinch is relatable!"
Hermione rolled her eyes and playfully smacked Remus in the chest, "Go on. Start with the lights! I'm going to pop to the shops and get some stuff for the party."
"Anything else you want done, love? The lights won't take-
"The muggle way," she interrupted. "You're doing them outside, we have neighbors. You have to hang them the muggle way."
Remus felt his jaw go slack when he realized she wasn't taking the piss out of him. He sighed, running his hand through his hair and nodding, "Yeah, alright. The muggle way, then."
The smile that lit up her face soothed his irritation a bit. Anything that made Hermione this happy was worth doing, he had discovered that a long time ago. They spent the next fifteen minutes or so untangling the lights and sorting through the outdoor decorations. Remus personally thought it was overkill, but again, it made Hermione happy and he would do anything to watch her face light up the way it did when he agreed to put up all these damn decorative lights and garlands.
Hermione left for the shops, promising not to take too terribly long, that she would be back in time to help him hang the lights inside. With his wand in hand and a warming charm firmly in place, Remus pulled his heavy coat on and bundled up the lights, walking around the back of the cabin to transfigure a ladder out of some firewood. He had no intentions on actually using the rickety ladder, but thought it may look suspicious should he be on the roof without a ladder in sight.
He propped the ladder against the house, checked over his shoulders to be certain he was alone, and apparated to the roof. With a good sticking charm, he began laying the lights around the perimeter of the roof, grumbling to himself the entire time. He wondered if Sirius and James were having fun making fun of him from wherever they were, Lily would be telling them to mind their own business and hang their own damn lights up. She had loved Christmas, too.
He shook his head, batting away the lingering pain that threatened every time he thought of his long gone friends. They would have loved Hermione, he was positive of that. Sirius would be absolutely beside himself to find out that Remus had finally settled down into some semblance of a normal life and that Hermione had chosen to make an honest man out of him. He could still hardly believe it himself, most days. But every morning he woke up to a mouthful of coconut scented curls and light snores of the brightest and most beautiful witch he had ever known.
Remus sighed. If Hermione wanted some damn fairy lights, then fairy lights Hermione would have!
By Christmas Eve, Remus had done every single insufferable task that Hermione had asked of him. He had handled so much glitter, he didn't think he'd ever be free of it. The tree was now covered in tinsel and garland and more baubles than he thought were strictly necessary. Every doorway was covered in thick, green garland and mistletoe and holly. Poinsettias were placed on every mantle and end table, gold doves were conjured and charmed to fly in the corners with crimson cardinals and silver sparrows. The train set had been tampered with to run on magic, and it chugged away under the tree, looping around and blowing a whistle every few minutes.
And of course, the lights.
Thousands of little fairy lights of all different colours that twinkled and danced on the inside and the outside of the house. A swirling technicolour of warmth radiated from the tiny bulbs and they gave Remus a headache, but Hermione sat for hours watching them flicker between colours and glitter against the other decorations. The rainbow glow reflected in her chocolate eyes and the look of pure joy on her face made the headache worth it.
She made everything worth it.
Remus chuckled to himself, sipping at the hot chocolate in his mug. When had he become so soft? Not that he had ever really been rigid, but Hermione did something to him that he was never sure how to handle. This vibrant, beautiful, brilliant, young witch had swooped into his life and took a beaten down, old werewolf and made him feel like he mattered. Like he had a purpose in this world other than floating between lunar cycles and scrounging for sickles. She could do anything she set her mind to, and she made Remus believe that he could, too.
"I almost forgot!" Hermione said, quite suddenly. She jumped up from her space on the sofa where she was entranced by lights and set her mug on the coffee table.
"I promised you a gift to unwrap if you set this all up," she smiled. "I don't go back on my word."
Remus gave half a smile, dipping his head, "Go on, then."
"I'll be right back, don't go anywhere!" Hermione said, leaning down to press a chaste kiss to his lips.
Remus watched her wander toward their bedroom and he found himself wondering what she could have gotten him that he didn't already know about. Of course, the books and records she bought him were wrapped under the tree. He was sure she knew of the new set of phials and cauldron he had got for her. They rarely hid these types of things from one another, even more so considering they shared a Gringotts vault. He could hear her rustling around, sounds of fabric whooshing and a zipper… His curiosity was piqued. He shifted in his seat, taking another healthy gulp of his hot chocolate and tried to still the nervous bounce in his leg.
Finally, Hermione exited the bedroom and Remus felt his jaw go slack. She entered the living room wearing naught but a large crimson bow tied tight around her breasts. The hanging ribbon served to trail down the flat of her abdomen and cover the apex of her thighs. Her hair was wild around her shoulders, hanging down her back and the lights seemed to reflect off her skin in a strange golden shimmer. She stood before him, her eyes watching him, ever curious.
He wanted to say something, to open his mouth and tell her how absolutely fucking stunning she was, but his mind couldn't form coherent words. The only thing he could grasp was the low, primal stirring deep in his gut. The hunger that made his mouth dry and his cock hard and Merlin's fucking pants if she didn't know exactly how to get him wound up.
"Not a traditional Christmas gift, I realize, but I thought you may appreciate it," Hermione said, her lips twitching upward.
Remus felt like an idiot, he couldn't take his eyes off her and he nodded slowly. "Yeah… I erm… I think…" he subtly adjusted himself on the sofa and cleared his throat. "I think you hit that on target."
Hermione sauntered over to him, a glint of mischief in her eye as she stood before him. She bent, pulling the rapidly cooling mug of hot chocolate from his hand and set it on the coffee table behind her. By the time she twisted back around to face him, he had finally got his mind to work properly and found his hands on her waist, pulling her into his lap. She laughed beneath his lips, and he smirked into hers, his tongue gliding through her cherry pout to claim the inside of her mouth.
She tasted like every bit of sweetness that she tried to pump into this time of year. Of spun sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and honey… Sticky sweet and just as addicting. She straddled his hips, her knees on either side of his thighs and through the fabric of his trousers he could feel the heat of her core. He groaned as her fingers twisted into his hair, her nails scraping his scalp and her lips moving fluidly against his.
It was unfair the things she did to him, the way he craved her the second her lips pulled away from him. A grown man at the age of forty-six and he wanted to whine when the pillow of her lips left his. The disappointment was quickly shoved to the side when she nipped at the spot on his neck, just above his collar bone, and his head lolled back. He could feel her smirk against his skin, but it didn't matter. She had him in her palm, always, and she knew it. He would do anything for her… String up five thousand more lights and dress himself as Saint Nicholas if it meant she wouldn't stop.
Her fingers began to work the buttons on his shirt, pushing them through the holes with practiced ease. There had been a point, a few years back when this tryst began, that he had been too embarrassed to let her see him, to let her know what he looked like in the light of day. The scars that littered his body were gnarled and ugly and he was afraid of what she would say. She had traced the ridges, lines, and bumps with her fingers and whispered nothing but praise to him, placing small kisses against every bit of torn skin.
Now he had no embarrassment, and the thought of her seeing him in the twinkling lights of the tree and the bulbs that were strung throughout their home only increased his need for her. He banded his arm around her waist and stood, pulling her off the couch with him. She laughed, her head falling back and her hair tumbling down her spine. Her legs came up to wrap around his waist and she pushed the fabric of his shirt from his shoulders, pressing wet, open mouthed kisses to his chest. He had every intention of taking her to bed, but his body didn't want to cooperate and before he could make it through the living room, he had pinned her against a wall next to the tree. Her legs slipped down his waist and his lips found her throat, he kissed her jawline and dragged his tongue to the hollow of her collar bone.
Remus hissed when Hermione's hand slipped over his trousers, palming his stiff cock and rubbing him through the rough fabric. He bucked his hips forward, groaning slightly as she found the fasten on the waistband and pulled it open, dipping her hand past the elastic of his pants and pulling him from the confines of the cotton. Her back slipped down the wall, her legs falling to the side and her feet found purchase on the floor. She pressed a palm flat against his chest and gave him a small shove, and he chuckled as he stumbled back a step.
In one fluid movement, Hermione fell to her knees and took him into her mouth. Remus took a sharp breath and his head fell forward against the wall, one hand shoving the curls from her face so he could get a proper view of her beautiful mouth wrapped around him. She wrapped her fingers around the rest of his length and began pumping in tandem with the bobbing of her head, her cheeks hollowed to create a delicious bit of sucking pressure and he felt his breathing stutter and wheeze as she swirled her tongue around the head.
His mouth fell open in an attempt to say something coherent, to praise the way her warm, silk-lined mouth felt against him, but the only sounds he could push forward were low groans and broken sighs. His fingers tangled into her hair, gripping the curls tightly and her hum of approval as the head of his cock hit the velvety back of her throat was almost his undoing. His hips jerked forward, his chest rising and falling with heavy pants and low whines. She ran the flat of her tongue firmly up the underside of his length and enveloped him between her sweet, pillowy pout again and his eyes slammed shut, his teeth gritting hard.
"Hermione… I'm gonna…" He groaned, trying to prolong the pleasure. "Fuck… fuck."
He felt her smile around him and she hollowed her cheeks again, creating that perfect suction and he saw stars. Everything went white for a moment as he stumbled forward a bit, catching himself on the wall and growling out a long moan of pleasure with her name on it. He spilled inside her mouth and nearly cried from the feel of her throat contracting, swallowing the evidence of what she did to him. When he had finally stopped twitching against her tongue, she sat back on her feet and stared up at him, a cheeky grin on her face.
"Do you still hate Christmas, love?"
He barked out a laugh, still trying to collect his thoughts and breath. He bent over, taking her face in his hands and pressed a firm kiss to her lips, "I think it's become my favourite holiday, now."
"Oh, has it?"
"Mhm," he hummed, helping her to her feet and plucking at the crimson ribbon. "But I still have to unwrap my gift."
Her smile widened and she pushed up on her toes, kissing his jaw, just below his ear. "It's after midnight now, so I suppose you can open another present."
She pecked his cheek and turned away, his eyes following the sway of her hips as she moved down the hall toward the bedroom. Remus quickly followed after, swearing that he would never speak ill of Hermione's favorite holiday again.