Part 46:
All I Want for Christmas is You
(Wednesday, December 22, 1977 – Continued...)

With shopping done, the eight teenagers made their way to the Floo station. James directed his friends to the fireplaces, and he watched as the rest of the group disappeared in emerald flames, then finally joined them himself.

They appeared in a massive fireplace of marble and mahogany that was so tall that James, the tallest of the group, could stand up straight. The fireplace opened into a study with two comfortable, brown leather wingback chairs angled toward the fireplace with a small, spiral-legged mahogany table with a stained-glass lamp that glowed cheerily. The walls of the study were lined with mahogany bookcases with glass fronts to protect the massive library of books contained within them.

The only wall of the study that wasn't covered with bookcases held three large windows overlooking a sprawling garden full of flowers still in bloom. In front of the windows was a mahogany desk covered with books, parchments, quills, and ink bottles with a brown, overstuffed, office chair behind the desk. A mahogany bird stand was beside the windows currently unoccupied until the left bottom pane of the leftmost window opened to allow in a harried-looking barn owl who hopped onto the bird stand. "Hamish," James greeted. The owl looked at the teenager with disdain then began to preen himself.

James led the group through a pair of French doors and into a massive foyer. Two staircases lined with beautifully-formed wrought iron balustrades curved from a central location just above the study door. A few feet in front of the door was a massive, live, Scots Pine tree. The tree was decorated with actual snow, and glowing fairies rested on the branches between the gorgeous, blown-glass ornaments, tinsel, and the garland of holly that wrapped around the tree. The scent of pine and snow filled the air, and Draco inhaled deeply. At the apex of the stairs was a balcony and a woman called down to them. The group looked up, but the view was blocked by the tree.

They made their way around the tree to find a woman moving down the stairs wearing a sapphire-blue, silk dress, her black hair piled atop her head in an intricate French twist. "Jamey!" she gushed, moving as fast as she could wearing high heels. With a grin, the woman enveloped James in a bear hug. "Oh, my boy, it's so good to see you again.

"Mum," James said with a grimace, and the woman finally released her son.

The woman was beautiful in a patrician way much like the rest of the Black family. Dorea Black Potter had an aquiline nose, thin lips, and a careworn face with clear smile lines and crow's feet crinkling at the corners of her storm-gray eyes. Streaks of silver had made their way through her ebony locks. She cast a smile at Sirius. "Sirius," she said, pulling him into a hug. "Staying out of trouble, I hope."

"Always, ma'am," the dark-haired youth replied.

"I don't believe it for a second," she said, ruffling his hair even though he was a good head taller than she was. "And what have I told you about calling me 'ma'am.' It's Mum or Dora!" She smiled at Remus. "Don't worry, we have the cellar ready for you."

Remus smiled in return and accepted the hug she gave him. "Thank you, Dora," he said.

"You know we adore you. You're the only good influence our boy has," she said, sending a playful glare to Sirius who gave her a cheeky grin in return. She turned her attention to Peter who was slightly shorter than she was. "Oh, Peter, you look wonderful!" She hugged the rat-faced boy warmly.

"Thank you, Mum," the chubby boy said, a blush rising in his cheeks.

With the Marauders greeted and sufficiently hugged, the older woman cast her gaze on the four newcomers. "You must be Marlene. I've never seen Peter happier," she said, giving Marlene a hug. The blonde blushed brightly. "A shy one, you are. It's okay, dear." Dorea gave the Hufflepuff a grin and, nervously, Marlene smiled in return.

Dorea turned her attention to Draco. "You must be Draco. You're very much a Black, aren't you?" she said.

"Um, yes," he said nervously, holding out his hand for a friendly handshake.

"I can tell, I can always tell," she said, disregarding his hand and pulling the blonde into a hug. Draco's eyes widened, and he pat the woman's back awkwardly until she finally released him. Ruffled, he smoothed his hair and took a step back.

It was Hermione's turn next. "You must be Hermione," Dorea said.

"Yes, m—Dorea," she stated. It felt strange to call one of her friends' mothers by her first name. Even Mrs. Weasley didn't allow Hermione to call her by her first name, and it just felt strange to call anyone but her mother "Mum." She didn't have time to think before she was wrapped in a hug.

Finally, Dorea turned her attention to Lily Evans. The future wife of her son, and the future mother of her grandson. "Oh, my, you must be Lily," the woman said with a soft voice, her hand cupping the redhead's cheek. "My James talks nonstop about you. You are quite the lovely young woman, aren't you?"

The woman pulled Lily into a warm embrace, hugging her closely. At first, Lily was nervous, but she found herself relaxing into the woman's hug. It felt so nice to be hugged after all this time. No matter how many hugs she got from James, they weren't the same as the hug of a parent or grandparent. She felt a sharp pang of loss as she thought of her parents and grandparents, most of them dead do to the war. Tears stung her eyes, but she fought them back.

"It's nice to meet you. You raised a wonderful son," Lily said, her voice soft as the hug ended. She blinked her long, russet lashes a few times to completely remove the unshed tears.

"Oh, you'd best get ready, the party is starting soon. Come, come, now. Your bags are in your rooms." She clapped her hands, and a house-elf appeared before the nine individuals. She was elderly with skin the color of a nut, a face wrinkled like a prune with her rough, gray hair pulled into a knot at the nape of her neck. What surprised Hermione the most was that the elf wore a floor-length black dress with long sleeves with a crisp, white apron lined with lace, and a black cap with lace edges topped her round head. She was dressed like a Victorian servant.

"Hullo, Master James," the house-elf said, beaming at James.

"Hello, Enoby," James said, grinning at her.

"You're wearing clothes," Hermione said.

"Yes, miss," the house-elf said. "Enoby is a free elf. Master Charlus let me work here."

"Speaking of my husband, where is he?" Dorea asked.

"Master Charlus is in the garden," Enoby said.

Dorea shook her head. "That man," she murmured affectionately, heading in another direction. A few minutes later, the group was sorted into bedrooms. The three girls in one room, Draco was bunking with Remus and Peter, and James and Sirius were sharing a room.

As soon as they had settled in, the groups began to get ready for the Yule party. Lily and Hermione were dressed the quickest while it took Marlene a bit longer. When she emerged from the bathroom attached to the girls' room, she had been transformed. Normally, her blond hair was in a pageboy style with eyebrow-length bangs, no makeup, and wearing jeans and t-shirts, but she'd really outdone herself. Her hair was feathered and curled like Farrah Fawcett's and, surprisingly, the look worked for her.

"Wow, where'd you learn to do that?" Lily asked, examining her own stick-straight hair.

"You like it?" the short, chubby blonde asked, and the girls nodded. "My mum's a beautician." She bit her bottom lip nervously but realized she'd put baby pink lipstick on and stopped. "Do you want me to do your hair and makeup?"

Lily grinned at her and nodded, sitting on the pouf in front of the cherry wood vanity across from the three beds. Marlene beamed at her and went to work on her auburn tresses, brushing it until it gleamed, then pulling it into a ponytail. She separated the ponytail into several smaller ponytails and twisted and twirled the smaller ponytails over the ponytail holder. She ended up with a style that looked sort of like a flower. It looked really good on the redhead, extending her neck and pulling her hair out of her face. Satisfied by Lily's hairdo, Marlene made her up. Avocado-green eye shadow brought up to her eyebrows, rosy blush, charcoal-gray eyeliner, and frosted peach lipstick. It wasn't Hermione's favorite look, but it fit the era, and it looked good on Lily. With a chuckle, the brunette wondered if anything didn't look good on Lily.

Marlene turned her attention to Hermione and sat her down on the pouf that Lily had vacated. Hermione's hairstyle was decidedly less complex. The blonde pulled the hair back from Hermione's face and tied it into a ponytail then she braided the hair into a rose, letting tendrils mingle back into Hermione's golden-brown hair. The makeup that Marlene applied was more minimalist as well: soft browns and taupes that highlighted her face beautifully.

"We look good," Hermione commented as she caught their reflections in the mirror.

In the room that James and Sirius were sharing, the five teen boys gathered and, with a liberal application of Draco's hair products, Peter had finally rid himself of his cowlick and James's perpetually-messy hair had been smoothed and side-parted. Sirius's shoulder-length hair had been pulled into a ponytail and the same for Draco's collar-length hair. James stared at his reflection and smiled. "I'm getting engaged today," he told himself. "I'm going to marry Lily Evans." His smile turned into a grin.

Sirius rolled his ice-blue eyes heavenward. "James, do you really want to do this?" he asked, and James turned on him.

"Yes! Yes, I want to do this! I love Lily, Sirius. I want to spend the rest of my life – however long or short that might be – with Lily Ann Evans. Yes, I want to marry her!" the bespectacled teen cried.

Sirius looked surprised by James's outburst. "Well, good luck then," he said softly. "Is she good enough for you, mate?"

James smiled. "She's better than I'll ever be," he replied, and Sirius grinned.

"So, you're gonna get married, huh?" Sirius asked. "Need a best man."

His best friend's smile turned into a full grin. "Did you actually think I'd ever ask anyone else?" Sirius clapped him on the shoulder.

"Are you sure she's going to say yes?" Peter finally asked.

James fixed his tie and gave Peter a suave smile. "How could she resist?"

The five boys headed out to knock on the door across the hallway, and Marlene answered. Peter's eyes nearly popped out of his head. "Marlene, you look…" he coughed as he tried to coax the words out "…you're…wow…" His face turned bright red as he looked at his girlfriend before crooking his arm for her.

"Ugh, I can't take this," Sirius grumbled, heading downstairs before he had to be spoon-fed any more of his friends' romances.

Remus shook his head, staring after Sirius. "You'll have to forget him, Padfoot is all romanced out." He headed after the taller, dark-haired teen.

Peter and Marlene just ignored Sirius and Remus, lost in a world built for two. Marlene beamed at Peter, wrapping her arm around his. "You look dashing, Peter," she replied. Just when the rest of his friends felt that Peter Pettigrew couldn't get any redder, his blush darkened at his comment. The two headed down the hallway and down the stairs to the main floor of the manor.

James's hazel eyes trailed over Lily with affection, and his hand caressed her cheek lovingly. "You look beautiful, Lily," he murmured.

Lily blushed. "Marlene did my hair," she stammered, her emerald eyes staring at her boyfriend. Harry Potter's parents were so cute together. James's lips met his girlfriend's in a soft kiss before he held her hand and headed downstairs leaving Draco and Hermione.

Hermione smiled as she finally saw Draco's outfit. He wore black velvet dress robes, a silver silk shirt, and black trousers, and had replicated the outfit he'd worn two years before at the Yule Ball. "Black velvet and that little boy smile, black velvet and that slow, Southern style," the brunette purred.

Draco grinned, showing off pearly-white teeth. "I thought you'd like it," he said, stroking her cheek. "You really do look beautiful, Hermione Granger. You've gotten even more gorgeous than you were at the Yule Ball. That color suits you well." Hermione made a mental note to wear more harvest gold, but her thoughts vanished as Draco's lips descended on hers, his arms wrapping around her body and pulling her close.

Their bodies fit together perfectly, his hand sliding under her brown curls to caress the nape of her neck. Heat rose in their bodies as the kiss deepened, Draco's tongue exploring Hermione's mouth. Their tongues danced and dueled together. Neither was really sure how much time passed before they finally pulled away from each other, breathless. Even after the kiss, Draco forgot how to breathe for a moment. His chest heaved as he panted. "We—we should get to the party," he finally said.

Hermione grinned at him. "That would be a good idea," she replied, and his hand slid around her waist as the two walked downstairs.

In the few hours they'd been dressing, the manor had been transformed. Evergreen garlands twined around the railing of the stairs, and an illusion of snow had been put in place. Large, fluffy, sparkling white snowflakes danced through the air, disappearing a few feet from their heads. The snowflakes were so big that one could easily see the intricate crystalline designs.

To the left of the foyer, there was a large dining table – as large as one of the House tables at Hogwarts – with a Christmas runner. In the center of the red poinsettia-decorated runner were centerpieces made of holly wreaths wrapped around white poinsettias dusted with gold glitter, at the center of the smaller wreath of poinsettias was a solitary evergreen-colored candle that flickered merrily. Remus, Sirius, Peter, Marlene, James, and Lily were already seated, but Lily had left a couple of chairs for Draco and Hermione.

"Slut," Lily whispered teasingly in Hermione's ear, causing the brunette to blush furiously.

The table was full of people, many of whom Hermione didn't know, along with several Hogwarts classmates. Among the people were Frank and Alice Longbottom, Regulus Black, Narcissa Black, Lucius Malfoy, and – to Hermione and Sirius's surprise – Walburga and Orion Black. "You didn't tell me that he would be here, Dora," Walburga growled, glaring at her son.

"Mum, it's Christmas," Regulus said, and the dark-haired woman glared at her other son. Orion appeared too drunk already to actually realize he was in the same room as his older son.

Between the candle centerpieces appeared elegant silver dishes covered with delicious food: a massive goose with all the trimmings, trifle, spotted dick, roast chestnuts, and everything else one could ever want for a Christmas dinner, even if Christmas wasn't for a few more days. People dug in and soon Walburga forgot her anger at her son in the revelry.

After everyone was stuffed, the party divided in two. The adults headed toward the parlor on the other side of the foyer, and the younger witches and wizards headed into the ballroom behind the parlor. Sirius, Remus, and Peter took turns deejaying the dance while the adults chatted with Christmas music playing softly in the background.

The dance was interesting to say the least. The teenagers rotated between the best of the 1970s and 1960s Muggle music that Hermione actually knew and Wizarding World music such as Celestina Warbeck and others that Hermione had never heard before. The ballroom was darkened with a disco ball shimmering over the dancing teenagers and young adults.

People disco-danced un-ironically and wore more of the offensive colors and patterns. Hermione even dragged Draco in to do the Hustle when the song played. Disco songs and rock songs and love songs intermixed; the boys' musical tastes varied wildly which kept the party going.

The adults' party was more elegant, silver trays loaded with hors d'oeuvres floated through the party, and a table loaded with large, cut crystal bowls full of wassail punch and eggnog and crystal glasses. When the dancers got hungry or thirsty, they exited the ballroom to get appetizers and drinks, a silencing spell separating the loud ballroom and quiet parlor.

After two hours of dancing and Sirius flirting with the girls who weren't related to him, Peter's plan went into action. James and Lily danced together to David Bowie's "Heroes" before it ended and changed to "Maybe I'm Amazed."

Baby, I'm amazed at the way you love me all the time,
And maybe I'm afraid of the way I love you.
Maybe I'm amazed at the way you pulled me out of time,
You hung me on the line.
Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you.

Draco led Hermione to the dance floor and pulled her close, his hands resting on the small of her back, and her hands wound around his neck. They swayed to the song. "I'm glad we're here," the brunette said softly.

"Me, too," Draco whispered, inhaling the scent of roses that radiated from his girlfriend. "I love you, Hermione."

Baby, I'm a man, maybe I'm a lonely man
Who's in the middle of something
That he doesn't really understand.

Baby, I'm a man,
And maybe you're the only woman who could ever help me.
Baby, won't you help me to understand?

Lily smiled as she and James danced close together. "I love this song," she murmured, resting her head on James's shoulder.

Peter had done a fantastic job. Who would have ever thought that the mousy boy was a romantic? He sent a grateful smile to Peter who didn't notice. Peter was too busy attempting to dance with Marlene, biting his bottom lip as he clumsily avoided Marlene's feet.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
Oh, oh, oh,
Oh, oh, oh, oh,

Baby, I'm a man, maybe I'm a lonely man
Who's in the middle of something
That he doesn't really understand.

"I still don't get it," Sirius said to Remus as they watched James and Lily dancing. "I know that you're supposed to get married and have a family right after school, but all I can think about is how my parents got married right after school and still hate each other. They only had kids to carry on the Black name."

Remus shook his head. "Just because your parents hate each other doesn't mean all couples do. James's parents love each other and are happy after all these years, and they got married right after school. My parents didn't get married until they were in their thirties, and they were happy together until my dad died. Peter's parents married when they were older, and they hate each other. Love…love is a funny thing."

Baby, I'm a man,
And maybe you're the only woman who could ever help me.
Baby, won't you help me to understand?

Maybe I'm amazed at the way you're with me all the time,
Maybe I'm afraid of the way I leave you.
Maybe I'm amazed at the way you help me sing my song,
Right me when I'm wrong,
Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you.

As the song ended, the lights came on, and Remus, Peter, and Sirius dispersed the crowd, leaving James and Lily in the middle. With the way cleared, James moved to one knee in front of Lily and produced the rosewood box, opening it to reveal the ring he and his friends had purchased for her. "Lily Ann Evans, will you marry me?" James Potter asked his future wife.

A look of horror crossed her face. "I—I…I can't," she stammered. Then she turned away and raced out of the room.

"Lily, wait!" James cried, racing after her.

"Well, that was unexpected," Sirius said.

"Good show, Potter!" a drunken Lucius Malfoy called after James's retreating form, pulling a giggling Narcissa in close.

Credits: Song "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney, written by Paul McCartney.